Podcast: David Kessler

Podcast: David Kessler

David Kessler, the world’s foremost expert on grief, talks about finding meaning in loss.

“Your loss is not a test; it is not a blessing; it is not a plan. Loss is what happens in life. Meaning is what we make after,” says David Kessler.

Kessler is one of the world’s foremost experts on grief. He co-authored On Grief and Grieving and Life Lessons with famed psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, who pioneered the concept of the five stages of grief.

And Kessler is an expert in grief in a deeply personal way too. He witnessed a mass shooting while a child at the same time his mother was dying. He has served on the Red Cross Aviation Disaster Team and has volunteered for decades as a Los Angeles Police Department specialist reserve officer. He has worked with physicians, nurses, counselors, police officers, and first responders, and leads talks and retreats for those dealing with grief. And, in 2016, he lost his 21-year-old son to a drug overdose.

He and Rabbi Rami discuss his new book, Finding Meaning. Kessler wrote the book while processing the grief over his son’s death.

In his groundbreaking new work, he seeks to go beyond the classic five stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance—to discover a sixth stage: meaning. This is about moving, he says, from the why to the how.

Finding Meaning will be a helpful book for anyone in a stage of grief, and if you are, please see Kessler’s website ( for additional resources.

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