A story about how grieving begins “with the knowledge of our mortality”

This is a very sweet story by Caroline Wellbery, MD, a friend of mine for over 30 years. I don’t think the article is well-titled. It’s more about stages of grief and how grieving is different with different people.

Here’s a link:


Health & Science
We unplugged my father from everything, as he wished, but I wasn’t ready to let go
By Caroline Wellbery
June 4, 2017
Washington Post


Highlights from Oprah Interview with BJ Miller, MD, Hospice Expert, on Living

On Oprah Winfrey’s TV channel, she has a show called “SuperSoulSunday.”  Earlier this month, she interviewed BJ Miller, MD, a hospice and palliative care specialist at UCSF.  Dr. Miller shares “his revelations about a subject that is often taboo in our culture — the experience of death.”  You can watch the interview online at:


If you’d like to read more about Dr. Miller, hospice specialist and triple amputee, check out Brain Support Network’s blog post from January 2017:


The interview with Dr. Miller is followed by a short film about the late Paul Kalanithi, MD, who wrote the best selling book “When Breath Becomes Air.”

Deb, one of our local support group members, listened to the interview and shared some highlights with us.  Deb’s husband recently passed away with Lewy body dementia.



Deb’s Notes from

Guest:  BJ Miller
Season 7 Episode 709
Aired on 05/07/2017
OWN SuperSoulSunday

Here are my notes from a fascinating episode of the OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) show “Super Soul Sunday.”  Oprah interviewed palliative care and hospice physician, Dr. B.J. Miller.

1. Life is not avoiding suffering, but finding meaning.

2.  Dying people are still living.  There is a continuity of existence such that death is part of living.

3.  Being a human being is hard.  It helps to have something to push against to get us to rise to the challenge.  (Miller suffered an accident as a teenager and is a triple amputee.)

4.  The fact that we all die makes life precious.  We realize that time is short and that delays have consequences.

5.  We should see the silver linings in our lives every day.

6.  In order to die well and be at peace with ourselves and have no regrets, we should live well.  Every day we should do a self-check: 1) Am I doing something I really care about?; 2) Am I doing what I really want to do?; 3) Did I tell my loved ones that I love them?

7.  We all have these negative feelings about death and losing control.  Yet given the choice to live forever, most people would not choose it.  So death is not so negative.  And you can get to the point that you even welcome death.

8.  One of the best things about living is being able to give and receive love.

“3 Kinds of Grief Nobody Talks About” (by Ken Doka, PhD)

In April 2016, Ken Doka, PhD (drkendoka.com) published a book called “Grief Is a Journey.”  In this excerpt in O, Oprah’s magazine, he describes the three kinds of grief nobody talks about — the loss of a person we once knew, the loss of a person we haven’t yet lost, and the loss of the person we used to be.  Here’s a link to the excerpt:


3 Kinds of Grief Nobody Talks About
The author of “Grief Is a Journey” explains how some of our most cutting losses can go unrecognized by friends and family—and even ourselves.
By Kenneth J. Doka, PhD
April 15, 2016

“Recommended New Books for Those Who Are Grieving” (WSJ)

This Wall Street Journal article from late April is a review of five books for those who are grieving:

1- “Resilient Grieving,” By Lucy Hone.

The WSJ article says:  “Her metaphor for life after loss is both powerful and apt: Think of it as a scattered jigsaw puzzle, where the pieces of one’s former life have been scattered and now must be reconfigured in a new way.”

2- “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy,” By Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

The WSJ article says:  “For all of its helpful advice, the book is a whirlwind journey that at times tries to do too much.”

3- “Guesswork: A Reckoning With Loss,” By Martha Cooley

4- “There Is No Good Card for This: What To Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love,” By Kelsey Crowe, Ph.D., and Emily McDowell

The WSJ article says:  The authors “offer insights into those awkward times when friends and family freeze, not knowing what to say or how to help in times of loss. … Simply asking how things are going is often a good start.”

5- “On Living,” By Kerry Egan

The WSJ article says:  “The best antidote to suffering is the kindness of another human being, she writes. And one such kindness is to listen with empathy and attention as people relate the stories that gave their lives meaning, or struggle to reframe the regrets and pain that continue to unsettle them.”

Here’s a link to the full article:


Recommended New Books for Those Who Are Grieving
Sheryl Sandberg and other authors offer strategies on how to move forward after suffering a loss
By Diane Cole
Wall Street Journal
April 23, 2017 10:06 p.m. ET



“Coping with Grief and Loss: Understanding the Grieving Process and Learning to Heal”

I recently discovered HelpGuide.org, a website that focuses on mental, emotional, and social health.  They have quite a few articles about caregiving, grief, and loss.

Here’s a link to their webpage from April 2017 on “Coping with Grief and Loss:  Understanding the Grieving Process and Learning to Heal”: