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Grief Out Loud

Remember the last time you tried to talk about grief and suddenly everyone left the room? Grief Out Loud is opening up this often avoided conversation because grief is hard enough without having to go through it alone. We bring you a mix of personal stories, tips for supporting children, teens, and yourself, and interviews with bereavement professionals. Platitude and cliché-free, we promise! Grief Out Loud is hosted by Jana DeCristofaro and produced by Dougy Center: The National Grief Center Children & Families in Portland, Oregon. www.dougy.org
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Now displaying: 2023

Remember the last time you tried to talk about grief and suddenly everyone left the room? Grief Out Loud is opening up this often avoided conversation because grief is hard enough without having to go through it alone. We bring you a mix of personal stories, tips for supporting children, teens, and yourself, and interviews with bereavement professionals. Platitude and cliché-free, we promise! Grief Out Loud is hosted by Jana DeCristofaro and produced by The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families in Portland, Oregon.

Dec 20, 2023

What started out as an average winter morning ended up being one that would change everything in Melissa Pierce's life. She went to wake up her husband Dave for their son's basketball game and found him unresponsive. Dave had died during the night and the cause of death was never determined. Melissa jumped into figuring out logistics - planning a memorial, getting her sons to school, moving their family, working a full-time job - but eventually she had to figure out herself. It meant focusing on what she was thinking, feeling, and needing in her grief. That shift to prioritizing self-care ended up changing everything, again. 

We discuss

  • How Melissa and Dave met and fell in love 

  • The process of adopting their two sons 

  • How the shock of Dave’s sudden death led to what Melissa calls “Zombie mode 

  • Being the person who found Dave when he died and how that impacted her grief 

  • Grieving when the cause of death is undetermined 

  • The financial, logistical, and emotional reality of being a solo parent 

  • Having to tell her sons that their dad died 

  • When Melissa started to feel her feelings in grief 

  • The physical toll of grief 

  • Where Melissa turned for support 

  • How prioritizing self-care changed everything 

Melissa is the author of Filled With Gold: A Widow’s Story, co-founder of The Widow Squad community, and co-host of The Widow Squad podcast. 

Listen to The Widow Squad podcast Episode 41- Holidays and Grief: Strategies to Get Through the Holidays After Your Spouse Dies

Dec 20, 2023

Dina Gachman's mother died of cancer in 2018 and less than three years later her sister died of alcoholism. A career journalist, Dina turned to writing as one way to make sense of these world altering losses. She recently published, "So Sorry for Your Loss," a series of essays that combine personal reflections with information she gathered from professionals working in the world of grief.

In this conversation we discuss:

  • How recalling memories of her mom and sister has become less painful
  • Parenting a young child while grieving 
  • How she realized she needed additional support
  • Finding comfort in the Continuing Bonds theory
  • When grief feels like agitation
  • Approaching the five-year anniversary of her mother's death
  • How her mom continued to care for her even as she was dying
  • The expectation vs. reality of hospice care
  • Using humor as a way to cope - and carry on her mom's legacy
  • Grieving two losses in such close succession
  • Recognizing that grief started when her mom was diagnosed, years before her death
  • The gift of growing up in an emotionally expressive family
  • GIEAs - Grief Induced Emotional Avalanches

Dina Gachman is an award-winning journalist, Pulitzer Center Grantee, and a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Vox, Texas Monthly and more. She’s a New York Times bestselling ghostwriter, and the author of Brokenomics: 50 Ways to Live the Dream on a Dime

 

Dec 13, 2023

In January of 2022, Adam Sawyer had everything he dreamed of and more. His partner Kara was the love of his life. Their cat Lela was his all-time favorite animal. Their off the grid house, Whiskey Jane, was the best place he had ever lived.

By the end of February, 2022, Adam lost all three of them. Kara and Lela died when Whiskey Jane was destroyed in a fire. 

We discuss

  • Getting "the call" about the fire
  • Being fully immersed in grief with no responsibilities
  • Nature's role in Adam's healing process
  • Examining the ways he tells people about his losses
  • The parallels between grief and his recovery from heroin addiction
  • Adam's first glimmers of hope
  • Finding a new home, a new purpose, and a new romantic connection
  • What it's been like to go public with his story through writing and presentations
  • How Adam stays connected to his grief

Find Adam on Substack and Facebook

Dec 1, 2023

It's our fifth annual holidays & grief episode! This time of year can be grueling for anyone, but particularly for those who are grieving. So, each year we put out an episode to help you feel less alone and hopefully more equipped to traverse the next few weeks. Today's guest, Melissa Peede Thompson, M.S., is a Grief Services Coordinator at Dougy Center. While she has lots of professional knowledge in this realm, we asked her to talk about her personal experience of grieving during the holidays. Melissa was six when her sister died of gun violence. She was 13 when her father died in a motorcycle accident. And she was a young adult when her grandparents died. Each loss shaped - and continues to shape - how Melissa and her family approach this time of year. 

