Festival of Ideas May 2017
As a hospice chaplain, Kerry Egan didn’t offer sermons or prayers, unless they were requested; in fact, she found, the dying rarely want to talk about God, at least not overtly. Instead, she discovered she’d been granted an invaluable chance to witness firsthand what she calls the ‘spiritual work of dying’– the work of finding or making meaning of one's life, the experiences it contained and the people who have touched it, the betrayals, wounds, unfinished business and unrealised dreams. Instead of talking, she mainly listened: to stories of hope and regret, shame and pride, mystery and revelation and secrets held too long. Most of all, though, she listened as her patients talked about love – love for their children and partners and friends; love they didn’t know how to offer; love they gave unconditionally; love they, sometimes belatedly, learned to grant themselves.
Kerry Egan is a hospice chaplain and a graduate of Harvard Divinity School. She is the author of a memoir, Fumbling: A Journey of Love, Adventure and Renewal on the Camino de Santiago, and has published essays in many national print and online publications, including Parents, American Baby, Reader's Digest and CNN. On Living is her latest book.
Followed by a book signing.