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Grief and Loss: Guidance from a Therapist and Parent
Episode 1230th August 2023 • Roadmap to Joy: A Mental Health Podcast • Embark Behavioral Heatlh
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Discover invaluable insights on dealing with grief as an experienced Embark Therapist teams up with a compassionate parent to delve into the intricacies of grieving. Gain a deeper understanding commonly misunderstood concepts surrounding loss, such as the stages of grief. Learn how to navigate grief as a family as we move toward healing on this episode of Roadmap to Joy.  

CONTENT NOTICE: This episode contains discussions of sensitive subject matter, including infant loss and suicide. If you are having a mental health emergency, contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline for immediate support by calling or texting 988. You can also text HOME to 741741 — the Crisis Text Line — from anywhere in the country to talk with a trained crisis counselor.  

Blogs for Parents:

https://bit.ly/thoughts-of-depression-and-suicide  

https://bit.ly/embarkbh-preventing-suicide  

https://bit.ly/embarkbh-teen-suicide-prevention  

Videos for Parents:

Suicide Prevention 

Treatment Major Depressive Disorder 

Gratitude Journal 

Host Bios

Mikayla Gilbreath, LMSW, is a clinical social worker that assists in running the adolescent/young adult IOP group at the Scottsdale Embark clinic. She also offers individual and family therapy and specializes in trauma and traumatic grief and loss. She has worked in adolescent behavioral health for seven years and had been in social work for more than a decade with an emphasis on children and families. When not at work, Mikayla enjoys going to concerts and spending time with her husband and their pug.

Jamie Maurer is an Admissions Counselor at Embark Behavioral Health and is passionate about navigating the journey towards hope for families in crisis. Jamie has several years of experience as a Behavioral Health Technician in the substance use field, is on the Board of Directors for Owl Love You Forever, a non-profit organization who build boxes for bereaved mothers, and volunteers for Hope and a Future, a non-profit organization serving youth in the foster care system.

As a baby loss mom, Jamie is honored to walk alongside souls who are hurting and offer hope for the hopeless. When she is not volunteering or creating joy at Embark Behavioral Health, you can find her with a camera in hand, capturing moments for others with her photography company- Remember Me Photos, which she named in honor of her son Edwin, who was stillborn 10 years ago. She is an avid writer for her blog, rememberingedwin.com. We do not heal by forgetting, we heal by remembering.

Connect with Embark on Social Media:

Have a question for our experts? We want to hear from you! Submit your questions to: askatherapist@embarkbh.com.

About Embark Behavioral Health

Embark has been helping people overcome behavioral health issues that may be affecting their everyday lives for over 25 years.   

Conditions We Treat Include:  

The Embark team has some of the most compassionate and educated professionals in the industry. Its core purpose is to create joy and heal generations. Embark’s big hairy audacious goal is to lead the way in driving teen and young adult anxiety, depression, and suicide from the all-time highs of today to all-time lows by 2028. Exceptional treatment options, like short-term residential care, makes Embark the world's most respected family behavioral health provider.   

Check out our locations.

Transcripts

Laura Davis:

Hey everyone. This is Laura, producer and editor of

Laura Davis:

Roadmap to Joy here with the content notice for this episode,

Laura Davis:

in this episode, we talk about grief, which includes

Laura Davis:

discussions of sensitive subject matter, including suicide, and

Laura Davis:

infant loss. We believe it's crucial to talk about these

Laura Davis:

subjects with empathy and compassion. But we also want you

Laura Davis:

to prioritize your emotional well being. If you feel that

Laura Davis:

these subjects may be triggering or cause discomfort, please

Laura Davis:

prioritize your mental and emotional health. If you decide

Laura Davis:

to listen, we'll provide resources in the show notes for

Laura Davis:

anyone who may need support. Please take care of yourself and

Laura Davis:

reach out to trusted individuals or professional services if you

Laura Davis:

require assistance. We appreciate your understanding.

Laura Davis:

And as always, thanks for listening to Roadmap to Joy.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

Welcome to Roadmap to Joy My name is

Mikayla Gilbreath:

Michaela Gilbreath I'm an LMS w here at Embark we're here to

Mikayla Gilbreath:

talk about grief and my co host with me, Jamie Mauer.

Jamie Maurer:

Hi. I'm Jamie Mauer. I'm an admissions

Jamie Maurer:

counselor here at Embark Behavioral Health. I was also a

Jamie Maurer:

behavioral health technician for years. I'm also on the board of

Jamie Maurer:

directors for a nonprofit called our love you forever. We build

Jamie Maurer:

boxes for moms who lose babies in the hospital. And I actually

Jamie Maurer:

received a box when we when I lost my son 10 years ago. So

Jamie Maurer:

yeah, we're here to talk about grief.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

Thank you for sharing that. Yeah. And I

Mikayla Gilbreath:

think it's important to talk about kind of our own losses

Mikayla Gilbreath:

because we are professionals in the mental health field. But to

Mikayla Gilbreath:

recognize that this is a very personal experience a very

Mikayla Gilbreath:

personal sort of passion for for us and for the people probably

Mikayla Gilbreath:

listening here. In addition to being a an LMS W I also am in

Mikayla Gilbreath:

the middle of my grief certification. I interned and

Mikayla Gilbreath:

volunteered at the new song center for grieving children.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

And I had my own traumatic loss experience. My mom completed

Mikayla Gilbreath:

suicide five years ago. So again, this is I really

Mikayla Gilbreath:

appreciate you being here and being vulnerable. Being open

Jamie Maurer:

salutely I think it's it's imperative and

Jamie Maurer:

incredibly important that we hold space for people who are

Jamie Maurer:

grieving and, and that yeah, we just were in this together, we

Jamie Maurer:

got this devastating degree who we never asked for.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

Absolutely. It's the worst club to be in it

Mikayla Gilbreath:

is and we're in it.

Jamie Maurer:

Yeah. And we don't want anyone else to join.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

But they do. Yeah, we gotta we gotta put out

Mikayla Gilbreath:

some information on kind of what do we do with this? What is it

Mikayla Gilbreath:

right? So how would you define grief? What is grief mean to

Mikayla Gilbreath:

you?

Jamie Maurer:

I think, to me, honestly, like grief is, I guess

Jamie Maurer:

the best way I heard it described was when I read a book

Jamie Maurer:

by CS Lewis. And he said that, why does grief feel so much like

Jamie Maurer:

fear? And I think for me, like, Grief is a loss, right? And

Jamie Maurer:

where there is great grief, where there is great pain, there

Jamie Maurer:

was great love. And so I think in my years of experience with

Jamie Maurer:

grief, it's it really has felt like love with nowhere to go.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

Yeah, there's a great Marvel show

Mikayla Gilbreath:

where a line says something like what is grief, but love

Mikayla Gilbreath:

persevering? And that feels so it resonates so strongly, right?

Mikayla Gilbreath:

Absolutely. But wanted to talk a little bit about some, like, I

Mikayla Gilbreath:

word this here, some sort of common ways that we grieve,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

right? So we have maturational losses, where we go through one

Mikayla Gilbreath:

stage of life, or our children go through stages of life. And

Mikayla Gilbreath:

as they develop or as we develop, we gain something and

Mikayla Gilbreath:

lose something else, right? So we know that we can have grief

Mikayla Gilbreath:

for things like our kid or going to school for the first time,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

right? We might grieve that sense of oh, I had a baby and I

Mikayla Gilbreath:

have a child a kiddo. Right? And those are normal sort of, we can

Mikayla Gilbreath:

grieve those things. And it's kind of a normal developmental

Mikayla Gilbreath:

process, right? But what we're talking about here, it's it's

Mikayla Gilbreath:

grief, right? It's the loss of a person. Can you tell me anything

Mikayla Gilbreath:

about complicated grief for traumatic grief?

