I can tell Aaron isn't sure what to do with his emotions. MY GRANDPA DIED! he sometimes yells. I haven't been that successful in explaining that in North America, we don't run around yelling about death.
A friend of mine just lost her beloved aunt. She was with her in her last days, and as they cried together her aunt said, "You know why we feel this way? Because we know what love is. Aren't we so blessed? I am so grateful I got to know you and love you."
If you think sitting with a parent and helping them to write their funeral is depressing, it doesn't have to be. Mum and I sang and made black humor-infested jokes and looked back on what her life had meant to her and how she wanted that conveyed.
It's a new year, and I made all these resolutions I'm sure to break. But the one thing I want to work harder at is seeing the silver lining, looking at the glass half-full, rather than shattered on the floor.
Like the waltz, their love affair was long. It flowed effortlessly at times. And, like the best love stories, it had continuous turns. The tempo of the waltz is slow and invites very powerful and dynamic movements from all dancers. Just like my grandma and grandpa.
The one thing that is clear, people are dissatisfied with the status quo and starving for invigorating art. The best movies of the year were about struggling to produce art in a world that doesn't put much value in it.
The list includes three books that confront head-on the difficult issue of patient death, three more on politics and money in healthcare, and finally, my vote for The Most Memorable Book of 2014.
Little brothers aren't supposed to die. This is something you know as a child without someone telling you. Little brothers, the ones who are a foot taller than you and who smile with their eyes, do not die at age 30. But heroin addicts do.
In death, my mother is whole, complete and more present than she was ever able to be in her body. She's present in me.
What happened next was also a surprise. I began receiving emails and Facebook messages from other people who read the letter and, moved by Chiara's situation, wanted to help in some way.
To have four people within my extended circle of family and friends die within the same week, made death feel not only inevitable, but closer to home. Regardless of how much or little time we have left, here are four things death teaches us about life.
When young people lose their lives in sports, it is a bracing slap in the face about why we are involved in sports and a reminder about what is really important (and it's not the results!).
What I can remember about my mother's death from breast cancer certainly does not reflect Dr. Smith's romantic view of dying.
Take advantage of this new year to initiate conversations with loved ones about their end-of-life wishes -- and review your own as well.
When I was younger and felt, as I often did, that I had been the victim of some injustice, my father used to tell me a parable. He would start telling it, and I would roll my eyes. Because I'd heard it before, and teenagers often roll their eyes. But I also liked the story, and I always enjoyed my father telling it. So I listened.