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Griefy Gals: Facebook Birthdays with Alana Kaplan
Episode 502nd December 2022 • Radical Resilience • Blair Kaplan Venables
00:00:00 00:19:10

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Blair Kaplan Venables and Alana Kaplan talk about what happened on November 13, 2022.

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 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 Hosts:

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/

The Global Resilience Project:  https://theglobalresilienceproject.com/


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.

 

The Global Resilience Project:  https://theglobalresilienceproject.com/


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Transcripts

Blair Kaplan Venables:

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 layer Katelyn 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 griefing, Gal, sidekick, Alana. And we are here to celebrate episode 50. Holy smokes like wow, we launched this podcast in honor of her mother on her birthday, January 17. And this episode, oddly enough, is about our father's birthday that had just passed. And so it's kind of interesting how this is episode 50. And we're going to be talking about our dad's birthday that just happened and we launched it on our mother's birthday. But anyways, I am so excited to be here today to talk about Griefy shit, you know,

Alana Kaplan:

all the Griefy shit,

Blair Kaplan Venables:

all the griefy shit. Okay, so when you grieve someone or something, you usually have a year of firsts. I mean, you have a lifetime of first but the things that happen every year you have firsts, the holidays, specific situations that you always do with your family, and birthdays, your birthdays, but also their birthdays. And November 13 was our father's birthday, it would have been the 67th birthday. And I am so grateful because last year he was living in it's not palliative care, but almost palliative care. He was living in the hospital, and I was flying to Winnipeg. Just after we sold our mother's house, I was flying to Winnipeg, and then flying to see my sister in Toronto before she packed up her life in Toronto moved back to Winnipeg. And it just so happened that the dates overlap was my dad's birthday. And I'm so grateful that I got to spend last birth his last birthday with him. And me and his mother are Baba Leya, we went and hung out with him and our bubbly, I had just won big at the casino. And you know, he was so happy to get a birthday card and some cash. And it was just really beautiful. And like I you know, in my gut, I knew it was probably his last birthday. And you know, forever grateful for the gift of time. And, you know, maybe we can just talk about how important birthdays were to him. And it wasn't really like, Oh, I'm celebrating still being alive, because he was given a year and a half to two years left to live. And he made it three and a half. But he was just he was like really fixated on getting to 65. And he did it, he surpassed

Alana Kaplan:

it. Yeah. And he was our dad loved to reach certain milestones, which got him certain things. And then Canada, if you reach 65, you get it's like your CPP or your OAS, one of the one of the things, and he was like once I get to 65, my income is gonna double and then I could do all of these things. And so he was so fixated on turning 65 For the longest, literally since he turned 60. And so we were so grateful that he was able to get to 65 and get whatever this benefit is. Because that I think was a good was good for him especially gave him a sense of purpose and a sense of like independence because he did struggle a lot financially due to his health and his addiction. So birthdays were important to him. Yes. Like, where's that not be? Not because

Blair Kaplan Venables:

it wasn't celebrating. Oh, I'm alive. It was celebrating like one step closer to a milestone.

Alana Kaplan:

Yeah, financial

Blair Kaplan Venables:

milestones and just like to fill in what Alanna just said he was on a disability like a disability pension. And it wasn't really enough to live. And it was like the bare minimum. And so when he got to 65 he would have had enough money to like not just get by. But anyways, so he made it to 66 and a half knowing I'm bad at math. I don't know 66 You

Alana Kaplan:

made it to 66 and a quarter and a quarter. So

Blair Kaplan Venables:

yesterday November 13. First I want to tell a funny story about like his birth.

Alana Kaplan:

His Birth?

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Yeah, his birth actual birthday. And I think this is really cool. Um,

Alana Kaplan:

where are you there?

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Yeah, I was there. I was the nurse. So his birthday is November 13. And obviously, I celebrated on social media or with him and one of my friends moms reached out to me. And what I learned was that one of my best friends Daniel, and I don't even think he listens to this podcast, but I'm gonna send him this episode. Daniel is like one of my closest friends. We became friends. Like I think elementary school, went to daycare together, we worked in Georgia together, went to school together. We've done all the things. And you know, his mom is named Sharon, our mom's name Sharon. And, you know, I really treasure our friendship. And one day his mom reached out to me and it's I think it's because I wished my dad happy birthday on Facebook. And this was only a few years ago. And she's like, Oh, your dad and I have the same birthday. I'm like, Oh, that's so cool. She's like, Yeah, we were literally born in the same room at the same time. So my one of my like, good friends, one of my best guy friends. mom and my dad were born in the room together like the my grandma and Daniel's grandma were giving birth at the same time in the same room in the same hospital. So I thought that was really crazy. Because like, full circle, about us being friends. So there's a positive story. And I think it's really cool. But, um, you know, yesterday, like I knew going into this weekend, that November 13 was going to be hard. I knew it was a first. It wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. But I woke up and I felt really, you know, I felt sad and looked at my Facebook memories and looked at the past. And a couple years ago, actually, me and dad did an interview for a podcast together. And it was a really cool interview. And I was watching it and it was just nice to hear his voice. And I haven't sat through because I started to watch it. And then I cried. And it just was really hard. But yeah, like yesterday was interesting. And a lot of like, I know you woke up You were in a different timezone ahead of me. And you made a really funny and beautiful posts on social media. And I did the same and it led both of us to checking my dad's social our dad's social media.

