This is the first episode in our three-part Grief & Money series. We don't get through life without grief. We also can't get through life without dealing with money. For Robert Pardi, when his wife Desiree died of cancer, he was umoored. He was also left with significant medical bills. He returned to his career in finance just long enough to pay off the debt before radically changing his life. He packed a bag, moved to Italy, and started a new career as a life coach and author. His book, Chasing Life, The Remarkable True Story of Love, Joy, and Achievement Against All Odds was published earlier this year.
Visit Robert's website and read more about Desiree's life & career.
This series is sponsored by InRoads Credit Union. InRoads is here for you.
When Jonna's mom, Anita, died just a few days after Jonna's 26th birthday, she prepared herself to completely fall apart. She imagined not getting out of bed for days, never laughing again, and for life to come to a standstill. When grief didn't look like that, it was confusing and left her worried she was doing something wrong. Jonna talks about her mom, their relationship, what it's like for grief to show up over time, and reckoning with how grief is changing her hopes and goals.
If you or someone you know is struggling with feeling hopeless, please reach out for help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text Hello to 741-741.
This episode references The AfterGrief by Hope Edelman.
Nnenna Freelon's beloved husband Phil died in July of 2019. Six months later her sister, Dr. Debbie Pierce, also died. Then, COVID hit the United States. During this dark winter, Nnenna was exhausted, but she also couldn't rest. She tried everything and nothing worked. Eventually, she realized she needed to listen. To listen to what grief had to say - and in the listening she found her voice. With that voice, Nnenna recently released her latest album, Time Traveler, and started a podcast, Great Grief.
Visit Nnenna's website to learn more.
Oceana Saywer is a death doula who supports people at the end of life. She came to this work through being with her father during his last days. An experience she describes as transformative and revelatory. In our conversation we travel from Oceana's earliest exposure to grief when she was a young child to more recent losses, personal and communal, over the past 18 months of the pandemic.
Learn more about Oceana's work.
Follow her on Instagram & Facebook.
It's our 200th episode! To celebrate we talked with Harry, Gabby, and Madison, the crew behind the Monday Mourning Podcast and the Dead Parents Club. Gabby and Madison's mom died of cancer in 2016 and Harry's father died, also of cancer, the next year. As friends and members of the Dead Parents Club, the three of them talk openly and irreverently about grief in a way that makes it more comfortable for others to talk about something no one really knows how to talk about.
Listen to Monday Mourning.
Check out the Dead Parents Club.
This is a love story. And, because it's on this podcast, it's also a grief story. Shannon and Lee Dingle met when they were 18. As Shannon describes it, as they dated, got married, and parented six children, their relationship was the kind she would roll her eyes at if she wasn't living it. In July, 2019, Shannon, Lee, and their children were on vacation at the beach when a wave hit Lee just the wrong way and he died. We talk about how Shannon and her kids are making their way in this new world without Lee, with lots of honesty, dark humor, and permission to feel every and anything.
Shannon's book, Living Brave: Lessons from Hurt, Lighting the Way to Hope, launches on 7.6.2021.
Follow Shannon on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Caitlin Garvey's mother died in June of 2008, the summer after Caitlin's freshman year of college. Many years later, Caitlin decided to interview a series of people closely tied to her mother's illness and end of life. Those interviews, interspersed with Caitlin's memories and reflections, were recently published as The Mourning Report. We talk with Caitlin about what it was like to go through those interviews, how her relationship with grief has changed over the years, and how the process of writing about her mother affected her and her grief.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out. You can text HELLO to 741741 or call
Leslie Barber is back for another episode! When Leslie's husband Steve died of cancer, she had a lot to figure out. How to live without the love of her life, how to raise their daughter on her own, and how to manage working while grieving. Leslie's company, Grief Warrior, trains business leaders, managers, and human resource departments to become more grief inclusive.
Learn more about Grief Warrior.
Listen to Leslie's past interviews on Grief Out Loud - Ep. 128 When The Thought Doesn't Count & Ep. 139 Grief & COVID-19.
Explore Heartfelt, Leslie's new venture that creates tailored sympathy gifts for those in grief.
Keyana was 9 when her dad died. He died of suicide, but at the time her mom just told her he was gone. Eventually Keyana learned the truth and wrestled with all the emotions that come with having a parent die - confusion, overwhelm, sadness, and most of all for Keyana - anger. Anger at her dad, her mom, and the circumstances. As an adult, Keyana realized she needed to learn more about this anger and find ways to express it that didn't cause harm to herself and her relationships.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please reach out for help. You can call 1-800-273-8255 or text HELLO to 741741 - 24/7.
