Share

cover art for Myra Sack | Being With The Both And

Grief is a Sneaky Bitch

Myra Sack | Being With The Both And

Season 4

My guest Myra Sack shares the heart break and the beauty of what it was like to be with her daughter Havi in her too short life. She and her husband Matt ended up having only 13 months between Havi’s diagnosis of Tay-Sachs Disease at just 15 months old and her death at home with them. In that time, the created a sacred weekly ritual that combined the Jewish tradition of Shabbat with birthday celebrations that Havi would most likely not be alive for. The result was 57 Shabbirthdays and the recognition that we can all hold joy and pain in these liminal spaces. What a sacred and beautiful conversation we shared.

 

EPISODE RESOURCES:

A Mother’s Letter On The Passing Of A Young Daughter by Myra Sack

Visit the Center for Healing and Justice Through Sport 

 

JUMP STRAIGHT INTO:

(06:06) - Approach Behavior vs. Avoidant Behavior: Why approaching grief as a community should be encouraged - “We see grieving people somehow as scary or you know, this negative stimulus as opposed to seeing grieving people as beautiful and wise and light.”

 

(09:18) - Myra’s story: How she met her Husband Matt, became the

mother of Havi and a fatal error that changed their lives forever. 

 

(13:36) - Shabbirthday: Moving from shock and anger to active

living and celebrating the time Havi had left - “It was in that moment that I

realized that she was here with me in this physical world for only a brief

moment more, and so I was going to summon whatever courage.” 

 

(26:19) - Finding solace as a community: How people became present

in the Shabbirthdays and accompanied Myra’s family.

 

(35:53) - How Myra continued a relationship with Havi after her death.

 

STAY CONNECTED
  1. SUBSCRIBE TO THE PODCAST on your favorite platform so you don’t miss an episode. If you love the show, I’d love to invite you to leave a rating and write a review.
  2. STAY UP TO DATE on the podcast and all the grief support offered by our host, Lisa Keefauver, by signing up for her Not-So-Regular Newsletter at lisakeefauver.com/newsletter.
  3. IF YOU’RE FEELING SOCIAL, you can find her on all your favorite social channels too. @lisakeefauvermsw on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and TikTok. Check out her tweets @lisakeefauver

More episodes

View all episodes

  • Jessica Fein | Breath Taking

    01:14:11
    Jessica Fein has faced a lot of loss. Siblings, parents, and in 2022 her daughter Dalia. At the age of five Jessica’s daughter Dalia was diagnosed with a rare degenerative disease that would claim her life at 17. Before that moment came, and inspired by Dalia’s own insuppressible zest for life, Jessica and her family would discover how to live in the present when the future can’t be fixed. In our conversation today, and in her beautiful book, Breath Taking: A Memoir of Family, Dreams, and Broken Genes, Jessica maps both her journey to becoming an adoptive mom and the roller coaster ride of loving and caring for a terminally ill child, persevering when the simple act of taking a breath can become an act of courage. Through it all, she discovers the need to be both relentless advocate and calm presence, to show vulnerability as well as strength, and to allow joy to be louder than sorrow. About the Guest & ResourcesIn addition to being a writer and a fierce advocate in the memory of her daughter, she's also host of the "I Don't Know How You Do It” podcast, which features people whose lives seem unimaginable from the outside. I’m grateful to share that I had the chance to be on the other side of the microphone and join her on her show recently too. Host Lisa Keefauver’s forthcoming book Grief is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or Bookshop.org and will be in bookstores JUNE 4th. Visit www.lisakeefauver.com to learn more about Lisa, sign up for her Not-So-Regular Newsletter, register for an upcoming online grief workshop, find out if she is coming to a city near you for her book tour, or watch her TEDx talk, Why Knowing More About Grief Can Make it Suck Less. Oh, and this season, if you want to WATCH the show, you can now watch it on YouTube @lisakeefauvermsw Recorded May 8, 2024
  • Human, Not Superhero (Episode Revisit) | Hui-Wen Sato

