Learning to Die in Order to Live
by Scott Eberle
The Final Crossing: Learning to Die in Order to Live tells the story of the final days and “the final crossing” of Steven Foster, one-time English professor, naturalist and author. The story is told by Foster's hospice physician, Scott Eberle, a man who has been doing end-of-life work for nearly two decades.
Steven Foster was influential in bringing wilderness rites of passage back into the modern world, a practice commonly called “the vision quest.” Having spent decades studying the “death and rebirth” that is contained within any rite of passage, Foster entered his final days with uncommon openness and curiosity about physical death.
The book borrows from an old Mayan teaching that maps out the psycho-spiritual challenges that are faced by anyone who is dying—be it a symbolic dying in the middle of life, or a physical dying at the end of life. With this map as his guide, Eberle weaves the intimate story of Foster's final days with an historical account of how people are relearning the lost “art of dying,” which is also the “the art of living.”
As an old medieval prayer says, “To be blessed in death, one must learn to live. To be blessed in life, one must learn to die.”