Jamie Maurer:

So I think for me, you know what I've learned about

Jamie Maurer:

complicated or traumatic grief. It's very layered. Okay, so

Jamie Maurer:

it's, you know, there are I don't know, like, so my sponsor

Jamie Maurer:

said once, like, Okay, you can't compare your pain with someone

Jamie Maurer:

else's. Like, this isn't the trauma Olympics? Like gosh,

Jamie Maurer:

yeah, no one's getting a medal here

Mikayla Gilbreath:

or everyone's getting a medal.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

Yeah, I mean anything either. Right. Exactly.

Jamie Maurer:

And so you know, I think in terms of like, well,

Jamie Maurer:

this is you know, harder or this is more difficult like for me

Jamie Maurer:

like I had, you know, a nine week miscarriage. And then a

Jamie Maurer:

year later, I had To 20 weeks stillborn baby named Edwin. And,

Jamie Maurer:

you know, people have said kind of things like, Oh, well wasn't

Jamie Maurer:

losing Edwin harder that must have been I can't imagine, you

Jamie Maurer:

know, going through that that must have been harder. And for

Jamie Maurer:

me it was like, it wasn't harder. It was just different.

Jamie Maurer:

And I think, you know, that difference from you know, having

Jamie Maurer:

a miscarriage and then having, you know, giving birth to a

Jamie Maurer:

stillborn baby was the the visceral trauma of the

Jamie Maurer:

experience of 36 hours of labor and having this baby that never

Jamie Maurer:

opened his eyes, you know, that was like a physical, visceral,

Jamie Maurer:

traumatic kind of thing. And so I think, you know, with with

Jamie Maurer:

traumatic grief, there is an element of, like, it's

Jamie Maurer:

complicated, it's not, it's not that like, you know, my grandma

Jamie Maurer:

lived 90 years, you know, the, the natural life process cycle

Jamie Maurer:

kind of played out, which doesn't mean that losing your 90

Jamie Maurer:

year old grandma has any easier or harder, it's just different.

Jamie Maurer:

And so I think for me with, with losing Edwin, it was, I mean,

Jamie Maurer:

there was PTSD, absolutely involved. And that took a lot of

Jamie Maurer:

years to, and a lot of trauma, therapy, EMDR, and all the

Jamie Maurer:

things to really work through because it was almost like, I

Jamie Maurer:

couldn't even start grieving, until I had worked through the

Jamie Maurer:

trauma of the loss, you know, and like, so what do you feel

Jamie Maurer:

like for you, that has kind of looked like with with traumatic

Jamie Maurer:

and complicated grief.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

So just like you been in the behavioral

Mikayla Gilbreath:

health field, the mental health field, and I've experienced

Mikayla Gilbreath:

this, so it's kind of this two sides of the same coin, right.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

So when we think about PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

we commonly associate that with like veterans, right? So the

Mikayla Gilbreath:

idea of we're having nightmares or where we think the world is

Mikayla Gilbreath:

incredibly unsafe, we stopped eating and sleeping or

Mikayla Gilbreath:

hypervigilant, all of those things are happening and

Mikayla Gilbreath:

traumatic grief. And we have lost someone, right? So it's

Mikayla Gilbreath:

incredibly difficult to entangle. With my own mom, and I

Mikayla Gilbreath:

think when we talk about traumatic grief, we have to

Mikayla Gilbreath:

think about kind of that criteria, right? So anytime a

Mikayla Gilbreath:

parent loses their child, it's traumatic. I mean, that's just

Mikayla Gilbreath:

the nature of it, right? Anytime there's an unexpected violent

Mikayla Gilbreath:

death or loss is traumatic. Suicide is always traumatic. I

Mikayla Gilbreath:

mean, those things are the things that can make us feel

Mikayla Gilbreath:

unsafe. And on top of that, we've lost someone. So for me, I

Mikayla Gilbreath:

think you were exactly right, it is layered, right? Because you

Mikayla Gilbreath:

have those those nightmares, and those, how did this happen and

Mikayla Gilbreath:

all of these things. And while we can recognize that our 90

Mikayla Gilbreath:

year old grandmother who passed peacefully in her sleep,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

surrounded by loved ones, we can still grieve that there's

Mikayla Gilbreath:

definitely a deeper component or a more complex component when

Mikayla Gilbreath:

it's when it's traumatic like that, right? Yeah. I'm wondering

Mikayla Gilbreath:

if we, as you were kind of going through your process, you had

Mikayla Gilbreath:

any, like, anticipatory grief of like, what could happen, I'm

Mikayla Gilbreath:

grieving this before I even get into it. Do you think that that

Mikayla Gilbreath:

happens for people who go through loss?

Jamie Maurer:

Absolutely. I mean, in my own experience, I

Jamie Maurer:

remember, you know, for 20 weeks that I was pregnant with Edwin,

Jamie Maurer:

like, we knew he was sick at eight weeks, so my first

Jamie Maurer:

appointment, you know, they were like, you've got this super rare

Jamie Maurer:

blood thing where your immune system is going to attack his

Jamie Maurer:

red blood cells, and hopefully, he makes it. But I mean, that,

Jamie Maurer:

that fear of knowing every day that like, I could lose this

Jamie Maurer:

baby, you know, and that was absolutely something that that I

Jamie Maurer:

went through, and that even, you know, and I worked with hospice

Jamie Maurer:

patients for a little while to and you know, even like, knowing

Jamie Maurer:

that it's happening or knowing the like, it's gonna, it's

Jamie Maurer:

coming. Like, nothing prepares

Mikayla Gilbreath:

you for you can know up here and not know,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

yeah,

Jamie Maurer:

18 inches is a long way. And so, you know, I

Jamie Maurer:

think that is a whole other, you know, concept and that's a whole

Jamie Maurer:

other thing to untangle and, you know, I think, and when you say

Jamie Maurer:

like, anticipate anticipatory grief. That's not the same thing

Jamie Maurer:

as like, grieving something that could have been or

Mikayla Gilbreath:

sort of when we think of anticipatory grief,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

the way that I always kind of think about it is someone who is

Mikayla Gilbreath:

let's say, a caregiver, you know, and they know that there

Mikayla Gilbreath:

that the person they're caring for is terminal or they know

Mikayla Gilbreath:

something is wrong and we are starting to grieve before it

Mikayla Gilbreath:

happens, but we know it's going to right.

Jamie Maurer:

Yeah, that just Just you saying that just really

Jamie Maurer:

kind of hits my heart because I think, you know, a lot of times

Jamie Maurer:

and, you know, speaking to families whose whose kids are

Jamie Maurer:

struggling with, with suicidal ideations and suicide attempts,

Jamie Maurer:

and their mental health is really in jeopardy, you know, I

Jamie Maurer:

can just imagine them feeling that, that it's like, you're

Jamie Maurer:

almost grieving someone or something that's could happen,

Jamie Maurer:

you know, and so that, that layer of like, my child, you

Jamie Maurer:

know, like, I never dreamed this kind of life that my kid would

Jamie Maurer:

be living like, you know, I guarantee when parents have a

Jamie Maurer:

kiddo and their baby, you know, the last thing that they're

Jamie Maurer:

thinking is going to happen is that their child's going to be

Jamie Maurer:

struggling with mental health and with illness, suicidal

Jamie Maurer:

ideations and suicide attempts, and so, like, kind of grieving

Jamie Maurer:

that dream that they had for their kid. And like, like,

Jamie Maurer:

really going through the process of this is where my kids at now.

Jamie Maurer:

So

Mikayla Gilbreath:

that's so enlightening and so insightful.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

I think. I want to talk a little bit then about kind of that idea

Mikayla Gilbreath:

of grieving things that aren't humans, right. We've talked

Mikayla Gilbreath:

about maturational, losses and grief, you know, when we retire,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

we lose that sense of, of productivity, for example, which

Mikayla Gilbreath:

is a normal normal process, but when we have losses that are

Mikayla Gilbreath:

intense losses, but they're not people, there are possibilities

Mikayla Gilbreath:

or opportunities, right? Does that feel similar to grief and

Mikayla Gilbreath:

loss? And other ways? Do

Jamie Maurer:

you think? I mean, in my own experience, and like

Jamie Maurer:

pulling from what I've been through, you know, when, before

Jamie Maurer:

losing Edwin, you know, I had a beautiful marriage and a life

Jamie Maurer:

and like a farmhouse with like a literal white picket fence.

