Episode 137 - The Seeds Of Grief

Life is painful... as a baby we probably feel our first pain when we are teething. Our gums swell and maybe turn red as our teeth begin to push their way through. Parents try all types of remedies to ease this pain... teething rings or home made remedies like brandy or whiskey

During adolescence, we experience "growing pains" whether the psychological process of wanting to do/be more than we are allowed or suffering from the physical condition that some people have where the bones grow at a faster rate than their muscles are able to stretch.

When we plant seeds the process of becoming a plant is difficult and filled with obstacles. They require water and must begin life by breaking through their outer shell fighting to get though the dirt/ground so they can benefit from the light of the sun. But not so fast... if left in their natural environment some plants would have an extremely difficult time surviving. they might get choked out by weeds or eaten by animals. So we help them out by putting them in gardens where we weed out the things we don't want and protect them with fences to keep deer and other animals from getting to them.

Grief is the same... you learn more about yourself that we ever wanted to know.

We used to get loved one's reassurances that things would be OK, or that we've taken the right course of action. They were our fencing from the outside world providing us physical or emotional protection. Now they are not here.

If we' really think about it in our time of need, we already know what they would tell us... it just hurts not to hear THEM tell us

From seeds, to sprouts, to full grown plants or trees - through torrential downpours and the blistering heat of summer. Plants survive... and continue to grow and eventually through their seeds begin life anew.

Through our grief we have the same ability to grow if we first realize we must first break through the shell of fear of pain and acknowledge that you want to begin living again in the best way possible without our loved ones physically present in our life.

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Episode 136 - The Long Road Trip of Grief

Dealing with my mother's personal things after her death is something I began the process of doing during the 2018 Thanksgiving holiday and it was easier than I thought it would be... until it wasn't. sometimes I had to stop and step away for a few minutes until emotionally I could continue going through things.

It was the drive back to DC that I started to process other things. It wasn't until then that I realized grief is like a road trip. When driving, as I pass from one stat to the next the physical make up of the road changes - from asphalt to cement, from bumpy to smooth. There is debris and construction. I have to learn how to navigate through all these will dealing with weather. Sometimes I need to wear sunglasses, sometimes I need to use headlights or windshield wipers - or both.

The thing I need to remember is that I need to recognize when to use which tool.

Grief is the same way, in that there are many obstacles to navigate. We need to look deap within ourselves to determine what tools work best in which situations to help us along our grief recovery journal.

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Episode 135 - Being Grateful in Grief

As I prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, I reflect on the things for which I'm grateful. I'm am grateful for the love and support shown me and for those who have lifted me up in this time of need. I'm also grateful for the people that surround me with love and lift me up during difficult times.

I speak a lot about time... I'm grateful for the time I've received with my loved ones who have preceded me in death - mom, dad, aunts, uncles, grandparents. The time that I was given to know and learn from them and to make lastimg memories has helped shape me into who I am today. In hind sight, I wouldn't change any of it.

Even thought the holidays may be painful, be grateful for something.

As much as possible, have a happy holiday season. If possible try to fgind a way to incorporate your deceased loved one(s). as much as possible. It keeps their memory alive.

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Episode 134 - Grief and Mental Health... A Conversation with Nancy Eigel-Miller

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Mental health is a topic that is not discussed often enough. On today's show, I'd like to welcome Nancy Eigel-Miller to discuss the work she is doing to educate others in concerning this topic.

Nancy founded the James W. Miller Memorial Fund in 2010 after losing her husband Jim to suicide in 2008. She spent her career in the marketing/market research arena but the call to educate about mental health issues to the youth population pull her in that direction. Her mission is to change the conversation about mental health among the areas youth.

Nancy is based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Episode 133 - Sometimes in Grief The Hardest Thing Is...

As the holidays approach I have been asked about how I will be affected by the loss of my mom.

I'll be OK... I'm doing much better than I thought I'd be at this time. Maybe because I've learned how to process my feelings. Maybe because in some small way missing the holidays during other times in my life have prepared me for life without her.

Question: How long do you wait before you go through your love ones possessions? Inquiring minds want to know!!

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Episode 132 - The Irony of Grief

As the death certificate from my mother arrived this week, I've re-evaluated a lot of feelings I've had since her passing.

The irony is I'm dealing with handling her affairs as an only child and while I've never had siblings, I wonder what this process would be like if I could share the load with someone else.

In believing that no one would reach out to support me, or should I say my mother in this process, I was wrong. They did - in droves. The irony is, I had to step away from it for a little bit... it was overwhelming.

Question: How long do you wait before you go through your love ones possessions? Inquiring minds want to know!!

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Episode 131 - The Infancy Of Grief

Once again I have been plagued by the concept of time.

When I was 10 I began marking time since my father passed and in reflecting back on his death and having begun the process of processing my mother's loss, I realize that I won't do the same with her loss.

When dad died I didn't know what I didn't know about loss: I would have a child that would never know him, or that I would have certain experiences that I would not be able to share or get advice from him. Each year that passed simply marked another year that I was able to "grow" without him.

My mother's death was different.. I had her for 51 years. She taught me and gave me everything she could... really everything I needed. The only thing that we really had left was, well, time.

