Grief & Coping


Video: Is Suicide Always Wrong?

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: This week, 29-year-old Brittany Maynard announced that she will be ending her life on November 1. Maynard has an aggressive form of brain cancer and has received a terminal diagnosis. Rather than putting her family and herself through the ordeal of a painful and drawn-out death, she has chosen physician assisted suicide, which is legal in Oregon. Sometimes, like in the case of Brittany Maynard, it may be that choosing to end one’s life is actually in its own way an affirmation of life......

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The Illusion That We Suffer Alone

Years ago, during the time that my father was struggling with Alzheimer’s, I happened to catch an interview with the son of Christopher Reeve on television. He was overjoyed that his dad had been able to move his pinkie, a feat he’d not accomplished before. I watched, in awe, as this son described in triumphant detail how amazing it was what his father had done. It put my own pain and struggle into immediate perspective. Thinking about this today reminded me that no matter what kind of burden we may be carrying,......

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Video: Robin Williams, Suicide and Shame

From Odyssey Networks’ Faith on the Record series: The death by suicide of Robin Williams earlier this week shocked his fans around the world. It also focused attention on suicide and the discomfort we all feel about the disease that leads to it. We’re not ashamed of having cancer, we’re not ashamed of having ALS or any other devastating disease. But there’s a lot of shame associated with emotional illness. Watch my video commentary below for more… Odyssey Networks tells the stories of faith in action changing the world for the better.......

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The Courage to Live, the Courage to Die

How do you live well? And when the times comes, how do you die well? There is no single or simple answer to either of those questions, but there is real wisdom that can help us all to answer those questions better. This story in the New York Times and its accompanying video (see below) describe, with exquisite poignancy, different patients’ experiences in a long-term care hospital, i.e., a place where people may reside for years, but very few of whom will ever recover from the terminal diagnoses which brought them there.......

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Devoting a 'Day After Mother's Day' to Mom's Memory

I have spoken with three friends in the last 36 hours, all of whom lost their moms in the past year, about how they deal with Mother’s Day, and I’ve come to a conclusion about the potential power of celebrating “Day After Mother’s Day,” for those who find themselves in that position. For some who have lost their mom (or for members of the family), it may seem morbid – or a bit uncomfortable, at least – to focus on a departed mother on the holiday of Mother’s Day itself. Why not......

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When a Friend Is Suffering, How Do You Help?

How do you comfort someone going through a really hard time in life? Recently, I received an email from someone describing how his very good friend’s 42 year-old daughter (a woman with two young children, age 4 and 6 – his grandchildren) was diagnosed last year with cancer and just entered hospice. This man lost his only son 12 years ago in an auto accident. And on top of all this, his brother, with whom he’s extremely close, just had major heart surgery. He asked me if The Wisdom Daily had any......

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Video: Moving From Mourning to Memory

From Odyssey Network’s Faith on the Record series: “Last week the world paid tribute to Nelson Mandela, who died on December 5th at the age of 95.? As mourners gathered and tributes from around the world were made, Rabbi Brad Hirschfield reminds us that “Memory is a choice – we choose how to remember,” and there are many Nelson Mandelas to remember – revolutionary, prisoner, peacemaker, symbol, healer.” Odyssey Networks tells the stories of faith in action changing the world for the better.? Their stories explore a wide range of issues including......

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Nelson Mandela: From Mourning To Memory

How do you move from mourning to memory?? How do you begin to make the shift from acknowledging and honoring the pain of a loss, to building and celebrating the memory of the one who is gone?? These are the questions which all of us who care about Nelson Mandela will need to begin asking and answering in the weeks and months ahead. How we mourn is fundamentally something which comes right from the heart.? Whatever rituals and practices shape our mourning, from ancient to just invented, all work best when they......

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Planning a Good Death

The term “good death” may be an oxymoron.? After all, how can death be good?? For starters, try going through the dying process with someone living in terrible pain – physical, psychological or both – and you will quickly learn that, as a doctor friend of mine who specializes in palliative care once said, many things happen every day in the hospital and in the home which are worse than death.? And if that doesn’t suggest that death can be good, it surely lets us know that it can be better than......

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Dying a 'Good' Death

Truly caring for a person at the end of life requires conversations – about love and legacy, about bestowing and receiving blessings, about choosing life versus fighting death. I am a well-educated man, a rabbi who was trained and has experience in comforting individuals on their sickbeds.? My five younger brothers, also have good educations, some of us have multiple degrees.? Yet when my mother was diagnosed with late stage pancreatic cancer five years ago and told she had 12 weeks to live, neither my family nor I was prepared. We listened......

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