As the adage goes: home is where the heart is. This may seem self-explanatory, but none of our close primate cousins have anything like homes. Whether we live in an igloo or in Buckingham Palace, the fact that Homo sapiens create homes is one of the greatest puzzles of our evolution.

In Home: How Habitat Made Us Human, neuroanthropologist John S. Allen marshals evidence from evolutionary anthropology, neuroscience, the study of emotion, and modern sociology to argue that the home is one of the most important cognitive, technological, and cultural products of our species’ evolution. It is because we have homes—relatively secure against whatever horrors lurk outside—that human civilizations have been able to achieve the periods of explosive cultural and creative progress that are our species’ hallmark.

Amber Tamblyn’s directorial debut, Paint it Black, will screen twice at the Woodstock Film Festival - tonight at 6:30 at the Woodstock Playhouse in Woodstock and Sunday at the Orpheum Theatre in Saugerties at 5:30 p.m. She will also participate in the festival’s "Women in Film and Media" panel on Saturday October 15 at the Kleinert James Art Center in Woodstock. Other participants in the panel are Bette Gordon, Catherine Hardwicke, and Mary Stewart Masterson. The panel is moderated by Thelma Adams.

Based on the novel of the same name by Janet Fitch, Paint it Black explores and explodes the confusion of grief when Josie’s boyfriend, Michael, commits suicide and his death brings her into the orbit of his powerful and powerfully cold and heartbroken mother, Meredith. Their strained relationship circling around who knew Michael better, who loved him more, and what can they get from - and do to - each other now that he is gone.

Tamblyn co-wrote the adaptation with Ed Dougherty. It stars Alia Shawkat as Josie and Janet McTeer as Meredith.

  Death is something we all confront ― it touches our families, our homes, our hearts. And yet we have grown used to denying its existence, treating it as an enemy to be beaten back with medical advances.

We are living at a unique point in human history. People are living longer than ever, yet the longer we live, the more taboo and alien our mortality becomes. Yet we, and our loved ones, still remain mortal. People today still struggle with this fact, as we have done throughout our entire history. What led us to this point? What drove us to sanitize death and make it foreign and unfamiliar?

In Death's Summer Coat: What the History of Death and Dying Teaches Us About Life and Living, Brandy Schillace shows how talking about death, and the rituals associated with it, can help provide answers.

  On November 29, 2007 Joseph Luzzi's life forever changed. His wife, Catherine, eight-and-a-half months pregnant, was killed in a car crash.

Before she died, doctors delivered their daughter, Isabel. His new memoir is In A Dark Wood. It tells the story how he dealt with his grief in part through the writings of Dante.

  Experts in end-of-life care tell us that we should talk about death and dying with relatives and friends, but how do we get such conversations off the ground in a society that historically has avoided the topic?

In Let's Talk About Death: Asking the Questions that Profoundly Change the Way We Live and Die, Steve Gordon and Irene Kacandes share the results of a no-holds-barred discussion they conducted for several years over email.

  When Allan Johnson asked his dying father where he wanted his ashes to be placed, his father replied--without hesitation--that it made no difference to him at all.

In his memoir, Not from Here, Johnson embarks on a 2,000-mile journey across the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains to find the place where his father's ashes belonged.

More than a personal narrative, Not from Here illuminates the national silence around unresolved questions of accountability, race, and identity politics, and the dilemma of how to take responsibility for a past we did not create.

  At their childhood home after their mother’s funeral, Nate gets high and Jeremy focusses on work waiting for him in the city -- both brothers trying to send their minds anywhere but where they are.

This is the starting point of A Little More Alive - a Musical Theatre Lab production currently running on Barrington Stage Company’s St. Germain Stage in Pittsfield, MA through August 8th.

The musical, directed by Sheryl Kaller and featuring actors Van Hughes, Daniel Jenkins, Nicolette Robinson, Michael Tacconi, and Emily Walton, tells the story of dealing not only with the devastation of loss but the revelation that the person who has died had a secret. A secret that warps all of their memories of her and both monumental and mundane moment in their lives.

Nick Blaemire wrote the show - book, music, and lyrics. We speak with him here about the process.

  In an exploration of the afterlife that is part personal, part prescriptive, Claire Bidwell Smith invites us on her journey into the unknown.

She wonders: How do we grieve our loved ones without proof that they live on? Will we ever see them again? Can they see us now, even though they are gone?

  When Sukey Forbes lost her six-year-old daughter, Charlotte, to a rare genetic disorder, her life felt as if it were shattered forever. Descended from two distinguished New England families, Forbes was raised in a rarefied—if eccentric—life of privilege. Yet, Forbes’s family history is also rich with spiritual seekers, including her great-great-great-grandfather Ralph Waldo Emerson. On the family’s private island enclave off Cape Cod, apparitions have always been as common as the servants who once walked the back halls. But the “afterlife” took on new meaning once Forbes dipped into the world of clairvoyants to reconnect with Charlotte.

