Jul 27, 2011

Grief: A World Changing Event

Everyone experiences and expresses grief in different ways.  Some go into reclusion while others feeling the need to connect, jumping back into the world.  There are those who, after losing a loved one, try to find someone to replace them and those grateful for the newfound quiet in their lives, attach themselves to a new hobby or other life venture. 

The energy it takes to process the emotions of grief is enormous.  Often times people who have experienced loss can walk around in a daze for quite some time. I found myself angry at no one and had a low lying level of sadness that bordered on depression when I lost Joe.  It's still there for me.  I'm not depressed but I experience life behind the filter of grief.  And that filter comes and goes.  It doesn't consume me, it just makes my perceptions fuzzy and I retreat into a more observant and reflective state of mind. 

I want to tell you about a friend of mine who took her process and turned into a world changing event.

Her name is Susan Neustadt Brecker.  Here she is with her two children accepting the grammy awards her husband and their father would have won that year. 

Her husband, Michael Brecker, jazz tenor saxophonist, passed away 4 years ago. He is considered a musical genius by many. When he was diagnosed with MDS, a form of leukemia, Susan and her husband went into action. Micheal needed a bone marrow transplant to save his life. After exhausting the bone marrow registries and not finding a match, Susan started an email chain asking friends to get registered.  Within 24 hours the email had been translated into 6 languages and criss-crossed the globe.  Unfortunately the clock was already running and they weren't able to find a match for Michael in time.  But the story doesn't end with Michael's death.  It continues. 



Because of that email, many lives around the world were saved.  24 of them in Israel alone.   Susan recognized a need for awareness and an even greater need to build a universal donor registration list.  People were dying because there wasn't an adequate registry for bone marrow donors, a simple procedure.  When she started talking to people about it, she found most assumed it was difficult to register for. In fact, all if takes is a swab of your cheek, using a simple kit. 

Susan went back into action and made a film.  Her intention was to inform people about MDS; put a face to the diagnosis. As well, as illustrate how easy it is to save a life.  After each screening kits are given to people building the registry one film showing at a time.  

Here's the trailer for More to Live For: 

This is only the beginning.  There's so much more that can be done to raise awareness and build the registry.  Imagine if one day you or someone you love needs a transplant and because someone channeled their grief into positive action based on intent of creating a solution, you or the person you love could be saved.  I think that's worth 5 minutes of my day to go check out the trailer and sign up for the registry. 

 Here's the place to go to to sign up


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