Time the spend together and do our favorite things, just to make more memories.

I think about time now and I have listened to Hootie and the Blowfish song 'Time'. I had never really given the lyrics much thought until my mother passed.

Here is a link to the song: Time - Hootie and the Blowfish

Song lyrics:

Time why you punish me?
Like a wave bashing into the shore
You wash away my dreams

Time why you walk away?
Like a friend with somewhere to go
You left me crying

Can you teach me 'bout tomorrow?
And all the pain and sorrow running free?
'Cause tomorrow's just another day
And I don't believe in time

Time I don't understand
Children killing in the street
Dying for the color of red

Time hey, there red and blue
Wash them in the ocean, make them clean
Maybe their mother won't cry tonight

Can you teach me about tomorrow
And all the pain and sorrow running free?
But tomorrow's just another day
And I don't believe in

Time is wasting time is walking
You ain't no friend of mine, I don't know where I'm goin'
I think I'm out of my mind, thinking about time
And if I die tomorrow, just lay me down in sleep

Time is wasting time is walking
You ain't no friend of mine
I don't know where I'm goin'
I think I'm out of my mind, thinking about time

Time you left me standing there
Like a tree growing all alone
The wind just stripped me bare, stripped me bare

Time the past has come and gone
The future's far away
And now only lasts for one second, one second

Can you teach me 'bout tomorrow
And all the pain and sorrow, running free?
'Cause tomorrow's just another day
And I don't believe in time

You ain't no friend of mine
I don't know where I'm goin'
I think I'm out of my mind

Walking, wasting
You ain't no friend of mine
And I don't know where I'm goin'
No don't know

[Incomprehensible] is just
Wasting, wasting, wasting time

Time why you punish me?

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Episode 130 - In Grief Different Paths Lead to the Same Destination

Thank you to everyone who has given support to myself and my family in this difficult time following the death of my mother. I appreciate the the love I've received from my immediate and extended family, my friends - many of whom I haven't seen in years, and those of you who know me exclusively through this podcast. I am amazed at the number of emails, text messages, social media posts, etc. that have been seen to my or about my mom. It is greatly appreciated.

I'd like to give a special thanks to Shelby Forsythia of the Coming Back podcast for publicly acknowledging my mother on her podcast a few weeks ago and honoring her with a moment of silence on her show.

Thanks also to Joshua Black of the Grief Dreams podcast who was able to provide comedic relief and help me to remember that we can find laughter and joy during difficult times.

One f the questions Joshua asked was how my grief journey would be different for my mom. Would it be similar to any feelings I had when my dad died. I can say that I wiill probably process this loss faster.

I liken it to hiking and having multiple trails that lead to the same destination. Each path has different elements to navigate... some are rockier while others may have more hills - and some are longer than others. Of, course the scenery is very different.

I think I'm on a shorter path of my journey this time. I have learned who I am and I wil be able to process some things faster as an adult than I did when I was 10.

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Episode 129 - Orphaned at 51... Goodbye, Mom! Welcome To A New Grief

On October 2, 2018 I lost my rock.

After 40 years, my mother was finally reunited with my father. I can only imagine the conversation the two of them are having and the amount of catching up that they have to do.

I am saddened that my mother is not here any longer tyo be with me, but she left with nothing left to give. All of her love and every lesson - I got it all.

Thanks for all the love and support I've received and a special thanks to my tremendous family. I could not have done most of the things I did remotely for her without them being my eyes and ears while I was 850 away trying to take care of my mother.

I LOVE YOU MOM AND I MISS YOU ALREADY!

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Episode 128 - The Mashed Potatoes On My Plate Is My Grief

As I write this, my mother is lying in a hospital bed resting comfortably.  I am facing the fact that one day she won't be here... the first time in my life I have really thought about it.

And now, I can't stop thinking about it... That one thought is now affecting every aspect of my life - work, family, friends, relationships... EVERYTHING!!

I talk myself out of hitting rock bottom.

I have always been one who has been able to compartmentalize life and not have certain area effect others. Like some people don't like their vegetables touching on their plate.

Right now right now grief is like my mashed potatoes and its touching everythng else on my plate of life... and I don't like the taste!

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Episode 127 - Finding Patience In Grief

I often have to remind myself that when implementing new strategies in my grief recovery process, I am actually making an investment that I must give time to work and produce results.

I must be patient and give these processes time to work. I must also realize that I may not always get the desired result. That's OK because I can always devise new strategies to help me get though the rough times when old processes stop working.

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Episode 126 - When It Comes To Grief, You Don't Need Permission

I received an email that stated that this podcast felt it gave them permission to go to the space that they needed to grieve.

Permission is something that you need to go on field trips in school. When it comes to things that nourish your body... food, water, or in this case confronting you emotions, there is no need to seek permission. You do what you need to in the moment or as soon as possible to processes those feelings and confront them before things get out of hand and become too overpowering.

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Episode 125 - The Hypocrisy of Grief

I've seen a number of posts in social media that deal with the lack of support that people feel they should be getting from their loved ones, friends and colleagues.

