There is something very private about death, so it is a rare and noteworthy event to be invited into the lives of a married couple, both of whom are dying of progressive, incurable, neurological diseases. Their book is written from a Christian worldview.
Welcome Mike. I'm so glad you are my guest today. Tell us something about yourself.
I am well on my way to age 75. I was born and bred in
and have one brother 7 years younger than myself. Newcastle
In 1968 we moved to
Sydney so I could attend
and train for the Baptist Ministry. Morling Theological College
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease back in 2000. Although I'm limited in what I can do, I still manage life reasonably well.
Bev trained as a High School Teacher but during our time in
she had the opportunity to train
for something she had always wanted to be - a registered Nurse. Victoria
Bev was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in 2012 and subsequently died on April 12, 2015. The many tributes made reference to her life using such words as 'dignity', 'wisdom', 'joy', 'inspiring'.
Too young and vibrant, so sadly missed.
We had assumed that, because I was the one who had Parkinson’s Disease, and Bev was a trained Nurse and a devoted wife, naturally she would look after me (!!) How things changed after Bev’s diagnosis.
When we realised that Bev’s disease had no treatment or possibility of cure, we made a commitment to keep a journal, mainly for the benefit of our children.
But the idea of a book still hadn’t jelled.
So when did the idea of a published book came into focus?
As a Baptist Pastor, I often noticed how many Christians believe the deception that it is wrong to ask questions and even challenge their faith. They think it’s sinful to question God as if He is somehow accountable to us. This indicates to me there is a lack of integrity in how we respond to grief.
So, Bev and I needed to ask our own questions and confront our own struggles, responses and breakthroughs with honesty and transparency no matter how vulnerable that made us.
Frequent comments like:
'As I read your letters to Bev, I feel you are giving me permission to be honest with my own feelings and questions',
reassured me I can best liberate people from these crippling attitudes by telling my own story. Maybe even more than that, I wanted to write and capture the inspiration that Bev has been to so many people – myself included. I believe people are more responsive at a heart level, not a head level.
Yes, this is truly a book written from the heart.
This was/is a journey; a tiring, demanding, confusing journey and yet it has been a source of great comfort and reassurance.
Did the writing ever become so difficult you had to step away from it for a time?
But you persevered. Has writing about the journey you and Bev experienced been cathartic for you?
While the primary focus of the book is on the immediacy of Bev's illness (MND), writing “Letters to Bev” has been very helpful for me. Strangely, as I wrote them I was thinking of Bev (of course!) but I was also thinking of the people who would read the letters and find solace in what I was writing because it spoke to their own circumstances.
Readers have described Our Journey Through the Valley as 'inspirational and enlightening'. What would you like the reader to gain from this book?
a. That no matter the circumstances, you don’t have to carry your load on your own.
b. That they tap into the inspirational dynamic that was so evident in the life of Bev
c. That their own situations don’t have to bring defeat.
I hope our journey will have value and significance for anyone experiencing great grief because of great loss of whatever kind.
What will you do now that the book is published?
Before you go Mike, where can we purchase a copy of
Our Journey Through the Valley?
For more details visit Mike at www.barnabasnetwork.com