On this episode I had the chance to sit down for a much needed chat about grief and grieving with by a few amazing guests.
Ms. Cindy Burns, Facilitator of the Widows and Widowers: Finding Purpose support group on Facebook and the Widows and Widowers...
On this episode I had the chance to sit down for a much needed chat about grief and grieving with by a few amazing guests.
Ms. Cindy Burns, Facilitator of the Widows and Widowers: Finding Purpose support group on Facebook and the Widows and Widowers: Finding Purpose Facebook page.
Ms. Hope Reager, Founder of Grief 2 Hope, a virtual peer grief support group. Hope says "grief changes your entire world, it can also inspire you to change the world".
Ms. Choyce Simmons, Certified Grief Support specialist, Grief facilitator, Author, and Founder of Beautiful Minds, LLC
Mr. Paul David Madsen, Author of "Men Grieve Too: Tools to Help Men Deal."
"Honor those that you've lost by living with inspiration, hope, and commitment, and to never waste a moment, because those days pass quickly as you know now that you're grieving. So invest in yourself and by honoring them each and every day." ~Hope Reager
"Take one day, one minute, one hour at a time. Your grief is your own. There is no timeframe on it. It may look differently because it is uniquely yours." ~Choyce Simmons
If you know someone who's grieving and don't know what to say or do, just "show up and shut up." Do what needs to be done, cooking, cleaning, childcare, walking the dog or just sitting with them and holding space but most importantly, be empathetic and compassionate even if you don't understand what their feeling!
Guest Contact Info:
Paul David Madsen:
"Welcome To The Kandid Shop" by Anthony Nelson aka BUSS (All Rights Reserved)
"Grief" by Dee Yan-Key (All Rights Reserved)
Grieving Your Way: A Kandid Chat on Grief & Grieving
Kandidly Kristin: .Hey, hey, hey, podcast Nation. It's your girl, Kandidly, Kristin, and this is The Kandid Shop. Your number one destination for Kandid conversations.. Today I am really excited to be sitting down for a much needed chat about grief and grieving.
I am joined for this important discussion by a few amazing guests. First up, we have Cindy Burns, facilitator of the Widows and Widowers support group on Facebook Finding Purpose and the Facebook page, Widows and Widowers Finding Purpose. Next, we have Hope Reager. Founder of Grief 2 Hope, a virtual peer grief support group. Hope says grief changes your entire world. It can also inspire you to change the world". Next up we have Certified Grief Support specialist, grief facilitator, author, and founder of Beautiful Minds, L L C Ms. Choyce Simmons. And last but certainly not least, is Author of "Men Grieve Too: Tools to Help Men Deal.". Mr. Paul David Madsen. Welcome, welcome, welcome, all of you, amazing people to the Kandid Shop.
Hope Reager: Glad to be here. Thanks for having us.
Cindy Burns: Thank you so much.
Kandidly Kristin: Oh, you're so welcome. Thank you. I am so excited to have this really, really important chat. Grief and grieving are topics that most people don't wanna discuss, at least not in a really honest way, but everyone. Has an opinion when someone else is grieving, they have an opinion on the length, the expression, or lack thereof of someone else's grieving.
So I wanted to talk about it. So I think I'd like to start with kind of giving a definition of grief and then you guys can add or just comment on the definition that I give. Now I found this, there were a bunch of them, but I thought this one was] a good. Grief is the anguish experience after significant loss, usually the death of a beloved person, but it can be the loss of anything the individual holds.
Dear grief, often manifests in physiological distress, separation, anxiety, confusion, yearning, obsessive dwelling on the past, and apprehension about the future. So given that definition, if each of you in turn could tell me if you agree, disagree, would add anything. To that specific definition of grief, and we'll start with Hope..
Hope Reager: Yeah. I, I think that definition is, is good. Um, I think grief is, I googled it one time myself, like the average grief time. And I think one of the myths about grief is the amount of time, like it's forever in our hearts. Mm-hmm. . And so when I googled it, because I, I did that one time, it said two years. The average grief is two years. So I think my take on grief is, is something that we have in our hearts forever. Um, and it's something that stays with us and cannot be healed with time. Um, we can actually move forward. But, um, I think that's probably the one add.
Kandidly Kristin: Okay. And Cindy,
Cindy Burns: yeah, there is no expiration date on grieving the active, grieving, the, you know, where it just consumes you day in and day out. That length of time varies with the individual but you will always, especially if it's a person. Mm-hmm. , you'll always grieve for that person. There's grieving, such as a loss of a job. Yeah. Loss of a friendship. Those are all, you know, different kinds of grief as well.
Kandidly Kristin: I agree. I agree. And Choyce.
Choyce Simmons: Uh, yeah. So, uh, I agree with the definition that you gave, and also to piggyback on what, uh, hope and Cindy said, um, I, I do not believe that there is an expiration date on grief.
