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Author whose son died 14 years ago has words of hope for those who have lost loved ones
Photo by Paola Chaaya on Unsplash

Few would argue that there's any loss more painful than the death of a child, and those who would argue would undoubtedly be wrong. So if anyone might have some words of wisdom about grief worth listening to, it's a mother who has lost one of her own children.

Author Clare Mackintosh is one of those mothers, and she offered some words of hope on Twitter—promises about what the future holds for those deep in new grief—and her post has resonated with people who have recently lost loved ones around the world.

Mackintosh wrote:

"My son died fourteen years ago today. If you're struggling with the loss of a loved one, I have some promises for you.

I promise this will not always be the first thing you think about in the morning.

I promise you won't always lie awake at night, sobbing until you can't breathe.

I promise you will not always feel that hard lump in your throat, like grief is a rock that cannot be moved. It can.

I promise those waves of grief that knock you off your feet will become smaller, less violent. You will be able to stand and let them wash around you, not over you.

I promise walking won't always feel like you're dragging your legs through treacle; breathing won't always be something you have to remember to do. You will do both these things effortlessly again.

I promise you won't always be winded by someone else's happiness - their social media updates and photographs. You will smile and feel glad that they have something so special, and that you once had it too.

I promise you will be able to say their name without crying. That you will share a memory and feel wistful; sad, but not broken.

I promise you will not always have to take the day off work on anniversaries, because you are unable to function. You will find something special to mark it, or you will treat it like any other day, and either is okay.

I promise it won't always hurt like this.

Fourteen years ago a woman made me these promises, and I didn't believe her. I sobbed silently as she told me how the years had healed her, and I thought she was wrong. My grief was different.

You'll think I'm wrong too, but in fourteen years' time - or twelve, or five, or nine... - you will realise the rock of grief in your throat has washed away, and you will make these promises to someone else.

Until then, be gentle on yourself. Grief can't be rushed, and this is a particularly hard year in which to suffer a loss. Much love to you. ❤️"

People flooded the post with messages of gratitude, and some people who are also farther down the road of grief offered some advice of their own.



There are hundreds of responses to the thread from people who shared their own experiences, and they are all worth reading. While everyone handles grief differently and in their own time, so many people described how their grief changed over time—or how they changed and grew around it—and their stories offer hope and insight to those who are wading through new, raw grief.

One of the most beautiful things about being human is that no matter what happens, there are always other people who have been where we are, felt what we're feeling, and experienced what we're experiencing. And one of the blessings of modern life is that it's easier than ever to find those people when we need them the most, to help us know that we're not alone and to reassure us that we won't be exactly where we are, feeling exactly what we're feeling, forever.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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