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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.

Feb 27, 2020

Kevin is a previous participant in the L.Y.G.H.T. Program - Listening & Led by Youth in the Foster Care System: Grief, Hope, and Transitions. We discuss how a random vending machine trip prompted him to join the L.Y.G.H.T. Program, the support he found in the group as he grieved both death and non-death losses, and how he carries what he learned into his daily life.  

To learn more about the L.Y.G.H.T. Program, be sure to listen to Ep. 136: L.Y.G.H.T. - Supporting Grieving Youth in the Foster Care System. 

Feb 21, 2020
While we usually talk about the grief associated with a diagnosis or a death, this episode focuses on meeting the needs of youth in the foster care system who are grieving non-death and death losses. Dr. Monique Mitchell, Ph.D., F.T., is the Director of Translational Research & Curriculum Development at The Dougy Center and Juliette Martinez, M.S.W., is the Coordinator of the L.Y.G.H.T. Program - which stands for Listening and Led by Youth in Foster Care: Grief, Hope, and Transitions. This peer support program for youth in the foster care system is based on The Dougy Center's grief support model. We discuss the unique needs of grieving youth in the foster care system, how the L.Y.G.H.T. Program works to address these needs, and the ways this work affects and inspires Monique and Juliette.
To learn more about L.Y.G.H.T, email lyght@dougy.org or visit www.dougy.org.  
Feb 11, 2020

This episode first aired in July of 2018. Since that time, Eidan's brain tumor began growing again in early 2019. On October, 26, 2019, just a few weeks after her 35th birthday, Eidan utilized Oregon's Death With Dignity and died surrounded by a small group of her family and friends. Eidan is deeply loved and missed by her wife, Michelle, their baby Gemma, her family, and everyone who had the opportunity to know her. 

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!

Jan 31, 2020

Paul Denniston grew up with rigid cultural, religious, and gender expectations for what was appropriate when it came to expressing grief and emotions. This translated as, "Don't express anything besides happiness." There was no room for sadness, fear, grief, or vulnerability. After years of pushing these feelings aside, Paul turned to movement as a way to start expressing them. He began a yoga practice and then trained to be a teacher. From this start, he went on to create Grief Yoga, a program for transforming grief through sound, breath, and movement. We talk about finding emotional fluidity, sobriety, grieving the deaths of his sister and beloved dog, and the positive effects of cute raccoon videos. 
You can connect with Paul and his teaching at www.griefyoga.com

Jan 23, 2020

Just over four years ago, Jenny Lisk's husband Dennis died of glioblastoma - brain cancer. This loss propelled her into a new world of solo-parenting their two children who were just 9 and 11 at the time. Jenny went searching for a guidebook to help navigate this new reality, but when she couldn't find what she was looking for, she decided to create her own. She started the Widowed Parent Podcast, interviewing other widowed parents, professionals, and people who had a parent died when they were children, and is currently working on two books - a memoir about her family's experience and The Widowed Parent Handbook.

We talk about being a caregiver, telling children difficult news, parenting solo, and what Jenny's learned over the past four years. Be sure to listen to the Widowed Parent Podcast and check out her "What I've Learned About Widowed Parenting" guide. 

Jan 17, 2020

David Kessler is a renowned author, speaker, and retreat leader. He co-authored two books, On Grief and Grieving and Life Lessons, with another grief and loss icon, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. As with so many who are drawn to working with grief, David’s professional path started with the personal. At 13 he witnessed a mass shooting while his mother was dying in the ICU. In 2016 he became a grieving parent when his younger son, David, died at 21. David's newest book, Finding Meaning - the Sixth Stage of Grief, was inspired by his search to continue finding meaning in his own life and work.

Be sure to connect with David at www.grief.com

Jan 10, 2020

In 2013, Shelby Forsythia was barely into her twenties when her mom died of cancer. This loss propelled her into a search for information, understanding, and community. In that search, Shelby wrote Permission to Grieve, created a podcast, Coming Back: Conversations on Life After Loss, and started a grief coaching practice. We talk about grief as rebellion, stolen wallets, and queer identity and grief.

Shelby's website: www.shelbyforsythia.com

The Coming Back episode we did on supporting grieving children and teens: www.shelbyforsythia.com/podcast/jana-decristofaro

Dec 30, 2019

It's a New Year's Eve encore episode and we're bringing back Ep. 11: Who Am I Now?

Brendon and Jana delve into the many layers of loss that we grapple with when someone dies and how that loss can change us. When we grieve, we miss the person and who they were in our lives. We miss who we were with them. Often we miss who we were in general before the death. As we think towards the future, we grieve for the events and occasions that we won’t share with the person.

Over time, people in grief may start to see themselves differently. What they value, prioritize, and want in life can change radically.

These changes occur on many levels:

  • Spiritual shifts
  • Difficulty remembering/accomplishing small tasks.
  • Want to be social/difficult to be around people
  • More compassionate/less able to tolerate everyday drama
  • Put more time and energy into relationships
  • Less concerned with work and material success/more immersed in work
  • Can’t seem to exercise/exercise all the time 
  • Increased interest in movies/books/songs about grief –  can’t tolerate them

As you sort through what is different, it can be helpful sit with a series of questions:

  • How do you see yourself now?
  • How do you see the world?
  • Which of these changes do you value?
  • What strengths have you discovered?
  • Where are the places in your life that you need additional support?
  • What parts of yourself do you miss and want to re-cultivate?

