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4 Recent Ted Talks For the Grieving

If you’re a fan of Ted Talks, they can be a great way to hear other people’s perspective on whatever they’re going through. Today we will look at four recent Ted Talks that are especially good for those who are grieving. We give a short review of each, along with a quote from the speaker. We hope these enrich your story and help give you a new perspective of your own grief journey. 

Ted Talks for The Grieving

Why I photograph the quiet moments of grief and loss

Caroline Catlin speaks of her diagnosis of a rare and aggressive brain cancer and how she used photography as part of her processing journey. Even though she was going through chemotherapy and radiation, she volunteered to take pictures of children who had also been diagnosed with cancer. Her first session was an end of life session with a 3 year old. 


I want to bring you with me into the rooms where the mothers hold their babies and the families say goodbye. And I want to offer you the chance to see in frames, to choose the point of focus and blur the background, to see the details we so often miss, the moments of grace and beauty we assume don’t exist in those desperate places. In the hardest moments imaginable, those families, they choose to love, despite and because of it all.”


How to find meaning after loss

David Kessler has written 6 books on grief and loss, including co-authoring two books with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. In this interview he discusses the 6th stage of grief: meaning. He talks about how there isn’t meaning in a death, a loss of a job or a pandemic. But there is meaning found in ourselves after we experience these losses. He also talks about not comparing our experiences or our griefs. But we must let them co-exist together. We each have our own unique grief experiences.


“Here’s one of the myths: We think we make our grief get smaller, that’s the goal. The goal isn’t to make our grief smaller. The goal is for us to become bigger, to grow around this grief. It’s not “what are we going to do after this pandemic,” but “who are we going to be?” It’s not, “what are we going to do after this loss?” But “Who are we going to be?”


I stepped out of grief – by dancing with fire

When Danielle Torley was six years old, her family was caught in a house fire and her mother died. She talks about how she discovered fire dancing on a trip to Honduras years later and how unexpectedly, it became a type of therapy for her. She talks about how we each have a choice after experiencing trauma. We can either choose a life of fear or choose to look forward and move forward. 


“For anyone who spins, there’s a level of adrenaline or that rush of fire dancing. But as someone whose life had been so greatly impacted by fire, I also felt an immense sense of empowerment at being able to control and manipulate fire.”


What the Irish wake teaches us about living and dying

Kevin Toolis beautifully and thought provokingly proposes that we have lost the art of death because we view it as a “me” thing instead of a “we” thing. He believes that living life to the fullest requires us to embrace our shared mortality. In an Irish wake, there are protocols that allow humans to recognize the humanness of the one who has died, while being able to express their own grief and varying emotions.


“And those protocols (at an Irish wake) allow you to do things. So for instance, there is a licensing of grief. Being angry, tearful, grieving, crying. A recognition of irrevocable change in the very public deadness of the deceased. A communal acknowledgment of bereavement and loss. An unflinching mortal solidarity. A we-death, not a me-death.


Sharing the company of the dead at wakes and funerals was our foremothers’ mortality driving lessons. Their “how to live and die” manual, with a list of embedded instructions, like, how being mortal is the one thing in life that you will never get to choose. How thinking that you’re immortal is a foolish idea. How the pleasures of sorrow, open public grief can heal up a wounded soul. And how together we can conquer our fear of death.”


We hope these Ted Talks for the grieving are helpful tools as you navigate your own journey. For more free grief resources, head over to our grief support page. There you will find support groups, grief blogs and other help links to free resources.

Living, Loving, Remembering

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