    01:22:17
    I’m inviting you to revisit a very special conversation I had from Season 4 of this podcast with my guest pediatric ICU nurse, Hui-Wen Sato.Why? Well something absolutely crazy and horrible happened to the both of us shortly after we recorded that episode in November 2022. Just over 2 months later, on January 20th 2023, we BOTH received a Breast Cancer Diagnosis. On the EXACT SAME DAY. You'll hear a compelling new intro about the friendship that formed and of course have a chance to listen or re-listen to the profound wisdom Hui-Wen shares in our conversation.What must it be like to be a pediatric ICU Nurse day in and day out, witnessing children and families in the most vulnerable and often grief-filled moments of their lives? Today’s guest, Hui-Wen Sato weaves a beautiful narrative about the realities of professional grief and the important cultural shifts needed to better serve both families and the medical professionals that serve them. She also shares the personal resources she draws on to sustain her and the role of storytelling as healing for all involved. And, as the title implies, she also implores us to stop putting healthcare workers on a pedestal. Hui-wen is a pediatric ICU nurse based in Los Angeles. She holds an MPH and MSN from UCLA, and is currently obtaining her Certification in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University. She and her husband have two daughters, two tortoises and one complicated dog. EPISODE RESOURCES:Her 2017 TEDxTalk was promoted to the main TED webpage in 2020, titled “How Grief Helped Me Become a Better Caregiver.”You can also now view her powerful talk at End Well hereShe has been featured in podcasts with NPR TED Radio Hour and The Silent Why, as well as webinars for Happify and the Speaking Grief Initiative.You can follow her work at http://heartofnursing.blog. Host Lisa Keefauver’s forthcoming book Grief is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or Bookshop.org. Drop her a DM on Instagram @lisakeefauvermsw to let her know you did and she’ll send you a party invite to her Book Launch Celebration Visit www.lisakeefauver.com to learn more about Lisa, sign up for her Not-So-Regular Newsletter, register for an upcoming online grief workshop, find out if she is coming to a city near you for her book tour, or watch her TEDx talk, Why Knowing More About Grief Can Make it Suck Less. Original episode recorded October 28, 2022. Recorded New Intro May 6, 2023 - 14 months after both guest and host were diagnosed with Breast Cancer on the exact same day - January 20, 2023.
  • J.S. Park | As Long As You Need

    01:15:10
    My guest today J.S. (Joon) Park is a hospital chaplain. Some of the other descriptions he uses for himself include: former atheist/agnostic, sixth degree black belt, suicide survivor, Korean-American, and follower of Christ. He is the author of a profoundly insightful, and at times poetic new book, As Long As You Need: Permission to Grieve. It’s part hospital chaplain experience and part memoir.In this episode, Joon shares a bit about his personal journey from growing up in a home with violence and a martial arts dojo to becoming a hospital chaplain, highlighting the similarities between the two roles in terms of being present and encouraging others to find their voice. We also discussed the importance of allowing individuals to talk about their hopes and dreams, even in the face of loss or adversity. Joon shared how he creates safe space where people can share their desires without feeling shame or judgment. One of the important themes Joon brings to light is the grief we often feel over future losses and the significance of giving oneself permission to grieve them.The conversation also touches on the idea relocating hope, of staying close to one's dreams and finding new ways to honor them, even if the original path is no longer possible. We also explored the importance of self-care and pacing oneself in the work of caregiving, recognizing the need for rest and support. One of the many important reminders I learned from both his book and our conversation is recognizing loss of autonomy and the value of finding the smallest choices and moments. Joon’s vulnerability, wisdom, and heart shine through both in his book and in our conversation.About the Guest & Resources J.S. Park is a hospital chaplain, published author, and online educator. For eight years he has been an interfaith chaplain at a 1000+ bed hospital that is designated a Level 1 Trauma Center. His role includes grief counseling, attending every death, every trauma and Code Blue, staff care, and supporting end-of-life care. J.S. also served for three years as a chaplain at one of the largest nonprofit charities for the homeless on the east coast. J.S. has a MDiv completed in 2010 and a BA in Psychology. He also has a sixth-degree black belt. He is the author of As Long as You Need: Permission to Grieve. J.S. currently lives in Tampa, Florida with his wife, a nurse practitioner, and his daughter, newborn son, and adopted dog. Host Lisa Keefauver’s forthcoming book Grief is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or Bookshop.org. Drop her a DM on Instagram @lisakeefauvermsw to let her know you did and she’ll send you a party invite to her Book Launch Celebration Visit www.lisakeefauver.com to learn more about Lisa, sign up for her Not-So-Regular Newsletter, register for an upcoming online grief workshop, find out if she is coming to a city near you for her book tour, or watch her TEDx talk, Why Knowing More About Grief Can Make it Suck Less. You can also WATCH this episode now on YouTube @lisakeefauvermsw Recorded April 24, 2024.
  • Julie McFadden | Nothing to Fear