Grief might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to summer camp, but there are thousands of children and teens who take their grief with them as they get to know bunkmates, play soccer, and make crafts. Experience Camps is one of many camps specifically for children and teens grieving the death of a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver. We talk with Brie Overton, Chief Clinical Officer for Experience Camps, about how she and her staff work to create connection and understanding for the children and teens who attend their camps across the country.
Learn more about Experience Camps.
As of April 29th, 2021 over 3 million people across the globe have died of COVID-19, including 575,000 in the U.S. What gets lost in these numbers are the actual people who leave behind family and friends, grieving without access to the rituals and routines we've come to rely on when someone dies.
Sandra McGowan-Watts is a mother, a physician, and a widow. Her husband Steven died of COVID-19 on May 8th, 2020. She and their daughter have spent the past year trying to figure out how to live without a husband and father who did so much to support them.
Read more about Sandra's story in The New York Times, "The Other Half of My Soul - Widows of Covid-19 Bond over Sudden Loss."
Dr. Jill A. Harrington grew up surrounded by superheroes on television and in comic books and movies. As a parent and a professional, she turned to superheroes as a way to connect with her children and clients around loss, grief, and transformation.
She recently teamed up with Dr. Robert Neimeyer to publish Superhero Grief: The Transformative Power of Loss in an effort to bring superheroes into the limelight of grief support – offering a cross generational, cross-cultural way to help all of us become more grief informed.
Just weeks before Adam Mansbach's wildly popular book, Go The F**K To Sleep, was published, his brother David died of suicide. In interview after interview promoting the book and talking about its success, Adam worried that someone would ask about his brother, would catch him off guard with a question about the grief that was raw and painful. In the years after David's death, Adam found himself writing about everything but that loss. Now, almost a decade after David's death, Adam's newest book, I Had A Brother Once, is a memoir in verse about David's life, death, and the confusing aftermath when someone dies of suicide.
Note: this episode contains some strong language.
Follow Adam on IG.
Sign up for one of his book events.
Learn more about his work.
On Valentine's Day of 2018, Fred Guttenberg rushed his two children, Jaime and Jesse, out the door to school. He had no idea it would be the last time he saw Jaime who was shot and killed later that day in the Parkland School mass shooting. Jaime was murdered just a few months after Fred's brother Michael died of as a result of being exposed to toxic substances when he ran into the World Trade Center as a first responder after the 9/11 attacks.
In his new book, Find the Helpers: What 9/11 and Parkland Taught Me About Recovery, Purpose, and Hope, Fred chronicles his grief, the people who helped him along the way, and his commitment to saving lives by fighting for gun safety.
Follow Fred on Twitter @fred_guttenberg
Orange Ribbons for Jaime
Meaningful Moments in the Aftermath of Gun Violence - Fred's TED Talk.
One day while driving between visiting her mom who just had knee surgery and caring for her dad who had a progressive illness, Priya Soni wondered, "Where are the others?" By others, she meant the other adult children caregiving for parents and family members. Years later, this question would lead her to start The Caregiving Effect, an organization dedicated to bringing adult children caregivers together through stories, support, and mentoring.
Breeshia Wade's new book, Grieving While Black: An Anti-Racist Take on Oppression and Sorrow, puts grief into a wider context. The context of our relationships and the larger systems that shape who has access to resources like time, power, and the space to grieve. Breeshia is an author, end-of-life caregiver, and grief coach.
How do we live with grief over the course of our lives? Hope Edelman, author of the groundbreaking book, Motherless Daughters, joins us again to talk about her newest book, The AfterGrief: Finding Your Way Along the Long Arc of Loss. The AfterGrief is what happens as we move out of the initial acute distress when someone dies and into a lifetime of learning to live with what that loss means for us.
The AfterGrief Facebook Group
Motherless Daughters Facebook Group.
What is collective grief and how does it affect members of communities with marginalized identities? Dr. Amber Nelson, PsyD talks about both her professional and personal experiences with recognizing and supporting collective grief. Specifically the collective grief of bearing witness to the highly publicized murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, George Floyd, and the others who were killed this past year, many at the hands of the police.
