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Navigating Grief: Managing Grief and Embracing Healing

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In this inspiring episode of “Navigating Grief” we explore coping with grief and its impact on women facing grief and rediscovering their identity during and after loss. Join Randi Owsley, LMSW, and Jessica Bullwinkle, LMFT, as they delve into the stages of grief, overcoming guilt and trauma, and the importance of self-care during the healing process. This episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in reclaiming their strength and embracing life after loss.

Get information on coping with grief and loss, learn more about essential coping skills and tools you can use to navigate bereavement. Find resources to help manage grief triggers and develop healing strategies tailored to your personal journey. 

Understand the importance of different coping mechanisms and the best ways to deal with grief, whether it's through support groups, therapy, or self-care practices. By seeking out these resources, you'll be better equipped to manage your emotions, foster resilience, and ultimately find a path to healing and acceptance in the face of loss.

Join us as we continue to support our listeners in their journey through grief and healing.
Questions We Cover: 
What is the best way to cope with grief?
How long does it take to recover from grief?
What are the stages of grief?
Can grief cause physical symptoms?
Is it normal to feel guilty after a loved one passes away?
How can I support a friend or family member who is grieving?
Can grief cause depression?
 What are some healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with grief?


UAOP EP37-001-001

[00:00:00] Randi: 1, 2, 3, 4. Hi friends. It's Randy and Jess, and we're gonna cut the

[00:00:07] Jess: bullshit and let's get into women's mental health.

[00:00:13] Randi: Welcome to the podcast Unapologetically Y'all. Over the place with Randy and Jess, two licensed psychotherapists where we talk about mental health. Wellbeing and strategies for women coping with life's challenges. In

[00:00:26] Jess: today's episodes, we're gonna share our insights and strategies as therapists, women and moms for managing grief.

You can find

[00:00:32] Randi: more resources on Randy and jess Okay, so have

[00:00:37] Jess: you ever thought,

[00:00:41] Randi: why am I still sad after 12 years since my mom died?

[00:00:48] Jess: Okay. Why does no one understand how important my dog was to

[00:00:52] Randi: me? How long will this grieving process last?

[00:00:57] Jess: Is there an appropriate way to grieve?

[00:01:00] Randi: Is it normal to feel so angry after someone dies?

[00:01:05] Jess: How do I help my kids

[00:01:07] Randi: grieve? Is that normal to feel this guilty?

[00:01:11] Jess: Yeah. What is complex grief anyway?

[00:01:14] Randi: Can I feel physical pain? Due

[00:01:18] Jess: to grief. I don't know. This makes me sad, the whole thing. I just feel so sad. Okay.

[00:01:22] Randi: It's sad and that's why we don't talk about it enough, right? Which is why we're talking about it today.

I have specialized in grief and written some courses on grief because I have very complex grief myself, so I dived into it as a therapist trying to understand it and trying to help others, you know, weighed through it because it is so different for everybody. It is.

[00:01:49] Jess: And, and when you try to figure out like, what is grief and, and how does it affect us?

Grief isn't just when you know somebody dies or your pet dies. It could be grief over moving to different

[00:02:03] Randi: states. Right. Losing a job, job,

[00:02:05] Jess: um, breaking up with a friend.

[00:02:07] Randi: Yes, there's an, it's a natural response to any type of loss. Like you said, not only the death of a loved one, but. So many things that have to do with relationships and friendships and children like miscarriages, like the ending of like an era of things like people grieve, like their youth or like, you know, their children leaving for college.

Like different things like this. I can encompass so many things,

[00:02:38] Jess: right? And what about the grief over the last couple of years of a pandemic, right? Mm-hmm. Grief for our children who ha. Dealt with this weird school stuff or grief with the, the school shootings that happen. Right, right. That is all grief that we feel.

I mean, I'm sitting here with my hand over my heart, just, it

[00:02:57] Randi: feels like Right. It's heavy. Yeah. Yeah. But so, Common symptoms. Yeah. Let's, that we see with grief, let's talk about that. Like sadness like we're feeling right now. Like talking about it. Happy. Yeah. Anger. Anxiety. Mm-hmm. Like worry can lose your appetite.

You can Avoidance. Yeah. You can have trouble sleeping. You can eat a lot. Yeah. And so lots of things like that are very common. Tears,

[00:03:23] Jess: yelling, crying. Mm-hmm. I mean, it can

[00:03:25] Randi: be withdrawing, you know? Yeah. Sleeping too much.

[00:03:29] Jess: Sleeping too little, but right. So, so everybody responds differently to grief. Right. And, and the first thing I wanna say is there's no right or wrong way.

To, to grieve for something.

