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The Mountain or the Mess?

Ilsa Hampton, CEO

In the process of updating our summary of research about the value of spiritual care, I came across the following description about how to assist someone to prepare for their final days with meaning. Lodovico Balducci established a geriatric oncology clinic in 1992 in the US. In 2019, he wrote the following as part of an article* about the importance of spiritual support for older people:

“My approach, that I learned from one of the first CPT-trained chaplains, is to tell the patient, while holding his/her hand: if you have only one day to visit Rome, you are faced with two choices. You may try to cram in as many monuments as possible, and by the end of the day, you will be distressed and won’t have any meaningful memories. Or you can climb one of the hills such as the Gianicolo, gain a global vision of the city, decide which monuments you really care to visit, and obtain lifelong memories.

Consider the proximity of your death your Gianicolo hill from where you can see which experiences in your life have been the most meaningful and revisit those experiences with your loved ones. Then you will make of your death a very meaningful experience and you will distill from your life an essence comparable to a Bulgarian perfume, whose single drop contains the essence of a 1000 of petals [sic] withered centuries ago.”

What Balducci shared is remarkable not only in that it is a great suggestion, but also, it shows the willingness of a senior team member to learn from another about how to bring spiritual care to those you are supporting.


Read the full piece in our newsletter 

Also this month:

The Parable of Flight

Spiritual Care Week 2021 – and a new evidence-based resource, ‘What is the Value of Spiritual Care?’

Invitations to members: Meet Akira’s new story and the ConnecTo evaluation project

Upcoming opportunities for member networking and professional development

The upcoming 2021 AGM

Read the October newsletter here.