Dr. Nelson’s S.A.F.E.T.Y. Acronym for attending to the effects of collective grief:
Ask for help
Engage in social justice work
Tend to your whole essence
Yank the plug (engage in mindful isolation)
Mariyam was six when her father, Nurtay, died just before his 34th birthday. Over the next 14 years, she would experience the deaths of four more family members, including her mother, Bagitgul, and maternal grandmother, who both died this past summer during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mariyam's home city in Kazakhstan. Now 20, Mariyam is figuring out how to live without both of her parents. We talk about how COVID complicated everything about grieving these two new deaths. We also cover how well-intentioned phrases like "I can't imagine what you're going through," "You're so strong," and "I could never survive" can be painful to hear.
The poem Mariyam reads at the beginning of the episode is "The Mountain" by Laura Ding-Edwards.
Follow Mariyam on Instagram @marikoyes
When you think of the word "widow" what image comes to mind? When author Melissa Gould's husband Joel died, she didn't fit what she imagined widows looked and acted like, even if she felt like one. This dissonance led her to come up with the term "Widowish" which is also the title of her new memoir. Widowish is the story of her husband Joel, their love, and how she and their daughter Sophie found ways to grieve the heartbreak of his death.
What does it mean to train to be a death doula for your community? This is a question a group of Indigenous youth in Canada grappled with as part of the Death Doula Mentorship Program, created by Blackbird Medicines and the Indigenous death doula collective. Chrystal Wàban Toop, founder of Blackbird Medicines, joined us to talk about how early experiences with grief grounded her in the the work she does as a life spectrum doula and her commitment to helping people reconnect with traditional knowledge and cultural practices to guide individual, family, and community transitions throughout the life span.
Learn more about Blackbird Medicines and follow them on Instagram & Facebook. Read more about the Indigenous Death Doula Mentorship Program.
Even if you don't really celebrate it, Valentine's Day can be rough when you're grieving. This year, we decided to bring you a compilation of love stories from listeners. In their clip they answered one of these questions: How did your person love you? How did you love your person? How did you fall in love? Even though Valentine's Day is usually marketed as only about romantic love, this episode focuses on the love that exists in any connection. The idea for this episode came out of our conversation with Alesia Alexander, LCSW in Episode 162. Alesia and her daughter, Kahlo, join us to talk more about why love stories are important in grief, especially for children and teens. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this special episode!
Hear more from Alesia in When the Professional Becomes Personal.
For the past twenty years, the Native Wellness Institute has worked to promote wellness and balance for Native people throughout North America. Their Executive Director, Jillene Joseph, joined us to discuss how settler colonial policies outlawing funeral rights purposefully cut people off from traditional knowledge and practices. This trauma reverberates today as Native communities work to reconnect with those practices. We also talk about what it means to take a healthy risk in grief, the importance of attending to grief emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally, and how Native Wellness Institute is continuing to promote health and wellness with their Power Hours.
Learn more about Native Wellness Institute.
Tune in to Native Wellness Power Hours every M-F at 12 pm (PST) on Facebook.
Watch past Power Hours on their YouTube channel
Molly loves her life, but she didn't always feel that way. 18 years ago, on a rainy winter morning, Molly's life changed in an instant. The instant was her mom, who was also her best friend, dying of a heart attack while driving Molly to school. In the almost two decades since that day, Molly's worked hard to figure out what helps her feel healthy and grounded. Part of that work was realizing that grief is permanent - that it will continue to be part of who she is in this world. Now in her 30's Molly is discovering some peace in that permanence and in the knowing that her mom is always with her.
Please note, this episode contains topics that could be difficult or activating for some folks. We reference sexual assault, self-harm, and thoughts of suicide. If you decide to listen to this episode, do what you need to care for yourself – it might mean listening with a support person, or reaching out for help. If you want to skip these sections they are between 10:50-11:05 and 14:46-16:05. For additional support, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255 or text Hello to 741741.
As of January 21st, 2021, over 400,000 people in the U.S. have been killed by the coronavirus. Globally, the number is over 2 million. Despite attempts by journalists and public health officials to put these numbers into context, what gets lost in tracking case counts are the stories of the people who died and their family members left behind. This is one of those stories. The story of Maria, beloved mother of four, who died of COVID-19 this past summer. It's a story told by Mariana, Maria's youngest daughter. At the last minute, the hospital allowed just one family member to visit and the family chose Mariana. She was the last person to sit by her mother's side, holding her hand and kissing her goodbye through a mask and face shield.
Resources mentioned by Mariana:
COVID-19 Loss Support Group for Young Adults
Losing a parent at a young age support group
Motherless daughters when young (0-30)
If you are a young adult grieving someone who has died of COVID-19, the COVID Grief Network offers free one-on-one and group grief support.