 

Dec 19, 2019
"How many children do you have?" This simple question turns treacherous for grieving parents. Megan Hillukka's daughter, Aria, died of Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) when she was 15 months old. This devastating loss jettisoned Megan into a new world filled with grief, shock, and panic which eventually led to a diagnosis of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Needing support, Megan turned to therapy, writing, and connecting with other grieving parents. 
Be sure to check out Megan's website, Instagram, and her podcast, The Cultivated Family, to learn more.
Dec 9, 2019

This episode first aired in December, 2018. Nothing says end of the calendar year holiday stress like grief. Dougy Center staff member Rebecca Hobbs-Lawrence is back with more suggestions around planning for and making your way through the December holidays when you and your family are in the midst of grief. We recognize too that for families who don't observe the December holidays, daily life can become very stressful in the midst of the frenzy that gets created by those who do.  

Follow The Dougy Center on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@thedougycenter) for more Dougy's December Tips. 

Nov 27, 2019

Naomi and Chad had a whirlwind start to their relationship. They were both in their 20's and got engaged less than a year after they met. Then, a few months before their wedding, Chad died in a skateboarding accident. Naomi tried her best to push the grief aside, but 8 months later it came rushing out. Everywhere. This forced her to change up her life and reach out to friends and family for support. Through engaging more fully with her grief, Naomi's found a way to honor Chad by living in the world the way he did - eager and open to new experiences. 

Nov 17, 2019

Leslie Barber is the founder of Grief Warrior, a series of gift boxes designed for those in grief. The items in the boxes are informed and inspired by what Leslie most needed when her husband Steve died. We talk about grieving a spouse vs. grieving the parent of your child, effective and compassionate employer bereavement policies, and how to show up for the people in your life who are grieving. 

Oct 24, 2019

Kao Kalia Yang and Shannon Gibney are writers, friends, and grieving mothers. Shannon's daughter, Sianneh, died at forty-one and a half weeks. Kalia's son, Baby Jules, died at nineteen weeks. In the days, weeks, and months after these losses, Shannon and Kalia went searching for the words of others experiencing similar grief. What they found was limited and written primarily by white women. The absence of narratives about loss written by Indigenous women and women of color just amplified their sense of isolation. So, they decided to create what they most needed to read and hear. Their new book, What God is Honored Here? Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss by and for Native Women and Women of Color, is a collection of deeply personal essays from women exploring the rawness of grief and how it intertwines with race and culture.  

 

Oct 17, 2019

Grief is intensely personal and sometimes it’s intensely private. When Anne Moss Roger's son Charles died of suicide, she decided to go public with her grief and the story of his life. Inspired by her son’s innate skill for connecting with others, she’s now dedicated to helping people who are struggling with grief, suicidal thoughts, and substance use.  

To learn more, visit Emotionally Naked, Anne Moss's blog. Her website includes links to her new book, Diary of a Broken Mind, and her TEDx Talk - Can A Blog Save Lives?

If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)

Crisis Text Line: Text Hello to 741741

 

 

Oct 8, 2019

In 2018, The Dougy Center was selected as one of a handful of children’s bereavement programs to partner with StoryCorps and the New York Life Foundation on Road to Resilience: Memories that Move Us Forward. Road to Resilience was born out of a commitment to helping children cope with the death of a parent, sibling, or loved one.
 
In this mini-episode, Traci talks with Amira and Alina about what they remember and miss about their daddy. 
*Music by Chad Crouch.* 

Sep 27, 2019

In 2017,  Caroline Wright was working on her third cookbook and raising two kids with her husband. Life was busy and full in only the way it can be when you have two kids under the age of five. Then one day everything changed. It was the day she was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumor, and given a year to live. 

After surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and radical changes to her lifestyle and diet, Caroline is now considered cancer free. Since her diagnosis she’s written a memoir about her experience based on the Caring Bridge site she used to keep family and friends updated. She also wrote and published a beautiful children’s book, Lasting Love, as a way to help her children know her love will always be with them, no matter what happens. 

www.carolinewrightbooks.com

Sep 20, 2019

In 2018, The Dougy Center was selected as one of a handful of children’s bereavement programs to partner with StoryCorps and the New York Life Foundation on Road to Resilience: Memories that Move Us Forward. Road to Resilience was born out of a commitment to helping children cope with the death of a parent, sibling, or loved one.

Partnering on this project meant a group of staff and volunteers from The Dougy Center trained with StoryCorps staff to facilitate 40 minute conversations with children and their adults. At the end of each recording, families decided if they wanted to archive their conversations both with StoryCorps and the Library of Congress. They also chose if they wanted to share their recording with us at The Dougy Center.

