Encore: Death Cafe....Yes, It Makes Plenty of Sense

August 18, 2016
Hosted by Rabbi Mel Glazer

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Episode Description

So you go into the back room at Panera's and you sit down with other people who have suffered a life-loss. And then you talk to each other over tea and cookies about death. Not dying, but death. Sounds weird, no? But Death Cafes are happening all over America, and my guest Lizzie Miles hosted the very first one in America in 2012. She is a multi-interest woman, the author of "Somewhere In Between: The Hokey Pokey, Chocolate Cake and The Shared Death Experience," and lots of blogs about death. I just read her blog called: Does Jesus like chocolate?" Not only is it poignant. It is truth in poetry, and I am delighted to have her as my guest. Got a question during the show? 888 346-9141 E-mail me at rabbimel@griefok.com Bring your friends!

From Mourning to Morning

From Mourning to Morning

Thursday at 5 PM Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel

Rabbi Mel Glazer dedicates his life to helping people face loss, because he himself has faced loss. His father died the day before his twelfth birthday. Yet he has moved beyond the emotional pain which accompanies loss. So can you. Drawn to a life of service to others, he became a Rabbi, a Doctor of Ministry, and then a Grief Authority so he could help others find a better way to heal from their losses. His two award-winning books have helped thousands of grievers find direction in their response to loss. Whether we are of any faith, or of no faith at all, losing loved ones inspires some of the deepest spiritual questions we will ever face in our lives. What meaning can we find in our losses? Where do we begin? Rabbi Mel connects his life as a leader of his community with his life as a supporter and comforter of other mourners. From this unique position, he has a great deal to teach us about facing loss. Rabbi Mel makes it possible for us to go “from mourning to morning.”

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Rabbi Mel Glazer

Rabbi Mel Glazer

It is a sad fact of life: Once we are born, we start to lose. You are here because you have lost someone or something very special, and you have no idea what to do or where to go or how to get there. It hurts. You are in pain. There may be tears and depression and hiding from the world and from your friends and family. You feel lost. We lose good friends, spouses, children, jobs, pets and our health. When that happens, we are clueless about what to do and how to move forward. Why is that?

Our parents do not teach us these lessons, nor does our society. We need to learn the correct way to “lay them gently down, to say goodbye.” Grieving means to complete the relationship with the departed, to say goodbye (not to forget about them!) and to be able to move forward to lives of joy and celebration. I, too have many losses in my life: Daddy died two days before my twelfth birthday. My first wife was sick for years and died. I have had heart disease for years. I recovered from those losses. I became a Rabbi, then I got a Doctorate from Princeton Theological Seminary in Counseling. I have written award-winning books on grief. And I am now a radio show host on VoiceAmerica.com. I did it, and so can you!

Listen to what I have to say about grief, loss and healing. You ARE strong and resilient enough. You can do this. I will take very good care of you!

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Episode Directory

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

Dahlia Abraham-Klein

c Growing up in a Central Asian immigrant family - home entertaining with a polyglot ensemble was the norm rather than the exception. Her life is aimed at fusing her familial and ancestral ties to her vegetarian lifestyle and to her Jewish identity. View Guest page

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David Arnsteen


If you had asked David Arnsteen as a child what he wanted to do when he grew up, he wouldn’t have told you he wanted to sell pencils. Nor would he have told you he wanted to become a rabbi. Today, he is not a rabbi. He does sell pencils (and pens, paper, printer toners, and office furniture), but if you ask today what he may have been, had he known better as a child, had he the life experience he now has at 58, he would tell you that he should have become a rabbi. David was born in Detroit, MI. He did not grow up Jewish, though his father was an ethnic Jew, and most of his neighbors and family friends were practicing Jews.
David is enjoying his recovery from cancer, and he's my guest to remind us all that faith works! He is the happiest cancer survivor you ever met.
Come listen, he has quite a story to tell! View Guest page

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Emma Broussard

Emma is a registered nurse from Houston Texas. She has been volunteering with hospice patients since 2006 and currently works on a medical unit in Colorado Springs. She has seen patients die, and she has saved patients too. She will share her knowledge with us, so that we will know what happens at the end of life. View Guest page

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Lauren Carroll


Lauren Carroll founded Returning Home in August 2014. After working for a small family funeral home in her home town in Southern California (2003-2006) then making the move to Colorado and working for a corporate run funeral home(2006-2009) she knew families needed MORE. They needed options, they needed affordability, they needed to be conscious of the Earth, but most of all they needed the option to reconnect with a sacredness and healing that comes from caring for your dead loved one at home. She left the “industry” in 2009 and began her studies of home funerals and the”traditional” ways of caring for your dead at home. The mission of Returning Home is Providing Education and Shifting the American views and ways in which we interact with death and dying. View Guest page

