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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 Dougy Center: The National Grief Center 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.

Jul 1, 2022

Valenca Valenzuela, MSW, was born on Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) which seems fitting for someone who grew up to hold space for people before and after a death. Valenca is the Volunteer and Group Coordinator at Dougy Center, supporting children, teens, young adults and their adult family members who are grieving a death. As a death doula, she supports people who are facing the end of their lives. She is also an instructor for the Going with Grace program, readying others to do similar work.  
Valenca comes to this work as someone with a lot of lived experience. When she was 16, her father died of cancer. As an adult, she was with her grandmother at the end of her life. A trip to Ireland to connect with her maternal lineage solidified her passion for working as a death doula and starting conversations about end of life.  
Valenca shares about what it was like to be 16 and grieving for her father, what she’s learned from working with kids and families in our peer grief support groups, what it means to have a "good death," and ways we can all be better prepared for end of life.  

Jun 23, 2022

Amanda Drews is the founder of Buzzy’s Bees, the organization she started after her son Hudson, who was 13 months old, died of SUDC (Sudden and Unexplained Death in Childhood). Amanda started Buzzy’s Bees with a mission to provide financial support to families dealing with the unexpected loss of a child. Over time, Amanda realized what families really needed and wanted was a chance to talk about their children. So she launched the Give Grief a Voice Project where families meet with professional writers and artists who capture the essence of their child and their life in a unique piece of art.  
In this episode we talk about:
The stories we tell ourselves about death & grief.
What Amanda's older son needed in his grief. 
How Amanda navigates her season of grief - the time between Hudson's birthday and anniversary of the day he died. 

Jun 17, 2022
This episode originally aired in June, 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 8, 2022

Dr. Micki Burns, Chief Clinical Officer at Judi's House and Dr. Laura Landry, Director of Evaluation & Research at the JAG Institute join us to talk numbers. They, along with the team at Judi's House/JAG Institute, created the CBEM, the Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model, which estimates how many children and teens will experience the death of a parent/caregiver or sibling before they turn 18. 
For years that number in the U.S. was 1 in 14. For 2022, it's increased to 1 in 13, reflecting the rise in deaths across the country due to
COVID, substance misuse, and other causes.
Laura and Micki talk about why it's important to quantify grief, the risk factors children who are grieving face, the disproportionate death rates in communities of color, and what adults can do to support these 1 in 13 children. 

Visit Judi's House & the JAG Institute to learn more about their work and download information about the 2022 CBEM findings

May 20, 2022

Rebecca Soffer, co-founder of the Modern Loss Community, started becoming an expert in grief the moment she learned that her mother Shelby was killed in a car crash. Her expertise expanded when four years later, her father Ray died of a heart attack while traveling. 
As a single woman in her early thirties, Rebecca needed to talk about her grief, and she really needed to hear others talk about theirs. It was this longing for an ongoing conversation and led her, along with co-founder Gabi Birkner, to start the Modern Loss Community
Nine years later, Rebecca just published her second book - The Modern Loss Handbook: An Interactive Guide to Moving Through Grief and Building Your Resilience. It's the kind of book that many people are looking for in their grief - filled with prompts for writing, drawing, and movement practices to help people stay connected to themselves, their people who died, and the world around them.
Follow Modern Loss and Rebecca on Facebook, IG, and Twitter

May 12, 2022
As humans, we have a pervasive desire to compartmentalize. To box up messy thoughts and emotions and “just get on with it already.” 
For Marisa Renee Lee, this was the approach she took to navigating grief. Grief that started when she was 12 and her mother, Lisa, was diagnosed with MS. Grief that grew as her mother was later diagnosed with cancer and died in 2008. Grief that expanded to included infertility, pregnancy loss, and most recently, a cousin who died of COVID-19. 
These last three losses led Marisa to realize that she didn’t have to box up her grief and shove it to the back of the closet. She found a way to open those boxes, to sit with the reality of what was lost, to honor what was – and in that process she also found a way to make room for joy and beauty.  
Marisa wrote about these discoveries for her new book, Grief is Love, Living With Loss. In our conversation we talk about how she got to the point of writing this book, what’s she learned about grief, what it’s been like to grieve in this world as a Black woman, and all the ways she stays connected to the memory of her mom Lisa.
Learn more about Marisa.
Order Grief Is Love, Living With Loss
Follow on Instagram @marisareneelee
Apr 29, 2022

In grief land, lots of groups are talked about as invisible or forgotten. Children, parents grieving a miscarriage, ex-partners, and siblings. For siblings, their grief often exists in the shadow of their parents – or it’s at least treated that way by others.  
Jordon Ferber ran into that when his younger brother, Russell, died when Russell was 21. While Jordon’s parents recognized that Jordon needed support just as much as they did, the rest of his sphere started where most people do, with the question, “How are your parents?”
Jordon is the host and creator of the Where's the Grief? podcast. He's also a longtime facilitator for a sibling grief support group through The Compassionate Friends. 
Follow Jordon on IG & Facebook.
**Note: this episode contains salty language.**

Apr 22, 2022
Being a plumber doesn’t mean the pipes in your house never leak.  Being a landscaper doesn’t mean your own yard is magically free of weeds. Why is it then that those of us who work in grief sometimes fall prey to the magical thinking that we will somehow be immune to the heartbreak when someone dies?

Meghan Riordan Jarvis, LCSW, is a trauma-informed psychotherapist with over 20 years of clinical experience who harbored the same secret wish. A wish which imploded when her mother died in 2019, just two years after her dad died of cancer. While Meghan’s training and clinical acumen didn’t prevent her from experiencing grief, they did enable her to recognize when she started to develop PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder – and that she needed additional help.  

In our conversation, we talk about:
 - What was different about grieving after her father’s death vs. her mother’s.
 - How she recognized the signs of PTSD and the treatment she sought out.
- The concept of “meaning making” and how it’s important to clarify what types of meaning are supportive and which can be harmful.
 

In addition to being a trauma therapist, Meghan is a fellow grief podcaster and her show is called Grief Is My Side Hustle. Her memoir is due to be out in the world in 2023.  

Grief is My Side Hustle website 
Grief is My Side Hustle podcast 
@meghan.riordan.jarvis on IG 
@griefismysidehustle on Fbook  

Apr 7, 2022

Lingering. Shivering. Simmering. Splintering.

These are the words DJ Arsene Versailles wrote to describe grief after his mother, Florcie Yves Versailles, died of COVID-19 in May of 2020. This grief was and continues to be layered - as most grief is - and some of these layers are specific to his mom being a Black woman who died during a pandemic, of a disease that has come to be so much more than just a medical diagnosis.

DJ's mom was committed to social justice and this inspired him to do similar work in the wake of her death. After meeting Kristin Urquiza, co-founder of Marked by COVID, he became involved in their effort to establish a COVID Memorial Day. 

Listen to DJ's interview with Sarah Betancourt.
Learn more about Marked by COVID.

Mar 29, 2022

Anne Gudger was pregnant with her first child, Jake, when her husband Kent died in a car crash. Years later she met and married Scott and they had a daughter, Maria. Fast forward to March of 2020, the beginning of the pandemic, when Anne and Maria found themselves drinking a lot of coffee and talking about grief. Those conversations inspired them to start Coffee and Grief, a Facebook group for folks wanting to connect around loss. The Facebook group grew into a series of curated readings called Coffee Talk where writers share short pieces about anything in the realm of grief. 
Maria and Anne are funny and warm and somehow make talking about grief feel comfortable.
In our conversation we discuss:

  • What it was like raising Jake as a young widow.
  • How Kent's memory acts as the silent third parent in their blended family.
  • Why community matters when it comes to loss.
  • How writing can help people integrate grief.

Read Anne's writing at Anne Gudger

Join the Coffee and Grief Facebook group or visit their public Coffee and Grief page to learn more about readings and their 30-day writing classes

Mar 18, 2022

There are a lot of things in life that are difficult to describe. That’s why it can feel so gratifying when someone gives voice to something that we can barely grasp for ourselves. Kathryn Schulz is used to finding the right words. She is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margins of Error. She won a National Magazine Award and a Pulitzer Prize in 2015 for “The Really Big One,” an article about seismic risk in the Pacific Northwest. Her newest book, Lost & Found, applies that precision to the emotional earthquakes of losing her father Isaac, falling in love with her now wife Casey, and the and of life continuing on with both grief and love. 

We talk about the legacy of curiosity and wonder that Kathryn’s father passed down to her, why the word "lost" felt the most apt to her in grief, becoming a parent without her father, and how she continues to find wonder and hope in the world.  

