Let’s Talk Death:
Conversations to Inform and Inspire
It’s time to take the “taboo” out of the topics surrounding dying, death, and grief.
Our core belief here at HealGrief is that no one should ever grieve alone, that is why we are always evolving to bring you more social support services and programs! Let’s Talk Death, is our newest venture.
Our goal with this program is to help inform our HealGrief community and the community at large about issues related to grief and loss, while also inspiring individuals to further explore topics that feel relevant in their life.
This web-based show is a hybrid between a podcast and a webinar. Every month we will bring you a 15-20 minute pre-recorded episode that lets you listen in to a casual conversation with guests and show hosts. Let’s Talk Death episodes will bring you topics such as end of life issues, pre-planning, and grief as seen by researchers, authors, bereavement support professionals, bereaved individuals, and community members. *
Would you like to be a guest speaker here on Let’s Talk Death? Then tell us about yourself in a submission inquiry. Inquiry request
*As we value the opinions and beliefs of all our guests, they are not necessarily the views and opinions of HealGrief® and its programs.
Meet your Hosts
Fran is the Founder of HealGrief® a 501(c)3 non-profit providing the tools, resources and programming to guide one’s journey with grief into a healthy post bereavement growth after a death.
Andy McNiel MA
Andy is an author and educator on topics related to grief and loss. He is a managing partner with The Satori Group, offering education in grief and loss support, and providing management and consulting to nonprofit organizations.
We are honored to be co-hosting Let’s Talk Death because we believe these “tough topics” should have a place in our society and we hope to provide another way for people to find hope in the midst of grief. you can listen to all Let’s Talk Death episodes in many of you favorite podcast applications.
Meet Our Guests
Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation
In this episode, Scarlett shares how her son’s message inspired her to create the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation. Six year old Jesse Lewis saved lives but lost his own as his friends escaped the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
Emmy-Nominated & Award Winning Actor & Producer
In this episode, Kyle recalls his first grief experience at the age of 16, after the death of his best friend was killed in an auto accident. He touches on how his personal experience with death loss helped him in his character role in the soon to be released motion picture film, The Ravine.
American Actress, Writer, Director & Producer
In this episode, AnnaLynne reveals her personal experience of death loss and how that affected her as a child. She exposes her moment contemplating suicide and how recalling the grief she and her mother experienced after her grandfather’s suicide interfered with her ability to take her own life.
Dr. Christopher Kerr
Hospice Palliative Care-Buffalo, CEO & CMO
Author, Death Is But A Dream
In this episode, Dr. Kerr shares his research on the dreams end-of-life patients experience and how he inadvertently realized a connection to his personal experience as a 12-year-old boy at his father’s bedside during his own dad’s end-of-life.
In this episode, Joyal shares she encountered few support systems before, during, and after the death of her daughter. Given the significant hardships families face, Joyal shares her hopes, and efforts to change the landscape for bereaved families because losing a child…changes everything.
Author, Shattered by Suicide, Renewed by Resilience
In this episode, Jason shares his story about the day he learned of his father’s suicide. He speaks about how “just” being heard had an impact on his ability to move forward and how the birth of his firstborn set him on a personal mission of instilling positive affirmation and self-worth into the daily lives of youth.
Dr. Jeff Spiess
Author, Dying with Ease
In this episode, Dr. Spiess recognized how the medical community failed patients that they could no longer help. This awareness led him towards deepening relationships with those dying, and how it led him to author, Dying with Ease: A compassionate Guide to Making Wiser End-of-Life Decisions.
In this episode, Hope shares her story about her grief after her mother lost her battle to cancer and how the “dark ages” of grief left her with no support. Now decades later, she writes the AfterGrief: Finding Your Way Along the Long Arc of Loss.
Dr. Santosh Kesari
Neurologist & Neuro-oncologist, Chair & Professor, Saint John’s Cancer Institute
In this episode, Dr. Kesari talks about his 20 years of working with patients suffering a deadly disease. He speaks about how his patients and their families are like his own and how his connection to them gave him a deep understanding of living and dying.
Dr. Akanksha Sharma
Neurologist, Neuro-oncologist & Palliative Medine, Pacific Neuroscience Institute
In this episode, Akanksha shares how a patient under her care became the inspiration for her work in palliative medicine. She shares her perspective on the need for doctors to have “the conversation” with patients facing a terminal illness and their families.
Author, Lyrics of a Broken Heart
In this episode, Jim talks about his son’s challenging life, the impact Luke’s death had on his family dynamics, how new family bonds needed to be formed. He discusses how his personal journaling, now a book called “Lyrics of a Broken Heart: A Father’s Journey Toward Wholeness,” transformed his grief into hope and healing.
