EP 90: From The Archive – The Summer of Intentionality

EP 90: From The Archive – The Summer of Intentionality


Tami: [00:00:00] Welcome to the 100% guilt-free self-care podcast with Tami. Hackbarth the podcast here to remind you that you matter to hello friends. We are almost at summer, which means it’s time to talk about. The summer of intentionality this week, we are at episode 61. And before we get to summer of intentionality, I want to remind you that we have a sponsor and her name is Tami.

Hackbarth the 100% guilt-free self-care coach friends. I have four spots available for one-on-one coaching, AKA the satisfaction sessions. I will tell you more about it. During the show. All right. Episode 61, the summer of intentionality. So I don’t know, a decade ago, my friend Rosie, Molinari who I interviewed in episode 11 and reviewed her book.

Beautiful. You in episode 10, don’t quote me on that, but it was buried. Early on Rosie introduced me to this idea that she learned from a friend, either in high school or college. And that was every summer, his family challenged him to come up a list of things. He wanted to learn things he wanted to do and things he wanted to read.

And here’s the thing. This list. Ever since I have known Rosie, which is about a decade, I have been making a list of things I want to do. And it’s not like the yucky stuff you have to do, like clean out your basement. You know, it’s like fun stuff, like go on a road trip or in the case of, if you ask a nine-year-old they’ll say spend the night at grandma’s.

Right. So it’s, so the to-do list is things that you want to do. The, to read list seems pretty obvious. And the to learn list means that your mind is engaged all summer long. So why did this thing catch on with me so much that I have kept this tradition alive for a decade. And that is if I’m not careful with my time.

I will spend all my time scrolling on social media and get nothing done. So I will ask you the question. I asked the Facebook group this morning, and that is who do you want to be at the end of the summer? We’re in a weird summer space because a lot of us are still working at home. A lot of kids are still at home.

And as we were sitting around my breakfast table the other day my family and I agreed, it feels like we’ve already had summer vacation because we were together the whole spring. But now we’re actually having real summer vacation, meaning that we are going to be together all summer, but now we have to come up with lists of things to do so.

I want to challenge you during this time. And every summer to come up with a list of things that will help your time feel really intentional. So if, again, ask yourself who do I want to be by the end of the summer? And if you want to be somebody who can play two songs on the piano, you better put, learn how to play piano on your list.

If you want to be someone who is well rested at the end of the summer. What actions do you have to put on your list in order to make that dream of being well-rested come true? So I’ve been doing this for a long time, so I’m just going to go right into my list of things I want to learn. So. For summer 2020, the things that have made my list so far.

Oh, one thing I should mention is that your list does not have to be exhausted. Your list doesn’t have to be everything you ever wanted to learn in your life, nor do you have to finish everything on your list. This list is just a reminder to make your actions match who you want to be by the end of the summer.

Okay. With that in mind, my, to my, to learn list. Includes how to play cribbage. At one point, I knew how to play cribbage. I have completely scrubbed my brain of that knowledge and we are a huge board games, family. Like we play board games several times a day, even during the school year. I know it sounds weird, but we play in the morning.

Now we play at lunch and we definitely play before bed. So we are board game fanatics and. My daughter got a cribbage board. It was sort of aspirational. It was like somebody should get her a cribbage board. And then she’s like, I have no idea what this is. And I thought, I totally don’t remember how to play.

So I’m going to learn how to play cribbage. We’re going to play, learn. I’m going to teach my nine year old, how to play a very old school board game called Scattergories. Why you say a, because I love it. It’s one of my favorite games and too my dad and step-mom have that game at their house. And then we can play that on zoom because they have the same game at their house.

Three. I’m going to learn how to be more anti-racist in my actions, because I’ve been doing a lot of reading for like, Decades. And my bookshelf is already fairly diverse and I’m adding titles as you know, Every day, because I’m a fast reader I’ve been using the library and as anti-racist titles are coming in, I’m getting all this information, but here’s what I want to say.

And I know a lot of you are doing that too. It’s now, when you have the knowledge, then what do you do? So I’m going to try to figure out some tangible actions that I can take to help dismantle all of the systemic. Racist problems that we have. So mine will most likely be. Because I’m a big choose your lane kind of person.

Mine will most likely be in the voter suppression and the getting out the vote area. But I need to take actions. I need to learn which actions would actually be helpful because people who aren’t me have been taking these actions for decades. And I need to get in there and learn where I can be a soldier in this war against racism.

I need to learn how to take better care of my back and my neck, because I don’t get those monthly massages for nothing friends. I miss my massages like nobody’s business. So Kate, if you’re listening, I love you. I miss you. I can’t wait to get the gang back together. And finally on my to learn list is I’m a member of social curator, which is Jasmine stars.

Group coaching program. And I feel like I never ever use all of the resources and I want to learn how to be more effective by using Jasmine stars class that I’m already in. And if you aren’t a member of social curator, go check it out. Cause she, if you want to build your business on social media, Jasmine star is amazing as a coach.

Okay. Other ways I plan to learn the summer is to catch up on some documentary watching and film watching. So I’ve added a 13th Selma and just mercy to my watch list. Yeah, there’s a ton of great anti-racist and pro black films. And right now in June, 2020, they’re all. Most of them are free and readily available on Netflix and Amazon prime.

So let’s get to watch it. All right. Let’s have an ad break.  this show is brought to you by satisfaction sessions with Tami Hackbarth now satisfaction sessions. You may be wondering what is that? Well, it’s a fancy way of saying I help you. Find more satisfaction in your life. These are one-on-one sessions.

We worked together for six months and you think she’s, that’s a really long time. Why such a long time to which I say. Because it takes a long time to create the plan of what you want to have accountability to go after what you want to have some stumbling and to get up and to have somebody there to support you all the way through to your goals.

You can find out more about satisfaction sessions on my website@wwwdottamihackbarth.com. And that’s what I’ve got for you. Again, I’ve got four slots open for July. So if you would like to work with me to make your 2021 rock way more than 2020, go ahead and hop on over to my website and get on my schedule for 30 minutes.

Are we a good fit session where we can talk and see if I can be of help to you? And now back to the show. Okay. So I explained the notion of the summer of intentionality, and that is Rosie learned this from a friend who then took it on her life, who shared it with me, and I’ve been doing it for the last 10 years.

And the, and again, we’re creating lists of things that are going to support who do I want to be at the end of the summer. So I had a big to learn list. And here’s what I’m going to tell you. Some people might be like, Oh my God, I can’t possibly take on such a giant list. I’m not asking you to take on a giant list.

This is my giant list, because remember I work at home. My family is at home and summer is typically kind of my slow season. So I have a lot of time in the summer that maybe you don’t have. So if you are somebody that has. An eight to five or a nine to five or whatever those hours are. We, if you have a regular job where you’re clocking in 40 hours, maybe you put like one or two things on your list to learn.

I’m going to have a bunch because I’m ambitious like that. And I’m also super comfortable. And this is going to sound funny to some of you I’m super comfortable with not meeting my goals. I know it’s weird, right. But hear me out. I want to put ambitious goals out for myself because then I’ll reach further and achieve more than if I only put on my list, what I think I can achieve.

It’s a little food for that. Okay. So I gave you my to learn list. Here’s my to-do list. We’re going to do this and be like, God, this is, I don’t know how you’re making this sound really like the sexiest less. So remember this traditionally is a list of things that you want to do, like go on a road trip or spend that on your grandma’s or go fishing or this or that.

Well we’re, this is all at home stuff. So you ready? I’m going to do daily exercises for my neck and my back that had been given to me by my amazing bodyworker Kate, and I’m actually going to do them. Crazy. I know to do ti again, back and neck health are really important and I apparently have forgotten that.

And now it’s time to take back over daily cleaning schedule and teaching my kid how to clean. I know some of you are like, this sounds terrible. Remember, this is my to-do list. Not yours. I can’t think of anything better than teaching a young person. How to be a successful roommate. When they’re young, I’m going to tell you, you’ve never found a more enthusiastic helper than somebody who is under 10.

All they want to do is be your friend, be around you and be more grown up. And I’m like, Oh my God, I could teach you skills right now that you can take with you forever and maybe make you a great roommate while you’re a child. I’m going to do that. Okay. So we’re going to go back to daily cleaning, otherwise known as.

The tidy, the 15 minute tidy that I learned from Carly of tidy revival, episode 16, I believe. We’re going to get back into that. And then we’re going to get into the nitty gritty of actually doing all those things, like moving furniture and cleaning around it and taking things down. And we’re going to do some deep cleaning.

Also cleaning suits me. This is pretty anxious time. So it seems like a good idea. Okay. Earlier this year I started putting together some ideas for a book. I want to write a book. So if I’m going to write a book, I should probably put it on my to-do list and actually. Tell you my lovely listeners that I want to do this, so maybe we’ll actually do it.

The other thing I want to do is I want to revise all of the copy of my website because I think it’s time. So big, sexy to dues, lots of writing and lots of cleaning and lots of exercise. The last list on the summer of intentionality is, Oh, Let me go back to this on your to-do list, make it things that you actually want to do.

Not stuff that you think you have to don’t should on yourself, but things that you’re actually like, I want to do that. I want to write a book. I want to do these exercises. Maybe yours is, I want to use my hammock. I want to make sure that I make ice cream with the kids, or I fly a kite or any of the, anything that you think might be fun or supportive or nurturing or nourishing for you, put it on your list.

And again, we’re not going to try to check off every box on the list. We’re going to be a bit aspirational so that we can lead a bigger, more intentional life this summer. All right back to my reading list, which I think is really funny right now, because I always have like 20 books checked out of the library, at least.

So this summer I am reading, waking up white by Debby Irving. I already started it. I’m reading. Royal holiday by Jasmine Guillory. I am reading self-compassion by Kristin Neff. Yes, I’ve already read that, but boy, do I need to keep at it? I’m reading. Don’t overthink it by Anne Bogle. I’m reading, reclaiming our space by Feminista Jones.

I am reading the memo by Minda Harts. I’m reading why we can’t sleep by ADA Calhoun. P S it’s all about. Gen X women it’s actually really it’s. I like it so far. I’m reading the art of showing up by Rachel Wilkerson Miller. I am reading the new Jim Crow. By Michelle Alexander. And that is just the beginning of my reading list this summer.

And if you have interest in following along with what I’m reading, please hop on over to good reads and you can find me@tammy_athotmail.com. That’s my that’s what I’m signed up in. Good reads as, so there you have it. I have a, quite a long list. I’m also reading a lot with my kid. Because we’re at the precipice of her becoming a really fluent and enthusiastic reader and she just needs that extra support.

So I’m doing lots of paired reading with her this summer. All right. So I’m going to ask you again, who do you want to be at the end of summer 2020? And what actions will you take to be the person that you want to be? So get a piece of paper. Get a pencil, write down who you want to be, then write down what you’re going to do, what you’re going to read and what you’re going to learn in order to become the person that you want to be.

That’s my summer of intentionality for 2020. I hope you’ll join me in setting aside time to read, to learn and to have fun. All right. This is probably a good time to tell you that I am taking a summer break from the podcast. If you are curious about what episodes I think you should go back and listen to, I would love to tell you so first things first, my break I’m taking, so I can actually spend time with my family so that I can.

Lounge around in my hammock and read a lot and really recover from a really intense spring where we did distance learning at my house times two, I need a break. So that being said, I will be back in September and I will still be on Instagram. I will still be in the 100% guilt-free self-care Facebook group.

If you would like to join us there, you can go to www.tamihackbarth.com/episode 61, where you will find. Your invitation to the shown up or invitation to the Facebook group and the show notes. I would love for you to go back and listen to any episodes that you met, that you missed. We have an entire Enneagram series that includes recommendations for your Enneagram type for self-care.

I would go back to the beginning and maybe listen to the foundations of self care. A series that is in episodes. One to 10, I would go back and listen to the episodes I did with Meagan Morgan and Rosie Molinari and Cashay Jackson Henderson and Alicia summer. I will be sending out my newsletter every week, this summer.

And I will be linking to shows that you should check out. So if you’re not yet on the newsletter list, you can go to the website and sign up there. All right friends, I am very much thankful that you have been with me for this first year of podcasting. And I’m looking forward to seeing you again in September.

And, or in the Facebook group. And until then, here’s your reminder that you matter too.

EP 89: Our Favorite Grief Resources with Michelle Marlahan

EP 89: Our Favorite Grief Resources with Michelle Marlahan

Michelle and I both have huge stacks of resources at our desks and we wanted to take today to let you know some of our favorites.

Show links:



Tami: [00:00:00] hi, Michelle. It’s lovely to see your face. Hi Tammy. It’s so good to see you. So we are, I’m feeling very sad. We are coming to the end of our grief road. 

Michelle: [00:00:11] We’re having some grief about the ending of our 

Tami: [00:00:14] grief series. A true story. I think we might have to do like a redo at some point, maybe a seasonal tune-up because I have very much enjoyed.

This podcast series and I’ve gotten so much feedback that people are like, wow, thank you for doing this. Like, this is really like a lot of people, like, I never thought of it like this and the other people are like, I haven’t had anybody to really talk to about grief. I didn’t know. That was a thing.

And other people are just like, thank God. Somebody’s finally having the conversation about don’t be a Dick when other people are grieving, because it’s terrible. 

Michelle: [00:00:55] And just to remind her that none of this. Has been, or is meant to make you feel badly about yourself for things that you have done in the past when you didn’t know.

Otherwise, like I have heard from a few people who have said now, I just know what an asshole I’ve been, but you know, we’re all doing the best. We all have this intention. Of course, we don’t want other people to. Be hurting and in pain. So we, none of us have been taught really great skills. So if you haven’t been taught, you don’t know you’re doing your best, and now we can just practice doing a little bit better every 

Tami: [00:01:28] time, a hundred percent.

And also, I will just say, I fully plan, maybe not plan, but I fully expect I will be a Dick to somebody in their grief in the future. Absolutely because I don’t know about you. I’m not perfect. Even though I have a giant stack of resources sitting on my desk, as I know you do too. So one of the things that I wanted to do.

Is, I want you to share your favorite grief resources with me because hello, I am that person. That’s like, oh, what are you reading? Let me get it. I’ll do it. What are you listening to? And I will do the same for you. And then of course, anyone@anytimecancomeovertotheshownotesatwwwdottamihackbarth.com slash podcast.

You can find any of the, get better at grief series. And you can leave your favorite grief resources there so that we can, this is like a, when you go out on a date with somebody that somebody, knows it’s like a pre it’s, like a pre-approved credit card slash a date. We’re pre-approving these books and resources of like, these things worked for me at one time, they might work for you.

