The Kaplan sisters talk about what triggers grief around the holiday season.
Trigger Warning: The Resilience Global Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult. The listener’s discretion is advised.
About the Guest:
Alana Kaplan is a compassionate mental health professional based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She’s a child and family therapist at a Winnipeg-based community agency, and a yoga teacher. Fueled by advocacy, Alana is known for standing up and speaking out for others. Passionate about de-stigmatizing and normalizing mental health, Alana brings her experience to The Global Resilience Project team, navigating the role one’s mental health plays into telling their story.
Engaging in self-care and growth is what keeps her going and her love for reading, travel, and personal relationships helps foster that. When she’s not working, Alana can often be found on walks, at the yoga studio, or playing with any animal that she comes across.
About the Host:
Blair Kaplan Venables is an expert in social media marketing and the president of Blair Kaplan Communications, a British Columbia-based PR agency. She brings fifteen years of experience to her clients which include global wellness, entertainment and lifestyle brands. She is the creator of the Social Media Empowerment Pillars, has helped her customers grow their followers into the tens of thousands in just one month, win integrative marketing awards and more.
Blair is listed in USA Today as one of the top 10 conscious female leaders to watch in 2022 and Yahoo! listed Blair as a top ten social media expert to watch in 2021. She has spoken on national stages and her expertise has been featured in media outlets including Forbes, CBC Radio, Entrepreneur and Thrive Global. Blair is an international bestselling author and has recently published her second book, ‘The Global Resilience Project.’ She is the co-host of the Dissecting Success podcast and in her free time, you can find Blair growing The Global Resilience Project’s online community where users share their stories of overcoming life’s most difficult moments.
Learn more about Blair: https://www.blairkaplan.ca/
Submit your story: https://www.iamresilient.info
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trigger warning, the Resilience Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult, the listeners discretion is advised.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Hello friends, welcome to radical resilience, a weekly show where I Blair Kaplan Venables have inspirational conversations with people who have survived life's most challenging times. We all have the ability to be resilient and bounce forward from a difficult experience. And these conversations prove just that, get ready to dive into these life changing moments, while strengthening your resilience muscle and getting raw and real. Welcome back to another episode of radical resilience. It's me, Blair, Kaplan Venables and I'm here with my younger, almost better half. Hola. Hello.Alana Kaplan:
Hi, I would argue that I am your better half.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Are you? Maybe you're definitely my external hard drive. I have your external. So it's interesting. So Alana and I have spent some time together recently, we went and spoke about the global Resilience Project. Well, I went and spoke and she came to support me and got one photo at Camp tail and and it was awesome. We met some really amazing people. It was at a summer camp in Ontario, but it was like a non conference conference for women entrepreneurs. And I thought I was gonna die the first night like so we were staying in cabins, and I was not prepared for very cold weather. And it got down to minus like three. And I was pretty sure that's how I was gonna die. But I didn't so and neither did the other 100 women. But we all were very cold. But it was absolutely amazing and inspirational. And anyways, Alanna, I think Alanna and I had like, we had a lot of fun. And we started talking about what this podcast can look like and potential things that we can do with the global Resilience Project. So I'm excited to see how those things start to unfold. But a while ago, actually let me back up every so often. Every so Okay, Alana wants to say something,Alana Kaplan:
I want to say something but I didn't want to interrupt. I have to say I only took one picture because Blair did such a fantastic job that I like, forgot what my role was. Because I was so immersed in her workshop.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Really? Yeah. And they were nice things to me. Well,Alana Kaplan:
