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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.

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. 

 

Jun 10, 2019

In 2017, pop singer-songwriter Neil Davis, was about to release his second album when his father died suddenly of cardiac arrest. In that moment, everything in Neil's world changed, including his album release plans. A few months ago in March of 2019, Neil released a new single, Not Better, which explores the heartbreak of grief and the questions we are left with when someone dies. Questions about gone-ness and what does the term better actually mean when it comes to grief?

You can find Not Better in iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever you get your music. Stay tuned for more music from Neil! Music for this episode, Not Better, was written and performed by Neil Davis.

May 30, 2019

What do you remember about being 3 1/2? If you’re anything like most of us, your memories are hazy. Maybe you have an image of the room you slept in or a vague sense of what it felt like to be hugged by a family member. What you likely don’t have are clear, articulated ones of interactions and relationships, the kind that older children, teens, and adults can access when it comes to remembering someone who has died. Mary Plouffe, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist who had a clear and professional sense of how young children understand death and grief. This sense became more personal though when her sister Martha died, leaving behind a 3 1/2 year old daughter, Liamarie. Mary recently published her memoir, I Know It in My Heart, Walking Through Grief With a Child, about her experience of grieving Martha's death and doing so alongside Liamarie, who was wrestling to understand her mother's death and what it meant to grow up motherless.  

May 20, 2019

In Episode 111 we talked with Marie, whose husband Jonathan died suddenly and very unexpectedly from a drug overdose. In this episode we’re talking with another young adult whose spouse died, but this time after almost a decade of living with cancer. John and Melissa met back in the 90’s and dated for a few years before getting married. For John, this was a relationship like none other. One that was rooted in a deep sense of love, appreciation, and care. Melissa helped John to feel feelings he didn’t think he would ever experience. Melissa died just over two years ago and in the past few months, John put plans in place to radically change up his life. He’s exploring the question - How do we love and care for ourselves in a way that mirrors how the people we’re grieving loved and cared for us when they were alive?

May 1, 2019

In the summer of 2016, Marie and Jonathan were newly married and living in Brooklyn, NYC. One day in August, Marie flew back from a trip, expecting to find Jonathan waiting for her at the airport. When he wasn't there, she thought it was just the continuation of a conflict they’d had, so she spent the night at her mom’s house and headed to their apartment in the morning. What she found when she walked in would change every element of her and her life.   

 

Apr 17, 2019

There’s nothing like grief to take us completely out of the moment. We get pulled into the past where we try to remember everything we can while also ruminating over what we wish we had said or done differently. At the same time, we leap to the future, anticipating what events will be like without the person we are grieving.

Dr. Jessica Thomas, PhD, LMFT, who focused her dissertation research on using mindful photography with anticipatory grief, now helps people in grief explore this process of creating images as a way to ground themselves in the actual moment. Dr. Thomas is the president of the board of the NW Association for Death Education and Bereavement Support. She is also a professor at Lewis & Clark College and has a private psychotherapy practice supporting clients in grief, life transitions, and other challenges.

Join the Mindful Photography Facebook Group and find Jessica on Instagram @drjessicathomas

 

Apr 3, 2019

Back before you could ask Google anything from, “What’s the best way to clean shower grout?” to “How do I grieve my parent?” when it came to answering these kinds of questions, we turned to bookstores and libraries to search for answers. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, even if you did go looking for information about grief, you’d be more likely to find a dense, clinical textbook than something that could help you understand what you were going through. Then in 1994, Hope Edelman published her groundbreaking book, Motherless Daughters. A book that spoke to thousands of women grieving their mothers. Brennan Wood, Executive Director of The Dougy Center, was one of those readers. Soon after the release of Motherless Daughters, Hope and Brennan met for the first time on the Leeza Gibbons daytime talk show. Twenty-five years later they’re together again for a conversation about being motherless daughters who grew up to be motherless mothers. 

Learn more about Hope's writing and work

Mar 27, 2019

Judith Finneren's husband Ralph, or Ralphie as she liked to call him, was hit and killed while riding his bike in the summer of 2011. Even when grief and anger are close companions, most of the time there isn't a particular person to blame when someone dies. In Judith's case there was. A young man named Brett who in a moment of distracted driving ended her husband's life. Soon after Ralph's death, Judith went to film school where she created the documentary, Ghostbike, which explores her grief and also her attempts to connect with Brett. We discuss love, blame, forgiveness, and the tenets Judith holds onto in her grief. 

Judith also wrote Remember His Name, a book about Ralph, their life together, and her grief.

