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Jerral Sapienza, Curator
The Bardo of Death Studies

Author of Urgent Whispers: Care of the Dying
Member, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

Spirit's Work...

Since the early 1980's when his first work with cancer patients began as part of his counseling studies at Oregon State University, Jerral was so taken with the sensitivity and spirit of the work that he vowed to devote a significant part of his diverse work to Death and Dying work and studies. What began as volunteer time in nursing homes and hospice in the 1980's has grown steadily over the years to its current passion in Jerral's life today as chaplain, poet, writer, Caregiver Educator, archivist and curator, an ex high-tech Systems Engineer and technician, most recently, author of a book on Handwriting Analysis.

    Jerral's ‘other' professional studies began in the mid 1970's in the fields of Engineering Physics, Computer and Electrical Engineering, and Science Education. Feeling a call to studies and experience outside the sciences, however, Jerral's career took a significant turn into Education and Counseling where some of the other sides of learning and thought could round out the highly technical of his studies to that point. Fascinated by learning in diverse fields, and earning a teaching degree in 1980, Jerral balanced a career teaching writing, foreign language, and computers for several years before splitting off full-time into his own consulting and presentation businesses in the mid-80's, which he still operates today.

    Also in the mid 1980's, quite fortuitous in their timing, Jerral experienced two separate close calls with death, brief but life-changing episodes, manifesting as Near-Death Experiences. One was the result of a sledding accident in Colorado, and the other, a slipping fall over an Oregon waterfall during a meditative stroll in the Umpqua National Forest. Already quite a philosophical thinker and writer on the nature of life, death and dying, Jerral saw these events merely as messengers to help crystallize a better understanding of some of the more mystical aspects of life. Subsequently, Jerral became fascinated with personal experiences associated with a body's hold on life and its release at the moment of death. He resolved then to investigate and write more on that subject.

    Jerral's 2002 book, Urgent Whispers: Care of the Dying, was born out of his ongoing compassionate advising work in AIDS and cancer hospice during the last few years, where he met with many friends and family attending their loved ones, overwhelmed by their options and their responsibilities. Fascinated with Jerral's unique approach to working with the dying, many people asked how they might learn more of these techniques and approaches. It was clear that there was a real need for a handbook for these people. Yet when searching out such a handbook and not finding one, Jerral decided he would have to write that handbook to assist these people in their pressing time of need. URGENT WHISPERS was born.

    In addition to working as a personal Quality of Death advisor for friends and family of the dying, Jerral has for the last few years also served as curator of The Bardo of Death Studies, a death research and information site on the Internet. The Bardo has more than 30,000 visitors every month, who stop by to tell their stories, share their lives, read others' stories, and / or request a little reflection around issues of death and dying.

    In his daily work as founder of Lifelong Learning Excellence, Inc., a personal and business growth consulting business, Jerral enjoys a variety of topical and technical interest areas, from public speaking, to writing, to assisting organizations develop seminars and coursework. Clients include hospices, hospitals, medical and nursing schools, churches, psychologists, counselors and corporate HR and Training groups. In addition to Caregiver Education and Hospice concerns, Jerral often consults regarding his other skills and interests in Handwriting Analysis for personal and business concerns such as Teambuilding, Fraud, Personal Coaching, Matchmaking and Personality Profiling.

Never a dull moment in this line of work!

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