With a mission to help others by sharing her own story, Forbes chronicles a world of ghosts that reawakens us to a lost American spiritual tradition. The Angel in My Pocket tells a moving tale of one mother’s undying love for her child.

  We all deal with loss.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Paul Tonko tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock about his father Stanley Tonko, who recently died at 94.

  In November of 2007, Bard College Professor Joseph Luzzi’s wife, Katherine, who was 8 1/2 months pregnant, was in a fatal car accident. Their daughter, Isabel, was born by C-section, just 45 minutes before her mother died on the operating table.

Suddenly a widower and a single father to an infant, Luzzi saw life turned upside down by this new unexpected reality, one of intense grief and loneliness.

  Here is what happens at a Death Cafe - people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink tea and discuss death. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session.

To tell us more about Death Cafes in our region – we welcome: Barbara Sarah - Founder of the Circle of Friends for the Dying which has sponsored 21 Death Cafes in Ulster County and Laurie Schwartz, a Founder of Circle of Friends for the Dying.

They've been having monthly Death Cafe gatherings in Ulster County since August, 2013 and will be hosting one at the Rosendale Café in Rosendale on Sunday, May 31st.

  Professor Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright and teacher. She was recently named a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, as well as the inaugural Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University. In 2009, she composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

In her memoir, The Light of the World, she finds herself at an existential crossroads after the sudden death of her husband. She tells a love story that is, itself, a story of loss. She reflects on the beauty of her married life, the trauma resulting from her husband’s death, and the solace found in caring for her two sons.

  When Helen Macdonald's father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer—Helen had been captivated by hawks since childhood—she'd never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk.

      Where do you go and who do you talk to when someone you love dies if it feels like no one around you is willing to or able to be there for you in the way you may need? The website, Modern Loss, exists as a guide to living with grief. Contributors share their diverse tragedies and the site's founders have aggregated lists of resources beyond their personal ability to help. Here we speak with Rebecca Soffer about her experience and her reasons for founding the site with Gabrielle Birkner.


  In 1961, Michael Rockefeller, son of then-governor of New York State Nelson Rockefeller, mysteriously disappeared off the remote coast of southern New Guinea. Amidst the glare of international public interest, the governor, along with his daughter Mary, Michael’s twin, set off on a futile search, only to return empty handed and empty hearted. What followed were Mary’s 27-year repression of her grief and an unconscious denial of her twin’s death, which haunted her relationships and controlled her life.

In her frank and moving memoir, When Grief Calls Forth the Healing: A Memoir of Losing a Twin, Mary Rockefeller Morgan struggles to claim an individual identity, which enables her to face Michael’s death and the huge loss it engendered. In the book, she shares her healing journey and her story of moving forward into a life of new beginnings and meaning, especially in her work with others who have lost a twin.

  On December 14, 2012, Scarlett Lewis experienced something that no parent should ever have to endure: she lost her son Jesse in an act of unimaginable violence. The day started just like any other, but when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Scarlett’s life changed forever.

Following Jesse’s death, Scarlett went on an unexpected journey, inspired by a simple three-word message he had scrawled on their kitchen chalkboard shortly before he died: Norurting Helin Love (Nurturing Healing Love). It was as if he knew just what his family would need in order to go on after this horrible tragedy.

**As mentioned in the interview posted here, J.T. Lewis' website is**

    When journalist Becky Aikman was widowed in her 40s, she felt unmoored. But she couldn’t find the kind of help that she needed, so she dug into the data and eventually created her own unique support system.

Her book, Saturday Night Widows: The Adventures of Six Friends Remaking Their Lives, details the trials and triumphs following tragedy — and new research about what really helps the bereaved.

    To Anne Serling, the imposing figure the public saw hosting The Twilight Zone each week, intoning cautionary observations about fate, chance, and humanity, was not the father she knew. Her fun-loving dad, Rod Serling, would play on the floor with the dogs, had nicknames for everyone in the family.

After his unexpected death at 50, Anne, just 20, was left stunned. Gradually, she found solace for her grief by talking to his friends, poring over old correspondence, and recording her childhood memories.

Now she shares personal photos, eloquent, revealing letters, and beautifully rendered scenes of his childhood, war years, and their family's time together. Her new book is: As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling.

Berkshire Record

Alan is joined by Anne Banks and Ted Dobson, whose daughter, Moira Banks-Dobson of Sheffield, Mass., was killed by a drunk driver who had six previous convictions in February of 2012. Her death has led her parents to push for various reforms in the months since. There's more information about their efforts and their daughter's life at