Thanks for the Chance to Remember My Mom Today — An Interview with Erin | Talking about Grief with Friends

Thanks for the Chance to Remember My Mom Today — An Interview with Erin | Talking about Grief with Friends
Sorry For Your Loss

 
 
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In this episode of Sorry For Your Loss, I talk with my dear friend Erin.

And I have just one short thing to acknowledge which is: Yes, this is a long episode. I know. But it’s good. And it’s long because Erin was never out of things to talk about.

I think it’s fascinating to listen because I know and love Erin. And while you might not connect with her the way I do, you DO have an Erin in your life, and they either need you now or will need you at some point.

So if you feel a bit overwhelmed by the number of minutes you see, know that I hear you! And if you’re just not up for it today, I encourage you, instead, to keep this in mind the next time you have an opportunity to talk to someone about their grief.

Make the time. Listen well. Ask Questions.

And, just a note that… this podcast isn’t about making YOU comfortable! It’s about learning how to stretch yourself, to show up for the people in your life. and how to listen to them when they need you to. 🙂

Resources in this Episode:
How Not to Say the Wrong Thing” — LA Times article by Susan Silk and Bary Goldman (aka the “Comfort In, Dump Out” article)

There is piles more to the story — A Follow-Up Interview with Amanda | Talking About Grief with Friends

There is piles more to the story — A Follow-Up Interview with Amanda | Talking About Grief with Friends
Sorry For Your Loss

 
 
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This is a follow-up to Episode 7, where I spoke with my friend Amanda, who talked about her grief following the deaths of her mother and father. If you haven’t heard that episode, hop back to get to know Amanda and her experiences.

In this episode, Amanda is filling the gaps in my grief knowledge. I don’t know what I’m not asking, since I haven’t been through this myself. It’s very easy for me to focus on the parts of death and dying that are very surface level – and that would pertain to me as a listener of someone’s story. Amanda is taking us behind the scenes of her story to talk about how she was with each of her parents when they died, how those processes were very much a part of her grief — and may be for many people.

As a bit of a trigger warning in this episode, Amanda does describe the moments and process leading up to her parents’ deaths. The stories are at a pretty high level — they aren’t graphic by any means — but anyone listening who has lost someone to cancer or a heart attack: it could be tough to relive it with her. ❤️💔❤️

As always – thank you for listening. If you have thoughts on this episode send them my way!

There Are Lots of Ways to Show Up for People — An Interview with Amanda | Talking About Grief with Friends

There Are Lots of Ways to Show Up for People — An Interview with Amanda | Talking About Grief with Friends
Sorry For Your Loss

 
 
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Hello!

Or perhaps welcome back 🙂 I had a bit of an unintended hiatus — life just needs those sometimes — but I’m excited to be back with a few more episodes. Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any of them!

How has listening or sharing this podcast helped or affected you? It could be that you’re grieving for someone, or you felt comfortable approaching someone or asking a question… or something I wouldn’t have even expected! I’d love if you share your story by sending a recording or email to sorryforyourlosspod@gmail.com – or find me on instagram or facebook @sorryforyourlosspod. THANKS in advance—I look forward to hearing from you!

Now on to this new episode with my friend Amanda. I thought of Amanda almost immediately for this podcast for two reasons: one, we’re of similar age and she has already lost both of her parents — which is unusual, and unfair, and unfortunate. But that also gives her exactly the perspective I wanted to understand.

The second reason is because she’s open and approachable about her parents. It was an easy topic to broach because by knowing Amanda as a friend, you’ll get to know Evangeline and Ron, gently and casually.

Amanda’s story is told in two parts: this episode focuses on similar themes to previous interviews: what her grief looked like, and what she’s realized she needed in the 16 years since her mom died, and 6 since her dad died, and advice on what TO do and absolutely NOT to do.

In the following episode, Amanda talks more about the process of losing both parents, and how those experiences absolutely shaped her grief and her life. It’s basically a different thing to grieve; the way your life can change so abruptly. It’s super good, and a piece of grief that I hadn’t realized existed.

As always thank you for listening, and thank you to Amanda for sharing.

References in this episode:
C.S. Lewis’ book, A Grief Observed
Sockentine’s Day – On Valentine’s Day, you send a pair of wacky socks to people you care about!

It’s a Joy to Tell These Stories — An Interview with My Mom & My Aunt | Talking with Friends About Grief

It’s a Joy to Tell These Stories — An Interview with My Mom & My Aunt | Talking with Friends About Grief
Sorry For Your Loss

 
 
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Trigger warning: this episode discusses suicide.

(Trigger warning for any Royals fans, this episode references Game 7 of the 2014 World Series.)