[00:03:41] Randi: Exactly. And that's why it's hard and a lot of people will not understand. Mm-hmm. Your own personal journey with grief because it will be different for them and that's why a lot of people don't talk about it. Because people want things to fit into a box and have it be nice and neat with a little bow on it.

And grief is not, grief is very messy, very all over the place. Hard to dissect, hard to talk about. And so we avoid it a lot.

[00:04:12] Jess: Some cultures will go through and they wear all black for a year. Mm-hmm. To show they're grieving. Right. Because, you know, that gives the person, you know, they don't go out, they don't party, they're just, now they

[00:04:21] Randi: have a period of mourn.

Right. And it can be

[00:04:24] Jess: a year. Our culture. You show up with the casserole and a week or two later they forget, right?

[00:04:29] Randi: You're just supposed to like get on with it and move on. Life continues on and. We really don't acknowledge it in our culture. Mm-hmm. We don't give it a time period. There's no time off really from like work or things like

[00:04:42] Jess: that.

You have three days of bereavement. You're like, okay, that does nothing.

[00:04:46] Randi: Yeah. It, I mean, it's taken me probably 10 years to cope with the loss of my mom and so I, she died 12 years ago, so, you know, it can be a long healing process, you know. And I tell

[00:05:00] Jess: people to show up for your friends a month later, a year later.

You don't need to show up for the castle the first time, but show up on their couch, you know? Mm-hmm. Six months later and just

[00:05:10] Randi: check in. Well, a lot of people withdraw from people and friendships when they go through grief. Mm-hmm. Because it makes them face their own. Um, mortality or their own issues with grief and they can't.

So I notice a lot of people lose friends, and I did too, um, when my mom passed away, cuz people didn't know what to do with me, you know? Or they didn't wanna face their own feelings about grief and loss. Or they don't know what to say. Right. And it's, and you don't have to say anything. Yeah. Like you said, just sit on the couch like, you know, my best friend at the time, like she would just come over and like, do my dishes, you know, or you know, because like I couldn't be bothered to get out of bed, you know?

So, and like you said, it looks different for everybody. For me, I read 200 books that year to dissociate. Because I couldn't, the only reason I got up was for my daughter, you know? And then I was able after that, you know, to kind of like come back to it. But it's like that doesn't look the same for everybody.

No. And what

[00:06:10] Jess: you are describing is, is complex grief. Right? Right. Versus. There's, there's complicated grief. Um, and like, I guess a normal grief, what you are describing is complex where it, it lasts for a longer period of time. Mm-hmm. You know, I expect people to be sad for a couple of months. Yeah. When they're sad longer than that, that's when it is complex.

[00:06:32] Randi: Grief. Right. So it's prolonged, it's intense. It's, you can be very detached, dissociated, or feel like worthless or hopeless, and you often need professional help, you know, to get through that period. And there's nothing wrong with

[00:06:47] Jess: that. Right. And there's no right or wrong way to grieve, and I just want people to know that.

Mm-hmm. Even if the person next to you is grieving differently, that is okay. Right. However you grieve. That's okay. Mm-hmm. You know it, and it's, everybody grieves differently. So, in saying that, let's talk about some coping strategies to manage grief.

[00:07:09] Randi: Right? So, how can we best support someone who is grieving show

[00:07:15] Jess: up?

Mm-hmm. Just show

[00:07:17] Randi: up for them. Listen. Mm-hmm. Just have a listening ear. Like I said, help with. General, general help with practical, everyday things around the house. Like I said, like my friend would just come over and help me do the dishes. Like somebody that can just like bring you a meal or help you clean or just sit with you on the couch, hold your hand, maybe drive you to therapy if it's just like too hard.

There's just little things that show support.

[00:07:45] Jess: Or just even checking in, Hey, I'm checking in with you today. Mm-hmm. You don't have to have, you know, two hours a

[00:07:51] Randi: day and you don't have to have all the answers either. No. Like you don't need, like you said, people don't know what to say. You don't need to say anything.

Just be like, Hey, I'm here. You wanna hug?

[00:08:00] Jess: Can I hug you? Right. I don't know what to do and it's actually, it's okay to say, I don't know what to say. Yeah, what do you need from me? Or

[00:08:07] Randi: when you're ready I'll be here. Yeah, those little things can mean so much

[00:08:11] Jess: and it isn't the, let me know if I can do something for you, cuz that one is very, our cultures let me know if I can do

[00:08:17] Randi: something that's a easy way,

[00:08:18] Jess: that's a cop out, right?

Can I bring you a meal? Can I drop by something? You know, can

[00:08:24] Randi: I not even, can I just, I am going to drop off something just does this to me all the time because, I never wanna inconvenience anybody, so she's just like, I'm dropping something off at your door. Like that's what most people need. Just be like, I'm leaving a meal on doorstep.

