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#empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief Podcast
28 minutes | a month ago
I Am Closed - Part 2 #empathyforgrief podcast
I AM Closed (Continued from Part 1) University of Michigan Days Debra Hester: Now, tell me a little bit about your time at Michigan. I said you got your Michigan stuff on and, you know, I asked you for your playlist and I am going to add your playlist and I am going to take the liberty of, uh, adding the Michigan fight song to your playlist. Dr. Billy Taylor: Sure. Yeah. Debra Hester: I'm sure that got you riled up a many days, right? Oh Dr. Billy Taylor: Yeah. Yeah. I had a great career at Michigan. I, played under the great hall of fame, Coach Glenn E. "Bo" Schembechler. And at the time I didn't like Coach Schembechler. He recruited me along with a lot of Ohio athletes. We're both from Barberton, Ohio, by the way. On a recruiting trip, you know, he squeezed your arms or asked if "your're soft, "how did you run all those touchdowns?" Made us lift weights and do pushups and other calisthenics. Under the clock, we have to run the 40 and the hundred-yard dash and all of that. And I had, I was a recruit with 57 offers. I had been traveling around the country. I'd never been treated like that. You know, all the coaches bring you in and wine and dine you. Assign a couple of players to you to show you around and you hang out and you have fun. Dr. Billy Taylor: And then you, you know, you close it out with a meeting with the coach and that sort of thing. But with Coach Schembechler, it was work, work, work. Myself and one of my teammates, Tom Darden, uh, he's out of Sandusky, Ohio. We became roommates at Michigan, but we met on a recruiting trip and we talked about this Bo Schembechler. We said, we're never going to go to school there and play for this man. We said, he's crazy. He's out of his mind and all of that. But you know, destiny hit, we signed our letter of intent for the University of Michigan. We decided not to go to Miami of Ohio, where Bo was the head coach. After our freshman year at the university, Head Coach Bump Elliot resigned took another job actually at Iowa, Bo Schembechler was named head coach at the University of Michigan. Dr. Billy Taylor: That's how he became our coach. And it was, I never would have went anywhere that he was the head coach to play for him. But, you know, God has a plan. You know, it was destiny, it turned out to be one of the best things to ever happen because, he became more than a coach, a father image, a mentor. He told us that those who stay will be champions, but it took a lot to stay because he pushed us so hard. Dr. Billy Taylor: We lost maybe 15, 20 guys off the varsity. [Wow]. Because it was just too tough for them. You know, being a bright-eyed Sophomore we thought that's what it took to play ball at Michigan. And he always said those who stay will be champions. And it was true. We won two Big 10 championships. And we were undefeated. Our senior year, I was blessed to score the winning touchdown against Ohio State. I was an All-American, three years in a row and first-team all-Big 10, three years in a row. So I had a great career at Michigan and I have to contribute a lot of that to Bo Schembechler. I mean, I have to get out there and play and do these things, but I probably wouldn't have played as hard. I probably would not have been as successful if I wasn't coached by Bo. He pushed us physically, mentally. Debra Hester: That's sort of how you got the title of your book, right? Dr. Billy Taylor: Well, you know, he was my biggest cheerleader. I'm running the ball, you know, I get tackled, get up, Taylor, get up, get through the hole, get back up, you know. The Knockdown After the Touchdowns Dr, Billy Taylor: So, uh, fast-forwarding after the Michigan career, I got knocked down in many ways. And most people do in life, you know, there's, you don't have to be playing sports to get knocked down. So you can, you can get knocked down financially, physically of course, mentally, emotionally, socially, all of those things. And I experienced all of it, you know, and I had to get back up, get my life in order and to go on and be successful in life. You know, I don't wish the extremes that I went through on anybody, but like I say, who knows life's itinerary, but the almighty and so in my mom always told me there was a reason, a purpose for everything. Dr. Billy Taylor: And I still struggle with that, but I accept it, you know. I questioned God, why take my mom my one and only mother, you know, at, uh, and she was only 60 years old. That's not old, you know? Yeah. And I'm like 19, 20 and I needed her, you know. And I'm sure my life would have turned out different had she lived, from a standpoint of a lot of the negative things that I went through. But once again, mom said everything happens for a reason and a purpose, you know? And I still wrestle with that today, you know? Debra Hester: Okay. All right. But you still get back up. You still believe in God, you know, that God always had his hand with you, on you, taking care of you, and you always look towards God. Dr. Billy Taylor: Absolutely, absolutely. You know, Debra Hester: Wasn't, that, wasn't that sort of what you had told me a little about, but you can share with my audience about, you heard a voice one day. Dr. Billy Taylor: I did. Yeah. I was going through this up and down with, Debra Hester: And it wasn't Shanae-nae or Bubba. Dr. Billy Taylor: Not at all. Uh, my addiction got so bad. I lost my marriage, the house, the car, the home, children. And I was living on the streets of Detroit for two and a half years as a homeless person. Panhandling and in vacant houses, abandoned cars, et cetera, and just hustling to get, you know, alcohol or some drugs. "Come Forth" Dr. Billy Taylor: August 17th of 1997. I heard a voice, that changed my life. And just as clear as we're talking Debra, uh, four words, William Taylor come forth and I was turning up a bottle of vodka and it scared me so, it just went through my body. I dropped it [the vodka] on the cement, it burst and I immediately started cursing. I had nothing else to drink. And I ran around, circled, this vacant building that I was sitting on the steps of to catch whoever it was because we were going to fight. I was going to take care of them. Dr. Billy Taylor: And I circled a building and realized there was no one. And I started looking to the sky. My God is that you and I got so afraid I was sweating and shaking. And I just started running. When I crossed, um, on to, uh, Jefferson, I was almost was nearly hit by four or five different cars that ran into one another. And, um, I almost slammed into a building on the other side of the street. I was running so fast when I got a foot or two away, I just turned my back and slammed into the building. And I slid down and I was just shaking. And I just remember, being, uh, so afraid actually that street was Woodward, which runs downtown into, into Jefferson and Detroit. People yelled and cursed at me. And I got up and I started running again, but that was August 17th of 1997. And I haven't had a drink drug or cigarette, uh, since that. Debra Hester: Okay. So God answered your prayer. Dr. Billy Taylor: He did. But not when I wanted him to. Not Always Patient Debra Hester: I know, I know sometimes that time and we all have to work on that and be patient. I think one of the things I realized, every, almost every story in the Bible, there is some form of patience that is a part of those Bible stories. So that's something that I have to work on myself and I continue to work on being patient because, our time is not God's time, but He is always on time, Dr. Billy Taylor: I've never been a patient person. I have learned to be patient at times. And I still struggle with that. But when I changed my life when I stopped the madness with the drinking and the, you know, the other drugs and the cigarettes and everything and everything changed, I found some peace. You know, I still missed my mom, but I began to become the person that I think God intended for me to be. But you know, being hard-headed as the old folks used to say, I had to go through something to learn something, you know, still to this day. I don't know why God has blessed me so much. Debra Hester: Have a program now. You help other people. I know you mentioned it. It's Get Back Up Inc., Right? You have a website and your book and your documentary. You have to share with us how we can all those things. Not Closed But Now Open For Others Dr. Billy Taylor: Okay. Well, Get Back Up is a 501C3, non-profit residential substance abuse facility. We're on McDougall in Detroit. I started off on Dexter on the West side and three years ago, I moved to McDougall on the East side. I just want to give back and help people learn the lessons that I've learned. And hopefully, before they go through all the things that I went through to learn those lessons. And it's challenging work because most people have to, you know, I guess they have to go through something to really get to a point where they realize that, you know, that's a losing game. And unfortunately, many people die in their addiction. However, the Get Back Up website is my initials for Bill Taylor, BTgetbackup.com altogether. Just like it sounds BTgetbackup.com Debra Hester: And your book is available on Amazon? Dr. Billy Taylor: I don't know if it's still on Amazon or not. But I know people can go to YouTube and, and the movie, my documentary film is Perseverance, The Story of Dr. Billy Taylor. I know on YouTube, you can see about 20 minutes of that film. And I have to look at, uh, look into where the book is available. Now I have some copies for friends and relatives, so I know it had been on Amazon, but I'm not sure if it's there anymore. Debra Hester: Okay. I'll check and I'll put it in the notes and everything. And in the commentary where we can reach you and where we can hear more about your story. One of the things is that is so inspiring. I mean, it is the right word to "get back up." I asked you to be a part of the, "I Am Close" because it's such a prevalent condition now for a lot of people. But what you inspire us all to do, Dr. Taylor is even if we become closed, that we know that we can get back up and we should move forward. And I really appreciate you sharing all this with my listeners because we need to hear more inspirational stories. We all, like you say, fall down in different situations, whether it's a big fall or a low fall, and we've been falling ever since we've been trying to walk, but you get back up. Right? Dr. Billy Taylor: Yeah. Oh, I think, I don't know if I meant I completed the information people need to see at least 20 minutes of the documentary. Plugin perseverance the story of Dr. Billy Taylor on YouTube. And you can see at least 20 minutes of the documentary film. And I think a friend told me recently, they got some copies of my book on eBay or Amazon. I'm not sure. I always say to people when I'm speaking as a keynote or on my radio show that bad times don't last always. And this too shall change, but when life knocks you down, get back up, Debra Hester: That's it. I'll probably try to play some of your theme songs. And that's another way for people to listen to you on a regular basis is through your radio program every Saturday morning. And if you could give us the call number, cause it's on the internet. Right! Dr. Billy Taylor: Yes. It's 910 AM Radio. 910 AM the superstation. And the call-in number, if, for comment or question is (313) 778-7600. That's (313) 778-7600. And now it's an early show, Debra, every Saturday morning from 6:00 to 8:00 AM Eastern standard time. Debra Hester: But it's a wake-up show though. It'll wake you up. That topic, the topics, and your call-in people, your audience. I mean, it is very, very, you know, it gets you going, Dr. Billy Taylor: You gotta be ready for the truth, you know, and I always say, let's get to the meat on the show. And, my partner's Bishop Gerald Roberts, a cohost, we only talk about things that matter. And you know, that's, that's where I'm at and it's all about trying to help people. And, and that's just what I do. Debra Hester: Okay. Okay. Well, I guess in the closing remarks, I want to really thank you. I appreciate you spending the time. I'm glad you dressed up in your blue and gold. I tried to be accordingly attired with the right colors and everything. Not quite as many "Ms," but of course I like "M"s, with Mother's Backyard and Mary and all those things. But I really appreciate this. I think it is going to inspire people, help people, you know, that's your mission in life. And you've done so much all ready to give back and to show people that they can be better. That despite where we are, whether we're closed, whether we're down, or whether we're depressed, even through grief, that eventually there will come a time. That's the hope that we all live for is there will come a time where we will get back up. This is a great example. So I hope people will buy your book and that they will be inspired. And I would like to ask you to close the program with one thought that you would like to leave our listeners with around I am closed, but get back up. Dr. Billy Taylor: Yeah. As I said earlier in the show, whatever your age or gender is, we all are going to go through something. We all suffer losses and disappointments and tragedies. Don't try to deal with it entirely on your own, reach out to someone, make sure it's a reliable source. You know, don't just go to anybody. Uh, somebody that you know, cares about you and will give you some valid information and, you know, talk about it. Don't be closed and don't keep it to yourself. You can get through it. You know, it may not be easy and it may take a while. Well, you just have to, to stay the course, you know, and, and try to remain positive, but reach out for help. Debra Hester: Yes. Okay. Cool. Well, thank you that we did this thing. Dr. Billy Taylor: Thanks for having me on your show. Debra Hester: I love it. I, you know, it's a return favor. I enjoyed being on yours too. God bless you. And you have a blessed day. I want to thank you loved ones for listening to #empathyforgrief episode #18, I Am Closed. I also want to thank my guest, Dr. Billy Talyor for sharing his insights into "I Am Closed" after his traumatic loss. I started asking my guest to share a couple of songs from their inspirational playlist. So I could share on MOVE Music and Talk. Remeber our tagline, move your mind, don't get left behind. Music helps that too. So here is Dr. Taylor's inspirational playlist suggestions. "Better" by Hezekiah Walker and "Stomp" by Kirk Franklin. Check them out on my MOVE Music playlist on Mother's Backyard Enterprises Channel on YouTube
15 minutes | a month ago
I Am Closed - Part 1 #empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief
Many are still closed in 2021 I am Closed. Not really, but this is Debra Hester. Welcome to Mother's Backyard Buzz and #empathyforgrief and loss episode, 18 entitled, "I Am Closed." How many times have we seen closed in 2020? Who thought these ones would be a phrase of global importance due to small and large business closures? Because of COVID-19. I did a Google search on the term. I am closed and got 5.81 billion results in 59 seconds through Google search engine, based on the search results. I can not say it's a unique phrase, but here we are talking about being closed due to COVID-19 for the second time in 2020, I'm here to talk about what happens when we close off from each other emotionally and physically when we are grieving. Do you believe I am closed, works to our advantage. When we struggle in silence from grief and loss? As with all my episodes, I'll focus on breaking the silence, struggle around grief and loss. Podcasting since 2018 My podcasts are based on my personal grief and loss journey and reflections from my book, My Backyard Garden, A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. I'm reflecting on Chapter One of my book entitled, "A Change of Planes." I have about three more podcasts that I'll produce from this chapter and I'll move on to Chapter Two intensive care. My book is a quick read and is designed for continued reflection. For those of us who are on this life, changing grief and loss journey, or know someone who is. We want to show people who grieve more empathy than sympathy, or as I like to say, show yourself and others, #empathyforgrief and loss. Loved ones, I love my new interview podcast format. I had planned to add interviews periodically, but the universe started sending me such great and inspiring people. They are people who are like you and me who have gone through challenges and made it to the other side with some insights to share. Meet My Guest I met my guest that we're going to hear from today through a virtual meeting. Actually, I have to thank a mutual friend of ours for the introduction. She lives in Atlanta. My guest lives in Detroit and I live in Memphis, Tennessee, Metro area. She didn't let distance stop her. That alone is a topic for another podcast. But back to my guest, his name is Dr. Billy Taylor. He has a very inspiring story that will highlight this episode's issue, I am closed. Based on Billy Taylor's story and documentary, he was closed. He was closed for good reason though, in his senior year at the University of Michigan, as he began his transition to pro football, he lost his mother, uncle, and girlfriend. All four of his loved ones were lost suddenly and tragically over his senior year in college. Do you think he was closed? You'd better believe he was so stay tuned for this interview with Dr. Billy Taylor. Dr. Billy Taylor Was Closed Yes. Touchdown Billy Taylor, as he is called by the University of Michigan fans. He was a former pro football running back and currently a successful businessman, motivational speaker, and the author of Get Back Up, The Billy Taylor Story, Dr. Billy Taylor was born in Hoxie, Arkansas. And I love that because that is my home state too. Dr. Taylor is going to share his life story so much better than I can. So as always loved ones, I hope you find this interview with Dr. Billy Taylor as part of episode number 18, "I Am Closed, "helpful and inspirational. Debra Hester: Basically welcome! The podcast is all about breaking the silence, struggle with grief and loss now with COVID-19. And one of the things with this particular episode is about "I am closed." I know you wrote your book, Get Back Up, and what we'd like to hear is why were you closed? What happened? Why did you close yourself off from your family, your coaches, your friends, you had such a great career. Dr. Billy Taylor: A lot of people handle grief differently. That as well as the fact that was, you know, 19 years old when my mom passed being the youngest of seven, and I lost my dad when I was five years old. And so I really didn't get to know him, but my mom was my everything, all through my K through 12 years and into college. And I had set these