This episdoe is the one that is nearest and dearest to my heart. 

I sat down to talk with my mom, Susan, and my Aunt Linda (her sister) about the deaths of their parents, but more specifically about their mom.

Their mom’s suicide, as you will hear, happened when they were relatively young, in their 20s, so for me it was always a known factor about their lives, and subsequently mine, too. I very rarely pursued any conversation with them about her. I think at first this was because I was young, but later because I didn’t know what to say, it felt a bit like a ‘case closed’ situation, more of a circumstance than a thing to be investigated. 

Obviously as I’ve grown older and now especially as I interview people and learn more about grief, I understand that this is pretty far off the mark! And after conducting this interview, I’m looking forward to learning more from future conversations.

We also talk about my grandpa Pat’s death four years ago, and how different that experience was for both of them. 

I love these women, so much! I frequently offer them to my friends as a substitute mom or aunt, which I’m not actually sure I’ve mentioned to them… but if you’re in need, hit me up! 

But/And – one of the best things about having them in my life is how much we laugh! Even when discussing one of the toughest, saddest moments of their life, their laughter and light and crazy storytelling skills and emotions shine through.

I hope you love it as much as I did! 

PS – Mom & Linda reference Michael Jackson’s song, “She’s Out of My Life” — and Linda was not. kidding. when she said it was a dirge. Yikes.

PPS – My mom says she’s never actually listened to the lyrics past the opening line, but I think the opening lyrics are even more disturbing: “She’s out of my life / And I don’t know whether to laugh or cry / I don’t know whether to live or die.” If you’re hearing that and thinking of your dead mother who you had a complicated relationship with … OMG!?

Just Be Big and Brave — An Interview with Kate | Talking About Grief with Friends

Just Be Big and Brave — An Interview with Kate | Talking About Grief with Friends
Sorry For Your Loss

 
 
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For this interview I spoke with one of my besties, Kate, and (so far) it’s the only interview I’ve done in-person. Like actually in the same room, not staring across an internet screen. 

The difference is obvious to me. You can really hear how much emotion is tied to the subject, and how difficult it can be to hold on to a friend’s emotions in-the-moment. I feel like you can hear how awkward I am — much more so than over the phone and especially in later episodes and interviews once I’ve learned that it’s okay to talk about dead people. 

Which leads me to a confession of sorts: These conversations still *not* easy! And I don’t think they ever will be. 

Part of what I am learning is that during these tough conversations where you have to be real, and you don’t get to be all sunshiney about it. 

My podcasts guests (who are my close friends and relatives) have all come to terms with their grief, but even decades later there are very real emotions tied to these stories. And let’s be honest, our society doesn’t really excel at staying real when emotions run high. 

What Kate’s interview showed me exactly HOW hard it is to really listen and be present. My gut reaction was to want to make it okay, or to lighten the mood, make her laugh. But take a step back from that conversation for a second: if my friend is telling me serious news of any kind, if I’m really listening and participating in the conversation, I shouldn’t make light of it. I should be asking questions to follow-up and learn more. Eventually they will know what kind of support they need from me, but step one is showing up and then step two is listening completely. 

Don’t listen for your opportunity to relate your story. Don’t open the conversation with how hard it is for YOU to talk about THEIR grief. This is the time in your life when you should completely and utterly focus on the person across the table from you. And that’s not intuitive.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, the act of offering support is simple. But it is definitely not easy. 

A couple things to note about this episode: it’s recorded on my phone which leads to some questionable audio quality at times. (There’s also one point I hop up to get tissues, so you’ll hear the door opening and closing and all kinds of kerfuffle.)

And there’s a bit of swearing so cover any tiny ears that may be closeby. It’s wonderful British swearing though, which is just more fun than American swearing. 

This Is Hard Because You Loved Them – An Interview with Christy, a Grief Counselor | Talking About Grief with Friends

This Is Hard Because You Loved Them – An Interview with Christy, a Grief Counselor | Talking About Grief with Friends
Sorry For Your Loss

 
 
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This episode is a break from the normal peer-to-peer interviews I’ve done previously. Today I’m talking with Christy Hansen, a grief counsellor at KC Hospice in Kansas City, Missouri. She sees people who are grieving literally every day, and graciously agreed to talk with me about grief! 

I think this interview is especially helpful to hear if you feel like you’re floundering a bit. I mean, Christy’s career is based around understanding how to react to people’s grief — so it makes sense she would have some really excellent suggestions on what to do or say. 

Her words left me feeling a lot more confident in how to reach out? A bit less awkward with admitting that I may not know what the right thing to say is. She really reiterates a point that I’ve heard over and over in these interviews — it’s the being there that counts. And if you really listen to the person across from you, you will be doing the right thing. 