    01:13:52
    Known as Hospice Nurse Julie on TikTok and Instagram, today’s guest, Julie McFadden, with 16 years of experience as an ICU and Hospice/Palliative nurse, is passionate about normalizing discussions around death through education. She has garnered a significant TikTok following, covering end-of-life topics that have earned her recognition in Newsweek, USA Today, The Atlantic, and several other global articles. Julie actively engages with her audience across various social platforms, including TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, fostering a more open conversation about death. Just like her videos, and in her forthcoming book, Nothing to Fear, in our conversation today she is kind and direct, helping to make clear what’s fact and what’s myth when it comes to hospice care. About the Guest & ResourcesYou can learn more about Julie McFadden, her forthcoming book, Nothing to Fear: Demystifying Death to Live More Fully, and more by visiting hospicenursejulie.com or following her @hospicenursejulie on TikTok or Instagram. Over the past five seasons of this podcast, I’ve invited various guests on to talk about the role of both palliative care and hospice care with you. From Palliative Drs. BJ Miller and Sunita Puri, to Palliative Social Workers Rachel Rusch and Rachel Carnahan-Metzger and others, this topic is profoundly important. Why? Well because so many of us will find ourselves in a position where someone we love will likely qualify for hospice someday. Perhaps we will too.About the HostHost Lisa Keefauver’s forthcoming book Grief is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or Bookshop.org. Drop her a DM on Instagram @lisakeefauvermsw to let her know you did and she’ll send you a party invite to her Book Launch Celebration. You can also meet her in person at one of the stops on her book tour which begins June 4th and includes cities like L.A., San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Baltimore, Boston, New York City, and more.Visit www.lisakeefauver.com and sign up for her Not-So-Regular Newsletter, to learn about her book tour, individual grief support openings, upcoming online and in-person grief workshops or to watch her TEDx talk, Why Knowing More About Grief Can Make it Suck Less. Oh, and this season, if you want to WATCH the show, you can now watch it on YouTube @lisakeefauvermsw Recorded April 5, 2024.
  • Ronit Plank | When She Comes Back

    01:19:32
    Today, Ronit plank is a successful writer of fiction and non-fiction, an editor, a podcast host of not 1 but 2 shows, and a teacher. But long before she became all those things, she was a young girl born on a Kibbutz in Israel, shuffled across the globe to Seattle by 2 unhappily married parents. Soon after, her father left to start a new family on the east coast. And then the following year, her mother dropped her and her younger sister on his doorstep - announcing she was headed to India. Her mother was sad and lost and was given cassette tapes by a guru called Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh – the man we now know as the leader of the cult featured in the Netflix Documentary Series Wild Wild Country. But back then Ronit didn’t know any of that, she just knew that she and her sister were abandoned repeatedly, leaving her with a deep well of grief that no one was naming as loss. In her extraordinary memoir, When She Comes Back, she shares revelations and insights about the nature of loss when the person is very much alive. In our conversation today, we’re both deeply moved and reflective about the adultification that happens when we grow up in disorganized and chaotic households, and the importance of honoring with care the versions of us that never got what we deserved, a safe and loving home. I can’t wait for you to spend time with Ronit today. I know for sure you will be both touched and inspired by her story. About the Guest & Resources Ronit Plank is an award-winning writer, teacher, and podcaster who hosts Let's Talk Memoir featuring interviews with memoir writers and teachers. Her writing has earned Pushcart Prize, Best Microfiction, and Best of the Net nominations and has appeared or is forthcoming in The Atlantic, Writer’s Digest, The Washington Post, Hippocampus, The Rumpus, The New York Times, Poets and Writers, andelsewhere. WHEN SHE COMES BACK, her memoir about the loss of her mother to the guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and their eventual reconciliation, was named Finalist in the 2021 Housatonic Awards,the 2021 Indie Excellence Awards, and was a 2021 Book Riot Best True Crime Book. Her short story collection HOME IS A MADE-UP PLACE won Hidden River Arts’ 2020 Eludia Award and the 2023Page Turner Awards for Short Stories. She earned an MFA in Nonfiction Writing at Pacific University, is Creative Nonfiction Editor at The Citron Review, and lives in Seattle with her family where she editsmemoir manuscripts and teaches workshops. You can learn more at RonitPlank.com, follow her on Instagram, and subscribe to her Memoir Moments newsletter here. Host Lisa Keefauver’s forthcoming book Grief is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or Bookshop.org. Drop her a DM on Instagram @lisakeefauvermsw to let her know you did and she’ll send you a party invite to her Book Launch Celebration Visit www.lisakeefauver.com to learn more about Lisa, sign up for her Not-So-Regular Newsletter, register for an upcoming online grief workshop or watch her TEDx talk, Why Knowing More About Grief Can Make it Suck Less. Oh, and this season, if you want to WATCH the show, you can now watch it on YouTube @lisakeefauvermsw Recorded April 5, 2024. 
  • Alua Arthur | Briefly Perfectly Human

