EP83: What to Do When You Have Lost Someone or Something with Michelle Marlahan

EP83: What to Do When You Have Lost Someone or Something with Michelle Marlahan

We are going to talk about what do you do when you’ve lost someone or something? And this, my friends, is going to be the thing that you need when it first happens.

When you’re in acute grief, when it’s like “Oh my God, I just lost my job”, “I just found out my spouse is moving out”, “My person that I love dearly has died”.

We’re are going to talk about dealing with that first sting.


Tami: [00:00:00] Hi, Michelle. I’m so happy to see you again. We’re 

Michelle: [00:00:03] back I’m so we’re back. 

Tami: [00:00:05] Okay. So we’re back with more grief talk radio with me and Michelle Marlin. Okay. We talked in our first episode about what is grief and what is loss. Then we talked about the myth of the five stages of grief. Oh my God.

If you’ve listened to nothing else, friends, I want you to go back and listen to that one, because those are meant for the people who are dying and that’s why they make no sense when you apply them to the living. In our last episode we talked about like the all-encompassing nature of grief and how it touches all parts of you.

And today. We are going to talk about what do you do when you’ve lost someone or something? And this, my friends is going to be the thing that you need when it first happens. When you’re in acute grief, when it’s like, Oh my God, I just lost my job. I just found out my spouse is moving out. My person that I love dearly has died.

So I’m going to shell. Can you get us started what do we do? 

Michelle: [00:01:20] What do we do? It first, there might be just some shock. There are some kind of predictable responses that we might have in this shock of. Like the nervous system going into, as we talked about in our previous episodes, this fight flight freeze fond, like you just go into complete stress response.

It also depends on who you are. We all respond differently. So, you know, if this doesn’t sound like you, or this is you fall out of this range, that’s totally normal, too. Like anything can happen. I would say, as soon as you can in Tammy, you’ve really been an example of this reach out to trusted people or a trusted person, like know who you can go to, which we talked about being prepared in our last episode.

So know who you can go to and reach out to that person. Even if it’s just a text like this happened. I’m going to need you, or this happened, you know, can you come over or this happened, can you just be available tonight or for the next week or whatever, maybe it stopped therapist that, you know, now, you know, you’re going to be able to make that appointment or you have this ongoing relationship with them.

So this there’s, it depends again on the person. There can be a little bit of a window where you have some. Lucid moments before the shock, or maybe inside the shock, you’re Oh, I am vaguely aware of what’s just happened. And I know that I need to get some support systems in place.

So I’d say that’s kind of the first thing. If you are aware enough to have the wherewithal to make a call or send a text, reach out to someone. Get your, get some grounding tethers that, you know, you can hold onto. 

Tami: [00:03:25] Yeah. One of the things, so, you know, most of you know, but maybe if you don’t know yet, my best friend died in November.

And within 15 minutes of getting that news, I had reached out to. Some of my other really good friends who I know are good with grief. And how do I define that? I define that because there are people who are, they’ve had, they’ve experienced tremendous loss before, and they are people who can be. Comfortable with your discomfort.

They don’t try to make it better. They don’t try to push you away. They don’t try to fix it. They’re like, yes. What do you need? You’re going to need some food. How can I make that happen for you? Then there’s the the friends who you just go I need to tell you, and they’re the people who.

Unequivocally, we’ll be like, I got you. I’m going to do that thing for you. And so some of the things that have come up are like, I need somebody else to tell this news to people, because maybe you don’t want to be the one that is telling people that you lost someone or you like, cause you don’t want to.

I was going to say, you have to caretake everyone that you tell, but that’s really what it is. And you don’t want to relive that moment over and over again. Yeah. What else should people do? 

Michelle: [00:04:47] And I think you bring up some really great points. Like I know that we are taught, we have an upcoming episode on how to be the more of a support person, what to say, how to, what not to say how to be a support to someone.

Because when you’re in this situation, you don’t, I mean, that’s not what you’re focusing on your. Your brain has kind of shut down basic needs stuff, and you can only focus on Oh my God, this person’s dead. I don’t know what to do. Or, you know, I’ve had this massive change, this massive loss, the shocking news.

Tami: [00:05:26] So you’ve had your sliding doors moment, which is before I got this news life was this way after I got this news. Now life is this other way. And I don’t know how to be in that other world yet. 

Michelle: [00:05:40] Yes. So not, unfortunately not everybody has someone in their life that who will just know. Oh, okay. So I’ve, you know, I’ve been called up, I’m going to take some soup.

I’m going to, you know, do all the things that are so helpful. Not everybody has that. If you. No, that there is a person in your life who can do that. And I hope that everyone has someone. Then it is like just knowing that person that you can call, who knows what to do, bring the food drop it off park outside, just to know that someone’s there, you know, like little things that some people don’t know how to do.

Tami: [00:06:24] Yeah, what’s interesting is when w in this last round because, you know, I’m, this isn’t my first grief rodeo when my mom died. I wasn’t sure what to do, and I kind of closed the ranks in pretty quickly. And I reached out to a couple people, but this time, because we were all living in the pandemic and we were all, everything was just bizarro, Ville.

But I knew for sure. I did not want to be online a lot. And I also didn’t want to retell the story over and over again. So, and I also knew that I had a window before, like either numb shock and inability to keep my eyes open was going to happen. So within the first hour I had called you and I called cache and.

I was like, what am I going to need? And so we made a checklist of the basics and the very, and I still have the checklist and I made it on a piece of paper. And then I made it a checkoff bubble list on my phone in that the very first thing was eat. Yeah. And then I had Ooh, brush your teeth, brush your hair, put different clothes on all of these things.

And you think, Oh, why would I need that? In your new sliding doors life, You might be very disconnected from your physical body and your physical needs. So you’re like, I might need a reminder to eat. Yeah. I might need a reminder to take my medication, right? 

Michelle: [00:07:55] Yeah. I wanna make a quick comment about like changing your clothes or brushing your teeth and just give permission that there might be some days where that doesn’t happen.

So in that shock place, in that complete disorientation, in that utter despair, you know, if that’s where someone is, it’s okay. If you have some days where, and then occasional days ongoing where you’re like, you know what, fuck it today. I can’t, I’m not going to get out of bed and that’s okay.

There are things like, yes, please drink water. Have some food take your medication like that there are things non-negotiable things for your ultimate health. Absolutely. Please do. We don’t want you to not to get dehydrated and to be worse off so that the grief is actually just so much harder to deal with and be with And to give permission if you’re having one of those really dark days and you’re like, I just, I can’t get out of bed today.

I want to watch TV all day. I don’t want to go outside today. And especially in the beginning in those early days when you’re not gonna really even remember anything anyway those days might happen. So there’s kind of this balance of some structure. And a lot of permission. 

Tami: [00:09:25] Yeah. I wish I would have said that better.

I didn’t make the checklist as a, you must do these every day. It was a, you’re not going to remember what your bodily needs are and here’s a helpful reminder. And then some days I would be like, did I brush my teeth already? And I would have to look at the list. You know what I mean? It’s did I check it off?

Was that yesterday? Was it two days ago? Because it was like, my brain was so occupied with this new reality that, that I was like, I’m going to need an instruction manual. Like I probably shouldn’t drive right now because I can’t like use all of the things that I need in order to make this safe. Yes, absolutely.

Right. Because my brain is like processing the worst imaginable. 

Michelle: [00:10:15] Yes, no brain is on shutdown, not a lot of cognitive function available. 

Tami: [00:10:22] Oh my God. And terrible short-term memory. Terrible short-term memory. 

Michelle: [00:10:27] And then, so, so you know, this can let this kind of shock place can last for days, it can kind of come and go.

It can feel like clouds coming in and then for a moment, the clouds part began. The clouds come back. And then at some point, totally undefinable at some point there’s I want to say, and this isn’t going to sound great, but I want to say that in some ways we think as time goes on again, this linear process, what’s going to get easier as time goes on, right?

No, not always. 

Tami: [00:11:02] Cause time is made up.

Some weird parameters on things that don’t really have them, but go ahead. Right? 

Michelle: [00:11:14] So here’s one thing that can happen. So sometimes in the early shock phase, there is emotional response. There is, there are feelings, there’s emotion, there’s there’s intensity and. Sometimes there, there is, as you spoke to that numbing, that can happen in shock where we’re not really feeling the breadth of it, the entirety of it.

So actually as we move out of shock and some of that numbing wears off, we actually have more emotion come forward. More of. The pain or the sadness or the anger, you know, that whole range of emotion that we talked about before. So sometimes it feels like, why is this not getting this actually feels like it’s getting harder.

I’m more in pain. I’m suffering more now than I was at the beginning. And I think it’s so important for people to know that’s not abnormal. That is not unusual. That. That’s actually your body kind of protecting you in a way. I also like to think of your psyche and your system kind of metering.

Tami: [00:12:32] I was going to say dosing where it’s like, you can only have use we slammed that new door, the old door closed. We opened this new door, but we can go ahead and close it just a little bit because this new realities very new and perhaps. In your news state, you can’t take it all in at once. Absolutely.

Michelle: [00:12:51] I 

Tami: [00:12:51] felt like I was stuffed with cotton under my skin and it was like up my nose and in my I just felt like I was kind of in A cotton cloud slash covered with a blanket and like almost insulated. And then as the months go on like little pieces of it come apart and you’re like, Mmm, owl. It hurts when you take that off.

Yeah. I don’t like this new reality it’s too. Then things started feeling like it was too hard. Cold, rough. Cause the numbness had worn off, right? 

Michelle: [00:13:28] Absolutely. 

Tami: [00:13:29] Yeah. And I’ve had her earplugs a lot earplugs and headphones and I didn’t wear my glasses. I. Have found myself looking for my glasses more often than not.

And I’m a person that wears glasses all the time until tests died. And then I was like, Oh, I never wear my glasses anymore. I’m lost. I’m not going anywhere. And so, but I was like, why am I doing that? And I think it’s because I needed the world to be a little fuzzier. 

Michelle: [00:13:55] Yeah. That’s 

Tami: [00:13:56] interesting. Like I don’t need to take it all in 

Michelle: [00:13:59] right to see it.

Tami: [00:14:02] Yeah, I don’t need to see my pain that clearly. Thank you very much. I will go ahead and take my glasses off and let the sharp edges soften a bit. That’s 

Michelle: [00:14:10] interesting, because I was going to say, in my experience, I have felt like I’m kind of an alien, like I’ve landed in this place that is alien to me.

Totally unfamiliar. And I could see that I don’t really want to see it that clearly I don’t want to be exposed. I. I just feel like nothing makes sense. I don’t understand any of this feels so foreign. You can just, in this, I landed in this random place, what has happened, 

Tami: [00:14:38] right. And it’s it’s doubly weird because I’ve experienced extreme acute grief in regular times.

And during the pandemic and in regular times, I wanted to isolate and stay home and snuggle in, and probably not wear my glasses, but during the pandemic, we were already, we’d already been doing that for so many months and everyone was doing that. Yeah, it was a very different experience on, and I think from that perspective Like I’m nervous about going out into public again, I’m like, Oh my God, it’s going to be hard because I have been insulated.

Right. Oh, totally. Yeah. 

Michelle: [00:15:23] Yeah. And that’s a great point. So I, you know, I was starting to talk about like, when some of that wears off and you’re feeling a little more available. But it, so let’s let me pause because it is important to say. Some people might feel like isolating and being really quiet and not talking to a lot of people.

Maybe somebody wants to journal. Maybe somebody else doesn’t want to journal. Things like looking through photos or reminiscing being with memories like. That all kind of textbook is a really healthy thing to do to, you know, help kind of process and keep that person or that circumstance alive and continue the relationship.

And for other people it isn’t helpful or it isn’t helpful yet. So, whereas some people might, I don’t understand these people, but they might want to be with a lot of people. They might want to be out. They might want some 

Tami: [00:16:24] laughing. Those might be extroverted people. 

Michelle: [00:16:26] I think those are extroverted. Yeah. 

Tami: [00:16:28] I know, because I will say that Michelle and I are both super introvert, so we’re like, Did you say go back to your base nature.

Okay. Is there a shell I can curl into? I would gladly do that on most days. 

Michelle: [00:16:44] Yeah. And it’s often going to be, you know, where do you get comfort? Where do you feel most at ease and at home? That will probably be what you naturally go to now. That’s not to say that’s a guarantee. You might find yourself as an extroverted person thinking like, Oh my God, I just really want to be by myself and then follow that, 

Tami: [00:17:06] like really welcome to the club.

Michelle: [00:17:07] And then at some point it can be helpful. Find a book, find a group get either so many Facebook groups for everything these days, even if it’s not an official support group, like we talked about before. Something that lets you know, this is so essential that what you’re feeling is natural, that you’re not crazy or weird that there’s no right way to do this.

Find the others even again, and we’re going to have resources for you for reading material books that we approve, 

Tami: [00:17:44] because it’s a thing guys, and we’re going to have, we’re going to have a whole episode. Yeah. We’re going to have a whole episode just on resources, podcasts classes. Somatic practices, breathing practice.

Like we will, you’ll be so resourced. You’ll be like, okay, I got it. It’s like a guide over here. Yeah. Don’t you worry that’s coming. Yeah. 

Michelle: [00:18:06] Yeah. So yes, so that, you know, you’re not alone. The other thing that I’ll kind of jump to, because I think this is such a great practice. That I teach on. And it’s also something that I’ve done in my own life.

A lot is to make a grief alter and grief alters are just an altar is simply an intentional collection of any number of items. And a grief alter is a way to honor the person or the situation or the thing. Giving it a place like you can give, it can be a couple of things. It can give your grief a place.

So your feeling, your experience, your emotion, it can be the place you go to, to emote, to rage, to whale, to right. To be with those memories. It can also be the place for your person or your thing. Give them a a special spot in your home or outside. So I have a whole thing on how to make a grief alter, and we can share that with 

Tami: [00:19:13] you as well.

It’ll be in the show notes. It’s a really powerful practice and Michelle of course has a little webinar on that. So we’ll put that in the show notes. So some things that we have found to be helpful. Are everyone’s wins, Everett self-compassion and if you don’t know what self-compassion is, I have an episode on that and it’s episode three.

And if you can get a hold of Kristin Neff’s book called that’s, right. Self-compassion that shit will change your life at any time. But man grief is a time where. It is so important to have this practice. So self-compassion has three parts. The first is being kind to yourself and treating yourself basically like your own best friend.

The second part is common humanity, which is we’re all in this together. We’re all flawed humans, every single one of us. And so give that person across the way a break. Also while you’re at it, give yourself a break. We’re all in it together. And then finally, the last piece is mindfulness, which is a fancy way of saying pay attention to when you’re being a Dick to yourself or to someone else.

And to go, I’m going to choose something different than because here’s the thing. Grief is it’s big and it’s completely natural. And it’s again, that sliding doors. This was your life before then there’s the crack. And then there’s the new door. Like you’re meeting yourself for the first time in a completely different way.

So to really bring that home, if you’ve never brought the self-compassion practice into your life during grief is such a, it’s a life-changing experience. What else would you say that would be of use 

Michelle: [00:21:08] here? I would say the other really big one is nature to be in nature in any way, and as much as you can.

So even if it’s, you know, if you’re a really urban and it’s just going to the city park if you’re suburban and you have a yard and then if you can, you know, going out to wild nature and structured nature I was obsessed with water. I’m still on my grief anniversaries. That’s what I want to do. I want to go be near water a river.

I mean, it could be a puddle for all I care puddle, sprinkler. 

Tami: [00:21:46] I know my tail. 

Michelle: [00:21:48] It’s just water is just, you know, it’s that emotion aspect for me. So that’s really soothing, but nature reminds us that things have cycles. There’s just something so soothing about being in nature, you know, like literally hug a tree, touch the dirt.

It can be really grounding and also just there’s like a rhythm that nature has that we have forgotten. 

Tami: [00:22:10] Yeah. And if you are unable to do any of that, looking at pictures of nature actually can get you there too. 

Michelle: [00:22:18] Yeah. Even a house planner. A 

Tami: [00:22:20] house plant bring the outdoors in. And what’s so funny is I was telling you, I think last week is after every one of my most significant losses, I lost one of my very first friend when I was 19.

I started swimming after my mom died. I took swimming lessons. What and then this time. Randomly an old Greek friend was like, Hey, I have this way for you to swim, come and swim at my house. And I’ve been swimming and it is so remarkably comforting. To be in the water and to move my body in that way and to really use my lungs in that way.