We discuss:

  • How her sister's death impacted her parents at the holidays
  • What she remembers about the first Christmas after her dad died
  • Grieving for her her grandparents before they died
  • How the holidays can feel empty, even when the house is full
  • Melissa's realization that grief has left her a little bit "Grinchy" 
  • What she's doing to shift how she thinks and feels about the holidays
  • Learning to appreciate being able to spend time with the people who are still alive
  • Why St. Patrick's Day became her favorite holiday
  • Taking the pressure off trying to make the holidays feel the same after someone dies

If you missed our past Holidays & Grief episodes, be sure to listen to Ep. 2798174, 240.

Tips For Getting Through the Holidays & Holiday Plan Worksheet.

Register for our "Navigating Grief During the Holidays" webinar happening on Thursday, 12.7.23, 10 am - 11:30 am PST.

Nov 22, 2023

When Meghan Riordan Jarvis's mother died suddenly, just two years after her father died of cancer, she watched herself grieving from two perspectives. One as a daughter and the other as a trauma-informed therapist. As a daughter she was devastated and deeply impacted on all levels. As a therapist, she recognized in her grief signs of PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. The therapist part of her also realized she wasn't getting better on her own and needed the next level of care. Meghan's new book, End of the Hour, A Therapist's Memoir, chronicles the unresolved trauma of her early life, how it resurfaced after her parents died, and how she tended to both her grief and trauma.

We discuss:

  • Meghan's relationship to memories of her parents
  • How she grieved differently for her father and mother - and why
  • Her childhood experience of grief and how that led to her developing PTSD
  • The signs that let her know she needed the next level of care
  • How she came to write her new memoir
  • The various trauma interventions she tried - and which ones helped

Grief is My Side Hustle website 
Grief is My Side Hustle podcast 
@meghan.riordan.jarvis on IG 
@griefismysidehustle on Fbook 

Nov 16, 2023

Bridget was in high school when her dad died of a heart attack in 2020. Their relationship was complicated. She loved the way her more creative side came out when they spent time together, but she also struggled with how he kept a lot of his history from her. In grieving for him, Bridget's had to reckon with two things being true at the same time. The first is that in some ways Bridget’s life became easier and more stable after he died. The second is the reality that she still loves him, misses him, and wishes he could be there for all the milestones unfolding in her life.  

This series is a part of an ongoing collaboration between Dougy Center and the New York Life Foundation. We are deeply grateful for New York Life Foundation's tireless support and advocacy on behalf of children and teens who are grieving.

Download a copy of the New York Life Foundation's newest resource for teens who are grieving - Lost in the Middle.

Nov 10, 2023

 

When John's father died of suicide in 2021 it came as a complete shock. John couldn't square the dad he knew as cool and levelheaded with the reality that he took his life. He tried to figure it out - what was going on for his dad that led him to this? Over time, John began to better understand some of the factors that contributed to his dad's death. Throughout it all, he turned to his family, friends, and himself for support in navigating this new world without his dad. 

This series is a part of an ongoing collaboration between Dougy Center and the New York Life Foundation. We are deeply grateful for New York Life Foundation's tireless support and advocacy on behalf of children and teens who are grieving. 

Download a copy of the New York Life Foundation's newest resource for teens who are grieving - Lost in the Middle.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out. You can call the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or text HELLO to 741741.

Nov 3, 2023

Sonja was 15 when we recorded in the summer of 2023, but was just 10 when her father, Matt, died in September 2018 from injuries due to a car accident. Sonja, her mom, and two younger siblings lived in NYC at the time of his death. They eventually moved across the country to Portland, Oregon where they attended peer grief support groups at Dougy Center. Sonja shares what she remembers about hearing that her dad was in an accident, how their community showed up while he was in the hospital, and how they kept showing up after he died. We also talk about her dad and what it's like to be the oldest sibling who had the most time and memories with him.  

This series is a part of an ongoing collaboration between Dougy Center and the New York Life Foundation. We are deeply grateful for New York Life Foundation's tireless support and advocacy on behalf of children and teens who are grieving. 