You might get it and be like your resources. Suck. But, I doubt it. And of course I’m like I have some nonspecific grief resources that help with grief also, which I’m going to include too. So Michelle, why don’t you get us started? What are your things that you’re like, these are my go tos. 

Michelle: [00:03:07] I know that we’re going to have a lot of crossover.

So before I found. The book it’s okay. That you’re not okay. Which is probably one of my favorite resource resources. Now I, I know that we both love it so much, and that is such a great book because she just talks about it in like our language and has a lot of great tips, a lot of great stories. It’s all very relatable, very real.

Love it. Love everything about it. Before that, Some of my favorites were, 

Tami: [00:03:43] Broken 

Michelle: [00:03:43] open by Elizabeth lesser. And I read that so many years ago and it’s not real, right. It’s not really a grief book per se. But that’s, it’s a wonderful book. The wild edge of sorrow by Francis anything actually by Francis Weller.

He is incredible including like interviews and whatever you can find with him. I think he was on our favorite Bernie brown podcast. So, yeah, he’s great. The other side of sadness, which I know is one of yours as well. The dance of anger by Harriet Lerner. Love me some Harriet Lerner. She was also on our gals 

Tami: [00:04:29] podcast.

We just got to bring Bernie up straight away, but Bernay and Harriet Lerner are like buds and whenever they talk, I’m like, oh, Oh, hello friends. And we get 

Michelle: [00:04:40] to live smart friends. Oh yes. Amazing. And yeah, I, I love everything of Harriet’s. I love the dance of anger related to grief because it really does allow us to access this much shamed emotion.

Tami: [00:04:57] So 

Michelle: [00:04:58] for, there are a lot of books, we’re not talking really specific. Types of loss. There are books for death by suicide, accidents, crime. So of course my sort of specific area is pregnancy loss. And one of the books that helped me so much is called a silent sorrow. And I’ve really.

I really like held on to that book for some time. So I’d say those are the books and yeah, I, there are also some other resources I’ll just like kind of quickly go through. There are a few good websites. What’s your grief, which I know we both love refuge and grief, which is Megan Divine’s.

Website, and then compassionate friends that is for family, family loss, and then the creative grief studio, which is where I did my creative grief training. And they have a website with just resources. They have like support resources as well as. Resources for people who are in grief. So, that’s a great place to check out.

And then actually I have a few articles written that are on the yoga, anytime blog, and we’ll link to those because that’s where the unexpected symptoms of grief is surviving the holidays and the Christmas and Bush. When, when grief hijacks, you.

Tami: [00:06:37] I love that we have a bunch of crossover. So when I read the subtitles of Elizabeth lesser and Megan Divine’s books, because it’s like, it’s like, it’s like the perfect painting. And then you’re like, I made it more perfect. So broken open subtitle is how difficult times can help us grow because a lot of people don’t don’t know that there can be tremendous growth after loss also.

There does not have to be a silver lining on your, this fucking sucks situation. Just so we’re clear, but there can be that being said, I loved broken open. It’s okay. That you’re not OK. Meeting grief and loss and a culture that doesn’t understand. And I have to tell you, I tried to read this book before tests died and I was like, Oh, there’s so many words or so many things.

And then the moment that I was in acute grief, again, I savored every single syllable, another book. I love modern loss and it’s just it’s essays by people who have lost. Significant others family. I was like, again, I feel seen bombed people here. A book I absolutely love because I’m like Enneagram.

Like I like me some categories. Like, how do I fit in? So a book that Anna sent me and I guess jelly is the five ways we grieve finding your personal path to healing after the loss of a loved one. So when this really helped me, because then I could see how, when I lost my mom, how my brother was grieving, what kind of griever was he?

I could see how other people were grieving and I could be like, ah, ha. I see what you’re doing over there. You’re not wrong because you’re doing it differently than me. There are apparently a number of ways to grieve and the author is Susan a burger, and it really helped me be way more compassionate with people in how they do things.

Allen D Wolfelt PhD, this guy, he is. What is he? He has a center for loss and life transition in Colorado. He’s got a whole series of books and this guy was recommended to me because I was specifically looking for resources to help my kid grieve. Because she was very close to tests. And now she’s at an age, like when we lost my mom, she was still a very literal thinker.

And now she’s getting into the more abstract because, oh my God, when you kids don’t get it, they don’t get death and tell eight, nine, 10, before that questions come at you, like here’s a favorite. Your mom’s still dead. She’s that? That was like literally for years. And I’d be like, yeah. Are you still sad about your dead mom?

I’m like, yeah, I am honey. She ever coming? No, she’s not. She cause you know, it’s like your brain can’t handle that cause it’s not ready. So this was the first significant. Loss of somebody that she had a very close relationship with. And so this guy, Allen D Wolfelt has books for like how to grieve with kids, how to grieve the loss of a sibling or a spouse or suicide or whatever.

And so, and they’re kind of formulaic, there’s like very little text on the page, a quote, an action. Oh, my God. I was like, why is this guy in Colorado? My new best friend. It was so comforting to get these books to be like, oh, okay. I only had to take a little bit of action today. I only have 3% reading comprehension and how can I help my kid?

How can I help myself? So another book that we got Because I of course asked the internet and the internet. It’s very like, let me tell you what help my kid. And that is the healing book facing death and celebrating the life of somebody that you love by Ellen Sabin. And so it’s a book where you’re, there’s writing prompts.

And so it’s all about feelings. And then there are remembering things and pictures and. It’s it’s super helpful because it’s like an activity book for kids. 

Michelle: [00:11:17] Yeah. So just to punctuate, it’s a kid’s book. 

Tami: [00:11:21] Yes. This is a kids book, but I have to say, I don’t think it would be terrible even as a grownup to get this because a in acute grief let’s be real.

I’m not smart. I don’t know about other people, but I’m like, no, nobody’s a real adult, but also if you’re somebody who’s like.

Not doesn’t have a PhD in feelings like myself. Like you might need some prompting to be like, okay, what does this all mean? How do I feel? How is this affecting me? So this, this book has been very helpful for our family. And then our friend Holly Holt dropped off the, the grief forest, a book about what we don’t talk about.

And. It’s it’s a picture book. And it’s for kids. I just air quoted for kids. I got it. And I sobbed my eyes out. It was so, the simplest thing can make a really deep impact. Yeah. I feel like it’s one of those, one of those books. It’s very sweet. And then not specific. To grief. I loved Megan.

Morgan’s the end of me because she’s had three near death experiences. And so one of the things I think that comes up for people, especially when they’re losing someone that they love from death is their own mortality. Yeah. And you’re like, what is even happening? So I have had, in my experience, these giant moments of clarity about like, why I’m never doing XYZ thing again, but like it’s as clear as day, like this will never happen again because you see there’s brief glimmers of.

Your person died in parentheses. You’re going to die too someday. So make use of the time that you have stop messing about. And I feel like that’s a really good book and Megan’s a great author and you can hear her voice in it. She’s she’s lovely. And a friend of ours it’s fabulous. Radical acceptance, embracing life with the heart of a Buddha.

I mean, there’s nothing more. Humbling than being like, I can do nothing. I there’s nothing I do. It’s doesn’t matter how good I am, how well I grieve how much I love it doesn’t matter. The fact of the matter is, is when you’re a person has gone, they’re gone. Now, of course, this is, from the agnostic perspective of like, We’re starting to see orange butterflies, which I’m like, I think that might be test because she’s hanging around when we’re like having a meal and stuff, but like, there’s no amount of like, she’s not going to walk through my front door.

Right. And that really bums me out. But again, as this practice of like, God, there really are only. There. Well, there’s only two guarantees birth and death. I mean, people say death and taxes, but I’m like conceivably, you actually could, commit tax fraud, but you can’t cheat death. Right. And so radical acceptance.

And then another one that people are going to be like, what, why grief? Why, why are you talking about this and the grief resources. And that is the power of receiving a revolutionary approach to giving yourself the life you want deserve by Amanda Owen. Nice. And the reason I bring this up is as culture, we’re very individualistic, right?

Like where the, the lone cowboy who’s going to ride into town and save everyone on our own. Like the American motto myths is what that’s called. Right. But the I, but the thing is, is like, yeah, I have not yet gone through grief alone because I’m too busy needing people to feed me care for my child helped me with paperwork or whatever, the like logistical things.

And so unless you have a recognized practice of reciprocation between. Friends and intimates. Yeah. 

Michelle: [00:15:43] If those parts of the podcasts have been hard for you or made your little prickles stand up, then that would be a great 

Tami: [00:15:51] resource, a great resource. And towards the end, it does get a little wooo not going to lie to you.

So take, take all of these resources with a grain of salt, take what serves you, leave the rest, and then maybe later other things will come, but this book helped me. Stop feeling like I have to do everything on my own and be some sort of expert about everything. Which is hilarious because I’m like, let me eat all of the information I can about grief.

So you mentioned what’s your grief, it’s a website and it’s highly searchable. So you’re like grief for blah, blah, blah. There’s probably an article or a podcast and it’s a podcast and it’s a podcast. So if you’re, if you’re not reading with your eyes, as a lot of people did not do increase, they would like to read with their ears instead.

That’s a great resource. There is a documentary about grief that now I can’t remember what it’s called, but if you go to The refuge and grief website, there is a documentary, I think it’s like, so we’re talking about grief or something. And after test died, I sent it to a bunch of friends who were also experiencing the same loss and they all watched it and they were like, wow.

Yes. It’s, it’s like an hour long documentary, kind of what we’re doing here with moodier lighting. Very professional. What’s your grief also, what’s your grief? And I don’t know if it’s specific. I don’t know if it’s going on this year, but one of the things that helped me is they actually had a free grief in COVID class because grieving during a pandemic, when you can not be around, anyone was its own special bucket up.

Flame and poop. And so it was a great class. It was on like one of the online platforms. And so, but it was also interesting because it was a collaboration between the grief professionals yeah. Of what your grief. And I think like the funeral directors association or something like that. So they had put together this online class rice, and of course I’m always going to sing the praises of bereavement support groups.

Through your local hospice or health system. Both drop-in groups, as well as close, closed groups, which are for a specific amount of time with a specific facilitator where your people are the same. And I know I said this before. Just because you try it and you hate the people in the group doesn’t mean that that’s not for you.

It means that particular group is not for you. You may find solace in a different group or a different facilitator. So don’t give up if you’re like, okay. It turns out I hate these people because 

Michelle: [00:18:46] I also want to mention the Douggie center because that’s, they do amazing work again around lost within families.

And they have a podcast called grief out loud. 

Tami: [00:19:00] Yeah. And the Douggie center is for it’s or adolescent grief like kids and adolescents, but there’s tons of stuff for families and they’re in Portland. But again, the pod, the podcast is really well done and they have tons of resources. Another one is the national Alliance for grieving children has a lot of resources and Sesame street.

If you have really little kids, if you Google like death and Sesame street or grief and Sesame street, of course the people at Sesame street and have handled this well kind of like how back in the day, Mr. Rogers handled big issues, like grief, divorce, war, assassinations, all of that. Well, right. So there’s resources for whatever stage of life you’re in or.

Or whatever stage of life, the people around you are in and how we grieve at eight is going to be different than how we grieve at 18 or 28 or 38 or 88, whatever. So your grief needs and resources will probably change over time. 

Michelle: [00:20:09] Yes. And I just want to throw out as well, like we’re. Giving all kinds of ideas of really fabulous pre-approved resources that we have loved, or that have helped us.

And also like you can’t read your way out of grief, like if that’s kind of your process, if a part of your process is being really engaged in that way and, learning and relating and getting information. And if that’s a part of your process, great, but I’m, I’m also a fan of like pick a book.

Just throw darts at a wall of all the ones that we’ve outlined and just pick one and let that be kind of your guide post. And for me at this point, I would say it’s okay, that you’re not okay. Is probably that book that I would recommend for that purpose. But you know, it could be any of these.

And so. You might be the person who tries to, have a little library or you might be the person who’s just like, I’m going to try one of these books and if it works, it works. And that’s what I’m going with. Also, if podcasts are your thing Our friend and everyone’s best grandmother, Pema, Chodron, like pretty much anything by her also speaks to grief because well, she’s Buddhist and they just do it so well with the suffering and whatnot 

Tami: [00:21:43] detachment.

So, oh, I forgot one. And that’s one. I specifically listen to that. I was like, boy, I could have used this, like. In my late teens in that is anxiety, colon the missing stage of grief, a revolutionary approach to understanding and healing, the impact of loss. And the author is Claire Bidwell Smith. And I thought, I read it.

Then I was like, no, really this could have come in handy. And you’re like, but you guys said the stages aren’t for it. Well, the good news is that Claire reels you in with the stage of grief and then says that’s for the dying and just spoiler alert. The stages are still not a thing. And I was, cause I was like, don’t ruin this book for me by being wrong about that.

And then she was like, just so we’re clear, I’m clear that that’s for the dying. I just like to pull people in with the title, right. Well, the stages 

Michelle: [00:22:46] aren’t real, but anxiety is, 

Tami: [00:22:48] oh my God. Anxiety can really wreak havoc when you were in loss. Yeah. And show up 

Michelle: [00:23:00] as so many 

Tami: [00:23:00] things as we’ve talked about. Yeah.

Yes, it can. Yeah. I’m laughing because I’m like, I call it Well, my anxiety button gets stuck. I’m like somebody can somebody unstick this, please resign peanut butter around my anxiety button. And why is it so sticky now? Yeah. Can you think of other other resources for folks? I think, 

Michelle: [00:23:32] I don’t want to overwhelm you with too many options.

I feel like we’ve given some really good things. And in addition to just this whole series, if you go back and listen to any of the prior episodes, sort of, like, oh, well, right now I need this one in this situation, or, oh my God, I need to hear about the symptoms again. Any of them are going to sound different.

You’re going to get different things out of them. Each time you listen to them, just because of how much our brains can take in and how much it kind of blocks. So I think this is an amazing resource for 

Tami: [00:24:05] people and know, thanks for saying that. And again, for tons of feedback that other people that are not on the microphone right now, also think that but one other general.

Guiding principle for just not feeling like shit is the book self-compassion by Kristin Neff. Yeah. And Chris or also has a bunch of self-compassion books. And again, it’s that idea of like, you’re practicing mindfulness, you’re paying attention to like, like where, where you’re losing your shit. And perhaps you’re not.

Talking in hyper hyperbolic language. When you’re talking about yourself, like you’re the worst person in the world, and maybe you’re not also thinking that everyone, except you has their shit together. Perhaps other people. On the inside. Look as messy as you are on the inside. And that we’re kind of all bumbling through this together, and sometimes we’re better at it and sometimes we’re worse at it and we’re making repairs and amends and we’re kind of trying our best.

