My last effort at podcasting was June 2015. You’d think there has been some water under the bridge or over the damn since then. There was. I’m deliberately avoiding saying ‘life has moved forward’. It doesn’t feel like forward. Though looking at my blog, which I continue to post to there is movement and change over time. Right now the bigger issue for me is learning how to audio record and post. Damn how knowledge, especially tech knowledge kind of evaporates if don’t use it.
This process of grief feels like a hamster on a wheel. Sometimes it feels seems the clouds have parted and there is the brightness of understanding in the light braking through. Taken in the whole the path is ongoing and changing. It is slow, it is fast, it and above all else it gives me a chance find a balance in today while adjusting the past. The distance in the rear view mirror is longer than the view through the windshield.
Hold Still by Sally Mann
My last podcast addressed the changing avatar of my grief and loss. How for years it was a daily presence yet recently I noted it became a part-time visitor. I remain hyper vigilant to applying what I read or learn into the context of this visitor. I hear a phrase or read a passage and I think about it in terms of my grief avatar and I wonder as I reflect, what have I learned? Am I missing today and tomorrow because my vision is in my rear view mirror? Can I untangle myself from looking back to construct a new environment for my emotions to reside?
It’s a strange and curious time in my journey from caregiver, to widower, and grief ambassador. It feels as if I have navigated my way into the the horse latitudes of life. I’ve entered that legendary becalmed moment where I find myself searching for horses to throw overboard in a ritual to speed my journey and create movement. It is an emotional desert that I am not sure what to do with or if I will find a way forward. Speaking into a microphone, creating a podcast seems to help.
Teri Gross on her podcast Fresh Air interviewed Fenton Johnson who had the cover story in Harper’s Mag “Going it Alone”. The essay addresses the importance of solitude and what it means to ourselves our well being and sense of self. What we can learn from that.What can we can with do with it?
I wondered if my being drawn to this idea/way of life was driven by a rationalize of my current state of mind and life. Or am I seeking to find more in order to take this journey from dx to tx to loss mourning and grief and apply what it meant to a better life? To shake were I’m at and morph into a new me? To leverage a death and loss to make me whole again? What does this tell me? And how to do I apply it? And what outcomes am I seeking?
“Going it Alone” Fenton Johnson
I’ve been writing and podcasting about EOL, HPM, grief, mourning and dying. It’s my personal journal and journey based on reflections, memories, and experiences surrounding Donna’s diagnosis, treatment, and passing. That is the nature of a narrative it’s a reflection based on personal or learned experiences.
It struck me that my musing were personal and emotional. What if I missed a point, a nuance, a message, that some may find valuable. Or more importantly I find valuable. I thought why don’t I interview those who knew Donna, knew me, and were part of this journey. I wanted to learn how they saw the arc of Donna from diagnosis to EOL my arc from diagnosis to EOL to grief and mourning. Did I miss anything? Was I short sighted in my self analysis and reflection? Was my narrative accurate and clear? What did I miss because we all know how clear hindsight is.
Palliative care, end-of-life, death with dignity are trending topic. They are of great interest to the aging population in America and to those who are or may become their caregivers. Over the past couple of years following my experience as a caregiver for my wife who was dx with stage IV cancer and following her passing I realized that there is a need that is largely unmet–EOL planning.
The majority of the 1.8 million Americans who die each year do not have their end-of-life (EOL) wishes or goals met. This failure extends the pain and suffering of the patient, their loved ones, and incurs a high financial cost that does not achieve quality or meaningful extension of life. The gap between what Americans want at end-of-life and what is delivered can be accomplished simply and efficiently.
Patrick O’Malley writing in the New York Times Opinionator section Couch addressed the topic of grief with his piece “Getting Grief Right”. That got my attention because I’ve been struggling to get my grief right as well. I talk about my path to getting it right and how it fits with O’Malley’s view and thoughts.
“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
It’s been three plus years since we lost you, I lost you. And six plus years since your diagnosis and treatment. Writing this now feels a day late and a dollar short. It’s not like in some way shape or form I haven’t been speaking with you, to you, about you. And I it will come as no surprise to you I am wearing my welcome out with friends on this topic, remembrances etc.
This letter/podcast is not a review of EOL HPM its just news about those who loved you and still do. You know like those annoying notes people include with their Xmas card.
This is Part 2 of a two part interview with Alan Gross and Jane Townsend. Alan and Jane are two of the four founding partners at GrossTownsendFrankHoffman. GTFH was an agency I was lucky enough to work at for over five years during the mid to late eighties. Today it is Grey Healthcare. Its history and position in healthcare, medical, and pharmaceutical marketing, advertising, PR, and education cannot be over stated. This agency, the partners, and everyone who worked there were pioneers who explored and pushed the envelop for ourselves and an industry.
Besides being dear friends to this day they were the ones who taught me the most about strategies, marketing, advertising, and medical education. They also taught me and anyone who worked with them (never for) how to achieve integrity and honesty in business. They taught us how to go beyond your self imposed limits. They are smart, generous, hardworking, and visionary. We talk about what it was like 40 years ago and how it changed. What you see today in pharmaceutical marketing is not what it was.
I forgot to include a link to some history on Merck and Mevacor to better understand the genesis of direct to consumer advertising.