By: Jennifer Watson
>> Another article taken from the Premier Homecare Services Quarterly Newsletter, written by Jennifer Watson. <<
Canada’s leading palliative care educator and spiritual activist Stephen Jenkinson is called the Angel of Death.
A recent PBS documentary titled “Griefwalker” is a friend’s tribute to the work of this Harvard trained theologian. Jenkinson reminds us that death is an integral part of life and that’s why we shouldn’t ignore or deny it but rather befriend it. It is a fear of death which is robbing us of an important and unavoidable transition in life. In the Canadian documentary, Jenkinson asks us to reflect on why life is so important to us, and that the answer lies in the very fact that it ends. “Grief is not a feeling. Grief is a skill,” he mentions. A skill of life is being able to love life while you are living it, being present and enjoying the life you have to live. Grief needs to be coupled with a praise of life, so that where you have one you also have the other.
Many cultures understand the importance of death in one’s life, not only for a spiritual exit but also for the benefit of those loved ones left behind. In the film, Jenkinson speaks to a mother who is in palliative care knowing she is leaving behind a husband and children. He plainly states it is ‘how she will die’ rather than ‘what she will die of’ which will leave the deepest impression on her family and influence their grieving.
Jenkinson offers his teachings to professional caregivers, those in the medical field, volunteers and administrators, and especially for dying people and their loved ones.
You can also read more from him in his book titled “How it all could be: A work book for dying people and those who love them.” His wisdom, humanistic approach and sensible approach to an often “off-topic” topic should not be missed by anyone. Stephen Jenkinson lectures across Canada. Tour stops can be found online at www.orphanwisdom.com . Purchase the “Griefwalker” DVD or look for screenings for the movie directed by Tim Wilson at films.nfb.ca/griefwalker.
Premier is here for you. You and your family are not alone in life’s transitions and challenges. Support, help and resources are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Personalized care for you or your loved one eases your burden and gives peace of mind.