Walking Through Grief

Episode #12

Many of us have experienced some form of loss and walked through a season of grief. Many of us also have a loved one who have, or are, going through the process as well. In this episode we talk about our own personal experiences with grief and offer you some encouragement as you walk through this hard season in your life. 


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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Ashley
Welcome to rise up and shine. We are two women at different stages of life who have overcome feeling stuck, and are now living life fully with peace and joy. Join Us Weekly for a real raw and faithful conversation about our trials and triumphs, bringing hope, insight and weekly tips that you too can rise up and let your light shine bright.

Claudine
For everything, there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven, a time to be born, a time to die, a time to cry, a time to laugh, a time to grieve, and a time to dance. That comes from Ecclesiastes 3, a time to grieve. Grief is part of the human experience. Grief is the normal and natural reaction to a significant emotional loss of any kind. And there are many kinds of losses.

Ashley
Absolutely. We really felt compelled to have a podcast episode today on grief because just really coming off of the heels of the news even of Kobe Bryant, his 13 year old daughter and family that was with them. And the helicopter crash is a big loss, you know, especially both of us being from SoCal. Right? And just knowing it just really rocked the community. That’s right. I mean, it’s posted all over. I know all my friends on social media are posting quotes by him. And it’s a it’s a tragic experience. Grief is horrible. You know, grief is hard. It’s a very natural process. But it’s not something that we want to walk through. You know, when we experience different losses, and not only Kobe Bryant on Sunday, there was a good friend of ours very young, 26 years old, who just recently passed away from cancer just a few weeks ago, and I got word yesterday also from my kids school that a little first grader had health complications and passed away. We don’t know the family, but it just, it felt like death is, you know, kind of looming around here. It’s there’s been a lot of loss recently, you know, and it just was really called on my heart and our heart to share about grief because it is something that is very natural, but it’s very hard to walk through and how do we experience grief? How do we help comfort a loved one who is going through grief and say no, what do we do, it’s such a big topic that we don’t always know how to navigate.

Claudine
That’s so true. And it’s something that we’re all going to experience at one time or another. I mean, both of us personally have had a lot of losses in our own lives. And we’ve shared about it before and will continue to share about it. And even for us. For our family, we lost someone very dear to us two years ago, our son’s best friend who was part of our family, we had known him for two decades, and had traveled with us and I’ve been in and out of our home for 20 years, and it was sudden and unexpected and so tragic. And just those feelings, it was incredibly difficult, it still is difficult to walk through it to navigate those feelings, so that we don’t get paralyzed and stuck in a negative emotional state where we just can’t even function.

Ashley
What came to mind for me also is three main concepts to keep in mind, right? It’s grief has no time limit. Yeah, I mean, it takes who knows how long for any of us? And really, if we have an idea of like, okay, I should be over this by now or I should be moving on, right? You know, it’s just, we need to grieve and just go through the process, you know, not expect there to be a time limit on it and just feel our emotions go through it, just feel it just process, you know, it’s okay to feel it, you know, and not have a time limit in mind. Like, okay, by this time, I should be feeling happier again, or, you know, and then also goes into expectations, you know, not having expectations about how I should be grieving. And is this really what grief feels like? Or, you know, everybody grieves differently. Yes, such an important thing to remember that everybody grieves differently. There’s different types of loss. There’s different types of griefs. And we all do it differently. And it’s one way and we need to be compassionate on ourselves, you know, when we’re going through that process with ourselves as well.

Claudine
Right? It’s so important, what you just shared because it is different. And even you and I were discussing earlier, even different kinds of losses, like, you know, the losing, I lost my mom almost four years ago, and that was incredibly difficult. But she was older, she had been sick. So it wasn’t a shock necessarily. I mean, it was but not like an instant when you get the news of an accident, which is so shocking, right? And so I had time I’d had weeks to kind of process That the the direction things were going right. And then there’s other losses like our family friend, that was just shocking. It was devastating. He was so young, it was so instant, there was no time to say goodbye, there was no time to prepare our thoughts or our hearts for any turn of events in that way, it was just so unexpected. So even different losses have different grieving patterns within the same person.

