Grief Out Loud

By The Dougy Center

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Remember the last time you tried to talk about grief and suddenly everyone left the room? Grief Out Loud is opening up this often avoided conversation because grief is hard enough without having to go through it alone. We bring you a mix of personal stories, tips for supporting children, teens, and yourself, and interviews with bereavement professionals. Platitude and cliché-free, we promise! Grief Out Loud is hosted by Jana DeCristofaro and produced by The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families in Portland, Oregon.

Episode Date
Embracing Grief In Community - Adam Stevens, RDT

Adam Stevens, RDT, (he/they), knows grief. He grew up in a family of five. A family that is now a family of one. Adam brings this deep knowing of grief to his work as the Program Manager for Bereavement and Mental Health Services at the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI), where he supports primarily BIPOC queer & trans youth in transforming grief & the pain of loss through creative arts therapy. 

We talk about:

  • How Adam came to work with grief & loss.
  • What Drama Therapy is. 
  • Adam's work at Hetrick-Martin Institute supporting LGBTQIA+ youth in being seen and heard in their grief. 
  • The collective losses the youth they work with experienced through the COVID pandemic.
  • The multi-faceted intersection of queer identity and grief.
  • How Adam's personal grief has changed through this work. 

Learn more about the Hetrick-Martin Institute and follow them on IG & Fbook

Note: this episode mentions suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling. Please reach out for support.
Crisis Text Line: text HELLO to 741741
The Trevor Project: text START to 678678 (for LGBTQ youth)
The Trans Lifeline: (877) 565-8860

Aug 12, 2022
It's Complicated

The word complicated came up a lot in this episode with Joe, whose dad died in 2017 after a decade of failing health. Joe's dad was a complicated guy. Joe’s relationship with his dad was and continues to be complicated. So, it's unsurprising that Joe's grief since his dad died has been equally complicated.   
That grief has evolved over time, from numbness at the start to beginning to feel and express a full range of emotions. These days, Joe continues to reckon with the complexity of his dad and their relationship, while also making space for remembering the times and places where humor and happiness also lived. 

Aug 02, 2022
Things Others Never Even Have To Think About - Grief & Identity

Everett's spent the last few years trying to access and process the emotions that come with grief. Emotions that he learned to push aside when he was 12 and his father died. Emotions he didn't know how to make sense of in his early twenties when his brother died. Emotions he was better able to feel and express to when his grandmother died just this past winter. 
Grief doesn't happen in a vacuum and that is particularly true for those who have aspects of their identity that are marginalized by others. For Everett, growing up poor and being trans are two of these aspects that add layers to his grief. Layers that those who don't carry these aspects never even have to think about. 
Note: this episode mentions suicide. If you or someone you know if struggling, please reach out for support. 
National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: 988
TransLifeline: 1-877-565-8860
Crisis Text Line: text HELLO to 741741

Jul 18, 2022
Born For This Work - Supporting Grief & Death (Valenca Valenzuela, MSW)

Valenca Valenzuela, MSW, was born on Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) which seems fitting for someone who grew up to hold space for people before and after a death. Valenca is the Volunteer and Group Coordinator at Dougy Center, supporting children, teens, young adults and their adult family members who are grieving a death. As a death doula, she supports people who are facing the end of their lives. She is also an instructor for the Going with Grace program, readying others to do similar work.  
Valenca comes to this work as someone with a lot of lived experience. When she was 16, her father died of cancer. As an adult, she was with her grandmother at the end of her life. A trip to Ireland to connect with her maternal lineage solidified her passion for working as a death doula and starting conversations about end of life.  
Valenca shares about what it was like to be 16 and grieving for her father, what she’s learned from working with kids and families in our peer grief support groups, what it means to have a "good death," and ways we can all be better prepared for end of life.  

Jul 01, 2022
We Have No New Memories - Amanda Drews & Buzzy's Bees

Amanda Drews is the founder of Buzzy’s Bees, the organization she started after her son Hudson, who was 13 months old, died of SUDC (Sudden and Unexplained Death in Childhood). Amanda started Buzzy’s Bees with a mission to provide financial support to families dealing with the unexpected loss of a child. Over time, Amanda realized what families really needed and wanted was a chance to talk about their children. So she launched the Give Grief a Voice Project where families meet with professional writers and artists who capture the essence of their child and their life in a unique piece of art.  
In this episode we talk about:
The stories we tell ourselves about death & grief.
What Amanda's older son needed in his grief. 
How Amanda navigates her season of grief - the time between Hudson's birthday and anniversary of the day he died. 

Jun 23, 2022
Comedy & Grief & Father's Day - A Reprise
This episode originally aired in June, 2019. 

What is it about dark humor and why are we drawn to it when wrestling with painful life events? Laughter, especially the kind that wells up from a shared understanding of heartbreak, can be a surprising aspect of grief. Harry Jensen's father died of stage 4 colon cancer in January of 2017. Harry turned to stand-up comedy as a way to put his grief into words that often spark discomfort and uncertainty, but also serve as inspiration for people in the audience to open up about their own grief.

We discuss prompting uncomfortable laughter, Father's Day, and how the intersections of identity can affect grief.

Jun 17, 2022
All About The Kids - And The Adults Who Support Them

Dr. Micki Burns, Chief Clinical Officer at Judi's House and Dr. Laura Landry, Director of Evaluation & Research at the JAG Institute join us to talk numbers. They, along with the team at Judi's House/JAG Institute, created the CBEM, the Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model, which estimates how many children and teens will experience the death of a parent/caregiver or sibling before they turn 18. 
For years that number in the U.S. was 1 in 14. For 2022, it's increased to 1 in 13, reflecting the rise in deaths across the country due to
COVID, substance misuse, and other causes.
Laura and Micki talk about why it's important to quantify grief, the risk factors children who are grieving face, the disproportionate death rates in communities of color, and what adults can do to support these 1 in 13 children. 

Visit Judi's House & the JAG Institute to learn more about their work and download information about the 2022 CBEM findings

Jun 08, 2022
We're All Experts In Our Own Grief - Rebecca Soffer & The Modern Loss Handbook

Rebecca Soffer, co-founder of the Modern Loss Community, started becoming an expert in grief the moment she learned that her mother Shelby was killed in a car crash. Her expertise expanded when four years later, her father Ray died of a heart attack while traveling. 
As a single woman in her early thirties, Rebecca needed to talk about her grief, and she really needed to hear others talk about theirs. It was this longing for an ongoing conversation and led her, along with co-founder Gabi Birkner, to start the Modern Loss Community
Nine years later, Rebecca just published her second book - The Modern Loss Handbook: An Interactive Guide to Moving Through Grief and Building Your Resilience. It's the kind of book that many people are looking for in their grief - filled with prompts for writing, drawing, and movement practices to help people stay connected to themselves, their people who died, and the world around them.
Follow Modern Loss and Rebecca on Facebook, IG, and Twitter

May 20, 2022
Grief Is Love - Marisa Renee Lee
As humans, we have a pervasive desire to compartmentalize. To box up messy thoughts and emotions and “just get on with it already.” 
For Marisa Renee Lee, this was the approach she took to navigating grief. Grief that started when she was 12 and her mother, Lisa, was diagnosed with MS. Grief that grew as her mother was later diagnosed with cancer and died in 2008. Grief that expanded to included infertility, pregnancy loss, and most recently, a cousin who died of COVID-19. 
These last three losses led Marisa to realize that she didn’t have to box up her grief and shove it to the back of the closet. She found a way to open those boxes, to sit with the reality of what was lost, to honor what was – and in that process she also found a way to make room for joy and beauty.  
Marisa wrote about these discoveries for her new book, Grief is Love, Living With Loss. In our conversation we talk about how she got to the point of writing this book, what’s she learned about grief, what it’s been like to grieve in this world as a Black woman, and all the ways she stays connected to the memory of her mom Lisa.
Learn more about Marisa.
Order Grief Is Love, Living With Loss
Follow on Instagram @marisareneelee
May 12, 2022
"How Are Your Parents?" - Sibling Grief & Jordon Ferber

In grief land, lots of groups are talked about as invisible or forgotten. Children, parents grieving a miscarriage, ex-partners, and siblings. For siblings, their grief often exists in the shadow of their parents – or it’s at least treated that way by others.  
Jordon Ferber ran into that when his younger brother, Russell, died when Russell was 21. While Jordon’s parents recognized that Jordon needed support just as much as they did, the rest of his sphere started where most people do, with the question, “How are your parents?”
Jordon is the host and creator of the Where's the Grief? podcast. He's also a longtime facilitator for a sibling grief support group through The Compassionate Friends. 
Follow Jordon on IG & Facebook.
**Note: this episode contains salty language.**

Apr 29, 2022
Trauma & Grief - Meghan Riordan Jarvis, LCSW
Being a plumber doesn’t mean the pipes in your house never leak.  Being a landscaper doesn’t mean your own yard is magically free of weeds. Why is it then that those of us who work in grief sometimes fall prey to the magical thinking that we will somehow be immune to the heartbreak when someone dies?

Meghan Riordan Jarvis, LCSW, is a trauma-informed psychotherapist with over 20 years of clinical experience who harbored the same secret wish. A wish which imploded when her mother died in 2019, just two years after her dad died of cancer. While Meghan’s training and clinical acumen didn’t prevent her from experiencing grief, they did enable her to recognize when she started to develop PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder – and that she needed additional help.  

In our conversation, we talk about:
 - What was different about grieving after her father’s death vs. her mother’s.
 - How she recognized the signs of PTSD and the treatment she sought out.
- The concept of “meaning making” and how it’s important to clarify what types of meaning are supportive and which can be harmful.

In addition to being a trauma therapist, Meghan is a fellow grief podcaster and her show is called Grief Is My Side Hustle. Her memoir is due to be out in the world in 2023.  

Grief is My Side Hustle website 
Grief is My Side Hustle podcast 
@meghan.riordan.jarvis on IG 
@griefismysidehustle on Fbook  

Apr 22, 2022
Splintering Grief - DJ Arsene Versailles & Marked By COVID

Lingering. Shivering. Simmering. Splintering.

These are the words DJ Arsene Versailles wrote to describe grief after his mother, Florcie Yves Versailles, died of COVID-19 in May of 2020. This grief was and continues to be layered - as most grief is - and some of these layers are specific to his mom being a Black woman who died during a pandemic, of a disease that has come to be so much more than just a medical diagnosis.

DJ's mom was committed to social justice and this inspired him to do similar work in the wake of her death. After meeting Kristin Urquiza, co-founder of Marked by COVID, he became involved in their effort to establish a COVID Memorial Day. 

Listen to DJ's interview with Sarah Betancourt.
Learn more about Marked by COVID.

Apr 07, 2022
"The Silent Third Parent" - A Family Blended By Grief

Anne Gudger was pregnant with her first child, Jake, when her husband Kent died in a car crash. Years later she met and married Scott and they had a daughter, Maria. Fast forward to March of 2020, the beginning of the pandemic, when Anne and Maria found themselves drinking a lot of coffee and talking about grief. Those conversations inspired them to start Coffee and Grief, a Facebook group for folks wanting to connect around loss. The Facebook group grew into a series of curated readings called Coffee Talk where writers share short pieces about anything in the realm of grief. 
Maria and Anne are funny and warm and somehow make talking about grief feel comfortable.
In our conversation we discuss:

  • What it was like raising Jake as a young widow.
  • How Kent's memory acts as the silent third parent in their blended family.
  • Why community matters when it comes to loss.
  • How writing can help people integrate grief.

Read Anne's writing at Anne Gudger

Join the Coffee and Grief Facebook group or visit their public Coffee and Grief page to learn more about readings and their 30-day writing classes

Mar 29, 2022
"We All Crave A Sense Of Hope" - Kathryn Schulz

There are a lot of things in life that are difficult to describe. That’s why it can feel so gratifying when someone gives voice to something that we can barely grasp for ourselves. Kathryn Schulz is used to finding the right words. She is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margins of Error. She won a National Magazine Award and a Pulitzer Prize in 2015 for “The Really Big One,” an article about seismic risk in the Pacific Northwest. Her newest book, Lost & Found, applies that precision to the emotional earthquakes of losing her father Isaac, falling in love with her now wife Casey, and the and of life continuing on with both grief and love. 

We talk about the legacy of curiosity and wonder that Kathryn’s father passed down to her, why the word "lost" felt the most apt to her in grief, becoming a parent without her father, and how she continues to find wonder and hope in the world.  


Mar 18, 2022
Being Grief Responsive In The Classroom - Brittany Collins

Brittany Collin's father died of breast cancer the summer before her sophomore year of high school, Like many students who are grieving, she had educators who responded in ways that were helpful and those who didn't know what to do or say. In the end, the most supportive reactions provided ongoing opportunities to express herself and connection with adults who cared.  
Brittany’s high school experience helped shape her educational and career choices, leading her to becom an author, educator, and curriculum designer. Her work focuses on supporting teachers and students’ social and emotional well-being, especially in times of adversity. Her new book, Learning from Loss, A Trauma-Informed Approach to Supporting Grieving Students is the culmination of this work.  
Follow Brittany on IG @griefresponsiveteaching & Twitter @brcollins27

Mar 10, 2022
"Grief Is So Lonely" - Good Mourning Podcast
When Sal and Im first met at a grief support group, they connected on being young, motherless, and feeling alone in their grief. From that initial meeting they went on to start the Good Mourning podcast as a way to decrease that loneliness. 
In our conversation we talk about:
 - Sal approaching the anniversary of the last time she saw her mother in person.
- What it's meant to Im that her mother died of suicide.
- How hosting Good Mourning has changed them and their understanding of grief.
- Different grieving styles.
- What's irritating about grief. 
- What helps.
Be sure to visit their website to learn more and listen to Good Mourning wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow them on IG @goodmourningpodcast.
Mar 02, 2022
Welcome To The Grief Club - Janine Kwoh

In 2016, when they were in their late twenties, Janine Kwoh's partner died. Nap's death launched her into a new world of grief. Janine was the first person in her peer group to have a partner die and she felt confused and isolated. Because we live in a world that judges relationships against external markers like engagement, marriage, parenting, and co-ownership, Janine questioned whether the intensity of her grief was valid. 
In the five years since Nap's death, Janine examined her emotions and reactions through the lens of her artistry. This culminated in her new book, Welcome to the Grief Club, an illustrated mix of reflections and insights on grief and loss and joy and love. Janine Kwoh is also the owner and designer of Kwohtations, a stationery company and design studio. 
Topics we cover:
Dating again after a partner dies.
Dealing with anxiety that someone else will die.
Allowing for the intensity of grief.
Building your life out around grief.
Rage at the Target checkout.
Being okay with having joy and love again.

Feb 15, 2022
The Power Of Loss & Love - TJ Jackson

TJ Jackson had just gotten his driver's license as a teenager when his mother, Dee Dee Jackson, was murdered. Almost three decades later, TJ and his brothers Taryll & Taj, started a non-profit in her memory. The Dee Dee Jackson Foundation is dedicated to supporting others in their grief through music workshops, grief education, and their podcast Power of Love.  

In this episode we talk about how grief changes over time, what it was like to grieve as part of a very public family, and how becoming a father connected TJ to his grief in a new way.

TJ is the son of Tito and nephew to Janet and Michael Jackson. He has a solo music career and is also part of the band 3T with his brothers Taryll & Taj. 

There are many ways to connect with TJ and his work:

His website  

The Dee Dee Jackson Foundation  

The Family Rules 


Jan 28, 2022
Suicide Postvention - What Schools Can Do

Anne Moss Rogers never imagined she would dedicate her working life to reducing suicide risk and supporting those grieving a death by suicide. She first came to this work in search of answers after her son Charles died of suicide in 2015. Most recently, her focus has been on helping teachers and school adminstrators respond when a student is struggling with thoughts of suicide. Part of that focus is also on postvention - the steps schools can take to supporting their community when a student or teacher dies of suicide. Anne Moss is co-author of the new book, Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk
Visit Anne Moss Roger's website to learn more. 
If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out for help.
Text HOME to 741741
Call 1-800-273-8255 24/7
The Trevor Project hotline for LGBTQIA youth: 1.866.488.7386.
Therapy for Black Girls

Jan 18, 2022
Grief & Money - A Legacy Of Financial Fear

In the last of our three-part series on Grief & Money, we explore how fears about financial stability can be part of grief. When she was 13 and her father died of a heart attack, Shannon already had a narrative of insecurity when it came to her family and money. Even though they had access to more resources after her father died, this narrative just grew stronger. This legacy of financial fear continues to shadow Shannon, even as an adult living in a secure two income household.
We discuss grief, money, and the importance of talking openly about finances and security with children and teens when someone in their family dies.  
Big thanks to InRoads Credit Union for sponsoring this series on Grief & Money. InRoads is here for you. 
Shannon mentions her friend Nicole who is a Death Worker - learn more about her work here & on Instagram @emeraldawakenings

Dec 22, 2021
Parenting Parentless - Katie C. Reilly

Growing up, Katie C. Reilly, hadn't thought much about grief or mental health. Then, within the span of four years, Katie's mother died of ALS and her father died of cancer. This grief sent her spinning. As a journalist and writer, Katie turned to research as a way to better understand her own experience. In this conversation we delve into being a parentless parent, grieving a miscarriage, and how complex relationships can shape our grief. 

Follow Katie on Twitter and her website.
Kaite's article on the first year of parenting parentless. 

Dec 16, 2021
She Was My Favorite Person - Hello, I'm Grieving & Dr. Julie Shaw

When our favorite person dies, our entire world gets up-ended. That person was often the planet in our galaxy that all the other planets and moons orbited. For Dr. Julie Shaw that person was her big sister, Jennifer. Jennifer died of Lupus in February of 2020. In the months that followed, Dr. Shaw realized how important it is for people to have acknowledgment and connection in their grief. So, she started Hello, I'm Grieving, a social media account focused on bringing more visibility and awareness to grief. 

In our conversation we talk about:

  • How grief changes our family dynamics
  • What it means when your favorite person dies.
  • The interplay of grief and Dr. Shaw's work as an equity & inclusion consultant.
  • The impact of Hello, I'm Grieving.
  • How to be present for others while carring your own grief.
  • Navigating the grief of infertility.

Follow Dr. Julie Shaw and Hello, I'm Grieving on Instagram, Facebook, and online

Dec 03, 2021
Grief & Money - Suddenly Responsible For Everything
This is the second episode in our three-part Grief & Money series. We don't get through life without grief and we also can't get through life without dealing with money. Jessica was in her early twenties when she became a full-time caregiver for her mother who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. At the same time, Jessica was traveling to Colombia to care for her father who had Alzheimer's. After her parents died just three months apart, Jessica assumed responsibility for their finances. All while navigating the intense shock and heartbreak of their deaths. 
This series is sponsored by InRoads Credit Union. InRoads is here for you. 
Nov 23, 2021
Self-Care In The Early Days Of Grief - Paula Becker

Paula Becker is a writer, so when her son Hunter was killed in 2017, she searched for help in the pages of books. What she found were books heavy with text. The problem was her grief made it impossible to concentrate on that text. She recently published A Little Book of Self-Care for Those Who Grieve - the book she most wished she had in those first days, weeks, and months after Hunter died. 

