The skills one picks up on the journey from childhood to adulthood are interesting. If you follow what society might call the norm, you go from school to college to career. Maybe you change jobs and acquire a few other skills. I am either an anomaly or the norm as our parents view it is not quite correct. My journey from childhood to adulthood looked like a straight line until age 25, then a series of loops until age 55 when it again became a somewhat straight line. And, in truth, I’m not sure the line truly ends, because I am still here.
Every year and sometimes every day I seemed to acquire another tidbit, information or skill that makes me who I am today. It is this accumulation of eclectic items that leads me to this podcast. I elaborate a bit in our very first episode but let me summarize by saying that I used to avoid, no remove myself from, any conversation or contact with death and dying. It terrified me to think of not having someone around that had become a vital part of my day-to-day life. Yet, here I am, led, called, or otherwise directed to be a grief advocate. I hope you will listen and continue to listen to our podcast as I feel we as adults need to do a better job of supporting those grieving. Grief is a lonely journey, even if you are surrounded by friends and family. The range of feelings is vast, and we who grieve are afraid that others will view us as mentally ill or unstable. In fact, grief is often considered a mental illness as the resources sought when you think help is needed are traditionally mental health counselors.
I am not a mental health counselor. Nor am I a therapist, social worker, or credentialed clinician of any type. I have worked and continue to volunteer in the realm of hospice and palliative care. My greatest knowledge of grief is because I am a griever. Four times in my life I have lost someone vital. Each experience was different. I believe grief is a lifelong state. We learn to live with our grief and continue. Hence, our title, As I Live and Grieve.
Hey everyone! I live in Western New York with my husband, Neil (going on almost 20 years!), our two boys, Nathan (19) and AJ (17), and our two dachshunds, Luca and Zoe - and now a third pup, Sunshine! I feel less like a mom taxi now, since they both drive, but I remain involved in their lives, supporting and cheering them on. I'm told that one day I will miss this, so I keep trying to remind myself of that.
I now work full-time for a local school district, helping families of pre-schoolers find needed services and resources. Grief is still evident as these families work through challenging issues and adapt to situations not experienced by those main-stream families. Grieving is definitely not the same for everyone. I've seen the pain hit people in so many ways and how they cope with it (or try to cope with it) and I've always wished there was more I could do to help others.
This amazing lady over here to my left is my mom and she had this brilliant idea of doing this podcast; it was only normal for me to jump in and help! We want to make sure that you don't feel alone on this path. We are here for you and hope to show you all the other avenues you can seek help out there to live on and still keep a smile on your face.
We are not professionals of any sort...just normal people trying to make it through this journey ourselves and would love to walk alongside you on your journey as well!