THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF YOUR LIFE: Are You Ready? ~Maria Dancing Heart Hoaglund
The Reverend Maria Dancing Heart Hoagland and I were ordained into the United Church of Christ ministry in the Pacific Northwest Conference at about the same time. Maria was Martha then and married with a new baby. Her first church work was in the Northwestern part of the state and after several years of hoping I was called to the Southwestern part of the state and only occasionally would our paths cross. Oh but it was a good experience when we met at retreats and conference functions. Maria began working with Hospice in her part of the state and spent numerous years as a counselor and chaplain for that program.
It is through her work in the Hospice program that Maria began to change and find new directions to her calling. Her work has grown as has her understanding of death and the transitions and stages which families discover when someone is dying. Maria has made it her mission to assist us in understanding our role, our emotions and our planning for this important life transition. She has developed strength and knowledge in her work of healing and recovery through energy work.
Often Maria has a refreshing perspective on the experience surrounding her and families involved in this transition. Her first book THE LAST ADVENTURE OF LIFE is a workbook of stories, suggestions, poetry, readings and exercises that folks can read and do to understand the situation and the passage ahead. I purchased the book at a men’s retreat I was participating in where we were exploring creativity in forgiveness, life’s adventures and transitions. Maria shared a number of “pearls” and insights with the whole community. It was a blessing, because just weeks later my Mother fell and fractured her spine at age 91 and I became the 24 hour caregiver for the next 3 years of her life. I referred to THE LAST ADVENTURES OF LIFE so many times my book is wrinkled and worn.
Death is a difficult subject matter and yet the dying most often want to talk about this transition. Children want to know more about death not only when a family member is gone, but also when they hear about accidents or a pet dies. Children want to know about making choices, what to say or not to say to others and they want to know about the cycles of life and how autumn works. They have lots of questions and lots to think about, which can open up a number of conversations within the community and individuals. Maria’s books open the dialog and do not shut down the conversation rather they expand the communication possibilities.
I would like to see THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF YOUR LIFE and THE LAST ADVENTURE OF LIFE in every library within the community. We live life by the narrative of our stories; we can end this journey with wonderful stories also. I recommend Maria’s work to you and your community – what a special resource.
Maria Dancing Heart Hoagland was born in Japan to Lutheran American Missionaries. She lived in Washington State for a number of years and now practices her healing and energy work in Sedona, Arizona.
Maria sent me a copy of THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF YOUR LIFE for review.
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