It was an odd sensation one day early in Dec. 2018. I planned on sending an email to Dr. Megory Anderson of the Sacred Dying Foundation in San Francisco. We exchanged emails every so often since I enrolled in her Sacred Dying Vigil Training in 2015. Before I composed my email message I noticed heart wrenching words on the Sacred Dying Facebook group page. Megory suffered a massive stroke and was receiving comfort care at a hospital in San Francisco.
The news didn’t quite register in my mind right away. I wasn’t ready for it. A stroke? She’s on comfort care? What? Megory? Having worked in healthcare spiritual care for a few years I had a good idea what “comfort care” meant. To try and get my head around this news I didn’t want to believe I mentioned it to my wife. I told her I was having a hard time letting the news sink in. It did sink in however. Megory was seriously ill.
Now, please, I don’t want to make it sound like I knew Megory in a personal way. We never met in person and I regret it. We spoke on the phone once when I was chair of the end of life care team in a complex care facility I worked in. We would exchange emails now and then. That was the extent of our relationship. I missed an opportunity to meet her in person when she came to Vancouver, BC in July 2017 for some public speaking.
There aren’t too many people I’ve known of in my life that have made such an impression on me as Megory. Does that sound odd? Well, it’s true. I doubt I was on her mind as she was walking her journey through life. She, however, was on mine many times. A reason for this is I often looked through the Sacred Dying page on Facebook. I also read her books and learned from the vigil training course of the Sacred Dying Foundation. In such resources it was as if I knew Megory’s heart and that of her team as well. I loved what she said and how compassionate she was in caring for people.
I’m writing this blog post on Sat. Jan. 19, 2019. Megory has been dead for over a day now. I look at what I just wrote and it still seems so unreal. I remind myself it is indeed true. This truth leaves me pondering about my life and those I love and care for.
Truly life is like a vapor that can vanish, it is smoke, mist, breath, and it is fleeting. As I also ponder about Megory I amazed at what she accomplished in her life. When I read her book Sacred Dying: Creating Rituals for Embracing the End of Life, I create a picture in my mind Megory wrote the book for herself as well as readers. I have the idea she embraced her life with such vim and vigor that when it came time she also embraced her own end of life.
I read Megory’s final post on her Facebook page. She is celebrating events meaningful to her. In her post she in fact says, “November 29th – a day that has meaning for me.” Her words are those of promise, hope and celebration from one in love with life.
I don’t know if Megory had a family but if she did I imagine they are heart broken. I feel for the people who knew Megory well and how they must miss her. Her close friends will be missing someone they socialized with. Those she served with at the Sacred Dying Foundation must be in shock on some level. Her students will miss a unique mentor.
As I draw this message to a close I would like you to read words by Megory. In doing so I send blessings to those who were with Megory as she transitioned into death. You loved her and she loved you.
“Sacred dying rituals are primarily and notably for the person dying. It takes great strength and courage to face death and to begin to move through it to the other side. And it takes great courage for the survivors to put aside their own fears and anxieties to help their loved ones die a peaceful death.” Dr. Megory Anderson, Sacred Dying: Creating Rituals For The End Of Life, 2003, p. 44.
Oh Megory, you are missed so much.