Jamie Maurer:

Right. The American Dream? Yes. Yeah. Like we actually had a

Jamie Maurer:

white picket fence. You know, and, and after, after losing

Jamie Maurer:

Edwin, that battle really fell apart. And, you know, my husband

Jamie Maurer:

ended up leaving and, you know, I think that dream that like I

Jamie Maurer:

had for what felt like a split second, was no longer you know,

Jamie Maurer:

and 10 years later, you know, single as a Pringle. But like,

Jamie Maurer:

learning to love that life, too. I mean, that's, like, you know,

Jamie Maurer:

grieving what could have been or what, what I used to say, should

Jamie Maurer:

have been, I'm learning to rephrase that, because, you

Jamie Maurer:

know, I am, I am where I'm supposed to be now. But I am

Jamie Maurer:

definitely not where I thought I'd be at. They're at 36 years

Jamie Maurer:

old. salutely No. And so, you know, loot kind of grieving that

Jamie Maurer:

dream of, you know, having that family and the kids and, and,

Jamie Maurer:

you know, all of those things is

Unknown:

a total real thing. And it's normal, right? Yes, it

Unknown:

totally normal.

Jamie Maurer:

Like if you're at a place in your life, that

Jamie Maurer:

you're like, wow, okay, this is not anything like I thought my

Jamie Maurer:

life would look like, at this age, or at this time. I mean,

Jamie Maurer:

that is completely normal to have a grief experience with

Jamie Maurer:

what could have been are those dreams that you know, you

Jamie Maurer:

thought you would have? I mean, yeah, and even with Edwin too,

Jamie Maurer:

it was like you don't I talk to moms all the time, who lose

Jamie Maurer:

babies, and it's like, you know, a lot of us have been told

Jamie Maurer:

things like, at least you didn't know them, you know, or at least

Jamie Maurer:

they weren't older.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

They at least are just so almost

Mikayla Gilbreath:

unhelpful.

Jamie Maurer:

Yes. So I wrote a whole blog that like there is no

Jamie Maurer:

at least in grief. Okay. But you know, you don't you're not just

Jamie Maurer:

losing a baby or losing a toddler, you're losing a high

Jamie Maurer:

school or you're losing, you know, a college graduate, you're

Jamie Maurer:

losing seeing them get married. I mean, you're losing all of

Jamie Maurer:

those things that could have been and that is a whole other

Jamie Maurer:

layer.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

It is grief. It is yeah. I want to spend a

Mikayla Gilbreath:

little time talking about the process of grief, right? I'm

Mikayla Gilbreath:

gonna get on my soapbox for a minute, please. I'll build you

Mikayla Gilbreath:

one thing. I don't even need you to build me one. I can just I

Mikayla Gilbreath:

can just get right up there. Yes. The sort of grief theory

Mikayla Gilbreath:

that a lot of Americans know or that is kind of the general

Mikayla Gilbreath:

theory is Dr. Kubler Ross is model of the five stages, right?

Mikayla Gilbreath:

And that's the one that we know, right? Five stage five stages.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

So those stages start with denial and with acceptance. What

Mikayla Gilbreath:

a lot of people don't recognize or don't realize is that Dr.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

Kubler Ross an excellent An excellent doctor studied death,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

dying, grieving, open doors like immense amount of work that she

Mikayla Gilbreath:

did to to get grief, to be a serious place of research, right

Mikayla Gilbreath:

and to study it and to learn how to deal with it. So this is not

Mikayla Gilbreath:

out of disrespect, yes. But we took this idea of grief that we

Mikayla Gilbreath:

have denial and anger and bargaining and sadness and

Mikayla Gilbreath:

acceptance, and we go through these stages. And then we're

Mikayla Gilbreath:

just done and we're fine.

Jamie Maurer:

Always. That's the way it works, right.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

But who she studied was people who had

Mikayla Gilbreath:

gotten terminal cancer diagnoses, and it was there

Mikayla Gilbreath:

grieving the loss of their own life or that process of

Mikayla Gilbreath:

accepting their eventual death, right. But we took this idea and

Mikayla Gilbreath:

we sort of just ran with it, right? Part of that is because

Mikayla Gilbreath:

of it helps us to feel like there's some sense of control

Mikayla Gilbreath:

like, oh, well, if I'm, if I'm sad, that means I won't get

Mikayla Gilbreath:

angry anymore. Right? Yeah. Is that your your experience with

Mikayla Gilbreath:

grief? Does that fit into that mold? Absolutely.

Jamie Maurer:

So that was kind of, you know, what I had always

Jamie Maurer:

heard, right. Yeah. And like, that's what you hear growing up,

Jamie Maurer:

are you? You know, people are like, Oh, well, you'll go

Jamie Maurer:

through this stages, right? And then like, then you'll be fine.

Jamie Maurer:

And then, like, when I wasn't fine, I was like, What is wrong

Jamie Maurer:

with me?

Mikayla Gilbreath:

That is, the biggest issue is that if you

Mikayla Gilbreath:

don't fit in this mold, that isn't meant for grieving people

Mikayla Gilbreath:

who have survived a loss, and it doesn't necessarily fit with

Mikayla Gilbreath:

cancer diagnosis, right? We see those feelings that come up. But

Mikayla Gilbreath:

there's no stages No, where

Jamie Maurer:

there's like, squirrels running around little

Jamie Maurer:

tracks, you know, of like, coming back to this and coming

Jamie Maurer:

back to that, and like, it's just it is, and I think too, you

Jamie Maurer:

know, I, I've heard so many people say, really dumb things,

Jamie Maurer:

which is fine. Because people see someone that they love in

Jamie Maurer:

pain. And like, as a human, you you want to have like an

Jamie Maurer:

antidote, right? You want to have something to alleviate the

Jamie Maurer:

pain, you see this loved one going and you want some

Jamie Maurer:

certainty, right? Yes. And I think too, like grief is it is

Jamie Maurer:

not meant to be understood. It is not meant to be put in a box

Jamie Maurer:

and like, and formulated and controlled. But I think as

Jamie Maurer:

humans, we want to have a sense of control over it, because that

Jamie Maurer:

makes us feel safe. And so like, other people's grief makes us

Jamie Maurer:

uncomfortable. And so when someone else's grief makes you

Jamie Maurer:

uncomfortable. It's like you as a human being, and this is just

Jamie Maurer:

our nature, we want to put a formula or like steps or a

Jamie Maurer:

construct around it. So let me fix this more. Yes, yes. So we

Jamie Maurer:

have a sense of contractional fixing grief, grief, grief is

Jamie Maurer:

does not mean we are broken, it means we are human. And it is

Jamie Maurer:

not something that needs to be fixed. Right? And so, you know,

Jamie Maurer:

yeah, I those stages are, there's just I mean, you can't

Jamie Maurer:

you can go through them at some, you know, certain ones, but

Jamie Maurer:

like, I, I always thought of grief as like something that was

Jamie Maurer:

inside of me, right? Something that I needed to, you know, kind

Jamie Maurer:

of work around and figure out and like and fix so that I can

Jamie Maurer:

be okay again, but like what I've learned is it's grief is

Jamie Maurer:

outside of you. And it's inside of Yeah, both, both. And it's

Jamie Maurer:

like, it is this thing that almost has a mind of its own,

Jamie Maurer:

and it morphs and it changes, but it's like, everyone wants

Jamie Maurer:

you to move on. And I just remember being asked, like, when

Jamie Maurer:

are you going to move on Jamie? Like, why do you still talk

Jamie Maurer:

about your dead son? And I just every time that was told to me,

Jamie Maurer:

it was like, Well, if I move on, I'm leaving him behind. That's

Jamie Maurer:

not an option. No, it's not. And so what I've learned more and

Jamie Maurer:

more through the years is that it's it's like you're on this

Jamie Maurer:

journey. And you come across a you know, a rock of pain of loss

Jamie Maurer:

and like, you put that in your backpack and you carry it with

Jamie Maurer:

you on this journey. And like yeah, you get stronger the

Jamie Maurer:

longer that you carry it. But you never move on from it and

Jamie Maurer:

it's not something we're supposed to move on from its

Jamie Maurer:

past or past. It's something that we carry with us on this

Jamie Maurer:

journey.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

And that I think is so interesting because

Mikayla Gilbreath:

when we look at treating grief, right, we can pathologize it we

Mikayla Gilbreath:

can say you know No, I'm gonna get a little bit on my high

Mikayla Gilbreath:

horse again. In the previous DSM, the diagnostic manual, it

Mikayla Gilbreath:

said that if you grieved longer than two weeks, you were like

Mikayla Gilbreath:

eligible for depression diagnosis, right? Yes. Sorry,

Jamie Maurer:

two weeks. Right?