Download a copy of the New York Life Foundation's newest resource for teens who are grieving - Lost in the Middle.

Oct 21, 2023

Alexandra Wyman and her husband Shawn had a bit of a whirlwind life. They got married in 2018, had their son in 2019, and then in 2020 Shawn died of suicide. His death created a different type of whirlwind. The kind where Alexandra had to rebuild her life as a solo parent dealing with the intense swirl of guilt, sadness, anger, and confusion. As the shock wore off, Alexandra started to write down what she was going through and learning along the way. This led to her new book, The Suicide Club - What To Do When Someone You Love Chooses Death, and her podcast, The Widow's Club

We discuss:

  • Who Alexandra is in addition to her grief
  • How Shawn lived as a husband and father
  • The day Alexandra got the news of his death
  • The early days of grief
  • The importance of daily rituals and routines
  • Working on the intense guilt and self-doubt she felt in grief
  • Figuring out how to set boundaries
  • Having her marriage be under the microscope
  • Learning to be a solo parent
  • How she talks to her son about Shawn's death
  • Finding the support of other widows who are grieving a death by suicide
  • Grief tantrums - as an adult

Alexandra's website - Forward to Joy

If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out for support. You can call the National LifeLine at 988 or text HELLO to 741741.

 

Oct 13, 2023

This was supposed to be an episode about going back to work with grief, but it's not. Emily did have to navigate going back to work after her partner Chantel was killed in a hit and run, but this conversation ended up being about love. And loss. And the magical powers of caring for a dog named Indie. It's also about bringing the love you had with a partner who died into a new relationship and what it's like to grow that love with someone else. 

We discuss

  • How Emily and Chantel fell in love

  • What she remembers about the night Chantel died 

  • The isolation and loneliness of the Covid shutdown so early in her grief 

  • How guilt shows up

  • Grieving a partner when you’re so young and not married – and other people’s opinions about it all

  • Navigating the logistics after a death 

  • How being concerned about negative reactions from others hindered Emily’s ability to talk openly about her relationship with Chantel – and how she would do things differently now 

  • The wonders of therapy
     
  • How Emily deals with the fear of someone else dying 
 
Sep 28, 2023

Katie Cosgrove experienced the death of someone close to her every year between the ages of 15 and 21. The first was her father, who died of brain encephalitis. For the next five years, Katie did what so many teens do - she didn’t talk about her grief. Until she did. Now, she's the founder of Grief is Good and the author of new children's book, "I'll see you in your dreams tonight," which invites children (and adults too) to find ways to make new memories with their person who died. 

We discuss: 

  1. What Katie needed when her dad died and how that changed over time 

  1. Why she stopped talking about her dad and how she learned to start again 

  1. The nonverbal ways she started to engage with grief 

  1. How her dad’s death shaped who she is 

  1. Living a death-centered life

  2. How she continues to make new memories with her dad

  3. What it will mean to make a hole in one on the golf course someday

 
 
Sep 7, 2023

"How do I help someone who is grieving?" This is the perennial question when it comes to showing up for people we care about after someone dies. Zack Wheat, a Board Certified Chaplain, knows more than most about what people who are grieving need - and don't need. Professionally, Zack knows about this from his work as a hospital chaplain for an inpatient palliative care team. He also knows about it from his time volunteering as a facilitator in peer grief support groups at Dougy Center. But, long before he was a hospital chaplain or a grief group facilitator, Zack learned about how to be there for others when he was 21 and his friend Leanna died in a car accident. 

In this episode we talk about:

  • What it was like for Zack to speak at his friend’s funeral 

  • His draw to working as a chaplain 

  • The difference between hospital and hospice chaplaincy 

  • How the pandemic impacted Zack and his hospital colleagues 

  • What people who are grieving need – and don’t need 

  • How to be human with other humans who are grieving 

  • What keeps people from showing up for others 

  • The value of acknowledgment, empathy, and presence 

  • What Zack’s learned as a facilitator in a peer grief support group 

Aug 11, 2023

Lionel Irving is the founder of Love is Stronger, an organization in Portland, OR dedicated to supporting gang-impacted families and communities in building healing, accountability, and safety. While Lionel and Love is Stronger focus on interrupting gun violence, this work is also rooted in grief. Lionel's uncle was shot and killed by the police in 1975. His cousin Donald was killed in 1999 by a rival gang. His mother died of a sudden illness when Lionel was 20. In the last two years, he went to over 40 funerals, many of those for young people killed by gun violence. 