 

Mar 22, 2019

Sweaters, shoes, a favorite coffee mug, the pen always angled a certain way - items, big and small, form the landscape left behind when someone dies. Nicole Leslie was 15 when her mother died and at first it was too painful to go through her things. A few years later, as she and her sister began the process, Nicole discovered clothing she had never seen her mother wear before. This discovery became the originating point for Nicole's turn to fashion and creativity as ways to express her grief. She started Remembrance Wardrobe, a blog where she posts photos of herself wearing outfits that are a combination of clothing from her mother, grandmother, and her own collection. She pairs each outfit with a line from her mother's poetry, opening a window into the life of a woman who lives on in Nicole's memories and creative expressions.   

Check out all of Nicole's posts at Remembrance Wardrobe.

Feb 25, 2019

When grief enters our world, many of us expect to cry and feel frustrated, but we aren’t as prepared for the intense fear and worry that can also be part of loss. Someone being 10 minutes late getting home sparks visions of a car crash or getting a call from the hospital. A random ache or feeling extra tired leaves us thinking we must be dying. Maybe sleep eludes us as we spin over how to do day to day life without our people. Sometimes the hardest part about anxiety is how it can catch us off-guard, either because we’ve never dealt with it before, or because the anxiety we already knew well has ratcheted up to untenable levels.

Claire Bidwell Smith, a licensed counselor, author, mother, and grieving daughter recently published her new book, Anxiety, the Missing Stage of Grief, that delves into all the ways anxiety can be part of grief. Before Claire was 25, both of her parents died of cancer. Her adolescence and young adulthood were deeply etched with their illnesses, treatment, and deaths. Out of this devastating grief grew her desire to help others facing similar situations. 

Be sure to visit Claire's site to learn more about her work. 

Feb 16, 2019

When someone dies, many of the people left behind seek out formal sources of help like a therapist or traditional support group. What happens though when those avenues don’t feel like the right fit? This is what Carla Fernandez and Lennon Flowers, co-founders of The Dinner Party, ran into after they both lost a parent to cancer in their early twenties. Since their first gathering in 2010, The Dinner Party has grown to over 275 hosts in 100 cities. It is a community made up of those ages 21-40 who are seeking connection, friendship, and meaningful conversations about grief and how it affects our lives. 

Check out The Dinner Party to find a table near you or start one in your community. 

Feb 6, 2019

The list of things that are hard to do when you’re grieving is long - eating, sleeping, focusing, surface-level chit-chat, remembering where you left your phone, planning for the future, or forgiving yourself for the past. Throw work or school into that mix and it gets really tough to feel like you can show up and function at the same level you're used to. When Alica Forneret went back to work after her mother's sudden death, she found the opposite of what she needed in terms of support. That experience inspired her to explore ways companies and organizations can better support their grieving employees as well as small things each of us can do to attend to our grief in the workplace.

Alica Forneret writes for a number of publications and websites, including, SAD Magazine, Modern Loss, and Vancouver Magazine. She also created the Dead Moms Club lapel pins as a way to express grief more publicly and connect with others who are grieving their mothers. Check out Alica's website with articles, resources, and even recipes for supporting yourself and others who are grieving in the workplace and beyond. 

Jan 24, 2019
We hear about how powerful and important it can be to keep memories and connection alive with the people we are grieving, but how do we actually do that? Allison Gilbert, Emmy award-winning journalist, speaker, and workshop leader, is the author of numerous books including the groundbreaking, Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive, which outlines 85 creative ways to remember those who have died. We discuss turning a treasured recipe into a scavenger hunt, repurposing clothing, books, and other belongings, and how to navigate this idea when the relationship you had with the person was complicated or conflicted. 
 
Read more from Allison:
Website
Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive
Q&A's with actors, writers, and other public figures
"The Reflection Effect" essay in O, the Oprah Magazine
Jan 17, 2019

In grief, having the opportunity to tell your story can be vital. Grieving children and adults want the chance to talk about the people they are grieving and express how these losses have altered their lives. StoryCorps, a non-profit working to preserve and share the stories of people from all backgrounds, recently launched a new project in partnership with the New York Life Foundation called Road to Resilience, Memories That Move Us Forward. As part of this project, StoryCorps is partnering with children's bereavement programs across the US to offer grieving children and their adults the opportunity to record a conversation and tell their story. The Dougy Center is honored to be one of those partnership sites. Our guest, Modupeola Oyebolu, is a national facilitator with StoryCorps and she joins us to talk about what it's like to grieve both in the US and her home country of Nigeria, the power of storytelling, and resilience she's witnessed in recording conversations with grieving families. 

Check out Olivia's featured Road to Resilience story.

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