For many viewers, watching the landmark series On Our Own Terms: Moyers on Dying will provoke a wide variety of emotions. The series asks us to begin the difficult task of contemplating our own mortality. In response, KQED presents four half-hour companion shows: honest discussions about caregiving, grief, difficult decisions and what may lie beyond death. Hosted by veteran journalist, Ray Suarez, these programs invite viewers to look at the end of life With Eyes Open, and by doing so make their lives more meaningful.
With Eyes Open is part of the Bay Window series, produced by KQED in San Francisco. Peter Calabrese is vice president of television production for KQED. Executive producer for With Eyes Open is Sue Ellen McCann. Wendy Hanamura and Lisa Aliferis are producers for With Eyes Open.
"Grief and Healing" (Episode One)
The first episode, "Grief and Healing", is a conversation about loss, grief and healing facilitated by the founder of the San Francisco Zen Hospice Project, Frank Ostaseski. The program asks viewers what they fear about death, how they imagine their last moments, how they will say good-bye and how illness can be a transformative experience. Individuals like Paul, who is battling Hepatitus C, and Cathy, who lost her husband suddenly two years ago, discuss their experiences with grief and death, and coping with the fear of physical pain, loss of control, dependency, social isolation and anger. The episode ends with a ritual as the individuals convey a written message to those that they love, throwing their final words into a fire and watching as the embers rise.
The second episode, "Difficult Decisions", looks at the importance of talking about what we want at the end of life with our loved ones. What would happen if you had a major stroke, were confined to an intensive care unit and could not speak for yourself? Would your family know your wishes? Host Ray Suarez sparks a discussion with members of two families who have been confronted by this scenario, the Suens and the Bermanns. Both families were recently faced with making life decisions for their loved onesthe Bermanns had the discussion, the Suens did not. Suarez and the families are joined by doctors and educatorsDr. Steven Pantilat of the University of California at San Francisco, Kathy Glasmire of Sacramento Health Decisions and Dr. LaVera Crawley of the Stanford University Bioethics Departmentwho help translate the Suens and the Bermanns experiences into universal situations we can all discuss with our loved ones.
The third episode, "Caregiving", looks at the challenges and rewards of caregiving. Every day, some 25 million Americans provide care for someone they love who is sick or frail, ranging from taking care of an aging mother to helping a dying spouse get dressed, bathe and eat. These caregivers are not paid and dont know where to turn for advice or assistance. Suarez speaks with a group of real-life expertspeople who have personal experiences with caring for a sick or dying loved one. Suarez is also joined by Beth Witrogen McLeod, author of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated book Caregiving: The Spiritual Journey of Love, Loss, and Renewal and Celi Adams, founder of Home Care Companions, an agency which provides a free training program for families and friends struggling to provide the best home care possible.
The final episode, "Beyond Life, Beyond Death", asks where do we go when we die and is there a connection to our earthly lives? According to a Time Magazine poll, 81 percent of Americans believe in Heaven, when it is defined as the place "where people live forever with God after they die"; 94 percent believe in God or some higher power; and 79 percent believe in a Judgement Day. Host Ray Suarez interviews Tibetan Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman, as well as teacher and author Rabbi David Wolpe. Their conversations span a range of concepts involving our own mortality, from Buddhisms ideas of judgement and reincarnation; the old Jewish tale of two twins in the womb; and Christian imagery and beliefs. Both guests encourage viewers to ponder an afterlife where the mystery of death and the mystery of a "higher power" intersect.
Videotapes of With Eyes Open are available for purchase by contacting:
Teachers Note: Off-Air Taping Rights: 10 days
MOURNING | INTENSIVE CARE | WATCH AND WARD | AFTERLIFE
| DISCUSSION | TRANSCRIPTS
| ABOUT THE SERIES | PROGRAM