With compassion born of painful experience, William Blaine-Wallace invites us to simply sit with human suffering, to companion those who are ravaged by its force, and to wait for the unspeakable, inexplicable peace of God who has been present (and suffering too) throughout. A mother, whose daughter died at the age of twelve, said that for the longest time she felt enveloped in a thick fog of numbness, despair, anger, and sadness. Yet, through the mark of years in the company of family and friends, the fog lifted. What remain are memories, which can be touched w and then over the span of a day: 'I gently tap my chest, just over the heart, and remember.' This book is a similar tapping of the chest. After spending many years among the dying and bereaved as a counselor and companion, clarity slowly emerges that enables veiled articulation of a grace at the center of the community of bent and broken people; what Flannery O'Conr called the image at the heart of things.
WILLIAM BLAINE-WALLACE has been rector of Emmanuel Church in Boston, Massachusetts for the last decade. Before his return to parish ministry, he spent thirteen years as a counselor to dying and bereaved persons, and administrator of programs that cared for them. He was executive director of the health care organization that developed and opened the nation's first acute inpatient center for persons with AIDS. He is a lecturer and writer in the field of death and dying, and consults with private and public agencies that set policy for the care of the terminally ill.