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Deanna Cochran


Deanna Cochran, RN, End of Life Doula and Mentor, has been serving the dying since 2000 as a hospice nurse and 2005 as a private end of life doula. Through blogging, Deanna’s work became known and people around the world have been learning from her through her program: Accompanying the Dying: A Practical Guide and Awareness Training since 2010. Featured in several major media, Deanna is honored to share her experience with others to strengthen the grassroots movement of empowering communities to feel better equipped to care for their own dying and dead. Her book, “Accompanying the Dying: an End of Life Guide for Death Doulas, Coaches, Midwives, and Educators,” will be released at the end of this month. Please visit her website: www.qualityoflifecare.com for more information. View Guest page

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Caitlin Doughty


Talking about death isn't easy, but mortician Caitlin Doughty is trying to reform how we think about the deaths of loved ones — and prepare for our own.
"My philosophy is honesty, I think that we've been so hidden from death in this culture for such a long time that it's very refreshing and liberating to talk about death in an open, honest manner."
Her latest book: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes And Other Lessons from the Crematory
Doughty is the founder of The Order of the Good Death, a group of funeral industry professionals, academics and artists who focus on the rituals families perform with their dead and how the industry disposes of dead bodies. She is also starting her own funeral service in Los Angeles, called Undertaking L.A., that will help families with planning after they lose a family member.
She is passionate and compassionate, a funeral director with a sense of humor. She loves talking about what she does, and why she does it. View Guest page

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Shawn Doyle


From his book "The Sun Still Rises..."
Every day, many people lose loved ones and face the grieving process. They suffer while coping with the loss of a child, spouse, parent, friend, or sibling. It is perhaps the most difficult and devastating challenge any of us face in our lifetime.
In this book, the author supports the idea that you can survive and thrive after grief and loss. This is not a predictable five stages of grief book. In The Sun Still Rises, Shawn Doyle uses his heart wrenching personal story of bereavement to supply you with tools, tips, and techniques for dealing with loss and grief on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis. These are tools that are proven to work if you open your mind and heart. View Guest page

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Dr. Stan Goldberg, Ph.D.


Who he is: Stan Goldberg, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Communicative Disorders at San Francisco State University, and author of the new book, Loving, Supporting, and Caring for the Cancer Patient (Rowman & Littlefield, October 2016). He is a prolific award-winning writer, editorial consultant and recognized expert in the area of cancer support, end-of-life issues, caregiving, chronic illnesses, aging and change. With more than 300 publications, presentations, workshops and interviews, he garnered 22 national and international awards for his writing. Goldberg was a bedside volunteer at the internationally renowned Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco, as well as Hospice By The Bay, George Mark Children’s House and Pathways Home Health and Hospice. View Guest page

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Dr. Donalyn Gross


A Ph.D., and Certified Music Practitioner, I've been a Thanatologist (death and dying counselor) for over 35 years, working with the dying and their loved ones. I've been privileged to sit with hundreds of people as they died. As an LCSW, I've worked at Sunbridge Care and Rehab. as a Social Worker, the Good Endings Program Director at Genesis Eldercare Heritage Hall West Nursing Home (Agawam, MA) in the prison system counseling terminally ill inmates (mostly with AIDS), an Activity Director at Heritage Woods Assisted Living (Genesis Eldercare) in Agawam MA, at BayState Medical Center in Springfield MA as a Medical Transcriptionist/Secretary, and Wesson Women's Hospital as a receptionist.
Presently, I teach Death, Dying and Bereavement at Bay Path University, provide end of life training workshops for healthcare professionals, and play therapeutic bedside harp for the dying. View Guest page

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Shelby Kirrilin


This Angel of Death is surprisingly upbeat.
“I know death is sad, but what’s wrong with dying?” Shelby Kirillin says, green eyes alight. “It’s OK. We’re all going to do it.”
Kirillin is a death doula — someone who guides the dying, and their families, through the end of life.
“You have written so many amazing chapters,” she tells her clients. “Write your last chapter. Put an exclamation point at the end! Make it end in a crescendo. So many people, I feel like, choose death because it’s just better than the hell that they’re living.”
In 18 years as an ICU nurse specializing in neuroscience, Kirillin witnessed too many bad deaths. She heard frantic families ask for every procedure possible in order to prolong life, instead of easing their loved one’s passing. She saw doctors who advocated continuing medical intervention, even when it was obvious that nothing more could be done.
So she got involved... (From The Richmond Magazine article) View Guest page