Mikayla Gilbreath:

Yeah, a certain amount of time. Fine.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

You're supposed to be fine, right? I think we have to think

Mikayla Gilbreath:

of the culture that we live in as well. There's lots of

Mikayla Gilbreath:

cultures oftentimes related to religion that give us

Mikayla Gilbreath:

opportunities to grieve or don't, right? The Amish

Mikayla Gilbreath:

community, still, they still do funerals in a barn or in a home

Mikayla Gilbreath:

and the whole community comes to visit, right? They are not a

Mikayla Gilbreath:

death phobic culture, right? I think in America, we have some

Mikayla Gilbreath:

death phobia. And a lot of that comes from the idea that death

Mikayla Gilbreath:

was dirty. We had bores and you know, and, and so we would have

Mikayla Gilbreath:

all of these bodies World War One World War Two, right. And we

Mikayla Gilbreath:

have all these bodies, and it's death is unclean. But if we can

Mikayla Gilbreath:

medicalize it, if we can put it in white sheets and sterilize

Mikayla Gilbreath:

it, we don't have to look at it anymore. And somehow we are past

Mikayla Gilbreath:

it, or we are immune to it. Right. And so I want to ask some

Mikayla Gilbreath:

kind of advice. I guess we'll do advice on what not to do. What

Mikayla Gilbreath:

don't you say to someone who's grieving?

Jamie Maurer:

There's so many, lots of there's a lot,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

many of them. But for you personally,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

what wasn't helpful to hear and why wasn't it helpful?

Jamie Maurer:

So my favorite one? I mean, not favorite, your

Jamie Maurer:

least favorite, least favorite? I think, you know, over the

Jamie Maurer:

years has been ever everything happens for a reason?

Mikayla Gilbreath:

Yeah, let's, let's unpack that. Okay. What

Mikayla Gilbreath:

reason? Right? What reason, right?

Jamie Maurer:

And so I mean, that for me, that, that what I

Jamie Maurer:

heard through, you know, my grief lens. Was that like, this

Jamie Maurer:

was done to you. And this is on purpose, you know. So, you know,

Jamie Maurer:

instead of saying that, what I've learned to reframe in my

Jamie Maurer:

mind is okay, this person wants to give me an antidote to fix me

Jamie Maurer:

right now and make me feel better and Silver Line this,

Jamie Maurer:

which we just cannot do. And so, instead of that, like, instead

Jamie Maurer:

of everything happens for a reason, I'm like, there will be

Jamie Maurer:

purpose given to this pain someday. And I can cling to

Jamie Maurer:

that. And there also is, like, I have permission to allow joy and

Jamie Maurer:

sorrow to coexist. They're sisters. Yes. Like, they get to

Jamie Maurer:

mingle. There's just things that it's like, it's okay. To laugh

Jamie Maurer:

about things to, to have joy and to, to laugh through tears, or,

Jamie Maurer:

you know, all of that allowing that to coexist and mingle. I

Jamie Maurer:

think one of the other things that you know that specifically,

Jamie Maurer:

as a baby, last mom, who has been well, at least you can have

Jamie Maurer:

the least thing, right, at least Yeah. Anytime it starts with

Jamie Maurer:

that least I'm like, Just scratch it off. Like stop

Jamie Maurer:

talking. No, that's enough, just not listening. But at least you

Jamie Maurer:

can have another one, you know, and what

Mikayla Gilbreath:

does that say that says that your son was

Mikayla Gilbreath:

replaceable? And he was not?

Jamie Maurer:

No, and like, he's a puppy and I can just go to

Jamie Maurer:

the, you know, like, No. And also, I don't know if I can, so

Jamie Maurer:

that's probably maybe not enough, you know, an option that

Jamie Maurer:

happens not helpful in tutoring. Yeah, totally. You know, and I

Jamie Maurer:

think also that, you know, the, oh, God needed an angel. And I'm

Jamie Maurer:

like, how think he needs anything from us. Like, it's

Jamie Maurer:

just that that whole like, trying to trying to make it

Jamie Maurer:

better, right, which is not what Grievers need, like, as a grief

Jamie Maurer:

bearer, which is kind of what I coined, I guess, for myself and

Jamie Maurer:

love Lord of the Rings, you know? And, you know, Frodo and

Jamie Maurer:

Sam wise, we're carrying this burden Yes. to Mordor. And they

Jamie Maurer:

were called ring bearers, you know, and there was a moment

Jamie Maurer:

where Frodo could not he couldn't carry it anymore. He

Jamie Maurer:

couldn't walk anymore. And so, so carried him. So Sam White

Jamie Maurer:

says, I can't carry this for you. But I can carry you. And so

Jamie Maurer:

like, it's

Mikayla Gilbreath:

one of my favorite scenes of any movies.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

So I'm so happy that you brought it up. It's such a beautiful

Mikayla Gilbreath:

metaphor for being with people that are grieving. Yeah. And the

Mikayla Gilbreath:

idea that I can't your grief is not my grief. Right? But I can

Mikayla Gilbreath:

help support you in this way. Yeah, I can be available and I

Mikayla Gilbreath:

can I can hold space. Yeah. The thing I always think about when

Mikayla Gilbreath:

I'm working with people who have grief or in my own personal

Mikayla Gilbreath:

experiences is you just kind of have to leave lean into that

Mikayla Gilbreath:

discomfort, right? It's gonna feel counterintuitive, I think.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

But the idea of leaning into something that doesn't feel good

Mikayla Gilbreath:

and we want to avoid, we want to push back on. The only way out

Mikayla Gilbreath:

is through, right? It's something that I think if we can

Mikayla Gilbreath:

learn, as a community as a state as a country to lean in a little

Mikayla Gilbreath:

bit, and that we don't need fixing, right, I just need you

Mikayla Gilbreath:

to hear I need you to listen, I need to see me. And I need you

Mikayla Gilbreath:

to see your son, I need you to see my mom. And that is really

Mikayla Gilbreath:

what it's about. There's no fixing, there is just

Mikayla Gilbreath:

witnessing. Tell me a little bit about what you think is helpful

Mikayla Gilbreath:

to someone who's in acute grief. Let's say they just found out

Mikayla Gilbreath:

they lost someone. Or they're in the first few weeks. Do you have

Mikayla Gilbreath:

any ideas on what people can? Do? We have this grief. Now

Mikayla Gilbreath:

what? I'm grieving, I'm caring for a grieving child or a

Mikayla Gilbreath:

grieving spouse or a grieving parent, a neighbor? What are

Mikayla Gilbreath:

your ideas?