Michelle: [00:25:19] Yeah. Just the fact that we’re human and we don’t like to think about being human as being really, really messy and often extremely uncomfortable and full of polarity and contradiction. And so just know that however it is right now is you are doing it right.

Tami: [00:25:44] Michelle says you’re doing it right. And I will, I will let you know that, how we say that in my house. And I know I’ve said it a million times on the podcast and that is, we’re all doing our best. And sometimes even your best sucks, but that’s what you got right this second. So just roll with your best.

You’re like I’m doing my best and. So is everyone around us. So maybe somebody is doing their best when they’re starving. They’re like, I’m so hungry. Now I’m hungry in that moment of hanger, you’re doing your best, right? You’ll probably do better after you have a sandwich, right. Or sleep or whatever it is that you’re currently not up to what you need.

Right. If you’re doing it consistently, you’ll probably feel a lot better. 

Michelle: [00:26:32] The compassion piece is huge, starting with self and then extending. It’s just, it’s like a basic life skill that should be in elementary 

Tami: [00:26:43] school. Yeah. It’s it’s pretty funny. Cause then I was like, but then teachers would actually have to have that skill too.

It’s like, cause you can only teach what you know. Right. And so it’s like, well this would be a revolution if we had it and somebody was teaching it and then we could all, but you know, we could all practice it and then imagine how different the world would be. If it was more passionate. 

Michelle: [00:27:12] I was just thinking that like, can you imagine the revolution that would 

Tami: [00:27:15] happen?

Yeah. I just want to say one thing and it’s both patting me on the back and Michelle on the back, and I do want to take this opportunity to say, Hey, Michelle, thanks for doing this with me. Hi friend, would you like to come on my podcast and times or row? That’s like kind of a big ask and she, of course was like, yes, cause I’m here, but we have rescheduled recording this particular show.

Are we up to like six times? 

Michelle: [00:27:47] Yeah. And I, I’m not even sure. 

Tami: [00:27:51] I, I honestly am like, it might be conservative to say we’ve rescheduled at six times and the last one. Michelle thought I was dead in a ditch. Cause I just didn’t show up. Which I don’t know if you guys don’t know this I’m super reliable. So Michelle was like, no, really?

Are you okay? 

Michelle: [00:28:10] Like, are you, are you okay? Is everything 

Tami: [00:28:13] okay? Turns out. It’s like, I completely erased my mind and left the house. And for the first time in my life did not bring my phone somewhere. 

Michelle: [00:28:26] I mean, it was hot. You had to go 

Tami: [00:28:27] swimming. It did, it was hot. I had to go swimming. Yes. But I also had rescheduled this thing like three times in a week.

So I guess I was like, we’re never going to record it, but, and here’s the good part. I felt really bad because I was like, I worried my friend and crap. Now we don’t have this show, but then my daughter said the Sage you’re going to just have to forgive yourself. It’s okay. That you made a mistake. And I was like, who is raising you down there dearly 

Michelle: [00:29:01] clearly?

Tami: [00:29:02] Yes. And where did that come from? And can I get a little bit of that? 

Michelle: [00:29:06] She is, she is a little Sage. 

Tami: [00:29:09] I mean, she is indeed. She touched them. They’re a big stinker, but sometimes she busts out some good stuff. So the children’s. They are, they are wise. They are wise sometimes. Any parting words before we go.

Michelle. Well, 

Michelle: [00:29:28] I, just for people to reach out, if they want to reach out to us, follow us on the IgG or, reach out, leave a review on the podcast of course. And 

Tami: [00:29:40] share it with your friends and family share it. 

Michelle: [00:29:43] Absolutely. And, and yeah, I, I don’t really have any parting words just other than thank you.

Thank you for the courage. To the people who have listened to this. Thank you so much to you. Obviously my grief bestie for being surreal and making this happen and letting it be in the world. 

Tami: [00:30:02] Thank you. So where can people find you online? You mentioned Instagram. I met Tami Hackbarth and you are 

Michelle: [00:30:09] Michelle Marla 

Tami: [00:30:10] Han.

We’re so close for, with our naming. And if you guys want the show notes for the show, or just want to learn more about the work that I do in the world, you can find me@tamihackbarth.com and where can we find you? Michelle? 

Michelle: [00:30:23] Golly, try Michelle Marla 

Tami: [00:30:25] han.com. So, again, we’re super clever with our naming. So Michelle has tons of grief resources on her website.

She does do a creative grief work with people. So if you would like to explore more grief work specifically with Michelle, go to our website, check out our offerings, follow us on Instagram, reach out. And like we said, we would love to hear from you. We would love to hear about your grief resources.

And if you have questions hit us up on the gram or you can check us out on our websites and until next week, remember that you matter too.

EP 88: Taking Care of Yourself in Grief with Michelle Marlahan

EP 88: Taking Care of Yourself in Grief with Michelle Marlahan

Today we are going to talk about some grief-specific self-care and things that we can do on daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, so that we can be in this space where we’re deeply caring for ourselves and other people during times of grief at loss mourning.

Show links:



Tami: [00:00:00] Welcome back to the, get better with grief series with Tami Hackbarth and Michelle Marlon, your grief besties. Oh, we’re excited. I finally got the intro here. We’re going to have to keep doing this cause the intro came way late, but here we are better and better. Michelle, can we talk about some grief specific self-care and things that we do on daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, so that we can be in this space where we’re deeply caring for ourselves and other people during times of grief at loss mourning.

Michelle: [00:00:44] Yeah. So how we care for ourselves around like in our, in our grief, how we care for our grieving grieving selves grading practices. 

Tami: [00:00:55] Yeah. Yeah. 

Michelle: [00:00:57] We’ve talked a little bit already about grief, adversaries, anniversaries of big dates. And I think those markers are really important. I would say just like getting those on the calendar.

So that you kind of have a framework. And actually in the last episode you were talking about how it’s not uncommon for those things to be concentrated in even one or two months or a season. So, getting that on the calendar so that you kind of forecast that and prepare yourself and maybe your other 

Tami: [00:01:30] people And I would say even maybe set a calendar alert for the week before that it’s coming.

Oh, for sure. So that you’re not like, why is everything feeling so weird the few days before the few days after, because it’s not necessarily like, you’re not have your grief alarm. Right. You’re not like there’s not some thing going off, like this is the day, but there is something about like how the light changes.

Cause my big grief month is March and that’s when like the light starts to change the seasons changing, the leaves are coming back. So there’s like so many like physical reminders. Allergies are starting. You’re like, is it COVID or is it allergies? We’d like to play that game. At least we have this the last two years.

So yeah, so, and, and going, maybe I’m not going to do my most creative work during that time. Maybe I shouldn’t do an audit with the IRS on the anniversary of my mom’s death, yup. 

Michelle: [00:02:35] Yup. That’s right. I think when they are on the calendar, it does give us, like, I have an anniversary coming up in June and I’m trying to plan some work things and I have it on the calendar.

And so it’s like, oh, okay, Saturdays. Oh, Nope. Not that Saturday, but if, if it wasn’t there, I mean, I probably would remember, but. In 10 years while everyone will probably still remember, but there are some dates that you just might kind of overlook and in a rush, you schedule something. And if that works for you, that’s fine.

I like to personally take those really kind of core grief bursaries off of my kind of day to day stuff and do more of that self-care practice that you’re talking 

Tami: [00:03:17] about. What’s interesting is I like to just give myself the freedom to see what comes up in some anniversaries. I’m like crying and other days I’m like kind of fetal, like eating a burrito.

Right. Kind of feel like watching a movie. Do you know what I mean? It’s like, totally just let whatever bubbles up bubble up. Instead of being like. I don’t have to make it super, like I light a candle at eight 30 and then I do this thing. It’s just, I, I give myself space that if something big bubbles up, I do it, but I’m probably not gonna, put a job interview or even a podcast interview on a big day, because I don’t know how it’s going to show up for me.

Yeah, absolutely. 

Michelle: [00:04:03] Yeah, I think, and that just sort of depends on your personality, some days a real planner and that feels very soothing. Then you can totally plan something out, leaving room for, you don’t really know how it’s going to go and the big secret, I’m not sure if we’ve let this big secret out of it, out of the bag yet.

I can’t remember. But the big secret is the days leading up to are often harder than the day of thought is not uncommon for there to be this anticipatory anxiety and emotion. And then the day comes and it’s like, oh, well, I’ve worn 

Tami: [00:04:39] myself out. Yeah. It’s sort of anti-climactic by the time it gets there.

Michelle: [00:04:44] Yes. I mean, it doesn’t always happen, so that might not happen for you, but that’s been a really 

Tami: [00:04:49] green. Like, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re like, I feel something’s Brewin. I’m not sure what it is, but it, it should, when you head to the calendar, it’d be like, ah, three days from now is a big, big grief aversary for some, and it doesn’t have to be the day that your person died or the day you lost your job or got divorced or decided you were getting divorced or got the diagnosis.

It could be. The day you were going to do this thing with your person, or you were supposed to go to this conference on behalf of your company that you’re like, fuck them. I don’t work there anymore. Right. And so it’s, 

Michelle: [00:05:32] I comes in so many forms. Just dates that are significant for you, dates that you remember that stick with you.

Those were the important ones to acknowledge and give yourself a lot of space around. So one of the things that we have talked about is ritual and. Bringing some kind of a ceremony or, something that feels a little more sacred 

Tami: [00:06:01] to what do you mean by ritual? 

Michelle: [00:06:04] Yeah, so I’m, I’m saying like ritual and ceremony sort of as, as a similar thing as, as a similar category, but I mean, something a little more.

Formal and by formal, that could just be, now I’m going to go to my candle and I’m going to say a few words that are coming to me right now. I’m going to light my candle, sit quietly for 60 seconds, and then I’m going to go on about my day. Like I would call that a ritual, a ceremony might be something a little bit more involved.

It might be a little more planned out. It might involve other people. It might involve props 

Tami: [00:06:45] the elements of 

Michelle: [00:06:46] nature or important objects. So 

Tami: [00:06:51] is that helpful? Yeah, totally. And so one of our rituals is We light a candle for tests right at, at night. And it’s the candle that she gave me where she it’s a particular scent of candle.

And so she had the candle at her house. I had the candle at my house and she told me whenever you light this candle, think of me because I’ll be having it burning at my house during the season. And then when that candle started, like dwindling down, I was like, must replace this candle, but we light it.

And then we read a passage at a Cindy Spiegel’s book, a year of positive thinking. And we talk about the passage of the day. Like, what did it have to do with tests? Did she live her way in this way? Did she struggle with this? Did she not? And it’s my way of letting my family get to know her. Much more than they ever had, because even though my spouse knows and loves her, they didn’t hang out.

Cause she was too busy being my friend and my kid’s little. So she only got, nine years with her and I’m like, I had 30 plus years and I don’t want the lessons of Tess’s. Genuinely effervescent kind, hearted expansive, just loveliness. I don’t want my kid to miss out on that. And telling 

Michelle: [00:08:17] those stories and sharing those memories is a way to keep that presence.

As we know, the person dies the relationship doesn’t. So how can you keep the, the beautiful essence of that alive in your family alive in your heart? Those continue with you, you are affected by her, whether she is here or not. And that’s just, that can be part of you don’t even have to call it a ritual.

Like if people don’t like that word, you could just call it, like, it’s a part of how we remember. It’s a part of our nightly 

Tami: [00:08:51] routine. Yeah. Well, another thing is, so, in the last episode I talked about how my mom’s birthday is on the 4th of July, which is. When I was a kid, I thought my mom’s birthday was like the best thing ever.

I’m like, are you kidding me? Work and fireworks. Holy shit. This is the best thing ever. I have come to realize not the best thing ever. However every year since she’s died, I have made a cake. And we sing happy birthday to my mom. And then we go around the table. It’s a very short exercise because there’s only three of us, but we say something, we said, good memory about her.

And then we eat the cake. And then I usually cry for like five minutes. Right. And I think, I miss my mom and I’m sad that she isn’t still with us physically. But, I mean, she died when my daughter was four. We were talking about her. Like she lives down the street this morning. Yeah. So this idea that you get to choose the relationship that you continue with your people.

Michelle: [00:10:09] Absolutely. And that, so if we’re talking about those daily, weekly, Practices. That seems like one of the things, I mean, I’m, you might not have other people might not have considered that self-care, but it’s just a part of your life now. And it, it does help normalize and it helps continue. And and it also helps to bring all of you, the three of you closer together.

Tami: [00:10:38] I love that. Yeah. Some sell like some more traditional self carry things that I do, especially in early grief. I’m always drawn to restorative yoga because I’m like, oh my God, I can’t, the world is spinning so fast. I need it to slow down because I have like cotton wool stuck inside my brain and I can’t comprehend things.

And it’s all too fast, too much to this, to everything that I’m like, I need to like cocoon up, get quiet. And like tuck myself in and use all the props. And that’s when I really crave, like having, it’s going to sound weird if you’ve never practiced restorative yoga before all the sandbags, like I want some, wait, wait, what?

Wait. So I feel grounded and I feel connected to the, to the ground and held and supported and I cannot have enough blankets on top of me. I pillow the whole shebang. Yep. What about you for daily stuff? And meditation goes with that too. Yeah. Yeah. 

Michelle: [00:11:47] For me, I know I’ve talked. People are probably tired of hearing about going for a walk, but like nature is really my place.

Just being outside, even if it’s just going out into the backyard on the patio and sitting in the chair and, Even for all the other sounds like tuning into the birds, watching the leaves, flutter on the Bush, like really simple stuff, but that’s, that’s what really gives me juice and calm and grounding.


Tami: [00:12:16] I just made super empathy face. You guys, you can’t see me. Michelle can though. And that is because tests died in. Early, mid November and Sacramento, if you’ve never been here before in November is just a cacophony of leaves and color. And it’s finally not hot. It’s so pretty. It’s so beautiful.

And it’s my favorite time of year. And so one of the things I put on my daily grief checklist during my acute grief was. Drive to see the leaves. And that was otherwise, it would’ve never occurred to me to leave the house because I was so like my shoes, my shoes are made out of cement. I am walking around in a circle, I don’t know to of myself, but having that note.

And so I would just drive to a park. Parked my car, sit there and just look out the windshield and just see what we call fall magic. That’s what my kid and I call it, which is you just, if you watch a tree long enough, like 30 seconds in Sacramento on any day in November, like the leaves swirling down.