And you know, no one can tell if you’re crying, if you’re swimming, cause you’re already wet. It’s kind of like crying in the shower. Yeah. Or crying in the tub. Yep. Which by the way, I, and if I’m not in the swimming pool, I’m in the bath. Yes. Every 

Michelle: [00:23:20] day. Yeah, I think there’s also something so containing about water, whether it’s a pool or a tub or a Lake, like being held in that way, being the buoyancy as well as just that, that gentle pressure and kind of holding in and containing you.

Tami: [00:23:43] Yeah. Yeah. So we’re going to. Provide a checklist of, Hey, this is what you can do when the shit hits the fan. And that will be in the show notes. Do you have anything else that you want to add before we wrap up for today, Michelle? 

Michelle: [00:24:02] Would it be good to talk about a couple of things that don’t help?

Tami: [00:24:07] Ooh, I love that. I love the contrast. Yes. So we so. If we want to, we could say self care helps self-compassion helps. And what are some things that you would say are not helpful? 

Michelle: [00:24:22] Probably some of the things that we have been really well trained to do, or just, you know, seem kind of automatic to go to Oh, like any kind of addiction.

Alcohol is really unhelpful. Recreational drugs, really unhelpful. They can just take us deeper into that dark place where, you know, then we don’t have, our judgment is even more impaired. We feel really off the rails. It just exacerbates everything, even though it might have a little bit of that kind of numbing and subduing that we’re looking for.

The other side of it is just not worth it. So those are big ones because I think they’re kind of common. Oh, I don’t want to feel this. How can I not feel this? Stuffing it just not talking about it. If that’s something that would be helpful for you. Not everybody needs to tell the story and keep continue talking about it, but yeah.

Tami: [00:25:24] Can I have can I have an asterix there? Yes. 

Michelle: [00:25:27] Okay. 

Tami: [00:25:28] So there’s a fine line here. And the fine line goes like this. I urge you my friends to create some sort of talking point about what you will say when you say it. Because after my mom died, I found myself talking like to the postman. Yeah. And then I was like, Oh man, I just ruined that guy’s day.

And now the next time he comes here, I have to tell him a different part of the story because now I’m the crazy person. So what I finally did was like, I was like, not everyone needs to know every thought I’m having, not every person is privy to this, not every per, so it was like, I made a talking list.

Of what? It was like an elevator pitch for my grief, so that people wouldn’t be like, God, she was so weird when blah, blah, blah. Yeah. And, but it also helped me go, what do I want to share? And then save my more messy bits for people who as my, Hey Bernay ha here’s your shout out, had earned the right to hear it.

Yeah, that had been there for me through other things. They understood where I was coming from. Maybe they understood the relationship. They had my best interest, but I don’t need to tell the mailman. About all the things, because he happened to walk by. Totally, 

Michelle: [00:26:55] absolutely. But if you do it’s okay.

Yes. If you do, because I told everyone they’re fucking dog, like I had a post office experience. So apparently the company, the United States postal service, like the truth serum. Oh my God. Yes. I agree. And just so much forgiveness and permission. If you do that, there’s just something in us. In many of us, that’s blah, I just have to tell you because this happened and I’m still trying to make sense of it and maybe you can help me.

And if I tell you it might make it more real, right. 

Tami: [00:27:31] Or you’re like, Hey, I need to announce I’m different now. Yeah. I lost my person. I’m different. I lost my job. I’m different. Do you see how different I am? And they’re like, they’re backing away slowly. Like I do. Why does everyone tell me their stuff?

And you’re like you did bring me the mail today. 

Michelle: [00:27:49] Exactly. I mean, isn’t that what you do? But on the other side of that, again, like just completely stuffing it down. No, I’m fine. Whatever. And that’s generally not helpful for anybody either because that shit will come out some other way. That is a lot less desirable.

Tami: [00:28:08] I just had this vision of whack-a-mole and I’m looking at this list because you know, we have a list and I’m like, wow, this is a lot like what they say. These are all things that you shouldn’t do after you’ve had some anesthesia. If you’ve had an anesthesia, don’t operate heavy machinery, don’t make big life decisions.

Don’t sign contracts. Don’t do recreational drugs or drink. Or talk to the PA the mailman, 

Michelle: [00:28:36] tell him your life secrets. Let’s truly talk about making big life decisions, because this is such a common one. People will say I’m going to sell the house. I’m going to move out of state. I’m going to quit my job.

I’m going to change my job. Like it’s just, we talked about the cognitive function being a little different, like not a great time to be making really big changes. 

Tami: [00:29:01] Right, because you’ve just met yourself. You’ve just met your new self. Yeah. 

Michelle: [00:29:05] And a quest. So just all the other random things that might come up that you might wonder about I don’t know, is this going to be helpful or should I do this?

Or did that work? The question to ask always is what makes it worse because if. Talking to Sally every time stout, sorry, all the salaries, but every time Sally calls, do you feel like shit after that conversation, do you feel worse after talking to Sally? Then. Don’t talk to Sally, don’t angry in your calls, 

Tami: [00:29:41] my friends, and you don’t even have to wait for grief for this one.

Yeah. Just don’t pick up. 

Michelle: [00:29:47] Yeah. And it, so if you know, if you watch six hours of TV, did that make it worse or did it help if you go for a walk, did that help or did that make it worse? So that’s, and that might, it might change, you know, week to week. But that’s probably not that much. So that’s a really good gauge.

And that kind of goes back to the checklist you were talking about where you can just have field notes okay, clearly Sally’s off the list. Or you can put on your list of optional things to do, take a walk. 

Tami: [00:30:25] Yeah. I it’s so funny because there’s so many. Apparent. I’m like, I’m really revealing myself as a list-maker, but I think I really am naturally a list-maker it’s like I can talk to this person about grief, not talk to this person because I feel worse when we do that.

I eat this food. I feel better. I eat this food. I feel worse by the way, this does it make it worse? Question is like one for the ages. You could ask yourself this all day, every day, even when you’re not in grief. And then you end up with some really responsive self-care. So that’s this, Hey guys, we’re like 80 plus episodes in, but really what this entire show is about is being responsive to your own needs.

Yes. Amen. Right. And it’s those needs are going to change depending on what’s happening in your life. All right. So, Michelle, we’re going to link to your grief alter webinar. You guys read Kristin Neff’s self-compassion book. If you want the real skinny story, you can check out episode three of this very podcast, and we are going to create a checklist for early grief.

Anything to add before we say goodbye. 

Michelle: [00:31:44] I think we’ve covered it just, you know, self-compassion permission patients, which are big asks, so write them down so that you can remind yourself 

Tami: [00:31:58] Over and over. Absolutely. All right. Friends take good care. And until next week, remember that you matter too.

EP82: Symptoms of Grief with Michelle Marlahan

EP82: Symptoms of Grief with Michelle Marlahan

We’re finally getting to that episode we’ve been promising you, and that is we’re going to talk about grief symptoms. And the reason I wanted to talk about this is I apparently learned from media (i.e) the movies and TV and thought that grief symptoms were crying and wailing and maybe some light sadness.

Let us give the people some relief about  what are some of the millions of symptoms that you can have in grief? We’re not going to cover every possible symptom but we are going to cover many that you may or may not be experiencing.


Tami: [00:00:00] Welcome back, Michelle. Hey, super glad you’re here. If you are wondering friends, we’re finally getting to that episode, we’ve been promising you, and that is we’re going to talk about grief symptoms. And the reason I wanted to talk about this is I apparently learn from media I E the movies and TV and thought that grief symptoms were crying and wailing and maybe some light sadness.

Tami: [00:00:40] Oh. And the ice cream. I am allergic to dairy so we can cut out ice cream. I. I was going to say, I’m not a big crier. I am. Except when I’m totally in grief, tears are not a hundred percent natural for me. So of course I was like, what is my go-to? Oh my God, what is wrong with me?

So, Michelle, let us talk today. Let us give the people some relief about  what are some of the millions of symptoms that you can have in grief? 

 Michelle: [00:01:17] Yes, this is going to maybe be surprising for people and just to  make the note that there is a handout on this, there’s a download so that you don’t have to remember all of these.

And  we’re not going to cover every possible symptom because we have five categories of them. But yeah.  We’ll go over some of it, and then you can download the PDF and have this little resource for yourself.  Yes, I really want to echo what you’re saying about most of us believe that the feelings of grief are sadness.

As you said, maybe some crying and. Like light depression. It might be kind of melancholy. And then, you know, we moved through the stages of last 

Tami: [00:02:13] episode. Myth-busting no stages going in which case you’re probably not crying after your dad 

Michelle: [00:02:21] died. 

Tami: [00:02:22] So poetic. 

Michelle: [00:02:25] So, so we’re going to talk about, there are so many possible symptoms.

We’re actually going to talk about symptoms in five categories. So emotional, physical, cognitive, what we’re going to call social and behavioral and then spiritual. Okay. So we’ll just kind of highlight a few in each category. So emotional symptoms get extra complicated because. That can be broken down into two categories.

We have what we tend to call or think of as negative emotions like sadness, sorrow    anger’s is a real forward emotion in common in grief and loss. 

 Tami: [00:03:14] I’m sorry, you’re going to have to say that louder for the people in the 

Michelle: [00:03:16] back, better red headed, 

Tami: [00:03:20] like explosive head guy from inside out is holding hands with grief.

 Nobody’s business 

Michelle: [00:03:29] would say you, you shared about your anger at, you know, best friends and  having that come up around. It was I think, with your move to Portland, but also, you know, kind of anticipating that when you start to go back out because of Tessa’s death and I’ll just share a story that you already know about  four years after I lost the baby, I just full on hated hatred toward pregnant women.

Hated, and I might pass one into groceries. I mean, I tried to avoid them because it wasn’t uncommon to also burst into tears, but really the forward most emotion was anger and rage. And in some ways that was more helpful because if I was in a grocery store, I could, you know, murmur under my breath or, you know, have a little fire inside of me.

And that was actually more convenient than bursting into tears.  But  I might drive on the street and have someone walk by with a stroller or someone pregnant. And whenever this happened ever four years, I would say almost always out loud. Fuck you and your baby. Okay. Sorry. 

Tami: [00:05:01] I remember that. And I swear to God, it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard.

Also, do you guys want to invite us to your parties now? We’re super fun at parties. We never got, you should totally invite us in. We won’t come couples who are like, fuck you and your baby. Fuck you. And your best friend. 

Michelle: [00:05:22] That’s right. That’s right. I mean, that is the degree of rage that can come with a really intense loss that, and it’s tied up with jealousy and envy and  despair, but it often comes out as this anger and rage.

So that’s just a little side note story.  What else under the common negative we’ve got  guilt. We’ve already talked a little bit about shame, self blame.  Feeling lost, disoriented, fearful NGS, so phobias and anxiety and security. This is a whole kind of category of emotions that can come up that can be surprising and can feel unrelated.

 Oh, I don’t know. I have this phobia. And you know, I’m afraid  if a spouse dies, you know, now I’m afraid to be in the house or I’m afraid to go out by myself or I’m afraid to drive the car.  A lot of fear can come up around loss. You have any in the quote unquote negative category that you want to throw them.

 Tami: [00:06:25] Irritability, Erin, why was like, why does it feel like it’s a windy day? I’m a cat and everyone’s petting me backwards. Right? I was like, it was almost electric where I was like, Oh, everyone’s doing everything wrong.  Yeah.  There’s static on the TV.  My socks are uncomfortable itchy. And  I didn’t like your tone, how you’re talking.

The food’s too hot. It’s too bland. It’s too. It was just very  I super irritable nitpicky.  Oh, here’s one super need for controlling my environment. I was like, I may be sad, but I need the house to be really cool. Yeah. Yeah. And now I’m going to be mad at you because you don’t see the dust. Cause we got to bring it back to anger.

Michelle: [00:07:23] Yeah, we do. Right, right. 

Tami: [00:07:25] Yeah. And why can’t you people put your shoes where they belong. Right. But don’t leave the house because I’m afraid you’re going to die. Right. You should stay here with my angerness and we should. Scrub, like I will say after tests died.  I couldn’t cause we’re going to get to cognitive in a second, but I couldn’t do hard things like cook from a recipe, but I could scrub the hell out of the bathroom where I was like, I can read for comprehension, but my baseboards are super 

Michelle: [00:08:05] clean.

Right? Yeah. Right. Yes. Having an actually that kind of sematic outlet  is really helpful. It can really help people not get stuck in. And emotion. 

 Tami: [00:08:21] So when you say somatic outlet, what do you mean? 

Michelle: [00:08:24] I just mean movement. So  having some kind of physical movement or expression. So, you know, the scrubbing, the thing might not see the rage cleaning.

Yes. It might not seem related to, you know, you don’t, you might not feel like a great person might not feel like, Oh, I’m getting  my grief out grief as this big category. But the movement itself  is just helpful in the body. Like emotion, motion. We are emotional moving beings. And when we just sit, you know, which is also a part of this experience often  but when we don’t get any movement, then things really can stagnate.

Whether that’s literally your lymphatic fluid, your. 

 It feels like energy, emotion 

Tami: [00:09:19] getting rusty, you know what I mean? Yeah. Rusty or having cobwebs. And it’s so interesting. The other day I was on a grief support call. So  I just want to bring this up really quick and that is there’s. So the grief is what we do inside in morning is what we do outside.

And so we’re talking about  all the things that you’re feeling inside right now. So this is, so I just wanted to bring that up because a lot of people are like, I’m in grief, but they’re crying. And it’s   you know, sometimes what you, what other people can see, looks  as the morning part, but the grief part is the internal.

So the experience, the internal experience. So what about, so. Yeah. I was surprised that there were so many negative emotions involved with grief. Are there positive ones? 

 Michelle: [00:10:12] So, so this is interesting because so called positive emotions are actually a place. People can get hung up because it was like, 

Tami: [00:10:21] Oh, I just had a, like a sinking feeling.

I’m like, Oh my God, are you going to save relief? I am. I know that’s a tough one. That’s a tough one. 

Michelle: [00:10:31] Yeah. Yeah. Relief, peace, contentment  gratitude.  It strength, perseverance, resilience, clarity, courage.  I it’s  it, you know, these are things where we can, again, if we have that really. Medical model  and kind of mainstream idea of what grief is.

Then we might come up against some shame here  Oh my God  I shouldn’t be feeling so  I shouldn’t feel like laughing. I shouldn’t be laughing right now. It’s I am in morning.  I’m having, you know, this big loss. I shouldn’t be laughing at this funny thing, whether it’s related to the loss or not, you know, the can feel really wrong to be in good humor and a good mood.

And it’s just important to remember that as we talked about in our last episode, there are cycles and none, the only thing we guarantee is change. So, you know, our mood will change. Our state of mind will change. Emotions will come and 

Tami: [00:11:36] go, right, who hasn’t started out laughing and then turned to sobbing and he hasn’t started out sobbing and turned to laughing.

Yeah. Also, I have to say, I have laughed at a funeral before, because some of us are blessed with  the absolute curse of inappropriate laughing. And then the person sitting next to you looks at you and you’re like, I am crying, but my eyes are dry or they catch your eye and then they start laughing.

It’s true. Story set. A whole Pew, often a church one time during a funeral because somebody said something that just tickled my funny bone in the wrong way. At the wrong time. Couldn’t get it back. You guys could not pull the laughter back. At one point, my brother was pinching me because I was making him laugh.

And I was like, I might die in this Pew because I can’t stop. 

Michelle: [00:12:37] So again, you know,  just expression of emotion, that motion, whether it’s the laughter and that like none of this story surprises me, I can visualize the whole thing.  But just  in a broader way for people to understand that there are, first of all, there, aren’t positive and negative there.

Aren’t good and bad emotions.  There aren’t wrong emotions do not bad if you feel jealous or you’re not better. If you’re super grateful, they’re all within the context of being human.  And so any movement, any expression of emotion that we can get just helps us navigate, like cruise in the boat, down that river.

And  You know, wild, probably  what’s you’re saying, if it can’t be fun, make it funny. Yeah. Yeah.  And I 

Tami: [00:13:33] don’t get grief constipated, so these are the things that are growing from it. You don’t want to be rusty. You don’t want like dust bunnies in your grief closet. Like you want to  move your emotions so that like they don’t get 

Michelle: [00:13:45] stuck.

Yeah, absolutely.  And again, along these kind of positive, this quote unquote positive line  a lot of people can feel a deep, spiritual connection. They can really feel connected to love. They can get more clear about their life or some part of their life. It can give a lot of clarity about where they want to go or what they want to do so, or who they are.

