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 Dignity, working in end-of-life advocacy and fighting for medical aid in dying laws across the U.S.
In our conversation we discuss:
Dr. Sandeen's HuffPost article: My Husband Asked Me to Help Him Die. I Couldn't Do It - and My Life Changed Forever
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.
Colin Campbell is a lot of things - writer, husband, friend - but the role he identifies with most is being a father. So, when his two teenage children, Ruby & Hart, were killed by a drunk driver in 2019, Colin was lost and terrified. Who was he without his kids? How would he survive the intensity of grief? Soon after their deaths, well-meaning friends and family would say, "There are no words," but for Colin, this phrase wasn't comforting. It left him feeling more alone because what he really needed were words. Words so he could talk about Ruby & Hart. Words to help articulate his pain. And words from others who shared what they remembered and missed about his children.
Colin's book, Finding the Words: Working Through Profound Loss With Hope and Purpose, outlines the words and actions that helped him stay close to Ruby & Hart while learning to live in a world without them.
Topics in our conversation:
Colin's article in The Atlantic - What Losing My Two Children Taught Me About Grief
When Jessica Schaffer's partner of 25 years, Patrice, died in March of 2021, she found herself untethered. In the early days of grief, Jessica went within, needing to find her orbital pattern in this new solar system without Patrice. During this time she also germinated seeds of creativity. Seeds that were planted by Patrice when she gifted Jessica an iPad, just days before she learned she was dying. In the fall of 2021, Jessica picked up the iPad and started drawing. This process inspired her to start The Chrysalis Imagery, a company where she offers a line of greeting cards and other inspired imagery.
In this conversation we discuss: