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On Grief, Healing And Resilience


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On Grief, Healing and Resilience

Billed as "the largest and most dynamic gathering of women in the nation," the California Women's Conference launched its Web site in July 2009, as a way to extend the power and reach of this outstanding conference. Now anyone can "attend" the sessions, simply by visiting the site and watching videos of the presentations. This year's conference included very moving talks by Katie Couric on Resilience and Maria Shriver on Grieving, as well as a Panel on Grief, Healing and Resilience.

Katie Couric's husband died 12 years ago after a 9-month battle with colon cancer; her sister died four years after that. She describes how she managed to find meaning after both these devastating losses, along with her struggles to "make it" in a man's world of broadcast journalism, all the while relying on her father's advice simply to "do your best."

Maria Shriver is California's First Lady, wife of Governor Arnold Schwartzenager, and producer of the conference. She is herself a recently bereaved daughter and niece, as both her mother (Eunice Shriver) and her uncle (Teddy Kennedy) have died within the last few months. She speaks vividly and movingly about her grief ("Every moment of every day I can feel my broken heart") and the loss of her mother ("My mother's death has brought me to my knees. Life without my mother is unimaginable to me.")

Moderated by Maria Shriver, the panel featured bereaved parents Elizabeth Edwards (wife of Senator John Edwards), Susan St. James (actress and wife of NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol) and Lisa Niemi (widow of Patrick Swazye). Topics ranged from coping with anticipatory grief, letting go, feelings of disloyalty and guilt, grief triggers, and dealing with the insensitivity of others, to finding hope and making meaning out of loss. Their stories are powerful, compelling, uplifting and filled with hope. Watch Good Morning America's brief overview of the panel presentation on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlqFlk7G1YE.

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