Just as she was on the verge of publishing her first book, Suzanne Anderson's husband died of suicide, tossing her into a very dark and difficult abyss. Her entire life was changed by this tragedy and she turned to the same self-care and support practices she taught as a writer, speaker, and leadership innovator. These practices enabled her to be present with each of the emotions and experiences connected to her grief. We talk about the shame and stigma associated with suicide and how she worked to dismantle both as she grieved her husband's death.
To learn more about Suzanne's work and her book, The Way of the Mysterial Woman - Upgrading How You Live, Love and Lead, visit her website, Mysterial Woman.
In Episode 4 of Who Died? host Aimee Craig talks with Brandi Maxell about her mother.
Music written and performed by Lida Husik.
What do schools need to consider when someone in their community dies of suicide? There are many decisions to make that require compassion and care. How will they share the news? What kinds of emotional support are needed? As a school, what are ways to remember and honor the person who died? Donna Schuurman, Senior Director of Advocacy & Training at The Dougy Center, shares ideas and suggestions for school administrators, teachers, and counselors faced with creating a supportive response plan when someone dies of suicide. For additional tips and suggestions for schools when someone dies, listen to Episode 35: After A Death - 5 Tips For Schools
You can also read our Tip Sheets:
Supporting Students After A Death - Tips For Teachers & School Personnel
Supporting Children And Teens After A Suicide Death
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out for help. 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text Help to 741741
Music was written and performed by Leila Chieko.
When it comes to finding the right avenue of support in grief, it can be hard to sort through the options. How do you decide between a peer support group or individual, family, or group therapy? Our guest, Matt Modrcin, LCSW, specializes in individual, couples and family, and group psychotherapy. He has over 30 years experience as a clinician, educator, and trainer, he is a member of the American Family Therapy Academy and the National Association of Social Workers. He received both his M.S.W. and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare. Jana and Matt discuss similarities and differences between peer support and therapy and identify ways to decide which (or both) is the right fit when someone is grieving.
Music written and performed by Leila Chieko and Doctor Turtle
Doctor Turtle/“Which That Is This?”
From the Free Music Archive
Who Died? was created by Aimee Craig to give voice to the memories of those we carry with us. Each episode is about one person's life and death as told by a loved one. Episode 3 is a conversation with Lida Husik about her mother, Selma. More information at https://www.whodiedpodcast.
Some people are private in their grief, some are more public, and some put their grief onto large public murals. Artist Max Collins joins us to talk about his powerful work creating murals for and with people in grief. Max is collaborating with this year's Celebrate Silas, a family-friendly, non-competitive 5k run/walk in Portland, OR (Sunday, 3.4.18) started by Jodie Brauer in honor of her baby Silas who died a week after his first birthday.This year Max is collaborating with Jodie and Celebrate Silas to help participants create their own mural of a loved one who has died. Max and I also explore east coast vs. west coast grief and discuss if there really are any differences.
Music: “Which That Is This?” by Doctor Turtle
From the Free Music Archive
Music: “I Thought of Pills” by Lee Rosevere
From the Free Music Archive
Who Died? was created by Aimee Craig to give voice to the memories of those we carry with us. Each episode is about one person's life and death as told by a loved one. Today's conversation is with Karol Collymore about her mother, Julia. More information at https://www.whodiedpodcast.
Sue Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two shooters at Columbine High School who, in 1999, killed twelve students and a teacher, and wounded more than 20 others before taking their own lives. In our conversation with we explore how current day mass tragedies continue to affect her. We also look at how tragedies like Columbine occur - and how someone's thinking can become suicidal and homicidal. Before publishing her book, A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, Sue spent 15 years excavating every detail of her family life, and trying to understand the crucial intersection between mental health problems and violence. Instead of becoming paralyzed by her grief and remorse, she worked to advance mental health awareness. Sue is donating all author’s profits from her book to organizations that promote brain health and prevent suicide.
Kimberly Warner's father died in a car accident just before she graduated from high school. Two decades later, a DNA test revealed he wasn't her biological father. Eager to understand more about the mystery of her beginnings, she began a search for her biological father, only to find out he disappeared in a sailing accident when she was ten years old. Unfolding this part of Kimberly’s history continues to be a complex and poignant adventure of self-discovery, threading together universal themes of identity, belonging, family secrets and the strange, unconscious pull of DNA that encourages us into our fullest expression.
One aspect of grief that rarely gets mentioned is losing someone twice- once in a life-altering circumstance and again when they die. This feeling can arise from a variety of circumstances including substance abuse, mental illness, the personality changes related to a physical illness, or other situation where there is a radical change in a relationship long before someone dies. For people left behind, this can add a complexity in understanding their feelings of grief. Our guest Caraline's older brother Bobby died of mental illness in 2016, 10 years after being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Six months after Bobby's death, Caraline had an epiphany. She realized she never dealt with her feelings of grief surrounding his diagnosis. A realization that would serve as a major turning point in her grief.