goals that when I was in middle school, I wanted to get a doctorate degree one day like that of Dr. Martin Luther King, which of course meant attending college. And then I wanted to play college and professional football. With that, with the money I earned, I was going to purchase a new home from my mom and just take care of her. Cause I'm the youngest of seven. And I know how hard she worked, you know, raising seven kids on her own. Dreams and Goals Dr. Billy Taylor: That dream could not come true because she passed on January 4th, four days after my second Rose bowl. And my whole world came crashing in on me. Life's rug had been snatched out from under me and I went into this deep depression. I was just lost. My older brothers and sisters were old enough to be my parents biologically, you know. They were gone and on their own and had marriages and children and relationships, occupations. And I, I think in retrospect, you know, that had a lot to do with how poorly I handled it. Although losing the person you love the most in the world is devastating. I think for anybody, but a lot, I think in retrospect, thinking back because my other brothers and sisters didn't go off the cliff, so to speak. I mean, we all love mom and we all missed her, but for me, it was just totally devastating. And my dreams and goals were out the window. You know, I didn't care about anything or anybody or even myself. That's how, I felt, I was not suicidal from a standpoint that I'm going to take something or do something to end my life, but my behavior changed and I could have easily lost my life. And I began to drink, drink and use drugs. And, and I, I didn't go to people that I should have gone to, you know, for help for guidance or direction. I held it in, you know, that was my way of dealing with it. And, you know, being brought up in a Christian home and as an athlete, a strong survive, you know, you don't give in, you don't quit. You can handle whatever comes at you. All of that sort of stuff played into it. And it led me down a very negative path to alcohol and other drugs. And just through the grace of God that I was able to come out of that. But it took 20 years. Bankruptcy Beyond Money Debra Hester: Now, what happened? What was the incident that happened that made you realize that you were closed off and you needed to get help? You need to change that. Dr. Billy Taylor: When my addiction got so bad, I couldn't keep a job and I was wound up living on the streets and I will mention that I was praying every day for God to help me. Cause I had, I was brought up in church, but my depression was so bad that I also felt I had to drink. You know? And when I did drink, when I was high, I didn't hurt so much. I didn't cry so much. And yet I prayed, you know, for God to help me, but that went on for years and years. And I just say hey, the Lord is not listening to me. So yeah, it was really, really bad. I became someone that I really wasn't. I deal with addiction with rehab professionally today. And, and I see the same behaviors in other men and women. Addiction is a form of, it's a mental illness. It's a form of insanity. You keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, you know? And that doesn't happen. Debra Hester: Yeah, that's a very good point. Right? One of the things that I really want you to focus on was that, you know, so many people now are closed off, right? Not only because of grief and loss, we talk about the loss of a loved one, but also the loss of a lifestyle. And you are a person that really sort of lost both, right? And I know I didn't ask you that initial question, but you had been exposed to quite a bit. I mean, a lot of those goals were almost there for you. So sort of, can you tell me what your background and your history is and, and how you, you sorta got to that pinnacle and then what happened at that pinnacle? And then you dropped and we talked a lot about that, but then what made you get back up? When was that moment? Dr. Billy Taylor: Huh. Wow. Let me go back to the beginning. I was born by midwife on my grandmother's sofa in a little small town called Hoxie, Arkansas. And then we moved to Memphis. Dad worked on the railroad, that's why mama went to my grandmother's house, to her mom's house, to have me. So she'd have some help. And from what I understand, my dad blessed me because he'd always prayed for a son. And he said that at age five, he would put him back in the hands of the Lord. My mother never knew what that meant until I was five years old and my father passed. So, wow, I've been blessed from the beginning and not even really realizing it, you know, growing up, we were poor. We didn't have much, we had a lot of love. So mom always pushed education. Dr. Billy Taylor: I have developed these goals about getting a doctorate degree, really respected and looked up to Dr. Martin Luther King. And I still do, but I was developing into a pretty good athlete. So being a good student and a good athlete that earned a scholarship to the University of Michigan, where I was very successful. A three-time, all-American running back. And, I remember a friend and alumni said, "B.T., You've got the world by the tail. Just hang on." You know, and right after the Rose bowl, four days later on January 4th, my mom passed and my whole world ended in my eyes, my dreams, my goals, or doctorate degree, the NFL taking care of my mom, everything was out the window. I was just so depressed that I just cried. And I hurt all the time. I had moments where I tried to get back up, if I may, and just rely on my background, as a young Christian man, but the pain was too great. I self-medicated, Debra Hester: You experienced multiple tragedies that year too, right? That's another thing. Dr. Billy Taylor: Yeah. In January, January 4th, my mom passed suddenly. And then in June some for four and a half months later, my uncle, my mom's brother who was like a father figure shot and killed my aunt and killed himself. And this knocked me down again and more drinking and substance abuse. And I tried to get back up. And in September, the girl that I was dating was brutally stabbed to death. And I just totally lost it at nine months and 20 years old, you know, my mom, my uncle and aunt, my girlfriend, it was just more than I can handle. Like I said, my dreams and goals were out the window. And when I drank and got high, I didn't hurt so much cause I cried and hurt inside, you know, every day. But of course, that lifestyle is a very negative lifestyle. And it sent me on a 20, 25-year downward spiral. Dr. Billy Taylor: There were times when I would stop and get a job. But then I couldn't keep a job. The depression comes back. So I battled depression for years. There were people that I could have turned to and I recommend and suggest that to anybody that's dealing with depression. Find someone to talk to, you have to open up, don't try to deal with it yourself because it will overcome you. But sometimes that's difficult to do, you know, and part of my upbringing as an athlete and we, men, we have this testosterone thing going on at the same time. And I, I just felt that it would be weak to cry or to go to somebody else or with your problem, you handle it yourself. Closed or Open Choices Debra Hester: That's one of the reasons why we talk about break the silence, struggle, with grief and loss because it's very human. And sometimes we talk about being strong, but being strong, but still being human and having emotions and feelings are all apart of what we're trying to get people to understand. And then another thing is that we grew up in a time where people didn't understand depression, depression was a bad thing. It had a stigma attached to it and mental illness had a stigma attached to it and people didn't know what to do with it. Dr. Billy Taylor: You didn't want to appear weak, you know, immature or whatever. And that's really nonsense. But at the time that's exactly how I was feeling. I was fighting a losing battle, you know, with addiction and trying to handle it on my own. That's what I would say to anyone dealing with depression in difficult times, you know, whether it's the loss of a loved one or divorce or whatever, talk to somebody. Talk to somebody about it. That's, that's wisdom. That's really a strength. It's not a weakness. And you know, get the help that you need because most people have someone in their life that they can count on, rely on that cares enough about them to give them valid information. So yeah, go to the right source. You know, not necessarily Shanae and Mooky. You want to talk to someone, a family member that cares about you. A pastor, counselor, a teacher, a coach, not just one of your street buddies. No telling what they might say. Debra Hester: This is Debra Hester, and we are covering podcast number 18, "I Am Closed" with Dr. Billy Taylor. He is a successful businessman, a motivational speaker, a former pro football player, and the author of the book, Get Back Up, the Billy Taylor Story. Stay tuned to our next podcast, I'm Closed, an interview with Touchdown Billy Taylor. Continued in Part 2.
29 minutes | 7 months ago
Portal To Another World - #empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief
Welcome to Mother's Backyard Buzz and #empathyforgriefandloss episode #16 - Part 1 where I want to focus on a "Portal to Another World". Each episode is all about "breaking the silent struggle" around grief and loss. My podcasts are based on my personal grief and loss journey and reflections from my book: My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. I'm reflecting on Chapter 1 of my book entitled "A Change of Planes". From my book, I share current insights into this life-changing journey called grief and loss. Thanks for joining me, Debra Hester, as the author and your host of #empathyforgriefandloss podcast. A Couple of Firsts This is an exceptional podcast for me. As always, there are no chance meetings. In Episode #16, you will be hearing a new format. This topic will also have two episodes dedicated to it. This format is transitioning #empathyforgrief podcast to a video series on the Mother's Backyard Enterprises Channel on YouTube. You will be listening to a pre-recorded conversation with my very first guest. His name is Ruben Medina. We met virtually, and I recorded his interview via Zoom as he shared it "live" on Facebook. The discussion includes fun and earnest insights on how to create a Portal to Another World when you're suffering from grief and loss. Ruben not only shares some of his wisdom, but also some of his inspirational music. My favorite song by MC Medina is "Wake Up." As always, loved ones, I hope you find this episode helpful and inspirational. [Recorded Conversation] Medina: So ladies and gentlemen, we are good to go…celebration! Oh man, I wish I had some more noise making material over here! Debra: All right, well for me, it's welcome, especially all your guests! You know this is my first time and I really look at you as a God-sent because I don't think I would have done this alone. So I really needed a partner to get me to this Facebook live experience. And here he is Mr. Ruben Medina M.C Medina and you know, as I said, no chance meetings, right? This was just amazing how we met online and just sort of have a very similar vision. and when I talked to him and understood sort of where his head was I knew that he needed to be a guest on #empathyforgrief Break the Silent Struggle with Grief and Loss. And I can only say that I hope this isn't the last time. Medina: Good afternoon, thank y'all for checking in I got a homie with me. We haven't even met, but I'm calling her my homie because we did on such a deep spiritual level. Her name is Miss Debra Hester and she's got books and she's got all types of stuff. Y'all can't see her right now but we're doing this on Zoom video for the first, I mean this is my first timeYeah this is both of our first time doing the podcast video style, big quarantine style. No masks today I thought about wearing one just for aesthetic purposes but then I thought I should probably have gloves too. And I don't have gloves so we just threw out the whole idea. But we're definitely more than six feet apart right now, so we're good. Debra: I’ll go through the front end about the podcast a little bit. It's all about breaking the silence struggle with grief. This is my 16th podcast of #empathyforgrief. You can get podcasts anywhere you download podcasts. It is available through most podcast providers. What I do is, every podcast I talk about a subject from my book. I wrote this book, "My Backyard Garden, A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief." And it chronicles the last days of my mother's life. and she was like my everything and I lost her. I had a long time, don't get me wrong and she was ready to leave this world. She had lived a long, healthy life and she was only ill near the end. So that's a blessing in itself. But she told us all these different things. She had a chance to tell all the grandkids, the kids, and her great-grandchildren. What she told me is this is your book. So I actually wrote this book, “My Backyard Gardening, A Memoir of How Love Conquerors Grief. I named it "My Backyard Garden" because my mother said that you know God had prepared her and that she wasn't afraid to die. And that he had told her to help the children because the children go out into the world for the things that they should get in their own backyard, so "My Backyard Garden, is the name of the book. "My Backyard” because she left us with a lot of love. And I struggled so until I realized other people were struggling and I just started creating a podcast because it's a journey. You know grief isa journey we all will take. And this particular episode is about "Portal to Another World." Yes, right? Medina: Yes, and you heard that here first, okay! I said they heard it here first, the MC Medina experience is "Portal To Another World" and that’s where we're gonna take you guys right now. Thank y'all for tuning in! Debra: Exactly! Exactly, and you know as you can tell Ruben is so charismatic, right! He has all these different talents, music! I love his music! If you see the video of this we're going to make sure that his music is in here! Right? Because he has one song, we wanted to play right here that's called "Wake Up" because that’s what we're talking about, you know, wake up. We gotta, sometimes. You need a portal to another world. You need to get away from where you are. And that's where I found myself,I found myself on my way to my mother’s bedside before she passed. On the plane, in the public, you know, breaking down wanting to cry, wanting to throw up, wanting to faint. Everything, but I couldn't right? And that's sort of like how we are today. You know, every time you go out in public, you got to be wrapped up and wrapped your head and hands covered So if there are times when you just have had enough, you know what I mean, out in public and you just need this time to get away. Our minds are wonderful! That's one of the things I want to talk about. You know, if you have been stuck in a public place and grief or loss strikes you. What do you do? You create that "portal to another world.” The way I do it is just imagining that I'm somewhere else.I will close my eyes or keep my eyes open so I won't be really strange looking to folks. But in my mind, I am somewhere else. In that portal.It is under construction and in a few minutes I'm gonna be through that portal and with the people in the place that brings peace and stability to me. So I know you know so much, Ruben, about how to bring peace and how to find yourself and things like that. Tell us how you would do that. Tell us your perspective on that "Portal to Another World" and how to manifest that in the real world. Medina: Oh man, I know I'm gonna get deep with you now. I like how we're starting off in the deep end already. Debra: I mean #empathyforgrief gets deep now. You know we don't make any excuses for taking people where they are or meeting them where they are, how high, low, medium or deep they want to go. Medina: Yeah I like it and you know Hispanic and Black folks, we're not used to the deep end either. We stay in shallow water so this is kind of out of the ordinary for us in that regard, metaphorically speaking. But thank you so much, first of all, everybody being here. Thank you, Debra, for having me on. I'm so excited about this! Hope y’all can see it in my face it should be glowing! It's glowing. It's glowing hard because you mentioned the "Wake Up."I gotta do this if we can. We could even do this a cappella. So check it out, "It's Wake up, wake up, wake up for you forgotten who you are. Travel far from home we come from the stars. Not just above you the one in your third eye. Your golden self, the you who sees through the lies came here to learn to see beyond the illusion, truth about this hyper-dimensional transfusion. Each day a new experience unlocks an old memory. This body is extension of source, accessory, we're all light vibrating to create this form. So do your spark I mean do your part to be a spark in the storm. I'm looking, I'm looking for a lighter. That's all right, do your part to be a spark in the storm Ripples create waves so be the change you wish to see. Act from the heart, love is the only key. Don't stop there because it's just so much you can learn. This world and those beyond keys waiting to be turned. Take a look around what's hidden in plain sight. Sacred "G" and Fibonacci all the way into infinity." Medina: That’s it we got a lot going on there. Debra: That’s word. Medina: Best word right, bars, bars! Debra: Right, right, right, right and you're so right. You know as brown and black people I mean we just know how to have a good time. But we've endured so much, until we just know how to cover up stuff. Don't we? But you know then on the other side is that I think we are connected to source. Medina: Right, we are connected to source. Yeah we're one race on the planet according to all the greats and uh what they call ascended masters or even people like Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle. People who have claimed a certain level of self mastery. Debra: Right, right, we're all connected to source. And sometimes our brothers and sisters who are farther from source we need to help them. I was listening to a lady the other day and she said "I don't want to call people out.” "I want to call people in." I thought that was wonderful, right! We want to call people in; so they can be closer to the source. Medina: Yes! what I say, "we're calling you, from the north to the south side, calling you, y'all gotta come on and take a ride! Calling you! Debra: Exactly, we calling you in!And that's what #empathyforgrief is, you know because I found out that so many people are suffering from some traumatic event in their life. It can be a loss of a loved one. And all of a sudden grief and loss came up after COVID-19. But there have been people who are grieving from loss way before Covid-19.
