Accidentally Intentional

Our Relationship With Grief: How To Heal & "Graduate" The Grieving Process (PLUS Walk Alongside A Grieving Friend), with Grief Coach Sherrie Dunlevy

May 25, 2023 Zoe Asher Season 2 Episode 11
Accidentally Intentional
Our Relationship With Grief: How To Heal & "Graduate" The Grieving Process (PLUS Walk Alongside A Grieving Friend), with Grief Coach Sherrie Dunlevy
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Grief is a hard topic, but unfortunately a necessary topic as well, since we will all experience grief in our lifetime, and probably can think of someone who currently is grieving as well. Our relationship with grief impacts how we show up in all of our other relationships, so I have brought Grief Coach Sherrie Dunlevy onto the podcast today to help improve our relationship with grief,  and how to best show up and support others who are grieving as well.

To learn more about Sherrie's work, click here.
Are you ready to graduate grief? Take the quiz here.
To learn more about Sherrie's "Graduating Grief" course, click here.
Get Sherrie's book, "How Can I Help?" here!

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Remember, you're worth having and building relational wealth! The connection you’ve been looking for is on the way, and it all starts by being Accidentally Intentional.

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70% of people do not have a single person that they can call in the middle of a crisis. Let's face it, we are relationally broke. And my mission is to make that percentage zero. But how? By building relational wealth, the embodiment of all your relationships with yourself with others, and experiences that enrich your life. I promise you this podcast will help you build wealth in every way that money cannot. And it all starts by being accidentally intentional. Let's begin. Hey, what is up guys, and welcome back to another accidentally intentional podcast episode. Now before you clicked into this, and are hesitating thinking, I don't know if this is for me. The reason that I believe this conversation is for everybody today is because if you are currently not grieving, a loss of somebody that you care about, you know, somebody that is grieving, and this is going to be a transformative conversation for both parties. And so I am honored to have joining us today, Sherry Dunlavy. And she is a grief coach and international speaker. And she is not only an author of the book, how can I help, which you'll see behind her, if you're watching on YouTube. And it's a guide that helps people who are walking alongside someone going through grief. But not only that, she is also the founder of the graduating grief Academy and has a podcast called graduating grief as well. So her biggest passion is to help people through the grieving process. So Sherry, welcome to the podcast. Well, thank you so much. I'm really excited to be here. And you know what, I'm really excited to reach an audience your age, because I think it's really important. All of us know someone who's going through a tough time. And grief is associated mostly with death. But we are grieving all kinds of things that we might not consider it being grief. And so, you know, just knowing that can make all the difference in the world. Yeah, I totally agree. And I admittedly, am someone who would say, is not good at walking alongside people who are grieving, I just don't know what to say. It's uncomfortable, it feels awkward it. And I don't want to say the wrong thing. So I unfortunately, always err towards the side of saying nothing at all. So there's a ton I want to get into. But I think a great starting point would be how on earth did you get passionate about grief, because I don't really know a lot of people out here saying, you know, something that I love to talk about grief. So I'd love to kind of hear what made this set your heart on fire. I don't really love to talk about grief. But I feel that I am able to talk about grief. And it's important to talk about grief. And I don't shy away from it. And so I feel like because so few people do talk about it. And I have the skills, talents and abilities and gifts that God gave me. And I feel like he's calling me into this work. Now, that being said, I don't feel that I am really talking about the darkness of grief. Rather, I feel I'm being led to offer hope and healing. There's a big difference there. Because sometimes things can get attached to that pain and lay in decay in that darkness. And I feel it God has chosen me to say Sherry, you've been through this now. And you've you've gone through on the journey, and you've gotten to the other side, and you still can see that life is beautiful, that life is meaningful, that is impactful. And so it's beautiful, and you can enjoy it and love it again, even after your worst pain. So what I want you to do is to shine that light on hope and healing and say be kind of like the guide that says people this way, come this way, come this way. So that's why my husband and I lost our son back in 1999. I was a television news anchor at the time, it was a very public loss. And at that same at that same time that we lost our son, my husband and I also lost some of our closest friends at that time. And that's what a lot of people will say they will say when they when they've had a profound loss in their life, that there are some people they just thought would be there that slipped out the back door and never showed up again for them. And then there are other people that were like angels on earth that came forward that they would have never suspected would have helped them be you know ever. Most times those are people that have been on this journey prior They know the importance of helping people through this journey. So when you lose a child, or when you lose someone that you profoundly love, or something that you've profoundly loved. A lot of times you feel very isolated and alone, and you feel like you're the only one. So, you know, we, we felt like we were initiated into this club of parents who've lost a child. But a club we never ever would want to gain admittance to. But we were never so thankful to find that there were other members that could help us get through this. So that's a long way of saying that we've lost some of our closest friends. And when I was talking to people through the years, I realized that we weren't alone in that. And it didn't matter whether it was a death, it could be a divorce, people don't know what to say, people don't know what sides to choose people, you know, it could be a cancer diagnosis where people who have who have been diagnosed with cancer have told me that they felt as if they were contagious, and people had to stay away from them. And they were profoundly affected and hurt by that. And so that happened to us, I found that it was happening to other people. And six years after my son died, one of the people that had abandoned us, just called me out of the blue and said, she was thinking of me and wanted to know what I was up to, and made no mention of us losing our child, or how we had adjusted or how we had gotten through or how she had just, you know, like, I thought she was going to say to me, after my son died, I've got a sitter for the kids hold on, I will be up, you know, I'll be there for you. And what I heard instead was I'm sorry, I can't do this. And I didn't hear from her again. And then six years later, I'm on her mind, but she wanted the old sherry. And we just didn't, you don't get to do that anymore. So you can really ruin profound relationships by stepping back and fear. And so you have to decide what kind of friend you're going to be what kind of support system you're going to be. And I know that might be painful, because you were saying that you know you, you are one of those people that steps away. Don't feel condemned. Don't feel guilty about that, because you can always do better next time, right? So my thought processes on this is it's better to show up awkwardly, it's better to show up and say the wrong stupid thing, then to not be there at all. Because when you're on our end, there's nothing worse than not only feeling the loss and darkness of your grief. But then it being compounded by the darkness of abandonment. Does that make sense? Oh my gosh, so much sense. And I appreciate you sharing so vulnerably. And going into that detail. Because when people think of grief, they think about it just like a snapshot, if they're watching someone go through it, they don't realize the layers of loss that go along with that. So that's really helpful. I guess I want to have you frame up for us in your mind how you would define grief. I do the graduate in grief podcast. And there is a grief expert named Dr. Phyllis Kaminski. And she gave me a definition of grief that I like to use because I find that this is all encompassing and it's true. Grief is is what we feel when we lose something or someone we love dearly. So if we use that definition, that could be a job that we lost a career that we lost. It could be school year that we lost, it could be the pandemic, you know, the pandemic I would, it would be safe to say that everyone had grieved something or someone even if you did not lose a single soul to death. You lost something you lost a school year you lost a wedding, you lost a family vacation, you lost a job, or marriage the way you were used to maneuvering in the world. Right now I'm working in home healthcare as a marketing representative and what I'm finding is there are a lot of our elders who are grieving the loss of their independence. grieving the loss of how they were used to living their life. That's happens when we're injured, you know, a friend of of a neighbor of ours across the street, you know, the boys in his senior year and first game of the season, he falls and breaks his leg. And so he lost his whole senior sports season. You know, and he was a contender for scholarship, you know, an athletic scholarship. So, you know, these are all things that we can grieve that people don't realize, or describe or identify as they're going through it the feelings and emotions as grief. That's a really helpful distinction might get my next question along with that, because you're talking about identifying it is how can someone identify if they are, in fact grieving, and I know that we have a lot of misconceptions we have to talk about next. But if someone isn't really sure, if they are grieving, and maybe I've heard that grief comes in waves, you know, so it could appear and maybe look like something else. But what is something that you've used to help people understand and identify in themselves that the root of whatever they are experiencing, right now is improved. There is no one size fits all, that's the thing, there is no one size fits all and the out, you know, the people looking in are seeing it as sadness and crying, and isolation. Depression, okay, but, you know, someone comes to work. They've got a game face on or a mask on, you know, they're holding it together for work. So they're smiling, and they're going through the motions, then they're getting out to their car, and they're doing the cry, right? So you might think, well, they're fine, they look fine, they seem fine. So, Grief can have many faces and many masks because it can be crying, it can be sadness, it can be isolation, it can be anger, it can be rudeness, it can be brain fog, it can disconnecting, compassion, fatigue, like you just don't have like, I had three in 2021, I had three losses. And I was just formulating the graduating grief Academy, just launching it. And it came to a point where