Paula was a guest back on Episode 148 - Wrongful Death - A Grieving Mother's Story.
Visit Paula's website to learn more about her work. 

Nov 12, 2021
A Kids Book About Grief

Jelani Memory is the co-founder of A Kids Company About, which publishes books for kids about important topics like anxiety, empathy, racism, body image, and more. These are conversations kids are ready to have, often long before the adults in their lives feel prepared to have them. That's where A Kids Company About comes in with books that help adults and kids navigate these complex concepts. We are excited to announce that Dougy Center and A Kids Company About collaborated on their latest publication, A Kids Book About Grief. It's authored by Dougy Center's Executive Director, Brennan Wood, who writes directly to kids about what she learned about grief when her mom died just after Brennan's 12th birthday.
Learn more about A Kids Company About and their entire library of books for kids and the adults who care about them. 

Nov 01, 2021
An Altered State - Jeff Porter & Planet Claire

When Jeff Porter's wife Claire died of an aneurysm, his world imploded. As he spent time with her in the hospital and started to wander that imploded world after she died, he talked to her, carrying on a conversation they had shared for 27 years. He also started writing and analyzing his experience with grief. This writing led to the publication of his newest book, Planet Claire: Suite for Cello and Sad-Eyed Lovers. 

Visit Jeff's website
Learn more about Planet Claire


Oct 22, 2021
Making Grief Less Lonely - Reid Peterson & Grief Refuge

Reid Peterson, MA, recently launched Grief Refuge, an app that enable users to access daily grief support, when and where it's most convenient for them. Reid came to this work through his personal experience of grieving the deaths of his step-father and biological father. At a time when many of us both love and hate the digital world, Grief Refuge, makes support more accessible and grief a little less lonely, no matter where you live or where you are in your grief. 
Learn more and download the Grief Refuge app. 
Follow Reid and Grief Refuge on Facebook and Instagram.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out for help. Text HELLO to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-8255 (24/7).

Oct 08, 2021
Grief Is Not The Great Equalizer - Supporting Queer, Trans, & Justice Involved Youth With Lamya Broussard, Uplift

While will all experience some type of grief before we die, the prevalence of loss and how the world responds to our grief are shaped by racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of oppression. Lamya Broussard, MSS, MLSP, School & Community Services Clinician at Uplift Center for Grieving Children works directly with justice involved and queer & trans youth who are also grieving. Lamya shares what she’s learned about the need for culturally and community specific grief support, what it was like to do this work during the pandemic and how her personal experiences with loss play a role in her work.  

Resources Lamya references: 
Uplift Center for Grieving Children 
Philly HopeLine – 1-833-PHL-HOPE (1-833-745-4673) 
Queer & Trans Youth Hours: Tuesdays, 1 – 4 pm & Thursdays, 4 – 8 pm 
Grief Out Loud Episode with Dr. Tashel Bordere 
The Trevor Project 
The Trevor Project Hotlines 
1-866-488-7386 or text “Start” to 678-678 
The Attic Youth Center 
The Bryson Institute 

Sep 29, 2021
Grief & Money: (Re)Building A Life's Purpose - Robert Pardi

This is the first episode in our three-part Grief & Money series. We don't get through life without grief. We also can't get through life without dealing with money. For Robert Pardi, when his wife Desiree died of cancer, he was umoored. He was also left with significant medical bills. He returned to his career in finance just long enough to pay off the debt before radically changing his life. He packed a bag, moved to Italy, and started a new career as a life coach and author. His book, Chasing Life, The Remarkable True Story of Love, Joy, and Achievement Against All Odds was published earlier this year. 
Visit Robert's website and read more about Desiree's life & career. 
This series is sponsored by InRoads Credit Union. InRoads is here for you. 

Sep 17, 2021
Titrating Grief

When Jonna's mom, Anita, died just a few days after Jonna's 26th birthday, she prepared herself to completely fall apart. She imagined not getting out of bed for days, never laughing again, and for life to come to a standstill. When grief didn't look like that, it was confusing and left her worried she was doing something wrong. Jonna talks about her mom, their relationship, what it's like for grief to show up over time, and reckoning with how grief is changing her hopes and goals.

If you or someone you know is struggling with feeling hopeless, please reach out for help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text Hello to 741-741. 
This episode references The AfterGrief by Hope Edelman

Sep 09, 2021
Grief Wanted My Attention - Nnenna Freelon

Nnenna Freelon's beloved husband Phil died in July of 2019. Six months later her sister, Dr. Debbie Pierce, also died. Then, COVID hit the United States. During this dark winter, Nnenna was exhausted, but she also couldn't rest. She tried everything and nothing worked. Eventually, she realized she needed to listen. To listen to what grief had to say - and in the listening she found her voice. With that voice, Nnenna recently released her latest album, Time Traveler, and started a podcast, Great Grief
Visit Nnenna's website to learn more. 

Aug 26, 2021
End Of Life Care With A Death Doula - Oceana Sawyer

Oceana Saywer is a death doula who supports people at the end of life. She came to this work through being with her father during his last days. An experience she describes as transformative and revelatory. In our conversation we travel from Oceana's earliest exposure to grief when she was a young child to more recent losses, personal and communal, over the past 18 months of the pandemic. 
Learn more about Oceana's work.
Follow her on Instagram & Facebook


Aug 12, 2021
When Your Pillar Parent Dies - Grief As A Young Adult With Monday Mourning

It's our 200th episode! To celebrate we talked with Harry, Gabby, and Madison, the crew behind the Monday Mourning Podcast and the Dead Parents Club. Gabby and Madison's mom died of cancer in 2016 and Harry's father died, also of cancer, the next year. As friends and members of the Dead Parents Club, the three of them talk openly and irreverently about grief in a way that makes it more comfortable for others to talk about something no one really knows how to talk about. 
Listen to Monday Mourning.
Check out the Dead Parents Club


Jul 08, 2021
Living Brave In Grief - Shannon Dingle

This is a love story. And, because it's on this podcast, it's also a grief story. Shannon and Lee Dingle met when they were 18. As Shannon describes it, as they dated, got married, and parented six children, their relationship was the kind she would roll her eyes at if she wasn't living it. In July, 2019, Shannon, Lee, and their children were on vacation at the beach when a wave hit Lee just the wrong way and he died. We talk about how Shannon and her kids are making their way in this new world without Lee, with lots of honesty, dark humor, and permission to feel every and anything. 
Shannon's book, Living Brave: Lessons from Hurt, Lighting the Way to Hope, launches on 7.6.2021.
Follow Shannon on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

Jun 23, 2021
Interviewing Grief - Caitlin Garvey & The Mourning Report

Caitlin Garvey's mother died in June of 2008, the summer after Caitlin's freshman year of college. Many years later, Caitlin decided to interview a series of people closely tied to her mother's illness and end of life. Those interviews, interspersed with Caitlin's memories and reflections, were recently published as The Mourning Report. We talk with Caitlin about what it was like to go through those interviews, how her relationship with grief has changed over the years, and how the process of writing about her mother affected her and her grief. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out. You can text HELLO to 741741 or call
1-800-273-8255 (24/7).

The Mourning Report
Caitlin's website
Follow Caitlin on Instagram and Facebook

Jun 11, 2021
Grief Doesn't Stop When You Clock In - Supporting Employees In Grief

Leslie Barber is back for another episode! When Leslie's husband Steve died of cancer, she had a lot to figure out. How to live without the love of her life, how to raise their daughter on her own, and how to manage working while grieving. Leslie's company, Grief Warrior, trains business leaders, managers, and human resource departments to become more grief inclusive. 
Learn more about Grief Warrior.
Listen to Leslie's past interviews on Grief Out Loud - Ep. 128 When The Thought Doesn't Count & Ep. 139 Grief & COVID-19.
Explore Heartfelt, Leslie's new venture that creates tailored sympathy gifts for those in grief. 

Jun 01, 2021
Anger & Grief

Keyana was 9 when her dad died. He died of suicide, but at the time her mom just told her he was gone. Eventually Keyana learned the truth and wrestled with all the emotions that come with having a parent die - confusion, overwhelm, sadness, and most of all for Keyana - anger. Anger at her dad, her mom, and the circumstances. As an adult, Keyana realized she needed to learn more about this anger and find ways to express it that didn't cause harm to herself and her relationships. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please reach out for help. You can call 1-800-273-8255 or text HELLO to 741741 - 24/7. 

May 20, 2021
When Grief Goes To Camp - Brie Overton

Grief might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to summer camp, but there are thousands of children and teens who take their grief with them as they get to know bunkmates, play soccer, and make crafts. Experience Camps is one of many camps specifically for children and teens grieving the death of a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver. We talk with Brie Overton, Chief Clinical Officer for Experience Camps, about how she and her staff work to create connection and understanding for the children and teens who attend their camps across the country.

Learn more about Experience Camps

May 12, 2021
Widowed By COVID-19

As of April 29th, 2021 over 3 million people across the globe have died of COVID-19, including 575,000 in the U.S. What gets lost in  these numbers are the actual people who leave behind family and friends, grieving without access to the rituals and routines we've come to rely on when someone dies. 
Sandra McGowan-Watts is a mother, a physician, and a widow. Her husband Steven died of COVID-19 on May 8th, 2020. She and their daughter have spent the past year trying to figure out how to live without a husband and father who did so much to support them. 
Read more about Sandra's story in The New York Times, "The Other Half of My Soul - Widows of Covid-19 Bond over Sudden Loss."

Apr 30, 2021
Superhero Grief - Dr. Jill A. Harrington

Dr. Jill A. Harrington grew up surrounded by superheroes on television and in comic books and movies. As a parent and a professional, she turned to superheroes as a way to connect with her children and clients around loss, grief, and transformation.

She recently teamed up with Dr. Robert Neimeyer to publish Superhero Grief: The Transformative Power of Loss in an effort to bring superheroes into the limelight of grief support – offering a cross generational, cross-cultural way to help all of us become more grief informed. 

Superhero Grief: The Transformative Power of Loss

Apr 21, 2021
I Had A Brother Once - Adam Mansbach

Just weeks before Adam Mansbach's wildly popular book, Go The F**K To Sleep, was published, his brother David died of suicide. In interview after interview promoting the book and talking about its success, Adam worried that someone would ask about his brother, would catch him off guard with a question about the grief that was raw and painful. In the years after David's death, Adam found himself writing about everything but that loss. Now, almost a decade after David's death, Adam's newest book, I Had A Brother Once, is a memoir in verse about David's life, death, and the confusing aftermath when someone dies of suicide. 
Note: this episode contains some strong language.

Follow Adam on IG.
Sign up for one of his book events.
Learn more about his work.

Apr 12, 2021
Find The Helpers - Fred Guttenberg

On Valentine's Day of 2018, Fred Guttenberg rushed his two children, Jaime and Jesse, out the door to school. He had no idea it would be the last time he saw Jaime who was shot and killed later that day in the Parkland School mass shooting. Jaime was murdered just a few months after Fred's brother Michael died of as a result of being exposed to toxic substances when he ran into the World Trade Center as a first responder after the 9/11 attacks. 

In his new book, Find the Helpers: What 9/11 and Parkland Taught Me About Recovery, Purpose, and Hope, Fred chronicles his grief, the people who helped him along the way, and his commitment to saving lives by fighting for gun safety.

Follow Fred on Twitter @fred_guttenberg
Orange Ribbons for Jaime
Meaningful Moments in the Aftermath of Gun Violence - Fred's TED Talk. 

Apr 06, 2021
Caregiving For A Parent - Priya Soni & The Caregiving Effect

One day while driving between visiting her mom who just had knee surgery and caring for her dad who had a progressive illness, Priya Soni wondered, "Where are the others?" By others, she meant the other adult children caregiving for parents and family members. Years later, this question would lead her to start The Caregiving Effect, an organization dedicated to bringing adult children caregivers together through stories, support, and mentoring. 

The Caregiving Effect
Follow Priya and The Caregiving Effect on Instagram & Facebook

Mar 31, 2021
Grieving While Black - Breeshia Wade

Breeshia Wade's new book, Grieving While Black: An Anti-Racist Take on Oppression and Sorrow, puts grief into a wider context. The context of our relationships and the larger systems that shape who has access to resources like time, power, and the space to grieve. Breeshia is an author, end-of-life caregiver, and grief coach. 

Get your copy of Grieving While Black.
Connect with Breeshia and her work. 
Follow Breeshia on Instagram

Mar 24, 2021
Living With Loss Over A Lifetime - Hope Edelman & The AfterGrief

How do we live with grief over the course of our lives? Hope Edelman, author of the groundbreaking book, Motherless Daughters, joins us again to talk about her newest book, The AfterGrief: Finding Your Way Along the Long Arc of Loss. The AfterGrief is what happens as we move out of the initial acute distress when someone dies and into a lifetime of learning to live with what that loss means for us. 

Hope's website.
The AfterGrief.
The AfterGrief Facebook Group
Motherless Daughters Facebook Group

Mar 19, 2021
"Am I Even Safe In My Home?" Collective Grief In Communities With Marginalized Identities - Dr. Amber Nelson PsyD

What is collective grief and how does it affect members of communities with marginalized identities? Dr. Amber Nelson, PsyD talks about both her professional and personal experiences with recognizing and supporting collective grief. Specifically the collective grief of bearing witness to the highly publicized murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, George Floyd, and the others who were killed this past year, many at the hands of the police. 

Dr. Nelson’s S.A.F.E.T.Y. Acronym for attending to the effects of collective grief:
Ask for help 
Find community 
Engage in social justice work 
Tend to your whole essence 
Yank the plug (engage in mindful isolation) 

Mar 13, 2021
"I Can't Even Imagine" - Grieving Both Parents

Mariyam was six when her father, Nurtay, died just before his 34th birthday. Over the next 14 years, she would experience the deaths of four more family members, including her mother, Bagitgul, and maternal grandmother, who both died this past summer during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mariyam's home city in Kazakhstan. Now 20, Mariyam is figuring out how to live without both of her parents. We talk about how COVID complicated everything about grieving these two new deaths. We also cover how well-intentioned phrases like "I can't imagine what you're going through," "You're so strong," and "I could never survive" can be painful to hear.

The poem Mariyam reads at the beginning of the episode is "The Mountain" by Laura Ding-Edwards.
Follow Mariyam on Instagram @marikoyes


Mar 04, 2021
Widowish - Melissa Gould

When you think of the word "widow" what image comes to mind? When author Melissa Gould's husband Joel died, she didn't fit what she imagined widows looked and acted like, even if she felt like one. This dissonance led her to come up with the term "Widowish" which is also the title of her new memoir. Widowish is the story of her husband Joel, their love, and how she and their daughter Sophie found ways to grieve the heartbreak of his death. 

Follow Melissa on Instagram @melissagould_author
Visit her website:

Feb 26, 2021
The Indigenous Death Doula Mentorship Program - Chrystal Wàban Toop

What does it mean to train to be a death doula for your community? This is a question a group of Indigenous youth in Canada grappled with as part of the Death Doula Mentorship Program, created by Blackbird Medicines and the Indigenous death doula collective. Chrystal Wàban Toop, founder of Blackbird Medicines, joined us to talk about how early experiences with grief grounded her in the the work she does as a life spectrum doula and her commitment to helping people reconnect with traditional knowledge and cultural practices to guide individual, family, and community transitions throughout the life span. 
Learn more about Blackbird Medicines and follow them on Instagram & Facebook. Read more about the Indigenous Death Doula Mentorship Program. 

Feb 19, 2021
Love Stories - A Griefy Valentine's Special

Even if you don't really celebrate it, Valentine's Day can be rough when you're grieving. This year, we decided to bring you a compilation of love stories from listeners. In their clip they answered one of these questions: How did your person love you? How did you love your person? How did you fall in love? Even though Valentine's Day is usually marketed as only about romantic love, this episode focuses on the love that exists in any connection. The idea for this episode came out of our conversation with Alesia Alexander, LCSW in Episode 162. Alesia and her daughter, Kahlo, join us to talk more about why love stories are important in grief, especially for children and teens. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this special episode!
Hear more from Alesia in When the Professional Becomes Personal

Feb 08, 2021
Ep. 182: Healing Trauma, Attending To Grief - Native Wellness Institute & Jillene Joseph

For the past twenty years, the Native Wellness Institute has worked to promote wellness and balance for Native people throughout North America. Their Executive Director, Jillene Joseph, joined us to discuss how settler colonial policies outlawing funeral rights purposefully cut people off from traditional knowledge and practices. This trauma reverberates today as Native communities work to reconnect with those practices. We also talk about what it means to take a healthy risk in grief, the importance of attending to grief emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally, and how Native Wellness Institute is continuing to promote health and wellness with their Power Hours.
Learn more about Native Wellness Institute.
Tune in to Native Wellness Power Hours every M-F at 12 pm (PST) on Facebook.
Watch past Power Hours on their YouTube channel

Feb 05, 2021
Ep. 181: "She's Always With Me" - Finding Peace In The Permanence Of Grief

Molly loves her life, but she didn't always feel that way. 18 years ago, on a rainy winter morning, Molly's life changed in an instant. The instant was her mom, who was also her best friend, dying of a heart attack while driving Molly to school. In the almost two decades since that day, Molly's worked hard to figure out what helps her feel healthy and grounded. Part of that work was realizing that grief is permanent - that it will continue to be part of who she is in this world. Now in her 30's Molly is discovering some peace in that permanence and in the knowing that her mom is always with her. 

Please note, this episode contains topics that could be difficult or activating for some folks. We reference sexual assault, self-harm, and thoughts of suicide. If you decide to listen to this episode, do what you need to care for yourself – it might mean listening with a support person, or reaching out for help. If you want to skip these sections they are between 10:50-11:05 and 14:46-16:05. For additional support, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255 or text Hello to 741741.  

Jan 29, 2021
Ep. 180: More Than Just A Number - Grieving When Someone Dies Of COVID-19

As of January 21st, 2021, over 400,000 people in the U.S. have been killed by the coronavirus. Globally, the number is over 2 million. Despite attempts by journalists and public health officials to put these numbers into context, what gets lost in tracking case counts are the stories of the people who died and their family members left behind. This is one of those stories. The story of Maria, beloved mother of four, who died of COVID-19 this past summer. It's a story told by Mariana, Maria's youngest daughter. At the last minute, the hospital allowed just one family member to visit and the family chose Mariana. She was the last person to sit by her mother's side, holding her hand and kissing her goodbye through a mask and face shield. 

