Death By Design

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John Duberstein, The Bright Hour – Nina Riggs

Season 2, Ep. 3

An exquisite memoir about how to live—and love—every day with “death in the room,” from poet Nina Riggs, mother of two young sons and the direct descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson, in the tradition of When Breath Becomes Air.


“We are breathless, but we love the days. They are promises. They are the only way to walk from one night to the other.”


Nina Riggs was just thirty-seven years old when initially diagnosed with breast cancer—one small spot. Within a year, the mother of two sons, ages seven and nine, and married sixteen years to her best friend, received the devastating news that her cancer was terminal.


How does one live each day, “unattached to outcome”? How does one approach the moments, big and small, with both love and honesty?


Exploring motherhood, marriage, friendship, and memory, even as she wrestles with the legacy of her great-great-great grandfather, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nina Riggs’s breathtaking memoir continues the urgent conversation that Paul Kalanithi began in his gorgeous When Breath Becomes Air. She asks, what makes a meaningful life when one has limited time?


Brilliantly written, disarmingly funny, and deeply moving, The Bright Hour is about how to love all the days, even the bad ones, and it’s about the way literature, especially Emerson, and Nina’s other muse, Montaigne, can be a balm and a form of prayer. It’s a book about looking death squarely in the face and saying “this is what will be.”


Especially poignant in these uncertain times, The Bright Hour urges us to live well and not lose sight of what makes us human: love, art, music, words.

More Episodes

10/14/2021

Dr. Christopher Kerr

Season 4, Ep. 32
Hospice physician. End-of-life researcher. Acclaimed author ofDeath Is But a Dream. Death Is But a Dream, based on Dr. Kerr’s extensive research with hospice patients and their families in Buffalo, NY, highlights and validates the powerful dreams and visions often experienced at end of life that bring comfort and meaning to the dying process.Dr. Kerr is the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer of Hospice & Palliative Care Buffalo, a valued member of our Coalition and parent organization of Hospice Buffalo. Dr. Kerr wroteDeath Is But a Dream, an examination of ELEs, based on his experience with hospice patients and their families in Buffalo, NY.“Surviving Death” is a six-part series that explores the end of life through personal stories and research on near-death experiences. The fifth episode documents Dr. Kerr’s conversations with hospice patients of all ages who report seeing and interacting with deceased loved ones. These experiences can offer comfort for people as they near the end of life and, in turn, for their caregivers and loved ones.“We’ve done studies of hundreds of bereaved people and it’s very clear that what is good for the patient is good for the loved ones, and it absolutely soothes them in grief,” Dr. Kerr explains during an interview for the series.“Surviving Death” is now available to stream on Netflixhere. For more information on Hospice & Palliative Care Buffalo, clickhere. You can also learn more about the work of Dr. Kerr and his fellow researchers by clickinghere.