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.
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.**
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.
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.
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:
Read Anne's writing at Anne Gudger
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.
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
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.
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.
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