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On the 14th Anniversary 
of the death of 
Tobias Wong

Trigger warning (grief)



In the moment that my fiancé—artist Tobias Wong—died unexpectedly, I knew that I, too, was dying. My death, unlike his, would be stretched over seconds, moments, minutes, months, years... The life we had built together had disappeared along with him. The future that we had planned lost its pulse. The home that we had shared was suddenly lifeless in the absence of the exchange of love that I had anticipated and cultivated with him. 

His death—as was his career—was notoriously public.

I spent the early stages of my grief dodging prodding members of the press at my (formerly “our”) East Village stoop while trying to explain to friends and family the details of his last days. There was no room or permission for my own grief. Within weeks, I was introduced to the horrors of the death-denying customs of our death-denying culture (as it is in the West) as the world around me returned to normal and my continued grief and newly-settling trauma became increasingly puzzling to friends and family. 


As a result, friends and family became scarce. My health began to rapidly decline while my rotating roster of therapists and doctors recused their roles due to their unpreparedness and offered prescriptions as the sole solution. I watched my life as I knew it recede into a fog, casually shrugging off the loss of my job, home, career, and lifelong relationships. I started to give up.


In order to save myself I needed a drastic change.


I left the indifferent avenues of NYC. I left the equity and momentum that I had built in my life and career in search of some serious healing, the type of healing that wasn't readily available. I moved to the Big Island of Hawai'i where I established a non-profit to raise funds for the reforestation of native hardwoods on Kohala Mountain. Living off the land—and off the grid—I studied pacific island permaculture, nutrition, and closed-loop farming, eating only what we farmed, fished, and hunted. I meditated on the cycle of life from seed to supper until life and death were the same. It was during this time that I truly began to heal from the trauma of being widowed at 32 years old. I experienced firsthand how consistent, quality nutrition along with the other pillars of lifestyle medicine (a concept I would later study at Harvard Extension School) provided the foundation for my true healing. Since my time in Hawaii, I have continued to study nutrition, grief, and health coaching practices while working as a chef and cooking instructor. 


During lockdown (2020-21), I offered to share virtual meals with fellow widowers of a support group I had joined (Hot Young Widow’s Club) on the anniversary of the death of their partners so that they wouldn’t have to eat alone. Wanting to improve on what I was doing, I began to research whether anything like what I was doing already existed. I came across the newly approved culinary grief therapy, a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy that addresses the poor eating patterns and the health implications—short and long term—that are common among widows and widowers. While the therapy itself offers great promise, I noticed a lack of consideration for the quality of food and the other pillars of wellness, so I began researching the physiological responses to loss and bereavement and how nutrition and lifestyle can help us through the process.


I formed a plan to combine lifestyle medicine, health coaching, grief counseling, and nutrition into a proprietary practice. My goal is to create a blended brand of health and grief coaching with a foundation in the principles of nutritional psychiatry, grief counseling, and lifestyle coaching. This inspired me to start my master’s at the Harvard Extension School. During my first year at HES, I sketched out a plan. I decided to begin my health coach training, which I completed in 2024. I then decided to switch universities. I will be starting my MPH in Global Health Nutrition at New York University in the fall of 2024. With this, I plan to create a niche of culinary grief therapy and nutrition coaching which focuses on the individual dietary needs of people in grief, an often ignored reality which will touch every one of us at some point in our lives. I will also use this knowledge to help form general eating guidelines, cookbooks, and a “mealmorial” cooking channel (where the grieving can share cooking-show style videos to memorialize special dishes in honor of the deceased) to help those in the depths of grief make the right decisions in their kitchens to support their grieving process and avoid the formation of detrimental eating patterns in the early stages of grief, which have been proven to affect our health for a lifetime.


Every step along my journey of self-healing was a decision to keep going. As a result, I have decided to dedicate my struggle and my life’s purpose to help ease the pain of others’ grief through the power of nutrition therapy.

What is grief?

Grief is not just about mourning the death of a loved one. Grief is a response to loss. Whether it is the loss of a job, a friendship, a home, the future that we thought we’d have, or our concept of security as the result of a pandemic, grief touches us all. The mental, emotional, and physiological impact that grief has on us can cause lasting damage to our health and wellbeing, and in some cases, premature death. Despite the fact that 57% of the American population alone is believed to have experienced a life impacting grief event within the last three years, we fail to address the issue as a society. I am dedicating my life to change that. 

The Pillar Rings (formally "The Killer Ring")

During my time at Harvard, I formed a plan. 


According to plan, I became a health and wellness coach. I am currently in the process of becoming a grief counselor. In the fall of 2024, I will begin my MPH at NYU in Public Health Nutrition. I am turning my vision into reality. I am creating the thing that I so desperately needed during the most intense years of my grief: a world of health and wellness around grief.

This is where you come in.

Killer Ring
Pillar Rings

In December of 2009, Tobi proposed to me as we were preparing to catch a flight for our Christmas vacation. He passed away before we got married. I have since turned our engagement rings into Killer Rings, an homage to one of Tobias Wong's most impactful works.

Historically, engagement rings were meant, in part, to care for the widow in case of a fatal event. In this spirit, I have cast our engagement rings in silver and renamed them Pillar Rings in hopes that they—with your help—will be the pillars of a revolution in grief wellness.

100% of the proceeds to this limited edition will go towards my education. 

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