Tami: [00:14:13] So. Yeah.  I felt that a lot after my mom died, I got some clarity in  such a, like straight up download where I was like, I’m never doing X again. I’m never doing Y again. I’m and I was like  that was clear. Oh, okay. 

Michelle: [00:14:32] Yes. Okay. Should we move on to physical? 

Tami: [00:14:36] Yes, because this was so shocking to me. 

 Michelle: [00:14:39] This is  this is very surprising, but if we think about how our nervous systems respond to our sense of safety and grief can activate our nervous systems in a kind of fight or flight way, then it makes sense that grief can be incredibly physical.

Tami: [00:15:03] So, I mean, who hasn’t thought about their nervous system, Michelle? Right. Cause let’s be real. Most of us don’t think that we have what we were like. So for those of us that haven’t spent a bunch of time thinking about our nervous system and the fight flight freeze.  There’s one more in that fight flight freeze.

Fine.  So tell me, what does it mean to have our nervous system activated? 

Michelle: [00:15:32] So the simplest way to think about it is we have two kind of States. We have this fight flight freeze or fond response, which is  more    it’s like internal systems at the ready to fight or run away or  Freeze and paralysis because there’s a threat.

So it’s that, it’s the part of the brain that responds to threat and send signals and hormones to the rest of the body to prepare for that threat in some way. So we often call that the stress response or the fight or flight response, and then there’s this other, which, you know, it’s not this cut and dry simple, but to make it somewhat clear for us, then there’s this other  branch or way of state of being that is called the relaxation response.

And that’s just where we’re cool. Like just hanging out. I don’t feel threatened. I feel safe.  Saber tooth tiger is not going to come and eat. You. 

No  I’m good.  I’m in my house or I, you know, I can even be out, but  I feel confident and alert and my systems are relaxed. My digestion is just chugging along.

 You know, blood pressure’s normal. My eyesight is normal. All my senses are online, but not heightened.  You know, I’m just grooving and just being me and my body is relaxed. Everything is working at  you know, kind of homeostatic 

Tami: [00:17:14] state. I know, but you know, what’s bonkers and you know this because you work with so many people in their bodies is that most modern people don’t live in this state.

Most modern people are living in that jacked up nervous system state. That is true. Right. So when we talk about the physical body, a lot of us are already hyped to begin with before something traumatic happens. Yes. So how does this, how does grief a pretty traumatic experience, although totally normal.

How does it show up in the body? 

 Michelle: [00:17:48] It can create, so again, when we get stuck  in this kind of stress response, which as you said, we can already be in to some degree. So then  it’s just exacerbated, but there’s a whole host of chemical changes that can create these physical symptoms. Anything from changes in blood pressure and heart rate to hormonal shifts that can lower immunity.

Of course our breath is affected. Our posture is affected. We can get aching or stiff muscles  headaches, lots of digestive stuff. So especially, you know, there are some people who take stress in different ways and maybe that’s in the stomach and digestion, so you can get nausea, diarrhea, constipation, old ulcers, and then your appetite can be affected.

Some people lose their appetite and some people have a big increase in appetite  exhaustion, lethargy. And then on the other side of that restlessness feeling really manic. And I think another huge one that people might relate to is sleep insomnia or oversleeping or some weird combo of both. 

Tami: [00:19:06] I am currently in a, I would pay cash money.

To not see the sunrise stage of life, because I like to wake up somewhere between three and 5:00 AM. Doesn’t matter when I go to sleep. And because yeah, at first, right after test died, I was being able to sleep. And I was like, Oh my God, I’ve got this anxiety. I’ve got this sleeping anxiety, insomnia thing.

I’m  I’ve conquered my life term, my lifetime thing. And then a couple of weeks ago, my body was like, and now we shall enter the insomnia phase of grief. Good luck sleeping until it’s light. So I just go to bed really early now for my defensive sleeping.

Michelle: [00:19:55] Yeah, 

Tami: [00:19:56] right. Yeah.  And it’s  it goes with it being able to sleep, right? Like you, that shows up in your body to where then you’re like, now I’m really hungry. No only eat weird food. It’s like being hung over 

Michelle: [00:20:10] and it makes all the emotional aspects so much harder. 

Tami: [00:20:15] Absolutely power over it. 

   Michelle: [00:20:18] Yeah.

Right. Yeah. Totally. I think it’s really helpful for people to know that some of these physical symptoms are possible because  it’s not uncommon. I’ve read a lot about people going to the doctor.  I think something’s wrong with me when. You know, really  it’s just this physical manifestation of the grieving 

Tami: [00:20:41] a hundred percent I will say, after my mom died, I went to  two specific grief support groups.

One was the drop-in and that was lovely. But then I went to one for mother loss and it was like a more structured class. And one of the classes, they gave us a sheet with all of these different symptoms on it. And almost all of my symptoms were physical at that particular moment. And I thought I was losing my mind, but Nope, turns out you’re just grieving.

And it’s  it like super sore muscles, like it was, but it was such a relief to know that this is a thing. So that’s the reason why I wanted to have this conversation too. Like you’re not losing your mind. Right. Your body is working really hard to process something. Yeah. 


Michelle: [00:21:41] that even  kind of brings up the idea that using the download that we have for you, you can go through and, you know, just get a sense, maybe make little check marks.

And if you have a lot of symptoms or most of your symptoms are in one category or, you know, concentrated in one or two categories, then that gives you a little more information about the ways that you might best take care of yourself.  Okay. So how can I, if almost all of my symptoms are in the emotional category.

Okay. So how can I support myself a little bit better emotionally, just knowing that this is a, where a lot of my stuff is showing up.      And just knowing it might be. Enough, but there might be some supplemental support that you can give yourself in any of these ways. 

Tami: [00:22:38] Absolutely. Yeah.  And it, again, when we’re talking about self care, it’s not like Manny’s, Petty’s vacation kind of thing.

It’s that stuff where you’re like, I found myself drawn to when I’m feeling really sore in my body to doing some gentle exercise, to doing some gentle strength training, to doing some gentle yoga so that I could sort of work that emotion through my body. Did I want to do it? No, but this is the sexy part, right?

The sexy part of self-care is you’re doing all the shit you don’t want to do, but it’s because you’re tending to yourself in a way that you’re like, I know you don’t want to, but you gotta. Right. It’s like the kid who fights to go to bed, but you’re like, you’re tired. And as they’re like losing their mind, they’re like tired.

And you’re like, okay  we don’t have to talk about it, but you still have to go to bed, right? Yes. Okay. So basically what we’re saying is so far, what I’ve heard is grief can show up hell a different ways and you can feel it in your brain. You can feel it in your physical body, you can feel it in your emotional body.

So let’s talk about your brain. What about your cognitive symptoms of grief? 

Michelle: [00:24:02] This is one where  I do hear people a lot saying  I just feel like I’m losing my mind. I feel like.  I can’t remember things. I feel like I would say again and again.  I just feel crazy. Like I, my, I just don’t know what’s happened to my brain.

I feel like  I’m a mad scientist or something, and this is kind of true. So your brain, one way to think about it is your brain is using so much energy to reconfigure this new reality, just to kind of cope with what has happened, this loss, and that takes a lot of just calories  and brain energy so that your brain doesn’t have a lot of space for memorizing things or, you know, reading a book and following a story  reading or focus.

Reading a recipe following directions, right? Focusing on something for a long period, 

Tami: [00:25:10] ordering from a menu. 

Michelle: [00:25:13] It, all of it. Seriously  all of it, just a general brain fog, forgetfulness, absent mindedness.  I would  put the cereal in the refrigerator. I mean, just silly things like that, where you just not really online.

 And then of course we can get into the mental spiraling and rumination, which might be somewhat unavoidable. It’s also really  unhelpful  it’s just almost always completely unhelpful and unproductive, but I’m not saying that it, you know, it’s a place that we might go. It’s just a place to be aware of getting stuck, 

Tami: [00:25:56] knowing.

So again, My best friend dying recently last fall is not my first trip to the rodeo. So immediately after she died, I actually went through and I made a checklist and I called some grief friends who I know who have  significant losses. And I’m like, what are the things I’m going to need? What are the things?

Because I knew I had a brief moment before my grief brain kicked in and I was going to be unable to do it. So I made a list and I have it. I keep it on my phone and it is a checklist. And it’s  do you want to know what the number one thing on my grief self-care list is Michelle, tell us, eat shower.

Yeah, this is a good one. Wash your hair in parentheses. This makes you feel better. 

Michelle: [00:26:49] Yes. 

Tami: [00:26:50] Drive. See the leaves read a griefer spiritual book. Don’t forget to do your shoulder physical therapy. Go outside, stay off social media meditation, ask for help, sleep. Rest nap, bath. Watch your favorite TV show with your kid.

Treat yourself. I walk morning practices, brush teeth, take medicine, get dressed and cozy clothes. Do yoga. I look at that list every day for months because I would be like, can I brush my teeth? I would go  touch my toothbrush. Gosh, I’d asked her brush 

Michelle: [00:27:37] my teeth. Yes, 

Tami: [00:27:40] because I was like, I am on it. Able to remember a single thing about what I do.

And I was like, did I brush my teeth yesterday? Did I brush my teeth 10 minutes ago. So I kept this checklist, so I could be like, okay, these are the basics that you need to do. And you’re like, present me, took care of future me was like, you’re going to be real dumb real soon. Yeah. And so one of the things that I found again, super helpful, because I could not read a recipe, was people bringing us food because I know I need to eat, but I don’t know how to do that.

I just need to be able to go into the refrigerator and get something. So tons of people are not bringing us food because we’re living in a pandemic. We got these great gift cards for restaurants, Michelle. I couldn’t read a menu to order food because my brain was like, I’m sorry, you don’t do your brain isn’t for that anymore.

Yeah, you don’t use that part, right? Because you can’t remember what food you like, you’re you it’s too much. Everything felt like it was too much. And after I do a few things, I would be like, and now I’m so tired. I’m going to go lay in bed. Yep. Yep. Which is, you know, I took two, two full months off work because I just couldn’t.

 Michelle: [00:29:14] And I did on top of a pandemic. 

Tami: [00:29:18] Oh yeah.  And supervising distance learning and the holidays that was, Oh my God. The holidays are a complete blur to rim. Like I know we ate and I know I made the food. Because I remember it compliments, but I’m like, who bought these Christmas presents? The answer was me in a very moment.

And I remember thinking I better order every present I’m buying right now because I can’t rely on my brain later. Yes. And then later when I was going to wrap the presents, I was like, I don’t remember buying base, but I have the receipts. Okay. And I’m not going anywhere. I’m like, how did this happen? So in case you’re missing anything, it can really affect your memory, your short-term memory, your long-term memory, reading comprehension, sense of 

Michelle: [00:30:19] time.

Oh, my gosh. I mean, even with my surgery  and, you know, I had a hysterectomy, there was, I had cancer. There’s a lot going on around all of that. And it’s been six weeks tomorrow and I’m like, wow, wait, what just happened? Did you 

Tami: [00:30:39] say three years, or did you say two minutes? I don’t know. It’s all the same.


Michelle: [00:30:45] true.  And my, you know, surgery is kind of its own thing as well, but  it partly related to the physical aspect of surgery and healing, but partly related to my grief around all of this, I have very little recollection. I can’t remember much at all. I know I watched a lot of Netflix, but I don’t know what I watched and I don’t know if I liked it.

I just have  very little memory of probably the last five weeks. Maybe I remember a few things from this week, but. 

Tami: [00:31:19] I’ll just say test died four months ago. Yeah. And I feel like it was three minutes ago, 200 years ago, right? 

Michelle: [00:31:33] Yeah. Sense of time. And then, so one more and I’m, I would love to hear if you’ve had this  another common cognitive one that people can find kind of surprising, or even a little bit alarming.

Our dreams, nightmares, sometimes visions as the person. 

Tami: [00:31:52] At one point after my mom died, I said to my husband, I’m afraid to go to sleep. Right. Because I was like,  what’s happening in there? Yeah. There’s apparently a lot of processing. Oh my God. Yeah.  Dreams are sometimes completely pedestrian.    And sometimes it’s    you’re I like to dream about my dead people.

And I always have this conversation, which is, you know, everyone thinks you’re dead. Right. My God. I mean, that’s, that is a con in my dreams. I’m always like, you’re clear about that. Right. And they’re like, yeah  okay, so you’re like in witness protection    so yes, dreams, and then sometimes they’re just bizarre and sometimes they’re terrifying and sometimes they’re sad, but they’re always real vivid.

Michelle: [00:32:48] Yeah. So a couple of things about that, first of all, some people  we all create and choose the meaning that works for us around what stuff like this means. Like for somebody  it might feel like a visitation  Oh, you know, my, my. Last person visits me in my dreams and it’s really lovely  and welcome, and that won’t be everybody’s experience.

So, you know  we do choose what all of this means for us and just trusting, even if, you know, like if dreams are wacky or you don’t know what they mean, it’s totally okay. Just knowing that it is, this is part of the cognitive component. It is your brain working things out and our brain chooses symbols to make this meaning  and process all of this.

And sometimes this isn’t  often the symbol has really 

Tami: [00:33:51] nothing to do with 

Michelle: [00:33:52] the literal person or thing. It’s what it represents to you. And, you know, dreamwork is its own kind of. Whole field. But I think just knowing that this is your brain’s way of making sense of things and it doesn’t need to be super personal or it doesn’t even literally need to be about that person  if you don’t want it to 

Tami: [00:34:18] yeah.

That makes sense. Oh yeah, totally.  I’ve just what, the thing I take away from what everything you just said. And from my experience is in my periods, especially a few months out from the immediate acute, because in acute grief, let’s be real. Most of mine is just  I  it feels like my head is stuffed with cotton 24 hours a day.

Whereas now that I’m a few months out and I can  get dressed and hold a conversation and maybe even do some work for a few hours a day, My dreams get super vivid and weird in the few months. And then I have the early wakings. Yeah. I just  I also think that my brain is  so we didn’t totally process all of this during the day.

So we’re going to do some of this now that you’re writing down. Yeah, 

Michelle: [00:35:07] absolutely. Good luck. Good luck with that luck to you and good luck. So  you bring up such a great point because  you know, even with the emotional symptoms and physical symptoms, we didn’t talk about any of those being specifically, like this is more acute phase and this is maybe longer term because that’s, it’s a little bit gray, but yes, it’s definitely these symptoms will come through much differently in that acute early, early time.

And then as the weeks and months and years go on, it will be different.    And I forgot the other thing I was going to say. 

Tami: [00:35:49] I’m sure it’ll come back. It’ll come back. Okay. So you said there was emotional, physical, cognitive, and then we have social. So what are the social symptoms? Yeah, 

Michelle: [00:36:00] social and behavioral.

 And so some of this, you were kind of hinting at, in the last section, in the cognitive section.  And this is going to be really personal and again, will, it might surprise you what you go to. It might be out of what you normally do.  If you’re normally really    What is the word I’m looking for?

The opposite of extroverted introverted. I was like 

Tami: [00:36:27] the thing that we both very are 

Michelle: [00:36:32] in water, like to talk to each other. Yes. I might find that actually you have a desire to be around more people or it, you know, it’s also super common to just to want to isolate and avoid people. So whatever way you go, you know, wanting a community and support or wanting to be alone, there’s no wrong way when sorry.

Tami: [00:36:56] I’m  laughing and it’s like the idea of going somewhere. And then you’re like  then you’re the one crying at a party. By the way I’ve done that.  That cracks me up because you’re like, Oh, so I finally left the house and now I’m having a conversation where only one of us is weeping and it’s me.

Michelle: [00:37:16] I just go to the party. And then I find the corner where no one else is so that I can be alone. 

    Tami: [00:37:23] That’s my Mo at all parties anyway, 

Michelle: [00:37:26] or go to the bathroom, that’s always the safe place. 

Tami: [00:37:28] The cat we’re playing with the kids or talking very deeply to somebody husband. 

Michelle: [00:37:35] Oh, thank God. We have to do an episode on  all of these, how to survive parties.

Tami: [00:37:43] Yeah. The introvert 

Michelle: [00:37:44] weirdo way. Yeah, totally.  Okay. So here was one of my  and    I do this in grief.  And I remember doing this with a couple of people specifically around the baby. I pushed them away and then completely forgot that anything had happened, that we’d had an interaction that they’d contacted me, that I hadn’t responded, whatever.