    01:05:58
    We’re all just briefly perfectly human. That’s the profound reminder from our guest today, Alua Arthur. If we are brave enough to allow this truth be at the center of awareness in our day-to-day lives, Alua argues we could live a fuller, more compassionate, and even magic-filled existence. In our conversation today, and in her adventure-filled and beautifully honest memoir, Briefly Perfectly Human, she helps us see how we can make an authentic life by getting real about the end. Alua Arthur is a death doula, recovering attorney, and the founder of Going with Grace, a death doula training and end-of-life planning organization that exists to support people as they answer the question, “What must I do to be at peace with myself so that I may live presently and die gracefully?” Going with Grace works to improve and redefine the end-of-life experience for people rooted in every community using the individual lived experience as the foundation. Alua’s warmth, wisdom, wit, and passion for living - even while keeping the end in mind - is an inspiration to me and I know you will feel the same way after today’s episode.  About the Guest & ResourcesAuthor of BRIEFLY PERFECTLY HUMAN: Making an Authentic Life by Getting Real About the End, Alua Arthur is the most visible and active death doula working in America today. She is a recovering attorney and the founder of Going with Grace, a death doula training and end-of-life planning organization. Her TED Talk titled, “Why Thinking About Death Helps You Live a Better Life,” went online in July 2023 and has already received nearly 1.4 million views. A frequent guest on TV and radio, Arthur has been featured on CBS’s The Doctors and in Disney's Limitless docu-series with Chris Hemsworth, as well as other national media outlets, such as Vogue, InStyle, the Los Angeles Times, The Cut, The New Yorker, New York Times, Marie Claire, and CNN. She has appeared on dozens of podcasts, and a Refinery29 video feature on Arthur and her work received ten million views across social platforms. In non-pandemic times, she travels the country and world as a keynote speaker, addressing audiences of several hundred to several thousand people at medical and end-of-life conferences, universities, seminaries, senior citizens’ communities, and more. Host Lisa Keefauver’s forthcoming book Grief is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or Bookshop.org. Drop her a DM on Instagram @lisakeefauvermsw to let her know you did and she’ll send you a party invite to her Book Launch Celebration. Visit www.lisakeefauver.com to learn more about Lisa, sign up for her Not-So-Regular Newsletter, register for an upcoming online grief workshop or watch her TEDx talk, Why Knowing More About Grief Can Make it Suck Less. Oh, and this season, if you want to WATCH the show, you can now watch it on YouTube @lisakeefauvermsw Recorded March 22nd, 2024.
  • Nikki Mark | Tommy's Field

    01:12:12
    5 years ago, while today’s guest, Nikki Mark, was driving her 12-year-old son, Tommy, to a soccer game, he turned to her and asked, “Mom, is it possible to go to sleep and not wake up?” Nikki told him that’s how one of his grandmothers passed away: “it’s the best way to go-no pain, no drama.” He surprised Nikki further by stating, “It must be hard for a parent to lose a child.” Something told her in that car ride to tell him all the things she loved about him. Three days later, Tommy passed away in his sleep. There's still no medical explanation. Since that day, Nikki says she surrendered and that act has taken her on a healing path unlike many others – one that has included psychics, mediums, psychadelics, astrologists, and more. Even more profoundly, she has brought her strength and sheer determination to fulfill the dreams of not just Tommy, but so many families, by fundraising and then donating public fields to create Tommy’s Field – an open-to-the-public athletic fields that keep Tommy’s love of soccer and community alive and well.  About the Guest & ResourcesNikki’s “inspirational debut memoir” (as lauded by Publisher’s Weekly) is entitled Tommy’s Field: Love, Loss and the Goal of a Lifetime. Prior to losing Tommy, Nikki released a children's book series - The MightyMom Series- which includes Mommy Brings Home the Bacon; Mommy's Got a Bun in the Oven; and MightyMom. All author’s profits from all book sales are being donated to the TM23 Foundation to build more athletic fields where they are most needed, and to brighten our world with the #powerofplay. Access Nikki’s free weekly articles, popular alternative healing toolkit, and other valuable resources at Nikkimark.com. Host Lisa Keefauver’s forthcoming book Grief is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or Bookshop.org. Drop her a DM on Instagram @lisakeefauvermsw to let her know you did and she’ll send you a party invite to her Book Launch Celebration Visit www.lisakeefauver.com to learn more about Lisa, sign up for her Not-So-Regular Newsletter, register for an upcoming online grief workshop or watch her TEDx talk, Why Knowing More About Grief Can Make it Suck Less. Oh, and this season, if you want to WATCH the show, you can now watch it on YouTube @lisakeefauvermsw Recorded March 16th, 2024.
  • Peter Levine | Somatic Experiencing