Yeah. And I love fall Tesla to the Pacific Northwest, and we always did a trip there in the fall and she loved fall and we loved like wearing boots and crunching through the leaves. And I just, I did not want to miss it. Because I also call it fall magic because when it’s over, it’s over, like don’t blink, right.

It does last about six weeks or so. But, but if you don’t look up for six weeks, you have missed the yearly show and I did not want to miss it. Yeah. Yeah. Going be by water, like watching the river, going to the ocean. Yeah, nature. It’s personal. What, what nourishes you? 

Michelle: [00:14:19] I, I have taught yoga for 20 years now and six years ago when the baby died, I didn’t do yoga for like a year.

That was when, as I started going to the gym. I started going to group fitness classes with loud music and people jumping around 

Tami: [00:14:40] and Tammy is shaking 

Michelle: [00:14:41] her head because it’s very uncharacteristic me. I remember 

Tami: [00:14:45] you told me that I was like, have we had some sort of freaky Friday thing? Cause I love me a group fitness class, the louder, the music, the better.

And I was like, you do that. Well, yeah, I’m in a cocoon up at my house and all my yoga props and you’re like, I’m going to go to the gym and get my sweat on. Well, this was like year two. Yeah. Not right away. 

Michelle: [00:15:09] But yeah, I, I couldn’t do yoga for some, it just like couldn’t be in my body in that way was too slow.

It was too quiet. And my body is where, everything happened. So I didn’t really want to be in there. But I could do a group fitness class because I got to move. And actually, now that I think about it, this was all prompted by my therapist saying, girl, you need some endorphins and here’s your prescription.

Go. Fricking exercise. Get a sweat on, get your heart rate up. And so that’s what I did and it, it really did help. It really got me back in my body in a different way. I enjoyed moving. The circulation was good for me and yeah, it did it improve my mental health. It just, I want to say it improved my mental health in a way that allowed me to be with my grief.

It’s not like when we do something like that, we’re trying to get rid of the grief. We’re just trying to be. In a place of where we’re more balanced and we can be with the feelings of grief that come and go and not get sucked into that Undertale of 

Tami: [00:16:18] them. Okay. So this is a good time for two things.

One, I my morning miles that I’ve been doing for years, well, I did not do that for. Like fitness. I do that because I’m getting rusty getting to that age where I’m like, oh my God, if I don’t move, it hurts. If I don’t move, it hurts. Like it’s, it’s messed up and turn it into the tin man over here.

So like, I have to move in order to like keep moving. And the other thing. I started taking medication. I started taking an antidepressant slash anxiety, anxiety medication between the pandemic and losing my best friend and the election. Like my brain was like, I’m sorry, I’m gonna need you to call in some reinforcements.

And after taking it for a few days, I thought, holy shit, this is the best thing I’ve ever done. And let me tell you. I did not magically become unsafe. Sad. I did not magically become someone who is not in a car, acute grief. I was it’s like that idea of, I was so deep in a hole. I was stuck and I needed to get a little bit closer to the surface so that I could grieve in a way that was productive.

Yeah. And how that looked was. I texted my friend Rosie. Hi Rosie. And I was like, because she did the, she did the daily, check-ins checking in on your heart. And I was like, I could not love her more. And one day she texted and she was like, I’m checking in with you today. And I, I just straight up was like, I am super struggling in a way that I had never struggled before.

And she said, have you spoken to your doctor? And I thought, well, that’s weird. Of course not. Why would I tell my doctor I’m struggling? And she was like, doctors can help. And I thought, you know what? So I just copied what I, I texted her, I emailed it to my doctor and within two hours, my doctor got back to me and she gave me like a list of, I dunno, Twenty-five self care things.

And at the end, she goes, I know you’re doing this already. And if you need a script, I have one for you. It’s on file. Nice. And I was like, ah, so lovely. And you’re right. I do all those things. I’m still doing all those things, wearing my, I could feel so much fucking worse. T-shirt and within two hours of reaching out to someone, I had what I needed to take a step forward.

Yeah. So sometimes self-care is meditation and sometimes self-care is medication and it’s up to you and your doctor and your healthcare provider and whoever to determine that. And it was so nice. When I, when I actually, after I got the script, In the pipeline to be delivered to me, because at that point I was like, okay, you know what?

I’m not going to do. I’m not going to go to the pharmacy and get COVID during a fucking pandemic today, deal with my anxiety. Some of that’s going to let them deliver it to me. But in the, in the meantime, I reached out to a bunch of other, other female friends who were there, not my 18, but they’re like people who are a total presence in my life that I adore.

And I was like, Hey. So I’m really struggling. And I’m thinking about taking medication and every single one of them was like, oh my God, I took medication when this happened. And it’s super helped. Me. Other people were like, you’re going to have to pry that shit out of my dead cold hand. It is the thing that helps me keep going every day.

And I was like, okay, we all need to wear t-shirts that say, I am, I am accepting that I need help. In whatever way that I need it. And I’m going to give myself permission to need what I need and to ask help and to receive the help that’s going to help me get to the place where I can do the thing I need to do.

And maybe your thing is, you needed to get a new job. Well, what do you need to do to take care of yourself, to get through that hard thing? Maybe you’re re figuring your entire life because you retired. And suddenly you’re like, shit, I can’t get out of bed in the morning because I’ve lost my purpose.

Reach out to your GP, reach out to a therapist. So here’s another plug for hiring a mental health professional. And I can’t stress enough how much the mental health professionals in my life have really gotten me through these really tough times. So, I guess we could call that weekly self care. The daily as the medication, the weekly or monthly is checking in with a mental health professional.

What are some other self-care things 

Michelle: [00:21:22] can also help you discern, like, am I at the place of needing, would this be a support or, would it not, am I not there? Or what are my options? Like, it’s just great to talk about your options with your mental 

Tami: [00:21:36] health. Provider, 

Michelle: [00:21:38] what are some other self-care?

I feel like we talked 

Tami: [00:21:43] about, you were going to say something. So this goes back into the, maybe check out what the resources are in your community before you have a loss, because let me tell you trying to find mental health resources when you actually need them is some sort of weird. A cosmic joke.

Cause you’re like, I can’t make a phone call because I’m too fucking depressed and I need whatever’s on the other end of the phone to help me get through the thing. So. Right now, Google the word bereavement and the city you live in and get yourself some resources. So once I got the medication and I could make a phone call my doctor in the really long email.

Thank you, Dr. Ferris. She also said, Hey, I want you to pursue. Do this with mental health. And I was like, cool. She gave me a phone number to call and I was like, who would I have to get a piece of paper? I have to do all these things, but she also gave me a phone number for grief support groups. I love me a support group.

I’m not even lying. So I’m with Kaiser health system in Northern California. And I have been thoroughly impressed by they have weekly grief workshops where mental health grief professionals present on a topic, much like Michelle and I are doing here for free. And you don’t have to call anyone. It’s just, we come to you and your phone, your health system might have grief.

Workshops for you to further your learning. So Kaiser’s, they were really good. You just call in, you listen done, but then they have this thing that they call a closed grief support group. And what happens is that there’s, there was in this case, two facilitators, a male and a female facilitator, the closed group.

So it was the same people at the same time for 10 weeks and we are going through, so how it works is they. Two facilitators do. We’re going through understanding your grief, 10 essential touchstones for finding hope and healing in your heart by Dr. Alan wool felt. And what they do is they do a tiny presentation.

They sent everyone in the group, a copy of the book, which I’m like, whoa, I feel like I got to, I feel like I got a prize cause Kaiser sent me a book, but they go through and they do a presentation. There’s a quote or two from the text or something that goes along with the lesson. They open it up for everyone to like, kind of go around round Robin round Robin style.

And here’s the thing not everyone’s going to share, not everyone’s going to share every time. But because it’s the same group of people, you create this safety container where you can be like, okay, I’m ready to share. And the introvert in me is loving these on zoom. I don’t want to go into a room. It turns out and sit around with strangers.

I want to sit around with strangers, from the comfort of my own home whilst wearing headphones. Yeah. And, but, but if you contact your primary care physician and say, what are the griefs resources that are available in our particular health system? What’s covered by my insurance. What’s the cost. And a lot of grief resources are a hundred percent free as they should be if they’re being provided by a health system.

I have found that to be a great comfort cause one of the things I want to do in acute grief. Is be with other people in acute grief. Absolutely. 

Michelle: [00:25:31] Yeah. So I have two things from that one and you’re talking about asking and reaching out what are my resources. And I, I have recently had the experience in a different way with this cancer and surgery that.

The surgeon, that like they’re not offering, they didn’t have a handout for me. No one said, Hey, in case you want a support group. But I took a friend to my pre-op appointment, which I was allowed to do. They actually. Suggested that I do that because rather than me trying to take it all in and at some point I just shut down as they knew I would she could take notes.

So she took copious notes and also, it was listening with a different ear and could ask different questions and she asked, so. Are there support groups. Are there resources? I also have Kaiser that Kaiser offers for my dear friend here, who, now looks like she’s in a little bit of an emotional coma.

And it was such a great question. So 

Tami: [00:26:34] yeah, being able to bring an advocate with you during appointments, especially if you’re thinking that you may get a diagnosis or it’s the appointment, the one appointment you have immediately after a diagnosis and maybe not bringing your spouse. Yeah, because your spouse has that vested interest, but bringing somebody who is really good at listening and good at advocating for you.

Michelle: [00:26:57] Yeah. And that was intentional. Like, I, I didn’t take my spouse. I asked this specific friend to go because I knew she’d take good notes. I knew she’d ask good questions. I knew she’d be a better support person for me. 

Tami: [00:27:13] My 

Michelle: [00:27:13] heavy, just. That’s not his forte. It’s not his strong suit to really pay attention and, and be detailed like that.

So yeah, no, your people and. Take the appropriate person. If you have that opportunity. And then I will take the introvert quality to a whole nother level in support. And I will say that I have recently re embraced Facebook groups along with other groups that you can find online. I have an auto-immune disorder.

I have found a Facebook group for that. I have joined two Facebook groups for women. One is for young women with endometrial cancer because it’s quite rare to be young and have endometrial cancer. And here’s what I will say. A word of caution about Facebook groups and other groups, forums like that.

It has been one of the best things that I have found. And it has been one of the worst things that I have found because most often the people who post and comment a lot are in really, really dire situations. They are at the extreme. And so, just tempering that, but 

Tami: [00:28:26] again, as a way to find the dosing thing, it’s 

Michelle: [00:28:30] all about dosing.

And I have had to really like. Reign myself in, because it became a little bit obsessive, like what’s happening now and what are all the things that could happen. And I’m, I’m actually going to unfollow one of the endometrial cancer groups because. It’s not supportive. Like it’s now gotten to the place where it’s not of help.

So, but it’s great because I can ask questions. None of these people know me, I can type it out. I don’t even have to be on a camera or use my voice. I just, type out my question and I’ll get a bunch of responses and it has been incredibly helpful, but yes, just a word of caution on Catastrophizing 

Tami: [00:29:16] and well, that’s a little, that’s a way bigger container.

So it’s like the 10, the 10 weeks group is a closed container. Yes. With like cushions and pillows and people in charge, or like creating the agenda, all that. And as someone who’s been in a closed group, I did a, I did a. Mother loss support group. After my mom died, Michelle, I hated every single person. I was like, this group cannot be done fast enough.

And why am I being judgy sail? Well, it turns out everyone in that group was like, my mom was my best friend. Then all I wanted to do was pointed everyone and go. You’re a fucking delusional liar, right? The main things that you said about your mom, and if that’s your best friend, you have very low standards for friendship.

So it just felt like this competition of like, my mom was the best. And I was like, I feel like my, I had a complicated relationship with my mom, but I feel like my, my relationship was the best because it was fucking real. Like I had a real relationship with a real woman as my mother who was deeply flawed.

And deeply loved just like me, but all of this, like, putting people on pedestal, I was like, you’re a crazy lunatic. I hope you all get your shit together. Once you stop idolizing your mother. And oh my God, there was a set of sisters in that group. It was like they were talking about a different fucking woman.

It was amazing. So a closed group also does not guarantee that it’s going to be great. Right. Like what if the facilitators sucks? Oh my God. That can happen. Totally blowhard. Who won’t shut the fuck up. That always happens other shit where you’re like, what are you talking about? Right. Or there’s like the scary, angry guy.

Where you’re like, okay, so you’re stuck over there. So it’s not a perfect thing. So maybe like play around with it also, maybe don’t decide that support groups aren’t for you based on one time. Yeah, because it could be that thing where you’re like, you just didn’t find your people because of fit. It turned out the support group that really, oh my God.

I love this people was a drop-in group for hospice. Through a hospital system. That’s not mine and everybody’s spouse was dead. And I was like, oh my God, I didn’t know. I was in dead spouse club. And they’re like, you’re such a great sport. And I was like, I was looking for dads, moms club, but I don’t like those people.

And speaking of dead moms club, there is a group of local women here in Sacramento that have been corralled together. And it’s like, we have one friend in common. Who decided to get us all together to celebrate Mueller mother’s day with other people who had lost their moms. And then we would do it around mother’s day and we would do it around Christmas.

And literally we have like one friend in common. We live in this area and I was like, I love these women because we could get real fast. We talked about like, What our relationship with our mom was like, what we’re missing, what we’re not w w it, it fast-tracked friendship. And do I see these gals outside of what I now call dead moms club?

Not a lot, not usually. And sometimes I’ll be like, how do I know so-and-so? And I’m like dead moms club. 

Michelle: [00:33:04] It just, there’s this shared language that only you all 

Tami: [00:33:08] understand. And there’s also in this group and irreverence about. I mean, you can tell that from the name. Right? Right. Yeah. Like somebody who’s super uptight is not going to be like I’m in dead moms club.

Right. Also we didn’t even have, we didn’t even open up to people who had dead dads. It was really, it was very pure group lessons are so great. Any other self care stuff that you can think of? Just so 

Michelle: [00:33:35] much grace, which is a lot of what we’ve talked about in this series. Just grace, you’re not doing it wrong.

You don’t have to do it like anybody else. Treating yourself 

Tami: [00:33:49] like someone you care about, treating yourself 

Michelle: [00:33:54] tenderly. And those things just, they can sound so cheesy, but that’s really just treating yourself. Well, as you, as though you are your own favorite person, 

Tami: [00:34:05] I know when I would say sometimes, cause this is a lot of stuff.

Like what I’m about to talk about is like the unsexy stuff. Like you’re going to need to drink water. You’re going to need to eat something, even if you’re not hungry. Cause that’s the other thing you’re like you’re some people are ravenous. So people are like, I don’t need anymore, but the idea is how would you care for your best friend in this situation?

