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Grief Out Loud

Remember the last time you tried to talk about grief and suddenly everyone left the room? Grief Out Loud is opening up this often avoided conversation because grief is hard enough without having to go through it alone. We bring you a mix of personal stories, tips for supporting children, teens, and yourself, and interviews with bereavement professionals. Platitude and cliché-free, we promise! Grief Out Loud is hosted by Jana DeCristofaro and produced by The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families in Portland, Oregon. www.dougy.org
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Remember the last time you tried to talk about grief and suddenly everyone left the room? Grief Out Loud is opening up this often avoided conversation because grief is hard enough without having to go through it alone. We bring you a mix of personal stories, tips for supporting children, teens, and yourself, and interviews with bereavement professionals. Platitude and cliché-free, we promise! Grief Out Loud is hosted by Jana DeCristofaro and produced by The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families in Portland, Oregon.

Sep 20, 2018

In 1955 Jack was ten and living with his mother, who was raising him alone. She and Jack’s father adopted him when he was a tiny infant, which meant she was the only mother he knew. Jack’s mother and father got divorced when he was really young, so for the most part, she was also his only parent. One night, Jack’s mother died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack, leaving him not only in deep grief but unsure of where he would end up and who he would live with.

Sep 7, 2018

Halfway through her junior year of high school, Lily's father died suddenly of a heart attack. In shock and angry about everything that would be different in her life without her father, Lily was devastated. As she made her way into this new landscape of grief, Lily sought to fulfill her father’s wish that she do what he didn’t have the opportunity to do - graduate high school, attend college, and grow into the powerful whirlwind of a woman he raised her to be. Lily shares tangible suggestions for teachers, counselors, family, and friends on how to show up and support a teen in grief.

Be sure to watch Lily's powerful documentary about her father. 

Aug 28, 2018

Ryan's favorite person in the world is his older sister. Seven years ago he got one of those phone calls - the kind that changes your life forever. In that call, he found out his sister was dealing with an aggressive form of Multiple Sclerosis. Since then, he's learned a lot about how to be a support for his sister while also taking care of his own emotional, mental, and physical health. Ryan shares suggestions for what to ask (and not ask) when someone's family member is dealing with an illness and also what he's discovered about caring for someone while honoring their agency and independence. 

Aug 16, 2018

Jana's dad's dad, Antonio DeCristofaro, died in 1963. She talks with her dad, Tony, about how his dad's death when he was 14 drastically changed the course of his life.

This is the third in our series looking at how the approach to supporting grieving children has or hasn’t changed over time. We’ll be talking to people who had parents die in different decades, starting in the 1940’s. We’re hoping to discover how parents, kids, and other adults such as teachers and coaches reacted to children after a death.

For more information on supporting grieving teens, check out our Tip Sheet. 

 

Aug 10, 2018

This episode is part of a series looking at how the approach to supporting grieving children has or hasn’t changed over time. We’ll be talking to people who had parents die in different decades, starting in the 1940’s. We’re hoping to discover how parents, kids, and other adults such as teachers and coaches reacted to children after a death. 

Cathy was just 5 and a half when her mother died of suicide. While she knew her mother died, Cathy didn't fully understand what happened because the death wasn’t clearly explained to her. As a teenager and into her early twenties, Cathy filled in the gaps of the story with new information. Information and that enabled her to make more sense of her mother's death and how the grief continues to be part of her life, 40 years later. 

Jul 26, 2018

This is the first in a series on how the approach to supporting grieving children has or hasn’t changed over time. We’ll be talking to people who had parents die in different decades, starting in the 1940’s. We’re hoping to discover how parents, kids, and other adults such as teachers and coaches reacted to children after a death. Did they talk about it? Avoid them? Act like nothing had happened? We know that even today, in 2018, children are often shielded from the truth of someone dying and as a result, left out of the collective grieving process. Sometimes this happens because people think children are too young to understand and a lot of the time it’s because it’s really painful for parents and caregivers to be present with children’s grief.

Today’s guest is Dean Conklin. Dean is one of two volunteers at our program for grieving children and families that started over 30 years ago. That translates into thousands of hours spent listening to and playing with children and teens facing the heartbreak of a parent or sibling’s death.

Dean came to this work like many volunteers, with his own story of loss. In 1945, when Dean was just 8 years old, his father died in a work accident.

Jul 20, 2018

Is it grief or typical child or teen behavior? Most parents and caregivers will have this questions at some point in their grieving child's life. Dr. Kitty Huffstutter, LCSW joins us to talk about ways parents and caregivers can best support their child's grief while also setting limits and responding to big behaviors. We explore the idea of a recovery environment, finding the right time and place to problem-solve, and the importance of identifying natural and formal supports for both caregivers and children. Parenting and grief can be extremely hard work and if you're seeking more support in the form of therapy or counseling, please reach out for resources. You can email us at help@dougy.org or contact your county's mental health program. If you or your child is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text HOME to 741741. 