Ashley
Yeah, that’s very true. And also keeping into consideration different losses, you know, it’s not always a death of a light one, it can also be moving or a divorce or, you know, loss of a job or even loss of health. You know, this was a big one for me, when my son was diagnosed with epilepsy, it was really hard on me because I felt like I was grieving for a couple weeks, I couldn’t even say the words to people, he was diagnosed, I can type it, you know, like, I would text my family, and, but to speak the words out loud was very hard, because I was grieving, I felt like I was grieving the loss of a normal childhood for him, you know, because it was not in my plan. You know, why did this happen? Why does Why does he have to have this? Why do we have to deal with this as a family? Why does this have to be something like a little fear in the back of my mind now, you know, for him in regards to his health, and it’s, that’s definitely another loss to experience that we will grieve through as I did, and it was hard, and I’ve gotten to a better place of just accepting it. And just, you know, this is right hand that we’re Adele, and we’re gonna be, we’re just going to accept it as part of our life, you know, but there was a period of grief. And it was important for me to go through that and just embrace it and walk through it and feel all the emotions I was feeling, rather than denying those emotions, or avoiding those emotions.

Claudine
Well you’ve said that now twice, but it’s so important to feel to heal, like we can’t heal, if we don’t feel the feelings. And you say that all the time, feel the feels. Yeah, in order to heal, we really do need to feel. And it’s interesting because loss of whether through death or through change, or in whatever form right takes place. It’s really a loss of our hopes and our dreams and our expectations. And I really have learned this lesson the last few weeks with our friend Emily, Emily and I were not the closest of friends. But she sat right in front of me every Sunday at church, so I got to see her sweet smiling face her beautiful soul got to hug her every Sunday. She was right there. It was just kind of a constant for most of the year and, and my husband, I had them over for dinner shortly after they moved to Northern California, and we’re starting to get to know them. But what it was was, I always thought there’d be tomorrow because we had talked again, let’s get together again for dinner. Let’s have a good night. And we just thought that tomorrow would come. And it’s when those tomorrow’s aren’t there anymore. That’s where the pain is like, oh, if I could only have one more tomorrow, right. And it was a huge lesson for me these last few weeks. And then again, Sunday with hearing of Kobe’s tragic death, which again, not in my inner circle, right, so shocking, right, so young with a family and you just think there’s no more tomorrow’s. And so for me, the lesson I am learning is, again, live each day to the full, not expecting it tomorrow not to be morbid or gloomy. I believe tomorrow’s coming for me. But that make today its fullest living my best limit to my best ability and love those around me to the best of my ability. And the other thing I learned when I went through grief recovery, which I’ve shared before was a huge turning point for me in my life was learning how to process my losses and rapes. But what I learned that it part of the process is discovering and completing any undelivered communications. And so it’s really important to live in a way. If there’s anything you need to say to someone say it today. Like if you’ve had a spat, or if you feel like you want to tell someone you love them, but don’t know how they’re gonna react. Just say it today because it’s the regrets and the loss of tomorrow’s where the pain is the most intense for me I found.

Ashley
Yes, you know I take that really serious. Last week, I had a really challenging week and I sent my kids to school and I was frustrated. And I just felt like sick to my stomach like, Ah, that was horrible mom horrible. And rather than just sitting and wallowing in my shame out, you know, it was just okay. I planned when they would come home. I’d apologize. You know, but I mean, I keep it in the back of my mind. Nowadays sending our kids to school, you know, it’s like, you never know what will happen but I just, I’d never want to send my kids off somewhere that way. So I ended up going on my run and I timed it. So I can try and find my son particularly who I needed to apologize to. I timed it so I could see him on his lunch, you know, playing at the playground and I even asked the yard duty Is it okay? If I give him a kiss, and apologize to him gave him a kiss, you know, so we can go about our day. Because it’s it’s true is we want to leave our loved ones, we want to kiss them goodbye. We want to, you know, say goodbye in a in such a great loving way that we won’t have regrets because we don’t know what will happen. And we also don’t want to live in that place of fear, right? That Oh, my gosh, something’s gonna happen, you know, and it’s debilitating. But it’s just, it’s just really paying attention to how we are choosing to live our day right now exactly in our interactions with people and just spending great time with each other and just savoring the time that we have together. Because, you know, life does come and go, but just really taking advantage of the time we have together.

