me, to take death seriously is to take life seriously. And this whole
web site is not really about death. It is about making the most of life!
first became interested in death when, during seminary education,
I saw so many needs that were not met. People were ripped-off by the
funeral industry, the grieving were shunned, the dying were neglected.
Since my father
is from England, and we had visited there many times,
knew about hospice care and was determined to provide it here. In the
mid seventies I helped establish the third hospice in this country, and
went on to found two more. With hospice, I've been everything from
bed-pan-changer to president.
As a priest, I soon found that much of my work dealt with
loss. Not just
physical human death, but other
losses as well. It was a privilege to enter
into others' lives during times of loss such as having a mastectomy, being
fired, getting divorced, moving, encountering the "empty nest", losing an
animal companion, and so on. My interest in death brought
skills to my
work across the board.
Also during the seventies, I introduced and taught death education at
Auburn University. My curiosity about this one inescapable certainty of
life's mysteries continued to grow. And, I must admit,
I enjoyed the
challenge of studying a taboo
field which, at that time, was quite young.
for decades I have continued to learn about death and loss, and
I'd like to think I've helped others. But I can assure you that I have
learned far more from my students, from the bereaved, and from the
dying than I ever brought to them!