Episode 173 - Making Connections Through Grief... A Conversation with Alyssa Budinock

Alyssa Budinock

Alyssa Budinock

This week I welcome Alyssa Budinock to the podcast.

Alyssa is a Kripalu yoga instructor, podcast host, and end-of-life doula in training. She lives in Rochester, New York with her fiance and their beloved dog Blue.

Between 2017-2018 she experienced 5 significant losses in her family that ignited her deep curiosity in how people grieve, how they die, and how they live. She's a sucker for beautiful things like little streams, wildflowers, and garbage plates (it's a Rochester thing...).

Today she feels the most alive when she's dancing like crazy, experimenting in the kitchen, walking through cemeteries or having intimate conversations with strangers, loved ones, or herself. Alyssa is dedicated to living from a place of love rather than fear, and discovering more and more of who she is each and every day.

Connect with Alyssa here:
https://www.gravedancers.net

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Music provided by Oren Levine (oren@ohljazz.com)

Episode 172 - When It Comes To Grief, I've Got Street Cred

One of the things I don't say enough is that I don't have any formal training in grief. I am not a therapist, psychologist, or grief counselor. All I have is my many experiences of dealing with loss in my life, beginning with the death of my father.

As I have so often stated, grief gives you an opportunity to learn more about yourself than you ever wanted to know. One must simply put aside their own biased opinion of what life "should" be like and confront the life they currently have. Examine one's self and ask the tough questions about how to move forward in grief.

I have for walked the walk and talked talk... someone recently told me I have grief "street cred". I can only assume that this means I am not someone who simply talks about grief in the third person. I've actually lived through the experiences I talk about on a weekly basis.

I seriously try to look at situations and scenarios that i experience and try to determine the best course of action to take. Do I always pick the best one? No... But I have to consistently  evaluate the best we to move through the emotional mine field that grief leaves.

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Episode 171 - Some Prey On Those In Grief

This past week I lost  a little faith in humanity. Let me explain.

Early in July 2019 a person I served in the army with lost his son suddenly. Unfortunately, after spending so much money trying to keep his son alive, he need money for whatever final arrangements the decided upon for his son. So the reached out to family and friend on Facebook and started a fundraiser. 

Well, someone decided that they would set up a fake page and solicit funds from those people who had already donated. A few people donated to this fake page before determining from family members that it wasn't legitimate.

Now the family has to deal with the appropriate companies to resolve the situation as well as try to make arrangements for their son. Donors have to make sure they gave to the right page... it's a mess!

There is a special place for those who prey on people in need. I hope they get caught and are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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Episode 170 - Grief, Writing and the Spoken Word... A Conversation with Melissa Lynne

Melissa Lynne

Melissa Lynne

 This week, I have a conversation with Melissa Lynne.

Melissa’s mother died in March 2014 and everything changed in that instant...her priorities, her career, her purpose and passion, her outlook on life and death. She crumbled into a heap under the blankets and shut out the world, where she stayed for almost a year. The thing that brought her back and kept her going was returning to the page, returning to the written word, returning to something that felt like life. The words came through her body and soul and heart and gut and quite literally saved her life. She wrote her way back to a life she needed and wanted to live. She resurfaced with a fearlessness to look grief head on and to feel all of it...the pain, the insanity, the beauty and love, the snotty tears on the shower floor or the shoulder of the kind stranger at the grocery store. She gave herself permission to grieve and trusted herself to feel anything that came.

Today, Melissa’s grief lives in her body, in that place where love and creativity intersect. Where she blesses and honors it. Where it’s fed and watered. Where it’s shown darkness and sunshine. Where it is cherished. Where it leads her one day into the next.

Melissa is co-founder/curator/editor of Grief Rites Foundation, where she encourages the use of art as agency to survive through grief. Connection and storytelling are how she walks beside others who are feeling the loneliness and isolation of grief. She is a death doula and a grief specialist. She is currently writing a grief memoir. Melissa lives in Portland, Oregon with her 3 children, 2 cats and 1 dog. She thrives in words and water and trees and moss and mist.