I just wanted to say the first night was very cold. And I actually think it brought all 100 of us closer together.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Yeah, definitely. So that's nice. So it's okay, because there was a professional photographer who got some photos. And I definitely need to work on smiling a bit more when I talk, but I guess I don't really talk about the happiest of subjects. So what I was gonna say is every so often Alana sends me podcasts where it's two sisters talking at Atlanta had this idea to like start a show or something called or, you know, a series called griefing gals. But the thing is, like, I already have a podcast and actually I have two dissecting success and this one, so I'm not asserting a third one.Alana Kaplan:
Oh no i wanted this to be a segment. Okay, so that's what's happening,Blair Kaplan Venables:
you guys, the first installment the first segment of greevey galsAlana Kaplan:
the first official segment, because I would argue that our other episodes could also be called grief.Blair Kaplan Venables:
So it's our first official segment, grief Chagall's and we just passed the Jewish New Year, the High Holidays, and when we were together at Camp tell when we got to, you know, do a really beautiful ceremony together called Tasha Leith, where you throw bread in the water and each piece of bread represents your your sins. And it was not just us but other people who were interested in the ceremony of Tashlich joined us. And then the Jewish new year started and Alanna flew home from Ontario to Winnipeg, and I flew to Warsaw, Poland. And you know, Rosh Hashanah is one of the holidays that I always celebrate Shane, my husband loves making brisket. We usually have one or two friends over for one experience that we eat apples and honey Alanna goes the more traditional route she like, even goes to synagogue. I'm gonna let her talk about that in a second. But what was really interesting is that I was sitting in like waiting for my plane to board and I managed to find honey and an apple and cut it up and eat apples and honey and that was pretty much like the extent of my New Year celebrations. But it really got me thinking and you know, I knew I was tired from travel and time zones and working and all that, but like I felt extra, like sad. And now that I'm talking it out, I think it's because it was the holidays is the holidays. So grief definitely shows up, I think with almost anyone grieving around certain holidays, maybe holidays, that they carry a special memory with that person, or they have, you know, special experiences. But I can definitely tell you around Jewish holidays. Grief is extra hard. What about you, Alanna?Alana Kaplan:
Yeah, I would agree. So while Blair flew to Poland, I flew back to Winnipeg. And as you were talking, I realized I did actually have apples and honey this year. I was too late to the first one because I had a flight delay. And then I guess it just didn't happen on my dad's side of the family.Blair Kaplan Venables:
That's okay.Alana Kaplan:
Yeah, the Jewish holidays, I always have felt really connected to when I was living in Toronto, sometimes I would fly home for them if I could more. So in the more recent years as people were aging, and by people I met, like my grandparents, I didn't really expect it, like my last one with my mom to be my last one with my mom or my last one with my dad to be the last one with my dad. So I do find it to be really special in Toronto, I would go to these services. held by, I guess, would be called like a congregation. But they use a space at the University of Toronto, and I felt really connected to that. And then with COVID, shifting to online services, park services. And so while I couldn't Well, I ended up working for Russia this year, because I chose I had those days approved off and then I ended up taking them to go to camp tail and which I do not regret. But I had Yom Kippur off, which is the Day of Atonement. And so it's the holiest day of the year. It's a day where you ask for forgiveness. First of all, I feel like the world needs to be asking me for forgiveness for this past year if I'm being completely honest, the past two years. But I had the opportunity to go to a service here. And to call me Dre, which is the night before or era, as we say young poor, it's the mark of the start of it. And I just find it the most beautiful service I always have. My mom always loved it. And she always talked about it. And so I think through osmosis and experience I've become, I've come to love it. So it's just another time of year where I'm Yeah, I find that I'm missing my parents a lot, and other extended family that have passed from mostly my parents, mostly mom when it comes to this part. And then I also want to make a comment because this and this is like coming from a place of gratitude what I'm about to say. But I've noticed since my parents have died, I thinkAlana Kaplan:
because people are feeling so awful about the whole situation. I'm getting more invites than ever. It's like I'm very popular all of a sudden, like everyone's Kaplan seeping up at the college. Everyone wants a piece of me. No, no, no. But I'm invited to more more events. Maybe it's also because I'm back in Winnipeg. Now to that I'm realizing it. Everything really I think so. And it's just it's interesting. Like for break fast, which is the meal you have at the end of the empty pour after the 25 hour fast. I had two invites. I'm like When have I ever had two invites to break fast and like I'm pretty sure my mom never really celebratedBlair Kaplan Venables:
