Crossing the Creek
About the Author
1950 - 2016
Michael was born in Beloit, Wisconsin on 29 January, 1950. Crossing the Creek was written by Michael when he was still active in hospice nursing. His original goal was to reduce the amount of time and energy spent teaching the same things to every client verbally, over and over and over, and to put the interest of those who are ‘crossing the creek’ first. Crossing the Creek was successful in accomplishing that goal. Michael remained active in nursing, but he eventually had to quit after wet macular degeneration left him legally blind, but he kept on writing. He referred to himself as a “backwoods philosopher” – a title apparently bestowed on him by a German acquaintance. Once of his saying were: “You can say what you want, but it is what you do that tells the tale”. He never realised that his extraordinary insight and understanding would lead to a publication that is read daily by people worldwide. Michael sadly passed away in July, 2016. However, his legacy lives on in our non-profit service rendered to the worldwide community: www.crossingthecreek.com
“Remember that dying process is a learning process, for both the patients and their families and caregivers. In your mind, approach the dying as though they are the teacher and you are the student.” (Michae Holmes, Crossing the Creek)
“My conclusions are mine and yours are yours. We will each live and die by our own personal description of reality. But having spent as much time as I have with as many dying people as I have… and having spent so much time thinking and talking and writing about those experiences… I flatter myself as having something to say on the subject. Not everyone can, or would even want, to spend as much time with the dying as I have. But if you are interested, this is a distillate of what I have seen, heard, felt and thought. Take from it what you want and toss the rest aside. I do not have all the answers, but reading this book will, I am quite sure, stimulate thought).’ (Michael Holmes on Crossing the Creek
“Dying process dissolves one’s social mask, thus revealing the real person who has been hiding behind the mask. As a group, dying people are the most real people you will ever meet. Spending time with them can be enlightening and enjoyable. Crossing the Creek helps clinicians and families understand how best to interact with their dying loved one, and in the long run, how to live life better.
“People do not like thinking about death or dying and avoid doing so until they have no other choice. Then they want to learn everything about it immediately. That is the niche Crossing the Creek fills. It gets people through the hard times of caring for a dying loved one. After that they can get back to “normal,” which seldom includes learning about dying in greater detail. This seems strange to me because I learned that dying process teaches us how to live.
“Crossing the Creek assumes that life transcends death. That, as much as anything else, is its greatest strength… yet I never mention any specific religion. Personally, I do not like organized religions in general, but human beings are spiritual beings none-the-less. If one does not accept that life transcends death, then death is just a bunch of bad stuff that happens shortly before you cease to exist. From that perspective, life and death are completely irrational. On the other hand, if one does assume that life transcends death, then everything in dying process makes sense. It is all quite logical.”
“Many intelligent and educated individuals with scientific turns of mind say that life after death cannot be proven and therefore they do not believe it. Well, neither can it be disproved. It is rather like choosing to call a glass half empty instead of half full. The choice of words says more about the individual’s attitude than it does about the water level.
Bottom line is, if you choose to assume the more negative perspective you can pretty much count on having a more negative dying experience. The choice is yours… the results are predictable.
“No doubt there are those who simply do not believe me… or who suppose that my experiences and the people I have accompanied through their dying processes were not representative. There may even be a few individuals out there who are exceptions to the rule; i.e. that you can go on thinking your death will be your absolute end and be perfectly comfortable with that while dying. If you think you are one of these all I can say is, lotsa luck… you’re buckin’ the odds.”