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'The Long Way Down is a testament to Averil’s professional expertise, movingly linked with her very personal experience of loss and skillfully communicated in poetry. I am delighted to have a copy of this book as a resource for staff and a tool to use with patients and families.'

(Revd Clare Griffiths, Lead Chaplain, St Richard’s Hospice)


Averil Stedeford was a G.P. while her children were small and subsequently trained as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. She worked for twelve years in the Sir Michael Sobell House hospice in Oxford as a therapist and teacher of palliative care to a range of professional staff. Her book FACING DEATH, Patients, Families and Professionals included a number of her poems in the second edition and she regularly used them in teaching, especially with medical students.


Soon after she left the hospice, her husband was found to have inoperable cancer.


The present volume is a moving account of the experience with him during his last illness and of her journey through bereavement. It is vivid, tender and demonstrates the resilience of the human spirit and of creativity in the face of death and loss.


She died peacefully in 2021.

The Long Way Down

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