Resources mentioned by Mariana:

COVID-19 Loss Support Group for Young Adults
Motherless Daughters
Losing a parent at a young age support group
Motherless daughters when young (0-30)

If you are a young adult grieving someone who has died of COVID-19, the COVID Grief Network offers free one-on-one and group grief support.  

Jan 21, 2021
Ep. 179: Sons Of Suicide - 50 Years Of Friendship & Grief

This is the story of how a random encounter led to a transformative friendship that's lasted for more than 50 years. A friendship rooted in the shared experience of grieving a parent who died of suicide. David Pincus and Rick Knapp met as high school seniors and they had a lot in common, including having a mothers who died of suicide. Prior to meeting it was something they rarely talked about, but in their friendship, they finally found someone they could confide in. Now, five decades later, they wrote a book, Sons of Suicide: A Memoir of Friendship, about how these early losses shaped so much of their lives and their ongoing friendship. 

In this episode we discuss:

  • The shame and stigma associated with a death by suicide
  • The power of friendship and connection in grief
  • Grieving as a teenager
  • The drive to answer the "Why?" question
  • How writing the book and being so public with their stories has affected David and Rick

Learn more about David, Rick and their book here. 

If you or someone you know needs support, please reach out for help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 503.273-8255 or text HELLO to 741741. 

Jan 15, 2021
Ep. 178: Survivor's Guilt - Julia Mallory

After her oldest son was killed in 2017, Julia Mallory had a sense that creativity was a place she could go in her grief. In that place, she wrote Survivor's Guilt, a collection of essays and poems about grief, joy, and the moments when they intersect.

In this episode we discuss:
The early days of grief.
What focusing on resilience asks us to ignore.
The concept of survivor's guilt.
The push to "get back to normal."
What it means to grieve as an individual and as part of a collective. 

To learn more about Julia Mallory visit Black Mermaids and follow her on IG (@thejuliamallory), Facebook, (@blackmermaidsbrand), and Twitter (@thejuliamallory).

Jan 07, 2021
Ep. 177: The Relentless Nature Of Grief - Carmel Breathnach

When Carmel Breathnach was 11, her mother died of cancer. While she felt supported at home by her father, she didn't feel that way at school. Now as an adult, Carmel’s carried this grief though graduations, through moving from Ireland to the U.S., through getting married, and now through a pandemic.  We talk about the role anger played in her grief, what she needed from her teachers, how she honored her mom at her wedding, and how working on her forthcoming memoir, "Briefly I Knew My Mother," has affected her grief.  
Read more of Carmel's writing on her blog, A Lovely Woman and follow her on Facebook @CarmelBreathnachAuthor
 Instagram @carmelbreathnach and Twitter @authorCarmelB

Dec 23, 2020
Ep. 176: Grief In Your Twenties - Amber Jeffrey/The Grief Gang

Amber Jeffrey is the creator and host of The Grief Gang, a podcast by and for young adults who want to normalize the conversation about loss. Amber was 19 when her mom died suddenly, throwing Amber into a period of questioning and reworking so much in her life, including her friendships and relationship with her older brother. We talk about what inspired her to start The Grief Gang, the solace she finds in the online grief community, navigating the winter holidays, and what to do when a grief activating song comes on during a manicure.
Be sure to follow Amber @thegriefgang and don't miss an episode of The Grief Gang

Dec 18, 2020
Ep. 175: Grieving A Mother While Becoming A Mother - Dara Kurtz

When Dara Kurtz was in her late twenties, she was excited. Excited about being pregnant. She was also devastated. Devastated that her mother was recently diagnosed with stage IV cancer. As Dara’s baby grew, Dara’s mother grew closer to the end of her life. Two weeks after Dara’s daughter was born, her mother died – sweeping Dara into a whirlwind of diametrically opposed emotional states: the thrill of being a new mother and the heartbreak of being a grieving daughter. Decades later, Dara rediscovered a collection of letters and cards from her mother. In those letters she also rediscovered just how connected she is still is to her mother. The letters inspired her new book, I Am My Mother’s Daughter: Wisdom on Life, Loss, and Love.  

To learn more visit Crazy Perfect Life and find Dara on Facebook (@crazyperfectlife) & Instagram (@crazyperflife).

Dec 13, 2020
Ep. 174: Holidays & Grief + A Pandemic

It's our third annual holidays & grief episode with Rebecca Hobbs-Lawrence, Pathways Program Coordinator at the Dougy Center. We share updated ideas for navigating the winter holidays while grieving, during a pandemic. 
For more ideas on holidays & grief visit our website, listen to Ep. 27 & Ep. 98, and follow us on Instagram (@thedougycenter) & Facebook (@thedougycenter) to catch all of our Dougy's (a very different) December Tips. 

Dec 07, 2020
Ep. 173: Grateful In Grief? Never, Ever Give Up – Allison Hite

For Allison Hite, two questions sparked a community project called Never, Ever Give Up. The first question was, “How do I be grateful in grief?” The second was, “What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do?” These questions became part of Allison’s life after her mother died in a traffic accident when Allison was in her mid-twenties. Answering them, publicly, led to Never, Ever Give Up, which at its core is a conversation between those who write letters of struggle and those who respond with letters of hope.  

Learn more about Never, Ever Give Up. 
Follow them on Instagram & Facebook. 
Learn more about the National Day of Mourning 

Nov 30, 2020
Ep. 172: Living After Your Child's Life Ends - Margo Fowkes

How do you go on living after your child's life ends? How do you continue to find connection, beauty, and meaning when someone we can't imagine living without dies? This is the question Margo Fowkes faced when her son Jimmy died of brain cancer at the age of 21. Margo barely had a moment to grapple with this devastating loss when just a year later, her mother also died. This led Margo to search for information and connection with others who were also grieving. When she couldn't find what she was looking for, she decided to create it. Her website, Salt Water, is a collection of writings, by Margo and others, about how people are continuing to engage in life after losing the people they love most. 

We talk about:

  • Parenting when your child is living with an illness
  • Grieving together and apart with a spouse/partner
  • The power of writing
  • Answering "How many children do you have?"
  • What's helping Margo during this time
  • How she hopes the world will remember Jimmy

Visit Salt Water and connect with Margo on Facebook (@findyourharbor) & Instagram (@findyourharbor)

Nov 20, 2020
Ep. 171: Reckoning With Grief At The End Of Life - BJ Miller

BJ Miller is a Hospice & Palliative Care Medicine physician who works with patients facing the end of their lives. When BJ's sister Lisa died of suicide over twenty years ago, he did what so many of us do, he pushed his pain aside. It was his work, supporting patients with advanced serious illnesses, that helped him realize the importance of reckoning with his own grief. 

Watch BJ's TED Talk, What Really Matters at the End of Life.
Listen to his OnBeing interview with Krista Tippet.
Check out his new organization, Mettle Health, which offers online counseling and support for both patients and caregivers. 

Nov 12, 2020
Ep. 170: Grief & Identity - Alica Forneret
We can't separate grief from our identity. Grief is interwoven with our race, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, access to economic resources, and every other part of who we are. Alica Forneret's mother died just over four years ago in 2016. Since that time Alica has advocated for those in grief to get the support they need - in the workplace and in their communities. More recently, she's started to focus on ensuring that people have access to grief resources that are specific to different aspects of their identity. In this episode we talk about moving back to her hometown, why the 4-year anniversary of her mom's death was the hardest one yet, and what's currently helping in her grief. 
Alica is also a Grief Out Loud alumnus who joined us in 2019 on Episode 104: Grief & Work

Learn more about Shifting Deathcare: Tools for a New Paradigm, a course offered by Alica Forneret, Alua Arthur, Oceana Sawyer, Lashanna Williams, and Joél Simone Anthony
Check out Alica's website.
Follow her on Facebook (@griefishardaf) and Instagram (@alica.forneret).
Nov 05, 2020
Ep. 169: When It Comes To Grief, What Counts? - Shelby Forsythia

Shelby Forsythia returns to Grief Out Loud to talk about her new book, Your Grief, Your Way, a secular daily devotional for anyone dealing with grief. She pairs quotes with routines and practices that people can do in any order. We talk Your Grief, Your Way, what grief means during this time of COVID and a reckoning with police brutality and racism, the effects of cumulative grief, and what’s currently helping her (spoiler alert: cue the dance party playlist).  
Listen to Shelby’s podcast, Coming Back 
Explore her website 
Check out her new book, Your Grief, Your Way 

If you missed Shelby’s first Grief Out Loud appearance, tune into Ep. 131: Permission to Grieve. 

Oct 28, 2020
Ep. 168: Giving Forward - Grief & The Foster Care System (Derrick Kirk)

When Derrick Kirk was six years old, he and his two sisters were removed from their home and placed in the foster care system. For Derrick, growing up in the orphanage gave him a window into a different way of life. Now a successful entrepreneur, Derrick started the Derrick Kirk Foundation and his podcast, My Thoughts With Derrick Kirk, to help other youth growing up in the foster care system. 

In this episode we talk about the LYGHT program which provides peer grief support groups, based on the Dougy Center's model, for youth in the foster care system. To learn more about the program, listen to episodes 136 & 137

Oct 21, 2020
Ep. 167: (Trying To) Understand Suicide - Paula Fontenelle

Paula Fontenelle is a journalist turned therapist who specializes in suicide prevention and supporting those who have had someone die of suicide. Paula's professional interest in this work is deeply rooted in personal experience. Her father died of suicide just over 15 years ago and his death set her on two parallel trajectories. Professionally, she studied everything she could about suicide. Personally, she spent hours interviewing friends and family, uncovering stories and details about her father's life and the pain he carried that she never knew about. 
Listen to Understand Suicide
Read Understand Suicide: Living With Loss, Paths to Prevention
Learn more about her work
Follow Paula on Facebook

Oct 16, 2020
Ep. 166: Emotions Aren't Problems - Krista St-Germain

Many of us grew up believing that some emotions are good, some emotions are better, and some (most) emotions are bad. When it comes to grief the list of emotions we'd like to not have can be long: guilt, anger, shame, regret, etc. What would happen though if we stopped ranking emotions? Stopped thinking of them as problems that need to be fixed? It was this shift that changed things for Krista St. Germain after her husband was killed by a drunk driver. Krista is the host of the Widowed Mom Podcast and a life coach who specializes in working with widows. 

Listen to the Widowed Mom Podcast.
Follow Krista on Instagram (@lifecoachkrista) & Facebook.
Check out her website, Coaching With Krista

Oct 08, 2020
Ep. 165: As The Shock Wore Off - Grief's Second Year (Mira Simone)

Mira Simone is a writer, mother, and grieving wife. Her husband Brian died of cancer in the winter of 2019, just seven weeks after a diagnosis of stage IV melanoma. When Brian died, their daughter Davida was about to turn three. Brian's death created a huge crater in their lives - leaving Mira to figure out how to live without Brian, who was the biggest love she'd ever known, while also supporting Davida in her grief.

Writing has been a constant for Mira, both throughout Brian's illness and in the months since he died. You can find her published writings here. She posts regularly about grief on her Instagram (@newmoonmira).

Oct 02, 2020
Ep. 164: Supporting Children & Teens In Grief - Kevin R. Carter, LCSW

For the past three decades, Kevin Carter, LCSW, has worked as a clinician, administrator, and educator. He currently serves as the Clinical Director at the Uplift Center for Grieving Children in Philadelphia, PA. Kevin's work focuses on how grief and trauma affect youth, and particularly the African American children and families he works with. We discuss how the combination of COVID-19, protests against police brutality and racial violence, and the rising rates of homicide and gun violence in Philadelphia is impacting children and teens who are already carrying grief. Kevin also shares how the Uplift Center is serving families virtually and what he and his staff are learning about providing support in this new realm. 

Here are the resources we touch on in our conversation:
Dr. Tashel Bordere's work on suffocated grief
My Grandmother's Hands by Resmaa Menakem
#upliftathome - Uplift Center's COVID-19 resources
Speaking Grief initiative

Sep 22, 2020
Ep. 163: Capital L Love - Caring For A Parent With Alzheimer's (Brianne Grebil)

When Brianne Grebil’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 62, Brianne packed up and moved from LA back to northern Idaho to help care for her. Over the course of her mother’s illness, many of the moments Brianne dreaded the most ended up being the ones that shifted her understanding of love and what remains when we lose everything we knew to be true about the people in our lives. We talk about Brianne’s book, Love Doesn’t Care if You Forget: Lessons of Love From Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and the complexities of planning a memorial during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

You can purchase Brianne’s book through Amazon, or get a signed copy from the Brianne’s Love and Dementia website. You can also connect with Brianne on Facebook or Instagram 



Sep 15, 2020
Ep. 162: When The Professional Becomes Personal - Alesia Alexander, LCSW

For the past two decades, Alesia Alexander, LCSW, has worked with grieving children, teens, and families. The original inspiration for doing this work was very personal. Alesia's father died of cancer in 1994 and before he died, he asked her to find a way to give back to the community that gave so much to them throughout his illness. From this death bed promise, Alesia went on to focus on supporting those in grief through therapy, consultation, education, and writing. She is the author of two children's books: Sunflowers and Rainbows for Tia: Saying Goodbye to Daddy (1999), A Mural for Mamita/Un Mural Para Mamita (2001), and a resource for professionals: Tapestries: A Creative & inclusive Approach to Grief Support with Young People & Communities (2013)
Recently, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, grief has come home for Alesia again. Her daughter's father recently died of brain cancer and Alesia stepped into a new role of supporting her daughter, while attending to her own grief. 

Alesia was a consultant for the Speaking Grief multimedia initiative. Watch the hour-long documentary and learn more at
To learn more about Alesia's work, visit her site. 

Sep 08, 2020
Ep. 161: Preserving Memories -Love Not Lost With Ashley Jones

To heal you have to feel it and to feel it you have to be present with it.

When Ashley Jones’s infant daughter Skylar was diagnosed with SMA (spinal muscular atrophy), she wasn’t unfamiliar with grief, but she had no idea how Skylar’s illness and death would propel her into a new world of supporting others. What started as a photo session for a family grieving the death of their baby, has grown into Love Not Lost, a non-profit that provides free portrait sessions for families facing a terminal illness. Love Not Lost also offers tools and training for family, friends, and employers who want to provide useful support to those they care about.  
Follow Love Not Lost (@lovenotlost) on social media for updates on their events and opportunities.  

Aug 28, 2020
Ep. 160: The Shared Room - Kao Kalia Yang

Children’s books transport us – sometimes to places of imagination and sometimes to places rooted in place and culture. A children's book can also be doorway to emotional understanding around complex topics. Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong American writer and grieving mother who recently published The Shared Room, a brave and tender book for children (and adults) about a family grieving the death of their daughter. The Shared Room is at once a book about memories, sorrow, joy, and the ways grief is carried individually and collectively.  

Listen to Kao Kalia Yang & Shannon Gibney, co-editors of What God is Honored Here - Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss, By and For Indigenous Women and Women of Color on Grief Out Loud, Ep. 127
To learn more about Kao Kalia Yang’s writing, teaching, and speaking, visit her website
Watch Kao Kalia and illustrator, Xee Reiter, discuss The Shared Room. 

Aug 13, 2020
Ep. 159: Back To School With Grief & The COVID-19 Pandemic - A Tip Sheet

This episode is a little different. Rather than an interview, we are sharing information from the Dougy Center's most recent Tip Sheet - Back to School with Grief and the COVID-19 Pandemic. With how tough it can be to focus long enough to take in a lot of text when you're grieving, we wanted to offer the information in this format. We'll be bringing you more Tip Sheet episodes over the next few months, so stay tuned!
Check out the Dougy Center's full Tip Sheet collection. It includes Tip Sheets for parents and caregivers wanting to supporting children and teens in their grief as well as ones for teens, young adults, teachers, and school administrators. 
In this episode we mention When Your World is Already Upside Down, a Tip Sheet specifically on how to support children and teens who are carrying grief into this time of COVID-19. 

Aug 10, 2020
Ep. 158: Growing (Up) With Grief - One Teen's Story

What does it mean to grow and grow up with grief? Aliya, a recent high school graduate, spent the past three years reckoning both with her mother's death from cancer and the intricacies of their relationship. As Aliya confronted the more painful aspects of their connection, she created space for remembering the other parts -the ones that were loving and joyful. As Aliya heads off to college this fall, she does so with a new confidence in her ability to navigate the ways her grief continues to unfold. 

Sign up for BetterHelp's online counseling and support and receive 10% off your first month. 


Aug 02, 2020
Ep. 157: Let's Talk About Loss - Beth French
Beth French started Let's Talk About Loss in December of 2016, eighteen months after her mother Susan died of cancer. Beth was in her early twenties and feeling very alone in her grief. She was the first in her group of friends to experience this type of loss and wanted to connect with others who understood what she was going through. She knew a traditional support group wasn't for her so she started the first Let's Talk About Loss meet-up. A gathering of other young adults ages 18-35 where people could talk, listen, and share stories. From that initial meet-up, Let's Talk About Loss has grown to host meet-ups across the UK. They also offer a pen-pal opportunity called Share My Grief that is available to anyone around the globe. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Let's Talk About Loss is also offering ways to connect virtually.
Sign up for BetterHelp online counseling using the link and get 10% off your first month. 
Jul 27, 2020
Ep. 156: Death As Resistance - Dr. Kami Fletcher

How do historic and present-day death rituals and funeral practices in the Black community serve as acts of resistance? Dr. Kami Fletcher is a historian and death scholar whose research focuses on the history of African American deathways and deathwork. She is an Associate professor of American & African American History at Albright College and the President of The Collective for Radical Death Studies. We talk about a lot in this episode, including the oldest African American cemetery, Mt. Auburn, the ways the institution of slavery suppressed African American death ritualshow funeral practices in the Black community serve as acts of resistance, and how the modern-day practice of RIP t-shirts played a role in Dr. Fletcher’s personal grief after her cousin Willie died in 2017.  

Jul 14, 2020
Ep. 155: Gratitude, Guilt, & Grief - Ty Alexander

What does it mean to choose joy and gratitude when you're in the depths of grief? For Ty Alexander, joy and gratitude became her two main survival strategies after her mother died of cancer when Ty was in her 20's. Now, as a wellness blogger, podcast host (Self Care IRL), and author of the book, "Things I Wish I Knew Before My Mom Died," Ty helps others struggling with grief (and life) find ways to make room for joy and gratitude, while still honoring the people who have died and the pain of the loss. 

Be sure to follow Ty - 
@lovetyalexander - Facebook
@tyalexander - Instagram
@loveTyAlexander - Twitter
@SelfCareIRL - Twitter

Jul 07, 2020
Ep. 154: Memories And Legacy - CircleIt & Art Shaikh

Have you found yourself wishing you could hear from your person one more time? Wondering what advice, wishes, or words they would share about events big and small? When Art Shaikh's father died, he was charged with delivering letters his father wrote to various family members on important days like birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries. His father's legacy inspired Art to create CircleIt, a digital generational platform for creating, sharing, and preserving memories. CircleIt is a way to stay connected to family and friends, even after someone dies. 