Whether you throw it away or not, I did it

[00:08:43] Jess: and I don't actually have time to wanna hang out with you, so I don't care that you haven't showered. Right. I probably haven't either. I just wanna drop it off and run. Right. I'm not doing my stuff. I thought

[00:08:52] Randi: of you. Here we go. Yeah, exactly. It doesn't have to be a whole huge production to be there for somebody.

I think sometimes we overthink these things and we think they need to be like this big grand gesture. It doesn't If all you have is. $5 and you can get a few flowers at the flower store and throw them at your friend's door and run the other way because you don't know what to say to them. Like, fine, like, but you're thinking of them and now they know that.

Yeah. Like that can mean the world to somebody and allow

[00:09:22] Jess: yourself to grieve and, and so, A few, I'll talk about our dog that passed, right? Mm-hmm. Uh, end of last year, our dog that we've had for 12 years. Yeah, she passed. We, we had to make a decision to put her down,

[00:09:36] Randi: right? Um, and that's super, super

[00:09:38] Jess: hard. Oh, I made my husband go with, well, we went together.

I didn't make, but I was like, I can't do this alone. If we make a decision, I need somebody else to help me. We made the decision. It was a, for me, it was like, okay, this is what's going on with her. It's time. And so he said, I can't be with, I can't be part of the end. Mm-hmm. And I was like, that's okay.

Mm-hmm. I can respect that, but I wanna be there for her. Yeah. And I'm gonna be with her to the end. This is, this is something that I believe we give. It's, it's the best gift we can give our, our, our pets. Mm-hmm. So I did, I sat there, I said, goodbye. Look at me. I'm getting teary. Yeah. We walked out. You're

[00:10:16] Randi: gonna make me cry.


[00:10:16] Jess: sorry. No, it's okay. You know, and, and my daughter didn't get to go. I just said, you know, I needed her to stay home, um, and take care of some things, and I just didn't wanna do that to her yet. I gave her a choice and she said, she's not comfortable. I said, fine. Mm-hmm. She didn't grieve right then. She's like, whatever, whatever.

It was like three weeks later in the car. Right. She just started. Bawling as weird Finally hit her. It finally hit her and she was like, this is the most inopportune time I'm going to a school today.

[00:10:45] Randi: Right? What? What is

[00:10:46] Jess: this happening right now? Why am I crying right now? Yeah. And I just said, honey, grief doesn't come when it's appropriate.

Grief comes, ugly store cries. You could be crying in the middle of Safeway or

[00:10:56] Randi: Albertson's. Yeah. It can hit you outta nowhere and knock you over.

[00:10:59] Jess: Yeah. It's not, it, it doesn't come when it's, you know, nice and easy for you

[00:11:03] Randi: to do. Yeah. It's not convenient. Grief isn't convenient. No.

[00:11:06] Jess: And so it is okay that you, you know, you cry, you know, and I've had somebody say, I'm sorry I'm having a bad day.

I'm, I'm grieving the loss of my mother. Mm-hmm. And I'm like, oh, okay. Go ahead. I I hear you. You know, I hear you. You do your thing. Right. You know, and then it's like, can I give you a hug? Right. So always allow yourself to grieve when it happens cuz it's gonna come anyway.

[00:11:30] Randi: And going back to so many different things that we can grieve to like as mothers.

I feel, and as women, we have a lot of expectations about things or the way things should be or the way we want our life to be, or like, kind of like this Princess Barbie syndrome. Mm-hmm. The, the fairytale picture. Perfect. And we can put those expectations on our relationships ourselves, our children, and sometimes we have to grieve and let go of those.

Ideals or expectations we have in our head to love where we're at right now. Mm-hmm. In our reality, in our life. And you can open up so many doors too when you kind of grieve that. Or like if you've gone through like a By acceptance Yeah. If you go, if you're going through a divorce and like grieving Yeah.


[00:12:23] Jess: that's a, that's a, we left that one off divorce. It's such a big

[00:12:26] Randi: grief process. And not even that like even. If you wanted the divorce. Mm-hmm. There's still a grief about losing a marriage or losing a family or things changing with your kids. Mm-hmm. Or having to allow somebody else coming into your children's life.

Like if there's remarriage or blended families, there's like so much there is that you can have to grieve over and come to terms with, and. Being kind to yourself can go a long way with that. What are some other coping skills that we can utilize? I

[00:13:02] Jess: wanna go back real quick. You know, one of the things I grieve that I think a lot of women grieve and they don't really think of it as grief.