After someone dies, we rarely get the chance to talk about how they lived because any conversation about them tends to focus on how they died or on how we are doing in our grief. The lack of opportunity to talk about our people - who they were, what they loved, how they influenced us - is what inspired Aimee Craig to create a new (amazing) podcast called Who Died? Grief Out Loud is guest hosting Aimee's podcast as it builds an audience - which we know won't take long at all! We'll be interspersing Who Died? episodes with our regular content and hope to post one each month. Who Died's first episode is a conversation with Doug Wells whose wife Neeley died in 2015. To learn more about Who Died? check out their site. https://www.whodiedpodcast.
When it comes to grief support for teens, SLAP'D (Surviving Life After a Parent Dies) is a unique online community where teens get support and ideas. directly from other teens, about how to cope with the death of a parent. Our guest, Asher Liu, is SLAP'D's (Surviving Life After a Parent Dies) current Teen Board Chair. Asher, whose father died in 2012, talks about what inspired his sister, Genevieve, to start SLAP'D (Surviving Life After a Parent Dies) and how being involved with the organization has changed his grief. He also shares suggestions for other teens who are new to grief. To learn more about SLAP'D (Surviving Life After a Parent Dies) and find ways to be part of the community, check out their website. (www.slapd.com)
Interacting with others while grieving can be wildly confusing and tricky. You’ve probably been there. You run into someone you haven’t seen in a long time, likely in a public spot, and this someone doesn’t know the person in your life died. Maybe they ask an innocuous, “How are you?” or more specifically, “How's your mom, dad, husband, wife, partner, sibling, or friend… doing?” On the spot, you’re charged with either telling this person that your person died or faking a sudden and urgent task - maybe yelling out a “Hi! Sorry, I forgot I left my keys in the car. Bye!” In this episode, we talk with Caitlin Sweeney about these potentially awkward social interactions in the midst of grief. Caitlin’s mom died of a pulmonary embolism in November of 2015. Caitlin is the youngest of two and until recently, lived in the same town as her older sister and father.
Just a note of acknowledgment that this episode is not meant to shame anyone who’s found themselves voicing platitudes in the face of grief. Platitudes are what we’ve been socialized to say and in a moment when we don’t know what else to say, they tend to jump out of our mouths.
John Mayer first encountered grief when his older brother Stephen suddenly died at age 29 in 2007. Nine years later, John's second daughter, River, died 90 minutes after her birth. John talks about how he keeps Stephen and River present in his daily life and the ways he and his family reached out to their community for support. John also describes how his older daughter, who was 2 when River died, is making sense of her sister's death.
Our guest is Darwyn Dave, creator and host of the Dealing With My Grief podcast. In 1978, when Darwyn was ten years old, his father was killed. 38 years later, in January of 2016, Darwyn turned to podcasting as a way to explore grief and how it continues to shape the adult he is today. With his unique mix of candor and insight, Darwyn illuminates the interior world of what it was like to be 10 and suddenly without his father.
Heather Stang, thanatologist, mindfulness speaker, and author of Mindfulness & Grief: With Guided Meditations To Calm Your Mind & Restore Your Spirit, joins us to talk about cultivating self-compassion as a powerful avenue for self-care while grieving. She shares an accessible technique that you can use anywhere to get connected to your emotional and physical needs and bring ease and understanding to the some of the most painful aspects of grief.
What do you tell children when someone in their life is diagnosed with an advanced serious illness? How do you support them and everyone else who is affected by this devastating turn of events? Mia Nyschens joins us to talk about her work with families who are faced with the knowledge that someone they love is going to die. Mia is part of The Dougy Center's Pathways Program, which provides peer support groups for children, teens, and their adult family members when someone has a life-limiting illness.
To learn more about Pathways, visit our website.
What happens when the term widow or widower doesn’t fit because you weren’t officially married to the person who died? This is often the case for young adults who lose their partners - especially in their twenties and thirties. They find themselves grieving their person, the one they were building a life with, and also dealing with the ramifications of not being an official family member in the eyes of the law. In this episode, we talk with Lynsey, about the power of words and the ways she judged her own grief after her partner Jared died in 2009.
Megan Devine joins us again, this time talking about another shadow aspect of grief - anger. Anger shows up in many ways, including being angry at the person who died, at ourselves, and at someone or something we hold responsible for the death. Megan shares her personal and professional insight on the importance of acknowledging this anger and finding ways to navigate what can often be a very uncomfortable emotion. Megan is a teacher, speaker, psychotherapist, and also the author of the book, It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand, coming from Sounds True in September 2017. It's available for pre-order on Amazon and you can order it here. To learn more about Megan's practical, no-nonsense approach to grief, and her ability to guide people inside some of the most devastating experiences of life and love, check out her website. Want to listen to our first conversation with Megan about dating after the death of a partner? You can find it here.