Download CircleIt from Apple or GooglePlay

Sign up for BetterHelp online counseling at

Jun 29, 2020
Ep. 153: Big Emotions In Grief - Jenny Delacruz, LPC

Jenny Delacruz is a family therapist and author who specializes in working with children and families. Her newest book, "Momma, Can I Sleep With You Tonight?" is about the big and overwhelming emotions that so many children are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We discuss how Jenny sees grief show up in her clients, related to COVID-19, the media coverage of the murders of Black people, often at the hands of police, and the ongoing traumatic effects of racism and racist violence. Jenny provides some easy to implement strategies to support children in processing the grief and other emotions connected to these events.

To learn more about Jenny's work:
Momma, Can I Sleep With You Tonight?
Counseling practice: 
StoryTime with Ms. Melange on Facebook, Instagram, & YouTube

Jun 17, 2020
Ep. 153: Big Emotions In Grief - Jenny Delacruz, LPC

Jenny Delacruz is a family therapist and author who specializes in working with children and families. Her newest book, "Momma, Can I Sleep With You Tonight?" about the big and overwhelming emotions that so many children are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We discuss how Jenny sees grief show up in her clients, related to COVID-19, the media coverage of the murders of Black people, often at the hands of police, and the ongoing traumatic effects of racism and racist violence. Jenny provides some easy to implement strategies to support children, and adults to, in processing the grief and other emotions connected to these events.

To learn more about Jenny's work:
Momma, Can I Sleep With You Tonight?
Counseling practice: 
StoryTime with Ms. Melange on Facebook, Instagram, & YouTube

Jun 17, 2020
Ep. 153: Big Emotions In Grief - Jenny Delacruz, LPC

Jenny Delacruz is a family therapist and author who specializes in working with children and families. Her newest book, "Momma, Can I Sleep With You Tonight?" about the big and overwhelming emotions that so many children are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We discuss how Jenny sees grief show up in her clients, related to COVID-19, the media coverage of the murders of Black people, often at the hands of police, and the ongoing traumatic effects of racism and racist violence. Jenny provides some easy to implement strategies to support children, and adults to, in processing the grief and other emotions connected to these events.

To learn more about Jenny's work:
Momma, Can I Sleep With You Tonight?
Counseling practice: 
StoryTime with Ms. Melange on Facebook, Instagram, & YouTube

Jun 17, 2020
Ep. 152: Teenage Grief Sucks - Natalie Adams

When Natalie's dad died suddenly at the start of her freshman year of high school, she searched, but couldn't find what she most needed: a resource written for and by other grieving teens. So, she decided to create one. In March of 2020, Natalie launched the website Teenage Grief Sucks which serves as a platform for articles ranging from what it's like to go to driving school when you're grieving to tips for how teens can support their grieving friends. 

To read Natalie's work, or contribute your own, visit

Jun 11, 2020
Ep. 151: Resources To Support Grieving Children & Families - An Update From The New York Life Foundation

Maria Collins, Vice President of the New York Life Foundation, joins Grief Out Loud to discuss three new initiatives to support grieving children and their families: 1) The Golden Sweater, a children's book about grief, 2) Speaking Grief, a multi-platform public media project, produced by WPSU, and 3) The Brave of Heart Fund which provides direct monetary support to children and families of those who die working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Knowing that the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affecting communities of color, especially the Black and Latinx communities, and that these communities also face economic disparities and a lack of access to services, the Brave of Heart Fund is a vital resource

Download The Golden Sweater children's book
Learn more about The Brave of Heart Fund
Watch a trailer for Speaking Grief
New York Life Foundation's Ask the Experts series
COVID-19 School & Community Resources
Grief Sensitive Schools Initiative

Jun 05, 2020
Ep. 150: Love, Anger, & Grief - Supporting Children After A Murder

How would you tell your children that their father murdered their grandparents? This is the heartbreaking question Jenn, whose children were 6 and 10 at the time, faced when she got the news that her ex-husband killed his parents. This is the story behind the facts that we read in the news. The story of three people navigating grief that changed every aspect of their lives. It's also a story of love. Of anger. And of hope.

If you or someone you love is affected by abuse and needing support, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or if you’re unable to speak safely you can log onto or text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474.  

Tips for Supporting Children & Teens Grieving a Murder or Violent Death.
After a Murder Workbook.

May 29, 2020
Ep. 149: Integrating Grief - Mari Gonzalez

What does it mean to integrate grief into your life? To respond to it as something that doesn't need to be fixed or eradicated? Mari Gonzalez is the co-founder of the Grief Rites Foundation and creator of workshops and classes for those dealing with grief. We discuss how grief shaped so much of Mari's life - from her career choices to how she engages with the world. We also talk about what's coming up in her grief related to the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

Be sure to check out the Grief Rites Foundation to learn more about their monthly reading series (now offered virtually) and Mari's website, The Grief Revolution

May 22, 2020
Ep. 148: Wrongful Death - A Grieving Mother's Story (Paula Becker)

Paula Becker is an author and mother of three. Her memoir, A House on Stilts, Mothering in the Age of Opiod Addiction, chronicles how she and her family navigated her oldest son, Hunter's, struggles with substance use. Paula and her husband Barry braced themselves, many times, for the reality that Hunter's addiction might end his life. Then, in 2017, while riding a bus from their hometown of Seattle to the Bay Area of California, Hunter was hit and killed by the driver of the bus, as he attempted to re-board after a rest stop. Paula and Barry filed a wrongful death suit which, after two years, led to a jury declaring the bus driver and company were responsible for Hunter's death. 
Paula talks about Hunter, the grief she faced throughout his struggle with substance use, how she and her husband learned to make space for one another's grief, and what it was like to be so public with that grief during the trial. 

May 14, 2020
Ep. 147: Grief & Mother's Day - A Teen's Take

In Ep. 143 we talked with Paige about step-parenting grieving children and in this one, we talk with one of her children, 17-year-old Chloe. Chloe was 14 when her mother Danielle died of colon cancer. After Danielle died, Chloe and her younger sister moved in full-time with their dad and Paige. Chloe talks about honoring her mom on Mother's Day while also celebrating Paige, what it's like to help her younger sister carry on the legacy of their mom, and why sometimes talking about grief with the people we are closest to can be overwhelming. 

Listen to Ep. 143 with Paige.
For additional resources on navigating Mother's Day, visit The Dougy Center.

Want to join us on Friday, May 8th at 6 pm (PST) for Reflection, our annual Benefit? We're going virtual! Learn more here

May 05, 2020
Ep. 146: Reflection - A Mini-Episode

This mini-episode shares two emails from listeners and how to participate in The Dougy Center's annual Reflection Benefit & Auction. This year, Reflection is going virtual which means everyone can participate from around the globe! Reflection funds nearly half of The Dougy Center's peer support group program and allows us to create resources like our Tip Sheets and this podcast. 

The virtual livestream program is May 8, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. PDT and the event will culminate with the drawing of the winning Porsche Boxster Raffle ticket. Join us early! The pre-cast will begin at 6 p.m. and you can make sure everything is working smoothly before the program starts at 6:30 p.m.

Step 1: Before the event, you will need to register. Here's how.

Step 2: On May 8, you will need to join the event on two devices — one for the livestream and one for the online bidding platform. Watch the livestream program on The Dougy Center’s public Facebook page. The online bidding platform can be found here.

Step 3: It’s more fun with friends! Here’s information on how to host a ZOOM party or Facebook Watch party.


May 04, 2020
Ep. 145: Speaking Grief - Lindsey Whissel Fenton

How would the world be different if grief was universally understood as a natural reaction to loss and not something that needs to be fixed or taken away? Lindsey Whissel Fenton is working to create that world through Speaking Grief, a public media initiative designed to raise grief awareness. The initiative is a multi-element project that includes a one-hour documentary, Speaking Grief, that debuts on public television on May 5th, 2020. Lindsey talks about the project’s inspiration and how months spent interviewing grieving people from across the country now influences how she sees her own grief and how she shows up for those she cares about 

Speaking Grief website & trailer. 

Want to watch the full documentary? Check your local public television station listing for air dates! 

Apr 30, 2020
Ep. 144: A Grieving Father Turned To Words - Jayson Greene

In May of 2015, Jayson Greene's first child, Greta, had just turned two and was spending the day with her grandmother, Susan. While she and Susan were sitting on a bench in Manhattan, a piece of masonry fell from a building, hitting them both. Susan survived, but Greta did not. From the first days of grief, Jayson turned to writing, documenting all that was unfolding. These initial writings became his stunning memoir, Once More We Saw Stars. We talk about Greta, grief, and parenting Jayson's second child, Harrison. 


Apr 24, 2020
Ep. 143: A Full-Time Other Mother - Step-Parenting Grieving Children

Being a step-parent is complicated under the best of circumstances, but what happens when your children's other parent dies? Paige Smith was just settling into her new family with her husband and his two children that he co-parented with his ex-wife, Danielle, when they got the news that Danielle had been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. When Danielle died and the girls moved in Paige and her husband, Paige found herself entering the new role of full-time mother, but without the support and guidance of Danielle. We talk about how Paige and her husband, together with their girls, are working to honor Danielle's memory and navigate grief individually, and as a family. 

Apr 17, 2020
Ep. 142: Suffocated Grief & Supporting Black Youth - Dr. Tashel Bordere

Dr. Tashel Bordere has spent years researching the grief experience of black youth affected by homicide and gun violence. While many grieving people can relate to their grief being disregarded, for black youth and youth with marginalized identities, their grief not only goes unacknowledged, but is often penalized. Their behaviors and reactions, which are normal responses to grief, are met not with support and understanding, but with negative labels and punishment. This results in a concept Dr. Bordere has identified as suffocated grief and is rooted in systems of oppression and discrimination.

Dr. Bordere, PhD, CT is a Certified Thanatologist and Assistant Professor of Human Development & Family Science at the University of Missouri. She is also a Robert Wood Johnson Forward Promise Fellow and the author of numerous research papers and publications focused on black youth affected by homicide, gun violence, and race-based trauma.

To learn more about Dr. Bordere's work:

S.H.E.D. Grief Tools  (MU Extension)

Apr 10, 2020
Ep. 141: You Can't Give From Empty - Grief Professionals & COVID-19 With Megan Devine

What happens when a crisis affects everyone, including those who support others? Who is left to show up and care for those who need it the most? Grief professionals are faced with finding answers to the question, "How do we care for ourselves so we can care for others?" Megan Devine, founder of Refuge in Grief, author of It's OK That You're Not OK, and creator of Writing Your Grief online classes and communities. We delve into these questions and explore how the pandemic is affecting Megan, the people she supports, and her colleagues in the grief world. 

Apr 02, 2020
Ep. 140: Supporting Widowed Dads - Dr. Justin Yopp
In 2010 Dr. Justin Yopp and his colleague, Don Rosenstein, piloted a support group for widowed dads that grew into being part of the Widowed Parent Project. A decade later, Dr. Yopp and his team continue to learn from widowed parents about the unique challenges of grieving their partner, raising children as a solo parent, and forming a new trajectory for their lives and their families. 
Learn more about the Widowed Parent Project.
Read The Group: Seven Widowed Fathers Reimagine Life *all proceeds from the book go directly to the Widowed Parent Project.*
Mar 25, 2020
Ep. 139: Grief & Coronavirus/COVID-19 - Leslie Barber

The COVID-19 global health crisis is an unprecedented time of uncertainty, change, and concern - three things that often accompany grief. For those who are already grieving, elements of this pandemic may feel familiar and bring us back to times when we had to readjust everything in our lives. Leslie Barber is a grieving widow, parent to a grieving child, and the founder of Grief Warrior, which creates gift boxes for grieving people. We talk all about grieving in this time of COVID-19 and how she and her daughter are navigating the disruptions to daily life while carrying their grief. 

Leslie's company - Grief Warrior
When Your World is Already Upside Down - Supporting Grieving Children & Teens During the COVID-19 Global Health Crisis - a Tip Sheet from The Dougy Center.

Mar 20, 2020
Encore Ep. 106: Grief & Anxiety - Claire Bidwell Smith, LCPC

This is an encore episode that originally aired on February 25th, 2019. 
When grief enters our world, many of us expect to cry and feel frustrated, but we aren’t as prepared for the intense fear and worry that can also be part of loss. Someone being 10 minutes late getting home sparks visions of a car crash or getting a call from the hospital. Maybe sleep eludes us as we spin over how to do day to day life without our people. Sometimes the hardest part about anxiety is how it can catch us off-guard, either because we’ve never dealt with it before, or because the anxiety we already knew well has grown to an untenable level.

Claire Bidwell Smith, a licensed counselor, author, mother, and grieving daughter recently published her new book, Anxiety, the Missing Stage of Grief, that delves into all the ways anxiety can be part of grief. Before Claire was 25, both of her parents died of cancer. Her adolescence and young adulthood were deeply etched with their illnesses, treatment, and deaths. Out of this devastating grief grew her desire to help others facing similar situations. 


Claire's website 
Self-Care Planning Tip Sheet 
NASP (National Association of School Psychologists) Tips on talking with children about coronavirus/COVID-19
It's OK That You're Not OK by Megan Devine

Mar 11, 2020
Ep. 138: Running Home - Katie Arnold

Katie Arnold is a writer, mother, grieving daughter, and ultra-marathoner. After her father died of cancer, Katie developed intense anxiety about her health - every headache and muscle pain felt life-threatening. A runner from a young age, Katie took to the trails and started running longer and longer distances, eventually becoming an ultra-marathoner and running 50K, 100K, and 100 mile races. She recently published her memoir, Running Home, where she interweaves memories of her father and the present day maneuvering of grief. 
Be sure to check out Running Home - A Memoir & Katie's website
Listen all the way to the end of the episode for a clip of Jana's interview with Danny Koordi on the Screwed Up Moments podcast!

Mar 05, 2020
Ep. 137: Grief & The Foster Care System - A Personal Story

Kevin is a previous participant in the L.Y.G.H.T. Program - Listening & Led by Youth in the Foster Care System: Grief, Hope, and Transitions. We discuss how a random vending machine trip prompted him to join the L.Y.G.H.T. Program, the support he found in the group as he grieved both death and non-death losses, and how he carries what he learned into his daily life.  

To learn more about the L.Y.G.H.T. Program, be sure to listen to Ep. 136: L.Y.G.H.T. - Supporting Grieving Youth in the Foster Care System. 

Feb 28, 2020
Ep. 136: L.Y.G.H.T. - Supporting Grieving Youth In The Foster Care System
While we usually talk about the grief associated with a diagnosis or a death, this episode focuses on meeting the needs of youth in the foster care system who are grieving non-death and death losses. Dr. Monique Mitchell, Ph.D., F.T., is the Director of Translational Research & Curriculum Development at The Dougy Center and Juliette Martinez, M.S.W., is the Coordinator of the L.Y.G.H.T. Program - which stands for Listening and Led by Youth in Foster Care: Grief, Hope, and Transitions. This peer support program for youth in the foster care system is based on The Dougy Center's grief support model. We discuss the unique needs of grieving youth in the foster care system, how the L.Y.G.H.T. Program works to address these needs, and the ways this work affects and inspires Monique and Juliette.
To learn more about L.Y.G.H.T, email or visit  
Feb 21, 2020
Ep. 135: The Worst News - An Update

This episode first aired in July of 2018. Since that time, Eidan's brain tumor began growing again in early 2019. On October, 26, 2019, just a few weeks after her 35th birthday, Eidan utilized Oregon's Death With Dignity and died surrounded by a small group of her family and friends. Eidan is deeply loved and missed by her wife, Michelle, their baby Gemma, her family, and everyone who had the opportunity to know her. 

In December of 2014, Eidan was a young professional moving up in her career as an engineer. In the last year and a half she’d gotten married, started a new job, and she and her wife Michelle were busy doing what they loved - going to live music, doting on their five animals, and spending time with friends and family. Then, on January 13th, 2015, everything changed. Eidan went for an MRI and before she made it back to her car, the doctor called and asked her to return to the hospital. They had seen a mass in her brain. The eventual diagnosis: a grade 3 astrocytoma wrapped around her brain stem.

Three and a half years later, Eidan is living with cancer. We talk about what it’s like to be a young adult with this diagnosis that has no cure and no definitive course. We also discuss how she and her wife are making decisions about finances and the intentional way they choose to spend time and energy. Eidan shares suggestions for supporting those dealing with a cancer diagnosis, including what questions to ask (and not ask) and ways to show up that really make a difference.

The First Descents program we talk about provides life-changing outdoor adventures for young adults (18-39) impacted by cancer. Be sure to check them out!

Feb 11, 2020
Ep. 134: Breath, Movement, Sound - Grief Yoga With Paul Denniston

Paul Denniston grew up with rigid cultural, religious, and gender expectations for what was appropriate when it came to expressing grief and emotions. This translated as, "Don't express anything besides happiness." There was no room for sadness, fear, grief, or vulnerability. After years of pushing these feelings aside, Paul turned to movement as a way to start expressing them. He began a yoga practice and then trained to be a teacher. From this start, he went on to create Grief Yoga, a program for transforming grief through sound, breath, and movement. We talk about finding emotional fluidity, sobriety, grieving the deaths of his sister and beloved dog, and the positive effects of cute raccoon videos. 
You can connect with Paul and his teaching at

Jan 31, 2020
Ep. 133: Widowed Parenting - Jenny Lisk

Just over four years ago, Jenny Lisk's husband Dennis died of glioblastoma - brain cancer. This loss propelled her into a new world of solo-parenting their two children who were just 9 and 11 at the time. Jenny went searching for a guidebook to help navigate this new reality, but when she couldn't find what she was looking for, she decided to create her own. She started the Widowed Parent Podcast, interviewing other widowed parents, professionals, and people who had a parent died when they were children, and is currently working on two books - a memoir about her family's experience and The Widowed Parent Handbook.

We talk about being a caregiver, telling children difficult news, parenting solo, and what Jenny's learned over the past four years. Be sure to listen to the Widowed Parent Podcast and check out her "What I've Learned About Widowed Parenting" guide. 

Jan 23, 2020
Ep. 132: Finding Meaning - David Kessler

David Kessler is a renowned author, speaker, and retreat leader. He co-authored two books, On Grief and Grieving and Life Lessons, with another grief and loss icon, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. As with so many who are drawn to working with grief, David’s professional path started with the personal. At 13 he witnessed a mass shooting while his mother was dying in the ICU. In 2016 he became a grieving parent when his younger son, David, died at 21. David's newest book, Finding Meaning - the Sixth Stage of Grief, was inspired by his search to continue finding meaning in his own life and work.

Be sure to connect with David at

Jan 17, 2020
Ep. 131: Permission To Grieve - Shelby Forsythia

In 2013, Shelby Forsythia was barely into her twenties when her mom died of cancer. This loss propelled her into a search for information, understanding, and community. In that search, Shelby wrote Permission to Grieve, created a podcast, Coming Back: Conversations on Life After Loss, and started a grief coaching practice. We talk about grief as rebellion, stolen wallets, and queer identity and grief.