11 minutes | 9 months ago
Grief Gets Physical - #empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief and Loss
Grief Gets Physical Welcome to Mother's Backyard Buzz and #empathyforgrief episode #15, where I want to focus on how grief can get physical. Each episode is all about "breaking the silent struggle" around grief and loss. My podcasts are based on my personal grief journey and reflections from my book: My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. I share current insights into this life-changing journey called grief and loss. Thanks for joining me, Debra Hester, as the author and your host of #empathyforgrief podcast. The First Physical Signs In Chapter 1 - A Change of Planes in my book, my first sizeable emotional response to my mother being in ICU was delayed until I reached the airport. Once it hit me emotionally, my next reaction was a physical sign. I felt light-headed and weak in the knees after I got through security on my way to the gate. Now, who wants to faint? I don't. And who wants to faint in public when you're alone. So I found the nearest seat. Then I became nauseated. And that's another thing I absolutely hate is vomiting. So all I could think of was I need something to drink. No, it was not a glass of wine, it was mint tea from Starbucks. I knew that mint tea would calm my stomach and help me keep from vomiting in public. Question: Do you know what type of healthy foods help your body to stabilize and recover? If you don't, I encourage you as a grief and loss survivor to thriver, learn, and use these healthy foods and beverages in your time of need. Food Does a Body Good Speaking of food, I enjoy cooking healthy meals and snacks. One of the reasons I enjoy cooking and entertaining is that I get lots of satisfaction from seeing how people enjoy not only the food but the experience. When tasty food is in the room, we talk about how great the food looks, smells, tastes, and makes us feel. I believe food is the body's medicine and is essential to our well being. Plus, food is social too. It can bring people together. Food is something we all share as humans. Even if we may have different appetites and may not like the same type of food, we all have to eat. Food is essential to our physical and mental health. I consider myself a creative cook and love to experiment with different mixtures and recipes. When I was a child, I ate a variety of foods. I appreciate variety still. Recently, I've been obsessed with vegetables, especially roasted veggies. That's funny because I can remember when comfort food was potatoes, pasta, and bread. Then it changed to blue corn tortilla chips and fresh salsa. But now my once comfort foods, makes me uncomfortable. Some are born with food aversions, well I grew into mine. It's not just the discomfort particular food causes me. I just can't and have little genuine desire to eat how I once ate. So I ask you, do you have foods that make you feel good while others make you feel bad? Can you tell when that happens? I've learned to be aware of what I eat and drink over time and see the patterns of my reactions to those food choices. Why do I share this awareness of food and how you react to it? Because this awareness applies to your appetite when you experience grief and loss. I've experienced this change in how I felt about food after a loss. Not just how I felt about food but food actually tasted different. I've found with grief in addition to emotions changing, you have physical signs from your body that respond to grief and loss. Loss or gain of appetite is one of the signs that grief gets physical. After you've lost a loved one, you might reach for a cookie instead of an apple and wonder why. You may think I don't care and then feel guilty that you don't care. You might even eat your favorite chocolate chip cookie as I have and not get the same joy or taste from it. And like, I wondered, what has happened? Vital Physical Changes Grief and loss can extend beyond appetite and food too. Some days my body would actually feel heavier. I'm not talking about bloating or water weight gain. I would wake up from a full night's sleep, and my body would feel tired. I would do some stretches and feel some relief, but then I would find myself clenching my jaw or biting my bottom lip. I would feel as if my whole body was heavier. In my book, I mentioned it felt like my soul had sat down and it did. It felt like my body was now dragging around a soul that didn't want to move, so there was a constant battle between the two. The struggle would result in aches and pains in new and unusual places. I don't have underlying health issues, but there were times when I would feel tingling sensations running down my arms, my face, and legs as if I could feel the nerves under my skin. I found that all these physical reactions were grief and loss related. Upset stomach, nausea, headaches, migraines, yes, all from grief and loss. I tell you because it is easy to think you have some type of undetectable physical illness. I did, and I started searching online for reasons based on my symptoms and believe me all kinds of diseases come up based on these symptoms. Not once did grief and loss come us as a possible cause. I was reading a story about a young lady who lost her father while in college and then got ill with the flu. I wasn't surprised. I have found that grief and loss can wear on our immune system. Our ability to fight off infections that we usually would are now reduced. So equipped with this awareness, I encourage you to take extra physical care of yourself when you’re experiencing grief and loss. Here you are grieving the loss of a loved one, and now you feel like you have some unknown disease. It's a huge load to carry all at once. As always, I encourage you to see your doctor if you don't feel well physically. Loved ones, I'm here to remind you that you may not think about telling your doctor that you just lost a loved one, a job, or some other significant change in your life. May is mental and behavioral health awareness month. This year's campaign is #breakthestigma. Of course, I agree. As a society, we are beginning to realize the impact of grief and loss as a possible underlying condition for depression, so I'll add #empathyforgrief and loss for yourself and others. Still, I haven't had many medical doctors in my past that asked me about lifestyle changes. I hope doctors will start asking that in the future. However, now that I know the impact of lifestyle changes on my physical health, I have started to share my lifestyle changes with my doctors. You Can Get Physical Too I know you know I have to mention how exercise helps. And it really does help, but I had to find something physical that worked for me. I encourage you to do the same. Often when we say exercise, most of us, including myself, think of vigorous exercise like running or going to the gym. That's all good, but it's not the vigor as much as it is the rigor. OK, that rhymed, but what I mean by rigor is being strict about doing it regularly. Building a routine around the consistency of doing some exercise versus how much you do. You know as you start to enjoy doing your favorite stretch, or movement, time passes by and you spend more time doing it. OK, all I'm trying to say is …it's a Nike moment…so "Just Do It" on the regular. The Final Physical I hope you continue to remember that grief gets physical as well as emotional. The physical signs might throw you at first because our emotional responses are on overdrive and sporadic. So watch for these physical signs as our emotions go up and down. Our bodies, as well as our minds, react to grief and loss. Grief Gets Physical is all about the changes we are going through as we adjust to a different life and lifestyle. Now, when sorrow or anxiety from loss strikes, I'll take a B-complex supplement or a warm shower or the combination of the two. My grief relief favorites are lavender-scented oil, warmed turkey, or Sleepy-time tea. I'm sure you have some favorite grief and loss relief remedies for our body when grief and loss gets physical. So feel free to share your remedies with all of us on my social media sites. As always, I want to thank you loved ones for listening to #empathyforgrief podcast episode #15, "Grief Gets Physical." My podcasts are based on my book, My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. My book is a quick read. It's meant to capture and share the reality of life after loss and inspire reflection and conversation for those of us who are on this grief journey or know of someone who is. This is Debra Hester, your host, where I pledge to continue to break the silent struggle with grief and loss. Remember: move forward with more empathy, less sympathy. If you found the podcast helpful, it's available free on Mother's Backyard Buzz blog at www.mothersbackyard.org. Video versions of #empathyforgrief are available on YouTube at Mother's Backyard Enterprise Channel. Please subscribe. The podcasts are available on some new podcast providers like TuneIn, Stitcher, and Himalaya, in addition to Spotify, Apple, Google, and iHeart. #empathyforgrief podcasts are on FM radio with Force 3 Radio Network. Force 3 Radio streams online at www.force3radio.com airing the podcast now at 3pm CST during their all inspirational music Sundays. I invite you to find out more about my mission at www.mothersbackyard.org/about-us/. Join me next week when we continue with Chapter 1 - "A Change of Planes" in my book, My Backyard Garden, A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. And the buzz will be about a "Portal to Another World" Peace & Blessings
7 minutes | 10 months ago
The Unspeakable - #empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief and Loss
The Unspeakable Welcome to Mother's Backyard Buzz and #empathyforgrief episode #14, where I want to focus on "The Unspeakable." Each topic is all about "breaking the silent struggle" around grief. My podcasts are based on my personal grief journey and reflections from my book: My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. I share current insights into this life-changing journey called grief and loss. Thanks for joining me, Debra Hester, as the author and your host of #empathyforgrief podcast. The Mystery of the Unspoken Word Do words evoke a feeling inside of you, especially when they are spoken? They do for me. They have a rhythm like music. There is something mysterious around the word "Unspeakable." Maybe because we so quickly speak and talk about many topics. Do you feel we have the right to say whatever we feel and think? You know, freedom of speech is drilled into our culture and is the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution. We look at freedom of speech as a human right by law and practice. Despite rules, despite cultures, we as humans and individuals have been on this planet for some time. We still feel with all of our freedom of speech rights, with grief and loss, there are things we just can not say. Unspoken thoughts that really bother us. These are the "unspeakables." They are the thoughts that run through our minds. And when we are grieving from loss, we decide if they should come out of our mouth. When and if the unspeakables roll out of our mouth, these thoughts gain power, a reality that may go far beyond what we thought or meant. Sharing Unspeakables About Grief Unspeakables might seem to be an unlikely topic for someone like me who says, break the silent struggle with grief. But I ask you if and when you "break the silent struggle with grief," are you sharing some of your unspeakables around your loss? You see, unspeakables are not always right, and they are not necessarily bad. I believe they are driven by our emotions and our situation. In my book, Chapter 1, " A Change of Planes," I explained it as my "unspeakable truth." The truth that my mother was in ICU was in my head and in my thoughts. It was a reality that I hadn't fully come to terms with. My mind had responded to some of the emotions around this truth. But when it came out of my mouth for the first time, I became unbearably emotional. The same thought, the same truth, had now been spoken by me. As always loved one, I ask you to consider: Are you holding some thoughts, memories, or realities that you fear to verbalize? As I have in the past, I encourage you to take some time to reflect and consider your unspeakables. Determine if you should in the future address these unspeakables or let them stay where they are for now. I do warn you that when you speak them for the first time, expect some type of emotional response. It may be tears, pain, and anger, and it may be joy and laughter of relief. I believe it all depends upon where you are on your grief journey. When I said my unspeakable truth to a complete stranger, I was fortunate that this airport security gate guard was present and compassionate towards me. I was grateful. As you reflect and determine what unspeakable truth you need to vocalize, please take pause. I encourage you to consider the place, the time, and the person and realize that it is your truth. Meaning, it is how you see the truth. You might want to find someone who is compassionate and explain to them what you are about to say and why so they are prepared and can understand what may come after it. Lifestyle Loss with COVID-19 As we continue our COVID-19 quarantine, we are all trying to adjust to a loss of our lifestyle and stay positive. Staying positive is a process and sometimes a moving target. In my household, during quarantine, we have had positive and decisive moments. However, there have been moments when the unspeakable was also said. As a result, many emotions came out; but we didn't explode. I am so thankful that we didn't implode either. It's a tradeoff, I guess. Our insides are as crucial as our outsides when it comes to well being. I know it is not easy to manage either of these sides, but it is well worth it. We must try to find a way to balance ourselves, forgive ourselves, forgive others, and move forward with love and understanding when the unspeakables emerge. Reflecting and acting on the unspeakable is definitely a #empathyforgrief moment where I encourage you to show yourself and others more empathy than sympathy. Gratitude I want to thank you loved ones for listening to #empathyforgrief podcast episode #14 about "The Unspeakable." My podcasts are based on my book, My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. My book is a quick read. It's meant to capture and share the reality of life after loss and inspire reflection and conversation for those of us who are on this grief journey or know of someone who is. This is Debra Hester, your host, where I pledge to continue to break the silent struggle with grief and loss. Remember: move forward with more empathy, less sympathy. If you found the podcast helpful, it's available free on Mother's Backyard Buzz blog at www.mothersbackyard.org. Video versions of #empathyforgrief are available on YouTube at Mother's Backyard Enterprise Channel. Please subscribe. The podcasts are available on some new podcast providers like TuneIn, Stitcher and Himalaya, in addition to Spotify, Apple, Google, and iHeart. #empathyforgrief podcasts are on FM radio with Force 3 Radio Network. Force 3 Radio streams online at www.force3radio.com airing the podcast now at 3pm CST during their all inspirational music Sundays. I invite you to find out more about my mission at www.mothersbackyard.org. Join me next week when we continue with Chapter 1 - "A Change of Planes" in my book, My Backyard Garden, A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. And the buzz will be about "Grief Gets Physical." Peace & Blessings
9 minutes | 10 months ago
Small Choices, Big Blessings - #empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief
Small Choices, Big Blessings Welcome to Mother's Backyard Buzz and #empathyforgrief Episode #13, where I want to focus on "Small Choices, Big Blessings." Each topic is all about "breaking the silent struggle" around grief. My podcasts are based on my personal grief journey from my book: My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. I share current insights into this life-changing journey called grief. Thanks for joining me, Debra Hester, as the author and your host of #empathyforgrief podcast. April Blessings It's April! And April is Garden Month. Many people say gardening is one of the best ways to pass the time and lift your mood. I agree; no surprise that I'll rarely pass up an opportunity to talk about gardens because of my book, My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. Speaking of my book, I'm reflecting on Chapter 1, "A Change of Planes," if you're following along. Our lifestyle has changed so much due to COVID-19. I'm hoping #empathyforgrief podcasts helps those who are grieving the loss of a loved one and also those who may be grieving the loss of a lifestyle. I've learned that traumatic events are traumatic events, and I believe COVID-19 physical distancing and potential infection qualifies as a traumatic event for many. I've found that the effects of traumatic events sometimes come up later after the dust has settled. I'm not saying the dust has settled, but I do feel as if we are at the beginning of this COVD-19 journey with more unknowns than knowns. I am moving forward with faith that things will get better, and those big blessings will emerge from some large and small choices that we have to make right now. I don't know when these big blessings are coming, but better and benefits are still my expectation. I hope you join me in that expectation. Past Time Choices Most, if not all, of us, are doing something different now, and to make this adjustment, we had to experience and respond to some big choices. Now I'd like to encourage you to focus on some small decisions. There are small choices that produce big blessings as we wait for the big benefit we are all waiting on…COVID-19 under control or completely gone away from the headlines, and it impacts on our day-to-day. As Southwest Airlines use to say, we want to be "Free to move about the country." In my book, My Backyard Garden, A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief, I decided to become a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards member. It was a small choice that paid off big when I had to suddenly change my airline tickets. I knew Southwest's plane routes, processes, and online system. So, I didn't worry about the outcome. That was a choice and a habit that was well worth investing in. We always have an opportunity to invest in the right decisions, but now more than ever. I remember a statement that was posted on LinkedIn that said, "It is like the universe has sent us to our room." I agree, and I also believe and, as usual, ask you to think about with me, "how will we emerge from our room and be different and better." Moving Choices I've worked remotely for several years, so this is not a massive change for me. Staying in the house is a monumental change for me, though, as it is for most people. I think back on when I first started working remotely. I created a space and a place to work that soon became a home office in the basement. After a while in the home office, I realized that I could really work anywhere in the house that had a door. So my next move was to the den, then to the kitchen, but that room had too much traffic, so I went to the dining room table. When the weather got better, I found myself on the porch. My point is that, now that you've made this initial adjustment, if you want to, don't stop. Move again and again, even in the house, until it feels right for you. Sometimes the slightest movement at the right time becomes a small choice with a big blessing. I've found that big blessings don't necessarily mean size but meaning. It's a big blessing to me when I experience a new understanding. That understanding can be about myself, my world, or my life. With the gift of understanding comes peace, joy, and a feeling of contentment right where I am. I encourage you to seek it, feel it, and enjoy the blessing of understanding. Gardening Advice Back to the garden theme, remember I can't leave it out. Gardening was recommended to me by my mother-in-law when I was going through a divorce. Starting a garden was the best advice for me at the time. Her recommendation was better than what the counselors or clergy told me. Talk about an unhappy time in my life is an understatement. I miscarried a baby and shortly afterward went through a divorce. My life was shattered. Like a broken mirror and the pieces of the mirror were falling off the wall on the floor, and I could only stand there and watch them shatter more and fall. Gardening helped me refocus on a very tiny task. When we plant, we put a lot of effort into one small thing and take care of it in hopes that it grows into something bigger than it is. That hope in growth tends to bring some type of blessing with it. I couldn't afford large plants, so I went to Home Depot and chose small ones and worked on these little plants every day when I came home from work and on weekends. They became tiny choices that returned big beautiful, colorful blessings. These blessings can in the form of my first bougainvillea plant, a honeysuckle vine on a trellis, and a hibiscus shrub. I can reflect back on the experience now and see those plants instead of the pain that I experienced during that traumatic life transition. Your Choice Here we all are, making an unexpected transition in all aspects of our lives. We are transitioning the way we work, play, live, worship, eat, shop, socialize. And we had to make that adjustment fairly quickly with life-threatening consequences. Loved ones, personally, I've committed to helping during this COVID-19 pandemic, in some way. I so appreciate the people who are working on the front line of all this. The doctors, nurses, first responders, truckers, mail carriers, package delivery, and sanitation workers. I know they are exceptional people who are blessing so many of us who are working from and staying at home. How I help is by writing, producing, and sharing information online and on the radio as a way to supply our need to know and provide positive encouragement and messages. I feel like my contributions may be small, but I work to share them with much love and hopefulness that they will become great blessings to someone. I encourage you to share your gift too. It may be a small choice right there in the privacy of your home, but it will be a big blessing to those who experience it. Grateful I want to thank you loved ones for listening to #empathyforgrief podcasts episode #13 about "Small Choices, Big Blessings." My podcasts are based on my book, My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. My book is a quick read. It's meant to capture and share the reality of life and inspire reflection and conversation for those of us who are on this grief journey or know of someone who is. This is Debra Hester, your host, where I pledge to continue to break the silent struggle with grief and loss. Remember: move forward with more empathy, less sympathy. If you found the podcast helpful, it's available free on Mother's Backyard Buzz blog at www.mothersbackyard.org and on iHeart, iTunes, Google Play, or from your favorite podcast provider. #empathyforgrief podcasts are on FM radio with Force 3 Radio Network. Force 3 Radio streams online at www.force3radio.com airing the podcast now at 3pm CST during their all inspirational music Sundays. I invite you to find out more about my mission at www.mothersbackyard.org. Join me next week when we continue with Chapter 1 - A Change of Planes in my book, My Backyard Garden, A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. And the buzz will be about "The Unspeakable." Peace & Blessings
10 minutes | a year ago
Goin' Thru - #empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief
Going Through Changes Welcome to Mother's Backyard Buzz and #empathyforgrief Episode #12, where I want to focus on "Going Through Changes." Each topic is all about "breaking the silent struggle" around grief. My podcasts are based on my personal grief journey from my book: My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. I share current insights into this life-changing journey called grief. Thanks for joining me, Debra Hester, as the author and your host of #empathyforgrief podcast. March 2020 and COVID-19 is Deep I'm still reflecting on Chapter 1, "A Change of Planes." in my book if you're following along. And this is the beauty of reflection; it takes into account our past and our present state. I'm sure if you're listening to this episode #12 in March of 2020, the current state of the world is changing faster than any of us could have imagined. COVID-19, the coronavirus is a pandemic, and we in the U.S. are experiencing a different lifestyle. Information is coming from inside and outside of our borders, and we have daily reports on changing laws, decisions, requirements, progress, and events that affect our lifestyle. Right now, going through changes is an understatement. To make my point, I'm going to share my podcast writing process. What I do is, I reread my book and the topics that I want to focus on I highlight and put them in a schedule. When the time and subject gets close, I spend some time reflecting on the topic and share my current insights. So basically, I plan my topics ahead. So months ago, I knew I would be writing my 12th podcast on the subject of "Going Through Changes." March Madness Redefined Looking back five years ago on my grief journey, I'm not sure if I understood the magnitude of this single word: change. For me, the term "change" was enough five years ago because that's how I felt; that's all I knew, and that's what I wrote in my book. At that time, five years ago, I had to make travel changes so I could go see my mother alive one last time. A somewhat simple task for a frequent flyer became challenging. But even then, I had to keep my emotions under control. I consciously focused my mind, eyes, and hands on my laptop and that travel change website versus calling. If only for a short time, I needed to change what seemed like every detail of my life. I felt my mother's life coming to an end, and I wanted to spend every moment with her. Life is change. 2020 is a new decade and has brought with it more change than most of us have witnessed in quite a while, if ever. Even the term March Madness has a dual meaning to me now with COVID-19. The world, people, organizations, friends, and loved ones require us to change now. Believe me, I'm not knocking change. Actually, I sort of love changing. I believe in transitions, but it is still a process. Sometimes and some of us handle change better than others. I ask you to think back. When you reflect on the most change you've experienced, the offer to change often comes with rewards. But, the collective we, including me, are going through so very much change right now, I don't even want to use the word "change." So for the rest of this podcast, when I talk about "change," I'm just going to say "goin' thru." That's how I feel right now, that going through changes in the world has stepped it up a notch or two, maybe three. We are "goin' thru" more than ever before. Is "goin' thru" a bad thing? I believe not. But I believe it's a big thing, and an important thing to do, reflect on and as always show yourself and others some empathy during these times. As if we can just change. I've learned on my grief journey, we don't instantly change, we "go thru," then we, it or something happens that is different. Goin' Thru Something Broader On top of your grief, how do you feel amidst all this COVID-19 happening in the world? Many are encouraging people to be positive, and that is always good. That's what I'm doing too, remaining positive. I believe that positive thoughts and actions help our immune system. I try to laugh every day to keep my endorphins high. Exercise and stretching help me some. But laughing is easier. Truthfully, I try to stay positive, regardless. And while I remain positive, I also can't ignore and rose color glass what's happening around me either, or I won't get the help my mind and body needs right now. I have to admit how I'm really feeling right now. My truth is, still, I'm goin' thru. Let me break it down this way: I need to eliminate the word change, drop the letter "g" in the word "going" to make it "goin" and reduce the term "t-h-r-o-u-g-h" to "t-h-r-u." Yes, in my mind, we are all at this point in time, "goin thru." When my mother died, I have now realized that I was "goin' thru" the beginning of a life event. A life-altering, mind-blowing event that on the front end started with trying not to cry while changing airline tickets. Somehow I was able to go thru without crying and get that task done. I believe we all have untapped abilities that are released in times like these, and when life events demand it. They build us up, mold us, and alter us. If you haven't experienced the loss of a loved one, then grief and loss are one of those life events that call on some type of untapped reserve. Even though I don't like to say "be strong" to people who have lost a loved one. I believe this is what people mean when they say "be strong." Personally, I'd rather say "be you" because I've found that grief requires many emotions. Usually, the person knows what they need, and when they need it. And with empathy, I work to be there for them. Episode #12, "Goin' Thru," shares my perspective on our redefined March Madness 2020. As always, I hope that it is helpful. I believe we are in a time of "goin thru"; when we must adapt, modify, revise, and transform our lives right now more than ever. Remembering that many words will describe this time in our world, that it's more than that one word I didn't use and definitely more words than "goin' thru." For me, defining these times this way, using "goin' thru," leaves it open and flexible for me to throw whatever I need in and take whatever I need out. Maybe thinking of it this way can help you through your journey too. The Real Deal Loved ones, I believe we are in the process of substituting the lifestyle we use to know to hopefully a lifestyle that is better. And that is going to take some “goin' thru." Grief and loss are real, whether it's losing a loved one or a lifestyle. So as always, I encourage you to show yourself and others more empathy than sympathy. I want to thank you loved ones for listening to #empathyforgrief podcasts episode #12 about "Goin' Thru." My podcasts are based on my book, My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. My book is a quick read. It's meant to capture and share the reality of life and inspire reflection and conversation for those of us who are on this grief journey or know of someone who is. This is Debra Hester, your host, where I pledge to continue to break the silent struggle with grief and loss. Remember: move forward from the pain of your loss with love and more empathy, less sympathy. If you found the podcast helpful, it's available anytime on iHeart, iTunes, Google Play, or from your favorite podcast provider. #empathyforgrief podcast is now on the radio with Force 3 F.M. Radio Network and also streaming online at www.force3radio.com at 2pm CST during their all gospel music Sundays. I invite you to find out more about my mission at www.mothersbackyard.org. Join me next week when we continue with Chapter 1 - A Change of Planes in my book, My Backyard Garden, A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. And the buzz will be about "Small Choices-Big Blessings." Peace & Blessings.