Jamie Maurer:

You know, I think, you know, in polling from my own

Jamie Maurer:

experience, or what we've done, you know, with our, our

Jamie Maurer:

nonprofit with moms who lose babies, it's, I think, first the

Jamie Maurer:

first thing is is acknowledgement. Right. So like,

Jamie Maurer:

it, it almost feels like people are, are so uncomfortable and

Jamie Maurer:

afraid of other people's grief that you almost feel like it's

Jamie Maurer:

like contagious. Right? Don't catch it. Yeah. Right. And so

Jamie Maurer:

they just almost like I remember the people that said nothing.

Jamie Maurer:

That are way more than the people who said the wrong thing.

Jamie Maurer:

Absolutely. You know what I mean? Because

Mikayla Gilbreath:

the people saying the wrong thing are you

Mikayla Gilbreath:

can recognize they're attempting? Yeah, they're

Mikayla Gilbreath:

reaching out, and they're doing the best that maybe they've got,

Jamie Maurer:

right. Yeah. So I think that first thing is to

Jamie Maurer:

step into that discomfort to like, not be afraid of someone

Jamie Maurer:

else's pain enough to just be with them. Right. And like,

Jamie Maurer:

calling, I mean, you know, calling texting not, you know,

Jamie Maurer:

not like avoiding this thing that you're thinking is

Jamie Maurer:

contagious or makes you uncomfortable, but even just

Jamie Maurer:

practical things like people showed up to my house, and

Jamie Maurer:

cleaned my entire house. And I didn't even like that, like, and

Jamie Maurer:

here's the thing, too, like, people say, like, Okay, well let

Jamie Maurer:

me know if you need anything. And it's like, I don't know what

Jamie Maurer:

I need. I don't know what I need right now. And so, I mean, just

Jamie Maurer:

showing up, like, like, bringing meals, not like asking for the

Jamie Maurer:

Griever to to let you know if they need anything because they

Jamie Maurer:

don't know what they need nourishment. And so I think, you

Jamie Maurer:

know, just and like, talk talking about their loved ones

Jamie Maurer:

saying their name. Like I think that was one of my like, biggest

Jamie Maurer:

fears was that that I wouldn't be the only person saying Edwin.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

And how many people say Edwin to this day

Mikayla Gilbreath:

long. And that's so healing that's so it's, it's a

Mikayla Gilbreath:

vulnerable space to put yourself in, but it feels so good to know

Mikayla Gilbreath:

that people are remembering.

Jamie Maurer:

Yeah. And that is so important. And I kind of like

Jamie Maurer:

make them. Like, you're gonna say it, you're one of those

Jamie Maurer:

people that's like, I'm gonna keep talking about him, whether

Jamie Maurer:

it makes people uncomfortable or not. Because I also want other

Jamie Maurer:

Grievers to know that like to, like, have that permission,

Jamie Maurer:

almost, or if they want to that, like you can grieve on purpose

Jamie Maurer:

and out loud too. And you might need to Yeah, and if like,

Jamie Maurer:

everyone grieves, different and if you need that, like, more,

Jamie Maurer:

you know, quiet space, like cool, but I think so many people

Jamie Maurer:

feel afraid to grieve out loud, or to grieve on purpose. And

Mikayla Gilbreath:

you could put grief out loud on a shirt.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

And I mean, it's a beautiful way of putting it, it's just so

Mikayla Gilbreath:

sank.

Jamie Maurer:

Yeah. And it's just like, you can if you need

Jamie Maurer:

to do this, if you need to post pictures if you need you know if

Jamie Maurer:

that if that helps your process, process, learning journey, like

Jamie Maurer:

do it and who cares who it makes uncomfortable, because this is a

Jamie Maurer:

stigma we have to break. Absolutely, because people are

Jamie Maurer:

grieving in silence and feeling alone. And like I'm not about to

Jamie Maurer:

let people do that.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

So and we can talk about sort of that,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

that silent grief, right? That idea that we call it

Mikayla Gilbreath:

disenfranchised grief when you're not allowed to grieve

Mikayla Gilbreath:

because of the context that you're in your situation.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

Oftentimes we see this with nurses who are caring for people

Mikayla Gilbreath:

and maybe a patient passes and they still have a shift to do

Mikayla Gilbreath:

right. Oh, we ourselves can be disenfranchised in some way,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

because maybe our culture, our religion, our family, says we

Mikayla Gilbreath:

don't talk about it. It's too painful. And it causes shame

Mikayla Gilbreath:

when we have those feelings, right. And that is so

Mikayla Gilbreath:

detrimental to the whole healing process. I want to pull back

Mikayla Gilbreath:

just a little bit, I want to talk about kind of that acute

Mikayla Gilbreath:

grief when it first happens, I'm gonna get a little medical here

Mikayla Gilbreath:

a little bit, a little bit of biology, Grief is a stress

Mikayla Gilbreath:

response, right? Yeah, we get epinephrine and we get all of

Mikayla Gilbreath:

those hormones, flooding and cortisol flowing through our

Mikayla Gilbreath:

bodies, our immune system takes a hit, we are more susceptible

Mikayla Gilbreath:

to cardiac issues, inflammatory disorders and diseases. I mean,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

it really is truly a stressful situation. And biologically,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

physiologically, it is a it is a stress response. And that acute

Mikayla Gilbreath:

grief is one of the most I mean, I think it's like number two on

Mikayla Gilbreath:

the list of like, most stressful situations is like the death of

Mikayla Gilbreath:

a spouse or a parent, right. And so I really want anyone who's

Mikayla Gilbreath:

listening to remember that if we have grief, it is very likely

Mikayla Gilbreath:

you're going to get sick, you're going to feel rundown,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

emotionally, you're not going to feel great, we know that but

Mikayla Gilbreath:

physically, you're not going to be running 10 K's probably,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

right. I mean, we have to really think about taking care of our

Mikayla Gilbreath:

bodies. As we move through grief, we talked about what you

Mikayla Gilbreath:

wouldn't say I want to know what you would say to someone who's

Mikayla Gilbreath:

grieving or someone who is in a in a moment that they they need

Mikayla Gilbreath:

that support.

Jamie Maurer:

I think honestly, the things that I would say or

Jamie Maurer:

you know, do is not try to fill the silence or like that, that

Jamie Maurer:

uncomfortable. Space, right. But like, honestly, simply saying,

Jamie Maurer:

like, I love you, and I am so sorry. And say like saying their

Jamie Maurer:

name, right? Or, you know, even just asking, you know, what was

Jamie Maurer:

your favorite part of, you know, this time with, and then their

Jamie Maurer:

name or you know, you know, can talking about, you know, that

Jamie Maurer:

person and allowing the Griever that space to talk about them as

Jamie Maurer:

well, I would say, you know, things like I am here for the

Jamie Maurer:

long haul, right? Because like, you can almost put a date on the

Jamie Maurer:

calendar of when everybody moves on. Right, so everyone else, you

Jamie Maurer:

know, there's this rush of support, and like everyone's

Jamie Maurer:

coming in, and everyone's talking about it, and there's

Jamie Maurer:

posts all over social media. And then everyone else kind of moves

Jamie Maurer:

on with their lives, and you're like, still in shock. And so,

Jamie Maurer:

you know, I think it's really important. And I've learned to

Jamie Maurer:

kind of be a long hauler with people of like, hey, in a month,

Jamie Maurer:

in a couple of months, like, I'm still going to be checking on

Jamie Maurer:

you. And I'm still going to be like, coming over and like

Jamie Maurer:

watching your kids or, you know, folding your laundry, you know,

Jamie Maurer:

like, I'm still going to talk about your child or your, you

Jamie Maurer:

know, your spouse, or your parents or your friend like,

Jamie Maurer:

like, I'm not afraid of your grief, and I'm not afraid of

Jamie Maurer:

your pain. And I want to just kind of sit here with you. And

Jamie Maurer:

so I think just just allowing the Griever you know, that space

Jamie Maurer:

to talk about it if they want to, to not talk about it if they

Jamie Maurer:

don't, but to just be there. You know, what would you say? I

Mikayla Gilbreath:

think and it's, I was gonna go with

Mikayla Gilbreath:

something you already said. So my answer, sorry. I was I feel

Mikayla Gilbreath:

like what's what's really important for people is again,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

to share their person. And so for me, it's tell me a story.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