Mm-hmm. Every year on the first day of school, I cry. I I have a happy bitter sweat, sweet sweat, sweet groovy cry because I am so sad that my daughter is getting one year older, yet I'm so happy to see her grow. Right, right. It's like I'm grieving the little girl. Each year as she grows older. And it's just such a sad thing.

And I never thought I was sad, but happy. It's

[00:13:36] Randi: like two sides of a coin, so it's hard. It's hard to call, it's hard to process that. Right. But it is grief. Yeah.

[00:13:44] Jess: Every year. And I never thought I was gonna be that mom that like cried. I thought I was gonna be the mom. Like, yay, go back to school. Mm-hmm. Which I'm kind of, I'm like, okay, I'm glad.


[00:13:52] Randi: But you are too.

[00:13:53] Jess: But yeah. Yeah. But I'm still sad because I'm like, Oh, okay. One more year closer to her being an adult. Mm-hmm. And

[00:14:02] Randi: whatever else is coming. So, yeah. And I'm preparing myself for that on the opposite. And kind of, my daughter is gonna be in college in a year. Oh. And we're extremely close.

So I am, I know that it's gonna be super hard, like she just like has been working a lot too, like this last year. And even her dad and I have been like, Oh my gosh. Like what do we do? She's not here. Like, it's so weird. Like we're not used to her not being around, like we were kind of like having a hard time processing that.

So I'm like, oh shit. If she goes to college next year, like when she goes to college next, when he goes, well, he's in denial. She's not, you know, but it's empty. Nest syndrome is, they call it that, but really it is grief.

[00:14:45] Jess: My mom said she cried for a week when I left. She didn't tell me that till like years later.

Yeah. But she said she was so sad and depressed because for so long it had just been she and I. She was a single mom, Uhhuh that she cried for a week and I was like, The time. I was like, I probably would've been like, really? But now I'm like, oh,

[00:15:04] Randi: well if you've been a mother and they've been your soul, kind of like focus sidekick.

Yeah, and sidekick. And like my daughter's my, one of my best friends. Like, I'm gonna be like, what do, what do I do? You know? And so you have to grieve these life changes and, um, while still

[00:15:25] Jess: rejoicing that they're, they're moving forward. So that's when we talk about grief is so complicated mm-hmm. Because it's so, it doesn't make sense.

Right. So, you know, seek support actually, I wanna get back for Randy, what I tell moms about this age mm-hmm. Is find a hobby. I don't know, start up a podcast, something to fill your time. Right. So

[00:15:46] Randi: that way when your daughter shopping, just kidding. Right?

[00:15:49] Jess: Shopping. I know. Strip mall therapy. Yeah. And, and store shopping.

Retail therapy is not it, but get support. Go, you know, reach out to friends. Join a support group. There's so many different grief support groups out there.

[00:16:02] Randi: I'm gonna intervene too. This is why it's important. As a young mother, even midlife mother too, that this whole time you have learned to do self-care.

Yes. And feed into yourself and your wants and desires too. So when your kids do go off and leave, You are not left feeling so adrift that you have no support system and nothing to look forward to.

[00:16:32] Jess: No. When your kids become, start becoming teenagers, you really start needing to make those connections with your own friends,

[00:16:39] Randi: right?

And have your own community and support system to lean on so that you have somebody to go to lunch with, go shopping with, go play Bonko talk, you know? Yeah. Talk to about when you are having these feelings about missing your kids, you know? Well, and

[00:16:52] Jess: I'm glad you mentioned self-care because. It literally can make you feel sick sometimes.

Grief can feel so heavy. Yes. And so sick. Right? And so you need to make sure that you're getting your sleep and you're eating healthy and you're getting your water and going on walks. I mean, just taking care of yourself is going to help your mental

[00:17:14] Randi: health. Yes, and we talk about this in depth and episode 17 where we talk about self-care isn't selfish.

It is a basic need. And write mm-hmm. That you have and that something that you should focus on this year.

[00:17:30] Jess: You should focus on it every year too. Well, yeah. If you aren't doing it now, we're just saying this is our year. Okay. Start? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Lastly, go get professional help. Mm-hmm. Go find a therapist.

If you don't wanna go to therapy and you have a pastor or clergy clerk, clergy, clergy, go for it. Right? Mm-hmm. I mean, find somebody who can do this. I know a lot of churches will run, uh, support groups. Yes, I, I know my aunt met her, um, well met her husband, uh, through that when they were in grief support

[00:18:02] Randi: groups.

Yeah, there's lots of grief support groups. Um, there's lots of free resources for that. I am very, was very much like EW support groups. But after having ran them and developed some programs for them, I learned how important they were and that through. Sharing other people's walk with grief, you can understand your grief even more and you have even more empathy for not only other people walking through grief but yourself.