Alana Kaplan:

Yeah, yeah. So I had woken up. I was in Toronto. I was visiting for the first time since I left, which was nice. And it was actually a good distraction. But I did definitely feel a little like irritable yesterday. And that's probably because of that. Me. So I made this post here. I'll, I'll read. I'll read my post first, how about and then I'll read some of the other posts that people shared with him. So I'm not going to read like what I wrote on the post, but I'm going to read something that was posted within the post. So I posted a few photos. One was me, Blair and dad when we were kids, one was up from a few years ago. And then my dad near the end, or his time within Riverview, he would get meals every

Blair Kaplan Venables:

day. He became a food critic. He became a food

Alana Kaplan:

critic and an everything critic but he was definitely isn't everything critic. So when we were in his final days, we were just kind of like looking around looking in the drawer seeing what was up and there was like random receipts, and papers and whatnot. Which is funny because we always knew my mom did that. But I don't think we knew that our dad was like that as well. Anyways, so here is a meal plan that he saved from October 21 2021. He wrote, so he was given one pepper one white sugar. Then he was given one gravy and he puts a checkmark next to it. One meatloaf, a checkmark. Then parolees and sour cream and he writes right on with two exclamation marks. Then he gets also niblet corn, which he wrote growth with two other with two underscores and then some other stuff for like coffee then fresh apple slices and he wrote every day. And then the next one was just a random note saying what you're just like I feel like defines him in so many ways. Why no nurse on my area to cover for a break seems irresponsible. Underscore. So are underline. So that's what I posted. And so Blair and I, well, mostly where I was checking my dad's social media and sent me some posts and I and I'm going to do a dramatic reading of

Blair Kaplan Venables:

wait before you do. Yeah, I want to just say that there was a lot of really beautiful messages saying that happy birthday I miss you. Okay, so there, there was there was a handful of those and back to you.

Alana Kaplan:

So let me do a little preamble. Some people us who use Facebook will use it for the purpose of like people's birthdays just to wish them happy birthday. They don't necessarily check their profile. They're just like, Oh, it's so and so's birthday. I should write them a message. I don't think you need to be wishing everyone in the world happy birthday. And this is why. So this first post so again, this was written on November 13 2020 to May each and every day, hour and minutes of this year of your life Ville with caps, fun, happiness and good health emojis. May you get the best of everything. Wish you a super happy birthday, May you have many more birthdays?

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Well, that person clearly didn't know our father passed away.

Alana Kaplan:

Nope, not at all. So were we chatted and Blair decided to comment like our father passed on February 18 2020. Do you think that would be it? Right? Nope. So there was another one. Hello, wait, wait, wait. Okay, this

Blair Kaplan Venables:

one is really good. This one's really this one's really good. Okay, but like also like, ridiculous.

Alana Kaplan:

Okay. I tackled, okay. Hello, Leonard. Happy birthday. You've made another circle around the sun. And today is your special day. So Dan says if no one is watching and keep a positive perspective in the coming New Year, you are greatly loved enjoy light of the moon as a unique gift from blank. I'm not going to put this person on blast. And then this person leaves their website.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Yeah, he didn't. Leonard did not in fact make it for another circle around the Sun.

Alana Kaplan:

He barely made it halfway. He didn't make it even halfway around.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

So I think it's really great to wish people happy birthday. Alana says, Don't wish everyone I think if you're going to wish someone happy birthday on social media and you get the indication it's their birthday, or it's in your calendar, maybe go to their profile and check on them first, especially because it seems like people are dying more often everyone is dying, as

Alana Kaplan:

well. And also, this happened with mom too. And I'm just gonna scroll on the

Blair Kaplan Venables:

screen. I'll tell you what happened with mom that really pissed us off. Right after mom died. Remember that letter we got. It was like a letter from someone who is in business is also my he was my mom's patient. And he was like trying to get votes for something

Alana Kaplan:

for a party that my mom, for the Conservative Party. We were as we as the Kaplan family. Our politics may not align with the Conservative Party. And it was like, like a get out of the vote. And it said like, hello, Sharon. And I was so offended.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