Like how can you nurture yourself and nourish yourself through this really hard time? And so one of the tricks that some people really need is to refer to your grieving self in the third person. So that you can, especially, if you are somebody who. Is like an Enneagram to a helper or an obliger who’s like I do everything for everybody else or is female because, human givers syndrome as the Nagorski sisters talk about in the very great book burnout we’re conditioned to give, give, give, give, give.

So if we can refer to ourselves in the third person, or even like, by your nickname, like I like. Michelle could be like, I got to take care of Shelly. Right. And I, and I would be like, Tams needs a nap. Yeah. Tom’s needs to eat. And just to like really love up on yourself and to learn, to accept not edX, but ACC accept help when it comes your way to let people be generous with you.

And you do not have to reciprocate. I can’t stress that enough because there seems to be a lot of transactional, like, oh, that person did something nice for me. And now I need to do something nice for them. Not in grief. You don’t, it’s a one-way street. You it’s, you pay it forward with the next person in your crowd that needs it.

Michelle: [00:36:01] You don’t even need to send a thank you card. 

Tami: [00:36:04] Now you should resist that actually. Yeah. Cause that should wake you up in the middle of the night. Like. Oh, my God. I forgot to do the thing. Like all social niceties are kind of off. Yup.

Yeah. Can you think of any other grief specific self-care right off the top of your head? Well, 

Michelle: [00:36:27] I would encourage people to go back and listen to episode 83, we had a lot of great tips in there, like specific things to do. 

Tami: [00:36:37] Is that where we were talking about symptoms? No, 

Michelle: [00:36:40] that was what to do when you’ve lost someone or something.

Tami: [00:36:44] Yeah. 

Michelle: [00:36:45] Yeah. So we really get into the nitty-gritty there. And yeah, I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head. 

Tami: [00:36:54] Yeah. I’m actually giggling. Cause I just found my grief checklist. Number one, it says eat the next one says shower. That’s right. I need to these just wait until I get to the brush, your teeth one and it’s all on a checklist.

So I have, I have wash your hair. This feels good to you. Because, like, I can’t be bothered to wash my hair drive to see the leaves, read a grief book or spiritual book. Like when I’m grieving, all I want to do is read nonfiction texts about grief, because maybe I’m a weirdo. I have specific physical therapy I have to do for some of my pieces that are falling apart.

So I’m like, do your hip PT do your shoulder PT because even though you’re sad. Okay. Your shit still needs to be cared for. Go outside. Here’s a big one. Stay off social media. I was like, I don’t actually care what you guys are having for Thanksgiving. My best friend died. I can bring a room down real fast.

If you want to talk about recipes right now, right? Meditation writing, write a letter to tests, ask for help support sleep. Rest slash nap. Take a bath. Be with my best girl. Watch baking. If you guys, I have to tell you, there are some really good shows to watch in deep grief and the great British baking show is one of them because everybody is so kind on that show and it is just lovely.

And then the last one I said was treat yourself, buy stuff to make yourself feel better. Soft clothes, pajamas, candles face massager. Plants punching bag, whatever you need, Lance or punching bag. Yeah. Take your medicine, get dressed in cozy clothes, practice, yoga walk. So like all of these things are, I talk about these things with my clients and here’s the thing.

And you know this from your clients too, like a lot of people resist doing the thing that will make them feel better. Yeah. So, if you’re struggling with that, maybe get a gentle accountability person, somebody who’s like, we should do, we should go on a walk and I’m going to come and pick you up.

Right. All you have to do is put your shoes on, right? I’ll bring you a cup of hot cocoa or whatever, right. To yourself, be loved on by you and the people around you. Okay. All right. Next week, Michelle and I are going to go deep. Into grief resources that we love. We’re going to have websites, organizations, books, podcasts, audio books, hell.

We may have a YouTube channel. We may have movie recommendations. So be on the lookout for all of our. As I would like to say excellent recommendations. And again, you can find us both on Instagram. She, as at Michelle Marla Han and I’m at Tami Hackbarth as always, you can find the show notes over on my website at www.tamihackbarth.com/podcast.

And until next week, remember that you matter too.


EP 87: How to Be With People In Pain and Suffering with Michelle Marlahan

n this episode, we are going to walk people through something that most people are super uncomfortable with. And that is how do we be with people who are suffering and in pain? Because most of us, like a lot of like first reaction from people as.

“Oh, my God. I think I need to make that stop”. We want to stop the bleeding, but as we talked about last week, and what’s not helpful, trying to make people feel better in this kind of loss suffering, that doesn’t feel better. It feels like people are denying the existence of your pain and discounting how much this can weigh on someone.

Show links:



Tami: In this episode, we are going to walk people through something that most people are super uncomfortable with. And that is how do we be with people who are suffering and in pain? Because most of us, like a lot of like first reaction from people as.

Oh, my God. I think I need to make that stop. We like, we want to stop the bleeding, but as we talked about last week, and what’s not helpful, trying to make people feel better in this kind of loss suffering, that doesn’t feel better. It feels like people are denying the existence of your pain and discounting how much this can weigh on someone.

So tell me what you think about. This about what I just said and how you’re really good at being with people in pain, like weirdly. So y’all need to get yourself a Michelle, but, so how do you, what’s your thoughts on that? 

Michelle: [00:01:11] Well, thanks and somewhere, are you’re also really good at it. And I think the commonality between us and what.

The biggest focus is don’t try to fix 

Tami: [00:01:24] it. 

Michelle: [00:01:25] I’m trying to fix it in any way. And I know that, I mean, we’ll talk more about what that means, but when we try to fix, it’s basically saying, please don’t feel that way. Please don’t have emotion, please. Don’t talk about that. Please. Don’t cry. You’re making me really 

Tami: [00:01:40] comfortable in your voice when you’re like, please don’t.

Cry, please. That makes me uncomfortable. Please stop doing that. Very natural human thing. 

Michelle: [00:01:49] Yes. And that’s what fixing, you know, even sometimes And I know this can be such an intuitive response, such a natural response for people, but even like a hug, like if someone is crying and we go to, you know, give them a hug, rub them on the back, that feels really nurturing.

It feels very supportive. And yet it can have this message of like, Oh God, please stop. Right. And so how can we be with people and just let them be themselves? Well, don’t try to fix them. And I think the second most important thing is just shut up. And that’s my favorite. 

Tami: [00:02:31] Listen, just because it’s not about, it’s not about you in that moment.

You’re just like, you know what, let me hold your hair while you’re barfing. Let me hold your purse while you like knocked. I was going to say, knock this bitch in the next week, but you know, it’s like, be your person. Like you’re a support person in this role, like wear the short Cape of like, I’m just going to be here.

Holding your purse if you need it. Yes. 

Michelle: [00:02:58] Yeah. Yeah. So saying less because there isn’t anything to do. There is no magic words. There’s no, there’s nothing you can say. There’s nothing you can do. That’s going to make it miraculously better or easy. So, really the most helpful thing is to just. Let your person be exactly as they are, as uncomfortable as that might be for you.

Let them. Cry, let them tell stories, let them be silent, just sitting in that silence. And I know I’ve told you the story, but I will share it because it really, from my loss with the baby, that entire, I had this timeframe where I didn’t know there was this not knowing period where. We thought something was wrong from a blood test, but didn’t have definitive had to wait for an amniocentesis.

And so there were like three or four weeks where I had this news and it was just devastating. It was so terrible. And I had a friend, I had some dear friends who, you know, were really great support people. I have a friend, who’s a therapist and she came over and sat. She sat at a little bit of a distance away from me on the couch and.

I was in my little like fetal position that I’d been in for weeks and she just sat there and eventually I just started talking, boom, like talking all my feeling, crying, talking, silence, crying, talking silence. And I don’t even remember her saying a word, but it was the most profound experience of like being held.

That I had other people in my life who came and, you know, hugs and touches and I’m so sorry, and I want to come for you. And that was also lovely and supportive in its own way. But that one experience of just having the space, it stands out to me is one of those memories that’s just profound. So you don’t have to do it.

And in some ways isn’t that great. Like pressure’s off. You don’t have to try to fix it. You don’t have to make it better. 

Tami: [00:05:14] You don’t even have to reciprocate is that cause you know, so much of relationships that we have with our peers is about you don’t want to be somebody who takes too much. You don’t want to be the person who gives more than everyone else.

But sometimes that dynamic is one person is the needer and one person is the needed. And when you’re the needed, all you have to do. I get this picture of like a gray rock. I know that it has all like, are to do with like narcissism and stuff. But the idea is like it’s comforting or do you know what?

I also heard about it in terms of parenting teenagers, which is you want to be around, they call it like the potted plant theory. You want to be there in the background in case they want to say something, but. Under no circumstances, do the plant start fucking talking because plants don’t talk. Plants are receivers.

And it also reminds me of, again, that thing, where do we call it? It’s the complain out support in what is that thing called? I don’t know that thing. Well, maybe it was somebody else I was talking to about that. I saw it in the LA times and it looks like a, it looks like a ski ball. It’s like in a little circle, a bigger circle.

And the thing in the middle is the person who is the direct recipient of the suffering, whether it be the diagnosis or the loss. And so say my best friend died. So I am the center and the people around me in the ring are my family. Their job is to support me. And if I am in some way, Needing more or they’re needing to complain about whatever it is about me.

They are to turn around, to face the outside of this. They are never to complain about me or my grief or my thing. And they are to turn around and go to the thing, their support circle, which is on the outside of that, that goes ring by ring. And I was explaining this to my child. Because in the terms of the loss of tests, like her immediate family, like her mom, her brother and sister, her nephew’s inside the ring, I’m on the ring outside of them.

And so. Like I only offer support in, how can I help? I will do this? Yes. I’ll write an obituary. Yes. I’ll research this. And when I need support, I turn around and go to the outer ring. So I go to my people who are not in that inner ring does that, you know what I mean? Totally. And, 

Michelle: [00:08:03] but you 

Tami: [00:08:03] also, so you’re this plane into the person who’s in pain.

No. Right. And there is a hierarchy of pain in case anyone’s wondering

to tell you that, but we are keeping track. Yeah. 

Michelle: [00:08:19] We’re we are keeping track. I love that. That’s really brilliant. Yeah. So should we talk about, I mean, aside from, you know, showing up saying 

Tami: [00:08:28] less. 

Michelle: [00:08:31] Some practical things like, no, really what can I do? How can I be of support? Let’s talk 

Tami: [00:08:36] about that.

Yes. Which reminds me, Hey everyone, I have one of Michelle’s dishes. Cause she brought me this lovely meal after test died and it’s on my coffee table with a piece of tape that says Michelle, that means my clue to my family. Like please stop using her dishes. We need to get this back to her. So Hey guys.

Bringing food is so lovely. Oh my God. After we had a baby, I was happy to get food. After my mom died, I was happy to be fed. After tests died, I was happy to be fed and it didn’t matter to me what it was. It was just as long as I could eat it. So again, check with your people and maybe not directly with the person, the loss, but maybe someone around there.

It says, are there any dietary restrictions? Yeah. Because if you show up with like, a shell cream, a shellfish cream sauce at my house, I’m going to weep because I’m deathly allergic to those things right now. What would you like a steak? Yeah. 

Michelle: [00:09:36] No, thank you. But someone actually did bring some soup to me literally the next day.

And so sweet right. Comes to the door. Handsome me the soup, just beaming with love. So generous and says it’s totally vegetarian. It has a little bit of chicken stock, but otherwise, and I just thought, Oh, okay, so close. So close. Close. 

Tami: [00:10:03] Yeah. And then, and again, it’s lovely, but like we had to share some stuff with neighbors because I was like, I can’t eat this or now we have too much of that.

And that’s so. I think food might be my love language or one of them I’m going to make up new love languages. So definitely bring food and it doesn’t have to be prepared food. You ready for this? How about bring me some popcorn and some soda and some just straight up junk food, some potato chips in your purse.

I love chips, which you tastes like barbecued potato chips. Yeah. Like, so you don’t have to be a fancy cook to like serve it up to your 

Michelle: [00:10:46] peeps. That’s right. Yeah. It could be takeout. I could, you know, it can be any fan percent. So I will say too, let’s talk just a little bit more in depth about the food. So what in reflection, what I would have liked to have done with your delivery is to write on it.

No need to return the dish, right? Because I don’t want you to have to worry about that. I don’t want that. I want it to just be like, great. I can throw it away. I can use it. I can donate it. I don’t have to worry about getting this back to 

Tami: [00:11:18] her. I know. I have to tell you that. So that’s a good one. 

Michelle: [00:11:24] Yeah.

And I’m 

Tami: [00:11:25] sorry, I didn’t do that. No, it’s okay. So that would, 

Michelle: [00:11:28] that’s like advanced level for, you know, for those of you who are taking notes, that’s next level and here’s the other next level options. You can just do a door drop, like a porch drop or a front door drop, and then go. And then texts from the car, you know, like I’ve left this.

If you want to, you know, I’m, I’ll be here. I’ll sit here for five minutes. If you want to come out. I’d love to see you. If you are doing your thing, if you don’t get the text, if you don’t feel like company, just know that I’m sitting here holding you, you know, loving you and then I’ll leave, or you could do that before, you know, give some notice.

I’m going to drop food off at five. If you want company, you know, I’ll do it at the door. You can come out and if not, I’m just going to drop and leave. I love you. 

Tami: [00:12:20] That’s a super introvert tip. Oh my God, because I have to say so many people did that and I would be like hiding in the back room. And my extroverted family was like, like doing a tap dance on the, somebody brought us food and they’re strangers here at our house were all massed.

Oh my God, this is the best day ever. We have company. And I was like, what are you doing? And they’re like these nice people that we’ve never met in our life. I’m like, but what do they look like? Who are they. 

Michelle: [00:12:51] Sorry, these masks people, 

Tami: [00:12:53] right. And there, and then I would get a text from or a message from somebody who I am like, Oh my God, well, you got to meet my family.

Sorry about them. They’re a little embarrassing because they’re really starved for outside attention at this point. And I will never be that person. So yeah, that’s a good one. 

Michelle: [00:13:12] Yeah. Especially in the throws of it. Like he just. You might not, you might hide under the couch when someone comes to the door and wait until they go away.

And just to have that permission of like, you know, you don’t have to, but if you want to I’m 

Tami: [00:13:29] here. So also, because there’s a lot of pajamas and bed, hair. 

Michelle: [00:13:36] Oh, puffy 

Tami: [00:13:37] eyes and puffy eyes. And like, did I brush my teeth and totally when like when did I smell Amazon? Yeah. So it can be kinda 

Michelle: [00:13:49] ugly. Yeah. And so, you know what, that totally reminds me.