[00:18:37] Jess: And that's what we talk about, trying to find the meaning, right? Mm-hmm. The meaning in what you have learned, not in like why they died and, and going into that, but finding the growth in it. Right, right. And helping somebody else being able to understand it. You know, there are other ways, there's, it doesn't make sense always.


[00:18:57] Randi: doesn't. No, it doesn't. And, but I. Came to think like I probably through my heavy grief of losing my mom at a younger age, I probably never would've become a therapist. I would've never developed grief courses. I would've never learned how to help other people with their grief. I would've never taken the path that I'm on right now.

So it's hard to say those things. Sometimes and realize it's okay that that happened. I hate saying like everything happens for a reason. No, it's not that. No, it's not that. It's not that. It's that you can see that maybe your life took a path that is beneficial to helping others and yourself in a way that might have not been possible had you not gone through this.

Unfortunate process. Mm-hmm.

[00:19:54] Jess: And. That's part of the reason why I help postpartum mamas too mm-hmm. Is because I had my own post postpartum anxiety and I, I had grief over my daughter's birth and it was,

[00:20:06] Randi: that is a huge thing. I was just thinking that in my head when you said that about. So much trauma. Oh, my son was a nicu, so I I hear that.

I understand that. Like you grieve like even if your birth didn't go the way you planned too. Yeah. Like you think it's gonna be this or that, or breastfeeding. I had to grieve not being able to breastfeed. Right. I couldn't my children because I felt like a failure. Exactly.

[00:20:30] Jess: I couldn't in breast breastfeed either.

Yeah. She almost died. I mean, like we were. Rush down the hall kind of thing. And so to me, there was so much that no one talked to me about. And so I think that's part, I mean, I know that's why I help other mamas because I understand without it being about me, I understand what it's like. Mm-hmm. And how hard those traumatic births are for women.

Yeah. And so that's another form of grief. And so,

[00:20:57] Randi: And miscarriages too. Yeah. Is huge. Like, I had two healthy births and, but I had a long, uh, issue with infertility too. I had secondary infertility. I had nine years between my children and then after my son, I got pregnant again and I had a miscarriage. Hmm.

And it was so incredibly hard for me because I had such a long, a hard struggle with infertility too, but, The doctor I dealt with was very insensitive. Ugh. Just like,

[00:21:28] Jess: was that medical gaslighting again? Yeah.

[00:21:30] Randi: It was like, the baby's not moving, like it's dead. So I was just like, um, okay. Anyway, so I was just like, what?

And I didn't realize since I had never had a miscarriage before, how common it is that 50% of births develop in miscarriage. We do not talk about this enough as

[00:21:54] Jess: women. We don't, and, and that's why we tell people or you hear, oh, don't say anything until your second trimester. Right. Because something can happen.

But if you don't tell anybody, then how do you tell 'em you're grieving because you were six weeks or eight weeks or 11 weeks pregnant and the baby you lo you miscarried.

[00:22:11] Randi: Yeah. Right. I mean, and it's just, I remember that day too because I was, I went to my appointment for my ultrasound right before I was going into work to see clients back to back, ah, of course.

And do therapy. And the doctor just, Blurts this out. And, you know, coming out of left field, I had no idea that anything was like wrong. And I remember calling my colleague and being like, can you please fix my schedule today? I cannot come into work. And just, she's being like, what's wrong? And I just like break down.

And I was like, I can't, I couldn't just shut it down and go perform and help other people through their, you know, mental health issues when I was falling apart too. But yes, like we said, like the medical things like surrounding it too. There's can, a lot of things can cause other grief and insensitivity and things like that that go along with these things.

And we just, and same thing, other people don't know how to talk to you about it or approach you about it. And now I'm very open about that because I found when I went through that, I didn't know, you know, I hadn't known anybody that had, and then when I talked about it, other people were like, oh yeah, I've been through that.

Oh yeah, I've been through that. Oh yeah. Like I would've felt so less alone had I known. Mm-hmm. Had there been more communication about it or had your

[00:23:30] Jess: doctor said, I'm really sorry. Let me connect you to somebody who can help you talk through this, right? I mean, here, how amazing would that be? Even even a pamphlet like, here, here's a pamphlet on where you can look.

I know you can't hear this right now, right? But put this in your bag and look at it later when you're ready. Yeah. I mean, I think just having that resource would've been so amazing, even for me knowing like when I had my daughter mm-hmm. She was an emergency C-section. I mean like lights and sirens overhead kind of thing.

Right, right. And knowing like she should've handed me a pamphlet that said, Hey, anything in the way. You might get really anxious. Why upset? And here, why don't you call us back? But no, they were like, here's your baby. And I was like, what the fuck

[00:24:13] Randi: do I do with this? Right. And I don't understand that either, because especially in hospitals, there's such a disconnect.