Instagram: @breatheinbreatheoutlive
Instagram: @griefritesfoundation
Website: griefritesfoundation.org
Facebook: facebook.com/GriefRites

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Episode 169 - Grief And The Schools of Google And YouTube

The internet makes finding answers to answers to any question you could possibly have very easy to find... just type your question, hit enter and in milliseconds you have more answers than you might ever imagined.

When it comes to grief. looking for answers to questions such as how long will it hurt this much or what can I do to make the pain go away will give you various results that all worked for the people who wrote them. They may not work for you because even though there are similarities in how your loved ones died, everyone's grief story is a little different; maybe the dynamics around the support syste,s you have is completely different. The answers you get for Google and YouTube aren't really answers, but merely suggestions.

A few weeks ago, I spoke with Dr. Sarah Neustadter who is a psychologists who works with clients that are working through their grief and she stated that even in her studies, she didn't really learn much about grief, but did learn things to help people deal with trauma.

You can listen to that conversation here.

You may have to tweak some of the answers that you get see to fit your particular scenario. Some may find that you need to get completely out of your comfort zone and try something you thought you'd never be able to do.

Just remember -  you aren't getting answers... you are simply getting suggestions. You have to put in the work and find what works for you.

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Episode 168 - I Can't Avoid Grief Forever

As I post this, I am in St. Louis... at my mom's house... finally going through her things.

As I spent 13 hours in a car driving here, I had a lot of time to think about this process; how hard it might be and the emotions i would face as I tried to determine what I would keep for myself, what I might offer to others and what I woulkd just get red of entirely.

It was difficult when I first got started but I decided it would be easier if I could establish a closer connection to mom while I was here. So I decided to change the linen on her bed and sleep in her room. It has been a very calming experience over the last few days... very calming emotionally. It has definitely taken the edge of what as been and emotional roller coaster.

I have to also take time to thank my family and friends who have supported me through this process. I have not been the easiest person to reach or to talk to in fear of having to answer the question of when was I going to begin the process ofg cleaning out mom's house. They are a truly amazing group of people,

I have found that I can do what I con and when it becomes too much, just take a break until you can do more. Eventually you'll reach your goal.

Thank you for supporting me through this process.

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Music provided by Oren Levine (oren@ohljazz.com)

Episode 167 - Love, Homelessness and Grief... A Conversation with Latasha James

Latasha James

Latasha James

Latasha James is the founder of James + Park, a digital marketing company based in Detroit. She is also a YouTube content creator and host of The Freelance Friday Podcast.

Latasha talks candidly about the love she has for her father who became  homeless after her parents separated. She explains how forgiving him is helping her move forward in her grief.

While he suffered with addiction to alcohol, she did as much as she could for him while he as alive and possibly even more after his passing.


Visit the James+Park website:
Listen to Latasha's podcast or watch her videos here.

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Music provided by Oren Levine (oren@ohljazz.com)

Episode 166 - Inspiring Others To Share Their Grief Story

This week, I've been listening to a new podcast, 'Grieving Overdose Death' by Susan Claire.

Susan is a listener to the podcast who decided it was time to tell her own lost story and to give a voice to others who like herself have lost a loved one to a drug overdose.  

I have often said that if you have something to say, say it. You may not find support from the people you expected, but you will find support from the least likely of places... and your story with resonate with or even inspire others. Please find links to Susan's podcast below.

Listen to Susan's podcast on Apple Podcasts
Visit Susan's website

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Music provided by Oren Levine (oren@ohljazz.com)

Episode 165 - When Grief Helps You Help Others.. A Conversation With Dr. Sarah Neustadter

Dr. Sarah Neustadter

Dr. Sarah Neustadter

This week I have a conversation with an amazing woman about the suicide of her boyfriend while the two of them where studying in school together. We discuss why it caused her to move away from the city in which they lived and how the experience helps her sit down with her clients and helps them through their trauma.