except for our PerkinsAlana Kaplan:
except for Blair's a story. Oh, let herBlair Kaplan Venables:
see for me like Jewish holidays. Like I have not been in Winnipeg for a while and I like you know, when I lived in Vancouver, I found congregate a congregation but when living in Whistler, you know it was until like my last few years that I really found a community and I feel like I'm one of the very few Jewish people in Kamloops. So if you're listening and you're Jewish, kava Abbey, but my a lot of my memories of like our family, like are really funny ones. And so when the Jewish holidays come around, I'm just reminded of them. And then obviously like I really miss mom, and I mean, I don't really remember many Jewish holidays with dad. Like, he would just show up for dinner, whatever. But with mom, we've had the funniest experiences so you know, keep where you're supposed to fast Jewish days or sundown to sundown. So like Alanna just said there's Kol Nidrei which is the night like when the fast starts. And it's this beautiful service, which has a similar prayer to like something we're singing for our father when he was dying, which is a really like there's it's a really beautiful like tradition and ceremony and service. And then you're fast the whole next day until after sundown. And I remember being a kid and me my mom and Alanna were at a synagogue and we left with this other family. I'm not going to call them out on the podcast, but they decided that they were hungry, or our mom and their mom, and took us all to Perkins, which is like our favorite. I don't know, like fast food chain. Not fast food, like you sit down in order, like, like a Denny's. It's like Denny's. Anyways, and so. And it's fall, right? So the weather is questionable in Winnipeg. And I remember you and you're dressed up for synagogue, like we would dress fancy like that's what you did. You are nice shoes and a nice outfit, you go to synagogue. And so we get to Perkins and we are in the parking lot and mom was making sure that she wasn't stepping in any puddles. You don't want to ruin her shoes. But she just so happened to like walk full force into like this metal pole sticking out of a truck and let her head open. And she wouldn't let us go to the hospital. I think she just like put like napkins on it. We went anyways, it just became this funny thing every year of Yom Kippur where we would joke about like, she would go to her kid.Blair Kaplan Venables:
I remember, though, it was just so funny. And so like the like, for me, it's like I have all these really happy memories like you know, as a little kid like we were membership of synagogue is not cheap. And we only went on the High Holidays and like our zeta would or grandpa would work the door and like we would sneak in like we didn't join and like our grandma always had two seats. And Isaiah since he was always standing there was a seat. So I feel like I spent a lot of my childhood running back and forth between the seats. You know, our grandma one Graham was always in the front row and one was towards the back. And like my mom, like we just would sneak into synagogue. It's really funny to me to think of it that we would sneak in another thingAlana Kaplan:
I have memories of of that synagogue to a lot like going in and then Blair and her friends sitting on the side, like on there was like this little couch and they would just sit there and I would want to sit there with her and like they have something called Junior congregation which is where they essentially babysitting with like a Jewish flavor. And you would like run in to hear the shofar, which is like the ram's horn that signifies the new year. But coming back to the Perkins Blair has a funny memory of it. And for me, I remember being I wanna I'll say traumatized because I saw I remember seeing the blood and bawling my eyes out everyone was laughing except for me like I think Mom was such themBlair Kaplan Venables:
so like, all this Jewish holidays like when it comes to Russia, Shona Passover, like there's this element of like extreme sadness, extreme sadness. Clinica not so much like Latin. No, but I remember thinking of Passover last year to this year is even going to be sadder because dad is gone. But like our last Passover with mom was like zoom. Passover, right?Alana Kaplan:
Yeah, our last Passover was the same Passover our last HanukkahBlair Kaplan Venables:
was a photo like my last photo. Hanukkah is like us three lighting the menorah on? And it's like a screenshot on my iPhone of like FaceTime,Alana Kaplan:
which we couldn't figure out for the life.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Yeah, there was we tried like, 20 times. And I'm really grateful that we like made it work. Because if I would have known that would have been mom's last Anika. It would have been on a fucking plane.Alana Kaplan:
Yeah.Blair Kaplan Venables:
So I think like, like, it must get somewhat easier. I don't know. Like, we're only a couple of years. We're only a year and a half into this.Alana Kaplan:
And it was compounded because it was only 360 days between the time our mom died and our dad died. So it's almost like, just as we were coming out of it, we got hit in the face again. So I wonder if that has anything to do with the intensity?Blair Kaplan Venables:
Yeah, I mean, yeah, plus, like all the other things. But, you know, it's interesting, because, you know, when I was flying back from Europe, I watched a lot of movies. And something that else that really triggers me is when there's like a mother daughter relationship, and they're close, and I just like started to feel super sad. And I watched for movies because my goal was to like, try and stay awake on my like flight back to Canada so I would like not be jet lagged and like I think it mostly worked. Like, like, I feel pretty recovered but like if you know me you'll know that I love sleeping on airplanes like I can't keep my eyes open so I kept watching movies and also I think it has to do with it was being the Jewish new year and that time so that's so interesting like I just totally yeah and you know it's interesting because when I didn't book my flights there like my client booked me and I decided to stay a little later. So I gave him a couple of options of flights to come home and it just so happened I flew there on Rosh HaShana, and I flew home and landed on Yom Kippur war. SoAlana Kaplan:
basically, Blair spent the days of Aw, which is like the 10 days in between. In Poland and Portugal.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Yeah, in Warsaw, which like, yeah. Portugal's cool. But yeah, I mean, like the Jewish holidays in grief. Right. Like, I literally laughing it laughing cuz you're like Orsa? You know, Portugal's cool. Just one glass felt weird and more saw, like, I also did, it's Warsaw,Blair Kaplan Venables:
I went to the ghetto boundaries, and I took a picture and then I want to go look at buildings and and then I decided, You know what, no, I don't, because originally, I was gonna go, like, stay longer and pull in and go to Auschwitz. And I was like, wait, I'm in such deep grief because both my parents died. Going to a death camp is probably not what I should do on this trip. So I went to the boundary of the ghetto. That was like, my country. That was enough for that trip. But I my boundary was the boundary. Yeah. But, uh, yeah, I mean, Poland was just like a weird experience. Just I just felt like I felt energy right, like I am an empath, but so like, it was just I had lots of feelings and I think it had to do with grief and like, tiredness and traveling. But I don't know a lot of like, what did you like? What did you find like for this Rashanna and young people are like, Were there certain things that really triggered you? Or really triggered grief?Alana Kaplan:
Yom Kippur war for sure. There was a specific things Yeah. Everything Yeah, everything. Specifically like call me Dre like even just like going into the synagogue like felt kind of funny to go for a service in Winnipeg without mom. They do the video a prayer.Blair Kaplan Venables:
The video a prayer should we talk about the VINCI Reaper? I'm pretty sure we have another grief. He goes.Alana Kaplan:
Yeah, the the Dewey prayer. So it's a different. It's a different approach on Yom Kippur war, but it's the prayer for safe passage. And it was the prayer that the rabbi did with me and my sister and my dad. And then he woke up.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Well, we thought we got called in and so like, he wasn't responding to anyone. So we did this beautiful prayer, the video prayer. And like, he wouldn't wake up and it was like, such a beautiful moment. And the doctor came in and offered him drugs. And he woke up. He opened his eyes. But like also, when dad was like, going like and his roommate Gary was not feeling well. Like Gary was barfing. Like a bug, like so our dad's roommate was like, barfing, and like, making all these noises and like, dad was like, on his way out like it was a few days before he died and like Aladdin, I just kept listening to the V Dewey like young keepers service really, really loud. Trying to drown out Gary and the Hohner Popo no know how to even say thatAlana Kaplan:
upon a pono pono pono and but likeBlair Kaplan Venables:
