June Maffin is an Episcopal/Anglican priest who facilitates workshops/retreats on “healthy” dying and grieving, and other workshops/retreats. She has conducted hundreds of funerals, led countless Grief Support Groups, and counseled many, many people who have been grieving losses of some kind over the years.
She’s also a reviewer for BookPleasures.com, a major book reviewing website. She recently posted a review of A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die. Her review starts out:
Ahhh, it’s true, “the elephant *is* in the room” when the matter of death arises in a conversation. Talking about death is socially awkward. It’s unpleasant. And it’s, well, “not going to happen to me any time in the near future, so why talk about it?”
Why talk about it? None of us knows the date when we will leave this planet, so adopting the scouting motto “Be prepared” is wisdom. But, how to do that?
While there are workshops to prepare for marriage, surgery, retirement; classes on financial responsibility, parenting, healthy relationships, family planning, in today’s society, death is the one life cycle event that is not addressed with intention, let alone depth.
Robert Fulghum’s astute comment … “the religious customs of the Greek Orthodox church so permeate the lives of people that when someone dies, everyone knows what is to be done and how to participate in it” … is in stark contrast to the discussion of death in the western hemisphere.
Research indicates that only 24% of North Americans pre-plan their funeral. That’s 76% who do not plan. Considering that death is inevitable and seldom comes at a convenient time, perhaps it would be wise to do so. This little book offers help to do that very thing.
June faced her own mortality before reading A Good Goodbye. She experienced a diagnosis of mercury poisoning that made her life stop in its tracks.
She experienced the effects of “loss” in a very personal way. Her muscles atrophied, so mobility was severely hampered. Her brain function blocked her ability to read for a year. Illnesses arrived out-of-the-blue because of her weakened immune system. She lost the ability to work outside of the home.
For June, it’s been quite the journey. And yet she has found “blessing upon blessing in the midst of stress upon stress.” She started “Soulistry,” a new enterprise connected with her recently-published book, Soulistry-Artistry of the Soul: Creative Ways to Nurture Your Spirituality.
Thanks for the review, June!