EndNotes

Meeting Dr. Joyce Brothers in Spokane

Joyce Brothers for Becky Nappi blog (Associated Press)
Joyce Brothers for Becky Nappi blog (Associated Press)

When I heard the news yesterday about Dr. Joyce Brothers, I remembered meeting her and writing a story about her. I remember that, somehow, I picked her up at the airport and we did the interview in the car. I remembered she was kind of crabby. And that's all I remembered.

I spent an hour searching our digital archives for the story I wrote about her. I was sure it was in 1994 or later. Our archives were stored digitally in 1994 and beyond. No luck.

I finally went down to our newspaper library and in Brothers' clipping file, I found the story I wrote March 19, 1990. Memory is odd that way. It's nearly impossible to remember anymore if something happened five years ago or 10.

Brothers had come to town, sponsored by Hospice of Spokane, to talk about grief. Her husband had died the year before.

In the story, I reported (in a fairly gentle way) on her slightly rude behavior at the airport when her luggage was lost and how distracted and aloof she seemed in our interview.

Her coldness and aloofness were all I remembered thinking back, but the story reminded me that at the end of our interview, she cried about her husband. And at her talk, she cried, describing her grief. And her words about grief -- before I understood myself about grief because I hadn't lost then any of the people I have lost since -- were so right on the mark.

For instance, she said: "The only thing I regret is that I discovered how right he was about all the small things, and I can't tell him. For example, he would always come in the kitchen and close the cabinets. I cook and I always leave the cabinets open. He'd say: 'You are going to hit your head.' And by God, I did. And I wish he was here so I could tell him."

When she sobbed during her talk in front of 800 people, she said: "I wouldn't be human if I didn't cry."

And the audience was amazing. They let Brothers cry. "They took off their glasses, wiped the tears away and then placed the glasses on their faces again."

Godspeed Dr. Brothers. Thanks for the memories.

(Spokesman-Review archive photo of Joyce Brothers in the 1960s)




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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.






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