it just now forevermore when I think of Yom Kippur and Kol Nidrei and if you do a prayer, how could I not think of like Gary's like aggressive barfing and us holding your holding hands and hold like holding dad's and and like, basically talking to me like it's okay to let go dad. Were like watching YouTube videos of like people pounding their chest and it was just chaos. It was chaos. But now, like, maybe that's just my way to cope. But like there was there was hilarity in that so now for me up poor like fasting is to me like it's always gonna be mom. They call me Dre is now for whatever reason, I've connected it back to dad.Alana Kaplan:
And I think another thing is like we're talking about the Jewish holidays, and today is Canadian Thanksgiving, which has a lot of connotations behind it. With I mean, the fact that we're on indigenous land and what Thanksgiving means. That being said, that's another day where people are posting pictures of like family dinners and They're grateful for family and they have all these family photoshoots and so that's bringing up some grief as well. I mean, grief is gonna come up any basically it comes up all the time. But today especially I'm feeling it because of all the social media posts is just another time. I mean, we know social medias not true. It's like they're saying I'm thankful for family and in the background, they're screaming and yelling, and I guess that's the whole part of it. ButBlair Kaplan Venables:
not everyone's like us. We're notAlana Kaplan:
just my stream of consciousness. Try to be okay.Blair Kaplan Venables:
It's okay to not be okay.Alana Kaplan:
Yeah, totally. And but Yes,Blair Kaplan Venables:
everyone on social media is posting these pictures of like family dinners, or they're like, photoshoot with their babies in their pumpkins and, like, it's great. Like, I think it's really cute, but like, is it accurate? Well, theyBlair Kaplan Venables:
know that's not for us. It brings up like, for me like with the miscarriage and like the decision to not have kids like when I see a lot of people doing their like baby photoshoots or family photoshoots for me, it's not just the photos with their parents. It's the photos with their like babies. That is a bit triggering for me and it's not like a FOMO upset that I don't have kids but it just reminds me about all of that pain I went through with the miscarriage and like knowing that that is a life I mourned like the the pumpkin photo with the kid and the pumpkin and like, I mean, I can just tell you that one a holiday I'm really looking forward to all the family photos for is Halloween. So please share all of your family Halloween photos with me. That will not make me grief Lee that will make me really happy. I love a good family costume. Alana is raising her hand. You can't see this What's up.Alana Kaplan:
Especially if your kid is in one of those costumes. That's a onesie like a dinosaur or like a lion. I am a particular fan of those.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Okay, so Alanna wants to see these photos too. Yeah. I mean, so yeah, holidays are hard and I think as we get practice because we only have certain holidays, you know, every year we'll we'll learn to navigate it more. The grief never really goes away you we just learned to lay your life around it. But if you're listening to this, and you know and you have friends who've recently lost a parent or not even recently lost a parent check in on them especially on holidays, Jewish holidays, your religions, holidays, whatever holidays they celebrate. I mean like if they don't celebrate. If they're not Jewish, they don't celebrate Rosh Hashanah. No need to check in with them on Rosh HaShana, but you could never hurts to check in with someone to any day. You know, and I think that's actually just like another point is that like, when someone like when we lost our parents, like people were there for us, and people are still here for us, but it's not not as much. I'm really grateful. Because I'm you know, I'm near Shane's family. So we have that extra support. And we have like a really solid support network in Winnipeg of aunts and uncles. But you still need to check in on us because we're sad. We're sad. Do you have anything you want to wrap up this conversation with Atlanta?Alana Kaplan:
No, I think we've, we've, we've chatted through this grief Gao segment.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Is it everything that you wanted? Is it everything you visualized?Alana Kaplan:
Yeah, this is exactly what I visualized that we would chat about grief as it comes up. And it's a holiday season and we're chatting. So great. Else soBlair Kaplan Venables:
thank you to everyone who tuned in to another episode of radical resilience to the first official segment of grief gals. Love I came up with that name, by the way, soAlana Kaplan:
I like it. I don't like it. Keep it to yourself.Blair Kaplan Venables:
Yeah. If you if you don't like it, you can't tell Alana. But yeah, I mean, just remember, it's okay to not be okay. The holidays can be hard for various reasons. Our our big reason right now is grief. But you're not alone. And we want to be there for you. We do this every week. Tune in next week for another episode of radical resilience. Thanks.