To learn more about Dr. Daniel Siegel's work, check out his website. 

Jul 10, 2018
In December of 2014, Eidan was a young professional moving up in her career as an engineer. In the last year and a half she’d gotten married, started a new job, and she and her wife Michelle were busy doing what they loved - going to live music, doting on their five animals, and spending time with friends and family. Then, on January 13th, 2015, everything changed. Eidan went for an MRI and before she made it back to her car, the doctor called and asked her to return to the hospital. They had seen a mass in her brain. The eventual diagnosis: a grade 3 astrocytoma wrapped around her brain stem.
 
Three and a half years later, Eidan is living with cancer. We talk about what it's like to be a young adult with this diagnosis that has no cure and no definitive course. We also discuss how she and her wife are making decisions about finances and the intentional way they choose to spend time and energy. Eidan shares suggestions for supporting those dealing with a cancer diagnosis, including what questions to ask (and not ask) and ways to show up that really make a difference.
 
The First Descents program we talk about provides life-changing outdoor adventures for young adults (18-39) impacted by cancer. Be sure to check them out!

 

Jun 25, 2018

When we are grieving there can be emotional hot spot days throughout the year. Some of these might be known quantities like a birthday or the anniversary of the death or diagnosis. Others are unexpected - random moments and days that catch you off guard and bring the grief into stark relief. How we approach these significant days can be as unique as we are. In this episode, we hear from a variety of people about how they navigate these days. It's not a recipe for how to do it the right way, because there is no right way, but just a variety of ideas and perspectives. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this episode!

 

 

Jun 8, 2018

Five years ago Sarah was 23, doing what a lot of 23-year-olds do - working, hanging out with friends, starting life as a "real" adult, and living at home with her mom and dad. Then on a totally average day in May, Sarah walked into the house to find that her mom had an aortic aneurysm. The paramedics came and she was rushed to the hospital where she died later that night.

How do you go from being in one world - the world where your person is alive and washing dishes and folding laundry and calling your name down the hall - to another where this person no longer exists in their physical form? How do your brain and body and spirit even begin to make sense of that?

Sarah talks about the extremely close relationship she had with her mother and how she worked to bridge this before and after world of grief. 

 

May 17, 2018
Over the course of 6 weeks when she was just 24, both of Cynthia Whipple's parents died, leaving her reeling and without a sense of home or family. We talk about what it's like to be grieving in your early 20's, the ways grief influences parenting, and how this experience inspired Cynthia's determination to create her own family. 
 
Resources we mention in our conversation:

Cynthia's essay on the site Option B.
 
Cara Blevin's empowHER organization for grieving girls
 
HBO's The Conversation - Stories That Matter
Video conversation about mother loss.   
 
May 15, 2018
Kara Jones is a practitioner working with grieving people and professionals supporting those in grief. She is also a heART maker, exploring creativity as an avenue for expanding our definitions of grief, meaning, and self-care. We talk about Kara's personal grief after the death of her son and how that experience opened the door to recognizing how access to care and support after a death is influenced and affected by so many factors including race, gender, class, geographic location, education level, and more. We discuss how important staying curious and aware are in working to acknowledge and address these inequities. 
 
Resources we reference in our conversation:
 
Kara's site for those in grief
Grief and Creativity 
Kara's site for professionals
The Creative Grief Studio 
 
Madness & Creativity 
by Ann Belford Ulanov
 
by Kimberly Acquaviva:
 
(Includes link to Beyond Self-Care Bubble Baths: A Vision for Community Care by Abeni Jones)
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255 
Apr 27, 2018

Heat Smith's mother, Jan, died of cancer almost 18 years ago. Heat, who was 25 at the time, became her mother's full-time caregiver. We talk about their intense and complex relationship, how Heat honors her mother's memory, and what it's been like to become a brand new parent without her mom. 

Apr 25, 2018

How do we hold intense joy and deep sorrow at the same time? This was the question facing singer-songwriter Licity Collins as she celebrated finalizing the tracks for her debut album, One Girl Town, on the same day her mother died from Alzheimer's disease. Licity talks about the complex relationship she had with her mother and what it was like to chronicle her grief in real time as part of her Open Diary project. To learn more about Licity's music, her Open Diary project, and purchase her album, One Girl Town, visit her website

Apr 22, 2018

How do our early experiences with attachment and primary attachment figures inform and influence our grief? With her signature combination of humor and insight, Pearl Waldorf, MA, joins us to talk about the ways in which grief shows up in her counseling office and how an understanding of attachment states can support people in grief. 

