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.
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?
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.