Stephen Jenkinson is the subject of Griefwalker, a National Film Board of Canada film, directed by Tim Wilson (2008). video trailer Griefwalkeris a lyrical, poetic portrait of Stephen’s work with dying people. Filmed over a twelve year period, Griefwalker shows Jenkinson in teaching sessions with doctors and nurses, in counselling sessions with dying people and their families, and in meditative and often frank exchanges with the film’s director while paddling a birch bark canoe about the origins and consequences of his ideas for how we live and die. ‘Griefwalker’ (not yet the version with German subtitles) film can be downloaded here
Dying well is not a matter of enlightened self-interest or personal preference. Dying well must become an obligation that living people and dying people owe to each other and to those to come. Die Wise teaches the skills of dying, skills that have to be learned in the course of living deeply and well. Not a seven step coping strategy, not an out-clause for trauma or sorrow, Die Wise is for everyone who, hell or high water, is not going to pull off eternity after all. Dying is not the end of wisdom and wisdom not exhausted by dying. Dying could be and must be the fullest expression and incarnation of what you’ve learned by living. It’s a moral obligation to die well. If you love somebody, if you care about the world that’s to come after you, if you want somebody to be spared the lunacy of what you’ve seen, you’ve got to die wise.
Stephen Jenkinson, MTS, MSW Spiritual Activist, Author
Stephen teaches internationally and is the creator and principal instructor of the Orphan Wisdom School founded in 2010. With Master’s degrees from Harvard University (Theology) and the University of Toronto (Social Work) he is redefining what it means to live, and die well. Apprenticed to a master storyteller, he has worked extensively with dying people and their families, is former program director in a major Canadian hospital, former assistant professor in a prominent Canadian medical school, consultant to palliative care and hospice organizations and educator and advocate in the helping professions.
He is also a sculptor, traditional canoe builder whose house won a Governor General’s Award for architecture.
He is the author of Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul (a book about grief, and dying, and the great love of life, released March 2015), How it All Could Be: A work book for dying people and those who love them(2009) and Money and The Soul’s Desires: A Meditation (2002). He was also a contributing author to Palliative Care – Core Skills and Clinical Competencies(2007).
Stephen Jenkinson’s new book COME OF AGE: The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble is scheduled to be released in July 3rd, 2018. orphanwisdom.com/contact