And I think we also struggle as a culture to we sort of put our

Mikayla Gilbreath:

beloved dead on a pedestal, they never did any wrong. We can't

Mikayla Gilbreath:

speak ill of them, they kind of never made us angry or sad or

Mikayla Gilbreath:

anything, because now they're gone. And so it can only talk

Mikayla Gilbreath:

about good things. And so for me, I think it's important to

Mikayla Gilbreath:

talk about some of the struggles I had with my mom or to have my

Mikayla Gilbreath:

clients or the people I'm working with talk about the good

Mikayla Gilbreath:

and the bad, the silly and the disgusting. And, yeah, the

Mikayla Gilbreath:

beautiful and the not so beautiful, right? I mean, I

Mikayla Gilbreath:

think we do a disservice to I call them our beloved dead,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

right? Our beloved dead, that we have to just look at them as

Mikayla Gilbreath:

their one single facet. Right? And so for me, it's always

Mikayla Gilbreath:

telling me a story, or what was this like, and watching people

Mikayla Gilbreath:

be able to and this is to your point, we can cry, and we can

Mikayla Gilbreath:

still, we can still move, right? They're crying and they're

Mikayla Gilbreath:

telling me a story or they're crying and they're laughing or

Mikayla Gilbreath:

they're crying and they're healing. And we can cry and do

Mikayla Gilbreath:

anything, right I can I can cry and do yard work, ya know? And

Mikayla Gilbreath:

sometimes in grief, you do that, right? You cry and you do all

Mikayla Gilbreath:

this stuff. And so, for me, that's what I think is really

Mikayla Gilbreath:

important is that remembrance piece. And that brings me to the

Mikayla Gilbreath:

topic of kind of rituals. So we know that we have in our

Mikayla Gilbreath:

culture, we do funerals, memorial services. And we have

Mikayla Gilbreath:

certain things that we do. I mean Jewish culture, for

Mikayla Gilbreath:

example, Orthodox, they they do sitting Shiva, they give time to

Mikayla Gilbreath:

be away between the death and the funeral for you don't have

Mikayla Gilbreath:

responsibilities just take care of this, this process, right.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

But as an American culture, I want us to think about the fact

Mikayla Gilbreath:

that we don't have a ton of rituals, right? We have kind of

Mikayla Gilbreath:

the funeral or the memorial service. And then we just are

Mikayla Gilbreath:

hands off, right, like three days. Yeah. God wouldn't be nice

Mikayla Gilbreath:

if we were done with it in three days. Yeah. No, no. So how, what

Mikayla Gilbreath:

are rituals that you feel like people can do? Or what are

Mikayla Gilbreath:

moments that you think we could put in rituals to help people

Mikayla Gilbreath:

remember and grieve?

Jamie Maurer:

You know, I think one of the things that, like, my

Jamie Maurer:

family has always done every year, whether it's, you know, on

Jamie Maurer:

his birthday, and due dates, that kind of thing is like, we

Jamie Maurer:

do balloon release, right? And, you know, or write letters and

Jamie Maurer:

send them off on on balloons. You know, I think one thing too

Jamie Maurer:

for, like, Baby loss awareness, or infant and pregnancy

Jamie Maurer:

awareness loss. There's like a day where we all it's called a

Jamie Maurer:

wave of light, and we all light a candle at the same time. And,

Jamie Maurer:

and having things I mean, like, I have a tattoo on my foot of my

Jamie Maurer:

son's name and his teeny footprints. He's always walking

Jamie Maurer:

with me, you know, things like that, like getting Remember,

Jamie Maurer:

it's tattoos or, you know, having that special thing that

Jamie Maurer:

is like theirs. You know, so for Edwin, it's butterflies, you

Jamie Maurer:

know, and, and just, I think, I just think it's really important

Jamie Maurer:

to, you know, and I've had people for his fifth birthday, I

Jamie Maurer:

think I had 40 people show up. Yeah, and we had like a cake and

Jamie Maurer:

a balloon release, we did LED light, like the LED balloons at

Jamie Maurer:

night. And it was amazing. And I just remember looking around

Jamie Maurer:

thinking.

Jamie Maurer:

Like, there are 40 people here, for a birthday party of a little

Jamie Maurer:

boy they've never met. And just like that level of support, and,

Jamie Maurer:

like, just acknowledgement was like such an honor. And so I

Jamie Maurer:

just think, like, not being afraid to say their name, or you

Jamie Maurer:

know, to have this special, I mean, people have sent me, you

Jamie Maurer:

know, butterfly earrings, or, you know, like things that are

Jamie Maurer:

just like I noticed is his thing. And like this made me

Jamie Maurer:

think of you and just like that importance is just incredible.

Jamie Maurer:

Like honoring, right. And so there's ways that you can, you

Jamie Maurer:

can honor your loved one and then also like, acknowledging

Jamie Maurer:

and honoring other people's right.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

I always say that if you have never

Mikayla Gilbreath:

experienced a loss, it's because you were the first to go. I

Mikayla Gilbreath:

mean, it's a universal experience. Yes, we lose people.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

I mean, it happens. It's a fact of life. It's something that we

Mikayla Gilbreath:

can wrestle with all the time. But being able to be with people

Mikayla Gilbreath:

as they go through the things that we went through. And it's

Mikayla Gilbreath:

it feels horrible. Yeah, it's beautiful, and it's awful. Um,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

another piece of, as we've sort of talked about this, some

Mikayla Gilbreath:

advice I wanted to think about is the idea that we pour in dump

Mikayla Gilbreath:

out, right. Are you familiar with the concept? Yeah,

Jamie Maurer:

a little bit. But school me.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

So the idea, I'm gonna give an example your

Mikayla Gilbreath:

neighbor passes, you're very close to your neighbor, you're

Mikayla Gilbreath:

probably not going to go to your neighbor, spouse and talk about

Mikayla Gilbreath:

how difficult it is for you. Because the spouse was almost

Mikayla Gilbreath:

definitely much closer, maybe to the neighbors slightly, probably

Mikayla Gilbreath:

right. There's always exceptions to a rule. But the idea being

Mikayla Gilbreath:

that when we are grieving someone, we don't want to dump

Mikayla Gilbreath:

on the people closest to that Griever. Right. Or to the to the

Mikayla Gilbreath:

person that passed, yes, we want to dump on the people who, who

Mikayla Gilbreath:

are further away, right? In the example of a neighbor, you might

Mikayla Gilbreath:

go to your spouse, you know, who was not close to the neighbor

Mikayla Gilbreath:

and say, I'm really struggling here. Can you walk me through

Mikayla Gilbreath:

this versus going to their spouse? And talking about this

Mikayla Gilbreath:

is so hard for me, no one will understand and I'm sure that

Mikayla Gilbreath:

you've gotten those comments of how hard this is for Yeah,

Jamie Maurer:

or I know how you feel. My dog died. No, I'm like,

Jamie Maurer:

okay. Yeah, it's different, right. Not the drama Olympics.