Over the next few months, you'll hear short clips of these conversations in a series of mini-episodes. In this third mini-episode, Ruby and Jana talk about Ruby's amazing Grandma Riba who died when Ruby was a young teenager.
*Music by Chad Crouch.*

Sep 6, 2019

Maria Collins, Vice President at the New York Life Foundation, and Brennan Wood, The Dougy Center's Executive Director join us to talk about the business of supporting grieving children and families. The New York Life Foundation provides funding for a wide variety of children's grief initiatives focused on research and evaluation, direct service, and resource development and accessibility. The Dougy Center recently received a $1 million-dollar grant from the New York Life Foundation - the largest grant we've received in our 36-year history! In our conversation we discuss the projects this grant funded and also how Brennan and Maria have been changed by this work.

Projects and initiatives mentioned in this episode:
StoryCorps Road to Resilience: Memories that Move Us Forward
 
The Dougy Center's Road to Resilience Collection
 
Judi's House/JAG Institute Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model (CBEM)
 
ASU's Resilient Parenting for Bereaved Families 
 
National Alliance for Grieving Children Grief Reach Grants
 
Coalition to Support Grieving Students/Grief Sensitive Schools Initiative
 
Aug 15, 2019

Marisa Bardach Ramel was 17 when her mother Sally, received a stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis and given two months to live. While they were always close, Marisa retreated into school and friends, avoiding her mom and her attempts to connect. Then, when Sally outlived the prognosis and Marisa was a freshman in college, her mom asked if she wanted to write a book together. Almost twenty years later, Marisa recently published their mother-daughter memoir, The Goodbye Diaries. In their alternating chapters, readers get a window into how they were processing Sally’s diagnosis, treatment, and approaching end of life very differently. The process of writing the book also created a pathway for Marisa and Sally to re-establish a close relationship during their last years together.   

 

Aug 8, 2019

In 2018, The Dougy Center was selected as one of a handful of children’s bereavement programs to partner with StoryCorps and the New York Life Foundation on Road to Resilience: Memories that Move Us Forward. Road to Resilience was born out of a commitment to helping children cope with the death of a parent, sibling, or loved one.

Partnering on this project meant a group of staff and volunteers from The Dougy Center trained with StoryCorps staff to facilitate 40 minute conversations with children and their adults. At the end of each recording, families decided if they wanted to archive their conversations both with StoryCorps and the Library of Congress. They also chose if they wanted to share their recording with us at The Dougy Center.

Over the next few months, you'll hear short clips of these conversations in a series of mini-episodes. In this second mini-episode, Megan, Michael, and Mason talk about life after Michael and Mason's dad died.  
*Music by Chad Crouch.*

Jul 21, 2019

This is the second in our series on Grief & Parenting.

In 2017, Brittany and Jonas were raising two young children and pregnant with their third. Then, after returning home from a business trip Jonas was diagnosed with aplastic anemia. Seven weeks later, despite intensive treatment, Jonas died. Aria, their oldest was three and a half. Her younger brother Loic had just turned two, and baby Klyde was still in utero. Brittany talks about explaining Jonas's death to their children, helping Klyde to know his father, and learning to ask for help. 

Jul 9, 2019

This episode kicks off a new series exploring the realm of parenting and grief. We’ll be talking to parents about what grief looks like at different ages & developmental levels, how they support their kids while also making time for their own grief, and what works and doesn't work for their kids in the intense and confusing landscape of grief. 


In this first episode of the series we talk with Josh about parenting his daughter Sylvia after his wife Kari died of suicide when Sylvia was just 5 1/2. His story might sound familiar if you listened to Ep. 117, which is a brief clip of a longer Road to Resilience conversation Josh and Sylvia recorded as part of our partnership with StoryCorps and The New York Life Foundation. If you missed it, be sure to check it out!

Jul 1, 2019

In 2018, The Dougy Center was selected as one of a handful of children’s bereavement programs to partner with StoryCorps and the New York Life Foundation on Road to Resilience: Memories that Move Us ForwardRoad to Resilience was born out of a commitment to helping children cope with the death of a parent, sibling, or loved one.

Partnering on this project meant a group of staff and volunteers from The Dougy Center trained with StoryCorps staff to facilitate 40 minute conversations with children and their adults. At the end of each recording, families decided if they wanted to archive their conversations both with StoryCorps and the Library of Congress. They also chose if they wanted to share their recording with us at The Dougy Center.

Over the next few months, you'll hear short clips of these conversations in a series of mini-episodes. In this first episode, Josh and Sylvia talk about what it was like after Sylvia’s mom died of suicide when Sylvia was just 5 1/2. 
*Music by Chad Crouch.*

Jun 24, 2019

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 6 is a conversation with Melissa about her father Larry. More information at https://www.whodiedpodcast.com/

Jun 13, 2019

What is it about dark humor and why are we drawn to it when wrestling with painful life events? Laughter, especially the kind that wells up from a shared understanding of heartbreak, can be a surprising aspect of grief. Harry Jensen's father died of stage 4 colon cancer in January of 2017. Harry turned to stand-up comedy as a way to put his grief into words that often spark discomfort and uncertainty, but also serve as inspiration for people in the audience to open up about their own grief. 

We discuss prompting uncomfortable laughter, Father's Day, and how the intersections of identity can affect grief. 

 

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