Dr. Michele Reiss
psychotherapist, educator and author
I am a psychotherapist who works with individuals and families coping with life-threatening medical illnesses. Recently, I gained public acknowledgement as the therapist who worked with Randy Pausch (author of The Last Lecture) and his wife Jai. However, I have been doing this work along with other types of therapy and teaching for more than thirty years. I have been blessed to have the opportunity to do work that I love and find intensely gratifying.
After all, I get to work with heroes like Randy and Jai Pausch. I get to work with individuals who are facing the unimaginable and who find the energy to fight the good fight; to search their psyches and their souls to find the best way to live the rest of their possibly limited life spans with as much grace, courage, and love as possible.
Illness and grief are inevitable life experiences. All of us, regardless of our cultural, spiritual or socioeconomic standing will sooner or later have to cope with the challenges of a life-threatening illness or the loss of a loved one. In Lessons in Loss and Living, I get to share the lessons that I’ve learned from the very special people that I have had the honor of working with. I’ve often thought of these lessons as their last gifts to me, but now I get to share these final gifts and lessons with all of you.
"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything --all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure--these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important."
(Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement, 2005)
These words poignantly echo Randy Pausch's Last Lecture message that we follow our dreams...These two incredibly bright and special men are telling us something important. Their message isn't a depressing one; it is one of great hope. We should listen.
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But, ah, my foes, and oh, my friends-
It gives a lovely light!
-Edna St. Vincent Millay
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about
learning to dance in the rain.
Dr. Michele Reiss may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org