When Someone Dies: Introduction (03:24)
Hear "Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep" by Mary Elizabeth Frye. Jan Mojsa provides rationale for making a film about loss. It features three people who share their experience about losing a loved one.
Mary's Story (11:08)
Mary recalls the day her husband John died of an epileptic seizure. She engages with her moment of loss, reflects on the rollercoaster of bereavement, describes coping activities, and discusses learning to live with the loss over time.
Passage of Grief (04:49)
Mojsa discusses Mary's recall of events leading to John's death, emotional immediacy, and struggle to find meaning in her experience. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross identified common themes of shock, denial, isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance; view the loss curve.
Counselor Bill Hawkins tells the story of a woman who lost her son. She asked the Buddha for medicine to bring him back to life. The Buddha helped her understand that death is part of life.
Losing a Child (04:58)
Losing a child upsets the natural order of life. Hear "There is a Pain-So Utter" by Emily Dickenson. Claire's daughter Emily died after heart surgery. Claire kept a diary for ten years; hear the entry describing Emily's death and questioning life.
First Months after Losing a Child (04:15)
Claire's early diary entries after Emily's death feature physical pain and feelings of desolation. A few months later, she became angry and felt she was failing Emily. She thought about dying to be with her daughter.
Choosing to Grieve Less (05:07)
At their bleakest moments, people turn to spiritual resources. Over the years, Claire moved in and out of grief towards a less painful place; hear her diary entry from a year after Emily died. Two years after Emily's death, Claire was pregnant and determined not to become overwhelmed with sadness.
Michael's Story (11:10)
Michael recalls meeting his wife Kaisa and describes their marriage and her illness. He felt like he died with her, but she encouraged him to continue living. Michael reflects on the grief process and the journey to acceptance.
Tasks of Mourning: Accept the Reality of Loss (03:07)
Some people are passive in the grief process. William Worden suggests empowerment through accepting the reality of loss, working through the pain of grief, adjusting to the environment, and finding a place for the person in your heart, and reinvesting in life. Mojsa discusses how film participants express disbelief in losing loved ones. Rituals can help us accept death and say goodbye.
Work through the Pain of Grief (05:42)
Bereaved people may face anger, sadness, guilt, anxiety, loneliness, exhaustion, numbness, and physical issues. Michael experienced a weakened immune system. Mary explains her experience with anger and guilt. Hear Claire's dream about Emily.
Adjust to the Environment (01:13)
Mojsa discusses how loss impacts social and family interactions. Film participants expressed a desire to join their loved ones in death.
Find an Appropriate Place for the Person in Your Heart and Re-Invest in Life (08:29)
Many people believe acceptance means mourning is over, and they are expected to move on. Hear Claire's diary entry on the ten year anniversary of Emily's death. Michael reflects on learning to love again. Mary discusses her ongoing relationship with her husband. (Credits)
Ongoing Grief (01:57)
Mary discusses emotions that reemerge while sharing her story of loss. She references Rumi's "The Guest House" in terms of learning to share space with those feelings.
Reliving a Loss (03:00)
Mary shares the story of John's death from a seizure. She suffers guilt for leaving him to go to work and anger and sadness at his death.
Loss Becomes a Part of Us (02:42)
Mary reflects on learning to accept John's death as part of a natural order; it became part of her identity. Her relationship with John has not stopped.
Rollercoaster of Grief (02:51)
Mary felt irrational anger towards John for leaving her. She talks about learning to sit with her feelings and with the empty space where he used to be.
Drug Baby (01:40)
MonaLisa burns her drug paraphernalia and discusses being born addicted. She wants to ask her biological mother, why?
Coping with Guilt (02:16)
Mary tries to be philosophical about John's journey beyond. She talks about emotions of anger and guilt.
Grief Survival Techniques (02:39)
Mary describes using meditation to step back from her feelings and emotions. She went for walks and gardened to connect with nature; she planted an honesty bush for John.
Gifts from Bereavement (05:32)
Mary discusses insights gained during the journey of loss. She is thankful for her relationship with John and for the opportunity to develop spiritually. She believes their relationship continues beyond death.
Life Goes On (01:50)
Mary returned to work two weeks after John's death; she had to care for her teenage son. The routine helped her cope with the loss. She reflects on the ongoing grief process.
Credits: When Someone Dies (00:05)
Credits: When Someone Dies
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