Back in 1996 I wrote a book called Spiritual Care of Dying and Bereaved People, published by SPCK. It came out of the years I spent working on a volunteer basis at a hospice, where I was the Free-Church Chaplain.
At that time, there was great consternation about caring for AIDS patients in the terminal phase of illness, and LBTQ+ people had far less in the way of rights and recognition and social inclusion than they do today — all of which was reflected in some parts of that book.
By 2008, much had changed. I revised the book to leave out the sections I felt now had less relevance, but I also added in some other chapters. In the years that had passed since the first edition, I'd done some thinking about experiences of bereavement arising from other situations than a physical death, and thought that worth including. I had worked with hundreds of bereaved people crafting funeral ceremonies specifically for their needs and outlook on life (rather than expecting them to adapt to the ideology of their celebrant), and wanted to give some guidance outlines to encourage and assist people in crafting their own ceremonies. And I felt I'd acquired some insights worth sharing from accompanying my husband Bernard on his own Great Journey out of this world.
This new, expanded edition was published by BRF, and stayed in print for another ten years, until 2019.
Since then, second-hand copies have become scarce but the book is still very useful for people training for pastoral ministry, for those on death doula courses, for people wanting help with creating a funeral, and for those living through experiences of bereavement of one kind or another, or accompanying someone through the last phase of life.
So we decided to re-issue Spiritual Care of Dying and Bereaved People under our own imprint Humilis Hastings. This time it has not been revised or expanded. The content is the same as the BRF edition was. All we changed was the cover design. Our new edition features a picture I very much treasure — the pencil sketch my daughter Hebe drew of my husband Bernard on the morning he died.
If you have been finding it hard to source a copy of this book, you can get it here on UK Amazon, and here on Amazon dot com. We took the decision to go with paperback only, so there will be no e-book version.