As Cindy said, there's so many different types of grief, and I, I'm a firm believer that you grieve because you loved, and so the amount of love that you have for that thing that you have lost, or that person that you have lost, Will determine how long you're going to grieve that person. Mm-hmm. , I feel like grief is an array of an emotions that you, you go up and down, um, with throughout your entire life that you are left here on earth. Um, some good days and some bad days. Um, And, and as hope said, grief never leaves. Um, mm-hmm. . I hate when a person try to put a number to anything, um, because my grief or your grief or anyone else who's grieving, um, we determine how long we grieve. No one else.
Kandidly Kristin: Agreed. And Paul,
Paul Madsen: hi. With all the other speakers, uh, hope and Cindy Choyce, uh, Hope and your, your definition as well.
When I did my research for Men Grieve Too, I think the famous, my favorite quote coming out of that was simply, um, that. We always, we grieve all the time. I mean, it never goes away. We just get used to it. Hmm. You know, if you think about it, that's really true because it's always below the surface, but we just get used to it and go, go about our daily lives type of thing. So yeah, I agree with, with, with your definition and the, the comments of the other guests.
Kandidly Kristin: Yes. Well I, Paul, same. I think you all like hit it right on the head. Um, I think the other thing. Second to length, when people want to determine for you the length of your grief is the manner that you grieve. I think that's the second thing that kind of is my pet peeve when people are like, oh, you're crying too much, or you're not crying at all.
You know, like there's some one way to grieve like. I just, that's my other thing. So the length and the manner of expression or lack of expression, because everybody doesn't boohoo and stuff a lot, uh, , but they're still grieving, you know what I mean? So I have a Facebook group for the podcast called Kandidly Speaking, and I like to do polls in the group so I can kind of gauge topics that people want to hear and to do research for topics. So I posted this question as a poll question in the group. "Have you ever felt like your family and or friends expected your way and length of grieving for whatever you lost to be different than it was", and of the respondents an overwhelming 72% said yes, they had felt like that. 28% said no, but 72% to me says that. There's a problem in the way that people who are not grieving interact with people who are grieving
Paul Madsen: That that's right on. I mean, I, I talk about do men grieve all wrong and, you know, the society tends to decide or try to decide how we should grieve and how long we should grieve. And as everybody on this panel knows, it's, it's an individual journey .
Kandidly Kristin: Absolutely. Well, you know, men aren't supposed to be emotional and all that,
Choyce Simmons: so they say ,
Kandidly Kristin: but that's what they say, right? Mm-hmm. . So when I was doing my research and looking for that definition, I came, I've always heard about the stages. So at first I, I thought they were five.
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. But then I saw. seven. So the seven stages are shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing, and then acceptance, accurate or no, for either one of them in terms of stages and the, is there an order And I'd like each of you to weigh in on that.
Cindy Burns: Well, I like to add one, and that's what I call pre grieving or anticipatory grief, where. Well, in my case, my husband had lung cancer and we knew partway through that it was gonna be terminal and he stopped all treatment and I think he and I both did a little bit of pre grieving. Mm-hmm. . And, but that you can't confuse that with Okay. Once he's actually passed, then I'll, you know, it won't be so bad. Now, that's not true.] Okay. But you're, you're grieving for, you know, what could be.
Hope Reager: I think my biggest thing is that I don't agree with stages. However, I think you go through these things, but I think you could go over 'em, and over em and over em 'em like it. It's not like one and you're done. Like that was the worst thing that when my son passed away, one of the biggest things was I felt like I was grieving wrong because I wasn't hitting these stages. And I was thinking, okay, how long does a stage last? Is it a week? Is it a two week? Right? And so one of the things that I've uncovered with grief is, one is that you can go through different stages at different times for different length. And there may be a period where you don't go through a stage.
And that every grief is unique as a snowflake. And that's what I say, it is completely different for every single person. Just like your fingerprint. So when it comes to stages, I just, I don't know if I can clarify. Like, I, I don't like saying these five stages or seven stages. I think it could all hit and you could be going through five stages at once.
Kandidly Kristin: Mm-hmm. .
Hope Reager: It just, it really depends, but I think it's really on the individual.
Kandidly Kristin: Okay.
Choyce Simmons: I definitely, yes. Um, I definitely agree with hope. I agree with Cindy. Um, as well . And when we talk about the stages of grief, I also look at stages, um, based on an individual person, uh, as hope said. Um, you can go through five stages, seven stages.
It can be 10 stages if you wanna add your own, because we're each individually grieving something or a loss. So when we look at the stages, that we're given, the five stages, denial anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. That may be based on one individual person. Mm-hmm. . But as well, I did some research on my own and I ran across stages of grief for a person of color.
And they, they, they are similar but, but are not necessarily the same. They say that those five stages are despair, self blame, moving to action. Survival and, and endurance as me as a woman of color. I may go through all five of these stages. I may not go through any of them, but just like Hope said, our grief is unique.
It's, she said it's individual it's unique and, and it's as different as. each person's fingerprint and how we grieve and, and what we are grieving will determine what stages or what that looks like. Right. Um, you had talked about with your poll, um, people rushing you mm-hmm. . And when I think about the stages, somebody may say that you shouldn't be angry for so long, or you shouldn't be depressed or get over it and accept it, and they may try to rush you.
But what. What I see is that people rush you because they don't they themselves.
