9. Colin Murray Parkes

Dr Colin Murray Parkes (1928-2024) was one of the prominent personalities in the understanding of Bereavement.

Born into loss, this was my path into the helping professions. We met at the London Hospital in the 1980s, where he had set up a Bereavement Service for patient’s families. This was a new initiative, on the back of his hospice work. Like a lot of experts he was modest, and had no sides to him. He had the knack of describing quite complicated things in a very simple way, with a kind of truth and humility that perhaps we as a training cohort might not have had.
He was very supportive of us all and really believed people having open access to bereavement therapy in a time where this was not fashionable.

He contributed to the beginning of the Hospice Movement by setting up Saint Christopher’s Hospice world-renowned Centre in South London for palliative care & training. The UK is still the leader in hospice care.

He described the idea of grief being ” the price we pay for love”. This set off a way of thinking new and ground breaking at the time: however obvious. He contributed with teams of professionals to support the bereaved in the large scale accidents of the era: creating a body of research & theory.

In every work life there are a few key figures who enthuse us with their natural intelligence in our work and personal lives.
Thank you.

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