I forgot all the details. I just felt so abandoned. I was like, they never reached out. They don’t, you know, they weren’t there for me.  When in reality  my two cousins, my two favorite cousins, they contacted me a whole bunch of times. You know, they sent texts, one sent a card.  But when I was in it, it didn’t, it wasn’t like that.

That wasn’t, I didn’t, that didn’t help that didn’t take away my pain. And so it didn’t really register it wasn’t for some reason, you know, maybe what they weren’t here. I don’t know, but it just didn’t register. It didn’t land in me. And so later I just felt super abandoned when really I didn’t respond. I pushed people away.

So that’s really common too. And I just want everybody to have a lot of compassion for themselves around that, because it happens and you are not at fault. Hopefully the people in  your life is  for our, you know, forgiving and understanding and just know that grief is crazy-making time. 

Tami: [00:39:22] I was like griefs weird, but there’s also, so one of my things was I  really wanted to only talk to people.

Who I knew could handle the depths of my loss because one of my early experiences was when I told them, because this was in person and you see a lot of, you can see people’s  entire life story go across their face when you’re talking to them in person. And I remember  I only wanted to be around other people who  had a significant loss because I felt like I needed to caretake people around my loss because they were so uncomfortable with it.

Like it would be like my mom died and then I could see this whole scenario where they’re like, there’s three options. One. My mom died too. And I was like, now I love you too. They’re like, Oh my God, moms can die. Shit. I need to work it out with her before she dies and they’ll have this lifelong thing. And I’m like, back to me, your mom’s still alive.

And they’re not saying anything, except you can see this playing across their face. And then  the third thing is  Oh my God, my mom’s my best friend. And I get it. And I’m like, again, I only want to hang with people who have had a significant loss so that they can be like, that sucks and pain.

Nothing I can do to take, can take this away.  Like people who’ve walked, the walk can be, I have found a lot of them can be the people who can like, just sit with you and like how much sucks. Yeah.  So that really, so that led me to  this  Hanging out with support group people. Right. Which led me to hanging out with you after we got over our super acute grief and ironically with tests because her dad died a few months before my mom.

And it was this big, like we could be great friends yeah. After the acute part, because we deeply understood what it meant to be in loss. But the, but I couldn’t handle necessarily being quite frankly, anywhere near people who I felt had not. I was like, okay      no. So that cut down on some of my social things.

Michelle: [00:41:56] Interestingly  I went through something really different while I ha I share that sentiment.  Wholeheartedly, how. Part of this came through for me in real time was I felt this uncontrollable need to retell the story of my loss again and again, and I would tell innocent bystanders. Yeah. 

Tami: [00:42:26] Yeah. I got that a little bit too.

Yeah. Sorry. You’re going to circle back around. I’m going to tell you how sorry I did that. 

Michelle: [00:42:34] I know I’m S I’m sorry to the person in line, I’m sorry to the cashier. Like it just, I think it was my, this burning desire to validate and, you know, be seen  and to be. Known in my just deep despair.  But also I think people do this I’ve  I’ve talked to people who have this kind of  just want to retell the story and it helps us make sense of it.

 If I say it enough times that helps my brain kind of organize around  Oh, okay. All right. Okay. This thing happened and  it kind of helps us learn    the reality of where we are. 

Tami: [00:43:18] I know, but it’s also so interesting because baby loss, I feel like has this  added layer of shittiness because it’s invisible to so many people because they’re like, how can you be so torn up about something that was an idea that wasn’t fruition.

It’s not like you lost a child, you lost this. And it’s  okay  Now that we’re splitting hairs.  But there’s this, you know, there, isn’t an invisible part of if your loss isn’t readily apparent to other people, that’s also socially isolating. Oh my God. And then when your loss is very visible, say you lost your child in elementary school, or you lost your college age kid or whatever.

 That brings up this whole other thing where people are like, Oh my God, they don’t know what to say. People 

Michelle: [00:44:11] will cross the street to avoid you. 

Tami: [00:44:13] Right. Cause they’re like, that is something I can’t even imagine. That 

Michelle: [00:44:18] is super uncomfortable and really saying, I can’t imagine that. It’s just saying, I don’t want to, I don’t want, I won’t.

Tami: [00:44:25] I’m glad I want you there. I’m glad I’m not you is what I’m saying.  Yeah. Yeah. So grief confess your social life is what we’re 

Michelle: [00:44:33] saying. You know, and  I do want to point out one other thing that can be happen, especially if this is  a person loss.  Either we get really Daredevil  fuck it, I’ve hit bottom.

Like nothing matters. Now I can do whatever. Cause I’ve been through the worst and kind of attracted to risk or get  really fearful of new things. Not want to go places, not want to meet new people.  Kind of back to that phobia thing. 

Tami: [00:45:07] So I’m like  I know which way I fall. Over here, rage scrubbing my bathroom.


Michelle: [00:45:16] Oh, that’s amazing. Okay. So yeah, those are some good, very common social behavioral. Should we move to our final category? Yeah. 

Tami: [00:45:26] I’m like, is this the part we’re going to talk about? People are being hella mad at God. 

Michelle: [00:45:32] Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Just direct some of that anger. 

Tami: [00:45:37] Yeah. Yeah. How else does it show up spiritually for people?

 Michelle: [00:45:43] I mean, if we think about what loss, like personally, my loss really shattered my trust. It shattered my worldview, my sense of myself and my practice of yoga. Like  I thought things were going to go a certain way. I thought.  I thought I was, I don’t know, protected. I’m not sure what the ideas were in there, but it really shattered my face.

So it can really common lead, lead us to question every thing, like nothing is off the table of examination, your job, your relationships, where you live your purpose in life.  Everything 

Tami: [00:46:33] is shit is what you’re saying. Oh 

Michelle: [00:46:35] my God. Yes. Yeah. We ask those big questions.  What is the purpose of life? What am I doing?

Who am I? We seek meaning  what does, you know, what does this all mean? Why am I here? Yes.  Big stuff can come up. And this is one of the things that doesn’t often happen right away. This is kind of, you know, months or years down the road, when there’s more space for some of this to come up. 

Tami: [00:47:03] Oh, yeah.

Yeah. And  sometimes people I’m speaking from personal experience, turn into brief spiritual seekers, like after Carla died my first friend. So I was 19. So again, months later after I was out of the really acute phase, this, if anyone who’s sat next to me at anything, knows that I am not by any stretch, a religious person.

I went to church a handful of times to be like, is  is this it? Is this what the thing that I’m supposed to get out of? This is this. And the answer was a resounding no, it was not, but it was so interesting because I am somebody who. I don’t actually have to experience a lot of things for myself. I can literally look over there and be like, Oh, I don’t want that experience.

 I can look at other people’s lives and be like, no, thank you. I, you experienced that so I can learn your lesson. But I went back several times to be like  maybe it was the denomination. Maybe it was how they set it. Maybe it was just an off day. And after  five or six times, I was like, maybe this is not my answer.

Maybe this was the answer that  I was like, wow, I am acting, not like myself. That’s for sure.  But I thought maybe this is it. So many people find solace here. Maybe this is where I’ll find it. And then just. D is finding so many people that had found solace before grief in their religion and  their  relationship with God.

Those people turned hella angry and I was like, dang, this is an interesting turn of events. 

Michelle: [00:48:58] I think that speaks to just this quality of shatteredness of, and then of searching  okay  it wasn’t that clearly it wasn’t that  that didn’t protect me. That didn’t save me. That didn’t make it easier.

So what the fuck is it like now I have this quest I have to search  and I think there’s value just in the searching. So even though you didn’t find the solace or the answers that you were looking for, like that just becomes a part of your process with it, and you might not even fully understand what that was or what that did for you, but, you know, just.

For our listeners really trusting,  follow those little nudges because they don’t need to lead to, you know, again like this nonlinear point a to B thing, but it can still have value. There can still be value in, in just the doing it    and trusting yourself and being curious. And, you know, we’re relearning a new way of life after someone or some circumstance is gone or different.

So it’s really healthy. It’s part of our creativity to try things 

Tami: [00:50:12] out. Yeah. I’m having this moment of  grief feels like that movie sliding doors. Oh my God. Right. Where it’s  okay  choose your own adventure in one way. This is happening. And then in  is slightly different.  Realm, this other thing is happening and it’s  you’re navigating between these worlds of before and after.

And it is instant that your life changes. And then  as the months and the years go on, you’re like, shit, are you kidding me?  Everything is going to change. Yeah.  Oh, so, so that leads me to kind of a last thing. You had mentioned invisible loss, which is a really important category, you know, the intangible losses.

Michelle: [00:50:56] And that would be like, you know,  loss of a child or a pregnancy is often put in that category, but there are others loss of a dream loss of a job.  You know, things that are a little less tangible  and therefore less acknowledged publicly, which then leaves us in our own grief that can often be laced with some shame.

But another category that is important to talk about is secondary loss. And that is what did you, what else did you lose? What did you lose because of your loss? So that’s when we talked about retirement in our first episode. So, you know, you, I mean, let’s just call retirement a loss for right now for the sake of this example.

So, you know, you say you lost your job. That’s a better example. Let’s say you lost your job.  You also lost your status, your title, your community, your  purpose to get up in the morning and shower and get dressed and go somewhere. Your salary.  So those are all secondary losses. Another great place to think about this is in the loss of a spouse.

So if one person dies that person might’ve been the one who did the bills or cleaned the gutters or  serviced the car or kept in touch with everyone, did the holiday traditions. Like those are all little losses that aren’t so little, but they’re the secondary losses that are going to come up. Maybe daily has, you know, for sure seasonally.

And those are kind of the ambush ones too, that it might just be like, Oh,  I lost this person, period. No, it’s so much broader. And  Multi-faceted so there are all a lot of losses in any one single loss. 

Tami: [00:53:06] Yeah. Somebody gave me a good example the other earlier this week, and that was  a man had just reordered checks with both of his name and his wife’s name.

And then she passed away and he had ordered like 2000 checks. He’s  okay. So literally every time we buy something, right, w it’s going to have a check with her name on it. And then he’s  and then a couple of years down the line, when I use the last check from them, he’s  I’m expecting a big gut punch and it’s almost like little weird shit.

Right, because you think, yes. If I get through the, if I get through the first year, if I get through their birthday, if I get through the holidays, if I get through the, this and that, this, but it’s    who’s to say on their next birthday, you’re not going to get kicked in your guts again. This is the good stuff that’s coming.

You guys you’re welcome. This is this preview grief is the gift that keeps on.

Oh yes. But I promise you, even though you may not know us in real life, we are normal people that you would want to sit by at a party. If we ever went to one.  Even though we’re a grief weirdos who are like, it just keeps on coming.  But  I want to demystify grief so that people don’t feel alone and I want to demystify grief.

So people don’t feel like they’re crazy. Yeah.  I want to demystify grief, so I don’t feel like a weirdo because I have all of these feelings and experiences so far away from the actual loss. Yeah. 

Michelle: [00:55:00] Yeah. I think it’s so important for us to hear again and again, you’re not broken, you’re not weak. You’re not flawed.

 You’re not, I mean, we’re calling ourselves weird affectionately, but I don’t even like to use the word normal. I like the word natural. Like grief is a natural response. It’s a healthy response. But what that looks like is going to be so Fareed and.  It’s hard for us to not have the instruction manual and the checklist and all of those things that don’t come with grief.

They don’t come with life. And  yes, just remember also, and  you’ve mentioned this, but, and we’re going to get to kind of, I think we have in one of our next episodes, the things to do, but all of these symptoms that we’ve just talked about are so much harder when we’re not taking care of ourselves in the really super basic ways.

Tami: [00:56:01] So, and that is our next episode. It’s  what do you do immediately?  What are some self-care practices? And just to preview after that, we’re going to talk about.  Things that you shouldn’t do when somebody around you is grieving, 

Michelle: [00:56:17] don’t  don’t ever do this list? 

Tami: [00:56:21] Get out there that we want to be really common.

We want these to become the new myths to replace like the five stages.  Yeah. We want to get rid of the BS and get the real talk. So  so there’s a, as we’ve been talking for a long time, there’s lots of symptoms to grieve. So if your grief doesn’t look like what you saw on Netflix last night, that’s because they don’t have enough time to really dig into all of the symptoms.

Michelle: [00:56:52] Even if your grief doesn’t look like anything we’ve just talked about. 

Tami: [00:56:56] Right. You can have your own experience and it’s still legit. 

Michelle: [00:57:02] Yeah. Okay. 

Tami: [00:57:05] So  we’re going to have the. Symptoms downloadable@tamihackbarth.com slash episode 82. Michelle, where can people find you online? 

Michelle: [00:57:22] You can find me at Michelle Marley, han.com 

Tami: [00:57:26] and you can find us both on Instagram.

We’re both very cleverly named our names, Michelle Marla Han and Tami Hackbarth. And until next week, remember that you matter too.

EP81: Grief Mythbusters with Michelle Marlahan

EP81: Grief Mythbusters with Michelle Marlahan

We are going to talk about the five stages of grief and myth-busting. Spoiler alert: the five stages don’t apply to most of us. Listen in and we’ll explain it all!


Tami: [00:00:00] Welcome back, Michelle. Thanks, Tammy. So glad to be here. I am too. We’re going to talk about, this is a number two in our grief series. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out last week’s episode number 80, where we talk about who we are and why we’re talking about grief and today’s topic. We are going to talk about the five stages of grief.

Myth-busting cause I’m like, why are we going to talk about this Michelle? Because, 

Michelle: [00:00:32] because it’s not true, 

Tami: [00:00:35] it’s not true. And actually what I recently found out, cause I thought it was a thing. I thought it was a thing. And it’s Elizabeth Kubler, Ross, many people have heard about it’s.  What are  the five stages again?

Oh, you’re really 

Michelle: [00:00:49] going to quiz me here. Aren’t you? I 

Tami: [00:00:51] think they’re denial. Yeah. Like denial, anger, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I can’t remember. 

Michelle: [00:01:02] Denial, anger, bargaining depression. And acceptance. Okay. And so sounds so 

Tami: [00:01:11] tidy. It does. And I thought for the longest time, like when I had a breakup with a boyfriend, like in the eighties, I thought, cool.

I do want to survive the loss of a love. And I did read a book. I believe it was by Elizabeth Kubler, Ross about the loss of a love, because. I, he wasn’t dead, but he was kinda dead to me. Right. And so I was thinking, Oh, this is going to be terrific. And I wanted an answer. I think that’s why this thing has caught on because man, when you’re in grief, you want some and serves.

Absolutely. But it turns out these aren’t for the  these stages, not for the living. Yeah, these are the stages that people who are dying go through. Right? 

Michelle: [00:02:00] Yeah. It’s kind of amazing how this book was so misinterpreted. She actually wrote it while I’m working with serving. People who were dying and their kind of emotional journey through that process with people with terminal conditions.

So it wasn’t for the people they love to be. 

Tami: [00:02:25] Yeah. And I think she even spent a big chunk of her career trying to be like, yeah, but it’s for the dying. And everyone’s like, no, thank you. Yeah, this is a tidy, this is a five tips to feel better after somebody dies and we’re going to run with it. It’s it was the listicle before listicles were a thing.

And so we are here to myth bust some shit about the five stages. So now that we have burst that bubble  what do we want to talk about?    If we don’t have the five stages, what do we have? 

Michelle: [00:02:59] Well, we have wife, which is just a lot more messy. I think 

Tami: [00:03:05] we have that messy ambiguous bullshit. 

Michelle: [00:03:08] Oh my God. It’s it.

It, yeah. It’s not what anybody really wants to hear. As you said, we want this really linear, predictable  let me chart, so I know where I am, again, kind of this kind of control  mechanical, like. Often we treat our bodies mechanically. We just want things to be mechanical and they’re not things are, they’re not linear like that.

They’re cyclical. They think of nature. Nature is our best teachers. So we have seasons. We have cycles, there are waves, there are comings and goings  things. Die off. And then they compost and they resprout and they come up with something different.  It’s just not that predictable with, 

Tami: [00:04:01] well, I mean, if you want to be  like a scientist about it  it’s not that predictable with nature either.

 There’s so many factors that go into, it’s like, sure, this is how it’s supposed to happen, but you’re like, but if you change one factor, things can go awry. Right. But what you do know is that there is a life cycle, right? There’s a life cycle of. A tree there in that goes by seasons. And there’s also the life cycle of people and death being one of those cycles.