They have social workers there, they have child life specialists, or they have this, I mean, now. More so now than they did in the past, but it's like why are they not like here? Let me bring in that person to talk to you right here and now. Or like maybe like a couple weeks after you've processed it, like come back.

There's this resource, like there's a real huge disconnect with how we care for people. They're.

[00:24:41] Jess: Finally starting to get better. They're, they're finally just baby steps into getting better. Right. Especially like with things like postpartum. Yeah. Right. Starting to realize that it can be up to a year after you have your baby that you could have postpartum Oh, yeah.

Anxiety or depression. Yeah. And so, I mean, I think we probably need to go in more in depth on a different episode about that. Mm-hmm. But like, I think, I think we just need to start normalizing all of this

[00:25:07] Randi: because. And that's why we're passionate about this podcast and talking about this stuff because we just feel we as women need to band together and have better communication and talk about things more in the open so we don't feel so alone.

Right. But also, how can we help kids and teenagers that are going through grief like this too, because that's a whole other realm of. How to approach children who are grieving?

[00:25:37] Jess: One of the best tactics, I don't know that I've, I've learned is windshield time. Mm-hmm. When I have my daughter, or we had our oldest in the car, They tended to talk more if we were driving.

Yeah. Like I am notorious with our oldest for getting lost air quotes because I'd be like, oh, he's talking to me. I'm just gonna miss my exit. Oh, bummer. Now I have to turn around. Right? I mean like, so part of it is when we're not, Facing them face to face. We're sitting next Intense to them. Yeah. Go on a walk with them.

So you're side by side with them?

[00:26:11] Randi: Mm-hmm. Yeah. I do walk and talk therapy. Yeah. You know, with some clients because they find it easier. Mm-hmm. To just talk when they don't feel like it's so clinical in a way. And that's the same. With our kids. Yeah. To approach with their kids and you're providing a safe space for them.

It's like you said, like when you're in the car and stuff like that too. It's almost like this little bubble bubble. Yeah, it is. And so it's like, and it's like you're doing something so, and they can like kinda. They don't feel like forced to be like engaged. It can be like just a natural, and some of the best conversations I remember ever having with my mom were us driving or going like on a road trip together and just talking in the car because it was her and I.

We were just side by side together in that bubble with no other distractions too.

[00:27:01] Jess: What I do with my daughter now, because we're at that teenage stage, is I will take our coloring books and she and I will be side by side, like on the couch and chair mm-hmm. Coloring and, and when we're, as we're coloring, we're kind of talking a little bit here and there.

Yeah. And that's when she tends to open up. And so I'll link some of the coloring books that we've made. Yeah. Um, and put 'em up on the, on the page for us,

[00:27:23] Randi: for everybody. Right. And some other two, uh, Age appropriate books on grief too that can help with like a little kid. Cuz sometimes, like you said, we just don't have the words or they don't, they can't comprehend, they don't have the, you know, brain capacity to understand the complexity of it.

And so showing like a little book. Or like explaining it with like cute little characters sometimes, like if they're younger, that stuff can kind of help and like impact that or give you a starting place to kind of open up that conversation with them too, if you're unsure. Mm-hmm. How to talk to them about it.

Even just like giving them like a little like stuffy or lovey or. Something. I know when my daughter, um, had to have like emergency surgery and she was having a really hard time, like they brought in like a handmade blanket that these grandmas made for like all the children at the hospital, and she still has it to this day because it was like something that was so comforting to her during like a traumatic, you know, medical process that was kind of like out of the blue.

And it's like, that's what grief. So sometimes even like those little physical things

[00:28:27] Jess: too. One of my favorite books is when dinosaurs die. Hmm. If you've ever, I haven't read that one. Oh, it's a, it's a book about when dinosaurs get old Yeah. And they die. And kind of what happens. There's books about pets, right?

Yeah. About crossing the Rainbow bridge

[00:28:43] Randi: and what does that mean? Yeah. I love the Giving Tree too, by Shell Silverstein because it's about him loving this tree. Right. That gets old and then anyways, so those kind of things too. Yeah. I love that one. Understanding also like the cycle. Of life can be huge.

Even just preparing our children for those losses that they're gonna have with pets or friends or relationships. Understanding that there are just these cycles that we go through and it's, it's a natural and we don't have to fear it, you know, at times when it does come. I wanna go back to what you

[00:29:16] Jess: just said.

Preparing. Mm-hmm. One of the things that. I wish my mom had done for me. She didn't know when I was a, I was, oh, 20. Okay. So it wasn't like I was little. Yeah. When my grandmother died, the woman that was in that hospital on hospice, that wasn't my grandmother. Right. She did not look like her. She did. She was not present.