We I think I tweeted them, but like, yeah,

Alana Kaplan:

it's just like, read the room. Look at the obituary section. I do every single day.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Well, it's 2022. It's like, if you have a mailing list, that you should be updating it frequently, like once a month, like hire an intern to research, you know, to see if it's updated. And, yeah, I mean, back to the birthday thing on social media. I know a lot of the stuff. I know, this is all done a like a lot of it's centered of innocence. And it's meant, you know, it was meant from the goodness of people's hearts and like, in all fairness. You know, our father didn't really I don't think he really had a huge social circle. Like one of his closest friends. I don't even know how to get in touch with her. And he was she was such a saint to him. Like she helped him move. And she was really great to him. But when he died, I didn't know how to get in touch with her. And she only recently connected with me. And she said she hadn't heard from her dad in a while. I googled him and saw his obituary, so she added me to Facebook and we message and I was like, thank God because I like I was like, How do I get in touch with this person? But yeah, like, you know, sometimes when someone dies, it makes the rounds of the community or the news or whatnot. And sometimes it doesn't. But yeah, I just think like moving forward. This really taught me a lesson and sensitivity. Alana you're gonna read moms.

Alana Kaplan:

Yeah, so there was two one was just a generic Happy Birthday post. So clearly one of those I know that someone's birthday, let's wish it and this was another one. Happy Birthday exclamation mark. Have a terrific day and all the very best to you and your family for a wonderful year

Blair Kaplan Venables:

ahead smiley face, in the ground

Alana Kaplan:

in the ground, and then I had posted this on I think it's my Instagram story because this is where it is. And I wrote so should I break the news to them? Because this was also like almost a year later because mom died very shortly after her 62nd

Blair Kaplan Venables:

birthday. Why they anyways griefing gals, so Social media is a trigger. I mean, we know everything's a trigger. You know, when I saw people wishing dad happy birthday, like I felt really frustrated mad like, I didn't comment on a lot of them just like updating them that like dad died. When then I thought about it like, Should I've not done that? And like I don't know, I just I don't know, I don't I just the whole situations weird. The whole situation is weird. But I think what I'm going to do is someday soon turn both mom and dad's Facebook pages into memorials. I just want to make sure that we're not going to lose some of the really important things that we have. Yeah, like, I don't think we will. I think it's just so like to let people know that they passed away. So that is one way to mitigate this. But we didn't do it yet. Because we haven't done a lot. I haven't done a lot of things because grief is fucking hard. So anyways, I think you know, we've done pretty good these 50 episodes. I've had a lot of interviews, I've done some episodes on my own. I've done some replays, Alanna have, you've come back into the fold more, which is very exciting. You know, we have a lot of really great interviews and people who are expressing interest who want to be interviewed and share their story coming up. It's very, it's very cool to see what's coming down the pipeline. So do you have anything to add on the topic? of social media birthdays? Yeah, maybe

Alana Kaplan:

just like, click the profile and see if they're alive. Yeah.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

So if you're gonna wish someone a happy birthday, and you haven't spoken to them for a while, take the second or two to click on their profile and see if they're still alive, there's a really good chance that if they're not, there'll be a messenger to sing, you know, from a family member or a loved one. And if you wish someone a happy birthday, and you find out they're dead, maybe respond to their family and send your condolences because that is also something that is really appropriate to do.

Alana Kaplan:

Hey, Blair, before we go, because I know you did comment on these. Did any of them respond to you? No. Okay, interesting.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

And, you know, I mean, who even though I don't know, like, some people don't have get notification Some people probably didn't know how to respond. I mean, I did comment probably on at least 10 of them. And then I suppose 10 There was more there was you can go count them after I go look, yeah, I felt like 10 felt like a million but you know, it's cool. I was just in Texas and and now I'm here and you know, I live somewhere with a lot of eagles are. And I was out for a bike ride in Texas at this ranch. And we saw an eagle soaring and it was so beautiful. And I felt a really strong presence. I don't know who's or what. But today I was looking out my window and I saw an eagle soaring over the snowcapped mountains and obviously, a different Eagle because Texas is very far from British Columbia. And I had that same feeling so I don't know. Maybe it's like a sign from that.

Alana Kaplan:

Maybe. Hello, Dad. Hello, dad. I hope you're getting all of the government benefits in the afterlife.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Yeah. Oh, he's you know, living his best after life life. So thank you for tuning in to another episode of radical resilience. Remember, if you're wishing someone a happy birthday and even heard for them in awhile, maybe just check and make sure they're still alive. Thank you for following along with us for 50 episodes into the next 50 and beyond. It's Blair Kaplan Venables and Alana Kaplan and we are here to remind you that it's okay to not be okay. You are resilient. You got this you are not alone. Thank you.

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