Yes. And, but it’s so bonkers to me, how we have really glommed onto this tidy wrapped up listicle and I have to tell you, I was kind of pissed when I found out this was BS. Because I, so I like some certainty. Thank 

Michelle: [00:05:00] you. Great. How did you find out, did you find out because you had an experience outside of the prescribed list or because someone told you, 

Tami: [00:05:09] yeah, I just found out this was not.

For the survivors a few years ago. So I was living with experience be okay because my first friend, my very, I met my very first friend on the first day of kindergarten. We both had older brothers. We both went to kindergarten without our parents. We looked across the room at, through the legs of all the adults that were there.

And  looked at each other with these spaces of this is the best day of my life. Why is everyone crying on the best day of my life? Like I’ve been waiting my whole life to go to school and she had to, and then, so she held this like really significant part of  my heart. And she was killed by a drunk driver when I was, when we were 19.

And so that was the first loss. Where, like I did ha I didn’t have denial because  she was no longer, I had a lot of anger. Right. So  I could sort of  shape shift to make these things work, but it didn’t work in order. Right. Didn’t work in that. So I was like, well, maybe I just have the order wrong.

By the way that translates to maybe I’m bad at grief, right.  Maybe I’m doing it wrong, maybe I’m doing it wrong. So, but I, but again, when you’re  going to the El Sabrine library and looking at books about things, you’re like, you get the book about how to survive the loss of a love, and then you’ve got the prescription and then you’re like, Oh, this just feeds the narrative.

Like something’s wrong with me? Cause I’m not even doing grief. Right. Yes. And again, I think it was just like a couple of years ago where I found out that it was actually for the dying and I was like, Oh shit, that makes so much sense. Because if you’ve ever had that experience of witnessing somebody go through, it’s like the reverse of birth, right.

There’s birth is really messy and so is death. And it takes a lot longer than you think. And all of these things that you’re like, Oh, I could see how that framework could work. In that scenario, but it never met how I was experiencing grief as somebody who is in the surviving part. Okay. 

Michelle: [00:07:45] So let’s talk more about that.

Let’s talk about the reality of how it’s been for us. Like, can you give an example that has broken out of the rules of these linear stages that. Was just a really kind of right moment of, Oh right. This isn’t, this is not a linear thing. This isn’t from here to there in a straight line, like all neat and tidy.

Tami: [00:08:16] Oh. One of my favorite emotions always is anger. I love anger, me and anger hangout. In fact, when my daughter and I saw that movie inside out and the anger. Like, there’s a part where it’s like, he blows his top. She was like four years old and she turned on, she looks at me and she’s like, you’re anger, I’m joy.

And I was like, so true. And at the end of the movie, she’s like  do I have all of those? I was like, we all have all of those. She’s like, is your joy really small? I was like, I think it is you’re welcome. So I’m in touch with my anger, but the thing that has surprised me is like, I had things outside of denial, anger, acceptance.

And I like  when acceptance, what, when is that going to show up? Surrender to what, 

Michelle: [00:09:14] what about you? So for you, it was more  more variety in your emotional experience. 

Tami: [00:09:22] Yes. Well, there was, but there was a lot of shades of anger.  There’s like the irritation, anger, there’s the fuck you what?

There’s the rage there’s though. Why do you still have a living XYZ? And I don’t envy and jealousy. 

Michelle: [00:09:39] There’s going to like, there’s so much waste in there. 

Tami: [00:09:42] Yeah. And it’s  I was like, why is this also unattractive? And like, there’s no peace here. Where’s my peace that I’ve been promised with this linear staging thing.


Michelle: [00:09:57] Yeah, and we actually have  an episode coming up on like the timeline. So I don’t want to talk too much about that, but it does tie in with the stages as well, because again, we have this expectation for it to be linear and to be over in a certain amount of time.  I’ll just share one of my ways of really framing.

My green leaf and the ways that it would show up and still shows up.  So I lost a baby in 2015. So  the same year  what months apart from when your mom died? So, yeah, we were in the, we were in the underworld together there.  And so it’s been  years and that does not mean that. My grief is over or that I don’t still have moments of grief.

And even after I think it was maybe the third year, so the loss happened at Christmas time and I remembered the Christmas of that time  and had whatever far fond memories and hard memories. And then fast forward a couple of years, I went on a walk around the neighborhood. And I liked to go in the evening when the Christmas lights were on the houses and  I could see the Christmas trees.

If someone had a Christmas tree in their window, I just like, kinda like. Spying on people being a little bit of a warrior. So I take the dog, we’re going off on our walk and I’m walking past this house. And I see in the window, a man on the couch reading to what I could assume was his like maybe four year old son.

And I saw it and it was just like instant grief. You might call it a grief burst or a grief moment. I call it the ambush. So it really feels like  do-do just kind of walking down the street and then something jumps out from behind a Bush. It could be a smell. It could be a song. It could be something that you see that takes you right back to a reminds you in some really deep, visceral way.

Your loss or your loved person or thing. And it’s like this water fountain of emotions and they just kind of all come back and feel fresh and present. And  maybe even as intense as they did at the beginning. And so these can happen any time because. We are sensory  memory based storytelling people.

We carry all of this in us. And  any of these can be triggered or activated anytime  anywhere. 

Tami: [00:13:04] Oh, I have a good one.  And it has, it doesn’t have any  with anybody dying. It’s when I moved to Portland from the Bay area, I didn’t have any friends yet. And I  Everyone just went, Oh, no friends.

No, seriously. You moved to a new city in the nineties. I was like, not even the internet. So you don’t even have like social media friends. I just straight up was like, I live with my boyfriend and I don’t. Like, I guess I could call the guys in his band, my friends, but I did not pick them. They were his friends.

Right. And  and I’m somebody that has these really great friendships, these long friendships and all of those fools were living in the Bay area at the time. And I drove to target and I was totally fine. I was excited to be driving somewhere and to be going to.  Go to target member like in the before times when we would just like go to target for stuff.

Yeah, no, totally. Dude, I didn’t even make it into target. Because I started walking across the parking lot and I saw like three or four groups of clearer, like best friends running errands together. And I burst into tears in the target parking lot and was like, I don’t even have anyone to go shopping with.

And I turned around and got back in the car and drove home. I’m pretty sure I yelled at my. Boyfriends slash now he’s my husband. Sorry about that, sweetheart. But I was like, I don’t have any friends. I felt so alone, also super angry at those women who got to go to target with their friends. PS, I chose to move to Portland, but I still experienced that deep loss of something.

I had no idea I was missing in that way. Yes, and it is completely bonkers. And that I’m actually scared of those bursts now, because we do have this cocoon of COVID where I’m like never leaving my house. Let me tell you when I can start leaving the house again. And I start seeing people with their friends.

I plan to be angry at everyone that still has a best friend walking around. And every time now I go to text her things. I did something stupid the other day. I can’t even remember what it was. And I was about to text her a picture of it. And I was like, I have no one to send this to let me cry while I don’t send my best friend a text.

And my daughter was like, why don’t you just send it to her number? And I’m like, but what if somebody else has her number now? And that made me cry? What is somebody else has her number? Do you know why I still have a landline? Because my mom has voicemails on there. My mom died six years ago. And I’m like, well, I guess I got to keep a landline for the rest of my life because it’s recordings of my mom’s voice.

Right? Like I have old gutsy  scorecards with her handwriting. I’m like, well, I guess I have to keep these slips of paper. 

Michelle: [00:16:04] Yeah. I mean, these are beautiful ways of keeping that presence person  close and alive and.  Feeling, feeling like that’s still a part of your life where you can access that when you want it.

And  that’s completely healthy and normal. I mean   I’ve just heard so many people talk about things like that. And then again, hearkening back to our first episode where. Someone who has some keepsakes like that or things that they feel like they’re holding onto, or maybe they get some kind of outside shaming, like, well  I think it’s, I think, I really think you should let that go.

I think it’s time to let that go. Or that’s a little weird that you’re holding onto that. And then we start feeling. Awkward about it. And then we get into this thing of like, Oh, I have to have the big  burning ceremony.  So I’m really glad that you said that because that’s, it’s such a natural way.

Like whatever we have that symbolizes either  literally someone’s voice or if it’s symbolic in some other way to represent those are all. They’re just really great ways  to keep the relationship going. So in grief world, we like to say the person, if you’re talking about a person, the person dies the relationship doesn’t.

And so all the ways that we keep those relationships alive and fresh are beautiful. 

 Tami: [00:17:37] I’m sitting over here very quietly, 

Michelle: [00:17:38] cause  I’m like, Oh 

Tami: [00:17:40] man, am I cry?  So. After tests died. I started writing her letters, but not physical letters. I it’s on a Google doc because  that’s who I am. I keep everything there.

So Google knows every thought I have. And Pinterest too. I don’t put it on Pinterest, but I put everything else on Pinterest. Anyway, the point is this.

Yeah, people, part of the reason why I want to have this conversation and tons of conversations about grief is because I want to stop feeling like a fucking weirdo. Because I’m having a human experience as somebody who’s not denying the discomfort of law of loss. Like, I don’t know. Cause when I said that I was keeping those Yachty thing and I was like, Oh my God, so many people just went in their mind.

God, she’s such a weirdo. And this is what I want to say.  I am such a weirdo, but I feel like grief is a really good opportunity for me to practice self acceptance. Like what do I  really need? I really need to have some scraps of paper with my mom’s handwriting on it. It’s really weirdly special to me.

I am not a sentimental person and tell I am right. And  I’ve talked to my daughter about these things. Like  I have a few things from my mom that I have kept far away from her that she. Kinda clammers around like, how come I can’t touch that? I’m like, well, you can’t touch my mom’s stuff. It’s these really delicate teacups.

And like, you can’t touch that because you cannot replace those. Like  those are my mama memories and we just have to leave those though, but I, we talk about it. And then when she saw she’s like, wait, is this grandma’s. Old Yachty thing. I was like, it is, and she was like, what are we doing with these?

I was like, we’re just going to leave them in the box. They’re cool. We’re just going to leave him right there. And she was like, okay, but it’s that thing where like, this is really vulnerable work because not everyone’s going to get it. Like a lot of people will be like, that’s weird. It’s like, okay, well you can have your brand of weird in a different way.

This is my brand of weird, but I’m going to stop feeling bad about it. Yes. Feeling bad about it. Meaning  like I said  really embracing that  the discomfort, cause there’s a lot of discomfort and grief and it usually comes from people looking at you, like you’re nuts because you still have your spouse’s clothes or you haven’t taken down some family photos or something.

Yeah. There’s just a lot of acceptance work in this. 

Michelle: [00:20:30] Yeah. And not acceptance from the stage, but acceptance of ourselves and yeah. And our needs. I mean  you, we, you  the collective view, we get to decide what works for us. Like  you might have one loss where. I dunno  you just move through it, whatever that means a little more quickly  you kind of feel yourself kind of come back online and the emotions are really fluid and it has moments of intensity, but for the most part  it, it does move through you more easily and  you’re able to be with it and with yourself in those feelings and then.

 Another loss, same person. Another loss can be completely different, even if it’s a similar type of loss, because it’s just so contextual and where we are our stage of life.  The thing that we’re losing, so it’s not like, Oh no  I’ve lost a lot of things. I know how to do loss 

Tami: [00:21:36] free time.  Yeah, I.

Michelle: [00:21:39] I am really feeling your story. Thank you for sharing that, because I think that really helps people normalize. Like that’s a part of these conversations. Like let’s normalize grief. Let’s talk about this because if we don’t, that’s when it goes into the dark corner and    tries to hide and then the shadow seems really big and 

Tami: [00:22:06] scary.

Also then we end up spending a lot of time feeling alone and like, something’s wrong with us. And that’s not, it’s not really fair given that every human is going to feel it. In fact, the other day my daughter asked because Tess has a, she has a dog and test, or my daughter was asking, she said, do you think Ava, that’s the dog’s name?

Do you think Ava? Now is that test has gone. And I was like, I don’t know, but I know that Ava is sad, but she’s also probably like, I don’t think dogs have like a watch.  She’s not like she’s been gone for this amount of time because let’s be real. Dogs are like, you left the condo for 20 minutes and they’re just as happy as when you left for two years.

So it’s that thing. But it’s like, they have emotions too. So there you go. Okay. So anything else that you want to say about the five stages or any other myths that you want to dispel here about grief? 

Michelle: [00:23:18] Well, I want, I just want to accentuate what you’re saying. Like, you’ve talked about your conversations with Ruby a couple of times, and I just want to really highlight how beautiful that is, because again, The person dies the relationship doesn’t.

And so the ways that you are keeping the vibrancy of your mom and the vibrancy of tests and those relationships alive for Ruby  is also really beautiful because  especially kids and she’s.  An old soul, but she’s still a little th they just can’t, they don’t process things the same way.

In some ways it’s more simple, perhaps in another ways it’s more confusing for them.  And it, to, to model for her this way of feeling and expressing emotions   not letting things bottle up. And also it’s that having all of the emotions it’s like, yes, I can have the anger at that person for having a best friend.

And I can also feel sad for missing my best friend. And I can also feel grateful that I got to have that best friend, just  like modeling for her, the complexity of all of it and keeping the conversations alive, keeping the. Tokens and  symbols and things around just  it’s just so gorgeous.

It just love hearing you talk about that. 

Tami: [00:24:55] Thank you. That is actually it’s. I feel like it’s a gift to be able to do that.  One of the things that I just  asterix on  grieving during COVID, it’s really hard not to do like the traditional things, like sit with people in community at a funeral hug, other people who are in pain  bring food gifts.

 I’m really missing hugging people.  But one thing that we did pick up is every night at five 45, since just days after she died. And we’re still doing it now and it’s February, or excuse me, it’s March.  We let a candle every night and I read a passage from Cindy Spiegel’s book about  It’s like  I can’t remember this call now.

It’s about positive thinking, but it’s like, it’s a day. It’s a daily book where there’s a little passage every day and I read the passage and then I talk about how the passage relates to tests. And then I talk about how the passage relates to life. And then Ruby can ask questions and then. I asked them if they have anything that they want to add them, meaning my husband and my daughter.

And then we have around of gratitude. And then she gets in the bathtub, but every night we do that and sometimes it is really brief. And sometimes I am so irritated because I’m sitting there with my child for the 365th day in a row. And I’m just irritated and I’m tired and it’s this. And other times I just cry, but it feels so good to have.

Every single day, I have at least 15 minutes to talk about my best friend and what a generous, wonderful, loving presence she was for me for over 30 years. And I feel like by doing this, I’m not only continuing the relationship with her, but I’m continuing a relationship between her and Ruby. Yes, 

Michelle: [00:27:14] exactly.

 Tami: [00:27:15] And again, just because your people have. I don’t know, left this world doesn’t mean that your relationship with them stops. Right. And she in test still has so much to teach Ruby. Yes. So, and 

 Michelle: [00:27:32] That’s so much part of what you’re keeping  alive and present, and it’s giving you and Ruby a moment of.

  Really tender connection. 

Tami: [00:27:48] Yeah. Wow. That’s beautiful. Yeah. I am going to say this and it’s totally off the cuff. I do think I’m turning my kid into a weirdo. Who’s like, we should talk about all the emotions. And then on the other hand, I’m reading all these books about  what are the things that kids need to be most successful in life?

And it really is like the number one thing is empathy. So her seeing her most trusted sources being super vulnerable and living in this really tender moment that it’s not weakness and that it is, it’s like our super power. I feel like it’s fast forwarding her emotional growth. I am not doing this for that reason.

I’m doing this because I’m like, I don’t have any other way. Like, I feel like I need to process my grief and this is what I’m doing. Right. And she needs to process hers. They were close. Yeah. On that note, if anybody comes at you. So I do, I have another question. So when you hear people in, when we actually interact with other people, when you hear other people talk about the five stages of grief, what do you say to them?

Or what would you say to them now? That you have this information?

 Michelle: [00:29:14] I do tell people, Oh  gosh, that book was actually really misinterpreted and there aren’t linear stages.  We pass through so many different places of emotion  and things are really cyclical and grief lasts, however long it lasts and it comes and goes and.  Just be really gracious and patient with yourself and have somebody in your community who can reflect to you.

 What. That just happened. It’s been three years. And that just happened because it was one of my favorite weeks, because if we rely on our own internal sense of timing, it’s like, why am I not over this? It’s been six months. It’s like, Oh, okay. Sit down, sister. It, that just happened. So  yeah, I mean,  I’m fully.