Dr. Sharon Prentice
Author, Becoming Starlight
In this episode, Dr. Prentice talks about how her faith was shattered after her daughter’s death and the anger she lived with until her husband’s death. She speaks of her “shared death experience” during her husband’s death eight years later and how that restored her faith and ability to love and be happy again.
Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D.
Portland Institute for Loss and Transition
In this episode, Dr. Neimeyer helps us take a more in-depth look into the idea of how we can utilize meaning-making in our grief while talking about how it has made a positive impact on his journey.
Aging with Dignity, President
In this episode, Paul helps demystify advanced care planning while talking about the numerous benefits it may provide for individuals and families. He also discusses why he connects deeply to the mission of Aging with Dignity.
Dr. Donna Schurrman
Doughy Center, Executive Director, Author, Never the Same: Coming to Terms with the Death of a Parent
In this episode, Dr. Schurrman discusses how our society can influence how we grieve. Her candid nature helps us feel empowered to take our grief back as our own and make sure we honor our own journey.
Mary Robinson, MA, CT
Imagine, Executive Director & Founder
In this episode, Mary shares about her father’s death and the traumatic events that followed. And how she and her brother, teens at the time, down a path of challenging behaviors. She said, “We are not bad kids; we were just sad kids.”
Institute for Transformational Thinking, Author
In this episode, Ora Nadrich inspires us to think about our innate skill of mindfulness as a superpower in our lives. She helps us look at the benefits of mindfulness and how the courage to be present can help us fully appreciate our grief journey.
Author, Wishes for the Mother’s Heart
In this episode, Tricia LaVoice shares her personal experience to help us see that even though we may not always talk about our struggles, we are more alike than we are different amid grief. She highlights how finding connections and outlets for our grief can help us see that grief doesn’t always have to be such a lonely journey.
Heather L. Servaty-Seib, Ph.D., HSPP
Co-Author, We Get It
In this episode, Dr. Servaty-Seib‘s passion for the grieving young adult population shines through as she helps to raise awareness about the unique issues she sees not only on her campus, Purdue University, but also themes that have emerged from her research.
Dr. David Fajgenbaum
Castleman Disease Collaborative Network, Co-Founder & Executive Director
Co-Author, We Get It
In this episode, Dr. Fajgenbaum discusses how his personal experiences with grief had led him to not only look for every opportunity to live life to the fullest and look for hope in some of the darkest times but how to also write about it to inspire others.
In this episode, Kate shares her story on what it was like to be a bereaved young adult attending college. She speaks about how she seeks to incorporate grief work into her practice and to ensure her patients feel supported in times of grief.
Scott & Pammy Kramer
Dancing While Cancering, Co-Founders
In this episode, the Kramer’s share how their daughter, Maddie, only 2 1/2 years old, gave them life and inspiration even in her death. They share how they speak of Maddie every day talking with her little sister, who only had Maddie alive for less than a year.
Author, Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother
In this episode, Alexa shares her story on what would have been her daughter’s 8th birthday. She speaks on the struggles of grieving a twin’s death while celebrating the other’s birth and the choice she made, turning her anger into healing.
Founder, Pink Star Foundation
In this episode, Peggy shares her story about her beloved daughter and how forgiveness played such an essential role in her grief journey. Forgiveness allowed her to begin her journey to heal after her daughter was killed in a fatal boating accident.
Actor, Podcast co-host, Abandonment Issues
In this episode, Clarissa goes back in time and shares her experience after her father died from cirrhosis of the liver and kidney failure when she was 11 years old and became an orphan at age 12 when her mother lost her two-year battle to cancer.
Writer, Author & Producer
In this episode, Colet shares her personal story with grief, how it changed her life, and changed her too. She speaks about how others were waiting for her to be back to herself. They didn’t understand that grief and its impact changed her forever.
Executive Producer for Film & Television
In this episode, Heidi has an honest and hope-filled conversation about her experience as a grieving young adult. She shares her perspective on how this has helped shaped her life and encourages others to embrace grief in their own way.
Common Ground Grief Center
In this episode, Lynn speaks about her calling and how she turned it into a bereavement care center for children and the inspiration behind her new book, Little Ruby’s Big Change- Talking with Children About Loss, Change and Hope.
Brook Griese, PhD
Judi’s House & JAG Institute, Co-Founder
In this episode, Brook talks about a touching moment that brought clarity to her professional path and the much needed work of Judi’s House and the JAG Institute, where practice informed evidence and research come together.
The Center for Good Mourning, Program Coordinator
In this episode, Greg shares his experiences with grief as a young boy and the inspiring lessons he learned. He shares the inspiration to his book, Adam Gets Back Into The Game and his hope to inspire children of all ages.
Funeral Director, Mortician, Speaker, Author
In this episode, Guy shares his passion for his work and the inspiration that lead him to co-author, along with his brother, The Dying Art of Leadership: How Leaders Can Help Grieving Employees Excel at Work.
