Could The Passing Away Of A Loved One Be A Beautiful Thing?

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

This past week of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast has told the story of how Tana’s father’s health issues ultimately changed their family dynamic for the better. This episode brings the story to a conclusion, with Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen revealing exactly what happened during her father’s final moments.

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Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warriors Way podcast. I'm Doctor Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tanas Amen. In our podcast we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr Daniel Amen: The Brain Warriors Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years, using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warriors Way podcast is also brought to you by Brain MD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to
Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome back to the reluctant healer week. Before we talk about the day your dad died, this is from blissfulbaboon.
"So true about the relationship between autism and gluten and dairy sensitivity. Radical improvements have been observed when kids, autistic kids are taken off gluten and dairy and given probiotics to help their microbiome. Leaky gut is often the cause of food allergies and subsequent brain disfunction. So leaky gut should be addressed and treated."
Thank you so much for sending that in. We absolutely agree with that.
Tana Amen: Yup.
Dr Daniel Amen: And antojitos don't help your gut.
Tana Amen: Okay. Stop. So that is not what happened. So ... so interesting, because the hospice physician had come to the house, and he said, "Oh, he's probably got a couple more weeks." They really thought that my dad was doing fine, and he had at least a couple more weeks even though he was in hospice. And so his vitals were stable, everything was good, and I want to just credit, you know, a couple, first of all, I've already talked about hospice and how amazing they are. But one of the ministers, because he had been leading Bible study over at a church near us, Mariner's Church, and one of the ministers there, Eric Heard, was a pretty amazing guy. And he came to the house, and because my dad really wanted to talk to a minister, and so Eric Heard came to the house, and spent the day with him.
And here's what was interesting. My dad was still having a hard time letting the past go. His guilt. He's still having a hard time letting go of his guilt from the mistakes he had made. Mostly with his daughters, right? There's three of us, my two half-sisters and me. So he was really having hard time reconciling this.
And so Eric came, and they, I don't know what happened during these few hours, but whatever happened was really powerful. So, when I went in to go see my dad, he was crying, and he was happy, and he really, it really seemed like whatever happened he really finally had gotten it. And so I sat with him for little while and we talked about it, and I once again reassured him, I'm like, "Dad, none of us are carrying that anymore. Like, don't go with that. Don't go with that thought. We're all fine. We've all let go. We all love you, like, let it go."
And really for the first time seemed like he really had done that. He was just peaceful. He was super peaceful. And then he slipped away. So he supposedly had a couple of weeks, and it was just like the second he let go, he like slipped away. And he was just all of a sudden not conscious anymore, he was alive but he wasn't really conscious. And so he was like moaning and he was not conscious, and it was shortly after the antojitos, as you pointed out ... so, but that was not what did it. I really believe it was because he just had unfinished business and he, you know, he'd been praying to take care of that and he was able to take care of it.
So he, the day that he died, I mean he had spent this time with the minister that he had wanted, he was able to let that go, he was in such a peaceful place, you know the hospice nurse had been so amazing with me and really helping me, and then I was literally sitting in his bed. I was holding him. I was like cradling him. And I was praying with him, and you came in and you were holding his hand. And he passed away. And it was just this incredibly peaceful, amazing, day. And it sounds so strange for that to happen during someone's death. But there was nothing traumatic about it. It was actually just a great day.
So we all knew it was coming, and ...
Dr Daniel Amen: So, working on healing his brain, and subsequently your relationship with him, what kind of legacy, or what kind of imprint does that leave on your psyche?
Tana Amen: So I've done a lot of praying about this because I really didn't want to do it. And there's been several situations like that afterwards, we'll talk about another time.
So I did a lot of praying about it, and what came to me was, this same thing happened with the Salvation Army when we were working with people, a population that was hard for me. And when I prayed about that, the same thought had come to me. It's like, why don't you understand, why don't you trust me? I'm not putting you there ... I'm putting you there for your benefit. I'm doing this for your benefit. And what came to me was, the help is for them but the healing is for me.
And so I'm like, why is this so, why do I keep repeating the same dumb mistake, when it's so ... it's happened repeatedly, right? So the help is for them, but the healing is for us. And so sometimes it's really hard, sometimes we don't want to do these things. But when we give of ourselves in a way that it painful, that is hard, that is in my mind, what came to me ...
And there are times I do believe that we, there are times I believe we shouldn't do it. I do believe that there are certain boundaries that we have to have to protect ourselves, to protect our families. But there are other times when we, we know that we're supposed to be doing something and we don't want to do it. And we don't want to do it because of our own past, our own pain. But when we stretch ourselves, it helps us to bridge those gaps and tear down those walls, and it heals something broken in us.
