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Spiritual Care of Dying and Bereaved People

winter 2013

From triple helix - winter 2013 - Spiritual Care of Dying and Bereaved People [p21]

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Penelope Wilcock
 BRF, 2013
 £9.99, Pb 112pp, ISBN 9780281048779
 Reviewed by Valerie Rowe, a Consultant in Palliative Care


Books on 'Spiritual Care' are often theoretical but not this one. It is about people. It is intensely real as the cost of fulfilling a patient's request to 'be there' ( 'watch with me') is acknowledged. But the privilege of journeying with someone on their Emmaus Road and then finding the Lord himself coming alongside is also expressed.


It is a practical book, covering topics such as silence, humour, touch, tears, anger and clothing. The shock of death at the beginning of life is covered as are suggestions and prayers for conducting a funeral. Questions are posed which set me thinking – 'vulnerable God' or 'almighty God'? 'heaven and hell'? Mostly I agreed with the author's opinions but not always!


The first edition of the book seventeen years ago 'scratched where I itched' but this expanded edition benefits immeasurably from the author honestly sharing experiences she has faced herself in the interim years. The breakup of her first marriage, the terminal illness and death of her second husband, and the loss of integrity felt after family divisions during her third marriage are all exposed to the light, and her vulnerability adds strength to the book.


I would recommend it to everyone who seeks to be a companion to their patients, to communicate better the compassionate heart of God and to listen out for inner pain, especially on the final journey. Surely this should be all of us!

Article written by Valerie Rowe

More from triple helix: winter 2013

  • Situation Ethics
  • Putting targets before patients
  • Countering the threat of euthanasia
  • What we can learn from the BHA
  • Universal Health Coverage
  • Caring for ourselves
  • How persuasion works
  • So you've received a complaint
  • Making medical mistakes
  • A chilling story seldom told
  • Being a burden
  • Hope in dark times
  • Faith matters in the global health agenda
  • ICMDA a worldwide family
  • CS Lewis: A Life
  • What happens after I die
  • Making Church Accessible to All Including disabled people in church life
  • Why? Looking at God, evil & personal suffering
  • Rescuing Darwin God and evolution in Britain today
  • The Big Ego Trip Finding true significance in a culture of self-esteem
  • Christians in the Firing Line
  • Spiritual Care of Dying and Bereaved People
  • Eutychus
  • When our hands are willing
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