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

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

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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Contact me using any of following:

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

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

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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Episode 153 - Grief and a 20 Dollar Bill

Reach in you pocket, wallet, or purse and pull out a bill, for me that is a 20 dollar bill. Now look at it and frocus on the different element of the bill. Where was it made? Have you been there and if so how did you like it?

How are you going to spend that money? Put gas in the car, buy groceries, or pay bills. maybe you'll save it - who knows?

When my parents died, they were different things to different people - mother, father, daughter, son, brother, sister... you get the picture. So when my mom died I had to think about others, how was she going to be memorialized. What things did her sister and my cousins want or not want to do. It could be all about what I wanted to do.

Getting back to that bill that you are holding... you could spend it allon yourself or you could take part of that an do something for someone else - buy yourself lunch and spend the rest on a greeting card to brightens someone else’s day.

Even though it is hard to think with your head while grieving, it is possible to think with your head and your heart... difficult, but possible. We can still be considerate of others and let them publicly remember our loved one even though we might have done it in a different fashion. Sometimes there is no right or wrong... it just is.

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 152 - Grief is Like a Podcast

Sometimes the things I plan don't come out as expected. This podcasr, for example, is edited before being released. You don't hear all of the umms, aahs, ands, or buts that I say during the episode's recording. The reason for this is that I've edited them out.

Grief is the same way... Sometimes, I put on a smile or tell people that I'm doing OK, but really I'm not. I'm simply masking my feelings because I don't want people to know that I'm hurting. I'm still trying to cope with the loss of my mother and I don't want others to know that I still haven't got that quite figured out.

How will I handle this? 

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 151 - The Web of Grief... A Conversation With Rhiannon Jones

Rhiannon Jones

Rhiannon Jones

This week I share an amazing conversation I had with a woman who is teaching her children that it is OK to speak about your grief and that it's Ok to be vulnerable around your children when it comes to grief.

Rhiannon Jones is a writer, life coach and author of the book “The Web of Grief.”

She has written blog posts and articles for charities such as The British Heart Foundation as well as the mental health charity, Mind. After losing her brother suddenly and unexpectedly, she made the decision to not take life’s blessing for granted, to help people to live to their fullest potential and to support those who know the pain of grief. When not actively helping people through her work, she enjoys spending time with her three boys and husband, learning Spanish and usually has her head stuck in a book.
She is currently working on a new book to help people live their fullest, happiest and most authentic life by empowering them to grasp their potential and know their worth so that more lives aren’t wasted away until the day we all say farewell.

Her book can be found here:  https://amzn.to/2Tvv7Z2

Rhiannon's Facebook page: facebook.com/rhijonescoach

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 150 - Grief and the Untouchables

I had the opportunity ro watch one of my favorite movies, The Untouchables and to reflect on one of the key quotes of the movie for me...

"What are you prepared to do?"

This movie centers around Prohibition in America, a time when the manufacturing and consumption of alcohol was illegal.

Al capone establishes an illegal alcohol empire by manufacruing and selling liquor on the black market. Elliot Ness is a federal agent who enlists the help of Jim Malone, a Chicago police officer to help him catch and arrest Capone. Malone wants to know exactly what Ness is willing to do to convict Capone.

This phrase... "What are you prepared to do?" reminds me that in moving forward I might have to do things that I never thought that I should or could do in starting our continuing my grief recovery process - something I simply call "being comfortable being uncomfortable." It's being open to the possibility that you can live through your pain and just simply live again and that it might be difficult and painful doing so.

If you missed last weeks conversahtion with Anne Brener you can listen to it here: http://www.dealingwithmygrief.com/podcast/episode-149

Finally, I was on WPFW 89.3, a Washington DC metro area radio station, discussing the loss of my parents and tools I've used to cope. You can listen to it here: https://lnns.co/_SvB7cRzYGZ

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

Subscribe to this podcast by using one of the following:

Contact me using any of following:

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

Episode 149 - A Grief Conversation With Rabbi Anne Brener

Rabbi Anne Brener

Rabbi Anne Brener

It is not often that I have a conversation with someone who has suffered multiple losses and has found the courage and the means to use it a way to help others who are going trough their own struggles.