13 minutes | a year ago
That Moment - #empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief
Beginning with "That Moment" Welcome to Mother's Backyard Buzz and #empathyforgrief episode #11, where I want to focus on "That Moment." If you're new, each topic is all about "breaking the silent struggle" around grief. I use my personal grief journey from my book: My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief and share additional insights into a journey we all will take called grief. Each week, I invite you to join me, Debra Hester, as the author and your host of #empathyforgrief podcast. So let's start with how I began my grief journey as I reflect and share this week's topic: "That Moment." Lessons Learned From Opening Lines Chapter 1 of my book is called: "A Change of Planes." In preparing to write this grief support memoir, I knew I had to find the start. I also knew the opening line of any book is essential. At the time, I didn't understand how important it is to the literary world or the importance of capturing the reader's attention. Now, I realize that the opening line is paramount, so if you don't think it's up to par bear with me in this memoir. It was the beginning of my writing journey. I promise to do better in my next book. When I decided to share my grief story based on my experience, it took some time for me to reflect and understand where did my grief journey begin. How did I do it? Well, reflecting wasn't easy, but it is worth it. At the time I wrote the book, reflecting was like digging myself from underneath a lot of sand or dirt that was covering the person I thought I was. It was as if I was looking back after running from something horrifying in a dream. I know I had gone through something for sure and felt safer but what did I just go through was the lingering question in my mind. And the next issue was where did all this really begin? What was the moment, "that moment" that started me running like this and feeling this way? In my mind, I hit the rewind button. That allowed me to review my mental footage over and over again. I was trying to figure out where did this grief really start? For Chapter 1 of the memoir, the question had to be: "Where should I start my story?" This is a good question, regardless. Where did my grief really start? It applies if you're journaling during your grief journey for personal reasons. It also applies if you're just trying to understand what you're going through, I ask you to think about what was "that moment" for you? You also might consider the value you might gain in reflecting on "that moment" in your life. Pondering "That Moment" If you're still pondering, "what moment?" Let me say more about how to explore and reflect on "that moment." Reflect on the exact moment when you started on your grief journey. I found value in trying to pin down that time, that place, that thought to a precise moment. It uncovered a new meaning for my life and my journey. It helped me not only look at myself but my loved one and others around me. For me, reflection sort of puts a scene or situation in slow motion, where you can focus and refocus on different things that may bring clarity and meaning to your journey. You may already know what "that moment" is depending on how recent it was and how reflective you have allowed yourself to be. If your grief is from long ago, it may not be as readily available to you. My first father was killed in an accident when I was a child and very recently, I experienced myself at his funeral in a dream. I woke up crying, crying in a way that I couldn't at his funeral. Crying wasn't easy, but I realized that it was good and needed. All these years, those emotions were buried inside because that's how I was raised. Just close the chapter, and I did close the chapter; however, I hadn't resolved the pain from the trauma. For me, crying over that moment some decades later was freeing. So here's another question: Do you need to dig that moment up? As always, it is your decision; but unless you feel resolved in your past, you might want to consider remembering that moment again. That moment when you started on your grief journey. Well, if you listened to Podcast # 10, you'll know that I always give you a preview to my next podcast. I knew I was going to write about "that moment" for some time. That moment when I knew that my mother was going to die. Even though at that moment, when I knew my mother was going to die, I couldn't admit it to myself. Why? Simple because it was something that I didn't want to happen. I had plans for me and my mother. She wasn't supposed to die before we had more trips together and birthday events, we had more life to live. Kobe Bryant's Death Was a Reminder Here's another thing. I've been hesitant about writing and completing this episode topic for weeks. Hearing about Kobe Bryant, the legendary, professional basketball player, his daughter and the people who lost their lives in that helicopter accident in L.A., created a "that moment" experience for me. I can move forward because of the podcast artwork I chose for this episode. An associate shared a photo he took on LinkedIn, paying tribute to Kobe's tragedy, and I thought Kobe's Empire State Building tribute is a visual reminder. Maybe the visual would help people remember how that moment feels. Hopefully, it would remind them to have #empathyforgrief for themselves and others. Another reason is that I felt "that moment" real-time again, along with the rest of the world. That moment is when you can't believe what you're hearing, seeing, or know to be true. It seems unreal, you're speechless, you're confused, and your mind and spirit want to reject the news; but it can't because it's true. For me, it's not shocking yet, "that moment" comes before the shock. That moment is a second, maybe longer where I reject reality. Then when I accept the truth, I'm shocked and saddened by the news. While my mother's death was not as instant as Kobe's, the moment I heard about the helicopter accident, helped me realize how there is rejection before the shock. The news of his death prompted me to hope for something different than what I knew was the inevitable. Maybe the family's of the helicopter crash felt the same way too when they heard the news. When I heard of that moment with my first father's car accident, I thought I was living a dream for about a year. I'd wake up most mornings, hoping that his accident was just a dream, and he would be coming home that day. Reflecting on the Impact of “That Moment” I hope it's clear what I mean by "that moment," so we can consider and discuss how reflecting on that moment may bring value to the grief journey. Let's reflect on that moment when you knew that your loved one was going to die, but you hoped for something different. First of all, when that moment involves others, and it usually does, it becomes complicated. Why does it become complicated? Because now I realize that each family member came to their moment at different times. In my mother's case, I mean that moment that she was going to die or she had died. Some people may describe it as letting go. In hospice, they told us that sometimes people hang on and not die because their loved ones don't want them to go, and the person who is dying can sense that. I tell you, it took all I had not to scream, cry and plead with my mother to hold on. I didn't want her to die and leave me. But I didn't do that, and for some months later, I was torn between wishing I had, feeling guilty that I wanted to be selfish Often people realize how sudden, tragic deaths affect people because "that moment" is in what seems like an instant, but we remember for a lifetime. Like, John F. Kennedy Jr.'s airplane accident where he, his wife, and his sister-in-law were killed. 911, or Kobe's death and other unbelievable tragic situations, we will always remember those moments. We will not forget where we were or who we were with. But what do you do after that moment? What should you do? I’ve found it helpful to feel what you’re feeling and release your emotions. What I think is the hardest thing to do is realize that everyone is going to respond differently at that moment and after that moment and remember that's O.K. They may react right away, minutes, hours, days, or even months later. And that's O.K. In response to that moment, we may cry, pray, say nothing, or get angry. That Moment on Social Media Kobe's death was the first time I was actively on social media during a tragedy that impacted people around the globe. While most people were sad, some didn't understand why we were grieving on social media over someone we didn't know personally. I read some of the conflicting posts on the internet about mentioning Kobe and his daughter's death and not others on the plane. Some asked why people are saying all these positive things about him now. My response was to let people grieve openly by showing their emotions, memories, and photos in a way that works for them. Nothing should be disrespectful to the loved ones left behind. I believe having the social media tools that let us share our feelings like this is good for us as a society. We have hidden our voices around death, dying, and grieving for so long. We no longer have to feel that we are alone, and that is a positive thing. Some thought it was because he was a celebrity, a famous person. Still, I genuinely believe that a tragedy like that, whether it is a famous person or a plane filled with people we have never met. We know that it is final, it was not their plan, and we are saddened by the unexpected loss of life. We can imagine how their loved ones fill because it could be our loved ones or us. We have #empathyforgrief. So when you remember "that moment," what I always remind you of still applies, show empathy for yourself and others. Offering Value I want to thank you loved
9 minutes | a year ago
Early Mornings - #empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief
Episode #10 starts With Chapter 1 Welcome to Mother's Backyard Buzz and #empathyforgrief podcast episode #10, where we "break the silent struggle" around grief by unpacking my book: My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. Each week, I invite you to join me, Debra Hester, as the author and your host as I share additional insights into a journey we all will take called grief. This episode, I'd like to discuss an exciting time of each day called early mornings. The title of Chapter 1 in my book is called: "A Change of Planes." Reflecting back now, I don't believe that it was by chance that my memoir started in the early morning hours, either. You know I could have gotten that phone call at any time of the day or night. Still, it was in the early morning when I received the call that my mother's condition was life-threatening and that my mother was in the hospital. A Night Person's Perspective Getting back to the topic: Early Mornings. I've got to ask you this question: Did you yarn when I said the word; "early mornings"? Because I'm really a night person, the thought occurred to me to yarn, but I didn't because of course, I'm recording. But over the years, I've learned that early mornings are a distinct time of the day. I wonder if people who are naturally morning people realize what a unique gift they have. Morning people have the gift to wake before the sun with ease and delight. And with an energy level as if it's 10 am or the middle of the day. It's an incredible ability to me! When I was in college, I didn't even want any morning classes so I'd schedule the latest morning classes possible. Even after college, my first full-time job was working a 4 pm to midnight shift and I loved it? Now I could stay up all night until the early morning; but that doesn't count here. When you stay up all night until the early morning, you're tired and exhausted. It's what I like to cal "spent". Everything that you could contribute to any situation is worthless...you've spent all your energy. At times grief makes me feel spent too. It's hard to sleep through the night, even thought you're said and tired during the day. Grief can be exhausting all by itself. Plus, it's exhausting trying to hide how you really feel so you can function through work, school, or family gatherings. Along with feeling exhausted, I'd also feel anxious, frustrated, and lonely. I spent a lot of time reflecting on how I felt sad until I had to start looking for ways to feel better emotionally and physically. There was this song that I learned in the youth choir call, "I Come To the Garden Along". Th lyrics start like this: "I come to the garden alone when the dew is still on the roses." In my mind, it meant early in the day. This song had helped me long before my mother died, and I enjoyed it before my book title or my social platform on grief support. However, the reference to morning in this song helped me embrace the power of early mornings. An Awakening Like I said earlier, I had to develop my appreciation for early mornings. How did it start? Well, it started when I first started developing my personal relationship with the Creator, I would study and read spiritual information before I'd go to bed. As time passed, and I also developed a better prayer life. When I say better prayer life, maybe I should call it a deeper prayer life. My prayers had moved from the repetitious prayers you say before you go to sleep as a child; to adding a real conversation. My praters included things I was grateful for, wanted for others, for the world I lived in, as well as myself. I was blessed with spiritual mentors, who also helped me with deepening my intercessory prayer life. So what does prayer have to do with early mornings you may be thinking. You may also be thinking, Debra's going to ask me to get up and pray early in the morning. I could ask you that because it's relatively traditional. Do you remember prayer breakfast and sunrise service? Yes, I do too and for the longest, those gathering didn't interest me. Remember, I was not a morning person. I was not going to get up that early. Not even for some of the best pancakes in the world. So I'm not going to ask you to get up in the early mornings to pray. Now you can if you'd like; but I believe you should pray when you feel you should pray. Prayer doesn't have a specific time when it should be done. So what I'm going to do is share with you what happened to me, and you can decide what you need to do. Remember the deeper prayer, spiritual reading and studying at night before I went to bed habit I developed? Well, after a while, I would wake up at 4 am in the morning. Me, the "not" a morning person, not even for pancakes and bacon, would wake up at 4 am..was wide awake! I wasn't sleep, I didn't want to go back to sleep. Of course, I panicked because I had a reasonably challenging career and didn't have time to miss a beat during the working day. I was glad that it wasn't every morning, but it did occur 2-3 times a week. After trying to figure out what was going on, it just came to me that maybe I should spend this time in prayer and meditation. So I started meditating so that I'd have enough energy to get through the workday. Meditation gives me longer-term energy even thought I started drinking coffee in my later years too. Then I realized that time didn't seem to pass as fast during these early mornings. It seemed like a slower time of the day, sipping my coffee and enjoying the this simple pleasure. I learned to appreciate the calm, the quiet. When I traveled, even the busiest cities were pleasantly peaceful early in the mornings. I had time to observe how the world and the skies changed as the daylight would overcome the night. It was a very awesome experience! And I thought I've been missing this for all these year to sleep in! Early Mornings Help Heal My appreciation for early mornings did happen before my mother died, and before business travel required it. Bu after she passed, I have realized that early mornings are still a great time to gather and collect peace during the grief journey. So I encourage you, loved ones, to add an early morning or two experience to your week. It may take some planning and change of schedule the night before but give early mornings a try. I look forward to unwinding early the night before and rising before the sun. In the early mornings, think of your garden place and your good memories of your life with your loved ones. Think a bit about your favorite creative project, read or write down a few thoughts. I take photos with my phone of how the sky changes colors in the morning. Yes, I know you may cry during that time. I have. And I hope you caught, smile and also find some peace. If you're not an early morning person like me...imagine what your loved ones will think. But tell them, you're O.K., you're changing and this is something new your wanted to try as you move forward on your journey. Ways to Engage I want to thank you loved ones for listening to #empathyforgrief podcast episode #10 about "Early Mornings". My podcasts are created based on my book, My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. If you're joining the weekly podcast, to follow along with the text, you're not behind. My book is a quick read. It's meant to inspire reflections and conversation for those of us who are on this grief journey. As I continue to reflect and share through my podcasts, I hope that we continue to move and heal. This is Debra Hester, your host, where I pledge to continue to break the silent struggle with grief. Remember: move forward from the pain of your loss with love and more empathy, less sympathy. If you found the podcast helpful, it's available anytime on iHeart, iTunes or from your favorite podcast provider. #empathyforgrief podcast is now on the radio with Force 3 FM Radio Network and also streaming online at www.force3radio.com at 2pm CST during their all gospel music Sundays. I invite you to find out more about my mission at www.mothersbackyard.org. Join me next week when we continue with Chapter 1, "Change of Planes" in my book, My Backyard Garden, A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. And the buzz will be about "That Moment." Peace and Blessings.