Fully willing to tell people that it just, it was just misinterpreted.  It’s not like she wrote something that was wrong. And she even, like you said, came back and wrote in a follow-up book. Okay.  Pump the brakes folks that I didn’t actually mean it like that.  And as you said  nobody really, we were all pretty latched onto the stages at that point.

So I just gently let people know and people are usually curious like, Oh really? I mean  yeah. The bubble does burst a little bit, but then it can again. Okay. So let’s talk about it. Let’s normalize it. Let’s like. Let me tell you a story. I’m happy to tell you an ambush story or  give an example of how humanizing  and wave like my grief has been.

Tami: [00:31:04] I love the difference between to relate. I love the difference between us, because I was like, Hey, you guys see how kind Michelle is. I’d be like, Oh no, she meant that for dying people. Doesn’t it make more sense when you apply it to death, 

Michelle: [00:31:17] which 

Tami: [00:31:18] was like, let me write you a poem about that shit. And I’m like           no.

That’s not for you. Not for you. But it does feel better when you’re like, Oh God, thank God. Because that is actually not mirroring my experience. Right. Right. Like when you lose your job, this is not the experience. When you lose a child, this is not your experience. When you lose your marriage, this is not your experience.

Apparently it is the experience of when you’re actually going through and passing into your next transition of your life at the end of your cycle. Oh my God. That just made me laugh. There’s the difference between champion Michelle.

I love you. I love you too. And everyone you’re welcome. We will take this show on the road. At some point she’ll be like one of them and one of them will make you pee yourself. Laughing. 

Michelle: [00:32:26] It’s true. They know that already. 

Tami: [00:32:29] All right. All right. Wait, you going to say one more thing? 

Michelle: [00:32:34] No, I think we’re, we’ve wrapped a bow tie, a bow on it.

Tami: [00:32:38] We’re both on it guys. So come back next week where we are going to be talking about the actual symptoms of  grief, not grief. It’s not a reef grief and you are going to be so surprised. It does not look like what it looks like in the movies. So, and tell next time, remember that you matter too.



EP80: Grief with Michelle Marlahan

EP80: Grief with Michelle Marlahan

Michelle and I are going to get together and we’re going to put our big pretty brains together and talk about everybody’s favorite topic grief, everybody loves grief.

So if you’re new here you can go meet Michelle at episode 20. And the reason that I want to talk about grief is because in November of 2020, my best friend died. And I feel like I have  I’ve had a lot of loss in my life, like from death and Michelle has always been like a super anchor for me.

And she’s helped me so much that I thought, you know what? We got to take these conversations  to the pod because as our friend Glennon Doyle says  grief is the price that you pay. For loving people and being loved in your life. And so at some point, even if you’re, everything’s cool with you now, at some point you’re going to experience grief.


I’m so glad you’re back. Hey friends.  I have Michelle Marla Han here and I interviewed her in episode 20, all about her self-care journey and today, and for the next 10 episodes, Michelle and I are going to get together and we’re going to put our big. Pretty brains together and talk about everybody’s favorite topic grief, everybody loves grief.

So if you’re new here you can go meet Michelle at episode 20. And the reason that I want to talk about grief is because in November of 2020, my best friend died. And I feel like. I have  I’ve had a lot of loss in my life, like from death and Michelle has always been like a super anchor for me.

And she’s helped me so much that I thought, you know what? We got to take these conversations to the pod because as our friend Glennon Doyle says grief is the price that you pay. For loving people and being loved in your life. And so at some point, even if you’re, everything’s cool with you now, at some point you’re going to experience grief.

And so Michelle and I want to be there when you need us. So if you don’t need us right now, somebody, you know does. And if you do need us right now, we’re sending you big hugs. So Michelle tell our friends why are we talking about grief? You and me? Well, I think in part, because I don’t know of two people who get more excited to talk about grief, first of all, I know I’m so excited.

I’ve been so excited to talk about grief with you.  And I think we do have. Unique experiences. We each have our own experiences with grief that are actually really different from one another too. So we kind of cover a lot of territories and we have a different perspective than the kind of mainstream medical model approach to grief, which is, you know, needs to be cured and fixed and not talked about and moved through as rapidly as possible.

 You know, we’re going to debunk a bunch of these myths throughout this series, which I’m super excited to do. And then I also have additional training, creative grief training, which really just means how to get at your grief and your emotions either through your body. You know, the things that live in you that don’t have words, but they’re still like hiding out and or through quote-unquote, creative.

 Tools and exercises. So again, that kind of non-verbal way that we can get at what we’re feeling and not to even healing the word healing can be kind of Trevor triggering because that again insinuates that there’s something wrong with you. When really grief is a natural and healthy response to loss.

 But more, I call it integration, like how can we integrate so that whatever the experience has been, the loss, we don’t get over it, move on, you know, have like the I’m releasing this forever and moving on now kind of thing. But it’s like, no, who am I now with this? Because it is a part of me. I will say, I think we just lost a bunch of people they’re like, but I want to get over it and I want to be released.

And I would like to very much put it in a box and I’m here to tell you, friends, I hear you. And it does not work that way. We tried that before we tried that in many generations and what they found is that shit doesn’t work. So we’re going to be talking a lot about what does work. So why am I talking about this?

 Like I, I gave you my most recent reason why I talk about grief, but the, but from a professional standpoint  When it comes down to it, a lot of grief work is really deep self-care. And there’s so much crossover between hundred percent guilt-free self-care and grief tending. So I’m like, Oh, that’s what I do in my work.

That’s what I do in my work. That’s what I do in my work. And that’s who we are.  We come to this, we’re not mental health professionals. We are not doctors, but we are people that have experienced grief and we are super nerds that are like, I’m experiencing something. And therefore I must read every book, attend every class and try to apply all that we’ve learned.

Okay. Anything else that you want to touch on here? Well, I would add to that, that we are both practitioners of yoga and, you know, yoga in the biggest sense. Not necessarily that we’re getting on a mat and making funny shifts with our bodies all the time.  But like the practice of yoga is a practice of awareness.

It’s a practice of presence as a practice of deepened relationship with self it’s, a practice of wholeness. And you know, in that too, well, we can’t just show up to part of our experience or.  You know, accept only parts of ourselves to be whole means all of it. And I think the practice of yoga or any practice of mindfulness.

 Also really lends itself to this grief work as well, because when we can be more present aware of what we’re feeling honest about, what we’re feeling, not so scared away by what we’re feeling, because we know all things pass, even sensations, even deep emotions, like nothing stays the same.

Which we’re going to talk about. I think in our next episode then it doesn’t get so scary to think like, Oh, but I wanted that big forever releasing ceremony. And I think what makes that. A real trap is that it doesn’t work. Like you said, that doesn’t work. And then we end up feeling like shit, I failed at my big release dancing ceremony.

And so now what, instead of just, you know, there is no releasing this forever. There’s just, who am I now? And what do I want to carry forward? Well, there’s no feeling at that. You can’t fail at that because you’re making it up.  I wanted to throw that in there. I like that. And also is it, since I have to mention Bernay Brown, please be on my show.

 And every episode, my favorite quote from Bernay Brown, the first time  I heard this, I felt like somebody had taken a two by four and smacked me on the top of my nose with it. I mean, that is not the most visceral feeling that you have, like, Oh, and it was a surprise attack, but check this quote Bernay Brown says.

We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb painful emotions, we also numb positive emotions. Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage, truth and courage. Aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness. And I think that we as Americans have this idea of like, if you show emotion that somehow you’re weak and it’s actually the opposite.

So this idea that instead of having this closure, we should definitely get rid of the word closure.    When dealing with loss, because we don’t have it. What we have is a change. We have a, before we have an after, yes. It’s like a chemical reaction. Like you can’t in a chemical reaction, you can’t put the ingredients back in their singular form.

They are forever changed. And that is how it works with grief too. Amen. So that’s both good news and bad news. Again, a bunch of people just went, fuck this I’m outta here. I want an easy answer. And everybody else was like, Oh man. Okay. So this is where I want to say, pull up a chair and sit by the people who are like it’s okay.

Because  us too, like, we’ve been there.  Over and over. So one of the things too, that I think we should get out in the open, straight away here on episode 80, which is again, number one in the grief series is we’re not just going to be talking about grief in terms of somebody that we love has died.

What other kinds of losses are there? Michelle loss comes in every. Shape color, form size.  You might have a loss feel, a deep sense of grief and loss from retirement. I mean, it’s as exciting as that is for so many people. You look forward to it. You got the date on the calendar, you do the X off, leading up to like, it’s so exciting.

And yet there’s a lot of loss around that. And people can be surprised by the grief that comes. So that’s just one simple example of. Someplace that we might have judgment around our grief, even something like that, especially when it’s culturally, like everybody, that’s the thing you’ve been working for.

But what they don’t understand is like, yeah, but I’m losing my identity. As a person who does this thing, I’m losing my purpose. The reason I get up in the morning status, I’m losing my paycheck.  I’m pretty sure after you retire, you might die. So right. There’s all of this. Like I’m gonna like tip toe up on my own mortality.

If I retire, like that’s some pretty deep shit that most of us don’t think about. Cause we’re too excited about no longer having to go to the job that maybe we. Perhaps wanted to give up earlier in our lives, what we’re like, but we did it. We’ve done the thing. And what do you mean I’m now having these residual feelings and damn it.

Am I failing at retirement?  And if we can have both, we can have the feelings of grief and we can be absolutely out of our minds elated.  There’s always, we used to think and used to be really popular to say you could only feel one thing at a time, right? You can’t feel.  Cheerful and grateful.

Well, you can, you, you can feel grief and gratitude and joy and  excitement about being like retired or getting married or having  an extended family  situation where, you know, you’re a doctor, you have a baby or. Somebody moves in. Like there are even these things that we think are so joyful and that’s all they should be.

    No. Everything’s so multi contextual and the tight dimensional. What I was thinking when all of those things that you said are, it’s like, it’s  there’s a sense of loss. When you are closing one chapter of your life, say as a single person, and then transitioning to your new life as a married person, or going from being a non-parent to a parent or closing out one kind of career for another there’s.

It’s like those before and afters. And I have to tell you. I feel a lot of things at the same time. And I will say that I experience a plethora of emotions in a single day, sometimes in a single hour, because I’m a very complex human or I’m bonkers or both, whatever. It feels a little bunker sometimes.  You’re a deep feeler.

I am a deep feeler. I am a deep feeler.

That was a big sign, man. That was big. That was a big, that was paused. That was  so some of the other types of grief that I think we, or types of loss  that are worth mentioning, and this is by no means exhaustive  loss of a dream  Loss of place. So moving again, that kind of goes along with this before, after like, Oh yeah.

Before, when I lived in whatever city  I just had a surgery recently and I, you know, there’s just a lot kind of tied up in that. So any kind of health issue  diagnosis, surgery  those can bring up absolutely feelings of grief, feelings of. Of loss. There might be something that you’ve actually lost.

That’s tangible that you can see or say, Oh, this is now different. Or it might be a lot more ambiguous, hard to describe, hard to pinpoint. And those are the ones that can.  We can set ourselves up for some shame or, you know, like you were talking about the judgment that might come up when we’re, especially if we’re trying to talk to someone else about that loss, you know, validate our feelings or just share that.

And if you get the kind of like tilted head room, like that can kind of put up some hairs on the back of your neck, maybe I shouldn’t be feeling that way or people don’t get it.  It’s really important to feel heard and seen and validated.  You know, listening to something like this, finding a pal that you can talk to you finding a therapist.

I was just, I had a moment of like, there was another thing I wanted to mention as a loss. Oh. Like if you go out of business, like, or if you declare bankruptcy, Yeah. I mean, there’s all these things that, Oh, the one I was thinking of, Oh, are you ready for this? This sounds so trivial until you’re in it. And that is friendship change when you outgrow a friendship and then you end up friendship.

It’s like, it’s kind of like worse than a breakup. Oh shit. We forgot to mention breakups. Like if you break app or you get divorced or you’re the person you thought was going to  marry somebody else, like all of these times, and then there’s all of these like Hollywood portrayals of these losses.

There’s a lot of ice cream and crying and we’re going to talk so much more about like the symptoms of grief in. The third episode of this series.  So Michelle  we took notes. We had some brainstorming meetings, friends let’s be real. And one of the things that we talked about was  some things that we need to.

Get our shit together before we have loss. And then we were laughing. Like, what does that even mean? So when I say to you, Michelle, what do you think people need to do before they have loss? What are some things that if you are going to create a checklist, Hey, you guys, we’re going to create a checklist.

What would be on the checklist? Well, I think the top of my checklist would be a therapist. And I know  that might seem weird to find a therapist for a theoretical loss that you haven’t yet had, but just. You know, asking around if you don’t have someone you work with or know of, and trust, maybe a friend has someone, if you know someone who has been through a loss and they’ve worked with a person just having it one or two names, even  you know, just something to go to because when you’re in it, And especially if it’s, you know, really traumatic loss of a big kind of core central loss, our resources in those times are  very limited internally like brain resources.

So you want to just be able to go to that notebook and go, Oh, right. I don’t. Okay. I guess I’m going to call Susie, right? Like that’s. Kind of all you have available is not a great time to be doing research and  trying to viewing people interview, like you don’t want to be doing that. You just want to be able to go to someone and know  that’s, you’re going to get the holding that you need.

Absolutely. And I would say in addition to that, maybe place a call. To your health care provider, maybe even asking your general practitioner to say, Hey, what are the mental health resources that are available to me? Do I need to talk to you? Do I need to talk to member services? Like what’s the process?

Cause I will tell you, after my friend died, I did this. And then I was like, Oh boy, I. Can only place one phone call a day. And it turns out that me being on hold for any length of time really does my head in right now.  But I stuck with it partly because I was like, I’m really invested in providing this support structure for myself during this really traumatic loss time.

But also I’m like, I always tell my clients to get like, Their support team in gear before they need them. And here I am lacking on this very critical part and it’s different because of the pandemic. Right. Because what I did when I had my ma my mom died six years ago, I went to an in-person support group.

Well guess what guys those aren’t available right now. So I did some digging on the internet cause you know, I do love me some research and I found some resources. So Michelle says, talk to friends about finding a therapist. Also, you might want to take that step further and say, are they taking new patients?

What is the cost? How much is it to get in with them? Are they a grief specialist? Also, this is just a good practice. If you want to work with a mental health professional, they are surprisingly hard to get in with at first. So maybe don’t wait for crisis in order to get those resources. So check with your insurance, check with your GP, check with your friends.

What other things do people need to get sort of on their radar? I think just even, you know, like I mentioned yoga and mindfulness to practice before, and I know this isn’t necessarily. A resource, but  having your own some kind of self-awareness  self care practice around your emotions. And I’m calling that out because we, you know, we could categorize self care if we wanted to in lots of different ways, but it, whether that’s journaling, whether that’s  a movement practice, but, and, or talking to a friend, you know  not necessarily looking for that person to be your therapist, but just someone, you know, you can really be your full spectrum self with, and  Getting more comfortable with your emotions.

 It’s just a key piece of, it’s a key piece of being human.  And then I think we can kind of skate by until we come into something like loss and then were like our, Oh my God. This is  really hard. If we haven’t practiced being with all of our emotions and really being honest with ourself about our emotions.

Yeah. And I would say if you’re like what, I already have a yoga practice and you’re used to going to the studio and doing a power Vinyasa, maybe grief. Isn’t the time that you’re going to be exploring a more  enthusiastic yoga practice, maybe during grief is when you go towards. And again,  I’m ready for everyone to go.

Hell no, that sounds terrible. The quieter practices like yin or restorative yoga or yoga nidra, all three of those practices have helped me tremendously when I’m feeling those like  overwhelming feelings of being really tired. We’re going to talk more about  The symptoms of yoga or the symptoms of grief again in the third episode, but like to maybe even Google, if you’ve never done yoga nidra before, maybe you Google it and be like, what is, what are those crazy gals talking about?

And I will tell you those crazy gals are talking about the practice of yoga. Yoga nidra is what the army use to help returning soldiers deal with PTSD. Like it is some  deep. Deep work that when you see it and look at it and hear it, you’re going to go. But somebody is just laying there and somebody saying some words and the answer is, I know, and the army, one of the most conservative  institutions in this country was like, this shit works.

 And then also exploring this. And when we say mindfulness, we’re talking about maybe exploring some meditation, I of course use the Headspace app and they should always be like, why have we not offered her a sponsorship yet?  But I’ve also been playing around with the calm app. Michelle has a YouTube channel where she does.