Kandidly Kristin: Are uncomfortable.
Choyce Simmons: Are uncomfortable. Mm-hmm. . Exactly. They are uncomfortable or they want, they're coming from a place of love and they don't wanna see you hurting, they don't wanna see you angry, they don't wanna see you depressed.
And so they want you to hurry up and to get over those things. Um, Once for yourself, and maybe because of, for them, um, and how it makes them feel. But I don't like putting stages or steps on grief or anything that we, that we do in life, because it may look different for each one of us day to day.
Kandidly Kristin: Absolutely. Well Choyce you the, the different stages for BIPOC people. Did it say why they were different? . I had never, I didn't run across that in my research, so that's interesting to me.
Choyce Simmons: Um, I think it's based on our culture, our upbringings and Okay. And, and the way that, um, we as BIPOC's are 00:13:00] raised. Um, but I would have to, I, I'm pretty sure in my notes, I do have an explanation as to why they look different. But although they are different, they are the same.
Kandidly Kristin: And Paul, the men and grieving, I wanted your voice in this conversation because men are often excluded from any topics that touch on emotions. And grief is certainly a topic that touches on emotion. So in terms of stages and men in particular, , what are your thoughts?
Paul Madsen: Well, it, it, it's, uh, I agree with all the other panelists and, and the, the individuality, whether it is, uh, no matter what the background of, of grief and with men, um, I, I went, I lost my wife and my daughter fairly close together, and I went to a lot of grief groups and they were just very, they're like five men and 40 women in this group.
Kandidly Kristin: Right?
Paul Madsen: And that's what kind of spawned the Whole Men Grieve two book. And, um, I, I, I just, . I, I like to call it types of grief rather than stages. Okay. I mean, the, the, the stages are cemented in the culture and pe Everybody knows about the five or seven stages of, of grieving, but. When we hear the word stages, just as the panelists have said it, it comes down like, oh, okay, I'm supposed to be at this stage and then I'm supposed to be at this stage. And it's like we're supposed to find a chart, right? But as the panelists said, there's no chart. It's all individual, and let's talk about types of grief. And we circle back in and out of these types of grief all the time, don't we?.
Kandidly Kristin: Absolutely. And for the types are for you, are they specific that you can name them for me?
Paul Madsen: Well, I mean, I, I, I, you know, it's the Kubler Ross type things, but I put, okay. In my book I talk about sweepers, weepers, sheepers, leapers and keepers. Uh, , you know, the sweepers are the, the guys who sweep it all under the rug. Right.
Kandidly Kristin: Okay. Yeah.
Paul Madsen: And the weepers are the ones who can't get over it. And, uh, the sheepers, they're just paralyzed. You know, they're just sheep basically. The leapers are the guys who jump too soon into something else. Maybe a new relationship. Mm-hmm. maybe. Drugs, maybe alcohol, maybe moving, uh, maybe quitting a job. And then keepers, they're the ones that hold it all as close to home. That's kind of our ultimate acceptance goal.
Kandidly Kristin: Okay. .
Paul Madsen: There's my book in 30 seconds. .
Kandidly Kristin: I like it. I like it a lot. So, Cindy, you had, I did have a, a bullet for anticipatory loss versus sudden loss, and you, you brought it up. So I'm just going to segue into it. Does it change the grief or the grieving process? If you know someone is ill, like my 00:16:00] mother had lung cancer, diagnosis to death was a very tight window. So while we kind of knew it was coming, it was still pretty sudden. But, uh, long, uh, illness ending and, you know, that's terminal versus car accident or uh, a crime or something like that. Does it change? The grief or the grieving process in your opinion? Each of you and anybody can go first?
Cindy Burns: Well, I think it depends on, um, each individual because maybe the initial grief, the shock of it, you know that Yeah.
I mean your body shock is, right. Physiological response. So in that way, yes, I do think there is a difference to sudden death and or expected death.
Kandidly Kristin: Mm-hmm. .
Cindy Burns: But once that shock has gone, I think it's, they're, they're very similar.
Kandidly Kristin: Okay. . Okay.
Choyce Simmons: I also believe it's the type of grief, so as you guys spoke on, um, um, as Cindy mentioned, which I like the way she put it, pre-grief
Kandidly Kristin: mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. .
Choyce Simmons: Um, and when you're prepared or you know that it's coming, um, I think those who may have lost someone due to suicide or someone who have lost someone, , you know, suddenly or not suddenly be due, due to their own hand. Mm-hmm. . Um, I think it's, it's different. Um, for me, I've lost my mom and my dad, but I've lost them at different stages of stages in my life.
Mm-hmm. , um, . My mom passed on my 21st birthday. My father passed when I was five. So there's so many different things that come with me, losing my mom. Um, and how she passed 00:18:00] suddenly. Um, she went to sleep, but then she didn't wake up. And then when I think about the grief of, um, my very close cousin who, who lost her grandchild, um, but her grandchild was killed by the hands of her own child, um, that's different.
And so that, that magnitude and that loss, I think it looks different based on me losing, uh, a parent versus her losing her grandchild. Mm-hmm. . Um, it, it's different.