it was like, I have no room for any help healing anybody else right now I haven't I have too much on my plate. You know, I lost my dog. I lost my dad, and I lost my best friend. It was like boom, boom, boom. And then dealing with the repercussions from then the stressors of my father's death, which was taking care of my mother and she wanted to move and the legalities. And sometimes we don't even like the first year passes. And we feel like I haven't even grieved yet, because you're taking care of the business of death, your case, or cancer diagnosis you're taking, you're just on your regimen of what you're going to be doing for your treatments. And, and trying to, you know, hold down your job and get your kids to school and do all these things that you haven't even had time to like, go this is what is what's happening to me. So it can last a long time. It can be delayed, it can be immediate. And then there are some people, especially if you've lived with someone cared for someone watched someone disintegrate through dementia or Alzheimer's, that you've been losing them a little bit at a time. So you've been grieving all this time, so that by the time they have died, three months later, you might be ready to get back to life. And people were like, they were just they just died three months ago. How could he be wanting to date again? How could so we can't judge it because that's called anticipatory grief, and they might have been grieving for 10 years, you know, and wanting their life back so we cannot judge someone else's grief. We cannot compare our grief to anyone else's. You know, I have my aunt Tell me. I don't grieve what's wrong with me? I don't think there's anything wrong with you. It's how you process things, but there is a physicality, to grief. There are physical things that actually happen in your body as you're grieving. You you can't remember things you have brain fog. It feels like your your mind is mud. You you can't make decisions you lose confidence in decision making. So there's illness your immune system is, is drained and compromised. So you can catch every illness that comes down the pike. Okay, so those are, you can't sleep, sometimes you can't eat. There's just so many physical things, then there's emotional things that are going on, there's mental things that are going on. So there's just all these things happening. You're trying to process and your brains going to work trying to make sense of the senseless. That's why people have a hard time. It's trying to make sense of the senseless. And so we don't want to accept it. We don't want this to be our life right now. It's so we fight against it, and we make ours. And the more we do that, the more we concentrate on the question, Why me? Why my son? Why did he have to suffer? Why did it have to be so long? Why did it have to end this way? You're never ever ever going to get an answer. That's going to be good enough. Oh, okay. Well, then that's good. I'm glad you took them, Lord, right. It's never gonna You're never gonna get an answer. That's acceptable enough. So So I tell people, why is it a circular question that's never ending. And you'll never get out of the grief cycle, asking why? The question to ask is what now? What do I do now? Lord, show me what the next step is here. What do I take? What's the next best right step? I love it. I can't change what happened. Yeah, I don't like what happened. I hate what happened. But some people are so ingrained, if I can't have my life back as it was, I will never be happy. You know, and, and I say you're wasting your life. You know, because it would have been very easy for me to sit back and be very angry at God and say, You took my son, and I will, you know, but I didn't want to get to the end of my life. And God say, Sherry, would you do with that? 5060 years I gave you after Brandon died? Well, what do you think I did? You took my son, I didn't do anything. I'm so mad at you. Oh, my gosh, I gave you 60 years of life. And that's how you use that gift. I don't want to get there I want. My son lived for 29 days. And his life mattered. And it made an impact. His life chapter was 29 days, that was a chapter in my life. If his life can make an impact and 29 days, then how was I going to live the rest of my life? What kind of impact what am I want to make? Do I want a positive impact or a negative impact because how we live the rest of our lives, we you know, God, we're here for a reason, and a purpose. And as long as we have breath and our heart is beating, we can pour into other people. I just want to make my son proud. I want I don't want to waste my life, this gift that God gave me. Yeah. That's beautiful. Thank you. You know, as you were sharing a couple of those things I picked up on you talking about going through the grief cycle. And also, you said that it can last a long time. But what I noticed that you didn't say was, it will never go away. Can you explain your thoughts on grief? Does grief come to an end? And what is the concept of graduating grief? Mean? Does grief come to an end? Well, it depends on who you talk with, if you on Instagram especially. And what I found in support groups online, is there are a lot of people that have a lot of pain. And there are a lot of people that will feed that pain. And I believe that you can graduate from the pain and suffering of your loss. And you can step back into living and loving your life again, so that you can live with purpose and passion and joy. So I believe that's possible that you can graduate from the pain of your grief. It's the end. That's why I didn't believe that before because we are taught, grief lasts forever. Or time will heal all wounds. And both of those are contradictory. So if grief lasts forever, than time is not going to heal that wound and there are so many people that