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What Death Taught Adam J.T. Robarts About Living (ep. 504)

Adam Robarts

John O’Leary welcome Adam J.T. Robarts on the Live Inspired Podcast to share the lessons his late son taught him about life and death.

When Adam J.T. Robarts was asked by a family member what he would choose to do for a career if he were not an architect. Without hesitation he replied: A hospice nurse.

It was just five years earlier that he had a profound experience accompanying his father through the final weeks of life before he died of cancer in Uganda.

And yet, Adam could not have imagined then that nine months after that conversation with his family, he would begin to accompany his 19-year-old son Haydn through a battle with a rare and aggressive brain cancer.

My friends, today Adam joins us to share how Haydn’s dignified response to his own suffering provides essential wisdom and hopeful possibilities for each of our lives.

This conversation will renew your mindset to live this precious life with purpose and clarity.

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  • Simple living, full of joy: Adam spent his formative years growing up in Uganda and Kenya.
  • Adam had a profound experience accompanying his father to the end of his battle with cancer.
  • After a nine-month battle with a rare brain cancer, Adam accompanied his 19-year-old son Haydn to the end of his battle.
  • While Haydn’s life was short, it profoundly changed Adam as he shares the 19 lessons he learned from his son.
  • In order to be positive (and avoid toxic positivity), Adam encourages us to first be authentic and accept all emotions – positive or negative – for what they are.
  • Growing health instead of curing sickness: Adam describes our prevailing health system as pathogenic where we look at what causes disease versus salutogenic where we focus on what causes overall health and well-being.
  • When Haydn reached the palliative part of his cancer journey,
  • “For hope to become something powerful, it needs a strong foundation. If hope stands on the foundation of faith, it’s not wishful thinking.”
  • Adam mentions Dacher Keltner’s recent research on how the power of awe to create resilience.
  • “To reflect on death allows us to live more fully, more purposefully.”
  • “We must be like the fountain or spring that is continually emptying itself of all that it has and is continually being refilled from an invisible source.”
  • Get a copy of Adam J.T. Robart’s book Nineteen here.

Did you enjoy today’s episode?

You’ll love hearing from Tom Logan. As part of the Marion Medical Mission, Tom has built thousands of wells in Africa as well as empower Africans to develop the skills needed to maintain their wells and the health of their rural community. Get ideas on how to serve others and see how doing so will lead you to a more inspired life. Listen to ep. 96 now.


About our sponsor: Keeley Companies wholeheartedly believes that if you get the people right -the results will follow. They set themselves apart with a forward-thinking culture that empowers their people and fosters loyal partnerships. Keeley Companies are a proud sponsor, partner, and super fan of the Live Inspired Podcast. Learn more about Keeley Companies.



  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. The Hidden Words by Baha'u'llah.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. My sense of adventure.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. The prayer book from my grandfather.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. Haydn so I could ask about what happens after we die.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. Humility.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Smile more and worry less.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. He tried.