I personally am a people watcher. I'm in a way fascinated by what people do and how they act in certain situations.

After the death's of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain every one I know had some type of suicide prevention hotline number posted on their social media feeds/timelines. After two weeks, this stopped!

Did people all of a sudden just stopped committing suicide? No, something else happened in the 24 hour news cycle - I don't know what is was, but whatever it was it rendered suicide prevention non news worthy. Those people who posted about these tragedies move on to the next new thing.

People who are grieving are treated differently, however. We are expected to to not have anything to say about or pain - or if we do, just keep it to ourselves while others have the right to opt into and out of the grief space at their leisure...

Thus is called "the hypocrisy of grief."

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Episode 124 - The Self Fulfilling Prophecy of Grief

 I've got a lot of things going on in my life and have barely had time to breathe. I'm trying to help my mother take car of some things and I've got work and life related things of my own that I'm dealing with.

I don't know how I'll manage everything... sometimes it seems overwhelming. It is in those moments that I have to tell myself that everything is going to be okay. I may not know when or how, but if I say it, and believe it, then everything will work out for the best. I don't know when or how - but I know that everything in the end will be just fine.

If you think negative thoughts, then you are already defeated.

Stay positive in the midst of the storm you are going through.

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Episode 123 - Grief and Journaling

Often my thoughts get jumbled in my head. I can't seem to keep things straight sometimes, because my mind is a cluttered mess.

A few months a go, I decided to to start writing - journaling if you will - about things I've been thinking about. Mostly grief related topics that I'd like to discuss on the podcast. The idea was to get things down on paper, someplace where all my thoughts would be in one place... a place whre I could come back and process everything that was going on in my mind a particular place and time in life. A spce would be created that was for me and only me where I could write exactly what I'd want and not be judged by others - a place where I could be completely honest.

The process has helped. I have been able to release things that I need to get out in the moment and come back, process my writings and amend my thoughts (maybe). But in the end , it helps me shape my thoughts for the things I should be doing in my life and it allows me to release some stress and give better focus and attention to other areas of my life.

I have designed a journal that fits perfectly in a handback or backpack... details on pricing will be available soon.

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Episode 122 - Grief and the Cemetery

Jefferson Barracks

 

I needed to visit the St. Louis at the last minute last week and I had the opportunity to visit my dad's grave... but I didn't go alone.

I decided to take my mother with me, because I knew that she hadn't been in a while and I was unsure of what would happen. As it turned out, we ended up having a family meeting.

My mother talked abaout how I was taking over some of the things that she had been doing for years, and I talked about my son's upcoming birthday.

I wish he was closer to town so we could see him often, but in the end it's rewarding to know that I have to carve out a slice of time just to visit him!

How often do you get to the cemetery and how does it make you feel?

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Episode 121 - Grief and the Pursuit of Happiness

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I have been asked on several occasions if there is ever truly be happy after loss.

The answer to that question is a simple - YES! Getting there however, may not be as simple as it sounds.

Still looking for responses to this mont's question: What do you do with you wedding ring once your spouse dies? send me an email at darwyn@dealingwithmygrief.com

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Episode 120 - Our Genes and Grief

A few weeks ago I asked for listener feedback on how you felt when people say you look like your deceased loved ones - and here is what you said!

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Episode 119 - Grief and My Two Front Teeth

This episode in dedicated to the memory of my cousin, Chris.

Last week Facebook brought up a memory in the form of a picture of me with chipped teeth when I was about 12 or 13. I had chipped my teeth playing a game with my friends.

The pain of the fall I took didn't last long but eating or drinking was difficult to say the least as I would get a crazy sensation that would run through my mouth.

Dealing with this grief is much like that pain I felt. Much like I had to endure some pain in order to eat, I could develop some strategies to make it hurt less. I had to do the same thing with my grief... develop strategies to help the loss hurt less while realizing it wouldn't completely go away.

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Episode 118 - The Bare Essentials of Grief

No into/outro music today... Just the bare bone basics to produce this podcast.

Why?... Because a listener wanted to know how to get back to "normal" after grief. What is the new structure of life or their day going to look like.

Sometimes we don't need to put on the window dressing to mask how we feel in our grief. It's not essential to who we are and how we really feel. So I used no music in the podcast today to illustrate that point. While the structure of the podcast is different. the overall message is the same. In grief we feel pain regardless of what face we wear in public our how bubbly we attempt to sound when dealing with others.

We don't always need to fit into some one else's expectation of who we should become after our grief.

Just be you... whomever, you are in your grief. Just remember to take time to take care of yourself. Even if you take care of other's physical needs, work on your emotional needs first before reaching out to others... you can't help others if you dont't help yourself first.

Question... How do you feel whem people tell you you look like your deceased loved one. I often want to tell people this but I don't know how it would make them feel. Send me an email at darwyn@dealingwithmygrief.com or leave me a voicemail at http://www.dealingwithmygrief.com/voicemail

Finally, the podcast as been listed as one of 6 podcasts to help you cope with grief by AK Lander. You can check out the entire list here: https://www.aklander.co.uk/news/6-grief-podcasts-to-help-you-cope-with-loss

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