are waiting for time to heal the wound that they're sitting around. And it's five years later, it's 10 years later and they're not feeling any better. So you can graduate from that pain you can complete the grief cycle grief does not have to define your life and it can come to an end. Now, that doesn't mean that I do not miss my son, it does not mean that I do not miss my father does not mean that I still don't shed tears at certain memories, okay? Does not mean that a wave of grief will come over me, it means that grief is not in the driver's seat of my life anymore. I have completed the grieving process. And now, I'm just a human daughter and a human mother, that misses someone they love that aren't here anymore. And there's a big difference. But there's a lot of work that you have to do to do that. And that's what I do is I guide people through that work. It's a, it's an eight week process, but you can complete your grief. And then you can reorganize your new life you never chose. But you get to choose now what you're doing, it's almost like you get to do over. And some things fit back into this new life. And some people fit into this new life, and some people don't. And some things don't I changed my career a year after my son died, I realized that, that television career was was no longer suitable for me. So there are a lot of changes and see people want to hold on to the sameness. But it can never be the same. And you can never be the same. You can never be the same. I love that you can take people through that process in just eight weeks time. And I know a lot of people are hearing that right now thinking that's a dream come true. I need that. I need that because I've just been sitting here grieving, which begs my next question, in your mind, what does a healthy grieving process actually look like? A healthy grieving process to me looks like feeling your feelings first of all, okay, so you have to feel it. And then saying, I want to feel better. Again, I don't want to continue to feel this way forever. And if we don't allow those feelings, if we don't, you know, feel we cannot heal. And so we have to find a way to, to feel those emotions, to feel what's what's going on to come to this acceptance of what's going on. We might not like it, but we have to accept this it is it's what happened. They're never coming back, we may meet again, they're never coming back. So I help people with that whole process. I help people also process the things this the silly things that people might say to them. And I help people say the things that maybe they didn't get a chance to say. Or, you know, because some people, we always assume that people are grieving, because they loved someone so much. But sometimes they're grieving. Because they've had a horrible relationship with someone. And now that person will never change, they'll never have the hope of having that relationship that they wish they had a mother that loved them or husband that you know, love them or, or whatnot, right? They never got to say that they the dad that left and never came back. Well, now he's dead, he's never coming back. So then that dream has died as well. So you have to come to the realization of some of those things. So sometimes people are grieving. Things that they wish would have happened in life that never did. And so we have to, we have to work through those things as well. Yeah. Wow. You mentioned people saying some pretty bizarre and crazy things, too. In their attempt to help someone who's grieving, what are some wrong things to say? Or do with I don't say wrong in my book, how can I help? I have helpful and not so helpful, okay, because it is, you don't know like when people would say to me, Oh, he's in Jesus's arms and never offended me. And well, you know, it just was like, or he's an angel. I like to think of you know, if he can't be in my arms, Jesus arms, that's a great place to be I love to have had him in my arms first, though, you know what I mean? So that's, that's what I'm saying is sometimes we can say these things that even are the most religious person. You know, I remember one lady, she said, he's not better off, he's not better off at all. He was better off with me taking care of him nice Six Feet Under in the cold ground. He's not better off. You know, she was very angry about that. So that's what I'm saying is people say these things, because they don't know what to say. Yeah, people say these things because they think they're comforting. Okay? And they're awkward at it. It's like, imagine, you know, like that first time you had to ask someone on a date, or something like it's your, you're nervous about it. But the more you do it, the more you find with it, okay? If they say yes, if they say no, you know, no big deal. You get more comfortable with it. So that's why we're so awkward. We're awkward about because no one was talking about death. No one wants to talk about dying, no one wants to talk about grief. And so that's why we're so horrible at it. That's why I wrote this book. We're horrible at it. So fine, go back just a little bit. The reason I wrote this was after that girlfriend called me six years later, thank goodness, the anger left my heart and curiosity filled instead. And curiosity was what was that about? And then I started Googling and going to Amazon and walking into physical bookstores looking for some kind of book like, and I don't know why I was thinking like, Well, I do send it to her. This is how you should have helped me, you know. But every time I would look, I would have this calling. And it would say if you want this out there, you know, you can look all you want, but until you write it, it's not gonna happen. And that's why I tell people the difference between a calling and a good ideas, the calling never stops. And, and so that's why I