Kandidly Kristin: Yeah. Yeah. Hope or Paul?
Hope Reager: Yeah, I think that, you know, I think that when you look at death and, and like the pre-death or the pre grieving, um, I think what falls into place is really death in itself, um, is shocking. And no matter how that, you know, is absorbed, even when you are dealing with health, you always have that hope. Right, right. Like, you know, that's a miracles happen kind of thing. Um, I think when there's tragedies or suicides or those kind of things, I think the only difference is I feel the survivor or the surviving persons guilt.
Kandidly Kristin: Mm-hmm.
Hope Reager: Like, that's where I think that that grief comes into play a little different. Like if you've gotten to say goodbye and, and there was, you knew it was coming, and those kind of things that isn't as heavy as somebody that didn't get to say goodbye, that doesn't understand why, you know, they took their own life or they were, um, murdered as my son was.
You know, you have all these questions and so I think it's the grief. The, the death is not different as much as the way that things happen and the survivor's guilt after the death, I think is what really takes into, into effect of that. I don't think grief is different. I think it's the survival and, and the survivor's guilt of like the what ifs, those kind of things play into that.
Kandidly Kristin: Got it, got it.
Paul Madsen: I agree. I agree with, uh, with that and, um, I mean, I. My, my wife and my daughter's death were both slow and prolonged and we had time to prepare and say goodbye and all that kind of thing. And then I, I have, uh, a good friend who's, Whose wife, um, just dropped dead, making dinner from a brain aneurysm.
And, you know, the, or and I, I'm aware of, uh, another couple whose teenage children, two of them died in a car accident at the same time, and that whole trauma. Surrounding that is just adds to the loss factor, the grief factor. And uh, you know, I I, I, there's no good death, right? You know, we, we grieve ahead of time.
A lot of times for many, many times, caregivers grieve for years as they know of a terminal illness or something like that. And, Then you have boom, that tragedy where everybody left the house the morning and then they get the call that guess what? Your, your loved one is dead. And so that's, I don't know. I know pre grief or trauma grief, it's not about what's worse.
Kandidly Kristin: Right.
Paul Madsen: But it is just about different. They're all, all grief is different and most grief is bad..
Kandidly Kristin: So when we talk about grief, at the forefront is the, uh, grieving the death of a a person, but grief over the loss of a job, the loss of a marriage, the loss of a pet, anything that somebody holds dear, does that show up different?
And I know a lot of people. Do not, uh, are not as empathetic when somebody goes, oh, you know, I had to put my dog down. And they're, you know, they're grieving that and people are like, it's dog . You know what I mean? Um, so I, I just wanted to talk a little bit about non death of a person grief and how that shows up.
And is that any different from. The death of a person or grieving the death of a person to you guys personally?
Paul Madsen: I'll jump in. I had, uh, 30 years of work in, uh, staffing, recruitment placement, head hunting, business, human resources, and I interviewed thousands of people and many of them. , you know, have been separated or fired or lost of a job, and maybe they were in their career for a long time.
Kandidly Kristin: Yeah.
Paul Madsen: And you know, that's, that's some grief too. Yeah. That's very traumatic to these people because their whole life is upset. So Yes. Uh, grief takes a lot of forms..
Kandidly Kristin: Agreed.
Hope Reager: I think one of the things that, one is people are ashamed of grief if it's not a death of a loved one. Like if they lose their pet, they're ashamed that like there's some stigma out there about it.
Kandidly Kristin: Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. .
Hope Reager: But I think what we have to realize was. Grief is your life is changing. Yes. Your life in some way or form has changed.
Now, whether it's a divorce, um, a loss of job, an illness, a dog, a cat, whatever, you know, your spouse, that changes your whole, every day kind of living. And so to me, I think we have such a. . Um, we, we should show more compassion when it comes to any types of grief. Mm-hmm. . And it shouldn't be sheltered, just like, oh, you've lost your dog.
Okay, well, you got, you know, 20 minutes to get over it. Right. Those kinda things. Right. Which is what we do. Right. Um, you better be at work tomorrow kind of thing, so. Right. I think it's the, um, impact that we make on what grief is, but it's change in our life and so I think we have to show way more compassion. Yeah. And whatever that may be.
Kandidly Kristin: I agree. I agree. Anybody else wanna weigh in on that?
Cindy Burns: Okay. I'd like to weigh in. Um, hope just touched on Okay. Um, with the, you better be at work tomorrow. . I, I think it's, it's as, it, it's horrible the way grievers are treated by the workforce. In the workforce. Um, some places they allow you a whole three days off.
Doesn't matter what the relationship was, you know, it could've been your, your, your son. Your grandparent, you know, an aunt or a spouse, and you still get this three days off. Yeah. And many times they're, they're, um, out of town. And most, most funerals don't get planned and held within three days.
Kandidly Kristin: Agreed. Yeah. Yeah.
Cindy Burns: That's, I've got it off my soapbox now. .
Kandidly Kristin: Yeah. Yep, yep. I agree. I agree. Choyce. Any comment?