Claudine
That’s right. And I love what you said that grieving is different for every person, and that there’s no time limit. I mean, there is no time limit, we don’t want to be stuck. Like I was stuck for too long in debilitating grief. Like, my life was stuck, I was stalled. I was sinking into deeper and deeper depression, because I did not know how to process my losses and complete my grief. And so there is there’s a part where you have to feel the feelings and no, there’s no time limit, but at some point to get outside help, if that’s what you need to, to get out of the stickiness of the grief because grief, like it’s been almost four years since my mom’s passing. But it’s still I have moments where it just it’s a wave, a wave of grief comes over me I miss her, I see something that reminds me of her, I want to pick up the phone and call her and I can’t. And it’s sad. I feel sadness for that moment. But instead of resisting it, I feel it and I let it wash over me and pass over me. But my mom’s passing is not got me stuck. Like I’m not stuck in that grief, I can feel it. And I can process it. And I can have a wonderful moment where I remember something really positive. And I can just even say a word or a couple words of gratitude that she was in my life as long as she was right. And so that’s the thing too, I’m always gonna feel the grief. It’s not like the pains never gonna go away. But I’m not stuck in it.

Ashley
That’s very true. You know, as you’re talking, I was thinking about my grandmother, she passed away about 30 years ago, you know, and I was very young, I was my kids age, when she passed away. And she was one of my primary caregivers because my mom was in and out of the hospital with one of my brothers. So I would be with her a lot. And we spent a lot of time together. And so when she passed away from cancer, it was very devastating on me. And it was as if I lost a parent. In my little child mind, I would I thought it was a year. You know, like I cried myself to sleep every night for a year. That’s I don’t know if that’s accurate. But that’s what my brain remember. And this is actually how I processed as a little kid I had the Fisher Price record player. And there is a Mercer Mayer, you know, little critter story called grandma and me. And on the backside of the record was a couple songs. And so there is a song about Grandma, and I would lay on my floor playing that little song over and over. Obviously, I felt very deeply. Right as a child, I see where my children get it. But um, that’s what I did, I laid on the floor and just would listen to that song and cry myself to sleep and, and over 30 years ago, but even still, I will get moments where I remember her you know, something triggers the memory of her and whether it’s a smell, you know, Plato reminds me of being with her, she would take us to get McDonald’s, you know, McDonald’s reminds me of her. I even my father gave me for my birthday last year, her diamond ring from her wedding ring as a pendant on my necklace. And so I wear that every day. And but I’ll still get these moments and I will still feel sad. Sometimes I think of her in a happy way. Sometimes I think of her and you know why? Why? You know, I can catch myself going if you were still here if we you know, what would our relationship be like what but and I realize I will feel more and more sad, the more I focus on that loss of her, you know, and it’s been over 30 years and obviously we don’t want to jump to that if we just recently lost someone but remembering those positive memories and just yeah, membrane with a heart of gratitude. What we got to share, you know, those people for sure. Yeah, it was very helpful.

Claudine
You know, that’s so true. And with the memory of our friend, my son’s best friend that passed two years ago, I’m so grateful that a few years before that he was home visiting from college and it come over. And I was sitting standing at the kitchen watching washing dishes. And he was going out the back slider to see my son in the back of house. And he stopped at the door. And we were talking for a few minutes. And he was laughing. And it’s such a vivid memory for me and has been like he was smiling. I remember he was wearing a scarf. It was he was laughing and smiling. We’re having this conversation. And then he turned around and went outside. And it’s so great. Because every time I do think about him, and I think of the sadness that it’s created, not only for myself, but my son, obviously, who was devastated. And for his family who we know, I think about that memory. And I’m so grateful that we had these few minutes that are so vivid to me where he was laughing and smiling and just doing great. And I keep that close to my heart. And I think about that in a way to honor him. And I think about it with gratitude, like thank you that we had this many years. And it’s so hard to do in the moment, right? When grief first strikes us, it’s so hard. But it’s one of those things that I’ve learned and train myself to do is to find those positive memories, and hang on to those and when I feel the wave of pain come over me. I give thanks for the positive that has been very helpful for me.