13 minutes | a year ago
Why - #empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief
My Why and Your Why Welcome to Mother's Backyard Buzz, a podcast #9 where we break the silent struggle around grief by unpacking my book: My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. I am the author and your host, Debra Hester. We've completed the intro of the book. The original plan was to have a guest speaker on the podcast at the end of each chapter. But I changed my mind and decided to talk about my "why", as we end the Introduction Chapter. And of course, when I thought about my "why", I thought about asking you to think about your "why". In the future, I plan to have a guest speaker address the topics we've covered, listeners' questions or responses as appropriate. So you still have time to send in your questions or comments to my email at email@example.com. More Than the Why Chapter in My Book #empathyforgrief's first eight podcast episodes have only covered the Introduction Chapter of the book so far. I don't want to rush and hope you're O.K. with the pace too. I decided to share a little more about myself and my "why". I will start the guest speakers when we get to the end of Chapter 1 and continue through to the end of the book. So remember, we will continue to break the silent struggle with grief. Chapter by chapter with #empathyforgrief podcasts, we will move deeper into what I included and didn't include in my book that speaks to this journey we all take - called grief. How do I share my "why" with you became a sort of a dilemma for me? It's a dilemma because I don't like to talk about myself. I actually considered doing this in an interview. From my observation, in both professional and private setting, some people seem to be able to talk about themselves and what they're doing with ease and acceptance. Personally, I've always found it challenging. In Corporate America, the people who were able to speak up with ease seemed to get promotions and the attention of their superiors. I learned to understand it as self-advocacy. I'm not sure if I'm good at it after all these years or not. But I do appreciate self-advocacy and see value in it even thought I was raised in a culture that taught me to work hard and let my work speak for me. So since this is the end of the Introduction Chapter of my book, I thought it might be a place for me to share with you a bit more of what I'm about and the platform that I feel is my purpose in life: #empathyforgrief. Don't worry, I'm not going to share a recap of my educational or professional bio. If you're interested, You can get that on my website at www.mothersbackyard.com or on my book cover. I'm hoping to share a little of my "why" and how #empathyforgrief came to be. Why Ask Why on the Grief Journey Depending on where you are on your grief journey, you may be asking yourself, "why me"?, "why now?". "is anything useful going to come out of how I'm feeling?" These were a few of the questions that crossed my mind a lot. These questions along with others that were probably less about a healthy curiosity and more of a complaint and self-pity. But we're going to focus on when you get to a position of being curious in a healthy way. Some of us are there sometimes and some of us may feel that we'll never get to feeling a healthy curiosity about our feelings of grief. I encourage all, including myself, to hang in there. Only you will know when to do this; but, I encourage you to start asking yourself and the Creator, "what positive thing am I suppose to do with what I'm experiencing?" It may be to write a book or a poem, to plant a garden, building a bench, or paint a wall. Believe me there is something. And it will come to you what your "thing" is. For me, it's a project, a platform that I'm compelled to create. It's my "why". Sometimes tears come to my eyes when I think of it and sometimes joy. But I feel deep in my hear, it's what I was supposed to do right now. So I'll refer to it as a positive project as I talk about it more. Whether your positive project is big or small, whether it takes an hour to complete and you look at it for ever. Or it may take a year or it may be ongoing. I encourage you to meditate on: "what is this thing that is to come out of my grief." Your thing will come to your heart, your spirit and your mind. And I believe you will create it in the physical world, and the world will be a better place because of what you created. Coming back to my "why". My first hope is that you read the Introduction Chapter of my book. It's in a different writing style, but this section lets you know how I felt overall and why I included things in the book at that time. Chapter 1 starts with the memoir style of writing that tells the story of how I began my grief journey that made me realize my purpose in life as a part of my mothers's end of life story. "Why" Changed Things You see, who I am now was not a plan that I started with. I was grieving the death of my mother, and I started out being obedient to something my mother told me on her death bed. Then it became a commitment to finish a book that would be for my family and for future generations. But along the way, I realized my grief might be able to help others. I meditated daily on my emotions while I completed my book project about my mother and me. I would walk every morning, and a flood of ideas came to me. Do this, do that, then say this and say that. Ideas were coming so quickly that I had to keep my phone next to my bed to dictate notes. As time passed, I finally realized that this was the problem in the world, I was born to contribute to and help solve for myself and others. I realized that every job I ever held and every skill I ever learned was helping me right now with this. From my first father's death to my uncle's death to writing obituaries at a funeral home to writing educational training materials, to broadcast journalism to corporate leadership and professional development. My past seemed to come together like a puzzle piece. O.K. I'll admin there are still some pieces missing. However, what looked like an unplanned yet relatively successful career transitioned into a very focused mission and vision for my life. This awareness helped me become a grief advocate and create a platform, mission and podcast around #empathforgrief as a social entrepreneur. All this came to me after I had written and published the book: My Backyard Garden, A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. So you see, something is waiting to be born and created out of your grief too. Trauma I've been reading this book on trauma. My inability to feel comfortable talking, especially about myself, may have been part of my upbringing and being traumatized as a child. When my first father was killed, I spent many years being soft-spoken. I loved to see other people enjoy themselves. Still, I didn't care to talk much to anyone but my closest friends and immediate family. I was a great listener because I really wanted the other person to do all the talking. From the outside, I put on a spectacular performance. I remember people use to say: "That child looks so unconcerned." That unconcerned child turned into a reserved, very insecure, vulnerable, fearful and naive young adult. My saving grace was my ability to perform with fear in my heart. Physically, it manifested itself in overeating and digestive disorders. Another saving grace was that I was a healthy eater, it was all about portions out of control and I did like to dance. Why #empathyforgrief The last thing I want to share is why I am so passionate about #empathyforgrief and how it came to be my hashtag for breaking the silence with grief. I feel we as human beings do feel empathy for people who have lost a loved one. We have just settled with the label sympathy. What's in a word, you might say? Everything! This word is especially important for people who have not felt the death of a loved one like we have. They believe sympathy is enough. The term "sympathy" is socially acceptable, what more could we ask for when someone dies they may think. They may think we're all going to die. And, indeed, we are all going to die someday. But until you experience the loss of that special loved one, it's hard to understand why sympathy isn't enough. Maybe it's enough for the deceased, but it is not enough for the loved ones who are left behind. We need your empathy now and for some unknown time in the future. We need your understanding during our transition into a world without our loved one. No matter how sudden or advanced notice we had about their death, we wake up one day and feel as if someone has been ripped from our lives. Big-time focus on the feeling of cutting, ripping here. Imagine someone being ripped away from a person, and you may begin to understand #empathyforgrief. Thrive In 2020 Now, as you listen to my podcasts and read my book, I hope you will feel a bit more familiar with me. Hopefully, you can uncover some things that will help you and others that I may not have realized. In each podcast, I will ask you to try something or apply what I've discussed in your life. I want us to do something positive when we feel able. I want us to move with and through grief, just as I did with my fears. I want to encourage you to do beyond the SSOGS (Secret Society of Grief Surviors) and to thrive in our world that has changed since the loss of our loved one. What I love most is that we are on this journey together. I felt so alone at first. Now, I realize that grief is a universal and shared emotion. I am not alone on this journey or the odd person out. It is a part of being human. Nothing to be ashamed of and a feeling that you don't need to hide. I hope you don't think it make me happy in the sense that misery loves company. Let me explain why it makes me happy. My hopes are if we can break the silent struggle with grief; th
13 minutes | a year ago
Extensions - #empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief
Welcome to Podcast #8: Welcome to Mother's Backyard Buzz, a podcast where we "break the silent struggle" around grief by unpacking my book: My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. I am the author and your host, Debra Hester. Chapter by chapter, I'll move us deeper into what I included and didn't include in my book that speaks to this journey we all take - called grief. Explaining Extensions Loved ones, when I decided to create the title for this podcast, the word extensions came to mind. Culturally, I thought about hair extensions, and I chuckled to myself and wondered what would happen in my listeners' minds when they saw this title. I thought if my listeners would wonder, now how is this girl gonna tie in extensions with grief. Well, I'm going to leave the hair extension analogy to you. If you can find and make a connection, let me know. But I'm talking about a different kind of extension. I'm talking about an emotional extension. Just like we look at most other extensions, as a positive think, whether we are adding to our hair or adding on to our house, this extension is positive too. So let's start with thinking about grief as this emotional extension. I'll start with me, and you can think about how this applies to you. What happens to me when someone tells me of their loss? I don't know about you, but I've felt at least two responses. These responses are not in any particular order and it may seem to change order depending on how close I am to the person or not. Responses to Death and Grief Recently I was told about two people who died. The first one was a distant cousin. I had not met this cousin. And when I heard of his tragic accident, I immediately started feeling for the cousins that I did know who knew him. Then I began wondering how his immediate family might be feeling since the pictures that were shared online looked as if he was a rather young man. My heart and prayers went out to them all. I thought about how difficult it must be to lose someone so unexpectedly and in the prime of their life. Then, I thought of the impact on the children and also how the rest of the cousins and family members reached out to them, including myself, with support and words of encouragement. I felt good about the support and responses that were given. It reinforced my belief that I am blessed with a very compassionate family. The second person I heard about recently was a person that I grew up with, and he was about my age. Our families know each other. We hadn't stayed in touch over the years. However, because we spent so much time together in our formative years, there was a lifelong connection. We would see each other at events, say hello, do a brief catch up and move on until the next time. He had told me that he had overcome a severe illness and so I thought that he was doing better. When I heard that he had passed on, I was shocked, somewhat bewildered and felt sad and a little ill. I had to talk myself through it and come to the realization that even though the last time I saw him that he looked well, that must have changed. I felt for a moment how his mother, brother and sister must feel. How his family might need support at this time? So I thought about what can I do now for his family, so I needed to reach out to them and let them know I was available. Since I know that grief is a journey, at the right time in the future, I will reach out and share my book and podcasts as a resource to them also. My point about sharing these two stories is that we all have some type of response. Buy my question for us to consider is why? I'd also like us to think about how we feel, and where do our emotions and thoughts go when we hear about the death of a person? I seem to have a personal moment of silence. Regardless if I'm looking at the person or not, there is this moment of pause. I can be with them or can be reading or hearing about them and there is the same response. A moment of pause. There is a second of stillness. Now, I was exposed to the death of a close loved one early in my life, so I'm not sure if this is the reason or not. In the grief journey that I'm sharing with you, we may be with each other, or you may be ahead of or behind me in reflection and understanding. So I encourage you to share with me your responses to hearing the news that someone has passed on. But a response to hearing about death, I believe, is universal. It's personal, and different in everyone but a response happens. Being able to be ready and prepared to show empathy to ourselves and others is part of what breaking the silent struggle with grief is all about. I think considering our very own and human response to hearing about the death of a person is worthy of discussion and reflection. I believe getting the conversation about death, not just dying out here and talking about it will help us value life more. On our last podcast, we talk about the emotional stages of grief. We talked about how I experienced them emotions in a not so sequential, logic, or prescribed way. This time I just shared my reactions to the news of two people who I know died recently. I want us to realize just how empathy probably already works in most, if not all of us and that we are connected and are extensions in life and in death. Empathizing With Death Can you imagine the emotions a mother goest through when she hears that her son or daughter was shot and killed? I've spent a lot of time on my grief journey after the loss of my mother to old age. But when death is tragic, sudden and unexpected, it takes the feelings to another level of grief. When death is the cause of a senseless act like drunk driving, imagine the pain that the family feels. My first father was killed on Mothers's Day by a drunk driver. I talk about it in my book. I was at the accident scene and when I pass that spot now, I can still see the accident scene decades later. That is one kind of extension that Id like us to think of. When we lose a loved one, we are forever attached to that moment. It becomes an extension of who we are, of our life. I often wonder if the lady who was driving drunk then ran a stop sign, hit the side of the car where my father was a passenger, and killed him ever thinks about it and about us. I wonder if on Mother's Day, does she remember. Death is and should be an extension because we are all connected anyway. And when something tragic happens, it doesn't disconnect us, it creates a shared incident and a moment of shared human emotions. Why do I want us to think about death and grief as an extension and a connector, you might wonder? Because I hope that it will make us realize that we share loss. And we need to show more empathy because we all will grieve, so when it's your turn to grieve, you have established a spirit of caring about others. Understanding that it is human to grieve, before your humanity is tested. You don't have to wait until it happens to you to learn what it's like when it is happening to someone you know, work with, manage, or live with. You don't have to hesitate or feel uncomfortable because you don't feel as if you know what to do. The person who is grieving needs you to connect at some point and check on the connection periodically. The other reason is for those who resort to gun violence and killing as a solution to anything. If you're listening, it won't be the first time someone has told you what I'm about to say. I'd really like you to consider how your actions are impacting not only that person's life but their family, loved ones and the community where you live. As I said, if you're listening, what I'd like you to think about that maybe you haven't thought about is this: We are all connected. Because we are connected perhaps now, you will also realize that taking a life also affects you and your life. Killing someone does not solve a problem, it creates a lifelong problem. You are not just taking someone else's life, you are connecting yourself to death forever. In your false attempt to get rid of a person, if you kill another human being, they will be connected to your life permanently. Because you have now made a permanent connection to a person, who you thought you were eliminating them by killing them. They die yes; but, they are always connected to you. You may forget why you killed them, but you won't forget that you killed them. That's what people mean when they say they are being haunted. It's a different type of connection, yes, but they are still an extension of your life story. That's why I think they are called senseless death. They don't make sense to the loved ones, of course, bu the victim is senselessly now connected to his killer or to her assailant and vice versa. Death and grief are extensions. When you're angry or hurt enough to think and act on hurting yourself or someone else, show empathy for yourself, and don't do it. Showing compassion for others, yes, is essential; but since we are all extensions, don't forget that empathy is working in many directions. Empathy over just sympathy is working for you and others. Until Next Time I want to thank you loved ones for listening to Mother's Backyard Buzz. This is Debra Hester, your host, where I pledge to continue to break the silent struggle with grief. Remember: move forward from grief with love and more empathy, less sympathy. If you found the #empathyforgrief podcast helpful, please subscribe to me on Spotify, iTunes or through most podcast providers. Find out more about my mission, at: www.mothersbackyard.com. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Look for "mothers backyard." If you have a question or comment, you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Join me next week when you'll get to know a little more about me and my mission: #empathyforgrief. I'm hoping it will be insightful be
11 minutes | a year ago
What Stages of Grief? - #empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief
Welcome to Mother's Backyard Buzz E7 Here we are at episode number seven of #empathyforgrief podcast where we "break the silent struggle" around grief by unpacking my book: "My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief." We're taking our time, so I'm still unpacking the Introduction section of my book. If you have a copy of the book, I'm sure you've passed where we are. But the whole objective of the book and podcast is about life long learning, reflection, experience, and growth. I know I sound like your local learning professional, and I am. This is Debra Hester sharing my personal grief journey. I'm blessed to be the author and your host of #empathyforgrief podcast. Let's get moving and delve into what I included and didn't include in my book that speaks to this journey we all take called grief. Let's Talk and Walk in Five Stages Do you know the stages of grief? I had heard of them before my mother's death. At that time, in my mind, they were just another model that was created from someone's college research study. After my mother died, and I realized I was on this grief journey, I Googled them. That's when I found out there are five stages of grief that explain the series of emotions a person can experience when they have lost a loved one. What I didn't realize was that there are also seven stages of grief. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Back to the five stages of grief. Just as a refresher, the five stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. They are all pretty straight forward in their meaning except for "bargaining." So for the purpose of our topic today, how I've understood the bargaining stage is that it's an attempt, please note the word "attempt" to negotiate pain away. When I initially learned about these, if I wasn't already in the anger stage of grief, I automatically went there, to the anger stage. I though how dare someone tell me how I'm going to progress through the grief process and come to acceptance. And who says, "I'm angry now and depressed later versus just always depressed. I tell you when I very first looked at this as a resource, I felt helpless. I ignored this entire concept and model because I wasn't following this. This wasn't what and especially how I was feeling. The stages were not tracking with me. I thought that no one was going to be able to help me. Especially if the stages of grief were the best the information age had to offer: just five, looking like a shortlist to me, stages of grief. Seven Stages Forward And Five Steps Back So now, let's move to the seven "emotional" stages of grief. And I think it would be helpful to remember and include in the label "emotional" stages of grief. They start with shock or disbelief. Next comes the same as before: denial and bargaining. We add "guild" and continue with anger, depression, and "hope" as a Part of "acceptance": "hope/acceptance" as the final seven emotional stages of grief. Now, if we count all th terms separately, I would count nine emotions. I definitely went through both the "shock" and "disbelief" stages. And , it wasn't an "either/or" moment; but a both of these emotions. I know its' only a framework, but I can't believe I'm the only person who saw this resource and shock my head in disbelief. So I'm all about breaking the silent struggle around grief and trying to tell you that what you're feeling is normal and you're not alone. So, if you're not tracking or seeing your journey in the stages of grief, you're not alone. It's O.K. A Grief Journey That's Human After I experience the death of my mother, I looked at grief differently. What I'm most afraid of is that many people who haven't truly experienced a grief journey may think that these stages are all there is to grief. These emotions, these stages of grief define how we, the grieving, are feeling and will feel. I know it's an attempt. I want to be clear to my listeners that it is just that: "an attempt" because I am still writing about my grief journey and I'm closer to "words can not explain how I feel." I've found that many things come back again as you move through your grief journey. When the stages of grief returned to my thoughts, I began to wonder and ask myself, are they "stages" or responses to the pain of loosing a loved one? For one, stages made me feel like they were sequential or steps and I had some type of order, like they were placed. There is not specific order, I was so all over the place emotionally. I realized that I don't care for the word stages either. A picture of me on a revolving stage came to my mind. I don't mean to be trite, but let's be real, they are emotional responses. We are human, we have emotional reactions to things. A stage makes it feel like there is some defined period, and then you move on. Not. And most of the emotions seem not very positive, and that was not always true. At times during my grief journey, there was joy, that wasn't about acceptance. There was regret sometimes and , at other times, even a feeling of accomplishment when I found everything that would be my mother's burial outfit. In my MOVE Mapping for Grief Workshop, we spend time talking about exploring this concept to explore and broaden our perspectives on the many unnamed human responses to grief. Numbers Cannot Define But We Can Now that we've discussed the limits of the stages of loss, I hope we recognize that there are potentially many emotional responses. So the question is: Can you use this framework as a way to begin to identify what you are feeling your loved one who is going through this grief journey might be feeling? Like most of my podcasts, it's a discussion that reflects on my personal grief journey. However, I share because I was hoping we could think more and differently about these preliminary stages of grief. Or you know how I like to think of them as: "emotional responses" to the loss of a loved one. So I ask you, what emotional responses have you, or are you going through? Write them down, think about them. What triggers them? How long do they last? Look into how professional counselors or psychologists define them. Ask others that are close to you if they see these emotional responses in you. Then own them, recognize that they are not who you are but what you're going through right now. If you're watching a loved one who is grieving and going through these emotions, it's helpful to realize that they are going through and hopefully not becoming. However, have the patience for them. Remember they're going through a period that is not defined. Show empathy and ask them if you can help in any way. I hope you reflect and have an ah-ha moment. When I have mentioned this to others, they often say, I hadn't thought about that the change I've been seeing because they lost a loved one. So loved ones, I'd like you to watch for these emotional responses that don't seem like the normal you. Write them down, take a note, reflect and talk to someone about how you feel. If you wake up and just feel off, stop, find your place, reflect to see if the root maybe your grief, and then try and use some of the other suggestions that I've made in previous podcasts. I hope this podcast can help you identify or at least look for these emotions in yourself and others. Remember long after the funeral, any of these emotional responses can appear. And when they do, it's an excellent time to show #empathyforgrief towards others and yourself. If you see something different in the person who is grieving, ask them how you can help, if they need to talk it out, if they'd like to share why the sudden change in emotions. Be there for them, be there with them, try and see how you can help them move forward when grief strikes. Grief is Not Just Emotional I want to leave you with one final thought about the stages of grief. These stages are only emotional responses to the loss or death of a loved one. There are behavioral responses, for example, "I can't sleep." There are also physical responses to grief, for example, "I feel sick to the stomach" or "I have aches and pains. They are real too, I am just not addressing those in this podcast. I do share them in my book because I went through them, and I will likely discuss those other behavioral and physical responses to grief at that time. Remember, we are on this grief journey together. We want to move forward and show more empathy than sympathy along the way. Now and Next I want to thank you loved ones for listening to Mother's backyard Buzz podcast: #empathforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief. This is Debra Hester, your host, where I pledge to continue to break the silent struggle with grief. Remember: move forward from grief with love and more empathy, less sympathy. If you found the podcast helpful, please subscribe to me on Spotify, Apple, iHeart and other podcast providers. Find out more about Mother's Backyard mission, at www.mothersbackyard.com. You can follow me on Twitter @mbackyardgarden and on Facebook and Instagram at Mothersbackyard. Join me next week when we talk about "Extensions," did you know grief has roots? Peace and Blessings.