Really lovely meditations on her channel on YouTube called it’s all yoga.  But again, getting into this idea of it’s like feathering your nest before you bring your eggs into it. Like you want to get it to be nice before you need it. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. And one other thing that I was thinking of along the lines of  You know, getting insurance info  and that kind of business is if you have employment that offers some kind of bereavement leave can be good to just, you know, just know how much time you’re going to get if you get time.

Yes. And another thing to explore is Googling bereavement. Plus your city, Dane. Because a lot of  hospice providers in counties are non-affiliated with hospitals. And so you can get in to, and even if your person didn’t die in hospice, even if your person is far away, hospice does a lot of bereavement work within community.

So they’ll have like grief support groups or art therapy support groups, or sometimes they even offer low cost or no cost.  Grief counseling with licensed professionals because  the whole idea is like grief  needs like a safety net. So it’s like  you’re, it’s almost like you’re on a trapeze between feelings and between the before and the after, but there’s a big safety net underneath so that you can safely let go of what was before to get to what is after.


We’re doing the thinking thing again, anything you want to add on the, who we are.  If you’re going to get your shit together for your grief, getting shit together, what do you need to get together list? I mean, I think some of it too is just. Knowing that you can’t really get it all together because you can’t know what that’s like until you’re there.

And so it might also just be. Acknowledging and knowing that you can’t control everything and you can’t hurt ducks very well, or, you know, it’s like, there are things you can do to prepare some pragmatic things that are just good to know, and we don’t want to make it sound like. You know, you’re going to be completely ready.

And then when it happens, everything is gonna fall into place and you know, it’s going to be smooth and easy.  That’s not what we’re trying to say. We’re just like, you know, there are some things you can find out that make it a little bit lighter when the time comes and it’s inevitable. I mean, again, you know, it’s a healthy, natural response to loss and loss is a part of every life.

As we talked about all kinds of loss. Comes in so many shapes. So absolutely man, we are going to create this checklist. So if you are somebody that is early in grief or, you know, somebody who’s early in grief, we’re going to give you at least a little bit of a roadmap so that you can start building your support net.

So that you can transition and obviously we’ll even leave some blank spaces at the end so that you can be like, and then I did this and then I did this because here’s the thing, not everyone has gone through this, but we all will. Eventually every one of us is going to lose something or someone that’s significant that creates that sense of before and after.

And we just want to help you build that support team. Yes, we’re here for you. We’re here for you. So you can find Michelle  at her website, which is www Michelle Marla, hand.com. There you go. And you can find me@tamihackbarth.com and you can find all the information, including our, get your shit together.

Grief checklist at my website. At Tami hackbarth.com/episode 80. And until next week, remember that you mattered too.

EP79: Minimalish with Carly Adams of Tidy Revival

EP79: Minimalish with Carly Adams of Tidy Revival

Carly and I talked about the concept of the good enough tidy a couple of episodes ago and she gave us five tips.

I am a client of Carly’s and a long-time fan. And so in our very many hours that we have spent together over the last couple of years, we have talked about this concept that is very popular.

It’s a niche topic, but it is very popular amongst a certain aspect of the population and that is minimalism.


Tami: Welcome back Carly. I’m so glad you’re here. 

Carly: Thank you so much for having me, Tammy. 

Tami: Okay. If you haven’t heard Carly and episode 16 and episode, whatever it was two weeks ago, Carly’s back tar Carly from tidy revival. So Carly, if people, this is our first time listening, can you give us a little background on who you are and what you do?

Sure.  My 

Carly: name is Carly Adams and I am a professional organizer. I live here in Sacramento, California, just like you and I work with women to help them create simple solutions. Using decluttering is the foundation of organization. 

Tami: Okay. Carla and I talked about the concept of the good enough tidy.

Couple of episodes ago and she gave us five tips. And I did tell you. It works. I am a client of Carly’s a long time fan. And so in our very many  hours that we have spent together over the last couple of years, we have talked about this concept that is very popular. It’s a niche topic, but it is very popular amongst a certain aspect of the population.

And I want to talk more about it. So I figured Carla and I have interesting conversations. Y’all should hear them too. So Carly, talk to me about minimalism. What does it mean to you? How did it come into your life? Tell me about. Minimalism. 

Carly: Yeah.  I’m going to say that, first of all, that I know that the word minimalism, for  some people get really turned off by this word.

I was talking to  to people on Instagram as I was preparing for this conversation. And I asked, you know, do you like the word minimal Lish a little bit more? And you know, I’m getting comments like, okay, that’s more like it. Or other people are saying that they’re really more about intentionality, but not necessarily the label of minimalism.

And I will say that about probably at least 90% of the people that I work with, both my clients and students don’t want to be a minimalist. They don’t want to necessarily have anything to do with that.  As. As a concept for their home, but that’s fine too. So I just want to preface this off with saying that I’m not trying to convert people to the ways of minimalism.

I do consider myself a minimalist and it does mean a lot to me, but the biggest thing has been a shift in thinking and really focusing on contentment versus never having enough. 

Tami: I am so struck by this. So if you guys don’t know there is this sort of, there’s a movement, there’s a podcast there’s books and there are TV shows, there’s movies.

And when I came up against this  new concept, I just air quoted new concept about minimalism. I thought isn’t that just like living within your means? Isn’t that just like not. Taking more than your fair share. Is that kind of like what our grandparents did? Why are  why is grandpa live in a, got this new name?

It’s like, it’s got a, yeah, true percent. 

Carly: A hundred 

Tami: percent. Right. And I was like, no, I mean, I was, I came out of the womb, like a depression era, grandma, since I was like, seriously, since I was little. So I’m like, wait a second. That thing that I kind of do naturally has a name. So, what do you think about this?

This rebranding of grandpa live in  a I’m a fan. But I definitely did not.  I will say  that my grandma told me a lot about frugal living and she was, you know, a depression era child. And we had a lot of conversations about that. But  growing up that wasn’t really my jam. And especially as a young adult, I was more like if there’s room on my credit card, I’m shopping.

Carly: And maybe I can’t afford this restaurant, but you know, I’m only young once and I want to go out with my friends and I had a long week, so I deserve it. And I was just, it was really more about like, I want it, therefore I have it. I deserve it. Therefore, I’m going to have it. I can’t afford it. That’s not really the point.

And I want to shop  shop til it drops. 

Tami: So funny. I’m sitting here listening to you and I’m like, Oh, you’re describing my mom. Who didn’t actually grow up with depression, era parents. Right. And so I think she rebelled against that. And then I  rebelled against her. Like let’s do, there was a lot of yellow and I was like, no, Sandy there, isn’t yellow.

Sorry. That’s not how this works. Like, they’re going to want us to  pay for that later. Yeah. I don’t need to get that 

Carly: memo. 

Tami: There’s only so many days I’m going swimming this year. I don’t need several suits. I’m not going on a Mexican cruise.  But on the vacay where I need a new suit every day. So  what was the thing.

What made it attractive to you after being like somebody who was like treat yourself 

Carly: constantly? Yeah.    I definitely made a huge shift in my life and I know I talk about this a lot, so I won’t go into like the deep dive of the story, but long story short. I used to be a, an incredibly disorganized person in basically every aspect of myself, of my life.

And there came a point when I realized that I needed to make a change. And it was at that point that  I knew that I needed to replace a couple of things I needed to replace my. Shopping habit, which I was doing as both like a I’m bored activity too. I want to pick me up activity to a social activity.

 I needed to replace that in some way with something else and I needed to. Figure out a way to be content with what I had so that I wasn’t constantly  spending money. And I was also going down like this decluttering organizing rabbit hole, and it led me to learning more about minimalism. And I realized that I needed to kind of make some shifts if I wanted to have less clutter.

And if I wanted to have more money and these things all really went hand in hand. So I started doing things like. Using it up or letting it go instead of just buying a new thing. Like this is a silly example, but like mascara is like, I used to have like six mascara’s, seven mascara’s at a time because  I have one, I use it for a little bit.

I’d get bored, I’d get a new one, use it for a little bit, whatever do you want? And I have this like constant selection. So  now I’m using it, my mascara. And when I’m out of mascara or just about ass out of mascara, then I get a new mascara. If I get a mascara and I try something new and I hate it, I either suck it up and use it up, or I don’t feel bad about it.

Let it go and get a different one. But having my favorite mascara versus six mascara’s that I only sorta kinda like. Is like, that’s just one example of like hundreds and made in my life that are all that same principle. 

Tami: So interesting is I’m sitting here and I’m like, there was a time in my life. It was when I was a teenager that I was like, sure, I’ll do my thing.

Cause we all have a thing. Right. We all have a thing where we’re like  apparently Carly has a mascara thing. Yeah. I say, are you ready for this? Striped t-shirts Oh, Twain. I had quite a collection it’s like I had long sleeve, short sleeve v-neck button up. It was long sleeve t-shirts.  And I had like, you know, you’re talking about  the fancy fold, like I had like rows and rows of these.

T-shirts like, okay. And again, how many damn t-shirts can one person where? And when I finally realized I was like, wait a second. I’m going into debt because I was getting that hit from getting a new t-shirt at target, or I’m getting this, I’m going into debt because I’m getting a hit from going to the gap with my friend, and then we’re going to go out to lunch.

 And I felt like at that time I had to get something to kind of be one of the guys to be like I’m fitting in.  But it was in my early twenties that I was like, God it’s really. And this is not for everyone. I’m not saying everyone should be debt-free, but I have to tell you, debt super keeps me up at night.

I’m a delicate flower when it comes to debt. And I was like, I need to get out of this. So I read a book called it’s your money or your life. Oh, 

Carly: wow. That’s the best title I’ve ever heard. Have you read that book? No, but my book that is the same, like that same type of book for me was young, broken, fabulous by Susie 

Tami: Orman.

Okay. Okay. So it’s funny because my book is by this woman named  Vicky. I can’t remember her last name, but at Vicky’s something, sorry, Vicki. I forgot your last name. I’m gonna look you up.  And this guy named Joe Domingas and what they talked about was  This concept of your trading, your, what they call your life hours.

Because the time we have on earth between birth and death is finite. We don’t know when it’s going to end, but it does end and you spend your life hours. Trading your life hours for money, and then you’re trading your money slash life hours for possessions. And so they had this big exercise of going through and figuring out exactly how many life hours that you were spending to earn the money, to buy the thing.

And once it was put in that terms, I was like, I am not going to trade two life hours. Cause it, it depends on how much the item is and how much you make per hour. I was like, I’m not going to spend two hours of my actual finite life for yet another Stripe t-shirt and it was shocking. It was like that lightning bolt moment where you’re like  I guess I’m not doing that anymore.

 And from that moment on, I was like, okay, but how do I, I grew up in, you know, my, like I said, my mom was like, let’s treat yourself. And so I’ve like had to switch gears a bit. And so that’s what I called it because I couldn’t figure out what it was called. Then it was the early nineties. And when I figured out was it was frugal living and thing that went by then was slow living or simple living, which is why that magazine real simple.

Does it for me, I’m like, yes, I am real simple. I don’t want to have such expensive stuff in there  but it was crazy where it was like the switch where I was like,  let’s, how can I make do with less? 

Carly: Or even like a huge, I want to say that this was like a life-changing shift for me is if I was at the store and I saw something on the clearance rack, because the conversation used to go, is this cute?

Do I love this or do I hate this? I can’t decide, but it’s $7. So you know what, I’m just going to get it. I’ll just, you know, but now if I look at something and I say, do I love this? Or do I not love this? If I say in my head, do I not love this? Then I just put it back. I never regret it. I never regret not buying something that I feel wishy-washy about.

And it stops me from having a closet full of things that I put on. And then I’m like, no, not today. Take it off, try again. Next week. 

Tami: It’s all those things that are just not quite right. And that can be in the Stripe t-shirt category. You guys, there are a lot of poorly cut striped. T-shirts the ones that are perfect.

You’re like. I will wear this damn thing every day. I would pay a hundred dollars for a strike. The perfect strike t-shirt at this point.  

Carly: that’s how I feel about stretchy pants. I’ve got, I, even before the pandemic, I had a lot of stretchy pants because I’m an organizer. So I wore them every day for work.

And I got two pairs of pants from the store and one was great. And the other one I felt like just kept slipping down. It was a high rise, but it kept rolling over it just, I would have to constantly pull it up and I was like, you know what? This isn’t no, I’m not doing this life is too short to be pulling up my pants every 10 minutes when you’re supposed to be staying put.

So you just let it go. And I don’t miss those pants at all. Like, it’s fine. It’s just get pants that fit 

Tami: a hundred percent. And I will say I have embraced the  if it doesn’t work perfectly for you, because there is no one perfect pair of pants or perfect. Stripe t-shirt or anything else. Perfect. But if it isn’t right for you, there are so many ways to release that thing.

And the first way are you ready for this? Everyone, you can take it back where you bought it. Yes. Oh my God. The power of the return is blowing my mind. 

Carly: I actually did get a return on those pants. There’s was, I said I have washed it, but. They, these aren’t staying up. Like they’re not working and they, and the store just said, you know what, that’s fine.

Just donate them. And here’s your money back. Don’t worry about it. 

Tami: And you were like, you have great customer service. Thank you for that. Yep. Okay. You said something earlier that just perked up my ears, like nothing else. And that was the idea of, so I’m looking at frugal living, which by the way, Is reminds me of that.

 I don’t know if you ever saw the SNL skit and it’s  a riff on an NPR show and they’re talking about sweaty balls. It’s like a yarn thing. Anyway. So frugal living reminds me of sweaty balls from  SNL, which is not a good luck. So in other words, it’s not real sexy and it’s super dorky and it’s super grandma III, but it still, it scratches that itch for me.

 Huh? Yeah. Simple living, slow living. All of that. Yeah. What I love, what you said was living with intentionality, by the way, I have a whole thing about summer of intentionality. Thank you, Rosie. Molinari who I will do an episode about that later in the summer, but you call it, did you call it minimal ish?

Carly: Yeah. Yeah. Minimal English and I have not been, I was not the person to like. Make that a thing I’ve heard it elsewhere. So I 


Tami: Okay.  Guess what this episode is going to be called minimalist. I love it because that, yes, I don’t want to like only have a hundred possessions. I don’t want just to have two forks.

Carly: Yeah. And that’s the thing. This is something else that I wanted to make sure that I talk about today is that the number of items you have. Like, what is right for you is right for you. And that’s going to be different than what’s right. For me, or, you know, anybody listening to this  and that number of items can change depending on your life circumstance.

Tami: Say, because remember when we were doing my house, you’re like, how many towels do you need? Like bath towels. And I was like, It never occurred to ask myself that because what I did was I never got rid of my old towels. When I bought new towels, they just kinda got downgraded to what I don’t know, towels.

Right. It’s like they got. Downgraded to sit in the cupboard and to be shoved in the back because I was putting the new towels in front of them. Yeah. And so when you said, how many tells do you need? I was like, Oh, we’re going deep here. I suppose we could only need three towels for each person. Thus, I only need nine bath towels.

Carly: And it’s important to ask yourself about that with the downgraded towels too, because it’s easy to accumulate over the years, you know, 80 rag towels, but when you. Think about how many rag towels you actually need in that answer is 10. Then you can get rid of the other 70  how many bags do you need from target?

Tami: How many plastic bags do you need underneath your sink? You guys, these are real questions that Carly was like, why do you have so many of these? I’m like, I, they go under the sink to multiply. I don’t know 

Carly: for the record. I think I said it in a gentler way than that. I’m just, Oh, just for the. 

Tami: Absolutely on, sorry.

Sorry. She’s very good at asking questions in a way that does not make you feel defensive about your thousands of plastic bags underneath your sink that you might need someday. 

Carly: It varies my practice. Thanks for that questions 

Tami: gently, by the way, PS, if I was your clutter coach, I would probably be like, dude, what’s up with all the plastic bags that are sick  throw it away.

I know. And you know what? That just made me sweaty. I’m like, yeah, but they’re not. So I would have to find a home for them. Okay. So what we’re talking about today is not. Minimalism capital M with a good branding. We’re not totally talking about frugal living, although apparently both you and I have some very deep seated    depression, era, grandma thread in our being.

But really what we’re talking about is living in a way that is superintendent minimal lift. Okay. Now I can’t say it minimalists. Minimal ish. So how does this come? How does the concept of intentionality and minimal Lish come into your life and your business? And then benefit from it.  Okay. So it comes into, I’m going to start with business.

