I have a deep respect for TED TALKS, as world leading thinkers and doers engage the world with their stories and encourage the pursuit of growth in all aspects. I learned about Rachel Stephenson’s TEDxCUNY talk, “Against Grieving in Silence,” in an email she had written to me and felt immediately called to watch.
In Rachel’s TED TALK, she shares the story of her mom’s death and how she was told her mom was “sick” and the next day was “with the angels” when she was only 5. It wasn’t until she was a teenager that the truth was revealed, when her cousin accidentally told her how her mother really died.
She also talks about her family’s struggle to confront their own feelings of grief (like so many individuals and families out there) and how her father’s alcoholic death may have been avoided.
I feel like Rachel’s work and my work are directly connected; we both are advocates for self expression in regards to feelings of grief and I, like her, feel like so much of life’s pain could be avoided if we were able to find outlets for the sadness and difficult feelings we all face when we lose someone we love.
Rachel Stephenson is a writer, speaker, educator, and university administrator who is living fully with grief. She is currently the University Director of the CUNY Service Corps at The City University of New York, and her professional experience includes designing and implementing innovative experiential education programs in civic engagement, workforce development, and youth development; writing interactive curricula; facilitating/emceeing professional development workshops and special events; fundraising; and more at a range of educational institutions and non-profit organizations in New York City. She is married with three daughters. Though Rachel has not spent her career in the world of grief and bereavement, she has spent her life thinking about her own grief – her mother died suddenly when Rachel was five – and knowing that she would one day revisit her own story to connect with others about navigating loss.