 

Mar 10, 2022

Brittany Collin's father died of breast cancer the summer before her sophomore year of high school, Like many students who are grieving, she had educators who responded in ways that were helpful and those who didn't know what to do or say. In the end, the most supportive reactions provided ongoing opportunities to express herself and connection with adults who cared.  
Brittany’s high school experience helped shape her educational and career choices, leading her to becom an author, educator, and curriculum designer. Her work focuses on supporting teachers and students’ social and emotional well-being, especially in times of adversity. Her new book, Learning from Loss, A Trauma-Informed Approach to Supporting Grieving Students is the culmination of this work.  
Follow Brittany on IG @griefresponsiveteaching & Twitter @brcollins27

Mar 2, 2022
When Sal and Im first met at a grief support group, they connected on being young, motherless, and feeling alone in their grief. From that initial meeting they went on to start the Good Mourning podcast as a way to decrease that loneliness. 
In our conversation we talk about:
 - Sal approaching the anniversary of the last time she saw her mother in person.
- What it's meant to Im that her mother died of suicide.
- How hosting Good Mourning has changed them and their understanding of grief.
- Different grieving styles.
- What's irritating about grief. 
- What helps.
Be sure to visit their website to learn more and listen to Good Mourning wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow them on IG @goodmourningpodcast.
Feb 15, 2022

In 2016, when they were in their late twenties, Janine Kwoh's partner died. Nap's death launched her into a new world of grief. Janine was the first person in her peer group to have a partner die and she felt confused and isolated. Because we live in a world that judges relationships against external markers like engagement, marriage, parenting, and co-ownership, Janine questioned whether the intensity of her grief was valid. 
In the five years since Nap's death, Janine examined her emotions and reactions through the lens of her artistry. This culminated in her new book, Welcome to the Grief Club, an illustrated mix of reflections and insights on grief and loss and joy and love. Janine Kwoh is also the owner and designer of Kwohtations, a stationery company and design studio. 
Topics we cover:
Dating again after a partner dies.
Dealing with anxiety that someone else will die.
Allowing for the intensity of grief.
Building your life out around grief.
Rage at the Target checkout.
Being okay with having joy and love again.

Jan 28, 2022

TJ Jackson had just gotten his driver's license as a teenager when his mother, Dee Dee Jackson, was murdered. Almost three decades later, TJ and his brothers Taryll & Taj, started a non-profit in her memory. The Dee Dee Jackson Foundation is dedicated to supporting others in their grief through music workshops, grief education, and their podcast Power of Love.  

In this episode we talk about how grief changes over time, what it was like to grieve as part of a very public family, and how becoming a father connected TJ to his grief in a new way.

TJ is the son of Tito and nephew to Janet and Michael Jackson. He has a solo music career and is also part of the band 3T with his brothers Taryll & Taj. 

There are many ways to connect with TJ and his work:

His website
http://www.tjjackson.com  

The Dee Dee Jackson Foundation
https://www.ddjf.org/  

The Family Rules
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1IurH9xo7Y36t_IHt0TWtw 

Instagram
@TJJackson9 
@DeeDeeJacksonFoundation 
@TheFamilyRules 

Jan 18, 2022

Anne Moss Rogers never imagined she would dedicate her working life to reducing suicide risk and supporting those grieving a death by suicide. She first came to this work in search of answers after her son Charles died of suicide in 2015. Most recently, her focus has been on helping teachers and school adminstrators respond when a student is struggling with thoughts of suicide. Part of that focus is also on postvention - the steps schools can take to supporting their community when a student or teacher dies of suicide. Anne Moss is co-author of the new book, Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk
Visit Anne Moss Roger's website to learn more. 
If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out for help.
Text HOME to 741741
Call 1-800-273-8255 24/7
The Trevor Project hotline for LGBTQIA youth: 1.866.488.7386.
Therapy for Black Girls


Dec 22, 2021

In the last of our three-part series on Grief & Money, we explore how fears about financial stability can be part of grief. When she was 13 and her father died of a heart attack, Shannon already had a narrative of insecurity when it came to her family and money. Even though they had access to more resources after her father died, this narrative just grew stronger. This legacy of financial fear continues to shadow Shannon, even as an adult living in a secure two income household.
We discuss grief, money, and the importance of talking openly about finances and security with children and teens when someone in their family dies.  
Big thanks to InRoads Credit Union for sponsoring this series on Grief & Money. InRoads is here for you. 
Shannon mentions her friend Nicole who is a Death Worker - learn more about her work here & on Instagram @emeraldawakenings

Dec 16, 2021

Growing up, Katie C. Reilly, hadn't thought much about grief or mental health. Then, within the span of four years, Katie's mother died of ALS and her father died of cancer. This grief sent her spinning. As a journalist and writer, Katie turned to research as a way to better understand her own experience. In this conversation we delve into being a parentless parent, grieving a miscarriage, and how complex relationships can shape our grief. 