Shelby's website:

The Coming Back episode we did on supporting grieving children and teens:

Jan 10, 2020
Encore Ep. 11: Who Am I Now?

It's a New Year's Eve encore episode and we're bringing back Ep. 11: Who Am I Now?

Brendon and Jana delve into the many layers of loss that we grapple with when someone dies and how that loss can change us. When we grieve, we miss the person and who they were in our lives. We miss who we were with them. Often we miss who we were in general before the death. As we think towards the future, we grieve for the events and occasions that we won’t share with the person.

Over time, people in grief may start to see themselves differently. What they value, prioritize, and want in life can change radically.

These changes occur on many levels:

  • Spiritual shifts
  • Difficulty remembering/accomplishing small tasks.
  • Want to be social/difficult to be around people
  • More compassionate/less able to tolerate everyday drama
  • Put more time and energy into relationships
  • Less concerned with work and material success/more immersed in work
  • Can’t seem to exercise/exercise all the time 
  • Increased interest in movies/books/songs about grief –  can’t tolerate them

As you sort through what is different, it can be helpful sit with a series of questions:

  • How do you see yourself now?
  • How do you see the world?
  • Which of these changes do you value?
  • What strengths have you discovered?
  • Where are the places in your life that you need additional support?
  • What parts of yourself do you miss and want to re-cultivate?


Dec 30, 2019
Ep. 130: Grief & PTSD - Megan Hillukka
"How many children do you have?" This simple question turns treacherous for grieving parents. Megan Hillukka's daughter, Aria, died of Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) when she was 15 months old. This devastating loss jettisoned Megan into a new world filled with grief, shock, and panic which eventually led to a diagnosis of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Needing support, Megan turned to therapy, writing, and connecting with other grieving parents. 
Be sure to check out Megan's website, Instagram, and her podcast, The Cultivated Family, to learn more.
Dec 19, 2019
Ep. 98: Under Pressure - Grief & December Holidays

This episode first aired in December, 2018. Nothing says end of the calendar year holiday stress like grief. Dougy Center staff member Rebecca Hobbs-Lawrence is back with more suggestions around planning for and making your way through the December holidays when you and your family are in the midst of grief. We recognize too that for families who don't observe the December holidays, daily life can become very stressful in the midst of the frenzy that gets created by those who do.  

Follow The Dougy Center on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@thedougycenter) for more Dougy's December Tips. 

Dec 09, 2019
Ep. 129: After The Dam Breaks - Pushing Grief Aside

Naomi and Chad had a whirlwind start to their relationship. They were both in their 20's and got engaged less than a year after they met. Then, a few months before their wedding, Chad died in a skateboarding accident. Naomi tried her best to push the grief aside, but 8 months later it came rushing out. Everywhere. This forced her to change up her life and reach out to friends and family for support. Through engaging more fully with her grief, Naomi's found a way to honor Chad by living in the world the way he did - eager and open to new experiences. 

Nov 27, 2019
Ep. 128: When The Thought Doesn't Count

Leslie Barber is the founder of Grief Warrior, a series of gift boxes designed for those in grief. The items in the boxes are informed and inspired by what Leslie most needed when her husband Steve died. We talk about grieving a spouse vs. grieving the parent of your child, effective and compassionate employer bereavement policies, and how to show up for the people in your life who are grieving. 

Nov 17, 2019
Ep. 127: What God Is Honored Here? Shannon Gibney & Kao Kalia Yang

Kao Kalia Yang and Shannon Gibney are writers, friends, and grieving mothers. Shannon's daughter, Sianneh, died at forty-one and a half weeks. Kalia's son, Baby Jules, died at nineteen weeks. In the days, weeks, and months after these losses, Shannon and Kalia went searching for the words of others experiencing similar grief. What they found was limited and written primarily by white women. The absence of narratives about loss written by Indigenous women and women of color just amplified their sense of isolation. So, they decided to create what they most needed to read and hear. Their new book, What God is Honored Here? Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss by and for Native Women and Women of Color, is a collection of deeply personal essays from women exploring the rawness of grief and how it intertwines with race and culture.  


Oct 24, 2019
Ep. 126: When A Child Dies Of Suicide - Anne Moss Rogers

Grief is intensely personal and sometimes it’s intensely private. When Anne Moss Roger's son Charles died of suicide, she decided to go public with her grief and the story of his life. Inspired by her son’s innate skill for connecting with others, she’s now dedicated to helping people who are struggling with grief, suicidal thoughts, and substance use.  

To learn more, visit Emotionally Naked, Anne Moss's blog. Her website includes links to her new book, Diary of a Broken Mind, and her TEDx Talk - Can A Blog Save Lives?

If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)

Crisis Text Line: Text Hello to 741741



Oct 17, 2019
Ep. 125: Mini-Episode - Traci, Amira, & Alina

In 2018, The Dougy Center was selected as one of a handful of children’s bereavement programs to partner with StoryCorps and the New York Life Foundation on Road to Resilience: Memories that Move Us Forward. Road to Resilience was born out of a commitment to helping children cope with the death of a parent, sibling, or loved one.
In this mini-episode, Traci talks with Amira and Alina about what they remember and miss about their daddy. 
*Music by Chad Crouch.* 

Oct 08, 2019
Ep. 124: A Weed In The Garden Of My Brain - Caroline Wright

In 2017,  Caroline Wright was working on her third cookbook and raising two kids with her husband. Life was busy and full in only the way it can be when you have two kids under the age of five. Then one day everything changed. It was the day she was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumor, and given a year to live. 

After surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and radical changes to her lifestyle and diet, Caroline is now considered cancer free. Since her diagnosis she’s written a memoir about her experience based on the Caring Bridge site she used to keep family and friends updated. She also wrote and published a beautiful children’s book, Lasting Love, as a way to help her children know her love will always be with them, no matter what happens.

Sep 27, 2019
Ep. 123: Mini-Episode - Ruby & Jana

In 2018, The Dougy Center was selected as one of a handful of children’s bereavement programs to partner with StoryCorps and the New York Life Foundation on Road to Resilience: Memories that Move Us Forward. Road to Resilience was born out of a commitment to helping children cope with the death of a parent, sibling, or loved one.

Partnering on this project meant a group of staff and volunteers from The Dougy Center trained with StoryCorps staff to facilitate 40 minute conversations with children and their adults. At the end of each recording, families decided if they wanted to archive their conversations both with StoryCorps and the Library of Congress. They also chose if they wanted to share their recording with us at The Dougy Center.

Over the next few months, you'll hear short clips of these conversations in a series of mini-episodes. In this third mini-episode, Ruby and Jana talk about Ruby's amazing Grandma Riba who died when Ruby was a young teenager.
*Music by Chad Crouch.*

Sep 20, 2019
Ep. 122: Meeting The Needs Of Grieving Children - New York Life Foundation

Maria Collins, Vice President at the New York Life Foundation, and Brennan Wood, The Dougy Center's Executive Director join us to talk about the business of supporting grieving children and families. The New York Life Foundation provides funding for a wide variety of children's grief initiatives focused on research and evaluation, direct service, and resource development and accessibility. The Dougy Center recently received a $1 million-dollar grant from the New York Life Foundation - the largest grant we've received in our 36-year history! In our conversation we discuss the projects this grant funded and also how Brennan and Maria have been changed by this work.

Projects and initiatives mentioned in this episode:
StoryCorps Road to Resilience: Memories that Move Us Forward
National Alliance for Grieving Children Grief Reach Grants
Coalition to Support Grieving Students/Grief Sensitive Schools Initiative
Sep 06, 2019
Ep. 121: The Goodbye Diaries - Marisa Bardach Ramel

Marisa Bardach Ramel was 17 when her mother Sally, received a stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis and given two months to live. While they were always close, Marisa retreated into school and friends, avoiding her mom and her attempts to connect. Then, when Sally outlived the prognosis and Marisa was a freshman in college, her mom asked if she wanted to write a book together. Almost twenty years later, Marisa recently published their mother-daughter memoir, The Goodbye Diaries. In their alternating chapters, readers get a window into how they were processing Sally’s diagnosis, treatment, and approaching end of life very differently. The process of writing the book also created a pathway for Marisa and Sally to re-establish a close relationship during their last years together.   


Aug 15, 2019
Ep. 120: Mini-Episode - Megan, Michael, & Mason

In 2018, The Dougy Center was selected as one of a handful of children’s bereavement programs to partner with StoryCorps and the New York Life Foundation on Road to Resilience: Memories that Move Us Forward. Road to Resilience was born out of a commitment to helping children cope with the death of a parent, sibling, or loved one.

Partnering on this project meant a group of staff and volunteers from The Dougy Center trained with StoryCorps staff to facilitate 40 minute conversations with children and their adults. At the end of each recording, families decided if they wanted to archive their conversations both with StoryCorps and the Library of Congress. They also chose if they wanted to share their recording with us at The Dougy Center.

Over the next few months, you'll hear short clips of these conversations in a series of mini-episodes. In this second mini-episode, Megan, Michael, and Mason talk about life after Michael and Mason's dad died.  
*Music by Chad Crouch.*

Aug 08, 2019
Ep. 119: Grief & Parenting - Infancy & Toddlers

This is the second in our series on Grief & Parenting.

In 2017, Brittany and Jonas were raising two young children and pregnant with their third. Then, after returning home from a business trip Jonas was diagnosed with aplastic anemia. Seven weeks later, despite intensive treatment, Jonas died. Aria, their oldest was three and a half. Her younger brother Loic had just turned two, and baby Klyde was still in utero. Brittany talks about explaining Jonas's death to their children, helping Klyde to know his father, and learning to ask for help. 

Jul 21, 2019
Ep. 118: Grief & Parenting - Age 5

This episode kicks off a new series exploring the realm of parenting and grief. We’ll be talking to parents about what grief looks like at different ages & developmental levels, how they support their kids while also making time for their own grief, and what works and doesn't work for their kids in the intense and confusing landscape of grief. 

In this first episode of the series we talk with Josh about parenting his daughter Sylvia after his wife Kari died of suicide when Sylvia was just 5 1/2. His story might sound familiar if you listened to Ep. 117, which is a brief clip of a longer Road to Resilience conversation Josh and Sylvia recorded as part of our partnership with StoryCorps and The New York Life Foundation. If you missed it, be sure to check it out!

Jul 09, 2019
Ep. 117: Mini-Episode - Josh & Sylvia

In 2018, The Dougy Center was selected as one of a handful of children’s bereavement programs to partner with StoryCorps and the New York Life Foundation on Road to Resilience: Memories that Move Us ForwardRoad to Resilience was born out of a commitment to helping children cope with the death of a parent, sibling, or loved one.

Partnering on this project meant a group of staff and volunteers from The Dougy Center trained with StoryCorps staff to facilitate 40 minute conversations with children and their adults. At the end of each recording, families decided if they wanted to archive their conversations both with StoryCorps and the Library of Congress. They also chose if they wanted to share their recording with us at The Dougy Center.

Over the next few months, you'll hear short clips of these conversations in a series of mini-episodes. In this first episode, Josh and Sylvia talk about what it was like after Sylvia’s mom died of suicide when Sylvia was just 5 1/2. 
*Music by Chad Crouch.*

Jul 01, 2019
Ep. 116: Who Died? Episode 6 - A Guest Podcast Hosted by Grief Out Loud

Who Died? was created by Aimee Craig to give voice to the memories of those we carry with us. Each episode is about one person's life and death as told by a loved one. Episode 6 is a conversation with Melissa about her father Larry. More information at

Jun 24, 2019
Ep. 115: Comedy & Grief - Harry Jensen

What is it about dark humor and why are we drawn to it when wrestling with painful life events? Laughter, especially the kind that wells up from a shared understanding of heartbreak, can be a surprising aspect of grief. Harry Jensen's father died of stage 4 colon cancer in January of 2017. Harry turned to stand-up comedy as a way to put his grief into words that often spark discomfort and uncertainty, but also serve as inspiration for people in the audience to open up about their own grief. 

We discuss prompting uncomfortable laughter, Father's Day, and how the intersections of identity can affect grief. 


Jun 13, 2019
Ep. 114: What Does Better Mean? Neil Davis

In 2017, pop singer-songwriter Neil Davis, was about to release his second album when his father died suddenly of cardiac arrest. In that moment, everything in Neil's world changed, including his album release plans. A few months ago in March of 2019, Neil released a new single, Not Better, which explores the heartbreak of grief and the questions we are left with when someone dies. Questions about gone-ness and what does the term better actually mean when it comes to grief?

You can find Not Better in iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever you get your music. Stay tuned for more music from Neil! Music for this episode, Not Better, was written and performed by Neil Davis.

Jun 10, 2019
Ep. 113: Young Children & Grief: Mary Plouffe, Ph.D.

What do you remember about being 3 1/2? If you’re anything like most of us, your memories are hazy. Maybe you have an image of the room you slept in or a vague sense of what it felt like to be hugged by a family member. What you likely don’t have are clear, articulated ones of interactions and relationships, the kind that older children, teens, and adults can access when it comes to remembering someone who has died. Mary Plouffe, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist who had a clear and professional sense of how young children understand death and grief. This sense became more personal though when her sister Martha died, leaving behind a 3 1/2 year old daughter, Liamarie. Mary recently published her memoir, I Know It in My Heart, Walking Through Grief With a Child, about her experience of grieving Martha's death and doing so alongside Liamarie, who was wrestling to understand her mother's death and what it meant to grow up motherless.  

May 30, 2019
Ep. 112: A Cinematic Love Story - John & Melissa

In Episode 111 we talked with Marie, whose husband Jonathan died suddenly and very unexpectedly from a drug overdose. In this episode we’re talking with another young adult whose spouse died, but this time after almost a decade of living with cancer. John and Melissa met back in the 90’s and dated for a few years before getting married. For John, this was a relationship like none other. One that was rooted in a deep sense of love, appreciation, and care. Melissa helped John to feel feelings he didn’t think he would ever experience. Melissa died just over two years ago and in the past few months, John put plans in place to radically change up his life. He’s exploring the question - How do we love and care for ourselves in a way that mirrors how the people we’re grieving loved and cared for us when they were alive?

May 20, 2019
Ep. 111: When The Love Of Your Life Dies Of An Overdose - Marie & Jonathan

In the summer of 2016, Marie and Jonathan were newly married and living in Brooklyn, NYC. One day in August, Marie flew back from a trip, expecting to find Jonathan waiting for her at the airport. When he wasn't there, she thought it was just the continuation of a conflict they’d had, so she spent the night at her mom’s house and headed to their apartment in the morning. What she found when she walked in would change every element of her and her life.   


May 01, 2019
Ep. 110: Mindful Photography & Grief - Dr. Jessica Thomas, PhD, LMFT

There’s nothing like grief to take us completely out of the moment. We get pulled into the past where we try to remember everything we can while also ruminating over what we wish we had said or done differently. At the same time, we leap to the future, anticipating what events will be like without the person we are grieving.

Dr. Jessica Thomas, PhD, LMFT, who focused her dissertation research on using mindful photography with anticipatory grief, now helps people in grief explore this process of creating images as a way to ground themselves in the actual moment. Dr. Thomas is the president of the board of the NW Association for Death Education and Bereavement Support. She is also a professor at Lewis & Clark College and has a private psychotherapy practice supporting clients in grief, life transitions, and other challenges.

Join the Mindful Photography Facebook Group and find Jessica on Instagram @drjessicathomas


Apr 17, 2019
Ep. 109: Motherless Daughters, 25 Years Later - Hope Edelman & Brennan Wood

Back before you could ask Google anything from, “What’s the best way to clean shower grout?” to “How do I grieve my parent?” when it came to answering these kinds of questions, we turned to bookstores and libraries to search for answers. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, even if you did go looking for information about grief, you’d be more likely to find a dense, clinical textbook than something that could help you understand what you were going through. Then in 1994, Hope Edelman published her groundbreaking book, Motherless Daughters. A book that spoke to thousands of women grieving their mothers. Brennan Wood, Executive Director of The Dougy Center, was one of those readers. Soon after the release of Motherless Daughters, Hope and Brennan met for the first time on the Leeza Gibbons daytime talk show. Twenty-five years later they’re together again for a conversation about being motherless daughters who grew up to be motherless mothers. 

Learn more about Hope's writing and work

Apr 03, 2019
Ep: 108: What Does Forgiveness Feel Like? Judith Finneren

Judith Finneren's husband Ralph, or Ralphie as she liked to call him, was hit and killed while riding his bike in the summer of 2011. Even when grief and anger are close companions, most of the time there isn't a particular person to blame when someone dies. In Judith's case there was. A young man named Brett who in a moment of distracted driving ended her husband's life. Soon after Ralph's death, Judith went to film school where she created the documentary, Ghostbike, which explores her grief and also her attempts to connect with Brett. We discuss love, blame, forgiveness, and the tenets Judith holds onto in her grief. 

Judith also wrote Remember His Name, a book about Ralph, their life together, and her grief.


Mar 27, 2019
Ep. 107: Remembrance Wardrobe - Nicole Leslie

Sweaters, shoes, a favorite coffee mug, the pen always angled a certain way - items, big and small, form the landscape left behind when someone dies. Nicole Leslie was 15 when her mother died and at first it was too painful to go through her things. A few years later, as she and her sister began the process, Nicole discovered clothing she had never seen her mother wear before. This discovery became the originating point for Nicole's turn to fashion and creativity as ways to express her grief. She started Remembrance Wardrobe, a blog where she posts photos of herself wearing outfits that are a combination of clothing from her mother, grandmother, and her own collection. She pairs each outfit with a line from her mother's poetry, opening a window into the life of a woman who lives on in Nicole's memories and creative expressions.   

Check out all of Nicole's posts at Remembrance Wardrobe.

Mar 22, 2019
Ep. 106: Grief & Anxiety - Claire Bidwell Smith. LCPC

When grief enters our world, many of us expect to cry and feel frustrated, but we aren’t as prepared for the intense fear and worry that can also be part of loss. Someone being 10 minutes late getting home sparks visions of a car crash or getting a call from the hospital. A random ache or feeling extra tired leaves us thinking we must be dying. Maybe sleep eludes us as we spin over how to do day to day life without our people. Sometimes the hardest part about anxiety is how it can catch us off-guard, either because we’ve never dealt with it before, or because the anxiety we already knew well has ratcheted up to untenable levels.

Claire Bidwell Smith, a licensed counselor, author, mother, and grieving daughter recently published her new book, Anxiety, the Missing Stage of Grief, that delves into all the ways anxiety can be part of grief. Before Claire was 25, both of her parents died of cancer. Her adolescence and young adulthood were deeply etched with their illnesses, treatment, and deaths. Out of this devastating grief grew her desire to help others facing similar situations. 