wrote this book, because I figured three I came down to what's it about? People either a don't know what to do, or say because it's never been modeled. To it's too close to home, you know, I was having I was of childbearing age, my friends were of all childbearing age. They're all having babies. They're all having taught they have toddlers at home. And now they know someone whose baby died. And now that means, oh, my gosh, it can happen to me like it's so frightening. Or it's so frightening to see someone you love so much hurting so much. And peril and you don't know what to do. So you can be you can freeze because we are as humans, you know, fight flight or freeze. So a lot of us freeze, you know. So it's too close to home. We don't know what to say or do or we're afraid we're going to do or say the wrong thing. So I think you've hit on all of them, right? So I always say it's better to step out awkwardly than to not step out at all. So, I always tell Grievers, these people are doing the best they can so you can choose to be offended by what they say. Or you can just know that this is what they're doing, to try to offer you comfort and support. So you get a choice of how you receive it. So Grievers have some responsibility in this too. And so when as to what not to say some of the things that people say, yeah, go to the visitation, go to the visitation, because Grievers will tell me, they might not know who all was there, but they know exactly who wasn't. So you think it might not make a big deal because you didn't really know Sherry's dad. So you know, I'm really not going to go because I really didn't know her dad. But you know, Sherry, and you know, it's going to mean something to Sherry, or I know Sherry's dead, but I don't know anybody else in her family. Go because you've shared a part of that person's life that his family needs to know and hear about, you might have a story of how that person impacted your life in some way that they would never know about. And so you're offering them such a gift. So my dad was a welder by trade in the steel mill, and then he retired. So I knew a lot of the steel stories, right. But after he retired, he became an instructor at a local community college. And so all these young men were coming forward. Your dad changed my life. Your dad gave me such encouragement. I was you know, I was lost in life. And I didn't know what your dad gave me the career that I have today. Things that I mean, those were golden gifts. They gave us things that I never knew about my dad and the impact that he made. So it does matter. Go to the visitation. Don't judge the way Someone has a funeral service or doesn't don't judge place your values on someone, oh, well, you know, hey, we're gay. And so I, you know that that's not really their husband, I'm not going to go to the visitation. I had one person in my book, her, the only dad she ever knew, was never married to her mom. And when he died, well, that wasn't your dad. Okay, so she got really very little condolences, very little comfort and support from friends. And then people were saying to him, well, he wasn't your husband. You know, so they felt judged. They felt alone. And they felt very hurt. So, sometimes we pass our judgment on in those instances. So and one of the things that I think all of us have said, and still say, and I have to stop myself, if there's anything I can do, let me know. there's anything I can do for you. Let me know. I always would say that because I meant it until I lost my son. And then I realized, I don't even know what day of the week it is, and you want me to give you an assignment. I'm not doing that. And I doing I have no, I don't know what I want. And then I was thinking about, you know, the older generation, and, you know, the widow, and she takes care of the inside of the house. And he always took care of the outside of the house. And she doesn't know that the lawn needs mode, until she goes outside three weeks later in the grass is this high, or he doesn't know that he needs clothes laundered until he runs out of underwear, right? So there are things that you know, like people don't know what, what they need right now, right away. So I always say, I'm an end to end when I've spoken to many audiences. There are many people who say, well, that's just something people say, so they don't do anything. Like that's just lip service. And then that made me feel bad, because I have said that because I truly meant it, you know? So a better way to say that phrase, is to offer three things you're willing to do? Can I go to the grocery store for you? Do you need someone to take the pets for a walk? Do you need anyone to make phone calls for you? Can I come over mow the grass? Can I bring dinner over for you something you're willing to do? Offer, give them a give them a choice, you know, three, two or three things of things you're willing to do. And if they say no, say that's okay, I'm gonna call you back in two or three weeks. See, if you need anything, then. And then you can offer the same things. But by then they might go, Oh, my God, you know what? The leaves they need raped, I never even realized this the snow, I can't get my car out of the driveway. You know, those, they might say that. But you might also offer that kind of service. But what I'm saying is do something that you're willing to do, don't do something you don't offer something you're not willing to do. Because if they do have the courage to ask you, and you don't follow through, that is very damaging. It's very hurtful. That is so helpful. And I think there's a couple of things that I picked up on that I think was so helpful is even just talking about follow up in two to three weeks, which is after the wave of condolences are over. And now they're setting settling into their new reality. So I think