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A Matter of Life and Death
Given the topic – death – the book launch 3 November 2016 at Lavender Bay, Sydney, of Rosalind Bradley’s 'A Matter of Life and Death' was a surprisingly buoyant event, full of warmth, generosity and laughter.
Ros Bradley speaks with Contributor, Dr Peter Saul, and Prof Christine Bennett
Rosalind Bradley spoke from the heart on her motivations in compiling the book and how she approached the task. Each contributor was asked to select a poem or saying, or photo or piece of artwork, and write a short reflection. Such a light touch resulting in a work of such diversity and depth!
The Acknowledgment of Country was made by Peter Shine, Gomeroi man and the current director of Aboriginal Health, Northern Sydney Local Health District and Clinical Associate Professor at the Australian Catholic University (see his contribution on death/Sorry Business, pp 189 – 192). Peter and his team played and sang to us a deeply moving, evocative song of lament and remembrance.
Amongst the other voices at the launch were those of contributors Gail O’Brien (from Chris O’Brien Lifehouse), Diane Roche (Royal North Shore Hospital), Dr Peter Saul (John Hunter Hospital); also Steve Bradley, MC for the event and close-at-hand supporter of Rosalind in her long, hard work towards the completion of this book.
Over 100 people attended, friends and family, Eremos members, plus a number of the contributors to the book, all celebrating with Rosalind this wonderful achievement: a book that draws us gently into speaking about death – 60 contributors reflecting on their experiences, on how their beliefs shaped their life and death traditions, and how their personal and work journeys with death informed their living. It is a book to dip into often: as I read it I find myself moved yet unburdened by the pieces, transported in time and space into my own experiences and so enriched by what has been shared.
In her launch speech, Jessie Williams (Chair of the Groundswell Project) drew to our attention the need for more ‘death literacy’… 70% of Australians say they think we should be talking about death more. A Matter of Life and Death does this and it can start us all on a path of greater connection with ourselves and with each other, talking together of what it is to live and die. As Jessie said,
…Story is SO important. In the absence of real life experience, stories help us prepare for our deaths and the deaths of others. We each have a story around loss, bereavement, grief, death and it’s incredibly powerful when those stories are told.
This beautiful book encourages us, as we share in the thoughts and stories of others, to live powerfully, bravely, humbly, as we ponder and talk with others, of the real questions of life and death.
Congratulations Rosalind Bradley!
A Matter of Life and Death is available from all good bookshops or online through Amazon (also available as an e-book via Amazon) or the Book Depository.
Rosalind Bradley is a member of Eremos Institute and has contributed through participation on the Council, the Events Committee, and through writing for Eremos Magazine. Steve Bradley, MC of the book launch for A Matter of Life and Death, thanked Eremos for its extensive support in providing an ethos conducive to the exploration of issues surrounding death and the journeys that take us there.
See Rosalind Bradley’s article about her book A Matter of Life and Death in EREMOS magazine September 2016 (No 136), or if you are not yet a subscriber, join Eremos Institute at www.eremos.org.au or contact Warren Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org or the address at the bottom left of this Newsletter. Read Rosalind’s wonderful article and enjoy the other many benefits of Eremos membership as we explore together things of body and spirit in the Australian context.
Rosalind Bradley is also editor of A World of Prayer: Spiritual Leaders, Activists, and Humanitarians Share Their Favorite Prayers (2012) and Mosaic: Favourite Prayers and Reflections from Inspiring Australians (2008).