Pearl Waldorf, MA is an individual counselor in Portland, OR. To learn more about her practice, please visit Pearl Waldorf Counseling

Apr 12, 2018

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 5 is a conversation with Phyllis DeCristofaro about her father Filipo (Philip). More information at https://www.whodiedpodcast.com/

Mar 14, 2018

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.

 

Feb 22, 2018
Leslie Browning is a poet, publisher, novelist, and soon to be memoirist with the publication of her newest book, To Lose the Madness - Field Notes on Trauma, Loss and Radical Authenticity. Leslie is also a grieving mother, who miscarried twins in 2015. This loss served as a cracking open point, leading to months of struggle into and through childhood traumas, physical health crises, and mental illness. To Lose the Madness is a personal offering and a practice in radical authenticity - a willingness to speak out about what so often goes underground, and secreted away.  
 
To learn more about Leslie and her work, visit her website.  
Feb 8, 2018

In Episode 4 of Who Died? host Aimee Craig talks with Brandi Maxell about her mother. 

Music written and performed by Lida Husik.

Feb 1, 2018
Megan Devine, writer, speaker, and grief advocate discusses her work to bring grief out of the whisper corner. We talk about how to talk about grief, the death positivity movement, Megan's book, It's OK That You're Not OK - Meeting Grief & Loss in a Culture that Doesn't Understand, and what she terms the grief revolution. 
 
Ways to connect with Megan that we reference in the episode:
 
Article - Death Positivity in the Face of Grief on The Order of the Good Death website. 
(www.orderofthegooddeath.com/death-positivity-face-grief)
 
Book - It's OK That You're Not OK - Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand
(www.refugeingrief.com/book/)
 
Website - Refuge in Grief
(www.refugeingrief.com)
 
Review of her book in The New York Times  - Understanding Grief: Megan Devine and the Grief Revolution in Jane Brody’s Wellness column at the New York Times.
(www.nytimes.com/2018/01/24/learning/how-do-you-cope-with-grief.html)
 
Music written and performed by Leila Chieko
Jan 24, 2018

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.

Jan 19, 2018

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
CC BY
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Doctor_Turtle/Jonahs_Message_for_New_York/Which_That_Is_This

Jan 5, 2018

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.com/

Dec 21, 2017

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. 

To learn more about Celebrate Silas and Max's mural project visit their site. (www.celebratesilas.com)
To register for the walk visit The Dougy Center. 
 
To contact Jodie - jodie@f2it.com
To connect with Max and learn more about his work: makscollins@gmail.com maxcollins.net
 
Mural Workshop Times: Selecting A One Hour Time Window
Sunday, January 21st 10:00am-4:00pm
Saturday, February 3rd 10:00am-4:00pm
Saturday, February 17th 10:00am-4:00pm

*All workshops will be held at The Dougy Center Portland location (3903 SE 52nd Ave) and will be filled on a first come, first served basis.  If you are unable to attend Celebrate Silas in person, we will coordinate a way for you to pick up your mural. This project is FREE.  If you would like to bring a donation to help fund the project, it would be appreciated.  However, completely optional.  Suggested donation: $20.

Music: “Which That Is This?” by Doctor Turtle
From the Free Music Archive
CC BY
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Doctor_Turtle/Jonahs_Message_for_New_York/Which_That_Is_This
Music: “I Thought of Pills” by Lee Rosevere
From the Free Music Archive
CC BY
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lee_Rosevere/The_Big_Loop_-_FML_original_podcast_score/Lee_Rosevere_-_The_Big_Loop_-_FML_original_podcast_score_-_07_I_Thought_Of_Pills
Nov 30, 2017
Rebecca Hobbs-Lawrence, Pathways Program Coordinator at The Dougy Center, joins us to talk about creating legacies when someone is dying. What is a legacy? What memories do children and teens value most? What prevents families from engaging in legacy activities? What can supportive friends and family do to help create these legacies? We explore these questions and share suggestions that can apply to anyone who wants to capture memories and experiences with those they love. 
 
For more suggestions, please visit:

Previous episodes with Rebecca Hobbs-Lawrence:
Grief and the Holidays
Grieving the Death of a Sibling
Grief and Developmental Disabilities
 

Music: “Which That Is This?” by Doctor Turtle
From the Free Music Archive
CC BY
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Doctor_Turtle/Jonahs_Message_for_New_York/Which_That_Is_This
Music: “I Thought of Pills” by Lee Rosevere
From the Free Music Archive
CC BY
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lee_Rosevere/The_Big_Loop_-_FML_original_podcast_score/Lee_Rosevere_-_The_Big_Loop_-_FML_original_podcast_score_-_07_I_Thought_Of_Pills

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