Harold Ivan Smith
Speaker, Author, Counselor, Grief Educator
In this episode, Harold shares a childhood experience that remains very present today, which perhaps led him into the bereavement care field and his writings. Harold speaks about his most recent book, Almost Everything Worth Knowing about Harry S Truman and the grief experienced in Truman’s life.
Actress, Author, Conservationist
In this episode, Martha talks about her grief journey and how wolves seemed to play a role in her life. She shares her experiences of seeing decedents and spirits and how her friend’s son channeled through her and inspired her writing.
In this episode, Bonnie shares her story about her grief experience and the support she hoped to find. Although services were available, she explains why they weren’t helpful and how that disappointment led her to the creation of TAPS, Tragedy Assist Program for Survivors.
Noah Cochron, MSW
Co-Founder, COVID Grief Network
In this episode, Noah shares their grief experience of being an adolescent when their father died and then a young adult when their mother died. Living in a world as a young person without parents “with big grief and big love” led them to their work.
Educator, Spiritual Caregiver, Co-Founder, COVID Grief Network
In this episode, Chloe shares her grief experience as a young adult and the reckoning that we can all die at any moment. How that awareness brought sadness, rage, and also wisdom and a deepening for her own story.
Author & Co-Producer, The Ravine
In this episode, Robert talks about a calling he had to author the novel, The Ravine and how it developed into a fictional motion picture. He spoke about his journey creating the film and how amazingly each actor was able to portray the true grief experience through the various characters throughout the film.
Author, Army Veteran, Facilitator
In this episode, Ta’Shay shares her memories back to when she was a nine-year-old little girl and experienced grief after her father’s death. She shares about the impact suppressing her emotions had through her adult life, and as a mature woman, she is finally facing her grief.
Writer, Speaker, Content Creator, Founder, Too Damn Young!
In this episode, Vivian shares about her grief experienced when her mother died as a ten-year-old, and then her primary care-giver, her grandmother, died as a young adult attending college. She shares how she sought support and others who would understand, but there weren’t any.
Barbara Karnes, R.N.
Hospice Innovator, Speaker, Author
In this episode, Barbara shares an experience from when she was a 16-year-old nurse’s aide asked to sit with someone dying. Terrified to do so, she was told to let them know, meaning the nurse’s station, when they died.
Lynne Hughes, C.E.O.
Comfort Zone Camp (CZC)
In this episode, Lynne shares her grief experience after her mother died when she was nine years old. Three years later, the day before junior high started, her father died, leaving her an orphan. Not wanting to be known as the girl with the dead parents, she showed up that first day of school.
Ronnie Walker MS, LCPC
Founder & Executive Director, Alliance for Hope
In this episode, Ronnie shares about the suicide of her 21 year old step-son. She says, “when he ended his life, it was like a grenade that exploded in our household.” Although she was a counselor at the time, she said nothing had prepared her.
Hospice Educator & Grief Counselor
In this episode, Carol shares an experience of grief. She was in her early 20’s when a friend jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. It was the first suicide or death she had experienced of a close friend. She remembers how nobody talked about it; no one talked about anything.
Tara Ferriola, Psy.D.
Author, Love Legacy Guidebook
In this episode, Tara explains, as she got older, she wishes she had more memories and connections to her grandmother, who died when she was nine. She shares how her children’s book became that tool to create them during her mother’s end-of-life.
Dr. Joshua Black
Grief Researcher, Speaker, Author, Podcast Host: Grief Dreams
In this episode, Dr. Black shares how life after his father’s death had no color. Until one morning, he remembered his dream of having a loving and peaceful exchange with his father. Life was full of color again.
Coach, Author: Sports Heaven: Why Sports is a Haven for the Fatherless/Motherless Child
In this episode, Coach Mercer shares how he thought his father was coming back at the age of six. It wasn’t until he was ten that he realized he wasn’t, and grief set in, and how then, sports became his grief therapy.
Dr. Martha Calihan
Author, A Death Lived
In this episode, Martha shares how her witnessing the terminal diagnosis and the end-of-life of her husband was an experience that was a mindful one. She shares her intimate story to show others how the conversation of death can be meaningful and powerful.
Author, Heartwood, the Art of Living with the End in Mind
In this episode, Barbara shares how she witnessed her friend, after being diagnosed with a terminal illness, living her fullest life. It was that experience that Barbara began to learn how to live life with the end in mind.
Kara Bowman, LMFT
Author, Heartbreak to Hope, Poems of Support for Grief and Loss
In this episode, Kara speaks about the importance of diving deeper than just questioning what’s wrong? Instead, she encourages an answer to the question, what happened to you? In that answer, healing begins.