A few weeks ago, over 50 spiritual seekers braved Sydney’s torrential rain to attend one of the first dying to know events for 2016. The talk was hosted by Spirituality in the Pub, and the topic was “How can we live with death?”.
Both speakers come from very different backgrounds to offer their unique perspectives and experiences on death. Father Darryl Mackie is the Mission Integration Manager at St Vincent’s Private Hospital. While Rosalind Bradley is an editor and author. Her new book “A Matter of Life and Death”, speaks with some remarkable people who share their insights about death. For those interested, it can be purchased here.
Starting the night, Rosalind shares a very personal account of losing her mother unexpectedly while visiting on a holiday and her struggle to deal with the grief that followed. She talks about not knowing how to communicate her grief and how people around her didn’t what to say. This led her on a path of exploring the concept of death, her own mortality, and how to live a fulfilling life. The product of this journey was the completion of her book. She mentions three different people in her book: a death row inmate, Reverend Peter Pereira, and Josephine Speyer.
Her insights for dealing with death are divided into three themes. She argues that in order to pass through this process there must be:
- Acknowledgment of death: coming to terms with the death of either yourself or someone else
- Preparation for death: both spiritually and practically
- Experiencing life to the fullest: taking advantage of the present
Paradoxically, this process for dealing with death is in fact good advice for living a meaningful and fulfilling life.
Father Darryl talks about three very personal experiences with death and how it has shaped his beliefs. These experiences involved three very important people in his life, his mother & father, and his mentor/parish Priest. He mentions spending time with people in hospital (A big part of his job) who are close to their death. He offers some great insight:
- Those who are dying cope better than those left behind
- Spiritual people tend to handle death better
- Death makes people want to reconnect with family and friends
- People dying teach us how to love, live and learn about dying
Overall the event was a great success, the audience were really engaged and seemed to connect with both speakers. As mentioned before, both Rosalind and Fr Darryl gave really honest and personal anecdotes which resonated with everyone.