Nora McInerny – How Honesty Can Bring Us Through the Loneliness of Tragedy

A Conversation With Nora McInerny

Story Highlights
  • "When we lose the people we love, we never have a choice of when this happens, but we do have a choice as to whether we close ourself around that loss or whether we use their light to help us burn brighter." - Nora McInerny
  • “Someday, the universe will throw a wrench in the works and your well-oiled machine of a life will grind to a halt. And then it will keep going. Because after you got bored of crying and worrying, you took a deep breath and pushed it back into motion." - Nora McInerny

Why do we ask “how are you?” when we don’t want to know the real answer? And why do we always say “fine” even when the truth is that things are anything but fine? In her work as the host of the podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking, Nora McInerny shares the universal truths that make loss and suffering less lonely. Utilizing stories from her award-winning show, she invites audiences to consider a less isolating, more honest answer to the question “how are you?” An answer that builds empathy and connection within the most human of experiences: suffering.

Nora McInerny considers herself an expert on grief. She experienced three major losses within six short weeks in the fall of 2014 — she miscarried her second child, her dad died from cancer and her husband died from a brain tumor. These experiences had a profound effect on her and led to the development of the American Public Media podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking. Through TTFA, McInerny explores tough topics, such as grief, loss, suicide, trauma and mental illness, with guests in a straightforward and humorous way. She’s also shared her experiences with loss and life’s challenges in a memoir, It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too), and two other books, “The Hot Young Widows Club” and “No Happy Endings.”

In 2015, McInerny founded the nonprofit Still Kickin, in honor of her husband, to provide financial support to individuals and families facing challenges. The organization, much like McInerny, celebrates life and inspires hope.

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