9 minutes | a year ago
Terms of Endearment - #empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief
Welcome to Mother's Backyard Buzz. This is podcast # 6, where we "break the silent struggle" around grief by unpacking my book, My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. I am the author and your podcast host, Debra Hester. Chapter by chapter, I'll move us deeper into what I included and didn't include in my book that speaks to this journey we all take called grief. Why I Didn't Use Family Names Grief is so deep and wide, believe it or not, if you're following along with my book, I'm on the Introduction. I know people don't always read the Introduction, but I want you to read my intro because I share many of my why's theres. I'd like to talk to you in this episode about "why" I used relational names in the memoir instead of my family's actual names or some fictitious names. So let's explore what drove my heart and mind to do that. Who are we to each other? When we say that we know someone, who are they to us? I was going through life accepting or ignoring who people were to me, really. One side of my family had the habit of calling everyone by their birth name. Some of us had two names, and some had three names in addition to your surname. On both sides of my family, most of us were given names in remembrance of one of our ancestors or someone we admired. I believe when we are named after an ancestor, it is an honor. I love this tradition. On the other side of my family, I had a relational title, like "Sister Debra" or "Cousin Debra." When I realized the difference, I started reflecting on how dear that made me feel. When I was grieving that made me feel better, I felt as if I belonged. That relational title strengthened me in way that I never realized before. I don't think I've ever been into many titles. I had a professional title as a director, but no one called me Director Hester. I wasn't a doctor, attorney or minister so, of course, I wasn't referred to by those titles. In the southern part of the U. S., people tend to address you as Miss or Mrs. more than other parts of the country. That felt strange at first, but I eventually got used to it. But none of the titles or potential titles, seem more uplifting than the relational titles. I grew up where my aunts called my mother, sister and my one living uncle, brother. They had first names. At the time, it seemed country and, of course, since I was born more or less in the country, I saw that as less than desirable. But now, I appreciate the relational titles, what I'd like to call, terms of endearment. We often think of terms of endearment as a name we use to address those we have affection for like sweetheart, or sweetie pie (one of my favorite childhood friend's name). I love to refer to my son as my #1 son because he was my firstborn and my only son. My girls, I enjoy calling them darl'ng, that's a New Orleans favorite. And I often hear my daughter-in-law call my grandsons, buddy. Most people spend a lot of time considering what to name their children. I think that is important, but what we call them every day showing our affection is often not understood until we're much older. Those terms of endearment bring us closer than our given formal names. Some languages, like Spanish, have the formal and informal built-in with the use of "tu" for informal and "used" for the formal word "you". So using terms of endearment are important and useful in your grief journey. A Quote From the Movie, Terms of Endearment The words "terms of endearment" was popularized by a movie. Do you remember a movie called, Terms of Endearment? It was a comedy-drama released back in the early eighties. With Shirley MacLaine, who won an Oscar for Best Actress in the film, with Debra Winger and one of my favorite actors, Jack Nicholson, along with Jeff Daniels and John Lithgow. Early on, Shirley MacLain, the mother tells Debra Winger, her daughter, "You aren't special enough to overcome a bad marriage." "but terms of endearment is certainly special enough to overcome its own problems. And I'll add to that quote from the movie: terms of endearment are special enough to overcome and move you forward in your grief journey. If you haven't seen the movie, it might not be obvious, so I encourage you to watch it. Hollywood definitely uses a play on the word "terms" but what I like about the movie's one-liner delivered by Shirley MacLaine, is that it shows the potential power of terms of endearment. Your Special Relationship So why are terms of endearment important on the grief journey? You have a special relationship with your loved ones. Mother and fathers have terms of endearment sort of built in with "Mommy", "Daddy", "Pops", etc. But create what you need for the person who you love and has died and passed on. So often now out of respect, I refer to my deceased mother as "mother"; but when I spoke to her, I called her "mom" or "mama". So more times than not when I think of her now, especially when I miss her the most, I think of "my mom" or "mommy" and that term of endearment fills my heart with love. In my book, My Backyard Garden, I used all the relational family names. My intent was for people to read through and easily change that relationship to whoever they need it to be for their grief journey. On the grief journey, formal names are not what is most important. The term of endearment that only you know you have for your loved one is there now for you and for them. Is it too late for us to feel closer to our loved ones that are living and have passed on? I hope not. Better yet, I encourage you to build informal terms of endearment into your language. Remember the walking stick of love that I mentioned in Episode 2. That walking stick carries us through. It gives us the strength to move on. It is there for us to lean on when we are down and need some help to get up. So are terms of endearment, there to build up a broken hear from the loss of a loved one. Let your term of endearment overcome your moment of grief and fill you with the love you need to move forward. I want to thank you loved ones for listening to Mother's Backyard Buzz, #empathyforgrief Podcast on the subject of "Terms of Endearment." Think about what your term of endearment was or is for your deceased loved one? What brings back fond memories and warms your heart when you call them that name. Or did they have a term of endearment for you? Let me know by leaving a comment on my blog at www.mothersbackyard.org. Next Week This is your podcast host, Debra Hester, where I pledge to continue to break the silent struggle with grief. Remember: move forward from grief with love and more empathy, less sympathy. If you found the podcast helpful, please subscribe to me on Spotify, Apple. #empathyforgrief is available through most podcast providers. Find out more about my mission at www.motherbackyard.org. Join me next week when I'm still unpacking the Introduction of my book and I'll talk about my experience with "The Stages of Grief". Peace & Blessings
7 minutes | a year ago
A Secret Society: SSOGS - #empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief
Welcome to Mother's Backyard Buzz, podcast #5 where we "break the silent struggle" around grief by unpacking my book: "My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief". I am the author and your host, Debra Hester. If you're following along in the book, I'm still unpacking the Introduction. I haven't gotten to Chapter One yet so you're not behind by any means. My goal is to move us deeper into what I included and didn't include in my book that speaks to this journey we all take - called grief. Struggle and grief in the same sentence is not hard to believe. Where there is pain, there is a desire and need to recover, to be without pain. It can be physical injury or emotional injury. Very few recoveries are easy, we struggle. The deeper or more extensive the injury, it seems to be more pain associated with it and a longer more difficult road to recovery. Grief is painful, I felt like it was an emotional injury. In my book, I called it heart-death, heart-break didn't seem to be intense enough for me. I even anticipated scaring as a part of my recovery. In my pain, I felt crippled too. My spirit crippled. I would go out into the world and felt like I had something that was affecting me; but no one else could see it. When you have physical injuries, they are visible. People see it and may respond to it both positively or negatively depending on the person but they do recognize it. How do we recognize grief? How do we see grief and show grief in today's world is what I'd like to explore. Especially in the U. S. and other western cultures. Back in the day, black was the color of mourning; but what is the color of grieving? That ongoing feeling where some days it's there and other days it's not. Do you ever wonder as I do, what do I wear on my grieving days? I could totally relate to when people wore black as a sign that you were grieving. While in some modern funerals, some families decide to wear white; my family work black to my mother's funeral and I only wanted to wear black clothes for sometime after that. But wearing black after a while becomes meaningless as a way to show I'm grieving today. Since wearing black is not the "give-away" for grief, how do we know when people are grieving? Well, what I realized was there is a secret society. There I was, feeling alone, thinking that it was only me and my family and maybe some friends who were on this grief journey. But there is this secret society that emerged. As I wrote in my book, My Backyard Garden, A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief, it emerged out of conversations with strangers. Have you shared with a stranger that you recently lost your loved one? I did and it feels sort of strange at first. I didn't want pity or sympathy from the person. They just happened to be the soul that was present when grief hit me. What amazed me was most, not all had a grief story to share of their own. It was told in a way that said, I understand, it's OK, I've been there too. Each time grief hits in the presence of strangers and it din't always happen that way, I became more and more comfortable and also curious and open to if they would share their personal grief story. It became sort of a mission...finding another soul who was in the secret society of grief survivors. The SSOGS. I can't remember anyone that responded in a way that was hurtful to me. There were people who said nothing so get ready for that. I just moved on and didn't let that awkward moment of silence linger too long. Sharing your loss with a stranger displays your courage to move through grief. I encourage you to try it when it feels right and let me know if it worked for you. I don't want you to feel hurt from it so maybe try it with someone who is in the service industry, maybe who seems to be present, not in a hurry and appears to be concerned about others in general as a start. I'm also open to those who have tried to share their grief with a stranger and had a positive outcome so we can share successful approaches with each other. Or those who have some not so successful encounters and want to share some things we should avoid. Remember we are all on this grief journey together and we want to encourage #empathyforgrief. I want to thank you loved ones for listening to Mother's Backyard Buzz. This is Debra Hester, your host, where I pledge to continue to break the silent struggle with grief. Remember: move forward from grief with love and more empathy, less sympathy. If you found the podcast helpful subscribe to me on Apple or Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts from. To learn more about my mission, check out my website and reach out to me on my blog at: www.mothersbackyard.com. My book is available on Amazon & Barnes & Noble. Please leave me a podcast review on what you'd like me to address from my book or personal experience. Leave comments on the podcast and let me know how you're doing with your grief journey. Join me next Monday when the buzz will be about "Terms of Endearment". Peace & Blessings.