Dr. Sarah Neustadter is a licensed psychologist based in Los Angeles, specializing in suicide prevention, loss, and grief, including those grieving the suicide of a loved one. She has over a decade of professional experience identifying and treating those at risk of suicide, especially teenagers. Sarah is passionate about helping others understand grief as an entryway into a deeper process of spiritual growth. She holds a bachelors degree from New York University’s Gallatin School for Individualized Study and a PhD in clinical and transpersonal psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California. She is the author of Love You Like the Sky: Surviving the Suicide of a Beloved.

You can learn more about Sarah here: http://www.sarahneustadter.com/.

You can find her book on Amazon:  Love You Like the Sky: Surviving the Suicide of a Beloved.

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Episode 164 - Grief and Master Chef

This weekend I binge watched season 3 of the TV show Master Chef. The show is a competition for amateur cooks hosted by Gordon Ramsay (and other celebrity chefs) to determine who the best home cook for that season happens to be.

The aspect of this particular season that had me glued to my TV was the fact that one of the contestants was blind. How could  someone without sight cook fancy meals in a short period of time?

She had to rely on the senses she had: taste, smell, hearing and touch. And not focus on the one sense she didn't have... sight.

Sometimes for me it's easy to get caught up on the things I don't have and not concentrate on using the things that I do have... that are often times right in front of me when it comes to coping with loss. It could be friends, family, or anything that is around me... I just lose focus on what I have and only concentrate on what's missing.

Sometimes I need to shift my focus.

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Episode 163 - Grief, the Blues and the Quest for Lord Stanley's Cup

As the St. Louis Blues make a run at the Stanley Cup, the National Hockey League's (NHL) biggest prize, I took a moiment to look back at my time growing up in the city of St. Louis and my relationship - or lack thereof with hockey. Even though I am not the world's biggest hockey fan, I really want the Blues to win it all.

Growing up I was (and still am) a huge St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan. Hockey on the other hand was something I only watched if there was nothing else on t watch. I might have even listened to a game on the radio if I was trying to go to sleep and just wanted some type of background noise. But I never was really invested in the outcome  of their games until now.

When it comes to supporting the St. Louis Blues hockey team, there are the true supporters of the team that have suffered through 49 years of NHL playoff frustration... having teams lose earlier than expected, games that should have been won but were lost, some years of not making the playoffs at all. I am really excited for thos people because they have provided support since day one.

Then there are the former players. The ones that are behind this team because the couldn't find a way to win the Cup themselves. It as a win for this current team is a win for them all. It's a beautiful thing.

Then there is the rest of us... we are only in it because something great is about to happen for the city, or because their has been a financial boost to the city or a specific business because the Blues have mad it this far. Support is only provided because there is something in it for us, even if it's a restored sense of pride for the place we call (or at one time called) home.

This brings me to grief... some won't provide support because they are invested in anyone's grief journey until they are forced to face loss themselves. Then they are all in... and expect other's to be there for them even thought they weren't always willing to be there for others. Grief is funny that way.

The reality is that grievers only want an outlet... someone to talk to... someone who will listen. We looking for people to fix things.

Just be present. That's all that's required

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Music provided by Oren Levine (oren@ohljazz.com)

162 - Memorial Day and Grief... Catching Up with Joshua Black of the Grief Dreams Podcast

This past week - Memorial Day weekend here in the United States, I had a chance to finally meet Dr. Joshua Black of the Grief Dreams podcast (griefdreams.ca).

I took him to Arlington National Cemetery and we watched the changing of the guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was a very powerful experience.

He happened to be in town to speak at a conference given by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).

Our discussion focuses on the cemetery visit and how his fathere's death lead to the pursuit of his doctorate degree in psychology.

For more information about TAPS, go to: https://www.taps.org/

 For more grief related resources, please visit: http://www.dealingwithmygrief.com/grief-resources/

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Episode 161 - The Crossroads of Grief

As I think about things that I have to do to settle mom's estate, I realize that once I go through the rest of her personal effects, I will go through another huge wave of emotions. I'm not exactly sure what that looks like. That's part of the future of my grief journey.