    01:13:57
    I’m thrilled to share my conversation with Peter A. Levine, the renowned developer of Somatic Experiencing - a naturalistic and neurobiological approach to healing trauma, which he has developed over the past 50 years. He holds a Medical and Biological Physics doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley and a doctorate in Psychology from International University. He is the recipient of four lifetime achievement awards and is the author of several books, including Waking the Tiger, which has now been printed in 33 countries and has sold over a million copies. His memoir, An Autobiography of Trauma: A Healing Journey will be published on April 9th,2024.  ResourcesOrder An Autobiography of Trauma at https://books.innertraditions.com/autobiography-of-trauma/Dr. Levine is the author of several best-selling books on trauma, including Waking the Tiger, Healing Trauma (published in over 29 languages); In an Unspoken Voice,How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness; and Trauma and Memory,Brain and Body in a Search for the Living Past. Check out Peter Levine’s incredible resources on trauma and somatic experiencing (including videos, online courses, and his best-selling books) by visiting https://www.somaticexperiencing.com Host Lisa Keefauver’s forthcoming book Grief is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or Bookshop.org. Drop her a DM on Instagram @lisakeefauvermsw to let her know you did and she’ll send you a party invite to her Book Launch Celebration Visit www.lisakeefauver.com to learn more about Lisa, sign up for her Not-So-Regular Newsletter, register for an upcoming online grief workshop or watch her TEDx talk, Why Knowing More About Grief Can Make it Suck Less. Oh, and this season, if you want to WATCH the show, you can now watch it on YouTube @lisakeefauvermsw Recorded March 8th, 2024.
  • Claire Bidwell Smith | Invitation to Conscious Grieving

    01:13:14
    In this episode, I bring you my conversation with the wise and warm grief therapist and author, Claire Bidwell Smith.There are some common themes most grievers experience, regardless of the source of their loss. These include things like a loss of self-identity, heightened feelings of guilt, time spent ruminating on the what ifs, and increased anxiety and fear. What makes these typical experiences even more challenging is that they are so rarely named by others, or shown in media, and so we often feel even further isolated from the world and uncertain how to get ourselves unstuck. That’s why I’m so grateful for Claire’s words and wisdom. In her recent book Conscious Grieving, and in our conversation, Claire opens up about her personal experiences with these themes in the wake of the death of both of her parents in her 20’s. Over the course of her career as a grief therapist both in private practice and hospice, she has gained such deep insight on how we move through various phases in grief, or orientations as she calls them. She helps us unpack what we might face in each and the roadblocks that can get in our way. From the insights she shares to her soft and warm voice, you are going to feel guided with care through today’s conversation. ResourcesCheck out Claire’s body of work, including Conscious Grieving (her 5th book), hitting bookstores March 12th. If you’re listening before then, you don’t have to wait, you can pre-order it today on your favorite online bookseller. Also, Claire offers a wide array of workshops, retreats, and more, so head over to clairebidwellsmith.com to learn more. Host Lisa Keefauver’s forthcoming book Grief is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or Bookshop.org. Drop her a DM on Instagram @lisakeefauvermsw to let her know you did and she’ll send you a party invite to her Book Launch Celebration Visit www.lisakeefauver.com to learn more about Lisa, sign up for her Not-So-Regular Newsletter, register for an upcoming online grief workshop or watch her TEDx talk, Why Knowing More About Grief Can Make it Suck Less. Oh, and this season, if you want to WATCH the show, you can now watch it on YouTube @lisakeefauvermsw Recorded December 1, 2023