that's so helpful. And thank you for giving us a new language and a new way to be able to come alongside people and something else I wanted to touch on was you hearing these stories about your father, and I'm thinking of so many people that are afraid to talk about stories and memories, because they actually think that's going to be harmful? They don't want to be reminded of that. What would you say to people that have that thought process, say their name, tell the stories, you know, they're not going to hear them any longer. Right? Those are gifts and everyone's afraid I'm going to make it worse. I'm going to make them cry. They're crying anyhow, they're upset anyhow. And those tears, those memories, those are healing. Tears are healing and we tell our stories, as we grieve and that helps us heal. So yes, tell those stories. They will want to hear them say I have a story. I would love to tell you about your dad if you want to hear it. I would love to share it with you You, or write it in a card, or send a picture, or send a, you know, a message on Messenger or whatever, you know, anything that can give them a piece of that person back and especially a piece that they didn't know is honestly it's, it's, it's truly a gift. It's truly a gift. That's so freeing. Hearing that because knowing that sharing an experience with someone in that way is actually comforting to them, I feel like just unlocks another layer of of empathy for people on the other side. So thank you for helping me understand that. Sure. And the thing is, is that that's what people you know, like, this is what I do a training around the holidays all the time to help people get through the holidays, as they're grieving. And I always tell Grievers, you'd be the one to bring up their name, because that lifts the lid of permission, if you say their name that's going to allow other people to say their name to and let them know that it's okay to mention Joe, it's okay to mention Brandon, it's okay. And it doesn't mean that you're not going to cry doesn't mean that you're not sad that they're not here. But that's how you still keep their memory alive. And you know, no one's going to say my son's name. So, you know, I want to say his name, I want to say, Brandon, you know, I'm not going to hear that name. So someone says it, that's a gift. That's a gift, what I do what I do, you know, Brandon's life continues to make an impact, because I continue to talk about him and introduce him to people. And so, you know, his life is still impacting people today. And he never left the neonatal intensive care unit back in 1999. So, you know, this is a gift that keeps on giving. Our people matter lives matter. People matter. They don't disappear, just because they've died. Wow. Wow. That's beautiful. I also just want to say right here that I'm so grateful for Brandon, because look at how many lives he has impacted. I hope so, so many years. I mean, even just this conversation alone has has greatly helped me. You know, this is an interesting question. But you brought up this example of someone who has been grieving for so long while the person was alive, for instance, Alzheimer's, being part of it, and then being able to quote like, bounce back three months later, what does it look like? To know that grief does not have a hold on you any longer? What are some markers of I am in a really healthy spot now? I can say their name without bursting out in tears. I have a quiz actually a graduating grief.com backslash quiz. And it's how do you know that you're ready to graduate from your grief, you are starting to look forward to things in life. You have hopes, dreams and plans again. You are seeking out support. You want to enjoy life. A lot of times what happens is there are people who want to enjoy life, but they feel like everybody's looking at me like the first time that I laughed after my son died. Oh my god, what kind of mother would that be? That is laughing her son died for God's sakes. Why is she laughing? So we feel like we're under this microscope that people are looking at us and judging us and telling us what and I don't know who they are, right? But it just means that you want to live. The whole idea behind graduating grief actually came when I was in a support group. And after like, I went in, because I wanted to start feeling better. And I found this community and they helped me navigate through the first Christmas without your child and the anniversary dates. The first Mother's Day, Father's Day, all those things were so helpful and so wonderful. The problem was, is when I came in and my husband came into the group, we started to progress. But then more new people were coming in and then there Pain. And then we would have to tell our story again. And it was, it got to the point where I wanted someone to tell me now how to live and start feeling better. And there was no beginning there was no end. It was like this perpetual group knew people were constantly coming in. But there was no way to cycle out. And I, one day I said to my husband, I don't want to go back. And he said, why they're lovely people, I said, they are lovely people. I needed to graduate. But I still needed some support, I needed to graduate, but I still needed someone to help me step back into what life was going to look like now. And to deal with the guilt that you're having, and the fear that you're having, and all the other ancillary things that surround you, as you're grieving and trying to start this new life. So when I'm looking back, that's the feeling that I have is ready to graduate. So that's why I say graduating grief. And stepping into this life, and we're here to support you as you do that. And so, and the funny thing is, is that I just, that was very at the beginning of I left the group, but I didn't, I created what I needed, I