Dr. Remen is Clinical Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, a cofounder of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program, and the founder and director of the Institute for the Study of Health and Illness at Commonweal. She is an internationally known teacher and the author of the New York Times bestsellers Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings. Her course for medical students, “The Healer’s Art,” is currently being taught in fifty-three medical schools nationwide. For more information, visit


My mother’s experience with my grandmother Rachel’s presence was so convincing that I found myself wondering why I could not see her. It was more than a little unnerving. And very moving. Periodically, she would appear to listen and then would tell me of my grandmother’s reactions to what she had told her. They spoke of people I had never met in the familiar way one does with gossip; they spoke of people like my great-grandfather David and his brothers, my great-granduncles, who were handsome men and great horsemen. “Devils,” said my mother, laughing and nodding her head to the empty chair.

Author and teacher DR. RACHEL NAOMI REMEN deepens her bond with her mother, her deceased grandmother, and her family heritage during a moving deathbed vigil.

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Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen’s AUDIOBOOKS.

Photograph taken by Corrie McCluskey