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Beth Lieberman


Beth Lieberman, LCSW received her Master’s in Social Work from Bryn Mawr College in 1977 and has been in full-time private practice in Colorado Springs since 1983. For over twenty years, she has been performing Parental Responsibilities Evaluations, Special Advocate appointments, and Child and Family Investigations, as well as serving as Parent Coordinator, Decision-Maker, and Court-Appointed Therapist. She has served as President of the Colorado Springs chapters of the National Association of Social Workers and the Colorado Society for Clinical Social Work, and currently serves on the Fourth Judicial District Judicial Nomination Commission, the Steering Committee for the Colorado Springs Multidisciplinary Committee, and as Secretary of the Colorado Chapter of AFCC. Ms. Lieberman is a contributor to the “Parenting Plan Possibilities” handbook distributed to divorcing families in the Fourth Judicial District. View Guest page

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Glen Lord


Glen Lord, Dad of Noah Thomas Emory Lord, 1/25/1995 ~ 6/14/1999. Glen Lord’s life was forever changed after the death of his son, Noah, over 15 years ago. He has since learned that joy and sorrow can and do co-exist and life can be good again. Early on Glen found that the tools to finding hope again are different for each person, this realization inspired him to co-founded The Grief Toolbox (www.thegrieftoolbox.com) , a community of grief resources. In addition he is the executive producer of Walking Through Grief® (www.walkingthroughgrief.com) a grief support video series and serves as President on the Board of Directors of The Compassionate Friends and vice-president of the National Grief and Hope Coalition. Glen has presented and spoken on multiple grief topics at dozens of chapters, regional and national conferences, including The Compassionate Friends, Funeral Directors, Hospice, The Tony Brown Foundation and Bereaved Parents of the USA. View Guest page

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Dea Maltby


Deirdre (Dea) Dewitt Maltby may be a fledgling author, but what an inspiring first story she has to write about and share with the world! It is a story about crossing over to a space between our world and the next. In November of 2008 as a result of an unforeseen accident that is exactly what happened.
This is a remarkable and touching story she shares about four separate experiences that have altered her heart and soul forever, and in a way that introduced her to the person she had been living with her whole life - herself. She confides that "Awakening within 'another realm' and outside of my physical body, I was propelled into a spiritual odyssey of new insights on life, the essence we call God, and who I am as a person. I have not so much changed, but become more of who I was meant to be, that I feel we are all meant to be.
Having taken what she learned from her near death adventure quite seriously she has been excited to share with others. View Guest page

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Dr. Marilyn Mendoza


Dr. Mendoza is in private practice in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her practice focuses on grief, bereavement, trauma and women’s issues.
Dr. Mendoza received her PhD in Counseling Psychology from Loyola University of Chicago, Illinois. She has been licensed as a Psychologist in Louisiana since 1986.
Dr. Mendoza has served as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at Tulane University Medical School. She is currently a Clinical Instructor of Psychiatry in the department of Psychiatry and Neurology at Tulane Medical Center. Currently, she is the consulting psychologist for Serenity Hospice. She has made appearances on television, radio and has had articles published in professional journals as well in local media. She has spoken nationally to health care providers and community groups. She is the author of “We Do Not Die Alone.” View Guest page

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Lizzy Miles


Lizzy Miles has been to more funerals than weddings in her life. She stopped counting her losses and started counting her “angels” when she reached double digits. Inspired by her comforting and positive experiences with hospice staff, Lizzy decided to pay it forward and become a hospice volunteer. She found that work so rewarding that she determined that her life's purpose was to work in hospice. She made a mid-life career change and quit her marketing job of twelve years to return to school to become a hospice social worker. While she was an intern for hospice, she organized an event where she helped a 91-year old hospice patient ski again. She has a Master's degree in Communication and one in Social Work. She is currently a hospice social worker and the networking chair for ADEC, the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Her first (and America's first) Death Cafe took place in 2012 in Columbus, Ohio. And there have been many more! View Guest page

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Rev. Dr. Ahriana Platten


Rev. Dr. Ahriana Platten has been blessed to travel the world and experience its cultural differences and human similarities first hand. She is a trained initiate in several ancient streams of knowledge that form the foundation of her unique blend of spiritual wisdom.
Ordained in Interfaith Ministry, Ahriana is dedicated to serving people of all spiritual paths and her interactive workshops and sacred rituals provide a powerful balance of mystical experience and grounded information. She received her calling to serve the Unity Spiritual Center in late 2010 and has been the Spiritual Leader since January of 2011.
Ahriana holds a doctorate in Pastoral Counseling Psychology, is a Certified Transpersonal Hypnotherapist, and a Reiki Master/ Teacher of the USUI lineage. Her activities beyond Unity include coordinating a collaborative newsweekly column and radio show called "In Good Faith" and serving as an Ambassador for the Parliament of the World's Religions. View Guest page