And that's what sort of came to me through all of this process was, I am like not kidding, and people who know me would not see a scared, broken person, they would sort of see, sort of a scary kind of person, because that's what I created to protect myself. It's like there's walls you don't get to get through. And if you try, God help you.
But that's my façade, right? But what this did, bridging that and stretching past all of that, it breaks that down. It heals that brokenness.
Dr Daniel Amen: So let's wrap this for our brain warriors. What would you see is the biggest lessons in this story?
Tana Amen: Well I think I just said it. When you stretch yourself in a way that is hard for you ... first of all, protest yourself, have boundaries that, you know, that are, that you know, you don't want to ever put your family in harm and in jeopardy ... but when you can do that, the help is often for someone else but the healing is often for you. I think that's the number one lesson. And I think it helps to heal the brokenness.
Dr Daniel Amen: And that broken relationships are often caused by brain disfunction.
Tana Amen: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr Daniel Amen: So there's genetic vulnerabilities, here's toxic exposure-
Tana Amen: Well I like our four circles-
Dr Daniel Amen: -that ... so there's a biological piece to why relationships are hard. I can't tell you the number of husbands we've seen here where the wife says, "I'm leaving you unless you go get evaluated." Because the relationship is so hard, they want to know is there a brain reason, and if there is would you please fix it, would you please optimize it. And so often when people do that, their relationships can be better.
But it doesn't just heal the psychological imprint on your brain, that for you and your dad even as he got better, you both still had to work through that, it was actually easier for you than for him.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: Which is interesting ...
Tana Amen: Because when his brain got better he suddenly was faced with the stuff he did. So he had to deal with that. Because when his brain got better, it was like, "Oh, whoops. Like what happened."
Dr Daniel Amen: And when your brain's not right, the first person you blame is not yourself, it's other people.
Tana Amen: Right. And suddenly he was blaming himself. That as the first time I'd ever seen that.
Dr Daniel Amen: Because he had more empathy.
Tana Amen: Yeah. Before that he was always a victim. Which just used to irritate me to no end. Like, why are you ... it just irritates me when people act like victims anyway, so ...
Dr Daniel Amen: And another lesson, even for things we don't want to do, sometimes they stretch us, and change us in a way that helps us be reluctant healers.
Tana Amen: Yeah, and I think maybe we should do a series on daddy issues, because I think what's really interesting is, as that relationship healed, I began to see so many things different. I didn't even realize ... So prior to that, I mean part of it's because my dad was this minister, and so my faith was really sort of affected. Whatever religion you are, if your relationship with your dad is, or whatever you believe in, if your relationship with your dad or your parents or whatever is not right it can affect how you see the world, or how you see your faith or your religion. And it certainly did with me, because I ... And all of a sudden one day I realized, I woke up and I went, "My dad is human. My dad is a man. He's not God." Like it just, you know, it's just this sort of awakening, and it's like, why am I blaming God for what my dad did? And it's sort of like helped me, it broke free all of that baggage, and it also at the same time helped me, I believe with my relationship with you.
So because I think your intimate relationships are affected by all that negativity and that baggage and what you think, like for example, I've said in our other podcasts, I was absolutely convinced that you were manipulative, because no one is that nice. Because my template was not set for that. So if you were being that nice, it's because I was waiting for the other shoe to fall, because you had to be wanting something. So ...
Dr Daniel Amen: I did want something.
Tana Amen: Well, okay. But what you wanted was actually a loving relationship, okay?
Dr Daniel Amen: I wanted a relationship. Right.
Tana Amen: That's okay to want. I was not, that's not my template of men in relationships though. Because I'm -
Dr Daniel Amen: So I was really smart in spending time healing your primary-
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: -your primary relationship with a male, so that you didn't have to bring back issues-
Tana Amen: Oh I was always waiting for the other shoe to fall, and always ready to walk out the door.
Dr Daniel Amen: -into our relationship-
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: And now ... what did you say, the only reason you're going to run is if you're chasing me.
Tana Amen: Til death do us part. Let me be clear. Let me be clear.
Dr Daniel Amen: So we hope this is helpful for you. Relationships are just so important, but they're also complicated.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Dr Daniel Amen: And if you're really struggling, one, the first thing we want you to get your brain right, because when your brain's right you're more helpful, more thoughtful, more goal directed, and if the people in your life act badly, or troubled, it very well could be that head injury that they had experienced, or it could be the biological depression that they inherited, or it could be an overgrowth of Candida which can cause insomnia, anxiety, and brain fog. And most people aren't thinking about that, we just judge people as, you're good, you're bad, you're for me, you're not for me, and it's way more complicated. So brain warriors, they're armed, prepared, and aware to end the fight of their lives.
Tana Amen: So true.
Dr Daniel Amen: Stay with us.
Tana Amen: If you're enjoying the Brain Warriors Way podcast, please don't forget to subscribe so you'll always know when there's a new episode. And while you're at it, feel free to give us a review or five star rating, as that helps others find the podcast.
Dr Daniel Amen: For more information, give us a call at 855-978-1363.