 Carly: It comes into my business because I, my role with anyone I’m working  with my clients, with my students is to help them make decisions for themselves on. These pairing down. So as we were talking about a second before, it’s not my role to come in and say, get rid of your towels, get rid of this.

It’s more to come in and ask people questions so that they can make those decisions for themselves. And whatever the answer is, if I said, how many rag towels do you need? And your answer is 50, and we talked through it and you need 50. I mean, fair enough. But if, you know, if the answer is 10, then. I’ll give you the resources that you need to be able to get rid of the extras for the record.

The answer is your local SPCA, because they always need towels, but of any, you know, their older body, it’s fine. The SPCA wants them.  So, and also letting clients and students know that there’s no best way to get organized. There’s no best way to  Essentially to get organized because I know I’m repeating myself, but I think  that’s the question that I get a lot, like what is the best way to store XYZ?

What is the best way to set up this sort of XYZ system and the way that you do this is going to be a little bit different for everybody. It’s going to depend on your needs, your space. The measurements of what you’re working with. Like there’s all these different factors, but my role is to help you figure out the way that’s going to work best for you in your individual spaces.

 And this minimalist practice just helps with the decision-making so that what you are keeping the things that you use want need and love these. Are going to be the things that  you’re, you know, you’re using them every day. They’re making your life better. You’re keeping things that you can implement into  very simple systems at first is having to constantly dig through clutter items that you’re not using items that you don’t even care about.

 And just the excess, we’re just removing the access to make things more simple.  And in my life, Like I’m only in business because I made this big shift in my life. I was not always like an organized person. I was not always somebody who is on top of these sorts of things. And ha I had a huge life shift and transformation because of these changes.

And it’s what made me want to go into this industry.  And so. I know the type of transformation that it can have for so many people. I have seen it in my own life. I have seen it in the lives of my clients and my students, I believe in it wholeheartedly. And I believe like this is the thing that I want to help people with.

So I would say that  it’s made a huge impact on my life.  But being able to have things that are like less but better, or even just less like the mascara that I mentioned, it’s not like I have like, you know, this hundred dollar mascara now I only have one instead of seven. Like  I’m still using like a $12 mascara, but I love it.

And now when I go to use mascara, I’m not digging through a pile of makeup to get to it. I’m just like, there it is right there, or in the morning when I’m getting dressed for the day, I’m not having to sift through a whole closet of items that I don’t regularly wear, or I don’t, I feel like it doesn’t really fit me that well, or I don’t even like them.

I’m just going straight to my favorites everyday, just straight to my favorites, because that’s the selection that there is to choose from. And it just. It makes everything so much easier when you’re just removing the things that you don’t care about or use, or even want or need. And you’re along the way, figuring out strategies to let go of things like guilt that help you, that had you holding onto these things in the first place for so long, like working through that and working through helping other people work through that, it just means.

So much like when you’re able to make these changes.  And I, what 

Tami: I, one of the things I find super interesting is that it’s not like people come to you and they’re like, I haven’t washed a dish in five years. There’s a lot of people who come to you and are like, I am 80% of the way there. Like, I was definitely an 80% of the way there, but it was that last 20% Rose, like.

I need to call in the reinforcements. I don’t know how to get this done all the way. I don’t know where the towels, the extra towels that I now know. I don’t need, I need to know where they can go. What’s also so interesting is that our work  the work I do. With my clients and the work that you do with your clients a lot, there’s a lot of crossover because I cannot give a self care prescription to people because I don’t live in other people’s bodies.

Like a lot of it’s going to depend on what they’re already doing, what their health is, what their situation is, you know, are they a parent? Are they not? Are they working at home? Do they work for themselves? Like there’s so many factors.  And that’s why I really love working with you too, because you really  personalized it, even in your course.

So Carly and I work together privately like one-on-one and then I also did our course, cause it’s so good at  but I was like, Oh yeah, still it’s still really personal.  And it’s not prescriptive. It’s like, Whoa. Whoa. The other thing I wanted to just mention is, so it sounds really simple when somebody says  how many towels do you need?

But I would say this, how many times in your life has somebody asked you how many tells you need? That’s probably why it’s probably never thought about your number of towels because no one ever sat you down and asked you, like, at one point you asked me something else. Oh, it was when we were doing my kitchen.

And you asked me what, like I had something in a place. And what was the thinking behind where I had put that? I was like  when I moved in 20 years ago, that’s where I put it. And I was like, Oh shit, I haven’t moved my dishes in 20 years. They’ve been. In kind of what I would say now that I’ve moved them and rearrange them.

So they make more sense. I’m like, wow, it was a little bit, it wasn’t like they, I wasn’t keeping them in the dining room or under the table. They were in a cupboard, but they just, I made small changes that it was like, now it just clicked and was like, Oh my God, I can’t believe that tiny shift made such a difference.

That makes me really happy. Me too, because it’s like, it just feels like everything, you know, when you’re doing a puzzle and there’s a piece that you’re like, I’m pretty sure it goes there, but you can’t jam it in there. And then you’re like, but now I can’t find it where it really goes. It’s kind of like that the sense of relief that you get when you’re like, it really doesn’t go there and you put it where it goes, and then you find the piece in the dog’s mouth and you’re like, Ugh.

Guess what now? This puzzle works. Yeah. That’s what it feels like. 

Carly: The part that you were talking  about feeling personnel, personalized, like your experience feeling personalized. I will have, I will say that if I had only. Gone through the process of getting organized and decluttering in my own home.

And then tried to replicate that with other people. I don’t think it would be the same because the only reason that I’m able to make this feel. As personalized as it does is through the process working of working with like client    after client and seeing the everybody’s home is a little bit different.

Everybody’s circumstances are a little bit different, the needs, what they want to keep, what they don’t want to keep what’s important, what they don’t give a help, like what they don’t care about. Like all of these things are so, so different per person that you have to figure out a way to. Get people to ask the questions that are going to come up with the answers that they need for their own circumstances.

Tami: Does that make sense? Right? Which is both. I mean, that’s how coaching works is like not the coaching, right? It’s like, I just present you with the questions that are going to help you get to what’s true for you. But once you get to the truth, that’s like personally fit for you. You’re like. I had no idea how everything else in my life was so uncomfortable because I had been offered other people’s solutions to my problem.

It’s like  but that your solution is the solution to your problem. I need a solution to my pain. So how do you think you’d benefit by living in an intentional minimalist way? Everyone’s going to hate that big sh at the end of that,  I’m glad I keep doing it. Sorry. Everyone’s ears.  I think the biggest thing, like I mentioned before is that things are just streamlined.

Carly: Like I’m not spending time digging through things every day. To look  for what I need.  If we lose something, it becomes like a big shock. Like it’s not only like where did it go? It’s like, no, really? Where did it go? Because it wouldn’t just be somewhere else. It’s like, it has a home, it should be right 

Tami: there.

 Carly: We lost a key ones a few months ago and we’re still joking about it. And I don’t even know what happened at like, ended up in the car somehow. But for a few weeks were like, no, really? Where the hell is the key? Like, did someone 

Tami: steal it? What’s happening? Oh my God, that is my number one. Somebody stole it or my kids hit it.

Those are my two go-to shoes now. Cause I’m like, clearly the other grownup in the house put it away. Sometimes he doesn’t, but he usually gets it in the area if , but man, that’s the other thing, like again, when I lose something I’m like, Did somebody come in and burglarized my house P S while I’m in it.

And it’s like, nobody wants to you guys. I lost a pair of striped leggings for like three months during the pandemic, or I have not lot. I have not left my house. I was like, they’ve got to be here somewhere 

Carly: now. I need to know 

Tami: where were they? They fell off. The shelf in my closet and they were on the floor for months, four months.

Right. And then I’m like, you sound like a crazy person when you’re like, who came into my house, but like the leggings thief came  in the middle of the night and just took those leggings. Sure crazy bird.  I want to say, I think  that’s truly the power of getting organized though, because I’ve lost my keys now twice in the last, like six years, like.

Carly: For, you know, any amount of time at all. And I just think like  that probably happened at least a hundred times a year 

Tami: before that. So that’s legit. I will say that’s the difference. I will say my kid is she does put things away and sometimes I will say. We had a thing with flashlights for awhile, where I was like, where did all the flashlights go?

Because they should be in the utility drawer. By the way you guys here’s the life-changing tip, don’t have a junk drawer at your house because then you won’t put junk in it. If you change it to utility, you will be only put the shit that goes in there. And I will legit say. To my family, only utility things go in that drawer and it’s been a year and a half, and I’ve only had to do barely any tidying, but I will say we did have the great of flashlight hunt of 2020, where I was like, again, who stole the flashlights?

It turned out it was my kid.  We got them back, but it was kind of bonkers. So one of my  Unexpected benefits of being a minimalist is I save a ton of, Oh yeah. Like a lot. I was going to say it’s weird, but I guess if you’re not spending on stuff, it’s not that weird that you’re like  now I have more money because I didn’t spend it.

 Yeah. And it helps me to then decide to spend my money on the things that I actually mean to spend my money on. I didn’t mean to go into debt buying Stripe t-shirts but  I didn’t mean to go into debt buying taco bell, Walgreens, and Starbucks, but 

I did. Okay. I, yeah, I nickeled and dimed myself to death, 

Carly: but  now I can spare 

Tami: wasteland.

Was that like a triangle from where you were living?  Yeah, that was basically everything that was close to my office at the time. Because I was working in San Francisco and I just walked to all those places within like five minutes of my office. 

Okay. I get it. I get it. Yeah. And I used to buy a lot of t-shirts to make myself feel better when I didn’t like my job.

I’m not gonna lie. Like in fact, the more clothes I’m buying, you could just say, Oh, you’re pretty unhappy with where you’re working. Oh yeah. That was a thing. Yeah. Okay. So  if people are interested about learning more about minimalism, intentional living, minimalist stuff, what resources would you point them to?

I found out that my book is  by my book, meaning it’s your money or your life is by Vicki, Robin and Joe Domingas. And it’s called nine steps to transforming your relationship with money and achieving financial independence.  What are your favorite resources? The book I 

Carly: mentioned is young broken.

Fabulous. I believe I’m not mixing up the order of any of those words, but it’s by Susie Orman. I loved that.  Also highly recommend the minimalists documentary podcast and social media during Instagram.  There’s a great podcast called minimalist moms podcast. And. Also on Instagram at Afro minimalist is Christine plat and she has a really great Ted talk on that subject.

I highly recommend 

Tami: at Afro. The reason I’m writing this down is because I do not yet follow her and I will be in a moment.  Yeah. Thank you for having this conversation with me and  friends, we will link to all the stuff in the show notes, and you can follow Carly at tidy revival  on Instagram, Carly, will you tell them where they can find your free class?

Carly: Yes. If you want to learn a bunch of tips on how to create a clutter-free home without giving up all your free time, you can get a bunch of tips and you can also learn about my course community and get all of those details@tidyrevival.com forward slash free class. 

Tami: Awesome. And if you would like to get some quick self-care in your life, I have a new class called that’s right.

Self hair Quickstart, and you can find out all the details on my website@tamihackbarth.com, where you will find the show notes. You will find the show. You will find all the information that we talked about, and until next week, remind, remember you matter too. Thanks.


EP 78: I Found an Unexpected Energy Boost

EP 78: I Found an Unexpected Energy Boost


I found an unexpected energy boost. It’s called closing the loop. All right, friends, I’ve stumbled upon an energy boosting practice, and I wanted to share it with you today. In case you could also use this boost.

So first a backstory. My word of the year for 2021 is process.
And I’m trying to apply this word in multiple ways throughout all the aspects of my life. So I want to process my grief and loss. I need to slow down and look at the systems and processes in my business so I can figure out how to do things better. I want to slow down and look at my habits and see if I can do some tweaking there, slow down and look at the way my house runs and the systems we have in place so that we can more fairly distribute the work.

Through all the people who live in the household and then also slowing down and breaking whatever projects I take on down task by task so I can follow through. And that’s right. You guessed it closed the loops. It’s this last part, the closing the loops. Okay. That is kind of new to me because I’m not a finisher.

I don’t know if we’ve talked about that, but I definitely am known as somebody who’s like, I quit early. I like to stop 77% into a project and like drop it and walk away. But this last part, the closing, the loops, I knew I’d heard it before, but it wasn’t until I had. The word process in my mind. And I started reading some like business books, which are, let’s be real.

I’ve never, no, I had a corporate job once it lasted for 10 months and I was 25. So it’s not like I am a big business, like a traditional business book reader, but I’ve heard great things about getting things done. I totally forgot to write the author down. So I don’t remember who it is, but. Google it you’ll find out.

And what I’ve heard is it’s pretty dry. And I thought, okay, well, what should I do? So I go around, got some good ideas of what it was going to be about. And then I did what I told you. I do in episode 76, where I told you all about how I read a lot and some of the tips for that. And one of my tips is to get.

Books meant for teenagers or kids when you just want the gist of something. So I was able to get getting things done for teens. That’s right. Getting things done for teens from the library on audio and I listened to it and. The long story short, I’ll just save you from reading that book. It’s not very exciting.

However, they talked about this idea of how unfinished projects, wherever they come from, sucks your energy. And I was like, Oh, I think they’re onto something. And I think that I just found this UN. This untapped reservoir of potential energy in my life. So I spent some time looking around my house for things I’d started over the years and came up with a pretty good list, because like I said, I’m an opener.

I love a new project and it turns out I have. So many unfinished projects in my house, my life, my business, that I added, some of those unfinished things to my 21 for 21 list, which if you go back a few episodes, you can find out all about by 21 for 20 million list. And. I’ve decided that these are like one and done kind of things like set up the robot vacuum check.

So I’ve been able to cross off some things off my list. So what I’ve learned from this idea, Oh, closing the loops, finishing the project is okay. I don’t know if I need to learn this again, but I really love the beginning of projects. I really love buying the materials, like aspirational shopping a little bit.

Like I want to buy the materials to make a necklace. I want to buy some art supplies. I want to buy equipment for us sport. I’m looking at you swim goggles, swim cap, and fins. But then after I get the stuff I stop and I have to say. Probably because I haven’t figured out a, how to get past that, like 76% Mark on projects.

And then let’s be real. There is some hit of adrenaline from just getting the stuff and you’re like, Oh my God, I’m a person who does this now. Cause I have the accoutrements to go with it. So I’ve got a lot of things in my life that I went so far as to buy the thing, but then I never used it. Here’s an example in.

July of 2014, that would be seven years ago. If you’re counting, I bought an ice cream maker. I got at home. I took out the instructions and I got to the part where I needed to freeze the container. That’s going to like, you’re going to pour the ingredients in and it’s going to be going around. There’s this like bucket that needs to be in the freezer.

And. Then I put the instructions for the ice cream machine in our utility drawer. And then I put the box with all of the parts of this ice cream machine somewhere. It was totally out of sight. It was organized. Right. But it was totally out of sight except here’s the thing. It was out of sight, but it wasn’t out of mind.

There was still that unfinished loop in my head, running in the background, kind of like when you have too many tabs open on your computer, it was slow and shoot down. And I kept having these. Like roadblocks, these little bumps speed bumps in my energy where I was like, Oh, I’ve got all these things. So I have a ton of examples about these kinds of unfinished projects and products for my 24 21 episode.

If you want to hear more about my status as a champion opener, but the point of today is I wanted to tell you about the discovery that I got, this huge energy boost, just from closing the loop on these projects. So I was telling my friend that I wanted to make some ice cream, but I got, I told her the story, I just told you, which is I got stuck with like, I don’t know what to do because my freezer is full of food.

And she told me what she does, which is that she just puts like the bag of stuff. That’s already in the freezer, inside the thing from ice cream machine that needs to go in there. And then she puts it back on the shelf, closes the door. It’s so simple, so smart. And it would have never occurred to me to do that.

So this tiny detail derailed me for seven years, seven years. So now that the obstacle was removed, I could go to the next step, which was actually reading the instruction, booklet, finding a simple recipe, making sure we had the ingredients. And Oh my God. Now we have homemade vegan ice cream in our freezer, and I feel like I won the damn lottery.

So my question for you right now is what obstacles are getting in the way of you closing the loops on projects, on anything in your life. And I would love to connect with you on social media. I’m on Instagram at Tami. Hackbarth be sure to head over to my website@tamihackbarth.com slash podcast for all the show notes for this episode reminder early pricing for deferred maintenance, my group coaching experience and, or my mini course self-care Quickstart and Saturday, March 20th.

So head on over to my website. At www.tamihackbarth.com to enroll today until next time friends. Remember that you matter too.