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This American Life

738: Good Grief

Grief gets a bad rap as something to avoid. But what happens when you confront it? At this moment of unimaginable loss, stories of people reckoning with grief, and what they learn.

Juan Bernabeu

Note: The internet version of this episode contains un-beeped curse words. BEEPED VERSION.

Ira talks with comedian Rob Delany, who suffered the worst kind of loss a parent can endure — the death of his two-year-old son, Henry. Rob describes what his grief has been like and what he’s learned from it. (11 minutes)

Producer Chana Joffe-Walt wondered what it was like for surviving MTA employees coping with the loss of their co-workers due to Covid-19. She met one in particular who’s had a hard time saying goodbye. (12 minutes)

Here’s the memorial video the transit authority in New York City made to remember its workers who died from COVID.

Producer Sean Cole has, unfortunately, experienced something known as “cumulative grief” this year. He writes about the multiple upheavals he’s been dealing  with. (13 minutes)

Producer Bim Adewunmi travels to the site in Minneapolis where George Floyd was murdered by a police officer. It’s become a huge, make-shift memorial, big enough to absorb the grief of all-comers who wish to pay homage. (10 minutes)

One of the 590,000 casualties of Covid-19 this year was Leiah Danielle Jones. She was one of the “long haulers” and she died in March 2021, but not before writing her own obituary. (7 minutes)


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