If said person with that description does come to the door. Do not say like, Oh my God, like, Oh, what happened? You know, no comment Harry aloud about the state. Yeah. Or condition or odor of the person. Like 

Tami: [00:14:09] just not even in your head. 

Michelle: [00:14:12] That’s just their moment. Let them be if they’re still doing that in a year.

Okay. You know, let’s talk with gentle 

Tami: [00:14:21] talk, 

Michelle: [00:14:22] gentle talk, but 

Tami: [00:14:24] to the person who’s closest to them to ask them to do the talk because it’s probably not going to be received from you. Yeah. Yeah. Another thing that was super helpful, cause you know, Grief during regular times is already fucked up, but grief during a pandemic is next fucking level.

Yeah. So people came through in the way that they. Somebody just straight up, had fuzzy socks and tea delivered from Amazon to my house. And I was like, yes, are you kidding me? And it was also, it was November. We, there was nine pairs of socks in this pack. My family was like, I’m going to need a pair of those.

So everyone in my family has them. I have the rest of them and we call them our grief socks. Oh, somebody else brought by. A blanket, a fuzzy blanket that looks like a golden doodle. It’s so soft and nubby and fuzzy and we call it. Yes, that’s right. People, the grief blanket. And I sleep with it every single night.

She also brought tea. And what was else was in that bag? Oh, snacks straight up. Sinec food. A journal, a candle, so many candles. Yeah, especially see now we’re going to get into seasonal grief, giving grief gift, giving you if you have sadness in the darkest times of the year. Oh, my God, those cozy and candle items and super smelly bubble bath, all that stuff.

I was like here for it. You have served people. Yeah. And we got about 200 gallons of soup. Yeah. Store bought cafe made homemade from Costco, like every kind of soup. And I was like, Okay. Soup is my love language. Here we are. It is soup season and my people came 

Michelle: [00:16:43] through. Yeah. 

Tami: [00:16:45] Nice. So what are some non-food things that have come your way that were like, Oh wow.

That, that scratched an itch. I didn’t know. I had. I don’t 

Michelle: [00:16:53] know that I’ve had anything so out of the ordinary. And I mean, I think that’s also just a great reminder that it can be the very ordinary average, you know, that might seem well, this is a little boring or mundane and it’s not that it’s just a lovely to receive any kind of receiving.

So, what’s coming to mind for me is I’ve recently had a hysterectomy because I had endometrial cancer, which was a little bit. Just bananas. And, Oh my gosh, the number of cards that I got cards like literally on the porch or on the front step, when I would look outside or in the mailbox mail to me dropped off and again, like a drop and run little baggies of different treats.

Someone went to our local vegan gluten-free bakery and bought some treats for me with a card. Well, 

Tami: [00:17:49] You can totally sponsor us. We would like some Greek cupcakes please. 

Michelle: [00:17:56] Oh, I know the owners I’ll do a shout out. Okay. What else? Flowers, lots and lots of flowers. Which flowers can be a mixed bag, like right, because they die and then you have to take care of it.

You got to clean up the mess. So I know flowers are a really typical thing. You’re just going to have to feel that out. Like 

Tami: [00:18:17] what’s the season is that a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that flowers. Weren’t my forte. And then in the next breath, I was like, Oh my God, I got the most beautiful bouquet.

And what was so weird about that is what we got. We got a bunch of flowers, but. Do you know how some florists, when they find out it’s for a death, then it turns into funeral flowers and you’re like, who months? Funeral flowers in their house doing that somebody else just sent me a gorgeous bouquet of all white flowers.

So when I said, I want flowers, I think I don’t want Funeral flowers, sad flowers. I don’t want sad flowers. 

Michelle: [00:18:59] Yeah. So a good one can be an orchid because it does last for a long time typically. Right. They last a lot longer. So that can be good. If you know, flowers are your thing and you really feel like you want that kind of message and brightening and all of that.

If you love giving flowers, try 

Tami: [00:19:19] and orchid. Also when my mom died six years ago, the guys from my brothers work many States away from mine, sent me a peace Lily. Like a plant. I still have it should still plant a plant now. Yeah. Can everyone, well, here’s the thing it’s like, is your friend have, does your friend have other houseplants?

Yeah, if they do a houseplant, might be in the cards for you. Does your friend regularly get flowers? In have cut flowers in their home. If yes, flowers might be for, you 

Michelle: [00:19:59] know, your person know your 

Tami: [00:20:00] person because otherwise if you give a black thumb a plant, they’re going to be like, wow, thanks. Thanks for something else to kill.

Now I can feel bad about that too. Right. And it’s funny because I’m like, and we’re making it sound complicated, but it’s really not because if you’re doing this for somebody, you know them. Yeah. You’ll know them. Yeah, 

Michelle: [00:20:24] Yeah. No one thing I did get that was so sweet from someone unexpected, not in my super close circle.

Left again on the porch, a little vase, a sweet little vase with a Camillea flower, and then around the vase, a little bracelet, this little gold, just tiny bracelet with a, that was inscribed with be strong. I mean, It was really sweet and I put it on and it just felt so nice to have that on my arm, as I was lounging in bed and, you know, feeling sad and confused.

Tami: [00:20:58] Do you know what was an unexpected gift? I got one time, another friend from out of state was like, Oh my God, I didn’t know what to do. So she sent me like the sweetest card and she sent me a check for $40. And in the note she said, I can’t imagine trying to like grieve properly with a preschooler around, please use this money to hire a babysitter.

So you can just cry somewhere. And I was like, God, because I know she had been in town, she would have swept up my kid and like whisked her away. So I could really properly have a good cry, but because she couldn’t be there and I was like, how thoughtful. How thoughtful of you. Yeah. 

Michelle: [00:21:46] Yeah. Oh, that’s great. The other thing is, I think, did we talk about texts?

Just like doing the text check-ins we did. We’ve 

Tami: [00:21:54] talked. We have, but I think that it could, I honestly think we could revisit let’s revisit the text thread. Yeah, 

Michelle: [00:22:04] just the text. Check-ins like. Checking in, right. That’s sort of your stay, like, just checking in, just 

Tami: [00:22:10] checking in or thinking about you, 

Michelle: [00:22:13] thinking if you sending, you know, sending you love whatever your communication style is.

And if a question feels appropriate or once in a while, like tell me about you, you know, how are you as so, bland and. 

Tami: [00:22:31] I feel like it’s bland, but yet weirdly loaded 

Michelle: [00:22:33] because it’s like, it’s totally right. Yeah. So, you know, tell me about you. How are you today? How are you right now? How’s your heart? How’s your heart is a great one.

So yeah, the texture just like staying present without being it’s like I’m avail, it’s the potted plant I’m available. I’m not going to be a stalker. I don’t want to force you to reveal everything to me, but like I’m totally here. 

Tami: [00:23:05] Yeah. And I’ve just say I use this. Texting, these, this exact like framework every few weeks, I go through my texts list and I’m like, I haven’t talked to in a while and I’ll say, Hey, I was just thinking about you.

Hey, how are you? I have not spoken to you. And sometimes it’s just because somebody flashed into my head and whenever somebody flashes in my head or I have a dream about them or whatever, I think. I’m apparently supposed to contact that person. 

Michelle: [00:23:34] Yep. Yeah. Those little flashes of intuition. If somebody is popping up for you, just follow it, just follow up on that.

Say hello, you don’t even if it isn’t like a grand moment for them, it just makes someone’s day. Like it’s thinking about 

Tami: [00:23:53] me and a lot of times people go so weird. I was just thinking about you too. Yeah, 

Michelle: [00:23:58] totally. Yeah, totally good one. Yeah. 

Tami: [00:24:02] Oh God. Did I tell you about my grief joggers? And also, can we just talk about joggers are the new millennium sweatpants?

So I am somebody who in non COVID times. Slash non-Greek times. I am almost always in real clothes. It’s hilarious. I’m literally wearing my pajamas and a tank top right now. Cause I got distracted today, but like I’m address person. I am a jeans and a sweater and that Abeta I’m that person. I mean, I always have my slippers on because you know, girls got standards that it works at home.

So. But in that moment between finding out test died and my brain going offline, I was like, Oh, I’m going to need some soft pants. Right. And so I reached out to my people and I was like, tell me people with my same body shape. Hello, you got to know your peeps. I was like, tell me the soft pants options.

Another friend sent me some pajamas. What you guys. There’s nothing there. Like what kind of pajamas do you wear? Also? Don’t just be getting random pajamas, but like, cause I’m a hundred percent cotton drawstring, pajama gal, 365 days of the year. Like I can have a whole episode just on those pajamas. Like when pajamas show up in the mail.

Oh. Cause you’re not wearing regular clothes anymore. It’s pretty fantastic. Yeah. And I did order some soft pants and I put them on joggers and I thought these are the most ridiculously, comfortable things I’ve ever put on. And then I looked at myself in the mirror and I was like, I’m wearing sweat pants with ankle cuffs and pockets.

Right. But they’re trendy. Sweat pants with ankle cups and pockets. They 

Michelle: [00:25:58] are acceptable to wear outside of the house. 

Tami: [00:26:01] Well, it’s hilarious. Cause I literally don’t think they’ve ever seen the light of day because you know, they could. Right. So, what is your, if somebody was gonna give you a comfort item, so we’ve covered pajamas, soft pants.

Ooh. I just had a flash of like maybe a scarf, like something really soft socks. 

Michelle: [00:26:27] Yeah, I did. I think I did get a C I’ve gotten a couple of scarves from people and I’m a big scarf person. So that made sense. Little symbolic things that apply either to the loss or to the person who has experienced the loss.

Like I did get a really precious statue of a GSO, which is a little, he’s the little protector of the unborn. Children, someone sent that to me. And I it’s on my nightstand. Like I rub his little head every night before I go to sleep, it’s really become a part of my life. So that was a real gift and it was great because then I didn’t know what it was.

And then I went and I researched and. You know, read stories and got to learn more about what this little guy symbolizes and kind of took me down a different path that felt really. Sweet and supportive and gave me something else to focus on for a little bit. And it has all kinds of meanings. So that was 

Tami: [00:27:28] great.

And I’m just I’m sitting here like, again, agreeing like a bubble head because it’s that thing it’s like, we’re not strangers to grief at all. And yet this person opened this whole new pathway and you’re like, Oh shit, this exists. Ooh. That is good. Yeah. Yeah. 

Michelle: [00:27:48] Yep. And actually, I would say my favorite present from my hysterectomy a couple of months ago.

My friend Alicia sent me a giant pink fuzzy uterus. Have I not shown you? My 

Tami: [00:28:05] uterus? I don’t think you have. 

Michelle: [00:28:08] I think you saw a picture of 

Tami: [00:28:10] a uterus, a name, I didn’t 

Michelle: [00:28:13] name 

Tami: [00:28:14] her. So cute 

Michelle: [00:28:19] is big. I mean, she’s almost as broad as my shoulders. I know I was 

Tami: [00:28:24] like, she might’ve be bigger than the real thing. 

Michelle: [00:28:27] She’s way bigger than the real thing.

She has ovaries and everything, but I really did. Love this, it made me happy. I, when I opened the box, I obviously have no idea what it was and I opened the box. And first I started like I squealed and I started laughing and then I started crying and it was all good. You know, it was like it 

Tami: [00:28:48] was just.

Michelle: [00:28:50] Very hilarious. So bright neon pink as a 

Tami: [00:28:54] uterus. I have to say that again. You’re like I had no idea I needed that. And this is the thing, friends. Like you want to be the person that delights your loved ones with the thing that they didn’t even know they needed. Yeah, like this is, it’s so interesting. So I’ve had tons of conversations with people around memorializing, their loss.

So like there’s jewelry that you can put ashes in or there’s tattoo parlors and tattoo artists that will put ashes in the ink while you get your tattoo. There’s you know what I mean? Like there’s all these decorative things. Maybe it’s a plant, maybe like my step-mom got a guitar back from when her son died and somebody had it mounted.

And it’s this like this memorabilia that is, would mean nothing to anyone else, but you think, Oh my God, because you feel so seen because it’s exactly the thing. That makes you think of your person 

Michelle: [00:30:09] again, all of that has the flavor of meeting you where you are not let’s look to the future and let’s let it go and let’s move forward and, you know, can you not be that way?

It’s just, I meet you exactly here. And, you know, even if that’s painful, even if it’s painful for me, of course, it’s painful for you, but like I’m meeting you here and. This is the reality of where we are. There’s nothing I can do to make that better. 

Tami: [00:30:39] And one other thing I was on a Facebook group the other day, and somebody had said, Oh, a friend of mine, a neighbor lost their child, their teenage child, blah, blah, blah.

They wanted to do something to help the family. They wanted to like do this. And my, what I said was. Send a card now to acknowledge their loss. And then like three months from now, send them dinner, cinema, GrubHub card, send them a gift certificate for nights out, because at the beginning, when you’re, you know, stumbling around in your grief fog, like I honestly am like, who brought us dinner?

I don’t know but at the three month Mark. When 

Michelle: [00:31:27] people start, stop, start to forget 

Tami: [00:31:29] when everyone’s moved on from your boss. And maybe they hope you have to it’s the people who were like, Hey. Like I have a group of friends who are like, March is really hard for you. Like it’s, Tess’s birthday anniversary of your mom and your stepdad dying.

They, everyone trying to ruin my birthday March is really hard for me. And it’s also really wonderful because I love my birthday. And then I was at a grief support group this week. And so we’re recording this before mother’s day. And so we talked a bit about mother’s day because there’s a lot of people who lost their moms there and they’re having their experience about losing their moms.

And even though they are moms, it’s still a thing. And you know, I’m six years out from losing my mom. And so mother’s day, it has less stinging for me now, but I have another friend who lost her mom. And her grandma in may and it’s mother’s day, it’s this thing. It’s like we each ultimately I think we’re, it’s like we have our grief scorecard, like where you’re like, what month is hard for you?

What month is hard for you? When I think most of us can agree that like, from Halloween through new years can be super hard for everyone. Because you’re missing your people during the time where most people in the world are celebrating some stuff and being with their people. But let’s see, other times a year, like 4th of July is my mom’s birthday.

Well, blue on that. I’m always super bah humbug on 4th of July. And people look at me, I’m like, well, it’s 200 degrees. It’s my mom’s birthday and she’s not having any more birthdays. So 

Michelle: [00:33:08] yeah. You know, that makes me think too about let’s say someone’s someone died of something that is specific. Another idea is to send a donation to an organization that.

Cares for people or is doing research or is associated with the reason for their death. You know, something linked there. That can be another way to kind of personally connect. And, 

Tami: [00:33:33] Just say, I’m thinking, you know, what’s crazy that sea is all coming flooding back. So, you know, I was. Very invested in flipping the Senate blue in 2020.