We talk about:

  • Lionel's early experiences with grief and gun violence
  • How he lost his moral compass when his mother died
  • His work as a tribute to how his mother saw him
  • The role unprocessed grief played in his life, including killing another teen
  • How being in prison and learning about trauma changed his life
  • Learning there's no quick fix for grief
  • What is unique about grieving a gun violence death
  • The origin story of Love is Stronger
  • Lionel's vision for interrupting cycles of gun violence
  • What the community can do to help
  • What helps him tend his own grief

More information about Lionel & Love is Stronger.

Aug 3, 2023

What does it mean to be a cultural kinkeeper and how does that idea relate to grief? These are two of the questions we explore with Anika Chabra, co-founder of Root & Seed, a platform meant to inspire people to collect and document family stories, recipes, and traditions. When Anika’s mom died suddenly in 2019, she realized just how much she didn’t know, not just about her mom, but also about their family history and cultural traditions. Root & Seed is Anika’s offering to help others have meaningful conversations with their family members in the hopes of recording those important stories and legacies.  

We discuss:

  • The ways Anika's mother mothered her
  • How Anika went searching for stories about her mother after her death
  • What else Anika lost when her mother died
  • The origin of Root & Seed and the digital and physical tools they provide to help people document their family stories and traditions
  • What she most wishes she could tell her mom now
Social handles@rootandseedco
Website/E-Storewww.rootandseed.com
Free Conversation Capture Toolcapture.rootandseed.com

 

Jul 14, 2023

As more opportunities for non-traditional grief support arise, it's no surprise that many of them are happening in historically marginalized communities who have not felt relevantly supported in those settings. The Grief Garden, co-created by Julia Mallory, a multidisiciplinary artist, and Tiana Zabala, the garden manager at Goggleworks Center for the Arts is the perfect example of this type of offering. The Grief Garden was designed to bring people together, in relationship with the outdoors, where they could engage with rest, movement, medicine making, and sound. 

Julia Mallory is a storyteller, writer, and artist who after the death of her eldest son Julian in 2017 also became a community grief worker. Through her words, images, and offerings, Julia invites others to acknowledge and express their own grief.  

Tiana Zabala is passionate about growing food, medicine, and building community. In her role as garden manager at GoggleWorks she focuses on urban farming and developing opportunities for collective healing. 

We discuss:

  • What Julia & Tiana learned about grief from their families
  • The lack of opportunity to gather and honor collective grief, especially in the Black community
  • How grief gets pathologized in a grief avoidant society
  • The origin of the Grief Garden event
  • Why embodied practices like movement, song, and art are important in grief
  • How Julia makes engaging with grief more accessible through her lived experience
  • Farming as a metaphor for grief and the cycle of life
  • Julia & Tiana’s plans for future creative grief expression events 

Grief Out Loud Episode 178: Survivor's Guilt - Julia Mallory

 

Jul 7, 2023

Pierce Freelon is a GRAMMY® nominated musician, author, and educator. He is also a son, a father, a husband, and an astute observer of life and grief and everything in between. Pierce was a caregiver for his father, Phil Freelon, a renowed architect who died of ALS. He's also the author of the new children's book, Daddy and Me: Side by Side, a beautiful rendering of the times Pierce and his father spent in nature, and how Pierce is doing the same with his own son. A few hours before our interview, Pierce got word that a beloved professor from his time in graduate school, Dr. Micere Githae Mugo, had just died. In connection to both of these influential people, Pierce shares his unique and nuanced perspective on grief, legacy, and the power of artistry. 

We talk about:

  • How Pierce thinks about death and grief and ongoing connection
  • The role gratitude plays in grief
  • How new grief feels familiar, because love feels familiar
  • The legacy of values, worldview, and artistry Pierce inherited from his dad, Phil, and his professor, Dr. Mugo
  • The cultural traditions Pierce turns to in grief
  • Caregiving for his father during his illness and end-of-life
  • The autobiographical elements of Pierce’s new children’s book, Daddy And Me: Side by Side. 

Listen to our episode with Pierce’s mother, Nneena Freelon, Ep. 202 Grief Wanted My Attention.