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Dr. Kate Raphael


I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. I attended College at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing. I worked in the ICU/ER for 8 years prior to attending Medical School, again at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. I completed my Residency in Family Medicine at St Josephs Hospital in Denver, and began practicing in Colorado Springs in 1995. Hospice and palliative care has been my main focus for the past 17 years. I am married and have 2 children, ages 18 and 20. View Guest page

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Patricia Shaw


I started The Soul of a Woman Conference in 2015 and have taken it across the country. It is a setting of normally 25 women wanting change. During this one-day conference my co-host and myself empower women to move from a place of pain to a position of promise.
For years I lived my life according to what (or whom) I thought would make me happy. I was the picture of a people pleaser and it ruled my life. The day I truly started living, standing up for myself, speaking out about what I believed in without looking over my shoulder at who was talking about me and what they thought of me, was the day my life really began and I was set free.
I make no apologies for who I am. I write and talk about my own struggles with self-esteem issues, people pleasing, putting myself last on the totem pole and all the other things that happen in real life. We all have struggles, issues as I often say, and if I can help one person, the ripple effect that I will never know of makes it worth it View Guest page

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Isabel Stenzel


Isabel Yuriko Stenzel Byrnes, LCSW, MPH
Isabel is a bereavement social worker at Mission Hospice, where she counsels children, teens and adults, and also leads writing groups for those who are grieving. Isabel has also worked with chronically ill children and families for many years at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. Isabel and her late twin sister Anabel published their memoir, "The Power of Two: A Twin Triumph over Cystic Fibrosis," which inspired the creation of a documentary film of the same title. Isabel has been a longtime advocate for cystic fibrosis and organ donation awareness. Isabel has lectured around the country on topics such as living well with illness, therapeutic writing, end-of-life issues and organ donation, including a TEDx Stanford talk in 2014. She lives with her husband Andrew Byrnes in Redwood City, California.
Isabel Stenzel LCSW
Bereavement Counselor, Children/Teens/Adults
Mission Hospice and Home Care
1670 S. Amphlett Blvd., Suite 310
San M View Guest page

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Harriet Warshaw


I want mine to be a gift to my family similar to the gift my mother gave to me: the gift of time, the gift of honesty, the gift of purpose. My mother was a remarkable woman. She had confronted six different types of cancers and had survived. In the end it was emphysema that took her life. She had lived with the possibility of dying for more than thirty years. This gave us plenty of time to talk about what type of living she wanted at the end of her life. I knew in no uncertain terms that she wanted to die with dignity. I knew she wanted us to be with her when the end was near. In the last few weeks of her life l was at her bedside sharing stories, reading to her and just being present. It was a time of serenity and pure joy sharing such private and intimate moments. As she drifted in and out of consciousness she would open one eye and look at me and smile. In one of her last lucid moments she said to me make sure you help others die as graciously and with such compassion as I am. View Guest page

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Nancy Weil


Nancy is a leading authority on the relationship between humor and grief, as well as effective tools for stress relief, and is known for her energetic, entertaining and content-rich programs. After becoming a Certified Laughter Leader in 2002 through the World Laughter Tour, Nancy has taken her passion for this unique craft to businesses and organizations, individuals and groups throughout the state and the country. With a degree in business, Nancy understands her client’s needs. Leading the world’s only laughter club held in a cemetery, Nancy knows how to bring the benefits of laughter to any place. As a Certified Funeral Celebrant, Nancy understands how humor can be used to aid the grieving process View Guest page

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Nora Wong


Before her son, Daniel, died, Nora considered herself a stay-at-home mother. Prior to having children, she earned her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Michigan and worked in corporate survey research.
Daniel died on December 3, 2013 at the age of 22, just months after graduating from Stanford University. The doctors think he had a rare seizure disorder called new onset refractory status epilepticus or NORSE. With NORSE, healthy people are suddenly struck by out-of-the-blue, prolonged seizures for which there is no remedy. It is a new and evolving medical term for a disorder long observed. There is no known cause or established treatment for NORSE. The outcomes of NORSE are grim: roughly a third of the patients die, about a third survive with significant brain deficits and the rest can recover to baseline, but almost all survivors then have epilepsy for the rest of their lives.
You'll learn more on the show... View Guest page

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Judy Wright ("Auntie Artichoke")


Judy Wright is a life educator, family coach, and keynote speaker who has written more than 20 books, hundreds of articles and speaks internationally on family, parenting and relationship issues, including communication, encouragement, and end of life. She also focuses on personal issues like anxiety, depression, confidence and self-esteem and works with many small and large organizations–from Head Start to child care resource centers.
Judy "got onto" pet loss after....well, I'll let her tell you why.
You will love her, as do I! View Guest page

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