Anne Brener is the author of “Mourning and Mitzvah: A Guided Journal for Walking the Mourner’s Path Through Grief to Healing” first published in 1993 and now revised and expanded and published as a 25th Anniversary Edition from Turner Publishing.

An ordained rabbi, psychotherapist and spiritual guide who serves on the board of the Aleph (AH-lef) Alliance for Jewish Renewal, Rabbi Brener takes the hand of modern mourners to gently guide them through the mourning process. With MOURNING & MITZVAH, she offers real solutions for healing.

While still in her early twenties, losses included the suicide of her mother, followed three months later, by the death of her 19-year-old sister in a car accident, her only sibling. What began with the personal journal of her own struggle for healing, became a bestselling book, which weaves her own journey and those of many whom she has nurtured into the template provided by ancient Jewish wisdom. She is a speaker and writer, whose book has helped thousands heal.

“MOURNING & MITZVAH” is available here: https://amzn.to/2tC7zlQ

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

Subscribe to this podcast by using one of the following:

Contact me using any of following:

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

Episode 148 - Grief Is Like The Washington Post

The Washington Post has a longtime running advertising tagline, "If you don't get it, you don't get it."

I always thought that this meant if you didn't subscribe to or read the Washington Post newspaper tyou were missing out on the best news you could get about the DC metro area and the most political news possible. Now, as it relates to my grief journey, it simply means that that unless you've been through your own grief journey, you don't truly have an understanding of what it's like to go through this.

But as I reflect on my grief journey, there are some things that people still don't get about grief and some things that I I don't understand why grief is still a taboo subject to talk about... until it's not.

For grief related resources go to: http://www.dealingwithmygrief.com/grief-resources/

Subscribe to this podcast by using one of the following:

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

Episode 147 - Men Helping Men Through Grief...Sam Feldman and Ken Levy of the National Widowers' Organization

Sam Feldman and Ken Levy are members of the National Widowers' Organization. It's an organization created by Sam to help men deal with their grief by talking about it with other men.

we have a candid discussion about losing a spouse, finding companionship after loss and the act of moving through your grief by sharing your experiences with other widowers.

For more information about the National Widowers' Organization visit: https://nationalwidowers.org/

For grief related resources go to: http://www.dealingwithmygrief.com/grief-resources/

Subscribe to this podcast by using one of the following:

Contact me using any of following:

email - darwyn@dealingwithmygrief.com

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

Episode 146 - Letting Go and Not Letting Go In Grief

When my dad died, I struggled moving forward because I couldn't let go... not of my father, but of the things that kept me from living - fear, anger, revenge, uncertainty.

I had to let those things go in order to mentally and emotionally let myself live.

I have to now retrain my brain to do the same thing in the absence of my mother.

For grief related resources go to: http://www.dealingwithmygrief.com/grief-resources/

Subscribe to this podcast by using one of the following:

Contact me using any of following:

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

Episode 145 - Grief and a Government Shutdown

I returned to work for the first time THIS YEAR after the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

Usually when the government shutdown happens ist only for a day or to until these things get resolved, but not this time... the shutdown lasted 35 days. No one was prepared to go that long without receiving a paycheck. 

So this week I reflect on the uncertainty presented with grief as it relates to the recent shutdown, and is it possible to prepare for such things.

For grief related resources go to: http://www.dealingwithmygrief.com/grief-resources/

Subscribe to this podcast by using one of the following:

Contact me using any of following:

email - darwyn@dealingwithmygrief.com

twitter - http://www.twitter.com/dealwithgrief

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Facebook - https://facebook.com/groups/dealingwithmygrief

Instagram - https://instagram.com/dealingwithmygrief

 

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