6 minutes | a year ago
Mementoes - #empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief
Welcome to Mother's Backyard Buzz, this is episode #4 - #empathyforgrief podcast where we "break the silent struggle" with grief by unpacking my book: "My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief." What else do we have when our loved one dies? They are not here with us anymore in the physical world. We can't see or touch them or talk with them now, only maybe to them. I do talk "to" my mother. I remember a co-worker encouraged me to talk to her still and I do sometimes. For me it was not talking out loud; but is more of thoughts in mind to her. Talking out loud to your deceased loved one works for some people and not for others. It's strange because sometimes talking to my mother out loud, especially about problems that I'm facing makes me feel as if I'm bothering her with the troubles of this world after she has passed on to a better world. It's as if I hear Mahalia Jackson singing the lyrics to the spiritual, "soon I will be done with the troubles of this world, troubles of this world, troubles of this world." Then I feel a little selfish because my mother is done with the troubles of this world so why am I trying to pull her back into them. It was very important to me to touch my mother one last time and to see her alive. I was very grateful for that. I know many don't even get that chance to physically touch their loved one a last time knowing that they are going to die. Our lives are very different in the physical world now that our loved one is absent from it. So I ask you, can the memory be something physical? If you get something physical that is also meaningful, I believe you're blessed. Some people don't get or have anything physical as a memory of their loved one. It was important to me to have something physical, especially near the beginning of my grief journey. I needed to and wanted to touch things that belonged to her. I think that is why we keep mementoes. Well, I needed something physical as well as a place to hold on to that could bring her memory back to me. Do you have one thing that really reminds you of your loved one? I have a red leather cap that my mother bought once when she travels with me to Las Vegas while I was managing a conference. That memory can come to mind like it was yesterday and when I look at that red leather hat that hands visibly in my closet helps me steady my grief journey. Initially I would put it on, now I can just glimpse at it and the moment comes alive. What do we have in addition to memories when our loved one dies? Mementoes. Do you collect mementoes? Tell stories about them? Like my mother's red cap, mementoes became prompts for me in the physical world. We even make and display collections of memorabilia or mementoes for other reasons. Why not for our grief journey in memory of our loved one. I collect Starbucks geo coffee mugs as a way to remember where I've traveled. There was a long period in my life where I was so busy working and traveling that I had few personal memories. I mean they were being made of course; but, I wasn't recording or really cherishing them. I was starting to realize that my life was moving by so fast that I needed to at least take pictures with my phone each day and review my pictures before I went to sleep to remember the pleasant scenes that I had noticed during my busy day. Now that I'm awake and realized I'm on my grief journey. I also realized that I can now decide what memories and mementoes I want to create. Just as I selectively take pictures of scenes when I travel. I encourage you loved ones to find a way to take "the greatest" with you and express that love through memorabilia or mementoes that you have or something you create in their memory. Remember to show yourself some empathy during your journey or for your loved one who is on this grief journey. #empathyforgrief will help break the silent struggle with grief. Thanks loved ones for listening to Mother's Backyard Buzz. #empathyforgrief. This is Debra Hester, breaking the silent struggle with grief. Remember: move forward from grief with love and more empathy, less sympathy. If you found the podcast helpful subscribe to me on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts from. To learn more about my mission, check our my website and reach out to me on my blog at: www.mothersbackyard.com. My book is available on Amazon & Barnes & Nobles. Please leave me a podcast review on what you'd like me to address from my book or personal experience. Leave comments on the podcast and let me know how you're doing with your grief journey. Join us next week when the buzz will be about " a secret society". Peace & Blessings
9 minutes | a year ago
Memories - #empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief
Welcome to Mother's Backyard Buzz, a podcast where we "break the silent struggle" around grief by unpacking my book: "My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief". I am the author and your host, Debra Hester. Chapter by chapter I'll move us deeper into what I included and didn't include in my book that speaks to this journey we all take called grief. One of my earliest memories as a small child was sitting in church on a church pew. I was sitting about two rows from the front row, in the center section about two seats from the far right hand side of the row. Over the years I have reflected on this scene. Each time I think of it, I think of it in a different way and over the years my understanding of the memory of me sitting in that specific spot in the church on the pew has evolved. Now that was not the only time I was in church. I spent a lot of time in church, especially through high school. At one point, as I reflected on me in that spot, I thought of how my feet didn't touch the floor and I enjoyed swinging my feet back and forth during church without making noise, later, I thought of how I began to want my feet to touch the floor like the big children. As I started understanding more about my faith, I began to realize that I grew up in the church from an early age, I was there when my feet couldn't touch the floor. Then I realized that I also was dressed really nice at an early age in church and I was more fortunate than others to have a family that was able to do that for me. As time passed, when I was in my adult years, I realized that it was there in church while I was swinging my feet back and forth that I started believing in God, a creator and was in his presence and felt his spirit. I felt the love of God before I really even knew what it was. I tell you this story to illustrate how reflecting on memories over the years brings new and continued meaning and remind you that memories will work the same during your grief journey. This was a good and growing memory. It brought forward understanding as I matured. But there have been things that I don't want to remember because they were bad and I felt bad at the time and I feel bad when I remember them now. It's not east to reflect on bad memories and when a loved one dies, we get to choose what memories we want to reflect on. Sometimes the bad ones out weigh the good ones and vice versa; but during my grief journey, I cling to good ones as they relate to my mother. Don't get me wrong, my mother and I loved each other but from time to time, we went through it. In time, I felt ready enough to reflect on the bad ones when they popped up in my mind or when others bring them up in conversation. I realized that so many people have had different experiences with your loved one and they may view your loved one's life differently than you, so get ready not to react to others feelings that may seem to be in direct conflict with how you feel at the time. Grief is a journey of patience, with yourself and others. I tried not to expend too much energy on feeling or thinking about those who couldn't understand when I needed them to understand. In time understanding comes from within. Empathy for your self and others comes from within in time. Sad memories felt like cold rain in my garden; but it was only a period and it didn't kill the good ones. I might venture to say after the cold rain of bad memories, the good memories seemed more vibrant. Where do selective good memories like the one I just shared with you come from? I know...that sounds like a question a child would ask. But I'm not sure why that memory of me in church as a small child has stayed in my mind. "Why do we need memories?" Now, that sounds more mature. Doesn't it? Hopefully, both questions can get you wondering about memories, "your" memories and get you primed to explore your own personal memory banks about you and your loved one. I believe reflecting on memories eventually brings about understanding. What else do we have when our loved one dies? They are not here with us anymore in the physical world. We can't see or touch them or talk with them now, only maybe to them. I do talk to my mother. I remember a co-worker encouraged me to talk to her still and I do sometimes. For me it was not talking our loud; but it is more of thoughts in my mind to her. Talking out loud to your deceased loved one works for some people and not for others. It's strange because sometimes talking to my mother out loud, especially about problems that I'm facing makes me feel as if I'm bothering her with the troubles of this world after she has passed on to a better world. It's as if I hear Mahalia Jackson singing the lyrics to the spiritual, soon I will be done with the troubles of this world, troubles of this world, troubles of this world. Then I feel a little selfish because my mother is done with the troubles of this world so why am I trying to pull her back into them. What do we have besides memories when our loved one dies? Do you collect your memories? Tell stories about them? Now that I'm woke and realize I'm on my journey, I also realized that I can now decide what memories I want to preserve in my heart and mind. Sometimes people complain that when a person dies, we only mention the good things about them. In most cases, I agree. I don't see what value it is to the loved one left behind to remember the bad. The deceased is not affected, only the living. I'm not saying my mother left me with these dark, bad memories but for some who grieve it may be different. So I encourage you to pick good memories to carry with you along the way. No one is perfect. We can't change the past even if we go there in our memories. This is your journey with your loved one from this point forward. Carry good past memories and create new good ones. Yes, you'll create new memories. I realized that when I finally had a dream about my mother; I had created a new memory. I travel to Baltimore and I thought of her and a new memory was created. This Break the Silence podcast is a new memory. My backyard garden continues to grow as long as I breathe life into it with memories. I encourage you, loved ones to find a way to take "the greatest" with you and gain understanding from the memories. Show yourself some empathy during this time or your loved one who is grieving. #empathyforgrief...so break the silent struggle with grief. I want to thank you loved ones for listening to Mother's Backyard Buzz. This is Debra Hester, you host, where I pledge to continue to break the silent struggle with grief. Remember: move forward from grief with love and more empathy, less sympathy. If you found the podcast helpful, please subscribe to me on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Please leave me a podcast review on what you'd like me to address from my book or personal experience. My book is available on Amazon online and Barnes & Nobles, if you'd like to follow along with the podcast. To learn more about my mission, check out my website and reach out to me on my blog at: www.mothersbackyard.com. Join me next week when the buzz will be about "mementoes". Peace & Blessings
7 minutes | a year ago
The Greatest - #empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief
Welcome to Mother's Backyard Buzz, this is a podcast where we "break the silent struggle" with grief by unpacking my book: My Backyard Garden - A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. I am the author and your host, Debra Hester. Chapter by chapter, I'll move us deeper into what I included and didn't include in my book that speaks to this journey we all take - called grief. O.K., we're on this grief journey now. I hope you have a place in mind...remember my place is a garden. I kept coming back to my garden. It doesn't have to be a destination, all this is left to your imagination. So, you might now wonder: What do you need for a grief journey? Have people asked you that question? No, people don't ask you that way. It's verbalized more like: What do you need? Have they told you: Call me if you need me...or call me if you need something. When I first started on this grief journey, so often things that seemed an immediate need also seemed larger and more important than they really were. Now that these needs were not important; but they were not all the things that I would need to carry for most of my grief journey. At first, I was consumed with the now. The things that were needed now. Once all the immediate things or needs were met, you know, the things we traditionally do, like go to the funeral, take care of all the business affairs and personal things that are left, finish talking to family, friends, co-workers, I began to see and think beyond the now. I still felt sad. People talked to me about the stages of grief; but at the time the stages didn't resonate for me. Don't get me wrong, by now I've read about the stages, understand them, think they're insightful and encourage you to Google the stages of grief if you haven't already. I even suggest them in my MOVE workshop design. But it was when I believed I should start to try to feel better that I had this insight. I don't know if this happened to you or your someone that you're watching who is clearly struggling with grief in silence; but if it did, I'll share with you how I handled this feeling of: "I need to start to try and feel better point in my journey". Now, I didn't feel better, it wasn't this fork in the road moment, it was more of: "I'm standing in the middle of the road now; looking forward and back and wondering what now?" And I thought to myself that I can't go back, I can't stay where I am; but where do I go? How do I go? Well, I went with love. That's why I started my book: My Backyard Garden with a reference to a bible verse: "...and the greatest of these is love." Love stands as the foundation of the book: love and its greatness. Love was sort of a walking stick for my grief journey. When I think of love as the greatest and love's greatness, I meant love's attribute: greatness. What a powerful thing greatest! It seems so large, at the front, on top, all around. And in the verse, when compared to faith and hope, to be the greatest of the three? I just have to say: "Wow!" I also think of it as greatness. All I can say is meditate on this thought of love being the greatest for a while and see how just the thought of this inspires you. This greatest thing called love became my greatness during my journey. The love that I had for my mother grew larger than the pain of losing her at times. This greatest allowed me to write and finish this book despite my fears and tears. I believe, loved ones that it is love that will help you through too. Just as I did, love has a greatness that you must depend upon at this time. I will spend a few minutes talking about the greatness of love from my perspective and hope that even after this podcast you spend time meditating on this verse. 1 Corinthians 13:13 which reads: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of theses is love." I don't want to focus on the different types of love. As I understand it, this bible verse was about agape love. We all know what type of love we had for and with our loved one; so I leave that definition of the type of love up to you. I will say that regardless of the type of love, remembering this definition of love can still apply: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. And the truth that I've found during my grief journey is that love is the greatest. Thanks loved ones for listening to Mother's Backyard Buzz. #empathyforgrief. This is Debra Hester, breaking the silent struggle with grief. Remember: move forward from grief with love and more empathy, less sympathy. If you found the podcast helpful, subscribe to me on iTunes or where you get your podcasts from. To learn more about my mission, check out my website and reach out to me on my blog at: www.mothersbackyard.com. My book is available on Amazon & Barnes & Nobles. Please leave me a podcast review on what you'd like me to address from my book or personal experience. Leave comments on the podcast and let me know how you're doing with your journey. Join us next week when the buzz will be about "the importance of memories". Peace and blessings.
6 minutes | a year ago
A Place - #empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief
Welcome to Mother's Backyard Buzz, this is a podcast where we break the silent struggle with grief. I'll be unpacking my book My Backyard Garden, A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. I am the author and your host, Debra Hester. Chapter by chapter I'll move us deeper into what I included and didn't include in my book that speaks to this journey we all take called "grief". The death of a loved one is a struggle that many people live their life with day after day. The cause of death may be illness, violence, an accident, what some may consider too early or after having lived a long life. It may be sudden or expected. Regardless, there can be many heavy emotions associated with the death of a loved one that come and go long after the funeral. Grief is a journey. We the loved ones have a journey ahead that seems to have no end. I'm not here to define what the journey or the end looks life for you. I just want to share my journey and encourage you to share yours with someone. During my journey, I wrote the book, My Backyard Garden and published it in 2018 as a way to say to other loved ones...you're not alone and you don't need to struggle in silence. I also wanted to share with you that I realized that there is a way to move with and through grief... a move journey that is uniquely yours and I share mine with you in hopes that you will find your way to a better place. Starting with the "Introduction" chapter in my book, My Backyard Garden, I used this as an opportunity to express my journey as a greatest love journey. That "greatest" level of love may or may not apply to you; but the grief you feel is still real and will take you down a different road after this person has died and left your life changed. Yes, changed. Different people handle change differently and I really didn't think about the personal change aspect of grief until Started reflecting on what was happening to me. Someway this change creates reflection and that reflection brought forward all types of emotions that I struggled with inside and I knew they needed to come out in a positive way. For me that way was through memories. Part of the reason my book title became My Backyard Garden was because some of my fondest memories were created there; and in my imagination, I'm there always and plan on being there as my life continues. I hope you can find a place of memories for your grief journey. It can be a garden or somewhere else. I'm not sure why I didn't pick a beach because I love beaches too. But one of the first things that I suggest you do is really reflect back and think of what I'll call your garden place and use that place to continue your journey. Why do you need a place you might ask? I'm not going to support this with statistics or educational findings. All I know is that it helped me and I truly hope it helps you because when I lost my mother, I felt lost and alone. I did see a counselor who asked me with much concern after I broke down with tears in her office: "Are you truly along?" Some of us are truly alone after a death; but I wasn't. I had family and friends; but I let that I was because no one could replace that relations hip that I had with my mother. So I felt alone and it's something about feeling alone also make me feel lost because I didn't know what to do about feeling alone. Creating a "place" helped me. Creating a backyard garden helped me. You'll learn in future episodes why the backyard became a special place for me and my mother and I hope you can find and share what your special place is. Send them with your O.K. to post, I'll post them to my website to inspire others at: www.mothersbackyard.com and on social media. So, thank you loved ones for listening to Mother's Backyard Buzz #empathyforgrief. This is Debra Hester, break-in the silent struggle with grief. Remember: move forward from grief with love and more empathy, less sympathy. If you found the podcast helpful, subscribe to me on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. My book is available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and my through my website. Pleas leave me a podcast comment on what you'd like me to address from my book or personal experience. Leave comments on the podcast and let me know how you're doing with your grief journey at Mother's Backyard Buzz. Join me for my next episode when the buzz will be about why I choose the verse "The Greatest of these is love. Peace & Blessings. The special podcast launch code is: LUNCH1MBG. Use it on my website from November 11 - 18, 2019 to get a discounted price on a special ebook version of my book. You can use the downloaded copy and follow along with the podcast.
0 minutes | a year ago
Welcome to #empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief Podcast
[et_pb_section][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text] Grief is a journey we all will take. Join me starting on November 11, 2019 for my inaugural podcast: #empathyforgrief - Break the Silent Struggle With Grief that complements my book: My Backyard Garden, A Memoir of How Love Conquers Grief. We'll continue every Monday there after and share new insights on our journey to a better place. Let me know what you think on my blog: Mother's Backyard Buzz Learn more at: mothersbackyard.org. Author & Podcast Host, Debra Hester [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]
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