Choyce Simmons: I just agree with what the speakers I've said, um, especially when you look at, you know, Hope had said something about compassion, and I think regardless if it's a loss or, um, if we're dealing with grief, that one thing as humans that we forgot is that we, we should be providing everyone with compassion regardless of, of the, you know, the situation.
And when it comes to grief, um, as I mentioned before, some people are just uncomfortable. Mm-hmm. . Because of their uncomfortability. They, the way they respond also determines how we respond. Um, when I, when I think about myself and I, I speak of, um, the loss of a identity a lot. Um, for me, I, I lost who I was as an individual when I lost my mom and I picked up so many other different roles, um, as a caretaker, caring for my younger brother, um, caring for everyone honestly. And if someone, Someone can look at my loss of identity as not being as important as losing my mom, but it ha as hope said. It changes you, it changes a loss, changes you regardless of what type of loss it is, and you're changed forever.
Um, but you learn to, um, adapt and you learn to cope and you learn how to manage that grief and then things begin to look differently. But regardless of what type of loss it is, um, it is still a process of go that you have to go through to find that hope, um, and that joy again.
Kandidly Kristin: Yeah. And that is an awesome segue into ways to manage grief.
Yeah. I like to spend a little bit of time for the, the person that has suffered the loss, ways to manage the grief. And I know that grief is very, very individual, but I was hoping to glean some general tips from you guys for the people that will hear this that may be grieving, whatever they're grieving ways to, to manage it.
Choyce Simmons: Um, I would like to start off and I would like to say do not be afraid of seeking counseling. Um, being able to go to someone that's not a family or not a friend, um, to be able to talk about the things that you are feeling to get a better understanding of how to process and manage those feelings. Um, it's okay to, to go to a counselor. I think it is very important that you either seek an individual counselor or you find, uh, find groups to, to be able, uh, you know, group support, um, to be able to talk to others. Because what you don't realize is that there is someone that is going through the same thing as you. Um, also need to hear what you're going through to kind of help them as well as, um, you are able to get the same, um, support and help that you need.
So that's one thing that I would say, finding healthy ways of grieving, but not being afraid of, of seeing a counselor. Um, I, I, because I know. in my culture. You know, they, they tell you that you, what goes on in your house stays in your house. And so you think that you have to walk around and you have to carry the burdens and the weight of the world on your shoulders as you're grieving and still trying to work and take care of your family and take care of yourself, and you're spiraling and then it affects your, your mental health.
Um, so that, that is one thing that I say is do not be afraid of seeking counsel. Um, How, you know, during this time.
Kandidly Kristin: Agreed.
Paul Madsen: I agree. Choyce. Uh, from a male perspective, uh, you know, a lot of men don't want to talk about it. They wanna keep everything buttoned up and, you know, the whole John Wayne, uh, rubs some dirt on it, pilgrim, that kind of thing.
You know, don't mm-hmm. , don't show your your pain. Don't show your emotions. But I really agree with Choyce in that. I, I went to a counselor after my loss. . And, uh, it was really, really helpful. And I mean, the, the, one of the, one of the quotes I made of him in my book, Men Grieve too, was that I said, uh, he said, you know, Paul, you know you are still here.
Kandidly Kristin: Mm-hmm. ,
Paul Madsen: you know, I can, I can feel self pity or whatever, or, or you know, and it, it does, grief does go on, but you know, I'm still here and I have to serve others, serve my sons and serve, you know, they lost their mother and their sister, and I have to be here for them and have to be here for other people. I'm still here.
And the counselor I agree with Choyce, helped me realize that.
Kandidly Kristin: agree too.
Hope Reager: So I absolutely agree with Choyce and Paul, like that's what I live to do. Um, one of the things that I, I. Uncovered with myself was having inspiration every day to get out of bed and focus on something, and that way to live. I was wanting to live for myself, but also my son who didn't get to.
So my, my day-to-day life is, okay. What am I going to do to honor him today? What am I going to do to get out, get motivated? Find that inspiration. Um, and that's one of the] things that started with Grief 2 Hope. And so my group, what I do is it's a support program that's virtually ran, but it took me, you know, three years to finally figure out what that inspiration was, what my purpose was, what I wanted to do.
Um, and then of course I wanted to get that out there. And just, just like Choyce said, Choyce said. Open it up for people to just come take that grief mask off and be themselves and be around others and share their story. Because the most impactful thing that we can do is share our stories like we're doing here today and getting this word grief out so people, when it happens to you, there's not an overwhelmingly surprised event. Mm-hmm. , like we do not talk about grief every day, and it happens every second. Yeah. So one of the things that I, that I emphasize is we have to share our stories. We have to start talking about this and it, and it has to be something that we, we. Don't hide away and, and be ashamed of the way that we feel and the way that we're feeling.
Because if I would've known that I was not gonna cry 24 7 like I saw in the movies, right, , I wouldn't have had that guilt. Like, why am I not crying 24 hours a day? Like, why am I like, and I caught myself smiling one time and I was like, how can I be smiling. Yeah. So the shock and the awe. It's like when you're grieving, that's the worst time to be surprised about what to expect. And so I completely agree. Find a program, find somebody to talk to.