Jamie Maurer:

But like, okay, yeah, so yeah, so as

Mikayla Gilbreath:

we think about supporting people in

Mikayla Gilbreath:

grief, we can think about pour in support towards the center,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

the center being the person who passed, right, that spouses or

Mikayla Gilbreath:

or partners, that is children, that is parents, and then as we

Mikayla Gilbreath:

kind of go outward, we can dump out, you know, just to provide

Mikayla Gilbreath:

that sort of community support that wraparound because I think

Mikayla Gilbreath:

that oftentimes we don't think about Got that, right? We think

Mikayla Gilbreath:

about everyone's hurting, I'm hurting and who do I talk to? We

Mikayla Gilbreath:

don't always know who to talk to her to go with, right? And I

Mikayla Gilbreath:

think it's it's so important to recognize that we do have

Mikayla Gilbreath:

someone, but it can't be the person closest, right? They need

Mikayla Gilbreath:

the most support. How do you feel like you have tried other

Mikayla Gilbreath:

words to say here? How do you feel like you, you sit with your

Mikayla Gilbreath:

feelings when they've come up? Because it's been years? And yet

Mikayla Gilbreath:

you still have grief symptoms? Oh, yeah. So how do we sit with

Mikayla Gilbreath:

that? How do we say to ourselves, Well, it's been X

Mikayla Gilbreath:

amount of years, I should be over it because we, we do say

Mikayla Gilbreath:

those things to ourselves, you know,

Jamie Maurer:

or people say them to you, or people say, yeah,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

in our media, in our like, in our

Mikayla Gilbreath:

movies and TV shows, we see someone die, and we get one

Mikayla Gilbreath:

scene where someone's crying, one single tear. And then they

Mikayla Gilbreath:

get a speech about how life goes on and they heroically show up,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

and everything's better and fine, right? So I think there's

Mikayla Gilbreath:

a lot of shame about grief. So being someone who has had grief

Mikayla Gilbreath:

for a long time, how do we sit with those feelings when we know

Mikayla Gilbreath:

they're gonna crop up? And when they do?

Jamie Maurer:

Yeah, that's a heavy one. It is interesting to

Jamie Maurer:

look back on, you know, 10 years, a decade of grief, you

Jamie Maurer:

know, and it's like, that's where, like, my grief journey

Jamie Maurer:

started was, was losing Edwin, you know, after that I lost my

Jamie Maurer:

marriage. You know, shortly after that, I lost one of my

Jamie Maurer:

best friends, Matt in a car accident. After that, I lost,

Jamie Maurer:

you know, guy, I was dating to COVID. And I was there with them

Jamie Maurer:

in the room, and when he passed away, and so it's just like,

Jamie Maurer:

there has been kind of like grief upon grief upon grief. And

Jamie Maurer:

so, it's like, every every one has been different, right?

Jamie Maurer:

There's just, there's different elements. I feel like like,

Jamie Maurer:

there's different rooms of your heart that get opened. And, you

Jamie Maurer:

know, I think what I've learned how to sit in the discomfort or

Jamie Maurer:

sit in those feelings has been to not, you know, because in the

Jamie Maurer:

past, you know, I've tried to run and numb and, you know, do

Jamie Maurer:

everything I could to escape these feelings, because it was

Jamie Maurer:

like, This is too much this pain is way too much. I can't go into

Jamie Maurer:

overwhelming yes. Like, honestly felt there were times where I'm

Jamie Maurer:

like, this is going to kill me, like I am going to die. I

Mikayla Gilbreath:

can't get past this. There's no way right.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

And

Jamie Maurer:

so I think one of the biggest tools that I've been

Jamie Maurer:

able to, you know, pull out is, is like, breathing, like,

Jamie Maurer:

honestly, like 478 Thanks, mom, you know, like, is, is really

Jamie Maurer:

sitting and breathing and like, music has been a huge, huge, I

Jamie Maurer:

guess tool and, and a way that I've been able to process

Jamie Maurer:

through things where it's like, I have no words right now. But

Jamie Maurer:

like, this song that this person wrote, is the words you know,

Jamie Maurer:

where I write music to, you know, processing through that

Jamie Maurer:

like, talking to somebody who gets it. You know, my my good

Jamie Maurer:

friend, Shayla, who started this nonprofit, I love you forever.

Jamie Maurer:

When she lost her twins. I would call her still do you know, at

Jamie Maurer:

three in the morning, like, I can't do this, I'm going on

Jamie Maurer:

going forward. And I'm like, I'm in it. Yes. Like, I'm in it with

Jamie Maurer:

you, you know, having those safe people that have, you know,

Jamie Maurer:

given you space to be to be where you're at? You know, and

Jamie Maurer:

honestly, you know, having a really good therapist and doing

Jamie Maurer:

trauma therapy. And I think it's just there's so many facets, but

Jamie Maurer:

I think the biggest one is just it's just knowing that, like,

Jamie Maurer:

every baby shower announcement or every pregnancy announcement,

Jamie Maurer:

or I do a lot of maternity photos or you know, newborn

Jamie Maurer:

photos and they've gotten easier to do. But there's still always

Jamie Maurer:

this like little sting. Right? That like this might not ever

Jamie Maurer:

happen for me someday and like, that's okay. But I volunteer

Jamie Maurer:

with foster kids, with teenagers in the foster care system with

Jamie Maurer:

hope and a future and that those kids had been like probably the

Jamie Maurer:

most healing. They like hurt and heal my heart in this same

Jamie Maurer:

moment. Because they're like, I call them shadow kids. So

Jamie Maurer:

they'll kind of like, they're, you know, at that age where it's

Jamie Maurer:

like, oh my gosh, Edwin would be this age, you know, and I'm

Jamie Maurer:

watching what, you know, 1011 12 year old little boys are into,

Jamie Maurer:

or like, you know, how they act, which is, you know, kind of off

Jamie Maurer:

the wall sometimes, you know, but like, these kiddos are in

Jamie Maurer:

foster care. And as much as like my mother heart feels like it's

Jamie Maurer:

got all this love with nowhere to go, like, their heart for a

Jamie Maurer:

mother's love is like, bigger. And so like, pouring into these

Jamie Maurer:

kids has been one of the most healing things for me. And so I

Jamie Maurer:

think, yeah, I mean, that's, that has been one of the

Jamie Maurer:

probably the most healing things is pouring into others who are

Jamie Maurer:

hurting. And, you know, these moms that that leaves babies

Jamie Maurer:

that we get to make boxes for, I think it's just, you know,

Jamie Maurer:

giving purpose to your pain, and turning tragedy to joy. Because,

Jamie Maurer:

you know, like, Joy really grows out of this soil of suffering.

Jamie Maurer:

Right? And so, yeah, just like looking for opportunities of how

Jamie Maurer:

I can be a vessel of, of hope and a vessel of, of joy in the

Jamie Maurer:

midst of and because of tragedy, yes, and loss. So

Mikayla Gilbreath:

I want to talk a little bit about

Mikayla Gilbreath:

something you said, and that was that connection, is the healing

Mikayla Gilbreath:

piece of that, right? grief comes from where there is a

Mikayla Gilbreath:

framework through attachment theory. That's John Bowlby, he

Mikayla Gilbreath:

had his whole child attachment. This is how parents and children

Mikayla Gilbreath:

attach, right. And it's because of that attachment system that

Mikayla Gilbreath:

we have that we grieve, if we were not attached to anyone in

Mikayla Gilbreath:

our lives, we would not grieve them. And so it really is,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

again, physiologically and biologically and psychologically

Mikayla Gilbreath:

mixed, that we would have attachment and grief together.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

And that the only way to heal, I won't even say all of it, but

Mikayla Gilbreath:

most of it right is through connection. And that connection

Mikayla Gilbreath:

piece is the most important piece, I think when we think

Mikayla Gilbreath:

about that healing process. Let's talk a little bit just as

Mikayla Gilbreath:

we kind of wrap this up about parents with children who are

Mikayla Gilbreath:

grieving, what might you say to a parent? Or do you have some

Mikayla Gilbreath:

clients of ideas, but I'm wondering, you, you are spending

Mikayla Gilbreath:

so much time supporting these mothers? How might you help them

Mikayla Gilbreath:

with their children who might also be craving or who has lost

Mikayla Gilbreath:

a sibling? What might you say? Or what might you do?