 

Jun 23, 2023

When Kelly S. Thompson and her older sister Meghan were children, they were close. Meghan was Kelly’s protector and constant as they moved around as a military family. Things shifted when Meghan hit adolescence and started using substances. Their connection disintegrated and they spent years barely in touch. When Meghan stopped using, they came back together and worked to rebuild trust and repair their relationship. Then, on the same day Meghan gave birth to her second child, she was diagnosed with a cancer that would end her life in less than two years. Kelly became her primary caregiver, going with Meghan to treatment and being with her in the hospital up until the last few moments of her life. Before she died, Meghan made Kelly promise to write their story. Kelly kept that promise with her new memoir, Still, I Cannot Save You.  

We discuss: 

  • The arc of Kelly & Meghan’s relationship 

  • The process of repairing that relationship 

  • What it was like to care for Meghan after her cancer diagnosis 

  • Kelly’s relationship with survival mode 

  • Why the grocery store kicks up her grief 

  • The ways writing helps Kelly cope and stay connected to Meghan 

  • How Meghan loved Kelly (without condition or hesitation) 

  • The ongoing heaviness of grief 

  • Answering the question “How do I keep moving in a world that doesn’t have this brilliant human being in it?” 

Jun 16, 2023

Jamie Thrower is a Queer death doula, end-of-life educator, and grief guide in Portland, OR. She is also the founder of the Queer Grief Club which provides inclusive non-traditional grief support offerings for those grieving both death and non-death losses. Jamie knows from her personal experience of grieving the deaths of her parents and her daughter, Birdie, who she and her wife lost in the second trimester, just how important it is for grief support to be reflective of identity, relationships, family constellations, and community. 

We get into:

  • Grieving as a queer person right now and the importance of community & connection.
  • Why the grocery store is so challenging when you’re grieving.
  • The origins of the Queer Grief Club and how it’s different than traditional grief support.
  • How the deaths of her parents and daughter shape the work she does in end-of-life and grief education.
  • The importance of queer specific spaces in grief.
  • Being queer in the gendered world of baby loss grief support.
  • Breaking down the binaries that get created in grief.  
  • What grief has been saying to Jamie lately. 

https://jamiethrower.com

https://www.instagram.com/queergriefclub/

Jun 8, 2023

Even though most of us know and accept that grief doesn't have an end point, it can still be surprising to witness how much it impacts almost every aspect of our lives, including our relationships. This was true for Daniel, who was two days away from his 8th birthday when his father died of a brain tumor. When he was a kid, grief impacted Daniel's relationship with a sense of safety and security. As a young adult, it affected what he was looking for in his dating relationships. Throughout his life, it's shaped who and how he feels safe and comfortable connecting with. 

We discuss:

  • What Daniel remembers about getting the news that his dad was going to die.
  • How the enormity of this loss became more real as he got older.
  • The challenges he faced with trusting men, which affected his experience as gay man.
  • How his coming out process may have been different if his dad was still alive.
  • The parallels Daniels found in coming out as gay and coming out as having a parent who died - how both have left him feeling othered. 
  • How his grief impacted his dating relationships.
  • What he's learned from volunteering in a peer grief support group for young children.
  • What he's come to understand about grief over time. 
May 25, 2023

What happens when you take a year away from your income generating work to focus completely on grief? This is the question Rebecca Feinglos faced at the end of 2021. Grief wasn't new to Rebecca. She was a teenager when her mother died of brain cancer. On the same day her state shut down due to the COVID pandemic, she got a call that her father had died suddenly. In the ensuing months, she ended her marriage. So, by the time she got to the end of 2021, she was exhausted and empty and unwell. It's common to wish the world would stop and give us a break when someone dies, but we usually dream of escaping from it all. Rebecca did something different - she took a year to delve fully into her grief and along the way she wrote about it on her blog. This experience inspired her to start her organization, GrieveLeave, a community to support others in learning to grieve all of their losses. 

We discuss:

  • Growing up in the shadow of her mother's brain cancer
  • How Rebecca responded to grief as a teen and young adult
  • The sudden death of her father the same day the COVID-19 shutdown began
  • Rebecca's realization that she needed to do something different
  • What she discovered during her GrieveLeave about how to grieve
  • The daily practices Rebecca still does to stay connected to her grief
  • What she hopes to accomplish with GrieveLeave

Follow GrieveLeave on IG & Fbook

May 16, 2023

It's generally accepted that there's no official end point to grief, but what happens when there's also no end point to the questions about someone's death? Charlotte Maya's life changed drastically when she came home from a hike with her two young children to find two police officers and a priest at her house, waiting with news that her husband Sam had died by suicide. In those early days of grief Charlotte dealt with sadness, anger, confusion, and the endless tasks that come when someone dies. She also faced the question, "Why?" Why did Sam do what he did? What was he going through? Why didn't he ask for help? Almost 16 years later, Charlotte and her children have more understanding about suicide, but they've mostly had to accept that they'll never truly know the answer to a question that only Sam could answer. 

