Stay With Me Awhile
Every milestone in life has a story. When a child is born, we tell the story. When we celebrate our vows in marriage, we tell the story. When we begin retirement, we tell the story. But there is one milestone story we seldom tell—the story of our experience of being present for the death of a loved one. Many times these are not easy stories to tell, so we don’t often ask about them, and the stories are left untold. When death is anticipated, many societies, cultures and family systems expect that loved ones will be present. The vigil, or devotional watching, is an intentional gathering. Stay With Me Awhile is a compilation of vigil stories from across cultures, religions, political views and socio-economic circumstances. The stories were collected over a seven-year period, and nearly 100 people shared their experiences. Each story was entirely unique, and many of the scenes described were snapshots of lifelong relationships played out as the end of life approached. At the talkbacks following every performance during the premiere run of Stay With Me Awhile, nearly every audience member stayed for the discussion and took advantage of the opportunity to engage with what they had just seen and experienced. These vigil stories are rooted in our community and represent a rich vein of common, human experience, and sharing these stories can enrich our lives together.
Fraser, Barbara Means and Johnson, Mary E., "Stay With Me Awhile" (2018). Faculty Book Gallery. 393.