Christy references a few resources if you’re looking to support someone in their grief, or if you are grieving yourself. Those resources are linked on our website, www. sorryforyourlosspod .com 

Thanks a million to Christy!

What we mentioned in this episode of Sorry For Your Loss Podcast:

I’m Sorry, and I’m Here For You — An Interview with Greg | Talking About Grief with Friends

I’m Sorry, and I’m Here For You — An Interview with Greg | Talking About Grief with Friends
Sorry For Your Loss

 
 
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I sat down with my friend Greg, who I may or may not have coerced into being on this podcast after may or may not have had one or two or several pints between us.

The topic came up at all because I had made a “YOUR MOM!” joke. Greg’s response was perfect, he effortlessly and emphatically yelled back, “MY MOM’S DEAD!” 

I was momentarily caught off guard, and then replied, “YOU SHOULD BE ON MY PODCAST!” 

Which is maybe not the best response?

But as I’m learning about grief, and how to talk to people about their grief, I’ve learned it’s not actually a terrible response either! However it may rank on the appropriate-ness scale, Greg kindly agreed to be one of my first interviews.

Greg has some really great things to say about his experience with grief — his mother and father both died before he was 40 — and how it’s affected him since. And, he has insight about how you can support friends and coworkers in their moments of grief and beyond. 

You Grieve All The Time, Every Day – An Interview with Kelly | Talking About Grief with Friends

You Grieve All The Time, Every Day – An Interview with Kelly | Talking About Grief with Friends
Sorry For Your Loss

 
 
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Hi again listeners, here is EPISODE TWO! of Sorry For Your Loss the podcast.

I hope that you have in your life friends who are as good to you as the two women in this podcast have been to me. Kelly, Holly, and I have been friends since I was a freshman in college which is … plenty … of years ago by now. So, we’re close. At the beginning you’ll hear them teasing me about my British vocab in a way only long-standing friends can. And it’s been amazing to have their friendship over these years of drama and mundanity that life throws at you in your 20s and 30s!

I also want to shout out to both of them because this entire podcast would most likely not have come to fruition without both of them. We heard from Holly in Episode One, she was the original catalyst. And when I told Kelly about the idea, she was immediately supportive and enthusiastic. She wholeheartedly agreed to be interviewed, really jumped at the idea. Thanks, Kelly!!

The three of us are talking in this episode about Kelly’s mom, Nancy, who died right at the end of college. Nancy had colon cancer, and it was a long process, with bouts of health and decline, so Kelly was able to reflect about what was happening when it was happening, and even more in the years since. We discuss how she’s felt as she moved through milestones – getting married, having kids, birthdays, etc – without her mom, and how simple it is to offer support.

We’re a bit of a mess at the beginning because I hadn’t worked out how to introduce a podcast with more than two people! So please forgive a few giggles and false starts. The content gets really good, just stick with us!

What we mentioned in this episode of Sorry For Your Loss:

What Would Ernie Do? – An Interview with Holly | Talking About Grief with Friends

What Would Ernie Do? – An Interview with Holly | Talking About Grief with Friends
Sorry For Your Loss

 
 
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Hello and welcome to the first episode of Sorry For Your Loss podcast. Thanks for listening!

As mentioned in the previous post, this podcast idea came out of Holly and my’s shared experience with not understanding what to do after her dad died. So I’m really proud for this first episode to be an interview with her about her dad, Ernie.

We cover a whole range of topics, including how suicide changed her grieving process, how she handles conversations differently after losing a parent, how to listen when someone is grieving, and how you can’t get wrapped up in the “could haves” following the death of a loved one.

What we mentioned in this episode of Sorry For Your Loss:

Grief comes in waves, a comment from Reddit user u/GSnow on the thread, “My friend just died. I don’t know what to do.

Grief Dinners – find a table or start a dinner in a city near you via The Dinner Party

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. 1-800-273-8255

Introduction to Sorry For Your Loss | Talking About Grief with Friends

Introduction to Sorry For Your Loss | Talking About Grief with Friends
Sorry For Your Loss

 
 
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We have all been in a situation where we clam up after a friend tells us someone they love has died. Many of us realize that’s the wrong reaction, but how do you know what to say to someone who is grieving?

Meet Ellen and Holly, two friends whose shared experiences illustrate both sides to this story. When Holly’s dad died, and Ellen didn’t know what to say, they both realized… that’s kinda weird.

This podcast was created out of several conversations they shared since that realization.

Sorry For Your Loss podcast hosts Ellen (left) and Holly