Ashley
I like how you’re saying the wave of those feelings because really with grief, it’s not like we’re just on this steady incline. Okay. But little by little, it’s getting better. It’s getting better. But really, there’s times where we take a dip again, you know, and we’re gonna feel all that sadness and that grief again, like.

Claudine
Based on my experience.

Ashley
Yes I mean, that’s how grief works. That’s why we can’t have expectations that well, Time heals, right time heals all wounds. And that’s not necessarily true. It’s we accept what is right now, this is what’s happening. We need to walk through the grief. And we need to, like you said, feel all the feels, you know, and not avoid those feelings and those emotions because they’re uncomfortable. We don’t want to feel grief, we don’t want to feel sadness, we don’t want to feel that loss. You know, we don’t want to accept that. And it’s important to feel it because our body and our brain needs to be able to process through because it’s never going to go away. If I don’t, you know it will come back later if we don’t process them properly. So it is so huge not just to think, Oh, I got to get better. I got to heal. I gotta move on. You know not right. We don’t need to be so tough on ourselves, right? We just need to feel it. We just need to be with it. We need to process we need to cry we some I know Don’t cry. Yeah, I have a good friend who lost his father and he didn’t shed a tear. And it’s not we don’t need to expect well, something’s wrong, right? You know, but that is his own personal way. He deals with his own personal grief, you know, and we can’t have expectations on each other. To do it a certain way. You know what I mean? And so I just got me thinking that just feel it and whatever that looks like to you just sit with it and feel it and don’t rush it, you know, don’t rush it.

Claudine
Yeah. And you feel like you’re really stuck, where it’s debilitating, reach out for help. Again, I went through the grief recovery method. And that was life changing for me on so many levels. There are other programs out there, their counselors or therapists that can help you so that you’re not stuck and debilitated. But grief does take time again, there’s no time limit. And you do need to feel the feels and reach out and let people know how you feel. Although some of us like to process our grief on our own. But that reminds me or takes me to how do we help those that are grieving around us? Yes, very good. You said something that was really important. You know, you said Time heals all wounds, not necessarily in here’s some things I’ve learned not to say that people are grieving. That’s one of them. Time heals all wounds, right, that doesn’t affirm where the person is today. While there may be truth to that down the road, that the grief will change. And it may be less overwhelming. Saying Time heals all wounds really is dis affirming. Another one is your loved ones in a better place. They’re in heaven. Now. You know, that doesn’t help me with my pain. Like, I don’t have my loved one with me anymore. They may be in a better place, but I’m still here without them. And so that doesn’t help my pain. So those are some of the things that I’ve heard said to myself and to others that were not helpful. And so we need to refrain and be really sensitive and really just be two ears, right two ears, we have two ears for a reason and one mouth. So let’s do twice the listening. And one time the talking and mostly the talking should be What do you need? which in and of itself is a whole another things, sometimes people that are grieving don’t know what they need. So you and I had this long conversation before we started recording but people grieve differently. Some people want to grieve alone. Yes, some people want to grieve with a roomful of people, right. I know I shared for me, with my mom, I wanted a lot of alone time. But if something were to happen to one of my children, or my husband, I would probably need a group of people around me, I wouldn’t trust myself to be alone at that time. So even for me, my grieving process is different, depending on the loss or could be different. And oftentimes, when you’re grieving, you don’t know what you need. I mean, we know people need to eat, people need sleep. And so if we can facilitate that in any way, to those that are closest to us that are grieving, that’s important.