Follow Katie on Twitter and her website.
Kaite's article on the first year of parenting parentless. 

Dec 3, 2021

When our favorite person dies, our entire world gets up-ended. That person was often the planet in our galaxy that all the other planets and moons orbited. For Dr. Julie Shaw that person was her big sister, Jennifer. Jennifer died of Lupus in February of 2020. In the months that followed, Dr. Shaw realized how important it is for people to have acknowledgment and connection in their grief. So, she started Hello, I'm Grieving, a social media account focused on bringing more visibility and awareness to grief. 

In our conversation we talk about:

  • How grief changes our family dynamics
  • What it means when your favorite person dies.
  • The interplay of grief and Dr. Shaw's work as an equity & inclusion consultant.
  • The impact of Hello, I'm Grieving.
  • How to be present for others while carring your own grief.
  • Navigating the grief of infertility.

Follow Dr. Julie Shaw and Hello, I'm Grieving on Instagram, Facebook, and online

Nov 23, 2021
This is the second episode in our three-part Grief & Money series. We don't get through life without grief and we also can't get through life without dealing with money. Jessica was in her early twenties when she became a full-time caregiver for her mother who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. At the same time, Jessica was traveling to Colombia to care for her father who had Alzheimer's. After her parents died just three months apart, Jessica assumed responsibility for their finances. All while navigating the intense shock and heartbreak of their deaths. 
This series is sponsored by InRoads Credit Union. InRoads is here for you. 
 
Nov 12, 2021

Paula Becker is a writer, so when her son Hunter was killed in 2017, she searched for help in the pages of books. What she found were books heavy with text. The problem was her grief made it impossible to concentrate on that text. She recently published A Little Book of Self-Care for Those Who Grieve - the book she most wished she had in those first days, weeks, and months after Hunter died. 

Paula was a guest back on Episode 148 - Wrongful Death - A Grieving Mother's Story.
Visit Paula's website to learn more about her work. 

Nov 1, 2021

Jelani Memory is the co-founder of A Kids Company About, which publishes books for kids about important topics like anxiety, empathy, racism, body image, and more. These are conversations kids are ready to have, often long before the adults in their lives feel prepared to have them. That's where A Kids Company About comes in with books that help adults and kids navigate these complex concepts. We are excited to announce that Dougy Center and A Kids Company About collaborated on their latest publication, A Kids Book About Grief. It's authored by Dougy Center's Executive Director, Brennan Wood, who writes directly to kids about what she learned about grief when her mom died just after Brennan's 12th birthday.
Learn more about A Kids Company About and their entire library of books for kids and the adults who care about them. 

Oct 22, 2021

When Jeff Porter's wife Claire died of an aneurysm, his world imploded. As he spent time with her in the hospital and started to wander that imploded world after she died, he talked to her, carrying on a conversation they had shared for 27 years. He also started writing and analyzing his experience with grief. This writing led to the publication of his newest book, Planet Claire: Suite for Cello and Sad-Eyed Lovers. 

Visit Jeff's website
Learn more about Planet Claire

 

Oct 8, 2021

Reid Peterson, MA, recently launched Grief Refuge, an app that enable users to access daily grief support, when and where it's most convenient for them. Reid came to this work through his personal experience of grieving the deaths of his step-father and biological father. At a time when many of us both love and hate the digital world, Grief Refuge, makes support more accessible and grief a little less lonely, no matter where you live or where you are in your grief. 
Learn more and download the Grief Refuge app. 
Follow Reid and Grief Refuge on Facebook and Instagram.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out for help. Text HELLO to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-8255 (24/7).

Sep 29, 2021

While will all experience some type of grief before we die, the prevalence of loss and how the world responds to our grief are shaped by racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of oppression. Lamya Broussard, MSS, MLSP, School & Community Services Clinician at Uplift Center for Grieving Children works directly with justice involved and queer & trans youth who are also grieving. Lamya shares what she’s learned about the need for culturally and community specific grief support, what it was like to do this work during the pandemic and how her personal experiences with loss play a role in her work.  

Resources Lamya references: 
Uplift Center for Grieving Children 
Philly HopeLine – 1-833-PHL-HOPE (1-833-745-4673) 
Queer & Trans Youth Hours: Tuesdays, 1 – 4 pm & Thursdays, 4 – 8 pm 
Grief Out Loud Episode with Dr. Tashel Bordere 
The Trevor Project 
The Trevor Project Hotlines 
1-866-488-7386 or text “Start” to 678-678 
The Attic Youth Center 
The Bryson Institute 

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