I first met Willy when he graciously accepted a meeting with me regarding a venture I was working on at the time. I heard of him as a notable professor with great experience in entrepreneurship and systems thinking. He was kind, humble, and eager — and listened to my ideas free of judgment, with an open mind.
With his inquisitive nature, Willy quickly discovered my work in publishing. Shortly after this meeting, he shared with me that he had been working on a book that was of great importance to him. We quickly planned to meet again, this time for me to learn about his book.
As we met over lunch, he shared with David Hancock (my mentor and the founder of Morgan James Publishing) and myself a stunning story of how he navigated the challenges that came with end-of-life stages and his parent's death, and the lessons learned along the way. I was intrigued. Of course, as prolific as he is, Willy also had a business book in the works, which ended up being a perfect fit at the time for Morgan James, and we quickly went on to work with him in the publishing of his first book, Simple_Complexity (Morgan James 2017).
His passion for his first project never faded, however, and a couple of years later, it was time to re-open the conversation about his other book, Estimated Time of Departure. We were in the early stages of the pandemic when uncertainty, loss, and grief were present in our world in unprecedented ways. It finally seemed to be time to bring this book and the wisdom within to life.
The way we face death, both individually and as a society, matters in powerful ways. In our present-day, aging is dreaded instead of honored. We are quick to avoid the topic of death. Our end-of-life care systems are structured poorly. Our elders are often treated in neglectful, careless ways. I believe we must evaluate and heal our approach as a collective to help restore dignity and reverence to those in this stage of life.
Estimated Time of Departure also provides an opportunity for us all to ponder our own personal end-of-life choices and to have meaningful dialog around the topic with loved ones. Willy's work is a prompt to have these difficult conversations. It offers a lesson on facing the inevitable with grace, not fear. And most importantly, it serves as a reminder to cherish the moments we share with our loved ones and make a pointed effort to choose love above all. This is my hope for readers and the reason I am publishing this book.
The topic of death is never easy, especially when it comes to those closest to us. In his latest book, Willy offers his experience and wisdom in a way that is relatable, poetic, and approachable — Estimated Time of Departure is a true gift.
Bethany Marshall, Aitia Press