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.
This is the story of how a random encounter led to a transformative friendship that's lasted for more than 50 years. A friendship rooted in the shared experience of grieving a parent who died of suicide. David Pincus and Rick Knapp met as high school seniors and they had a lot in common, including having a mothers who died of suicide. Prior to meeting it was something they rarely talked about, but in their friendship, they finally found someone they could confide in. Now, five decades later, they wrote a book, Sons of Suicide: A Memoir of Friendship, about how these early losses shaped so much of their lives and their ongoing friendship.
In this episode we discuss:
Learn more about David, Rick and their book here.
If you or someone you know needs support, please reach out for help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 503.273-8255 or text HELLO to 741741.
After her oldest son was killed in 2017, Julia Mallory had a sense that creativity was a place she could go in her grief. In that place, she wrote Survivor's Guilt, a collection of essays and poems about grief, joy, and the moments when they intersect.
In this episode we discuss:
The early days of grief.
What focusing on resilience asks us to ignore.
The concept of survivor's guilt.
The push to "get back to normal."
What it means to grieve as an individual and as part of a collective.
To learn more about Julia Mallory visit Black Mermaids and follow her on IG (@thejuliamallory), Facebook, (@blackmermaidsbrand), and Twitter (@thejuliamallory).