didn't have that support. And so I just thought, well, this is as good as it's going to get. So I described my life as living in deep grief and darkness. And then when I thought I had gotten through when I had left the support group life, I was living life. But it looked, I was living life through a lens of sepia tones. And then I found a grief coach who walked me through this grief completion. And now life is in living color again. Wow, that's the best way I guess I could describe it. And so I think there are a lot of people that are living in sepia tones, just like I was, I lived in sepia tone for 13 years. I didn't get this. I didn't it was 13 years after my son died that I went through this process. Wow. And that was 1011 years ago, something like that. So that's why I'm so passionate about it is oh my gosh, it can get so much better. And no one knows that it can. Very few people that it can. And I want to be the messenger that yes, yes, you can have your life back. And that's what so I guess that answers your first question. That's why I'm so passionate about it. I love that. And I'm floored because I can just hear people literally exhaling just like that, after hearing this conversation, knowing that it doesn't need to stay this way. No, but you have to choose it. We have a decision to make. And we have a choice. And a lot of people don't realize that we have that choice. So you have to know that this exists. And then you have to choose it. And the sad thing is there are a lot of people that won't. And that's I think this the part that breaks my heart the most. Yeah, yeah. But the great news is that we're going to help that choice because in the description below, I'm going to have the links to not only the quiz, but also the How can I help book and the eight week course so that you know that there are resources, there are tools and there are people out here that want to come alongside you into this healing journey. Sherry, thank you for everything that you shared. This has been so impactful. And I wanted to ask one where can people find you and then also anything else that we didn't cover that you would love to share? Well, yeah, I Sherry dunlavy.com That's that's where you can go to find out about my speaking my courses, my workshops, things like that, because I'm an inspiration. I call myself an inspiration Easter I want to inspire people to live their best lives, no matter what their past where so that's, you know, and then I had the graduating grief because I realize that grief can hold you back from living in that way. So it's like so if you want to find out about my quarters, my workshop of courses and are invited me to speak you get to share it in living.com If you want great grief resources and blogs and links to the podcast and to find out about the graduating grief Academy, go to graduate and grief.com but if you want a positive grief support group, go to graduate in grief on Facebook and what do I mean by positive support group remember I was telling you people They everybody brings their pain. Well, we allow you to bring your pain to our group. But what we don't allow you to do is feed the pain where you have to feed hope and healing. So for example, you would come into the group and you would say, I just lost my dog. I don't know, you know, I feel so horrible. Like, I It's the worst pain I've ever had, and no one seems to understand me. And then, you know, you go on to some of these other groups, and they will attack you because you lost your dog. And that's not that's not a human and you can, you can compare that kind of grief. And these people become angry and they end is pain upon pain upon pain. We don't allow that. Yeah. If you come in with your pain, we're going to say to you, you know what, I'm so sorry, that you lost your dog. I when I lost my I was devastated. I'm so sorry. I did this. And this really helped me, why don't you try this and see if this will help you. We support each other, we can empathize. And we can love on one another. But we are always going to uplift and always point people in the direction of hope and healing, we are going to if you have fallen, there is going to be some kind of hand that's out, outstretched ready to pick you back up. That's what my group is. So it's different, it's different, because a lot of anger does come with grief. And a lot of times when you're angry, that kind of approach can make you angry or. But that just means that you're not ready for this and that's okay. But make no mistake about it, we are always going to try to lift you up and point you back towards the light. Always. And then graduate and grieve or how can I help you you can get on Amazon or you can get it at Sherry dunlavy.com. I love that. And you know Dr. John Maloney, who is also a guest on this podcast, he always says the quote, grief demands a witness and everything you're saying today points back to this is you are worth healing. You are worth having incredible relationships as you go through this. And you are not meant to do life alone. And that has become abundantly clear after this conversation today. So Sherry, thank you so much for the gift of your experience, and your vulnerability and your heart and your time because we're so much better because of what you've shared with us today. Well, it's been my pleasure. Thank you so much.

Intro
Sherrie's Story and How She Became Passionate About Helping Others Who Are Grieving
How Sherrie Would Define Grief
How To Know What Grieving Looks Like
Does Grief Come To An End?
What Does A Healthy Grieving Process Look Like?
What NOT To Say And Or Do To Someone That Is Grieving
Should We Share Stories About Someone Who Passed Away, Or Does That Make Grieving Harder?
What Are Some Markers Of Someone Who Has "Graduated" The Grieving Process? (How To Know You've Stopped Grieving)