It was her body. Right. Her body was like blown up. It, it just, it wasn't her. And I remember walking in and then I was like, that's not my grandma. And I walked out. And then the, the social worker found me and was like, can I help you? And I was like, just get away from me. Right? Let me go find my mom. Warn your children what it might be like.

If you are going to say goodbye to somebody, tell them what it might be. Right. If you're going to a funeral, tell them what it's going to be like. If it's an open casket. Yes. What does that mean?

[00:30:11] Randi: Right. If this is so, this is so, so important. Yeah.

[00:30:14] Jess: If, if it's going to be about a pet, right? Mm-hmm. Like I talked to my daughter, the process of it, the steps, this is what we're probably going, this is what it looks like too.

Yeah. And, and give them a choice on it. And that's, do you want to go, do you not want to go, what, you know, what does grandma look like now? Mm-hmm. If grandma has no hair and she's on a, she's in a hospital bed on hospice. Right. Hooked up to, hooked up to IVs that

[00:30:40] Randi: beep. And are you gonna Right. And I have always given my kids.

That choice. And I was given that choice. So when, same thing, when my grandfather died, I was in sixth grade and I remember being in the hospital and they asked me did I wanna see him, but he was passing away and my mom said, he's not gonna look the same, he's gonna be hooked up. I had already had a lot of medical trauma because I had been in and out of the hospital.

Um, I had epilepsy, um, as a child and so, I was like, I did not want to remember him that way. And it was, I remember kind of like the nurses being like, this is like your last chance to see your grandma. And I am glad that I didn't, because I was able to retain the memory I had of him. I felt guilty after a while that I didn't go in and say, Goodbye to him.

But at at sixth, sixth grade, what was that? I was like 12. Yeah. 11, 12. Like I just would not have been able to process that. And when it came time when my grandmother. Died when I was 18. I was able to go to the hospital and see her, but then when they decided to do the open casket and her ceremony, I said I did not want to go.

My parents always gave me the choice, which I was very thankful for. They didn't pressure me to go because I said, I do not want. I was already very like stubborn, but I was like, I do not want to remember. Oh, I'm pissed That my grand, yeah. That's what I, that's my last, my grandma memory of her, my, yeah, my grandmother that way.

Yeah. And then when my other grandmother died, I was, 20, like 5 27. And I was old enough that I was prepared to go be with her in the hospital and be with her in hospice. And so, but I was prepared and I knew what to expect at that point. And so I was glad that I got to spend her last moments. With her.

Yeah. But because I had that choice and I wasn't forced, I feel like a lot of times kids or teenagers are forced to kinda feel like they're grief or be there for things that they're not ready. And so I've always given my

[00:32:54] Jess: kids like, and that's not about them, that's about us. It's about, you know, other, and even people, it's not about those kids when you make

[00:33:00] Randi: them do it.

Yeah. And when my mom passed away, she said, I don't want a funeral. I don't want that to be, I don't want you to spend the money on it. I don't wanna be remembered that way. I don't want this. And I said, that's fine. And I honored that because I'm not a big, huge funeral production over death thing. I think it's for any anyways, so I won't go off on that squirrel tangent.

Well, so

[00:33:22] Jess: I'm gonna tangent it too real quick. Um, I think I always make this joke that when my grandma my, when my mom dies, I'm gonna turn her into a diamond. No. That way I can hand it to my daughter instead of saying, this was your grandmother's right, this, this was

[00:33:37] Randi: your grandmother, this is your grandma.

And I can be like, here, here's your

[00:33:40] Jess: grandma. And it's in a diamond. And so,

[00:33:42] Randi: I mean, well my daughter has one that's her. My mother-in-law is in a necklace. Like we had all the kids, the ashes made. That was something that they needed. But when my mom died, she said, I don't want a funeral. And I said, I honor that and I accept that.

And I was glad because I was in no place to do that. But then her church went ahead and did a thing for her anyways. And I remember being so angry and they, they, right, this isn't what she wanted. They invited me. To it because she had left the church some money. And I was like, but that doesn't mean like you need to make it like this big production.

And she didn't want that. Yeah. And so I was so angry because I had tried to adhere to all the things that she wanted for her death and her dignity when she passed away. And that. They didn't hear that and they didn't honor that, and it made me like so, so pissed off that it's like, that's another thing when people are grieving, just honor what they want, you know?

Or people are dying. Same thing. Honor their wishes because you don't need to make it about you. My mom didn't wanna be on life support. I had to take her off life support. Did I want to? No, that's what she wanted. Yes, I honored that. Did it gimme a lot of issues that I had to work through in therapy? Yes.