Be sure to visit Claire's site to learn more about her work. 

Feb 25, 2019
Ep. 105: Appetizers, Grief, Dessert - The Dinner Party

When someone dies, many of the people left behind seek out formal sources of help like a therapist or traditional support group. What happens though when those avenues don’t feel like the right fit? This is what Carla Fernandez and Lennon Flowers, co-founders of The Dinner Party, ran into after they both lost a parent to cancer in their early twenties. Since their first gathering in 2010, The Dinner Party has grown to over 275 hosts in 100 cities. It is a community made up of those ages 21-40 who are seeking connection, friendship, and meaningful conversations about grief and how it affects our lives. 

Check out The Dinner Party to find a table near you or start one in your community. 

Feb 16, 2019
Ep. 104: Grief & Work - Alica Forneret

The list of things that are hard to do when you’re grieving is long - eating, sleeping, focusing, surface-level chit-chat, remembering where you left your phone, planning for the future, or forgiving yourself for the past. Throw work or school into that mix and it gets really tough to feel like you can show up and function at the same level you're used to. When Alica Forneret went back to work after her mother's sudden death, she found the opposite of what she needed in terms of support. That experience inspired her to explore ways companies and organizations can better support their grieving employees as well as small things each of us can do to attend to our grief in the workplace.

Alica Forneret writes for a number of publications and websites, including, SAD Magazine, Modern Loss, and Vancouver Magazine. She also created the Dead Moms Club lapel pins as a way to express grief more publicly and connect with others who are grieving their mothers. Check out Alica's website with articles, resources, and even recipes for supporting yourself and others who are grieving in the workplace and beyond. 

Feb 06, 2019
Ep. 103: Staying Connected In Grief - Allison Gilbert
We hear about how powerful and important it can be to keep memories and connection alive with the people we are grieving, but how do we actually do that? Allison Gilbert, Emmy award-winning journalist, speaker, and workshop leader, is the author of numerous books including the groundbreaking, Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive, which outlines 85 creative ways to remember those who have died. We discuss turning a treasured recipe into a scavenger hunt, repurposing clothing, books, and other belongings, and how to navigate this idea when the relationship you had with the person was complicated or conflicted. 
Read more from Allison:
Jan 24, 2019
Ep. 102: The Power Of Storytelling

In grief, having the opportunity to tell your story can be vital. Grieving children and adults want the chance to talk about the people they are grieving and express how these losses have altered their lives. StoryCorps, a non-profit working to preserve and share the stories of people from all backgrounds, recently launched a new project in partnership with the New York Life Foundation called Road to Resilience, Memories That Move Us Forward. As part of this project, StoryCorps is partnering with children's bereavement programs across the US to offer grieving children and their adults the opportunity to record a conversation and tell their story. The Dougy Center is honored to be one of those partnership sites. Our guest, Modupeola Oyebolu, is a national facilitator with StoryCorps and she joins us to talk about what it's like to grieve both in the US and her home country of Nigeria, the power of storytelling, and resilience she's witnessed in recording conversations with grieving families. 

Check out Olivia's featured Road to Resilience story.

Jan 17, 2019
Ep. 101: Grief, Seven Decades Later

What is it like to grieve for a father you know only from stories and photos? In August of 2018, Joy Wallace traveled to Tinian Island to see the place where her father, Kenneth, died when the plane he was flying as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Air Corp in World War II crashed. Joy's father died three months before she was born and she grew up with a longing to visit the place where he died. Her trip, which was filled with synchronicities, broke open the grief she'd been carrying for over seven decades.

Jan 10, 2019
Ep. 100: It's A Grief Party!

Okay, so it’s not really a grief party, but it is Grief Out Loud’s 100th episode. When we started this show four years ago in January of 2015, we weren’t sure we’d do more than 10 episodes, never mind 100 and we have you, listeners and guests, to thank for helping us reach this milestone. In the past four years, we’ve had the honor of hosting 99 storytellers - people coming forward with the emotions and thoughts that may never have been spoken aloud before. For many of us, grief resides in the shadows. It’s tucked behind, kept quiet, and told how to behave. And by behave what most of us mean is please stop existing. Stop tugging on our hearts and taking up space in the vacancy left behind by the people who have died. But what we’ve learned is grief doesn’t take kindly to being told what to do and it really doesn’t love being told to shush. So that’s what we hoped to create with this show - a place where people can talk openly about the swirl of thoughts and feelings that come with grief. A place where those who are feeling lost can come for connection and flashlights of hope. A place to feel less alone and maybe a little less lonely. 

As a way of thanking listeners and guests for making Grief Out Loud what it is, we wanted to turn the show over to you today. We asked you to tell us what the show has meant to you. Thank you to everyone who helped make this episode happen!

Dec 27, 2018
Ep. 99: It's So Much More Than What We Can See - Doreen Wiggins, MD

In 2000 Doreen Wiggins, MD began having vivid dreams that her husband was going to die. These dreams, combined with a session with an intuitive healer who confirmed her fears, prompted Doreen, who was already an accomplished surgeon, to seek out training in supporting grieving children. Then in 2009, while skiing in Colorado, her husband died suddenly due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Doreen’s fears had become a reality. Devastated and still needing to parent their 5 children, she first turned to therapy and then yoga, finding a lifeline in what would become a daily practice. This overlap of her medical training and the benefits of yoga sparked her interest in researching how grief affects us physiologically, emotionally, and spiritually. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out for help.

24/7 Crisis Text Line: Text Hello to 741741
24/7 Crisis Phone Line: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)

Dec 14, 2018
Ep. 98: Under Pressure - Holidays & Grief

Nothing says end of the year holiday stress like grief. Dougy Center staff member Rebecca Hobbs-Lawrence is back with more great tips on planning for and making your way through the holidays when you and your family are in the midst of grief. We also share some new activities to try that can be done solo or as a family. 

Downloads to explore:
The Gift List article
Chef for a Day activity
Holiday Plan & Worksheet

Listen to Ep. 27: Grief And The Holidays

Dec 06, 2018
Ep. 97: An Unexpected Devastation

For Camila, death came barreling into her world with zero warning. When she was 21 her world shifted on its axis on an average morning in September. She woke up in the house she shared with her mother in the Bay Area expecting just another day. Then, she went to check on her mother, only to find that she had died in her sleep. There were no warning signs. No indicators that anything was amiss. Her mom was there and then she wasn’t. In the 9 years since that morning, Camila has grieved intensely and intently. She’s searched for connections with her mother, finding an outlet for expression in writing.

Check out Camila's recently published book of poetry: The Progression of Grief. 

Full text of the poem Camila reads at the end of the episode:

The Absence of Her
As the crisp November breeze
Drowns out the rest of October,
The aching sadness
Meanders in. 
At first, I attribute it
To anxiety,
To my fear of scarcity
Rooted from fantasy nightmares
Instead of reality.
I want to blame it on
The cold
Or how nostalgic the
Changing seasons
Makes me feel. 
But as the days pass,
And it becomes mid November,
And the familiarity of this pain
Settles into all the crevices of my heart,
I know what this really is. 
My grief returns,
Amused mildly at my assessment
That it ever left. 
As the orange and yellow leaves
Are more present crumbled on the ground
Than dancing on the branches,
I feel myself pulling inwards.
In the absence of
The lady in purple,
The woman who always made me feel
Like everything would be okay,
I have created a life that I love.
A life better than I ever
Could have imagined. 
And yet,
The absence of her,
At times -- 
Many times,
Still feels gaping,
Still feels unjust,
Still feels like I will never recover. 
In the absence of
The lady in purple,
I allow myself to see all
The signs of hope and connection,
Always craving another connection to her. 
As we barrel forwards,
Approaching another holiday season,
Another winter,
Another year,
The hole within me still feels gaping,
Still feels empty,
Still craving her love and comfort 
to fill it.
~Camila Martin
Nov 28, 2018
Ep. 96: Dear Me, A Mini-Episode

November is National Children's Grief Awareness Month and as part of the effort to raise awareness about children's grief, the National Alliance for Grieving Children (NAGC) invited people to write a letter to their younger grieving selves. In this mini-episode, we share two of those letters. One by Brennan Wood, the Executive Director of The Dougy Center, to her 12-year-old self. The second letter is a compilation of suggestions and advice for the staff at The Dougy Center. To learn more about the NAGC and their work to support grieving children, visit their site

Nov 20, 2018
Ep. 95: Witnessing A Stranger's Death

On a random Monday morning in the Bay Area of California, Beth Duckles realized too late that she was in the wrong lane of the highway. A lane that would take her across the Bay Bridge from Oakland to San Francisco. This unexpected trip across the bay bridge would alter Beth’s life. Swerving to avoid a parked car, she watched a man walk to the edge of the bridge, climb onto the railing, and step off. She called 911 and somehow managed to drive across the bridge until she found a safe place to stop on the other side. In ways she couldn’t imagine at the time, witnessing this man’s death would become an experience that deeply connected her to long-standing family grief and her own mother’s sudden death four years later.

Check out Beth's powerful essay about this experience.

Oct 30, 2018
Ep. 94: Conflicted Grief - Jan Canty, PhD

When someone dies, we often discover things about them we didn’t know before. Those discoveries can range from mundane preferences like realizing your dad didn’t love chocolate to huge revelations that alter your entire perspective on the person and the life you shared with them. What author Jan Canty discovered about her husband after he was murdered changed everything and left her shocked and angry. Now, 30 years after her husband’s death, Jan is working on a book entitled Till Death We Did Part: A Memoir of Deception/Murder and Recovery.

Ways to connect with Jan and find out more about her upcoming book:



Oct 22, 2018
Ep. 93: Grief & Transformation - Phelica Glass, LSCSW

What does transformation mean and how does it connect (or not) to grief? How can people make their way into everything that comes with this kind of loss and still keep track of themselves?

Phelica Glass is a Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker in Topeka, Kansas. In her private psychotherapy practice, Phelica works with children, teens, adults, and families who are facing major life transitions, including grief.

In this episode, we talk about :

  • Grounding techniques for when the grief tide rolls in
  • How therapy can help ease the anxiety that is often present in grief
  • Transforming our relationship with the person who died
Oct 16, 2018
Ep. 92: Grief At School

As much as schools are places of learning, students don’t leave their lives at the door when they enter the building. They bring their whole selves to the classroom, and for many, that includes grief. We talk with school social worker, Kate Sherwood, LCSW, about how to support students and the entire school community when grief shows up. Kate shares ideas for acknowledging grief, notifying the school community when a death occurs, and the power of bringing students together in their grief. 

For more information about Judi's House/JAG Institute's Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model (CBEM), check out their site

Oct 01, 2018
Ep. 91: What's Changed For Grieving Children? The 1950's

In 1955 Jack was ten and living with his mother, who was raising him alone. She and Jack’s father adopted him when he was a tiny infant, which meant she was the only mother he knew. Jack’s mother and father got divorced when he was really young, so for the most part, she was also his only parent. One night, Jack’s mother died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack, leaving him not only in deep grief but unsure of where he would end up and who he would live with.

Sep 20, 2018
Ep. 90: What I Needed - Tips From A Grieving Teen

Halfway through her junior year of high school, Lily's father died suddenly of a heart attack. In shock and angry about everything that would be different in her life without her father, Lily was devastated. As she made her way into this new landscape of grief, Lily sought to fulfill her father’s wish that she do what he didn’t have the opportunity to do - graduate high school, attend college, and grow into the powerful whirlwind of a woman he raised her to be. Lily shares tangible suggestions for teachers, counselors, family, and friends on how to show up and support a teen in grief.

Be sure to watch Lily's powerful documentary about her father. 

Sep 07, 2018
Ep. 89: When Someone You Love Has An Illness - A Sibling's Story

Ryan's favorite person in the world is his older sister. Seven years ago he got one of those phone calls - the kind that changes your life forever. In that call, he found out his sister was dealing with an aggressive form of Multiple Sclerosis. Since then, he's learned a lot about how to be a support for his sister while also taking care of his own emotional, mental, and physical health. Ryan shares suggestions for what to ask (and not ask) when someone's family member is dealing with an illness and also what he's discovered about caring for someone while honoring their agency and independence. 

Aug 28, 2018
Ep. 88: What's Changed For Grieving Children? the 1960's

Jana's dad's dad, Antonio DeCristofaro, died in 1963. She talks with her dad, Tony, about how his dad's death when he was 14 drastically changed the course of his life.

This is the third in our series looking at how the approach to supporting grieving children has or hasn’t changed over time. We’ll be talking to people who had parents die in different decades, starting in the 1940’s. We’re hoping to discover how parents, kids, and other adults such as teachers and coaches reacted to children after a death.

For more information on supporting grieving teens, check out our Tip Sheet. 


Aug 16, 2018
Ep. 87: What's Changed For Grieving Children? The 1970's

This episode is part of a series looking at how the approach to supporting grieving children has or hasn’t changed over time. We’ll be talking to people who had parents die in different decades, starting in the 1940’s. We’re hoping to discover how parents, kids, and other adults such as teachers and coaches reacted to children after a death. 

Cathy was just 5 and a half when her mother died of suicide. While she knew her mother died, Cathy didn't fully understand what happened because the death wasn’t clearly explained to her. As a teenager and into her early twenties, Cathy filled in the gaps of the story with new information. Information and that enabled her to make more sense of her mother's death and how the grief continues to be part of her life, 40 years later. 

Aug 10, 2018
Ep. 86: What's Changed For Grieving Children? The 1940's

This is the first in a series on how the approach to supporting grieving children has or hasn’t changed over time. We’ll be talking to people who had parents die in different decades, starting in the 1940’s. We’re hoping to discover how parents, kids, and other adults such as teachers and coaches reacted to children after a death. Did they talk about it? Avoid them? Act like nothing had happened? We know that even today, in 2018, children are often shielded from the truth of someone dying and as a result, left out of the collective grieving process. Sometimes this happens because people think children are too young to understand and a lot of the time it’s because it’s really painful for parents and caregivers to be present with children’s grief.

Today’s guest is Dean Conklin. Dean is one of two volunteers at our program for grieving children and families that started over 30 years ago. That translates into thousands of hours spent listening to and playing with children and teens facing the heartbreak of a parent or sibling’s death.

Dean came to this work like many volunteers, with his own story of loss. In 1945, when Dean was just 8 years old, his father died in a work accident.

Jul 26, 2018
Ep. 85: Parenting & Grief

Is it grief or typical child or teen behavior? Most parents and caregivers will have this questions at some point in their grieving child's life. Dr. Kitty Huffstutter, LCSW joins us to talk about ways parents and caregivers can best support their child's grief while also setting limits and responding to big behaviors. We explore the idea of a recovery environment, finding the right time and place to problem-solve, and the importance of identifying natural and formal supports for both caregivers and children. Parenting and grief can be extremely hard work and if you're seeking more support in the form of therapy or counseling, please reach out for resources. You can email us at or contact your county's mental health program. If you or your child is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text HOME to 741741. 

To learn more about Dr. Daniel Siegel's work, check out his website. 

Jul 20, 2018
Ep. 84: The Worst News - Living With Cancer As A Young Adult
In December of 2014, Eidan was a young professional moving up in her career as an engineer. In the last year and a half she’d gotten married, started a new job, and she and her wife Michelle were busy doing what they loved - going to live music, doting on their five animals, and spending time with friends and family. Then, on January 13th, 2015, everything changed. Eidan went for an MRI and before she made it back to her car, the doctor called and asked her to return to the hospital. They had seen a mass in her brain. The eventual diagnosis: a grade 3 astrocytoma wrapped around her brain stem.
Three and a half years later, Eidan is living with cancer. We talk about what it's like to be a young adult with this diagnosis that has no cure and no definitive course. We also discuss how she and her wife are making decisions about finances and the intentional way they choose to spend time and energy. Eidan shares suggestions for supporting those dealing with a cancer diagnosis, including what questions to ask (and not ask) and ways to show up that really make a difference.
The First Descents program we talk about provides life-changing outdoor adventures for young adults (18-39) impacted by cancer. Be sure to check them out!


Jul 10, 2018
Ep. 83: Emotional Hot Spots - Grief & Significant Days

When we are grieving there can be emotional hot spot days throughout the year. Some of these might be known quantities like a birthday or the anniversary of the death or diagnosis. Others are unexpected - random moments and days that catch you off guard and bring the grief into stark relief. How we approach these significant days can be as unique as we are. In this episode, we hear from a variety of people about how they navigate these days. It's not a recipe for how to do it the right way, because there is no right way, but just a variety of ideas and perspectives. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this episode!



Jun 25, 2018
Ep. 82: The Before & After Worlds - Grieving A Sudden Death

Five years ago Sarah was 23, doing what a lot of 23-year-olds do - working, hanging out with friends, starting life as a "real" adult, and living at home with her mom and dad. Then on a totally average day in May, Sarah walked into the house to find that her mom had an aortic aneurysm. The paramedics came and she was rushed to the hospital where she died later that night.

How do you go from being in one world - the world where your person is alive and washing dishes and folding laundry and calling your name down the hall - to another where this person no longer exists in their physical form? How do your brain and body and spirit even begin to make sense of that?

Sarah talks about the extremely close relationship she had with her mother and how she worked to bridge this before and after world of grief. 


Jun 08, 2018
Ep. 81: Grief In Your 20's - Cynthia Whipple
Over the course of 6 weeks when she was just 24, both of Cynthia Whipple's parents died, leaving her reeling and without a sense of home or family. We talk about what it's like to be grieving in your early 20's, the ways grief influences parenting, and how this experience inspired Cynthia's determination to create her own family. 
Resources we mention in our conversation:

Cynthia's essay on the site Option B.
Cara Blevin's empowHER organization for grieving girls
Video conversation about mother loss.   
May 17, 2018
Ep. 80: We Can't Know Everything - Staying Curious In Grief (Kara Jones)
Kara Jones is a practitioner working with grieving people and professionals supporting those in grief. She is also a heART maker, exploring creativity as an avenue for expanding our definitions of grief, meaning, and self-care. We talk about Kara's personal grief after the death of her son and how that experience opened the door to recognizing how access to care and support after a death is influenced and affected by so many factors including race, gender, class, geographic location, education level, and more. We discuss how important staying curious and aware are in working to acknowledge and address these inequities. 
Resources we reference in our conversation:
Kara's site for those in grief
Kara's site for professionals
by Ann Belford Ulanov
by Kimberly Acquaviva:
(Includes link to Beyond Self-Care Bubble Baths: A Vision for Community Care by Abeni Jones)
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255 
May 15, 2018
Ep. 79: Grief, 18 Years Later

Heat Smith's mother, Jan, died of cancer almost 18 years ago. Heat, who was 25 at the time, became her mother's full-time caregiver. We talk about their intense and complex relationship, how Heat honors her mother's memory, and what it's been like to become a brand new parent without her mom. 

