Healing through Understanding: Pamela Mugford's Journey from Loss to Lifelong Learning

By Tyndale Communications  /  Thursday, November 16, 2023

Pamelas Studies at Tyndale helped her healing process and equipped her with the tools to help others on their path to healing

Pamela Mugford (BRE 2003, MTS 2019, MA 2023) is one such graduate you have helped raise up to minister to the broken-hearted.

She is the first student to complete Tyndale’s new Master of Arts (MA) in Thanatology program. In 2022, this specific program was created and launched as an MA degree to cover the specifics of death, dying, grief, and bereavement from multiple perspectives. This MA degree serves a wide audience as graduating students are equipped to minister in secular as well as faith environments.

“Tyndale is very proactive with the degrees and courses that they offer. I don’t know of anywhere else in Canada where you can get an MA in Thanatology right now,” says Pamela, who began her journey with Tyndale in 2001.

After completing her Bachelor of Religious Education in Pastoral Studies and a Master of Theological Studies, she initially began her education in thanatology as a certificate program. After experiencing a series of losses—two miscarriages and her mother’s death, all within four months—Pamela grew interested in taking more of Tyndale’s courses on grief. She connected to the courses deeply and used them as a tool to navigate her personal healing.

“I became more aware of death in our society and how we like to cover it up as a culture rather than acknowledge it,” explains Pamela. “When I learned Tyndale was offering different courses in grief, I felt it was the right thing for me. The more courses I took, the more I learned about myself and experienced healing in my grief journey.”

She soon enrolled in the MA in Thanatology program including participating in an internship that gave her the hands-on experience for greater effectiveness in her ministry.

Pamela’s past hardships have been instrumental in directing her to God’s calling. As she has become more aware of the importance of addressing grief, she has also noticed the lack of grief support for those with disabilities and their families and caregivers. In 2017, when her eldest son was diagnosed with autism, Pamela experienced a year of grieving his diagnosis. She has since searched for grief support in this area and has found little.

“Every person grieves the loss of someone or something,” says Pamela. “To start the process of healing, one must mourn, and if people with disabilities [and their families] are not given this opportunity, how are they supposed to start their grief journey?

“I think God has given me this unique insight as a result of my studies and experiences, and my vocation will end up combining these two areas [grief and disability] into a niche that has been overlooked in our society.”

— Pamela Mugford

Pamela worked as an administrative assistant at The Coping Centre, the grief support organization where she completed her internship. She understands the heaviness and complexities of grief and is glad her studies at Tyndale helped her healing process and equipped her with the tools to help others on their path to healing. In the future, she hopes to continue her studies at Tyndale by completing a Doctor of Ministry in Thanatology.

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We cannot stress enough how valuable your partnership is to Tyndale as faculty equip the next generation of compassionate leaders. Your gift ensures students can access innovative and new programs, like the Thanatology degree, as well as established programs that prepare those God has called to serve in this world.