Livonia man talks about grief in new TV series on death

Detroit Free Press | Sharon Dargay

Michael Kovalcheck of Livonia and his wife, Toni, who died in January 2015. (Photo: Submitted)

Michael Kovalcheck wants to convey a message of hope through his appearance in the new documentary television series, “Embrace of Dying: How we deal with the end of life.”

The show, which starts Monday, Feb. 8 on WTVS Detroit Public Television, is the final installment in local filmmaker Keith Famie’s three-part look at aging. Famie interviewed Kovalcheck, a Livonia resident, last year for a segment on grieving, which will air during “Embrace of Dying” episode 4, at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 29.

Kovalcheck and his wife, Toni, would have celebrated their 40th marriage anniversary last fall if she had survived another year in her battle with stage-four cancer. Toni died in January 2015, just a few months after appearing in a segment on women and cancer in “Embrace of Aging, the Female Perspective on Growing Old,” Famie’s second installment in the aging series. Toni was one of three breast cancer patients profiled in the program. The Kovalchecks explained how breast cancer had affected their lives and how they had faced challenges. Continue reading

The shows air at 7:30 p.m. Mondays. Episodes include:

•Pay It Forward, March 28: The show looks at how death can be a new beginning for someone else, through scholarships, memorial foundations, and organ donation. It includes interviews with the Ingram family of Carleton, founders of Mikie’s Minutes, an organization that provides calling cards for deployed troops, and with organizers of the Rich Rau Memorial Bicycle Tour in West Virginia, established in honor of a bicyclist who was killed while riding his bike. Viewers also learn about the story of Jimmy Williams who donated his heart through Gift of Life Michigan.