Jamie Maurer:

I mean, you know, and through with all of you

Jamie Maurer:

forever, we do a lot of these, you know, a lot of these moms

Jamie Maurer:

whose babies have kids, they have you know, six 710 year old

Jamie Maurer:

kids who are like, what you know, and like they've lost a

Jamie Maurer:

sibling or you know, you know, our kids who've lost

Jamie Maurer:

grandparents, you know, I think, honestly, like any, any, like,

Jamie Maurer:

nugget I could give would just be to, to allow that kid to have

Jamie Maurer:

space to talk about, you know, their feelings. And, you know,

Jamie Maurer:

if they, if they want to, you know, cry if they want to be

Jamie Maurer:

angry if they want to, you know, throw a pillow or you know,

Jamie Maurer:

whatever, like just giving them that space to grieve how they

Jamie Maurer:

need to,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

but Jamie their kids, they're not supposed

Mikayla Gilbreath:

to know death, they're not supposed to grieve? What do we

Mikayla Gilbreath:

say to that?

Jamie Maurer:

I say that that's not true.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

I have that idea. Right? If if someone

Mikayla Gilbreath:

passes, they go to the neighbor's, they go to grandma's

Mikayla Gilbreath:

or something. We don't include our children in the grieving

Mikayla Gilbreath:

process. Right. Right. And I think it's so important to

Mikayla Gilbreath:

recognize that our our children will have grief feelings, too.

Jamie Maurer:

Yes. And it's gonna like, like shielding them

Jamie Maurer:

from that. It's gonna affect them down the road, you know,

Jamie Maurer:

and I mean, some people have thought it's crazy, but we've

Jamie Maurer:

had moms where the, you know, they've had a stillborn baby and

Jamie Maurer:

the siblings come meet, they're sick. They're, you know, a

Jamie Maurer:

little brother or sister. Yeah. And what that does, is it it

Jamie Maurer:

normalizes, right, this thing, and it D stigmatizes, but it

Jamie Maurer:

also allows these kids to have a grasp on the reality of death.

Jamie Maurer:

Like, when it's like, as adults, I feel like this might be a huge

Jamie Maurer:

reason why we don't know what to do with it is because like, it

Jamie Maurer:

was taught No, and it was like we weren't exposed to it and

Jamie Maurer:

like we've, you know, even with, you know, back in the day, 30

Jamie Maurer:

years ago, if a mom had a stillborn baby, they took the

Jamie Maurer:

baby and the mom never hurt to hold that baby never saw the

Jamie Maurer:

baby. Yeah, and it's like, that doesn't make it any better.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

Like now you're just having an ambiguous

Mikayla Gilbreath:

loss of like, I never even saw this person that died. I never

Mikayla Gilbreath:

saw that. Right. And

Jamie Maurer:

so I think, you know, for kids, I think it's so,

Jamie Maurer:

I mean, when my grandma died when I was 10, you know, people

Jamie Maurer:

told my mom, she was crazy, but like, we, my mom had us, me and

Jamie Maurer:

my sister come in that room, you know, with hospice and, and we

Jamie Maurer:

got to say goodbye. And we got to have that tangible experience

Jamie Maurer:

with the reality of death. And like, I fully believe that that

Jamie Maurer:

experience carried through into my adulthood to where I am like

Jamie Maurer:

a advocate for if like, like, let's get real, and like, let's

Jamie Maurer:

talk about this, because just shoving it down and trying to

Jamie Maurer:

numb it, it's, it's not doing it, you can't start healing from

Jamie Maurer:

anything when you do that. And so I just think as much as you

Jamie Maurer:

know, you can just allowing your kiddos to feel their big

Jamie Maurer:

feelings and not tell them they shouldn't feel a certain way,

Jamie Maurer:

you know, because it makes you uncomfortable. But

Mikayla Gilbreath:

it doesn't work with adults, it's probably

Mikayla Gilbreath:

not gonna work with children, we have to be able to feel those

Mikayla Gilbreath:

feelings,

Jamie Maurer:

yes, and just giving them space to

Mikayla Gilbreath:

we know developmentally that some

Mikayla Gilbreath:

children have a different view of death than others, right.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

With littles, I always say five to seven, we have to get really

Mikayla Gilbreath:

concrete about what death is because they know that death is

Mikayla Gilbreath:

less alive, but don't quite understand. Is it permanent? You

Mikayla Gilbreath:

know, and so I think we have to look at things developmentally.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

And it's okay to give kids that idea that it's a concrete thing,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

right, that we're going to have a chance to say goodbye, we're

Mikayla Gilbreath:

going to be able to talk about it after and during and before,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

right? I think the best time in my experience to prep a child

Mikayla Gilbreath:

for a loss is before the loss happens. You know, we can use

Mikayla Gilbreath:

media, we can use books and TV shows and movies that when a

Mikayla Gilbreath:

death happens, and a child has a question, we can answer those

Mikayla Gilbreath:

questions, honestly, right? We don't have to say, Oh, it's just

Mikayla Gilbreath:

a movie, and then they never really know. And I think using

Mikayla Gilbreath:

those opportunities to be a supportive family, you know, to

Mikayla Gilbreath:

have that whole family system come together and grieve

Mikayla Gilbreath:

together is so important. Because oftentimes, as we know,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

we feel so isolated. Oh, yeah. And that connection is kind of

Mikayla Gilbreath:

the most healing part of the whole thing. Is there anything

Mikayla Gilbreath:

else you would like to add, as we kind of wrap up this episode,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

any extra advice, anything you want to share?

Jamie Maurer:

I mean, I think, you know, just just to kind of

Jamie Maurer:

wrap it up on my end is, is that I fully believe, and I've seen

Jamie Maurer:

evidence of, and I just, I feel like I am on this quest, to, to

Jamie Maurer:

share about my own story. And like, even the icky chapters

Jamie Maurer:

that make people uncomfortable, because my, my heart's cry is

Jamie Maurer:

that anyone who is hurting, knows that they're not alone.

Jamie Maurer:

And so, like, for me that I, I will, I will do that till the

Jamie Maurer:

day I die, like I will continue to talk about the things that

Jamie Maurer:

make others uncomfortable, because I want to see change in

Jamie Maurer:

this world. And I want people who are suffering who are

Jamie Maurer:

hurting, to know that a there's hope, and that they're not

Jamie Maurer:

alone. And that they they belong. So yeah,

Mikayla Gilbreath:

I think just to wrap up, from my end, I just

Mikayla Gilbreath:

want to kind of summarize what we've all talked about, and that

Mikayla Gilbreath:

is that grief is normal. Grief is universal. If you've never

Mikayla Gilbreath:

experienced it, because you were the first one gone, right?

Mikayla Gilbreath:

Everyone's gonna have it. It's it makes it so different than

Mikayla Gilbreath:

depression or anxiety or, because not everyone has those

Mikayla Gilbreath:

experiences, like clinical depression, but everyone's gonna

Mikayla Gilbreath:

experience a loss, right? So it's, it's normal, it's

Mikayla Gilbreath:

universal. It's not going to look the same for everyone. And

Mikayla Gilbreath:

I think it's okay to take the time to isolate a little bit and

Mikayla Gilbreath:

like, find your feelings and sit there and it's okay to go out

Mikayla Gilbreath:

and to be with people. It's okay to laugh. It's okay to cry. It's

Mikayla Gilbreath:

okay to scream. You might do all of those in one day, and you're

Mikayla Gilbreath:

still normal, you know, you're still okay. And I want to just

Mikayla Gilbreath:

emphasize again, that we can integrate grief, we can walk

Mikayla Gilbreath:

with grief, we can integrate it. So it's not something that is

Mikayla Gilbreath:

debilitating every moment of our lives. And we don't set it down.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

It's still with us. And that is that's how we how we do it how

Mikayla Gilbreath:

we live right. And so I think that's what I want people to

Mikayla Gilbreath:

leave with today is that we will walk with it and it might feel a

Mikayla Gilbreath:

little lighter, but that's not because of lighter. It's because

Mikayla Gilbreath:

we get a little stronger.

Jamie Maurer:

That's right. And yeah, grief does not make us

Jamie Maurer:

broken. It makes us human. Yes. All right.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

It was beautiful talking to you, too.

Mikayla Gilbreath:

Thank you very much. Thank you. This has been Roadmap to Joy If

Mikayla Gilbreath:

you enjoyed this episode you can like or subscribe and thanks for

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