I don’t know if you guys know that, but have you met Tammy? Yeah. And test was two and after tests died, another friend made a significant donation to fair fight Stacey Abrams organization on behalf of me and Tess. And I was like, okay. I could not have been more touched. I was like, I could actually cry about that now, because again, it’s like that thing where it feels you’re like, I feel so seen and heard and understood like you person, who’s not living in my head or my house, or even my town is seeing me and my person and what we lost and what we really cared about to me.

Michelle: [00:34:29] That’s the crux of it. Tammy is. Like when these situations arise, we get kind of paralyzed where like the perfect thing to say. I’m so uncomfortable or I don’t want to upset them. And to just like, relax back and just go into that place in your heart. That’s like, I know this is a person I love. What do I know about this person?

What is important to them? You know, like someone knew that is important. That is an essential part of who you are, who tests is and was. And so that speaks to you and the relationship and the values. So just like if you find yourself feeling a little bit paralyzed, all this weird pressure to do the right thing, just chillax for a minute and just go back into that place of like, You know, this person, you love them.

What do you know about them? What do you know that they love or enjoy or could use, like, just get really practical. 

Tami: [00:35:35] I love that. And there’s always this thing called ask a question and that question can be what would be helpful to you right now? Yeah. Bottle of bourbon, some cotton candy, a hug. Do you want to laugh?

Do you need a recommendation for something that will a hundred percent make you cry? Do you want a book recommendation that will take your mind completely off? Yeah. Which reminds me in a couple of episodes. We’re going to be talking about all of our favorite grief resources. Before we go, do you have any other.

Thoughts on how to be with people who are suffering and, or in pain.

Michelle: [00:36:18] I feel like we’ve covered it and it may just bear repeating that it can really bring up our own stuff. So. It might be that you find yourself doing a little bit of your own work. When someone close to you loses someone or something, because it might bring up a lot of stuff for you. Just don’t be surprised by that.

It’s very natural and unless you’ve already done a lot of therapy, a lot of your own loss work, it’s totally normal for it to. Kind of bring up your own shit. That feels really hard and uncomfortable work 

Tami: [00:36:57] that shit out. On someone else. Yes. Not with the person in pain, no 

Michelle: [00:37:05] deal with that stuff separately and keep it really clean, like, okay.

That is over there. It doesn’t have anything to do with this person that I love. I’m going to deal with that over here. And you know, right now I’m going to be with my person in this way. And then I’m going to go over here and deal with this stuff that it’s brought up for me because. I mean, that’s just your own evolution and development, so that’s great.

Tami: [00:37:34] Yeah. Remember we don’t complain in. We support in and complain out. We support in and we get our own help on our own time. Thanks for being with me on this. Get better at grief series, Michelle. I love it so much. We do. Hey friends if you haven’t connected with Michelle and I on the Instagram, so you can find her at Michelle Marla Han and me at Tami Hackbarth.

And as always, you can find the show notes on the website at www.tamihackbarth.com/podcast. And until next week, remember that you matter too.

EP 86: Grief for the Non-Religious Folks with Michelle Marlahan

EP 86: Grief for the Non-Religious Folks with Michelle Marlahan

We’re going to talk about something that is going to be sensitive for some people. We’re going to talk about grief and what do you do if you’re not part of an established religion.

Or don’t have a strong faith-based belief system. In case you’re wondering, I fall into this category and I want to help others who fall into this group because so much of the grief literature and the grief resources like support resources are faith-based.

Show links:



Tami: [00:00:00] Hi, Michelle. Hey Tammy. I’m so glad you’re back. Okay. We’re going to talk today. Last week we talked about the myth of the Griff, the myth of the Griff than the myth and the ground, the grief, the timeline. That was way harder to say. Wow. So just to refresh or there isn’t one. And if you want some tips on how to set some.

Everybody’s favorite word, excellent boundaries around that. Check out our episode from last week today, I gave a little teaser at the end of the episode. Last time. We’re going to talk about something that is, is going to be maybe sensitive for some people. We’re going to talk about grief and what do you do if you’re not part of an established religious.

Community or don’t have a strong faith based belief system in case you’re wondering, I fall into this category and I was like help other people who fall into this category. Can you help me? Because so much of the grief literature and the grief resources like support resources are faith-based. And I was like, okay.

I’m just going to go out on a limb and say, the last thing I need when I’m in this particular state is to be like, you’re trying to push Jesus on me. I’m not interested. And I don’t have really good manners right now. So what’s your experience with this? What do you say to people who are like, how 

Michelle: [00:01:36] well, this can also go into this can go into the category of what not to say.

Oh, the whole, like, it was God’s plan. 

Tami: [00:01:45] Okay. Really? That, I mean that I’m shaking my head in, like don’t ever say that to anyone don’t under any circumstance, unless they go to church with you then y’all have out each other that’s between to use. But unless you’re sitting in a Pew, when you say that Nick said shit.


Michelle: [00:02:05] Right. Yeah, this is, there are kind of camps here, aren’t there. And I think there is a lot more, I think it’s one way that people find last episode, we were talking a little bit about me, meaning but I think it’s how some people find solace and they find. It’s not quite meaning, but like reason or it just makes them feel better.

Right. And there’s a harm in that 

Tami: [00:02:34] also ritual. I mean, I’ve been to several funerals where. Like, if you haven’t been to a Catholic funeral lately, like then that’s a to do. And I got it intellectually because I, it wasn’t my primary loss. I was an attendee and I thought, Oh, I get this.

There’s like, everybody knows what they’re supposed to say. And they know where they’re supposed to Sant stand and what to wear and what to say to the family. And. The songs and the prayers and all of that, I was like, Ooh, this is orderly. And so I get like, I get it. And apparently in other faiths, there are other very solid traditions.

Like, this is what you wear. These are the kinds of foods that you eat. Like I get it. 

Michelle: [00:03:22] Yes. Yes. And it can provide a lot of grounding, especially if that’s something that the person has been raised in some kind of doctrine. That’s very familiar that can also feel like a little bit of control, which we’ve talked about.

And yes, it can be also really beautiful and ceremonial and be a part of our process. Absolutely. But what if that’s not you then where do we go? That is the question. 

Tami: [00:03:58] That is the question. And one of the things I did was cause I, you know, I’ve experienced this was I wrote a little blog post guide called the agnostic.

Girl sat the sassy agnostic girl’s guide to grief. Cause I was like, I have to like give people some resources because I reached out after my mom died and was like, Oh, to all my non-religious friends and like help me. I can’t sort through the Jesus books right now, please help me. And Anna guest jelly was like, I got you girl.

And she just sent some great books to my house. And I was like, I’ve never felt so loved because books are my love language. So, so if you if a listener is experience or in saying great loss and they do not have a religious tradition to lean into what are some resources that you would point people to?

Michelle: [00:04:54] It’s coming to mind. It’s really interesting. The chiropractor that I see a couple of weeks ago I had gone. I think I hadn’t I hadn’t seen him since my surgery. And so it was my first appointment back and we were just chatting and casually just casually. He mentioned.

Yeah you know, my mom died and so we’re making some changes or whatever he was saying about it. And I didn’t know if he meant, you know, recent or. Years ago. So I inquired and I just said, so, so you’ve mentioned that your mom died, you know, when did she pass away? And he said, Oh yeah, it’s been two weeks now.

And I was like, Oh my God, boy, 

Tami: [00:05:38] in case you’re wondering, see the last episode where the most helpful thing you can say in this situation as well, that just happened. That just happened. Just happened. Yeah. And I mean, I remember that’s two weeks, two years. Whatever it just happened. 

Michelle: [00:05:54] So we had a very real moment, which I actually just super appreciated and he was really grateful for like, thanks for being someone.

I can just say that to, and we had a whole conversation, but here’s the point that relates to what we’re talking about. He said, Yeah, the first week I just couldn’t stop crying. And then I started watching videos and reading about near-death experiences. And it’s been really comforting because I feel like not only is it possible.

But I feel like my mom actually is still here. She’s in this very lovely place. And I said, Oh, have you watched this series on Netflix? And I’m trying to come up with a name. And he says, yeah, surviving death. And I said, yeah, that’s it. And the first episode on that series is about near-death experiences and there are some really just absolutely.

Fantastic stories from people who have gone through near-death experiences. And so, you know, that was a way for him to connect with something. We might call it science. We might call it psychology. We might call it kind of, I don’t know, some people might call it new agey or something like that, but yeah.

That’s what he went to that didn’t feel limiting. It felt more expansive. It felt like it did give him some basis and some kind of understanding and possibility for what happens and where his mom is. And he said, now I just really, like, I feel her clothes. I I just know that she’s in this really lovely place.

It was so interesting to hear him talk about it. 

Tami: [00:07:44] It’s is it because I feel like these conversations come at an, with unexpected frequency and with unexpected people in unexpected places, right? You’re like, I’m just there for an adjustment and he’s like, Oh no, you mean like five minutes ago, your mom died.


Michelle: [00:08:04] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, so that’s I just think that story came to mind really quickly, but I think also science and psychology are both great places to go. And we’re not the psychology that talks about the stages, not the type of psychology that talks about a timeline, but the books that we’ve recommended.

Those are great resources to start with. And then what I might call like more heart-centered grief resources. There are classes on art or You know, maybe a retreat or a workshop on nature and grief or things like that are just more, heart-centered more from a feeling place more from the acknowledgement of seasons and cycles of life.

Tami: [00:09:02] Yeah. It’s because it’s. So one of the things I found to be really helpful was in-person grief support group. Okay. And it was right. And so it was like a bereavement group offered through hospice. And if you don’t know about hospice yet there’s a lot of misconceptions about hospice. And one of them being is like, Oh, those are the deaf people.

They’re the people that help people die. It’s like, not really what they do is they perform, they provide support for the person who is transitioning through that part of the life cycle. And then they offer support to the family. During the process and then after their person has passed. And so if you are somebody that is like, Oh my God, I don’t know what to do.

I need to talk to people that know what they’re talking about. If you grieve, if you grief, if you Google hospice and the name of your city there, there’s usually some sort of. Support group and they’re because they’re through hospice. They’re not usually religiously affiliated, so it can be super helpful.

Bereavement I’m in one right now through my through Kaiser, which is the nonprofit healthcare system that I’m with. And we are we’re. I love it because it’s a 10 week closed group. We’re meeting on zoom. And what I love is that I call it my grief book club because there’s two facilitators, one who was actually a minister and I love him.

His name is James. Hey James. Because he’s the chill minister. He’s not trying. He’s like, this is he’s like, if you’re a person of Christian faith, this is some of the things that might happen, but he’s not trying to like convert anybody while we’re there. And he’s not saying there’s no absolutism to how James presents himself in this group.

And then there’s another Laura. Hi they’re facilitators. And so we’re going through the book understanding your grief, 10 essential touchstones for finding hope and healing your heart. Do you know this book, Michelle? I don’t know that book. It’s Alan Wolfelt. Oh yeah. This guy is a prolific writer who He is an author educator and grief counselor.

And he listened to this guy, he’s the recipient of the association of death education. And counseling’s deaf educator award. Wow. I know that kind of stuff. I’m like, if you guys don’t know about like death, doulas and stuff, there are people who like, help. Much like a birth doula helps the people. We need help doing these things.

It’s like, it’s rough on the person who’s dying and the people around them. And then, so there’s comfort with people and there’s like some death doulas offer like mental health support and some deaf doulas offer like legal cause there’s lot of paperwork after people die. Right. So they helped shepherd you through that process.

Yeah. So this guy, this author, Alan Wolfelt is the director of the center for loss and life transition. And he’s based in Colorado, but I’ve read several of his books. Like he’s got one for kids. He’s got one for that. He’s like this grieving heart series. And it’s like, if you lost your sibling, there’s.

Grief exercises for people who are grieving their siblings. If you lost your spouse, if you lost your child, if you’re helping a child through grief, if you’re parenting through, if you lose your mom or dad, and it’s like, it’s one of those things where you’re really happy. And by the way, I’ve read most of them.

So there’s a lot of overlap, but if you’re somebody who has lost your sibling, when you read a book about grieving a sibling, the way that they do the exercises and phrase, the exercises is like, you don’t have to substitute your own relationship. You’re like, he’ll say your brother or sister, or your sibling in there.

And you’re like, this person is really speaking to my heart. Yeah. Now this is this I, and I didn’t know about this series or this author and tell another grief friend. Hi, Sharon. . She sent me it’s okay. That you’re not at okay. Yeah. Which I’m like, I need to recommend that book to everyone in every instance, all day long for everything.

And if you want to follow that’s her name is Megan and she’s on Instagram at refuge and grief. And I spent a lot of time commenting on her stuff. It’s so, so good. 

Michelle: [00:13:59] I think a lot of this could be like reference back to harken back to episode. Was it 80? Three, what to do when you’ve lost something or someone.

So there’s some crossover here that might be a good episode to go back to and relisten. 

Tami: [00:14:19] Okay. Yeah. It’s like, get your get your, here’s your checklist for all the things that usually the people that you call. Absolutely. Yeah. 

Michelle: [00:14:28] Yeah. But if, you know, if we’re talking really just instead of.

Religion. I mean, some people, it’s interesting to think about some people categorize spirituality, like I’m spiritual, but I’m not religious. So you might already have some built in. Spiritual practices that you don’t necessarily call that, but that are available to you, like making an altar and alter doesn’t have to be a religious thing.

It can just be my definition of an alter is any intentional collection of any number of objects. And so you can make an alter to your person or your thing, your situation You might meditate. I mean, we could call meditation kind of a spiritual practice. It can, it doesn’t have to be called that, but like, you know, that crossover of spiritual and religious 

Tami: [00:15:21] and you know, I’ve had like lots of existential conversations with friends, family, the mailman therapist about this, because I have some, I have baggage around organized religion.

And so it took me a very long time to be able to swallow the words, spiritual, but not religious because I am so not religious. And yet I think I am pretty spiritual. Yeah. And so if you’re in that place to where you’re like, okay, this doesn’t, or you’re somebody who’s like this stuff doesn’t come up in my regular life, but now that.

I have lost something significant. I mean, cause there’s, there is this thing where a lot of people go in search of something in search of an answer in search of comfort. Yes. In search of connection in search of community. And as I will say, when I lost my first friend, Carla, when I was 19, I did go to church a few times.

Yeah. And I will say it was so very unsatisfying that I had to do it several times to be like, maybe I was in a bad mood. Maybe that sermon just rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe I, okay. It turns out that wasn’t for me. I mean, I could write it income, tired dissertation about why it wasn’t for me, but I was still drawn to maybe that’s where I’ll find answers to this anguish.

