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Breathing Wind

Jan 9, 2024

“If we have the intention to live with love and compassion, we can handle anything. We are amazing beings, we humans. We can also really screw up badly, but if we have the intention to live with love and compassion, it changes what we do and how we are.”

~ Susan J. Tweit

In her memoir, Bless the Birds: Living with Love in a Time of Dying, Susan J. Tweit, an award-winning writer and plant ecologist, recounts her journey accompanying her husband toward the end of his life, following a diagnosis with brain cancer. We explore what it was like for her to navigate those devastatingly bittersweet last two years of his life, which included a 4,000-mile honeymoon road trip they’d long put off and the death of Susan’s mom to Alzheimer’s. But as Susan shares her experiences of grief and death with us, what shines through is not so much the challenges and pain of her journey — though she is candid about both, especially having been a caregiver — but her insistence on fully living during those years. She and her husband Richard were committed to filling their days with love, compassion, beauty, wonder and gratitude for each other. As she speaks to life after Richard, Susan reflects on how she still carries him with her, what it’s been like to reclaim her independence and what we can all learn from facing death with less fear.

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