Kandidly Kristin: Yep. Agree.
Cindy Burns: One of the things I like to leave people with is you don't have to do it alone. Ah, yes. You may have the best support system in place. Who, who love you and care for you and lift you up, but unless they've been through it themselves, they can't really identify with you.
And it's really beneficial to be with at least one person who has been there. And I didn't, I didn't go to any grief suport. I just didn't wanna sit in a room full of a bunch of other people crying. Mm-hmm. It's not from my understanding. No, it's not what it was all about.
Kandidly Kristin: Mm-hmm. .
Cindy Burns: But, um, yeah, I, I think, I think talking about grief has gotten to be a little bit more acceptable mm-hmm. than it did even 11 years ago when I lost my husband. I think that's a good thing. That's a really good thing.
Kandidly Kristin: I agree. It's an awesome thing. So my next question to you guys is how do you as a non, the non-grieving person, the friend, the the coworker, the whatever, how do you really effectively help someone? Cope with their grief, with compassion and empathy.
What are some dos and don'ts for those on the outside of the grief looking in? Um, what, what can they do? What, like really helpful things to do, dos and don'ts. Like don't say, oh, you're still crying. I, you know, . So if you guys could, could give me and my listeners that, cuz there's somebody listening who's got a friend who's suffered a loss and they just don't know how to help them.
Hope Reager: one of our, one of our meetings is called Receive Help, and we talk about like how to receive help, but how to ask for help. And we always have that pride factor, like mm-hmm. , I, I can do it all myself or I don't need any help. And so the best thing I can suggest. For anybody is first. Don't say, if you need anything, just ask.
Because I can guarantee you we're never gonna ask you for anything. got it. And I can guarantee you, most of the time we don't even know what the heck we need. So that lovely saying, and I know people that relieves them. Right? That's just for them. Yeah. That's to say, okay. I said I'll help 'em if they need it.
Um, is to do. and whatever that to-do means. And so if it means mow their grass, if it means pick up their kids, if it means babysit their kids. But one of the greatest things I found is if you are grieving, find a friend that you trust that you can give a list of things that you need help with. And I'm talking pick up the kids, take the dog to the vet, you know, grab pizza, whatever it is.
And when somebody comes to you and says that question, what can I do? Or, you know, if you need anything, just ask. Or, I'm here. You send them to that friend and you say, Hey, Susie has my list of things that I can really use your help with. If you wanna ask her and if there's something you can do, great. Mm-hmm.
and that relieves the pressure off you. Mm-hmm. . And it gives them sort of that, that, um, desire to help. They can actually, it's physically comes. And kind of situation. So that's the best advice I can give for that.
Kandidly Kristin: Write some marching orders. Okay, got it. . And, uh, so
Paul Madsen: I agree, I agree with that. And I mean, uh, you know, too often I, I, what, what Hope's talking about is, is, is, is so many people say, oh, what can I do?
Call me if I can do anything. Let me know what I can do to help. And, and when we're all stirred up from. , we have no idea. Right. I, I loved it when some friends of mine, they just showed up at my house. Mm-hmm. , and they had a great meal and they made no appointment. They knocked on the door, you know, and they came in and they set it up and I didn't have to think about it.
They'd have to coordinate any details that, you know, they just. . They just did it. And, and you know, no one's gonna turn that away and, right. You know, I, I agree. Pick up your kids, take the dog to the vet. Just do something for somebody because they don't know what they need. The, the worst question in the world is call me if I can help.
I agree a hundred percent. I, I, I really love the, the whole. . Uh, and I, I did so much research for men grieve too, that I, I honestly can't remember who said this, but, um, it was a wonderful, profound, kind of a male-ish bottom line thing, and it just said, you just show up and shut up. Hmm. , you don't have to have the great, perfect thing to say, just show up and shut up!
Kandidly Kristin: Okay.
Cindy Burns: That goes for women too, not just men!
Choyce Simmons: It sure does. It sure does. . That's exactly what I was thinking. I apologize. I'm frozen, so I do apologize, um, if I overspeak you. Um, but I agree with Paul. Just show up and shut up. Um, sometimes you people think that you have to have that perfect thing to say mm-hmm.
that you have to try to solve their problems. And, you know, we as humans, we, we are problem solvers. Some of us at least, and most of us at least . Mm-hmm. . And, um, and when. When a person is grieving, there's, we already know what the problem is, but we cannot take the pain away that they are feeling and just being there, just being that shoulder.
I love, I believe, I hope it was Hope, um, that list, just finding that one person, um, To give that list to because everybody wants to be there and support you after the loss, and then as time goes on, not that they haven't, they have forgotten that you are grieving or their hope, hoping that you have gotten over the grief.
There's still things that need to be done and until that person knows what they need, because at the time, We don't know what we need. So when you say anything that you need, it's like, I, I don't know what I need, but, um, just being there and letting the person or people know that you are there for them and just showing up and sending words of affirmation, words of encouragement, um, to remind them that they are not alone, um, and that someone is there, I think is very important.
Cindy Burns: I agree with Choyce and Hope and Paul , you've all had great points.
Kandidly Kristin: Yes.