Charlotte's new memoir, Sushi Tuesdays, chronicles the first few days, weeks, and years of grief and how she learned to take care of her children and herself in their grief. 

We discuss:

  • The early days of grief
  • The shock of Sam dying of suicide
  • Searching for an answer to "Why?"
  • How anger was a part of grief
  • What Charlotte's two children needed in their grief
  • Falling in love again and blending a family
  • Learning to parent her stepsons who were also grieving
  • How Sushi Tuesdays, Charlotte's dedicated day for self-care came about
     

If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out for help. You can call the National Crisis Line at 988 or text Hello to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Apr 28, 2023

"What was your dad like?" It's a simple question that's not easy to answer when you had a complicated relationship with the person who died. Claire's dad died of a stroke almost four years ago and one of the first emotions she felt was relief. Relief that she wouldn't have to worry if he would want to walk her down the aisle when she got married. Relief she wouldn't have to wonder how he'd act in the future. She also felt deep grief and sadness about the relationship they never got to have. Claire's dad was brilliant. He loved music. He was extremely active. He was also emotionally abusive to Claire and her mom. This reality adds layers of complexity not just to her grief, but to navigating other people's assumptions about what their relationship was like. 

We talk about:

  • Grieving when the relationship was complicated
  • Secondary grief & remorse 
  • Forgiving herself & trying to better understand her dad
  • Continuing to work on their relationship, even after his death
  • Finding ways to stay connected to her dad
  • Planning a wedding and balancing how to honor his memory
Apr 14, 2023

When her father died of cancer, a few days before her 18th birthday, Laurel Braitman started running. Running towards the academic and professional accomplishments her father pushed her to achieve and running away from the intense shame and guilt she carried about their last conversation. It wasn’t until her 30’s that Laurel stopped running long enough to face her greatest fear: feeling her feelings.  

Laurel’s newest book, What Looks Like Bravery: An epic journey through loss to love, chronicles her quest to connect with grief and how it led to the biggest adventure of all - opening up to love.  

In our conversation we delve into: 

  • Growing up with her father’s illness and the threat of him dying 

  • Running from guilt & shame in grief 

  • Overachieving as a coping mechanism 

  • Wanting to be a “geriatric kid” at Josie’s Place, a peer grief support program for children & families  

  • What Laurel learned about grief from being a volunteer facilitator in that program 

  • Learning a new way of being in the world & staying open to love 

  • Having a “cosmic do-over" in helping her mom at the end of her life 

  • The co-existence of love and sadness
Mar 31, 2023

At the age of 27, Dr. Peg Sandeen faced an impossible request. Her husband, John, who was dying from HIV/AIDS, told Peg that he couldn’t stand the pain anymore and wanted her to help him end his life. It was the early 1990’s though and there was no legal avenue for Peg to help John in his wish to die with the dignity he had in life. Peg went on to get both a Master's and Ph.D. in social work. Throughout that time, the memory of John’s last wish motivated her to work towards changing the landscape for people facing the end of life. Dr. Sandeen is now the Executive Director of Death With Dignityworking in end-of-life advocacy and fighting for medical aid in dying laws across the U.S.  

In our conversation we discuss:

  • Meeting and falling in love with John
  • Getting the news of John's HIV diagnosis
  • How Hannah and John talked with their daughter Hannah about her father's illness
  • The shame and stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS
  • Caregiving for a dying husband as a young mother and wife
  • The current state of right to die laws across the U.S.
  • Moving from an intellectual to emotional understanding of grief
  • Learning to support Hannah in her grief

Dr. Sandeen's HuffPost article: My Husband Asked Me to Help Him Die. I Couldn't Do It - and My Life Changed Forever 

Mar 24, 2023

Meet Me Where I Am, a new film by Grant Garry, explores the topic of grief through individual stories of loss, love, and hope. The film aims to normalize grief in our culture and explores how we can actively participate in helping others through grief. Grant has always been curious about grief, from his first experience when his grandmother died when he was a teenager to his most recent loss, the death of his uncle. Meet Me Where I Am is the culmination of that curiosity, and a dedication to ensuring we all feel better equipped to talk about grief. 

Follow Meet Me Where I Am on Instagram to see clips from the film (@meetmewhereiamfilm). 

 

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