When I look back at where I started with the death of my father, I realize how far I've come. I know I can handle it. I know that grief will come and go. Some days will be fun and easy, and some days will be hard. I have learned this by looking back at the death of my father and realizing that I have come this far. I know that in the end, it'll all be OK. I know my past is currently helping the present portion of my grief journey cope. 

Somehow, I'm fixated on the the future... and I shouldn't be. I need to let the anxiety of how I will feel finalizing some things go and live in the now, this current moment. I know that there will be other moments that will sting - like going back to visit St. Louis on future trips and not not seeing mom, or having the house be in a different state than in the last time she lived there... and of course, here not being there.

I need to keep telling myself to live in the now and let the feelings of the future just come when they come and deal with them then and not think about what I might feel ahead of time.

Also, you can now call/text the show: Call/text me at (240)778-5200

This week, I'm looking forward to Joshua Black of the Grief Dreams podcast coming to Washington, DC for a conference. I'll finally get to meet him and hopefully sit down and put together some type of future episode of the podcast.

For more grief related resources, please visit: http://www.dealingwithmygrief.com/grief-resources/

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Music provided by Oren Levine (oren@ohljazz.com)

Episode 160 - In Grief, The Support We Need May Not Be The Support We Want

As I was drinking a glass of wine (that turned into the whole bottle) on Mother's Day, I starting thinking about things that she would say to me in the form of unsolicited advice - specifically about people would would call themselves my friends but were only hanging out with me because I had a car.

I didn't want to believe this to be true... after all I was simply becoming more popular as I got older. As it turned out, I got in trouble and lost access to the car for 30 days. With it my NEW so called friends disappeared.

With the advent of social media we tend to block people who say things that we don't want to hear - even in grief.

I have a number of things that I need to take care of but have refused to do so because the emotional scars will be painful - but I have to get them done and the people when care for me have asked repeatedly about them. It's not that they want me to get over my mom's loss. They simply want my to move forward.

While I don't want to hear the advice, it's something that I need to hear and something that I do have to address sooner rather than later.

If you haven't already done so catch my Mother's Day conversation with Joshua Black and Shelby Forsythia here:
https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-kzduz-b0ec3a

Also, you can now call/text the show: Call/text me at (240)778-5200

For more grief related resources, please visit: http://www.dealingwithmygrief.com/grief-resources/

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Music provided by Oren Levine (oren@ohljazz.com)

Episode 159 - Grief on a Sunday Meant for Moms

People have been reaching out to me asking what I'm doing this year for Mother's Day. 

I will say a prayer for my mom, have a conversation with her... even if it's one sided and I'll do something that we'd normally do together. At least that is the plan.

"Plan" is the operative term. Just because I think that's what I want to do doesn't mean it'll happen that way. If I feel I need to switch it up, then I will. I encourage you to do the same. Make a plan and if it doesn't feel right, then change it and do something you're comfortable with. It could be meeting family or friends, or stayin home alone.

Finally... and I probably should have led with this...

Happy Mother's Day to all the ladies. every day is Mother's Day!

I love you, mom!!

For more grief related resources, please visit: http://www.dealingwithmygrief.com/grief-resources/

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Episode 158 - Grief and the NFL Draft

After seeing so many posts about time healing all wounds this bast week and with the NFL draft taking place, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to talk about that dirty little for letter "T" word again... time.

Teams look to the NFL draft to make there teams better. Instead of waiting for their allotted pick to come and hoping that the player they may want to select will still be available the take action - they trade up to get to get him. This may cost them other pick in this draft or future drafts. It may ever\n cost them someone that is currently on t.he team.

Time heals all wounds is only half of the equation that's only true a third of the time - yes, that is Darwyn math. But is simplty means that time AND action begin the healing process. even then it may not work out as expected or planned.

