The host of Good Grief, Cheryl Jones, recently wrote an article for Open to Hope, a renowned outlet for writings related to loss and grief. With all the losses we are all experiencing across the globe, she had to express what has happened for her as she has attempted to absorb the weight of the violence. Taking a hopeful view of the human condition, Cheryl’s focus is to emphasize the importance of acknowledging and experiencing our grief, making room for the new while carrying with us all the loves and losses we’ve experienced.
Cheryl Jones Interviews Dr. Karen Wyatt author of the book What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying
Karen Wyatt worked with hospice patients. In the end, they taught her the lessons of dying, but also the lessons of living. Applying those lessons to her own life, she became a fierce advocate for the spiritual importance of facing death so that we can truly live life! Through her book, What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying, and her widely respected End of Life University, Karen Wyatt teaches us how to infuse our lives with meaning and purpose now, and all the way to our deaths.
Dr. Karen Wyatt author of the book What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying, spent most of her 25-year career in medicine caring for patients in challenging settings such as nursing homes, hospices, free clinics and homeless shelters. Her work with patients who were facing the end of life inspired her to write What Really Matters, which describes the spiritual lessons she learned from her hospice patients.
Join Cheryl Jones on Good Grief to hear her interview with Dr Karen Wyatt
Sometimes I spend time just looking for beautiful things to inspire me, keep me fresh and happy. But sometimes those adventures intersect with the world of grief. That is what happened one day when I received an email from National Geographic, which I signed up for for the beautiful photography I get in my box. But this time, the lead story was Where Love is Illegal. Some of the most beautiful photographs I have seen were telling the story of LGBTI persecution across the globe, and the incredible people trying to live open, loving lives in spite of nearly unimaginable odds against them. I could not be happier to welcome the photographer for the project, Robin Hammond, to Good Grief radio. We will talk about what led him to create the project, as part of his Witness Change non-profit. We’ll explore the stories of the beautiful people he’s met through the project and how they survive and thrive, often without any family or community support.
I was deeply moved when Claire Bidwell Smith joined me soon after I began hosting Good Grief. Our subject was her first book, Rules of Inheritance, which told the story of the loss, early in her life, of both her parents a few years apart. She captured what it is to be thrown off the course of a launch into adult life and to enter the world of illness and death. She reflected the deep experience of coming to terms with loss and finding your way to your best self.
Claire returns to Good Grief to talk about her newest release, After This: When Life is Over Where do We Go? Continuing the search for answers to life’s deepest questions, Claire studied the ways people around the world and from different traditions think about what happens after we die while also sharing her own personal road to finding peace with the greatest mystery.
I am looking forward to spending another incredible hour with her on Good Grief.
Katy Butler has written one of the best books on what’s wrong with end of life care in the field today. When Katy went through her parents’ final years, she felt compelled both as a daughter and as a journalist to explore what could have improved that time, especially for her father. She quotes him as having said, “I’m living too long,” and she heartily agreed. But convincing the medical system to let him go proved nearly impossible. Through sharing the book and through her work as a speaker and teacher, Katy has set out to change the system that makes a good death so difficult to find. She is a wonderful speaker and promises to enliven Good Grief! Join us on Good Grief Radio Wednesday May 6th at 2 PST.
Cheryl Jones, Host of Good Grief on the Voice America Health and Wellness Channel, will present a concurrent session at the Association for Death Education and Counseling Conference April 10 in San Antonio, Texas. Her topic, Death and the LGBT Community: When Culture is Not Defined by Country, intersects her vast experience as a counselor with her personal experience losing her beloved at the age of 42. How does the history of oppression effect LGBT people at the end of life? And what about the adaptive responses many LGBT people have made to rejection? Will their “family of friends” be accepted as family by the health care system? And how do we make sure that our health care environments are not just tolerant, but rather fully embracing?
If you are interested please check out ADEC now.
Cheryl Jones, host of Good Grief radio and cancer and illness expert, will present the sixth in a series of ten workshops for mental health professionalsÂ this Saturday, 3/21/2015. The Cancer and Illness competency program, sponsored by the Women’s Cancer Resource Center is increasing knowledge and sharing models for supporting clients in this most critical time in their lives. All courses are available on line and those still to happen are also available on site.
