Welcome! Thank you for visiting JoanPMaxwell.com. Because you landed here, you likely have questions about death and dying. My goal is to provide you with content to help you understand and navigate the spiritual and psychological aspects of the dying process in the most meaningful way possible.
We know death is inevitable, but dying people are often hidden in hospitals. For many of us the spiritual aspects of the dying process are not well known, so dying people often do not receive sufficient psychological and spiritual support from family and friends.
It’s time for this to change.
For six years, I was the chaplain on the palliative care team at George Washington University Hospital, meaning I worked with patients with life-threatening illnesses. This work inspired my book Soul Support: Spiritual Encounters at Life’s End, which is a collection of real stories of my patients’ final days. It is based on hundreds of pages of notes that I typed each evening after leaving the hospital.
The end of life is a sacred time. Being present with people who are dying is a sacred act. By sharing these stories and my learnings in my book and in lectures and workshops, I hope to help others find peace with being present with their loved ones as they move towards life’s end. May the tools and resources offered help you serve your loved ones more fully, and sustain you when you face your own final curtain call.
Memoir of a Hospital Chaplain
A young dancer's last hope--a bone marrow transplant--has failed. A homeless man, in the final stages of AIDS, refuses to speak. A newly retired woman has just received a terminal diagnosis and is wailing in despair. What can we learn about death, dying, and the human spirit as we journey with a hospital chaplain into sickrooms like these?
Joan’s memoir offers intimate observations of people coming to terms with their final days. She offers a unique perspective as a retired hospital chaplain, of both the practical and emotional realities patients, their families and friends, and hospital staff deal with related to death and dying.