Apr 27, 2018
Ep. 78: The Big And - Licity Collins

How do we hold intense joy and deep sorrow at the same time? This was the question facing singer-songwriter Licity Collins as she celebrated finalizing the tracks for her debut album, One Girl Town, on the same day her mother died from Alzheimer's disease. Licity talks about the complex relationship she had with her mother and what it was like to chronicle her grief in real time as part of her Open Diary project. To learn more about Licity's music, her Open Diary project, and purchase her album, One Girl Town, visit her website

Apr 25, 2018
Ep. 77: Grief & Attachment - Pearl Waldorf

How do our early experiences with attachment and primary attachment figures inform and influence our grief? With her signature combination of humor and insight, Pearl Waldorf, MA, joins us to talk about the ways in which grief shows up in her counseling office and how an understanding of attachment states can support people in grief. 

Pearl Waldorf, MA is an individual counselor in Portland, OR. To learn more about her practice, please visit Pearl Waldorf Counseling

Apr 22, 2018
Ep. 76: Who Died? Episode 5 - A Podcast Hosted By Grief Out Loud

Who Died? was created by Aimee Craig to give voice to the memories of those we carry with us. Each episode is about one person's life and death as told by a loved one. Episode 5 is a conversation with Phyllis DeCristofaro about her father Filipo (Philip). More information at

Apr 12, 2018
Ep. 75: Fully Embodied Grief - Suzanne Anderson

Just as she was on the verge of publishing her first book, Suzanne Anderson's husband died of suicide, tossing her into a very dark and difficult abyss. Her entire life was changed by this tragedy and she turned to the same self-care and support practices she taught as a writer, speaker, and leadership innovator. These practices enabled her to be present with each of the emotions and experiences connected to her grief. We talk about the shame and stigma associated with suicide and how she worked to dismantle both as she grieved her husband's death.

To learn more about Suzanne's work and her book, The Way of the Mysterial Woman - Upgrading How You Live, Love and Lead, visit her website, Mysterial Woman.


Mar 14, 2018
Ep. 74: Grieving A Miscarriage - Leslie Browning
Leslie Browning is a poet, publisher, novelist, and soon to be memoirist with the publication of her newest book, To Lose the Madness - Field Notes on Trauma, Loss and Radical Authenticity. Leslie is also a grieving mother, who miscarried twins in 2015. This loss served as a cracking open point, leading to months of struggle into and through childhood traumas, physical health crises, and mental illness. To Lose the Madness is a personal offering and a practice in radical authenticity - a willingness to speak out about what so often goes underground, and secreted away.  
To learn more about Leslie and her work, visit her website.  
Feb 22, 2018
Ep. 73: Who Died? Episode 4 - A Podcast Hosted By Grief Out Loud

In Episode 4 of Who Died? host Aimee Craig talks with Brandi Maxell about her mother. 

Music written and performed by Lida Husik.

Feb 08, 2018
Ep. 72: Inviting Grief Out Of The Whisper Corner - Megan Devine
Megan Devine, writer, speaker, and grief advocate discusses her work to bring grief out of the whisper corner. We talk about how to talk about grief, the death positivity movement, Megan's book, It's OK That You're Not OK - Meeting Grief & Loss in a Culture that Doesn't Understand, and what she terms the grief revolution. 
Ways to connect with Megan that we reference in the episode:
Article - Death Positivity in the Face of Grief on The Order of the Good Death website. 
Website - Refuge in Grief
Review of her book in The New York Times  - Understanding Grief: Megan Devine and the Grief Revolution in Jane Brody’s Wellness column at the New York Times.
Music written and performed by Leila Chieko
Feb 01, 2018
Ep. 71: How Schools Can Help When Someone Dies Of Suicide - Donna Schuurman

What do schools need to consider when someone in their community dies of suicide? There are many decisions to make that require compassion and care. How will they share the news? What kinds of emotional support are needed? As a school, what are ways to remember and honor the person who died? Donna Schuurman, Ed.D., Senior Director of Advocacy & Training at The Dougy Center, shares ideas and suggestions for school administrators, teachers, and counselors faced with creating a supportive response plan when someone dies of suicide. For additional tips and suggestions for schools when someone dies, listen to Episode 35: After A Death - 5 Tips For Schools 

You can also read our Tip Sheets:
Supporting Students After A Death - Tips For Teachers & School Personnel
Supporting Children And Teens After A Suicide Death 

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out for help. 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text Help to 741741

Music was written and performed by Leila Chieko.

Jan 24, 2018
Ep. 70: Peer Support vs. Therapy - How Do I Choose Which Is Right For Me?

When it comes to finding the right avenue of support in grief, it can be hard to sort through the options. How do you decide between a peer support group or individual, family, or group therapy? Our guest, Matt Modrcin, LCSW, specializes in individual, couples and family, and group psychotherapy. He has over 30 years experience as a clinician, educator, and trainer, he is a member of the American Family Therapy Academy and the National Association of Social Workers. He received both his M.S.W. and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare. Jana and Matt discuss similarities and differences between peer support and therapy and identify ways to decide which (or both) is the right fit when someone is grieving. 

Music written and performed by Leila Chieko and Doctor Turtle
Doctor Turtle/“Which That Is This?”
From the Free Music Archive

Jan 19, 2018
Ep. 69: Who Died? Episode 3 - A Guest Podcast Hosted By Grief Out Loud

Who Died? was created by Aimee Craig to give voice to the memories of those we carry with us. Each episode is about one person's life and death as told by a loved one. Episode 3 is a conversation with Lida Husik about her mother, Selma. More information at

Jan 05, 2018
Ep. 68: Grief & Art In Public Spaces - Max Collins

Some people are private in their grief, some are more public, and some put their grief onto large public murals. Artist Max Collins joins us to talk about his powerful work creating murals for and with people in grief. Max is collaborating with this year's Celebrate Silas, a family-friendly, non-competitive 5k run/walk in Portland, OR (Sunday, 3.4.18) started by Jodie Brauer in honor of her baby Silas who died a week after his first birthday. Max is collaborating with Jodie and Celebrate Silas to help participants create their own mural of a loved one who has died. Max and I also explore east coast vs. west coast grief and discuss if there really are any differences. 

To learn more about Celebrate Silas and Max's mural project visit their site. (
To register for the walk visit The Dougy Center. 
To contact Jodie -
To connect with Max and learn more about his work:

Music: “Which That Is This?” by Doctor Turtle
From the Free Music Archive
Music: “I Thought of Pills” by Lee Rosevere
From the Free Music Archive
Dec 21, 2017
Ep. 67: Creating Legacies In The Face Of A Terminal Illness
Rebecca Hobbs-Lawrence, Pathways Program Coordinator at The Dougy Center, joins us to talk about creating legacies when someone is dying. What is a legacy? What memories do children and teens value most? What prevents families from engaging in legacy activities? What can supportive friends and family do to help create these legacies? We explore these questions and share suggestions that can apply to anyone who wants to capture memories and experiences with those they love. 
For more suggestions, please visit:

Previous episodes with Rebecca Hobbs-Lawrence:

Music: “Which That Is This?” by Doctor Turtle
From the Free Music Archive
Music: “I Thought of Pills” by Lee Rosevere
From the Free Music Archive

Nov 30, 2017
Ep. 66: Who Died? Episode 2 - A Guest Podcast Hosted By Grief Out Loud

Who Died? was created by Aimee Craig to give voice to the memories of those we carry with us. Each episode is about one person's life and death as told by a loved one. Today's conversation is with Karol Collymore about her mother, Julia. More information at

Nov 23, 2017
Ep. 65: A Mother's Story - Sue Klebold

Sue Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two shooters at Columbine High School who, in 1999, killed twelve students and a teacher, and wounded more than 20 others before taking their own lives. In our conversation with we explore how current day mass tragedies continue to affect her. We also look at how tragedies like Columbine occur - and how someone's thinking can become suicidal and homicidal. Before publishing her book, A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, Sue spent 15 years excavating every detail of her family life, and trying to understand the crucial intersection between mental health problems and violence. Instead of becoming paralyzed by her grief and remorse, she worked to advance mental health awareness. Sue is donating all author’s profits from her book to organizations that promote brain health and prevent suicide.

Resources mentioned in this episode:
Sue's TED Talk, My son was a Columbine shooter. This is my story.
If you or someone you know needs help, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Music: "Which That Is This?" by Doctor Turtle
From the Free Music Archive
Music: "I Thought of Pills" by Lee Rosevere
From the Free Music Archive
Nov 20, 2017
Ep. 64: The Pull Of DNA - Grieving A Father You Never Met

Kimberly Warner's father died in a car accident just before she graduated from high school. Two decades later, a DNA test revealed he wasn't her biological father. Eager to understand more about the mystery of her beginnings, she began a search for her biological father, only to find out he disappeared in a sailing accident when she was ten years old. Unfolding this part of Kimberly’s history continues to be a complex and poignant adventure of self-discovery, threading together universal themes of identity, belonging, family secrets and the strange, unconscious pull of DNA that encourages us into our fullest expression.

The song featured in this episode, Have You Seen, was written and performed by her biological father, Charles Brauer, on his 1982 album, Home & Away. 
To learn more about Kimberly's photo series, short films, and amazing collection of felted artwork, UV Rex Series (which she created during an intense period of recuperation following her bike accident), visit
Kimberly would like to devote this podcast to her mom, whose integrity, love and commitment to truth have been nurturing and shaping Kimberly since her conception.
Nov 11, 2017
Ep. 63: Losing Someone Twice

One aspect of grief that rarely gets mentioned is losing someone twice- once in a life-altering circumstance and again when they die. This feeling can arise from a variety of circumstances including substance abuse, mental illness, the personality changes related to a physical illness, or other situation where there is a radical change in a relationship long before someone dies. For people left behind, this can add a complexity in understanding their feelings of grief. Our guest Caraline's older brother Bobby died of mental illness in 2016, 10 years after being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Six months after Bobby's death, Caraline had an epiphany. She realized she never dealt with her feelings of grief surrounding his diagnosis. A realization that would serve as a major turning point in her grief.

To learn more about NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) visit:
Oct 24, 2017
Ep. 62: Who Died? Episode 1 - A Guest Podcast Hosted By Grief Out Loud

After someone dies, we rarely get the chance to talk about how they lived because any conversation about them tends to focus on how they died or on how we are doing in our grief. The lack of opportunity to talk about our people - who they were, what they loved, how they influenced us - is what inspired Aimee Craig to create a new (amazing) podcast called Who Died? Grief Out Loud is guest hosting Aimee's podcast as it builds an audience - which we know won't take long at all! We'll be interspersing Who Died? episodes with our regular content and hope to post one each month. Who Died's first episode is a conversation with Doug Wells whose wife Neeley died in 2015. To learn more about Who Died? check out their site.

Oct 20, 2017
Ep. 61: Is It Grief Or Anger? Does It Matter?
What do big behaviors look like when a child is grieving? How do we best support them in these big behaviors and the corresponding big feelings? Heather Dorfman, Dougy Center staff member, joins us to talk about creating safety and connection in the midst of this swirl of feelings and behaviors.
For more tips and suggestions, check out these previous episodes:


Oct 06, 2017
Ep. 60: Online Grief Support For Teens - Asher Liu Of SLAP'D (Surviving Life After a Parent Dies)

When it comes to grief support for teens, SLAP'D (Surviving Life After a Parent Dies) is a unique online community where teens get support and ideas. directly from other teens, about how to cope with the death of a parent. Our guest, Asher Liu, is SLAP'D's (Surviving Life After a Parent Dies) current Teen Board Chair. Asher, whose father died in 2012, talks about what inspired his sister, Genevieve, to start SLAP'D (Surviving Life After a Parent Dies) and how being involved with the organization has changed his grief. He also shares suggestions for other teens who are new to grief. To learn more about SLAP'D (Surviving Life After a Parent Dies) and find ways to be part of the community, check out their website. (

Aug 23, 2017
Ep. 59: When Grief Gets Awkward

Interacting with others while grieving can be wildly confusing and tricky. You’ve probably been there. You run into someone you haven’t seen in a long time, likely in a public spot, and this someone doesn’t know the person in your life died. Maybe they ask an innocuous, “How are you?” or more specifically, “How's your mom, dad, husband, wife, partner, sibling, or friend… doing?” On the spot, you’re charged with either telling this person that your person died or faking a sudden and urgent task - maybe yelling out a “Hi! Sorry, I forgot I left my keys in the car. Bye!” In this episode, we talk with Caitlin Sweeney about these potentially awkward social interactions in the midst of grief. Caitlin’s mom died of a pulmonary embolism in November of 2015. Caitlin is the youngest of two and until recently, lived in the same town as her older sister and father.

Just a note of acknowledgment that this episode is not meant to shame anyone who’s found themselves voicing platitudes in the face of grief. Platitudes are what we’ve been socialized to say and in a moment when we don’t know what else to say, they tend to jump out of our mouths. 

Jul 21, 2017
Ep. 58: Culturally Aware Grief Support in the Latino Community
What does it mean to provide culturally aware grief support for families in the Latino community? We explore this question with Cristina Flores, Bilingual Ongoing Groups Manager and Flor Guebara, Spanish Outreach Manager, at Bo's Place in Houston, TX. Flor and Cristina discuss what they've learned about the barriers families face in accessing grief support and creative programming to help overcome those barriers. We also talk about developing an understanding of our own worldview and how that helps volunteers and others in the field practice being more culturally aware. 
To learn more about Flor and Cristina's amazing work at Bo's Place:


Jun 22, 2017
Ep. 57: Fine But Not Okay- Mindfulness In Grief - Joe DiNardo
In March of 2015 Joe DiNardo's wife, Marcia, died of pancreatic cancer. Before her death, he started writing a letter to her which would eventually become the beginning of his first book, A Letter to My Wife. In the midst of the pain of Marcia's diagnosis, illness, and death, Joe turned to his four decades of meditation and mindfulness practice to be as present as possible, both with his wife and his own heartbreak. 
To learn more about Joe and his story, visit his website:
Jun 13, 2017
Ep. 56: Grief In The Present Tense

John Mayer first encountered grief when his older brother Stephen suddenly died at age 29 in 2007. Nine years later, John's second daughter, River, died 90 minutes after her birth. John talks about how he keeps Stephen and River present in his daily life and the ways he and his family reached out to their community for support. John also describes how his older daughter, who was 2 when River died, is making sense of her sister's death. 

Jun 02, 2017
Ep. 55: Looking Back At Grief - Darwyn Dave

Our guest is Darwyn Dave, creator and host of the Dealing With My Grief podcast. In 1978, when Darwyn was ten years old, his father was killed. 38 years later, in January of 2016, Darwyn turned to podcasting as a way to explore grief and how it continues to shape the adult he is today. With his unique mix of candor and insight, Darwyn illuminates the interior world of what it was like to be 10 and suddenly without his father.
May 16, 2017
Ep. 54: Self-Compassion As Self-Care In Grief - Heather Stang

Heather Stang, thanatologist, mindfulness speaker, and author of Mindfulness & Grief: With Guided Meditations To Calm Your Mind & Restore Your Spirit, joins us to talk about cultivating self-compassion as a powerful avenue for self-care while grieving. She shares an accessible technique that you can use anywhere to get connected to your emotional and physical needs and bring ease and understanding to the some of the most painful aspects of grief. 

To learn more about Heather's amazing work and listen to guided meditations, visit her website. (

Apr 28, 2017
Ep. 53: When Someone You Love Is Dying - Supporting Children & Families

What do you tell children when someone in their life is diagnosed with an advanced serious illness? How do you support them and everyone else who is affected by this devastating turn of events? Mia Nyschens joins us to talk about her work with families who are faced with the knowledge that someone they love is going to die. Mia is part of The Dougy Center's Pathways Program, which provides peer support groups for children, teens, and their adult family members when someone has a life-limiting illness. 

To learn more about Pathways, visit our website.

For more tips on supporting children and teens when someone they love is dying, click here. 
If you know a teacher or school administrator who would like to learn how to support students, click here. 
Apr 06, 2017
Ep. 52: Grieving The Death Of A Partner As A Young Adult

What happens when the term widow or widower doesn’t fit because you weren’t officially married to the person who died? This is often the case for young adults who lose their partners - especially in their twenties and thirties. They find themselves grieving their person, the one they were building a life with, and also dealing with the ramifications of not being an official family member in the eyes of the law. In this episode, we talk with Lynsey, about the power of words and the ways she judged her own grief after her partner Jared died in 2009.


Mar 27, 2017
Ep. 51: Anger & Grief - Megan Devine

Megan Devine joins us again, this time talking about another shadow aspect of grief - anger. Anger shows up in many ways, including being angry at the person who died, at ourselves, and at someone or something we hold responsible for the death. Megan shares her personal and professional insight on the importance of acknowledging this anger and finding ways to navigate what can often be a very uncomfortable emotion. Megan is a teacher, speaker, psychotherapist, and also the author of the book, It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand, coming from Sounds True in September 2017. It's available for pre-order on Amazon and you can order it here. To learn more about Megan's practical, no-nonsense approach to grief, and her ability to guide people inside some of the most devastating experiences of life and love, check out her website. Want to listen to our first conversation with Megan about dating after the death of a partner? You can find it here.

Mar 15, 2017
Ep. 50: Grieving The Death Of A Best Friend As A Teen

While we usually focus on the death of a parent or sibling, this episode explores what it's like for teens when a best friend dies. The best friend connection is unique, particularly in adolescence. It's the person a teen feels closest to in the world, the person who knows everything about them, even parts that are hard to show other people. Today's guest, Debbie, was 15 when her best friend died the summer before they were to start high school. 

Feb 16, 2017
Ep. 49: Everyday Grief Rituals & Routines - Jodie Brauer

Jodie Brauer, founder of the annual Celebrate Silas Memorial 5K, joins us again as a guest to talk about the everyday rituals and routines that can be helpful in grief. These routines can be as unique as the relationship we had with the person who died. Head here to learn more about the Celebrate Silas Memorial 5K and to sign up or donate. 

Feb 10, 2017
Ep. 48: Grief Dreams - Joshua Black

What does it mean when grief becomes part of our dreams? In this episode, we talk with Joshua Black, a Ph.D. student at Brock University, about his groundbreaking grief dream research. Joshua shares his findings on themes in grief dreams, how to better remember dreams, and suggestions for changing negative ones. To learn more about Joshua and his research, check out his website: 

Be sure to listen to his Grief Dreams Podcast and consider joining his Facebook Grief Dreams Group.
Jan 20, 2017
Ep. 47: What We Talk About When We Talk About Death

A lot goes into talking about the people in our lives who have died. Who do we tell? What do we share, not only about the person and what they meant to us, but about how they died? The words we choose - passed, lost, died - are heavy with meaning and emotion. Sometimes we choose words to make other people feel less uncomfortable. Sometimes the words we choose are the only ones we can make ourselves say out loud. How we talk about the death can be as personal and unique as our grief. Our guest is Sarah whose brother died just over five years ago. Sarah shares about her struggles with talking about her brother's death and what she's discovered in deciding to be more open with her story.

