Author Archives: Liz Matsushita (Blog Writer, SevenPonds)

Book Review: The Art of Being a Healing Presence (2001)

How to help a loved one through a tough time

What does it mean to be a “healing presence”? Is being present a simple physical state — or is there something more to it? The Art of Being a Healing Presence, a slim 2001 book written by counselor and ordained … Continue reading

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Book Review: The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri

Sensitive, honest portrayal of loss in the story of the Ganguli family

The family saga is a tried-and-true literary genre, one that usually follows a central clan as they grow, marry, have children, age and eventually die. There’s a certain rhythm to these types of stories — unlike so many other novels, … Continue reading

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Book Review: Famous Last Words

Pocket-sized book takes a lighter look at some notable final utterances

Are a person’s last words important? Do they leave some indelible mark on this world, having been the final vocalizations of a human being before he or she passes into the next one? I’ll leave that for you to decide. … Continue reading

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Book Review: “Last Acts of Kindness,” by Judith Redwing Keyssar

Stories from the bedsides of the dying and what they can teach us

A few months ago, I interviewed Redwing Keyssar for the SevenPonds blog to get her perspectives on death, dying, and palliative care. Her book, Last Acts of Kindness, outlines Redwing’s unique philosophies and also provides a vital tool for health … Continue reading

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Depression and Death in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar

Semi-autobiographical novel reflects Plath's own struggles with depression and suicidal tendencies

Sylvia Plath’s life reads like a tragedy. A gifted writer and poet from an early age, she struggled with depression starting in her teenage years. She married poet Ted Hughes, with whom she shared a tumultuous relationship and two children. … Continue reading

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What Is Palliative Care? An Interview with Dawn Gross

Why palliative care physicians are fairy godmothers, not "Grim Reapers"

Dawn Gross, MD, PhD, is a hospice physician at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Her background is in hematology and immunology, and she now works for the hospital’s Palliative Care Service, specializing in treating patients facing life-altering illnesses and … Continue reading

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