While grieving the loss of her father, grandmother and grandfather just before she herself became a mother, Marie Mustsuki Mockett searched for solace for her grief in Japan, the homeland of her own mother. Not long after the tsunami, which deeply affected her own family, she travelled the country to discover what Japanâs spiritual teachers had to share about the Japanese view of death and grief. The result is her highly acclaimed memoir, Where the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say Goodbye: A Journey. With the art of a true storyteller, Marie evokes that moment in Japanâs history, and her own, while giving us a glimpse of Japanese experiences of loss.
Cheryl Jones host of Good Grief is presenting âIllness, Grief, Loss and the Holidaysâ this Saturday at the Womenâs Cancer Resource Centerâs Continuing Education program available in Oakland, CA and online.
I made a commitmentÂ to writing regularly in my blog. IÂ reallyÂ committed. I thought about what I would say each week over the months, how I would say it, what was meaningful to me, what would be meaningful to the people who read my blog. I made lists, plans, created visions. I was all setâ¦ exceptÂ then I didnât do it.
Yes, Iâm very busy with my radio show,Â Good Grief, with my family and my work as a grief counselor. Yes, Iâm still absolutely committed to time when Iâm not working; to singing, creating, and just plain goofing off. But I didnât think any of that explained why I wasnât writing. All those things have failed to prevent me from doing many other things these past few months that I didnât seem to have time for.
I lived with the question for a solid week or two. Why am I not writing my blog? What is in the way? Then I ticked off possible explanations. âIâm procrastinating.âÂ Hmmmâ¦Â Unlike many other periods in my life, procrastinationÂ hardly even qualifies as a part of my personality right now. âIâm uninspired.â Definitely not. Iâm inspired beyond my wildest dreams by amazing people I get to meet and talk with every day, by the guests on the radio show and the meaningful conversations I get to have, and by my community and family. âI donât want to write.â Wrong! I love to write and Iâm writing other things all the time with great relish.
When the answer hit me over the head, I almost laughed out loud. I was not writing my grief blog because I was experiencing that time after a new loss when I just donât want to share. I need time to absorb the new reality, to adjust to the changing picture of what I imagined the future to be. I need time to (wait for it) process.
I had not really written since I found out my mother has pancreatic cancer.
When it finally dawned on me that I was simply practicing what I preach and listening to what my own heart told me I needed, I relaxed. And then, respecting that my mother is busy adjusting too, I asked her if she would be ok with me writing about this newest wrinkle in the fabric of my life. âEveryone knows anyway,â she said, bestowing a blessing on whatever I might say about it. (Thanks mom).
So hereâs what I want to say. Cancer stinks. I hate the endless doctors appointments and project management, getting all the pieces to work together. I hate waiting in endless waiting rooms with other people who also donât have the energy to wait forÂ anything. I hate anticipating losing my mother, who I love, in the very foreseeable future. I hate unexpectedly crying in public when there is nothing at all sad going on. I hate that I know how to do all this so well because Iâve done it before for years at a time without a prayer of changing the eventual outcome. I hate that no one has cured cancer yet, including my brilliant son-in-law, a cancer researcher who I honestly think has a chance of it.
But all of this is really so very small. What I love, even now, is so much bigger. I love my mother, who was clear right away that if they offer her 6 months of chemo for 6 months of time, itâs not worth it. I love the conversations weâre having in which we can share our love for one another in a way that is more immediate, and deeper than it was six months ago. I love that the doctors who are caring for my mother ask her about herself as a person before they talk about treatment and, when they run late for her appointment, apologize. (Thank you, Dr. Tempero and her staff). I love that I have all that experience to offer my mother, to ease her burden and help her feel supported and nourished. I love all the hearts on her Caring Bridge page. I love being so deeply in touch, every day, with my love for her and for everyone else in my life, knowing that having them at all is, at best, fleeting. I love pictures of her with my grandsons. I love that there is nothing in me that wants to shy away from the whole experience.
So, I guess we could call this Continuing Education, having taken what sometimes feels like the graduate level course in grief. Lifelong learning for the griever. Showing up for class. Taking notes. Putting one foot in front of the otherÂ andÂ stepping into love, because even the hurt tells me how very much I love. How very very much.
Cheryl JonesÂ has been working with people facing loss in their lives forÂ thirty years. She is the host ofÂ Good Grief,Â a weekly radio show on the VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness Channel, about the transformative potential of our losses. You can learn more about her at her website at Weathering Grief.