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GeriPal - A Geriatrics and Palliative Care Podcast

Sep 2, 2021

Much has been written in geriatrics and palliative care about anticipatory grief, about the grief of caregivers, and even the grief clinicians experience following the deaths of their patients.  Krista Harrison, in a Piece of My Mind essay in JAMA, writes about something different.  She writes about coping, as an academic hospice and palliative care researcher, with personal grief from the deaths of her dad and step-dad within 5 months of each other.  

There are many reasons this essay likely touched so many people (it seemed to be all over Twitter).  One is that there’s a silence around this experience of death.  Krista’s essay opens up a space to talk about it.  Another is that the experience of grief is in fact universal, whether it’s the loss of a loved one, the loss of a colleague or mentor to illness or a move, the loss of “a return to normal” following COVID.  

Krista wanted to add a couple of things not mentioned in the podcast that she found helpful.  First, she treasures videos she has of her loved ones recorded before death.  Second, she made fingerprint imprints of her two dads and keeps the fingerprint impressions in a locket around her neck.

We talk with Krista about these and many other things on this week’s podcast.  Let’s keep the conversation going.