I feel. Yeah. 

Michelle: [00:16:48] Yeah. And I think sometimes just that the process of searching. The searching itself becomes a part of our grief and part of our larger process of integration. And so it doesn’t need to be also, you know, Oh, I wasted that time or, Oh I, you know, went the wrong road. It’s just, that just becomes a part of what we’re exploring and the sense that we’re trying to make of things.

Tami: [00:17:19] Yeah. And also, you know, some people do find solace in established traditions at particular moments in time because they make sense for that thing. Absolutely. Like, you know, maybe the person that they. Our grieving was very religious. And so it’s like, we’ll maybe that’s where I’ll find peace, because that connects me to my person.

Michelle: [00:17:50] Yeah. You might find yourself going to church or back to church for a short period of time or for a long period of time. I was raised many things, but ultimately Catholic and I love mass. Like I love you. Sit you stand, you say the thing like you described, and there’s just something really reassuring about it.

And there have been times where I just might go to the cathedral, not even during a mass, but just to be there. And there is a different sense of. Of time and space and the felt experience of being in a church it’s like, yeah, time does change the air changes. And I don’t consider myself a religious person.

So that doesn’t mean that you have to cut it all out. It just, you know, what’s your relationship with it. And what, where do you feel drawn? What feels like it might be supportive and. Follow that there, it doesn’t have to be forever. It doesn’t even have to fit. It can just be something that you try out like Tammy and then that wasn’t it.

Okay. I, because I’m not religious, I didn’t do a lot of church stuff around the loss of the baby, but I did have a ceremony and. It was like developing the ceremony. I wrote it all out that in itself was just gave me like a sense of purpose. It gave me somewhere to really express all the things that I wanted to express.

And we had you know, a bowl of water. We had pedals we planted a fig tree. Buried. I buried some ultrasound pictures. So, you know, I had my own thing that I would call like extremely, it was a very spiritual experience and the ceremony itself was exquisite. It was so beautiful. There was poetry.

I mean, it was exactly what I wanted it to be. And. So that’s the beauty of creating our own stuff. Is it gets to be what you want it to be not defined by this is how we do it in the church, or this is how the funeral goes and, you know, yes. If you have to have a funeral, you have a funeral, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also have your own thing and your own touches that are meaningful and 

Tami: [00:20:17] personal to you.

I know it’s funny because I. I, you know, I’ve been to lots of funerals, I would say. And every time I go to a funeral, I think I need to write that in my book of me about like, how I want this to go. Like, I want to orchestrate mine. Cause it’s very, I’m like, Oh, that’s a no, that’s a, yes. That’s a no, that’s a yes.

Yeah. Yeah. So when we talk about what’s the science, we have a note that says science. 

Michelle: [00:20:48] Science. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I would call that in line with my chiropractor friend, you know, what you might get interested in, what happens when you die. You might get interested in just. Life in general, you might get interested in the scientific part of grieving.

So like we talked about in our symptoms episode, you know, what happens biologically to us or what can happen. So some people just lean more toward that kind of what they might call more fact-based data-based and then psychology might. Have a little bit of a different slant. 

Tami: [00:21:35] How would that look different?

You think? 

Michelle: [00:21:37] I think there are many more approaches psychologically where, you know, like in any of the books that we’ve referenced, everybody kind of has their own take or their own approach or their own thoughts on, and. So reading a breadth of things, or if you find something that you like, you know, really going into one kind of idea or not necessarily a system, but just letting yourself be guided by one particular theory.

If that’s what works for you. Like the it’s not okay if you’re it’s okay. If you’re not okay. You know, she kind of has her way of talking about it and. Whereas somebody else this male author that you’ve mentioned, he might have a slightly different approach. 

Tami: [00:22:29] Yeah, it’s funny because it turns out that I definitely gravitate towards the people who are like, you know, you should do a ton of self-care and like, let it bubble up.

You know, it’s like all this very permission based and compassion based. Stuff. And the idea that like, you get to create your own experience, it’s like, choose your own adventure kind of, and by choose, I mean, let’s see what comes up and then be kind to ourselves about what comes up and how it presents and how we deal.

Yes. Instead of it being, you know, scripted, timed and judged, right. 

Michelle: [00:23:14] And for many people, I know we, I, we keep talking about nature, but for many people, you know, nature is their cathedral. And that can really be a soothing place to go where things do make more sense where there is a certain order to life.

So, you know, for those who aren’t into religion what. You know, what is your practice or your philosophy. And can you move deeper in that if it’s supportive? 

Tami: [00:23:46] Like how would you say that has looked for yield? Because like my place, there’s an intersection because we’re in a very specific part of Northern California and that’s the intersection of the ocean.

And thousand year old Sequoia Redwood trees. And that’s like heaven on earth for me. I like the smell of the Pacific ocean with a particular grit of sand. And those S like ancient trees. It makes me feel insignificant in the most humbling, comforting, possible way. Yeah. And so I’d like, I’m that person that, so just in case we ever meet on a trail, I’ll be verklempt and maybe crying because I know that ocean and those trees are going to be, they’ve been here for generations before me, and they will be here for generations after me.

Yep. And that shit that’s my church right there. That shit’s deep for me. Yeah. Other people just are like, it’s cold, it’s windy. And it kind of smells like rotting trees. Like I don’t get it. Right, 

Michelle: [00:24:59] right. Yeah. I’m the same way. And I actually just remembered that right after the baby died. I, it was again January and my dad and his wife actually winter.

Down South in Arizona. So they, weren’t where I grew up in their home. And, but that’s where I wanted to be. I just wanted to go home, which is a very rural mountainous. Country land. Like it’s very small town, nobody around. And so that I went there for, I don’t know, several days and it was really nice actually because they weren’t there.

I got the whole place to myself. I went on hikes every day. I found bear poop one day. So then my hikes got shorter. But I went to places, you know, from my childhood and I got outside a lot. And. It really was. I, that was just my medicine. And then my other kind of nature medicine is that I almost always on anniversaries want to be around water.

And I think we’ve talked about that, but that’s, there’s just something about it. That’s, especially those early days. It’s all I wanted. I’m like, I just have to go, I’ll find a puddle. I have to go find a body of water of some kind and. Yeah. Being an and again, it’s that kind of perspective that we can get when we’re outside, but especially like you’re talking about, and these really sacred old generations eons old thousands of years, old places, rock formations, forests, waterways, oceans, and.

And, you know, just go there and let yourself be held. You can whale, you can scream. You can stomp. You can be by yourself. You can go with a friend it’s just really, it can be quite magical.

Tami: [00:27:04] So what we’re saying is that not all pieces found in prescriptive ritual. And that we can create our own ritual. That is, it provides that same, it scratches that itch. Like if you got an itch for ritual, you can create that for yourself. And. And you’re not weird. I just, you know, I think I, it just in case anyone’s wondering about my inner dialogue, it’s like, you’re doing it wrong and your weird comes up a lot. And I find comfort in hearing that I am not the only person that’s like, but that thing that seems to work for lots of people doesn’t work for me.

So how can I create something that does work for me? So that I can experience the benefits of having done a thing, but make it my own. Yes, 

Michelle: [00:28:03] absolutely. Absolutely. And for some people, words like spiritual or sacred or ceremony or ritual or alters are fine. And for some people, you know, that doesn’t work either.

And so you don’t have to call it anything. Just what suits you? What makes sense? What helps you make sense? What gives you solace? And you don’t need to explain that to anybody. You don’t even need to understand it. You don’t have to understand why just go with it. Like 

Tami: [00:28:39] let it be there for you. Can I ask you a question please?

Okay, good. I don’t know why I said that. I’m gonna, I’m gonna try that again, Michelle, I’m gonna ask you a question. Great. Because this is something so I, so in case you guys don’t know Michelle, and I’ve been friends for. I don’t know, 13, 14 years. How long have we been runs? No, I think it’s 

Michelle: [00:29:01] been longer, but 


Tami: [00:29:04] that.

Okay. Maybe 15 years. Would you say that I have changed over that time, Michelle? Oh my God. I wish we could bring former me back. 

Michelle: [00:29:13] That was pretty old Tammy. Back on the podcast. 

Tami: [00:29:16] I know she is a hoot. That bitch is funny, but I was less open to say, I don’t know anything. And I also lived in exactly one place and that was in my head.

So we may have lost people like a half an hour ago. And for those of you that are still here, Bravo, if you’re still here to like, what the fuck are you talking about? I w maybe we should have started with this. And that is. Like, we’re like, let’s Intuit this like, feel what you feel, blah, blah. But what if you’re somebody who like really lives in your head?

And so you’re like, girlfriend, what the fuck are you talking about? Like, how do you know what you need? Like, how do you if somebody is a head liver, how do we get them into there? Body and into that space where then they can feel what feels right. Because the reason I say that is sometimes if you’re like do it feels right.

People might go to a numbing behavior because they don’t know that it’s numbing. It feels comforting because the pain is muffled, but there’s a difference between. Comfort and numbing, there’s a difference between, do you know what I mean? You know what I’m getting at? Yeah, I do. Yeah. 

Michelle: [00:30:44] And I, in some ways this might sound kind of weird.

This during grief is kind of a hard time to just all of a sudden start a practice like that. Because if you are in your head a lot, not that your head, isn’t part of your body, but you know, to be in the felt experience of yourself to be more in touch with the entirety of you and your feelings.

Then I think a decent place to start is just either a book and, or. Talking to someone getting a therapist which we’ve covered, but then at least that person is going to coax you a little more into how you feel, which when we talk about how we feel, we’re automatically a little more in touch with our bodies because our bodies are, we’re interpreting the emotion through our bodies.

So, you know, that’s kind of a little gateway And then, you know, advanced practice might be taking some kind of or doing some kind of physical activity, be that a hike or, you know, could even be no, probably not a CrossFit class, but some kind of extra, some form of exercise movement that has you feeling your physical self.

And I think those two kind of being a little bit on different ends of the spectrum might help a person just remember like, Oh right, okay. I have a body and I’m moving my parts around and my parts are having sensations and I’m having feelings, but that’s it. That is not an overnight thing. You know, that is a practice and a process in and of itself.

Tami: [00:32:31] Right. It’s funny that you say that because one of the things, so the reason that Michelle and I met is because here’s a big surprise. Somebody significant in my life died my stepdad. And at that time I was getting like weekly massage every other week massage. Sometimes it was weekly and my massage therapist was like, okay, this I’m S I love you so much.

I cannot. Squeeze you into, I cannot squeeze yo grief out your body lady. You’re going to have to help me out here. And I was like, just tell me what to do. And she’s like, There’s this place called it’s all yoga to which I said, what did I say, Michelle? That’s the dumbest name of overheard and now I get it, but I didn’t get it.

Cause you remember, this is like, this is judgey asshole, Tammy, that, by the way, it’s super funny. See how she laughed. She said there’s basically this angel straight. From heaven named Michelle Marley Han go to it’s all yoga and take a class with Michelle. And I was like, how is this woman going to help me?

And she was like, she’s basically going to squeeze all of the ugly Burghley’s out of you. She’s like, because your grief is stuck in your body. It’s like, there’s not enough massage for it to get out. And I was like, okay, I’ll pretty much do anything at this point. Cause I need help. And so I did start.

Going to classes with Michelle and the combination of getting frequent massage and doing yoga. And it wasn’t just so we’re clear. Michelle yoga is not endless sun salutations and like her personal home practice. She has, you do some weird shit with like, can you move your ankle one quarter of an inch?

And you’re like, what’s happening, but it does get you in your body when you’re super focused on doing one particular thing. And she asks. It’s almost like a coaching session in that she’s asking you to be right there in that moment and experience the sensations from the inside out. And it was mind blowing.

And I was like, what is even happening here? Because I was experiencing my body in a different way. And through, like I said, Massage and therapy and yoga. I was like, Oh, I’ve had some things stuck in here for awhile. And once it got moving, I was like, Oh, 

Michelle: [00:35:03] okay. Like that combo 

Tami: [00:35:05] approach. Yeah. It was a big one.

Yeah. Yeah. Oh, just to be clear. Did I cry when I went to yoga? I did. Did I cry when I got a massage? I did. It’s like they squeeze the tears out of me in a good way. And it wasn’t embarrassing after a while. I mean, cause I was like, I can’t believe I’m crying and both my, you know, Michelle and tests.

We’re not my friend who died, but my massage therapist tests, we’re both like, Oh thank God. The dam is broken. Like just, you don’t have to be ashamed of your tears. You’re processing your body’s helping you. Can we went from Jesus to like, Michelle’s helping me squeeze the grief out of my body, but you know, that’s how we roll around grief, podcasts, episode stories here.

Like we’re giving you lots of tools. And one of those is to get into your body because you know, when we talked about symptoms, like, I don’t know about you, but when I. Was grieving. My mom, I felt like I had a wet wool blanket inside my skin. And I was like, is it kind of hot and humid and really heavy in here?

And, you know, I don’t feel that way anymore. Right. And with each lawsuits, I have felt physical differences.

I don’t know why, but I did. And I have 

Michelle: [00:36:44] no, I mean, after each last year at different persons, so it makes sense. 

Tami: [00:36:50] Yeah. That whole thing 

Michelle: [00:36:51] you’re different. 

Tami: [00:36:54] The order of the universe. And now you’re in this sway this time. Yep. Yeah, totally. Do we have anything that we want to else we want to talk to our friends about?

Michelle: [00:37:08] I think that’s pretty thorough. I can’t think of anything else. 

Tami: [00:37:15] Okay. Cool. All right. So 

Michelle: [00:37:18] I mean, I’m sure we’ve missed something, but I think that’s, it’s a good starter 

Tami: [00:37:22] plate. I like that. That’s an appetizer. Yeah. An appetizer for if Jesus ain’t your homie, this is other things that you can do or any other, I don’t know, but other people call their person.

But next week we’re going to tack tackle how to be with people who are suffering and in pain, how to get comfortable in the discomfort of holding space for others. It is. I’ll just give you a preview. Michelle’s hella good at it. And I learned from her some really good stuff. And so next week you will hear from her as well.

And we’ll give you some actions and actual things to do. Because some people are really much more suited for tangible action. And so we will help spread that. Goodness, next week. So you 

Michelle: [00:38:17] want to send to your 

Tami: [00:38:18] friends? Oh, a hundred percent. Like, like star it and hold onto it and maybe send it out in your newsletter.

If you’ve got one, maybe in your Christmas letter we’ll give you some tips on how to be helpful. So until next week, remember that you matter. Okay.