Life, as you know it, stops when someone you love dies. What was once an unending future filled with love and companionship, suddenly -- and against our will -- becomes an uncertain future with no instructions on how to navigate the fallout.
When Bruce Kramer asked Emmy-award winning Minnesota Public Radio host Cathy Wurzer whether she'd follow his journey toward the end of his life, she hesitated -- then said yes. It was a decision that was life changing for both.
On the die I day a lot will happen. The calendar that ruled so many of my days will now be irrelevant to me. Don't let your life be stolen every day by all that you believe matters, because on the day you die, much of it simply won't.
With the popularity of The Revenant, The Martian and The Hunger Games, survival is as popular as ever. In these 15 novels, men and women are forced to pit their strength, skill and brains against the forces of nature, evil and each other.
Of course as time goes on, life moves forward. You never forget. And you'll never be the same. How could you be? There are some things in life that are so big and so profound that we can't experience them without being changed. Here are some of the lessons I've learned and the ways I've changed:
Perfect viewing for any old Tuesday night. The Broken Circle Breakdown is a transcendent meditation on what it means to be alive and where we go when we die. It speaks to the cancer experience without being a cancer movie. I'm not interested in any other kind.
Sound overwhelming? It is. But at the same time, the work is calming, meditative, and mesmerizing, allowing the viewer a portal into the afterlife that is not dark or foreboding, but instead colorful and peaceful.
Lilly would look amused and amazed by all the gadgets that people cherish so. As she would look at all the people taking pictures everywhere -- all the time -- she would shake her head in dismay and whisper to me, 'They record everything and experience nothing.'
In my years of working with grieving clients, I have all too frequently heard grievers lament "Why didn't we ever talk about death when she was alive?" "I wish we had been able to say goodbye." On the other hand, seldom have I heard regrets from people who did have the conversation.
As we share deeply with others, we broaden our horizons and bridge the gap of our otherwise very private inner worlds. Instead of giving each other an airbrushed version of ourselves, we risk the vulnerability of letting others know who we most profoundly know ourselves to be.
We are living the next six months more than 8,000 miles apart. If you believe that coincidences are just coincidences, you'd reason that our odds aren't favorable. But a more provocative interpretation might be that our first encounter was just the tip of our iceberg.
This is not only about the Washington Navy Yard and Sandy Hook and Colorado and Virginia Tech, horrific events that make headlines; it is also about the over 300 people, including 50 children, that are shot every day in America.
At the highest metaphysical level, my teacher was right: It takes no effort to be free. But interestingly enough, this spiritual freedom is of little help to me now as I face one of the most challenging decisions of my life. As life is so full of paradox, so is enlightenment.
Realizing the vastness of things, the number of people here and gone and still to come, doesn't make my sorrow fade, nor does it temper the exquisite joy of making the house ring with the peals of my daughters' delighted laughter. What it does is it lets me breathe.
Healing takes place not when death is forestalled, but when life is embraced and affirmed in its entirety, from beginning to end. When doctors can fully understand the nature of death and dying, they will become the true healers that are desperately needed in this world.