Cindy Burns: The one thing I'd like to stress is don't assume that after three months, six months, five years, whatever, that they don't still need you. Yes. Don't turn your back on them. Yes. Maybe you know, we as the griever have changed because of our grief. but maybe you've changed also in the way that you deal with us mm-hmm. . So give us the benefit of the doubt and still include us in group activities. Yeah. Or, you know, lunches, what, whatever you would normally include somebody in mm-hmm. , don't just say, oh, she, she's gonna feel awkward because she's not part of a couple, and we're all couples, right.
Let us decide. Right. You know, and don't secondary loss, which is the loss of other things other than your person is very strong in some people. Mm-hmm. . And that's defined partly as the loss of a friendship. And that's got, you know, a whole new set of grief feelings and attachments in itself and to compound the initial reasons why you're grieving. It's just, it, it's, it's not a lot of fun.
Choyce Simmons: . No, great point, hon.
Kandidly Kristin: That was a really great point. Thank you all for that. Um, so. I don't know where the time went, honestly. I'm looking at this clock and I'm like, really? Geez. . So, because there are four of you, I wanna give each of you in turn, um, number one, an opportunity to.
Give your last thoughts, speaking directly to the people who will hear this about this topic. And then I'd like you also to say who you are and what it is that you do. Um, what you have going on and how people can contact you. And I think I wanna start with Cindy.
Cindy Burns: My one big word of advice. That's a big word. Go ahead and feel your feelings. Mm. Don't bury them because they'll come back and bite you in the rear eventually.
Kandidly Kristin: Yeah. Yeah.
Cindy Burns: Feel your feelings. Admit, you know, give them a name, you know, disappointment, fear, um, guilt, you know, all those kind of different things that aren't talked about in the stages of grief. And just, but you let, you, let them come, you let them visit you. Don't invite them to stay .
Kandidly Kristin: I love it.
Cindy Burns: Give, give them a little bit of time. Every so often, you know, when, when they, when they pop their head in the door, you know, you just go ahead and, okay, I see you and cry, scream, yell, write. Mm-hmm. , draw whatever your release is.
Do that. But then don't wallow in it .
Kandidly Kristin: Got it.
Cindy Burns: Let the next emotion come.
Kandidly Kristin: I love it. And Cindy, how, what, give my listeners how they can connect with you and your group.
Cindy Burns: Well, I primarily focus on widows and widowers. Okay. And my Facebook group, um, and widower support group, Trauma Finding purpose, um, is a great resource.
And I'm opening it up through the holidays to anybody who's grieving anything. I will give a free session to anybody who just, just needs somebody to talk to, who kind of gets maybe what they're going through.
Kandidly Kristin: Awesome.
Cindy Burns: And you can let me know. Send me a message through Cindy Judd Burns on Facebook, or my email is cindy @cindy j burns.com.
Kandidly Kristin: Perfect. Thank you so much, Cindy and Hope.
Hope Reager: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me. Um, you, my best advice, um, is to honor, um, those that have lost by living with inspiration, hope, and commitment, and to never waste a moment. because those days pass quickly as you are, you know, now that you're grieving. So invest in yourself and by honoring them each and every day.
So those are, that's sort of like my high thing is to just really invest in hope and commitment to yourself. Um, and that's, uh, honoring them each and every day and living for them, they didn't live that life that they didn't get to, um, is the best way to honor them. and to reach me. Um, I have Grief 2 Hope.
Um, it is a virtual support group. We start a new session in January, it's completely free. It's seven weeks. Um, as well as I have a Grief 2 Hope book, a virtual zoom is not your thing. Um, that book is on Amazon, but you can reach anything you need to know about me through my website at Grief2Hopesupport.com.
Kandidly Kristin: Perfect. Thank you so much. Hope, and Paul,
Paul Madsen: five words, uh, as a summary. And that is simply this, your grief journey is yours. Yes. It's just, uh, you know, we, we all talk and we all have all this stuff going on and, and, and you know what? I might feel anger a year into it. , I'm 18 months away from the death of my wife, and I burst down into tears just the other day about one simple, little stupid word.
Mm-hmm. . And, uh, you know, it, it, it, it, it, don't worry grievers, don't worry about what you're supposed to do. Yeah. You do what you do. And so your grief journey is yours. I'm at growmedia.com as my website, growmedia.com. My book is, Men Grieve Too available on Amazon. Seems to be getting a lot of good traction lately.
Kandidly Kristin: Awesome.
Paul Madsen: And uh, my email is Paul@ growmedia.com. growmedia.com and Kandid, I, I appreciate the opportunity to be on your show. I think we're, uh, we're he, we're helping folks and I, I, I wish everybody the best.
Kandidly Kristin: you, Paul. That's the goal. That's the goal. And Choyce Simmons last, but certainly not least.
Choyce Simmons: Yes. Um, I would, again, love to thank you so much for this opportunity. It was been amazing to be, on this call with all of these lovely individuals to hear what they have to say. Um, for me, I will leave the listeners with, um, take one day, one minute, one hour at a time. Um, your grief is your own. There is no timeframe on it.
