Roger Freeman and Alexandra Decas are members of The Dinner Party, a national community of mostly 20- and 30-somethings who’ve each experienced significant loss. Our conversation explores how connecting intimately with strangers who have similarly experienced loss has allowed each of them to address their feelings of isolation and learn how to live with and speak about their profound loss. They also talk about the role of humor at Dinner Party tables, how they each seek joy in their lives, and the confounding issue of helping men—who have been trained to hide any weakness—to show up and feel safe.
Today’s episode marks an ending of sorts and a new beginning. It is a lacuna, an interval, a gap. One door is closing and another opens. Today’s episode is the space between the Real Cancer podcast and the REAL podcast.
REAL will continue to feature conversations with individuals who‘ve faced the humbling encounter with reality that is cancer, and it will also explore other ways in which we engage with reality in the lives we live. REAL will broaden out the focus, exploring each week—through conversations with creative people of every type—the biggest questions we face in life: What does it feel like to be alive? How can we live meaningfully? Given the complexity of life—good and bad, hard and easy, exhilarating and depressing—how do we get on with living?
Eve Makoff is a palliative care doctor who specializes in working with cancer patients. Eve talks about following her father’s example in choosing medicine as a route to fulfilling life work. Drawn to the intensity of in-patient care, Eve has found professional gratification in learning how to listen to her patients, help them to understand their options, and facilitate their articulation of their goals and needs in their life and death.