I think people believe that time works the same with grief as it does with a cut or wound - the body has its own way of healing itself in this instance. Blood clots, a scab forms, and cells regenerate. we do very little except keep the wound clean.

Take action and give it time to work - it may not happen immediately and it may not turn out exactly the way you planned... but you should provide some benefit.

My episode on grief being like a scab can be found here:
The Scab (and Scars) Left by Grief

For more grief related resources, please visit: http://www.dealingwithmygrief.com/grief-resources/

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Music provided by Oren Levine (oren@ohljazz.com)

Episode 157 - It's One Pinball Machine Of A Grief Anniversary

Today is the 41st anniversary of my father's murder. I hcan vividly remember everything that happened on this day back on April 24, 1978. Walking into the store and finding my father lying face down in a pool of his own blood.

The difference this year is that I have to face this one alone... mom is not hear for me to talk to. The force that used to calm me and help me somehow make sense of all of it in no longer with me; she is with my father.

For the first time in 41 years, they are finally together on what will be their 55 wedding anniversary on April 25, 2019

Mentally I feel like my emotions are like a steel ball in a pinball machine...they are all over the place. At least I can take solace in knowing that they are finally together again.

For more grief related resources, please visit: http://www.dealingwithmygrief.com/grief-resources/

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Episode 156 - Grief and Awards

2019 DCWebfest Award.JPG

This past weekend I participated in the 7th Annual DC Webfest, which showcases independent digital content creators in the areas of short films, web series, games, VR, podcasts and other areas. Surprisingly, the podcast won the festival's highest award for podcasting - the Gold Award.

I'd like to thank DC Webfest, 20/20 Productions and the judges who voted for the podcast. It was an honor to be included for selection with so many other great podcasts.

With that said, I made a stunning observation... people are listening to the message and with enough encouragement are sharing their own stories. during the presentation ceremony I found out that the festival's founder recently lost her mother to leukemia.

Many people were very interested in my story and really appreciated the conversation I'm continuing to spread around normalizing the conversation around grief.

The lesson - keep talking about it... don't be silent. You never know who might be listening or how you might be an inspiration for them to tell their story... if only to get something of their chest.

You don't have to be an author, blogger, or podcaster to make a difference. You just need a story - SHARE IT!

Don't be silent. Here are the stories of others who have shared their stories on the podcast:

Shelby Forsythia
Sheaya Biddle
Michelle Marek

Share your story whenever, wherever you can.

For more grief related resources, please visit: http://www.dealingwithmygrief.com/grief-resources/

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Music provided by Oren Levine (oren@ohljazz.com)

Episode 155 - Grief and Crime Dramas

I've been asked if I get depressed after doing an episode of the podcast and Ive been told by many people that they can't listen to my show because they get the vibe that it will be depressing and it'll make them sad.

I ask these people if they watch television shows like NCIS, Law & Order, This is Us, or even 48 Hours. If the aswer is "yes" then my follow up question is why do you watch a show where you know someone is going to die and watch to see how the criminal gets caught, but you don't care about how someone in real life is picking up the pieces after losing someone special in their life. 

We do we rush to fake TV shows but not want to help real people that we know that are going through real life tragedy?

Inquiring minds want to know!

For more grief related resources, please visit: http://www.dealingwithmygrief.com/grief-resources/

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Music provided by Oren Levine (oren@ohljazz.com)

Episode 154 - Grief and Blogging... a Conversation with Tom Biddulph

Tom Biddulph

Tom Biddulph

This week I have a chat with Tom Biddulph.

Tom's blog, Good Grievings chronicles the several loss stories he's experienced throughout his life. As one who wrestled with if and how to share my own story, I was curious to discuss why he chose to blog about grief, or even speak about it in the first place.

As always, I'm always interested in discussing grief with other men.

You can find Tom's blog here: Good Grievings

Or connect with Tom on Twitter: @GoodGrievings

For more grief related resources, please visit: http://www.dealingwithmygrief.com/grief-resources/

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