Ashley
You know, that’s so true. I had a friend who lost her father in law. And we, I approached it in a way that was not what she needed from me. And I didn’t realize that until we kind of were talking through and, you know, she was sharing how she felt. And I was trying to understand because I was approaching it, how I would grieve, you know, I grieve by I need my space, I go to my cave, and I just, you know, right, which is my bed, I just need to have my time and just grieve and cry and just be by myself just work on that. Yep, process work through this on my own. And, and she did not need that, you know, and I didn’t know, and it didn’t cause a big rift in our relationship, but it’s just so important to know. And even just to ask, you know, what can I do for you? Would you like me to come over? You know, I know how I would approach it is how I would want, but at the same time, as a friend, just ask, you know, and a lot of times, we don’t know, like you said, if someone were to ask me, you know, what can I do for you? My answer is, I don’t know. I don’t know. Right? You know, I don’t know, I don’t feel in a place, I can ask you for a dinner, you know, make dinner or you know, but it is important to just love and just, you know, give space when they need space or you know, show up on their doorstep if that’s what they need. But, you know, just going into it, knowing that everyone grieves differently, you know, how can you be of best help? And I think I ideally, it’s just really to avoid certain phrases, you know, like, oh, we’ll move on one day, all right, time heals all wounds, or, you know, regardless of what it is, it’s, it’s not always what we want to hear in the moment of deep pain. You know, it’s just sometimes it’s just a hug. Sometimes it’s just a text sometimes, you know, it’s just come over and sit with me on the couch, you know, right. Um, it depends. And it’s just really important to take that into consideration when trying to comfort a loved one going through that play.

Claudine
Yeah, and there’s been a lot like in our circle, as, as we’ve shared and and today, for so many this week, are grieving in their own way, depending on the level of relationship with Coby, I’m sure I can’t even imagine his wife with a newborn. I mean, I hearts go out to all those families, even the lesser known because they were just as important to their loved ones.

Ashley
Right. And I was reading an article this morning about the other family, you know, I headed to a basketball game together. And I was just reading up on the family that was also in the plane crash, and it was a dad, a mom and their daughter, right, leaving behind to other children that lie about teenage years. And it’s just, you know, it’s devastating. It’s, I mean, we see everything, Coby, which absolutely, he made an impact, you know, in the world. And it’s very well known, but just even the other people involved. But it’s, it’s just not really situation we can even logically understand, you know, I mean, we can’t try to make sense of something like that.

Claudine
No, no. And it is part of the human experience. That’s a hard part. That’s the part that I think can get people stuck is the questioning the why, why, why it doesn’t make sense. I mean, I went through that with our son’s friend, it was just made zero sense. There was no logic to it. And it’s almost a resistance to what, what has already happened. But just accepting that it had happened was huge for me, but there, we can never understand why they’re really on this side of heaven. We’re not going to understand why it just doesn’t make sense to us. And one day, I think a lot of things are going to make sense. But for now, they don’t make sense and just even accepting that that it doesn’t have to make sense. I mean, I watched my son just through incredible hardship these last two years questioning, hurting so many things, just trying to come to a place where he could accept that his best friend was no longer here, right. And it’s incredibly painful as a mom to watch one of your children. grieve someone and it doesn’t make sense. I had no answers. I couldn’t begin to explain why I have no idea why. And it certainly didn’t make sense to me. And it’s certainly how I would have chosen for things to go right. In light of that my other son’s already lost two friends by his mid 20s, to his closest friends. So who can explain it? I sure can’t. There’s no logic to it, but it’s just part of the human existence. And I’ve come to just accept it and just help my boys the best I can to feel their feelings, you know, and to accept what is and hopefully the explanation will come down the road while on the other side of heaven.

Ashley
Right. So friends remember if you’re going through a season of loss and grief, just go ahead and feel it feel all the fields allow yourself the time to walk through this season, it is a season. If it’s a time to reach out for help with processing the grief as sometimes we do need a little extra help. There are many grief programs I’m sure in your area that you can check out as well as our personal friends at healingstartswiththeheart.com, which Claudine has personally gone through herself. If you’re also a friend of someone who is grieving, remember that just sit with them listen and validate their feelings, maybe bring them a meal, offer to clean their house. Ask them what you can do for them. And if they are the type of griever who needs their time and their space alone to process then respect their desire for that is well, I encourage you to remember that little by little we let go of the loss but never have the love.

Friends Thank You so much for tuning in with us today. We hope this episode has brought you one step closer to living the life you love. Until next time, remember the world needs who you were made to be.