It may look differently, um, because it is uniquely yours. Um, as I mentioned before, uh, you grieve because you loved so the heart of the grief. Because of how much you loved, um, and. Amen. Don't, don't beat yourself up. Um, do not feel like you have to do it alone. Yeah. Um, and again, take one, one hour, one minute, one day at a time, um, and leaning into, you know, whatever it is that next best. The next thing is yes, um, for me, you can find me on, uh, Facebook, um, Choyce Simmons on Facebook, and that's Choyce with a y. Um, you can also email me at Beautiful Minds with an s. CC LLC @gmail.com. Um, I just recently authored, co-authored my first book. Um, so if you are interested in that, you can find information on Facebook about that.
And I also will be, um, hosting, um, a one day grief support, um, navigating grief during the holidays, um, how to survive grief unexpectedly, um, with no expectations. Um, that information will also. Post it on Facebook. Um, you can call me directly or email me for any, uh, other information that you guys may need. And again, thank you for this opportunity.
Kandidly Kristin: Listen, I just want to thank. Each and every one of you for sharing your stories. Sharing your experiences, and I'm gonna say expertise because not everybody knows what it's like to grieve. So when you are part of the Grief family, you know, I'm, I'm, I was just so delighted to have each and every one of you, Paul, you especially cuz men in grieving seems to be a whole other animal, but each of you individually, I'm just really, really thankful that you made time to sit and talk with me today and. To the people that will hear this, all of my guest information, contact information. If you didn't have a pen, you didn't catch it, you couldn't hear it, it will be in the show notes with clickable links so that you can decide who you might wanna reach out to and connect with.
Um, it'll all be in this show note. So thank you. Hope. Thank you Cindy especially. Thank you Cindy, because I know you are not feeling your best today. Thank you Paul, for the last minute. Um, Decision to, to join me. I know it was super last minute and Choyce thank you so much for joining me. And guys, I have to give my, you know, my call to action for you to visit my website at www.theKandidshop .com kandid with a "K".
Listen, subscribe, share, follow me on Facebook and Instagram @theKandidShopPodcast and tell your friends about the show. Okay. And until the next time, this is actually my last episode for my second season, I'll be taking a break to do some family things and enjoy the holiday season, and we'll be back in early February.
So until then, I want each and every one of you to keep it safe, keep it healthy, and keep it Kandid.
Men Grieve, Too - Tools to Help Men Deal
If you want your audience to engage fully, and for a guest to help you as a host to shine, be sure to book, Paul David Madsen for your podcast!
After losing his adult daughter and his wife to death just nine months apart, Paul Madsen dove deep into grief groups for support. There he found camaraderie and fellowship, but few other men. This prompted him to study why men are more private in their grieving processes. This led to his book, Men Grieve, Too and to invitations for keynote speeches and book tour appearances. His calling is about supporting men been who’ve lost loved loved ones and helping them to tell their story.
Author, CEO, Certified Grief Support Specialist, Educational Therapist, Mother,
Born with a purpose and a plan. It was after the loss of my mother that my purpose was revealed. My name is Choyce Simmons, author of Live, Learn, Love, Embracing your Inner You, a book of motivational words and poetry. I am also a coauthor of When Queens Rise, releasing Dec. 2023. My chapter "From Grief, Through Pain, To Purpose shares how grief caused me mentally, physically, and emotionally Illness. It gives a message of hope to overcome grief and find hope after loss; as the CEO/Founder of Beautiful Minds, LLC, an Educational Therapy, Advocacy, and Consulting company that assist children with learning differences and their families to navigate special education in both public/private school sectors with grief support services both in an individual/group setting and with the extended professional development services provided; educators in Anne Arundel County Public Schools have access to our grief customized courses. As an expert and Certified Grief Support Specialist, Grief Facilitator with over 7 years of experience and double Master’s degree in Human Service Counseling with a concentration in Grief Counseling and Master’s in Education with a concentration in Educational Therapy; I am grateful to serve families as they overcome grief to live full lives, and navigate Speical Education to get their children the services and support they deserve.
Author/Grief Coach/Founder and Facilitator of Grief 2 Hope
Hope Reger lives in Xenia, Ohio with her husband Mike, she has two sons Brian, 32 and Justin, forever 19 and three amazing granddaughters, Haylynn, Addi, and Brilie. Hope's "day job" is a talent coordinator with a major financial institution for the past 26 years. Hope believes her purpose in life was given to her after the traumatic loss of her son to murder. That purpose is to provide positivity, inspiration, and hope to others through her Grief 2 Hope program she created in honor of her son. Grief 2 Hope is a virtual peer grief support group that allows grievers a safe space to be their authentic self with support of others who understand and know exactly what they are going through. One of Hope's quotes she likes to end each session with is " Grief changes your entire world, it can also inspire you to change the world".
Life Coach for the Widowed
Cindy Burns is a widow with 6 grown sons. Her husband died 11 years ago and she is now dedicating her life to helping other widows and widowers through coaching. She has a private Facebook group Widows & Widowers Support Group, Finding Purpose and a Facebook page Widows & Widowers Finding Purpose.
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