[00:35:01] Jess: So, but with that is what we were just talking before the podcast about, or before we were recording about how we had just finalized our trust. Mm-hmm. And, and in that, In that trust I have basically given my children or whoever survives a recipe that says, this is what I want. Right. And, you know, my husband and I want different things.

Yeah. Right. And, and I think that's really common is what the lawyer was saying, is that, you know, at the end, A lot of the women are like, nah, if I'm incurable and I, you know, something happens. Yeah. Just, you know, don't feed me water, just let me go. Mm-hmm. Whereas the men are like, no, no. Keep giving me water and food until I go.

And so when you finalize a trust, What you're doing is you are taking that off of somebody else's decision. The burden making. Yeah. Yeah. Because I have a recipe that tells everybody, if this happens, then do this. If this happens, then do this. So it's my wishes and I tell if you can't do a trust, That's fine.

Go get a will. You know, go

[00:36:04] Randi: figure it out or just have a conversation. I feel people just don't even talk about what they want with the people in their life. When my dad had two heart attacks and I was in the hospital with him, I knew he didn't wanna be on life support because of his trust, and he had never told his wife, and she flipped out on me and I was like, Uh, this is between you and him and he's on life support right now.

So I don't know. And she was like, don't you dare tell the doctor that that's what he wants. And I was like, how dare you try to put that burden on me too. And I said, Uhuh, he better come back right now from this heart attack because he needs to tell her. What he wants. And I was like, this is, this is shit.

So like, you guys have that conversation,

[00:36:51] Jess: right? I mean, my husband, I was asking him, I was like, what do you wanna do with your, your ashes or you know, when you die? Mm-hmm. And he was like, I don't know, shoot me off in outer space. And I was like, okay, hold on. I Googled it. Oh my gosh. I can totally do that.

Yeah. So I'm gonna go through when he dies, if he dies before me Yeah. And I'm gonna send him off to outer space. Yeah. And him and Starlink can go around the world and he can just orbit the world and, and finally be in outer space. Yeah.

[00:37:15] Randi: So. Well, and same thing my mom said she didn't want the funeral. She wanted us to lay her ashes in, um, Maui, where we had gone on, on vacation together.

And um, unfortunately it took me 10 years to do that because I had a save up to do it because funerals are very, and. Everything was very expensive when my mom died and we were younger so we didn't have like, you know, the money to do it, but I was just like, that's what she wanted. And so I was like, okay, she's been cremated and we laid her ashes to us doing what she wanted.

She wanted to, you know, be in Maui and so we did that.

[00:37:49] Jess: Yeah, and I always tell people before you actually disperse ashes, make sure you know these state's law on. Curing ashes. Yes. Look

[00:37:57] Randi: those up. Don't listen to our podcast. No.

[00:38:00] Jess: Some people you can do it in running water. I did have a friend though. She, uh, her mom passed and she stuck her in a Jack Daniels, uh, plastic.

Jar Uhhuh because that was her mom's favorite drink. Yeah. And she dispersed her all throughout the Pacific Northwest. Yeah. And I was like, girl, you might not wanna be putting that on Facebook, but you know,

[00:38:18] Randi: I'm glad your mom is rules and regulations and there are vital heights. They do make it though. If you travel with ashes and stuff, it's totally squirrel.

They make it. As long as you tell them what it is and you have it labeled and stuff, you can travel with ashes if you're like flying on planes and stuff, because I've done it. So I'm just saying like, don't stress about that part. But yeah, just find the rules. Yeah, just find the rules and regulations so you don't get like a ticket if you're doing something you shouldn't.


[00:38:44] Jess: So we have been all over the place with this. Hopefully we have given some ideas. Just mostly it's being open and honest and talking about death. And, and talking about grief and talking about loss and just being where you are and speaking about

[00:39:00] Randi: it. Yeah, and just knowing that it's a personal experience.

It affects us all differently at different points in our life and being understanding that grief can happen outta nowhere. Being, understanding and having empathy for other people that are going through grief and holding on to some of these skills and coping skills when it knocks you sideways into a dark hole because it can.

Yeah. Um, you know, even 12 years later, some days it just hits me outta nowhere and I just, I have to be like, okay, I'm dealing with this right now, you know, and process

[00:39:34] Jess: it. But that's being open and honest about where you are. Yep. We hope all of you. Can learn to be open and honest about where you are and having.

You know, an understanding and empathy for others.

[00:39:47] Randi: Yep. And we hope that our podcast help you in some way shape our form today, and we will talk to you next Wednesday. All right. Bye. Thanks for listening and normalizing mental health with us. Don't forget

[00:40:00] Jess: to check out our free resources and favorites on our website, unapologetically, randy and,

[00:40:06] Randi: like and share this episode, and tune in next week.


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Ep 37 Navigating Grief