Jan 06, 2017
Ep. 46: Children And Memorial Services - Holly Pruett
Holly Pruett, a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant who helps families to design individualized rituals for the end of life shares the wisdom she's acquired from years of working with people who are seeking to create meaningful ways to mark the major transition from life to death. In our conversation, Holly recounts examples of ways children have played roles in memorial services and gravesite ceremonies. She also provides suggestions for how to explain terms like burial and cremation to young children. You'll learn about possibilities around witnessed cremation, green burial, and caring for a loved one's body in the home. 
To find out more about Holly and her important work, check out her website, The Death Talk Project, and PDX Death Cafe
Dec 19, 2016
Ep. 45: Supporting Grieving Kids With Mindfulness - Tips For Teachers & Parents

Jill, a longtime educator, incorporates mindfulness and other strategies for emotional regulation in classroom settings. We discuss how grief, stress, and trauma affect our bodies, brains, and emotions. Jill also shares some easy to implement suggestions for both adults and children to increase awareness and ease in response to stress, grief, and trauma.   

Nov 18, 2016
Ep. 44: Redefining Comfort Food - Dr. Drew Ramsey

The term comfort food usually brings to mind mac and cheese, lasagna, brownies, and other combinations of sugar and simple carbohydrates. When someone dies, the casseroles start to arrive, even when grief can evaporate your appetite. In today's episode, we talk with Dr. Drew Ramsey - a psychiatrist, farmer, and advocate for using food to support our bodies and brains. Dr. Ramsey outlines what foods are truly comforting when it comes to grief. He also shares simple, affordable ideas for choosing foods that are nutrient dense. To learn more about Dr. Ramsey's work, please visit his website: where you can find great recipes and suggestions in his three books: Eat Complete50 Shades of Kale, and The Happiness Diet. Want to be part of National Kale Day on 10.5.17? Visit

Nov 11, 2016
Ep. 43: An Only Child, Grieving Her Only Parent - Rachel Ricketts

What does it mean to be a child, grieving the death of a parent, when you're technically not a child? Rachel Ricketts, author of the site loss&found, shares what it's like to grieve her mother, who died after a long illness. As a teen, she became her mother's primary caretaker, which meant Rachel grew up being both the child and a parent. She talks in this episode about how grief radically changed her, along with what she's found to be helpful in making her way through this life-altering experience. Be sure to check out Rachel's site at

Nov 04, 2016
Ep. 42: Secrets & Grief

When someone dies, many of us are left with if onlys. Some are interwoven with thoughts that we could have somehow prevented the death, "If only I had asked him to pick me up later," "If only I made her go to the doctor sooner." Others relate to wishing we had connected more with the person - talked to them, asked in-depth questions about their life. We long to hear their advice and know how they would respond to events in our lives or the world. Sometimes though, we discover something about the person that we never expected. We learn information that leaves us shocked, disappointed, and angry. In this episode, Matthew shares his story of finding out a secret about his father, who died of cancer in 2009.


Oct 28, 2016
Ep. 41: Grieving An Overdose (Part 3 of 3) - A Teen's Perspective

In this episode, the last in our 3 part series on grief after an overdose death, we talk with Liam who was just starting middle school when his brother died from a heroin overdose. Now a junior in college, Liam talks openly about what he experienced when the death first happened and how grief continues to be a part of his life. Liam shares suggestions for teens and their adults on how to talk about the death and provide ongoing support. 

If you are looking for a peer support program for teens in your home community, you can search here. For more tips on supporting grieving teens, check out this resource from The Dougy Center.

Oct 21, 2016
Ep. 40: Grieving An Overdose Death (Part 2 of 3) - The Loss Of A Child

In part two of our three-part series on grief after an overdose death, we talk with Samina, whose son Ayaz died of a heroin overdose. The episode starts with Samina reading a poem that came to her while sitting on an airplane. She describes the poem as coming through her, as if Ayaz was speaking and she was the one with the pen. We discuss the heartbreak Samina and her family faced as they tried to help Ayaz through his addiction. Samina also shares insights from her experience and describes what helped and didn't help in the early parts of grief. 

To learn more about their national networks of support groups for grieving parents, please visit The Compassionate Friends

Oct 16, 2016
Ep. 39: Grieving An Overdose (Part 1 of 3) - The Death Of A Brother

Based on numbers from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, heroin overdose deaths increased by six times from 2001 to 2014. In one state it is estimated that heroin overdose deaths jumped by 85% in the last two years. With this huge rise in overdose deaths, there is little out there on how to best support those who are left behind. Parents, children, siblings, partners, family members, and friends are left with broken hearts and so many questions. 

This episode is one in a 3-part series about grieving when someone dies of an overdose. We talk with Jessica whose younger brother died in 2011. In our conversation, we discuss what it's like when you didn't know the person was struggling with substance use along with the challenges of talking about the death with well-meaning others. 

Be sure to listen till the end for a special post-script by Jessica. 

Oct 10, 2016
Ep. 38: What Helps When You're Grieving - Ideas For Body, Mind, and Spirit

Jana is joined by Dougy Center staff member, Heather Dorfman, to talk about what helps (or might help) in grief, outside the realm of more formal support. As you listen to this episode, keep in mind:

  • These ideas may help for some, not others. What’s helpful can be unique for each person and very much informed by culture and other identities (just like grief).
  • Some may have more options around taking care of self and children than others. Support people can focus their efforts on creating opportunities for their grieving loved ones to engage in self-care and compassion.
  • Grief is holistic – involves emotions, body, mind, spirit/heart, community/relationships. Engaging in intentional activities to support each of these dimensions can be helpful.
  • Consider writing down the ideas you’d like to try - it can sometimes be tough to remember them in the moment they’re needed.
  • If accepting help from others is challenging, consider that your acceptance of support is often experienced as such a gift by your friend or loved one – so do it for their sake if necessary! 

Body/movement –

  • Grief can show up in our bodies as sluggishness, excess energy, stomach and sleep upsets
    • Walking, hiking or otherwise moving and spending time outside
    • Dancing, yoga, swimming
    • Punching pillows/bed
    • Knitting
    • Setting a fitness goal that is safe for you
    • Pay attention to what sorts of foods help with stomach upsets, and activities that help with settling into sleep and staying asleep at night.

Mind –

  • May experience a slow/foggy feeling in the brain, inability to concentrate/focus, confusion, rumination. Activities that help with focus, connection, and slowing things down can help.
    • Learning/sharing new facts. Making calculations – concrete activities
    • Reading (grief-related and non-grief books), podcasts, tv shows
    • Meditating
    • Crosswords/word searches/Sudoku/other games
    • Debating

Emotional/spiritual/social –

  • Many receive support from a spiritual or other community. Your community might look like being in the trees, at the ocean, in a gym or library, participating in a support group, mosque, temple or church. Here are some other ideas:
    • Meditation
    • Ceremony/ritual, which can offer a sense of control, routine/structure, marking important experiences, dates
    • Making or listening to music; making/experiencing other art (even coloring sheets). It may be helpful to make the activity simple for you
    • Humor – which might look like dark, silly, or wry humor
    • Cooking for self and others – or not cooking!
    • Volunteering, which can offer the opportunity to step out of your own story for a while

To find more formal grief support in your community, visit our website to search for help near you.

Aug 02, 2016
Ep. 37: How To Help Children And Teens Grieving A Violent Death

Whether it is a murder, murder-suicide, or a being killed by a driver under the influence, violent death adds multiple layers of complexity to grief. Jana and Joan discuss what children and teens may experience, along with suggestions for how to help. For additional information, refer to our Tip Sheet: Supporting Children and Teens After a Violent Death and our interactive workbook for children. For help with talking to children about mass shootings and other large-scale tragedies, we have two resources written by The Dougy Center's Senior Director for Advocacy and Training, Donna Schuurman, Ed.D., F.T. 1) Dear Lily: a letter to a 12-year old in response to America's most recent tragedy and 2) Talking with children about tragic events.

Jul 05, 2016
Ep. 36: Grieving My Dad - A Son's Story

In the two years since his dad died, Mike bought a house, got married, and is expecting his first child. This episode explores what it means to grieve the person you would have turned to the most for advice and guidance on these major milestones in life. It's the story of a son whose father's values, principles, and personality continue to influence who he is and how he lives. 

May 26, 2016
Ep. 35: After A Death - 5 Tips For Schools

Dougy Center staff member, Joan Schweizer Hoff, joins Jana to talk about the top 5 things school administrators will want to consider when a student, teacher, or staff member dies.

Top 5 Things:

  1. Delivering the news - How do you let the community know? What do you say/not say?
  2. The first days back at school - Suggestions for supportive activities.
  3. Memorial activities - What types of memorials do schools consider? Is it better to do something temporary or permanent?
  4. Identifying students who need additional help - Why it’s important to pay attention to all students, not just those close to the person who died.
  5. Ongoing support - What can your school do in the short and long-term to be helpful to students and staff?

Additional resources:

Supporting the Grieving Student - DVD -

For samples of letters to send to staff/families and a school crisis response plan:

When Death Impacts Your School - A guide for school administrators

Tangible suggestions for teachers:

Helping the Grieving Student - a Guide for Teachers



Apr 25, 2016
Ep. 34: The Thing I Never Thought I'd Do Again

There is a lot that goes unsaid in grief, particularly when it comes to dating after the death of a partner. Jana talks with Megan Devine, grief thinker, speaker, and author of the audio book, When Everything is Not Okay: Practices to Help You Stay in Your Heart & Not Lose Your Mind, about what comes up when grief and dating overlap. When do you know you're ready? How do you talk with your children? 

Be sure to check out Megan's website: along with her talk at the World Domination Summit, 2015: and a recent article on Huffington Post:

Mar 23, 2016
Ep. 33: The Importance Of Honesty - Talking With Children About Death

As a child Rachel Stephenson learned first hand the pain of not knowing the truth about her mother's death. The secrecy in her family led to a disconnection with her remaining parent and added layers of confusion and fear. In this episode, Rachel joins Jana with suggestions for how to talk openly and honestly with children about grief and loss. 

Be sure to watch Rachel's TEDxCUNY Talk: Against Grieving in Silence -

and check out her blog Dear Dead Mother -


Mar 11, 2016
Ep. 32: The Youngest Grievers

How do we talk with the youngest children about death? What words should we use? Can they even understand? In this episode Jana talks with Joan Schweizer Hoff about what helps (and what doesn't) when it comes to supporting preschoolers after a death. While children this age don't have the cognitive capacity to fully grasp the permanence and universal nature of death, concrete explanations, patience, and nurturing provide a foundation of support as they wrestle with understanding what it means when someone they love dies.  

For more information, check out The Dougy Center's Supporting Grieving Preschoolers Tip Sheet 

Feb 10, 2016
Ep. 31: Birthdays & Anniversaries - Grief And Significant Days

For those who are grieving, birthdays and anniversaries of a loved one's death can loom large. What we do to mark these days is as individual and unique as our grief and the relationship we shared with the person who died. In this episode, Jana talks with Jodie about how her family approaches the birthday and anniversary of her baby Silas's death. For the past five years, Jodie and her family have organized Celebrate Silas, a community 5K run/walk that bring friends, family, and the larger community together to honor Silas and his birthday. 

This year's event is happening on 3.6.16 in Portland, OR. If you would like to participate or contribute, you can register and donate here:

100% of your donation goes to The Dougy Center and is fully tax deductible.  If you cannot join us for the walk or run, please consider celebrating in spirit by making a donation to help us meet our fundraising goals.


Jan 25, 2016
Ep. 30: The Private Grief Of A Public Death

The public and often sensationalized nature of a murder-suicide can overshadow the heartbreak and grief of those left behind. In this episode, Stephanie, a grieving mother and wife, joins Jana to talk about the deaths of both her husband and daughter. Stephanie's story offers ideas and suggestions for others facing similar losses. 


Jan 20, 2016
Ep. 29: When Grief Catches Up With You

V was six when her father died from cancer, but it wasn't until two decades later that she consciously engaged with her grief. A seeming random encounter at a local craft store cracked open emotions she wasn't able to explore as a child, leading to an avalanche of grief she never expected. As an adult, V turns to art and connections with others who are grieving for solace and understanding. 

Dec 30, 2015
Ep. 28: Supporting Children Grieving A Suicide Death

"How do I tell my children?" When someone dies of suicide, parents and caregivers want to know how to talk with their children about the death. Jana and Joan Schweizer Hoff explain why it's so important to tell children the truth about suicide and offer concrete suggestions for how to talk with them. For additional information, please see The Dougy Center's Suicide Resources Tip Sheet

Dec 14, 2015
Ep. 27: Grief And The Holidays

Under the best of circumstances, the November & December holidays can be stressful. Add in grieving a loss and they can feel completely overwhelming. In this episode, you'll hear suggestions for navigating this time of year and ideas for incorporating memories of those who have died into your holiday traditions. The Dougy Center's Getting Through the Holiday Tip Sheet and Holiday Plan Worksheet Jana and Rebecca refer to can be found here:


Nov 19, 2015
Ep. 26: Grief And Complex Relationships (Part 3) - The Death Of A Parent

The last in a three-part series talking with those grieving the death of someone when the relationship was complex, difficult, or challenging. Jana talks with Diana about her father who died after seven years of no contact with him. Her mother, whom she was very close with, died 13 years earlier. 

Nov 16, 2015
Ep. 25: Grief And Complex Relationships (Part 2) - The Death Of A Sibling

This is the second episode in a three-part series about grieving when the relationship with the person who died was difficult or challenging. Jana talks with Ashley, whose relationship with her brother was very conflicted. In the year before his sudden death, they began to reconcile, adding another layer to the complexity of grief when he died. 

Nov 07, 2015
Ep. 24: Grief And Complex Relationships (Part 1) - The Death Of An Ex-Husband
This is the first in a three-part series about grieving when the relationship with the person who died was complex or conflicted. In this episode, Jana is joined by Jenny, a mother of three who experienced the loss of her husband and their father. Jenny talks about how her grief was affected by the fact that she and her husband were recently separated when he died. She also offers advice and suggestions for other parents and caregivers in similar situations. 


Nov 04, 2015
Ep. 23: Language, Suicide, And Stigma (Part 3)

Why do people die of suicide? Join Jana and Donna Schuurman for a discussion about this complex question. 

Two prominent theories mentioned by Donna:

Edwin Shneidman

“Suicide is caused by psychache. Psychache refers to the hurt, anguish, soreness, aching, psychological pain in the psyche, the mind. Suicide occurs when the psychache is deemed by that person to be unbearable.” 

Reference: Suicide as Psychache: A clinical approach to self-destructive behavior, (1995), p.51. 

Thomas Joiner

1. Perceived Burdensomeness

2. Thwarted Belongingness

3. Acquired capacity/decreased fear of pain of death

Reference: Why People Die by Suicide (2007). 

Sep 24, 2015
Ep. 22: Grief And Becoming a Parent - An Interview With What's Your Grief

Eleanor and Litsa from What’s Your Grief join us as special guests to talk about becoming a parent when you’re grieving the death of your own parent or sibling. Listen in for suggestions on how to help your children build a relationship with the memory of the person who died and ways to make time for your own grief and self-care. 


Resources for talking with children and teens about death:


Article mentioned by Eleanor:


Book mentioned by Litsa:

The Disappearance is a memoir by Genevieve Jurgensen whose two young daughters were killed in a car crash. She seeks ways to help her other children, who were born after the crash, to know and feel connected to their sisters. 

Sep 14, 2015
Ep. 21: Turning Points In Grief

Have you ever struggled with the idea of finding closure in grief? Given grief’s ongoing and evolving nature, the search for final closure can be a misguided pursuit, one that leaves us disheartened and even ashamed. In this episode you’ll hear from a variety of grieving young adults as they break open the idea of closure and identify significant turning points in their process. You’ll learn about moments of clarity, confusion, new understandings, and what it's like when the sharp emotions rise up again. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to this episode.

Sep 08, 2015
Ep. 20: Grief And Developmental Disabilities

When someone dies, it creates upheaval in the support system, leading to unfamiliar territory in terms of how to help those with different perceptions and expressions of grief such as language, repetitive gestures or patterning, emotional disconnect, and searching behaviors. Although the outward expression of someone’s grief may be difficult to recognize, the need for their grief to be acknowledged and supported is universal. In this episode, Jana talks with Rebecca Hobbs-Lawrence, a staff member at The Dougy Center, about ways to support children and adults with developmental disabilities in their grief

Suggestions for supporting children or adults with developmental disabilities in their grief:

  1. Acknowledge the loss by being present and responsive to their verbal and behavioral cues.

  2. Affirm that they are not alone, name the support people they have.

  3. Maintain a consistent routine as much as possible. Give a lot of advanced notice for when their daily routine may change or be unusual.

  4. Facilitate activities or rituals that will acknowledge the grief. This can help children and adults to develop coping strategies and find ways to remember the person who died.



Finding Your Own Way to Grieve: A Creative Activity Workbook for Kids and Teens on the Autism Spectrum by Karla Helbert, 2012


Everyone Grieves: Stories about Individuals with Disabilities and Grief by Marc A. Markell, 2013


Helping People with Developmental Disabilities Mourn: Practical Rituals for Caregivers by Marc A. Markell, 2005


Lessons in Grief & Death: Supporting People with Developmental Disabilities in the Healing Process by Linda Van Dyke, 2003

Aug 07, 2015
Ep. 19: Advanced Serious Illness

How do we help children when a family member is dying? The diagnosis of a terminal illness brings uncertainty, fear, and heartbreak into their lives, leaving the adults who love them unsure of what to do or say. In this episode, Jana talks Tony Grace about how to best support children when a family member has an advanced serious illness.

Here are some suggestions for ways to talk with them about the illness and activities to help them process their reactions, fears, and concerns.

  • Children need space, time, and language to understand the changes that are taking place and that will take place in the future. If you have multiple kids of different ages, it is important to use words and phrases that are age appropriate for each of them. When communicating as a family, a good rule of thumb is to engage in conversation on a level so that the youngest child can understand, Have separate conversations with the older children and invite each child to have an individual conversation through the weeks and months ahead.

  • In those conversations mentioned above, share what is happening, why it is happening, and what is most likely to happen if that is known. Be specific with names and diagnosis, but give simple explanations. It is ok if you don’t know the answers to their questions or even to your own questions.  You can make a list of questions for the next doctor’s visit or visit a local library. Librarians are a tremendous resource and they can help you and your child look for age-appropriate materials, videos, and references. Additionally, many hospitals now include a family resource center or a patient medical resource center. Ask your doctor or nurse if your facility has one.

  • Don’t be afraid to mention the word death; it is not giving up on hope but a recognition that we are all mortal beings. If we are alive, our death will be inevitable at some point. Being able to talk about death, whether it be about our own, someone else’s death, or the death of an animal, can actually provide a very deep and lasting connection between family members.

  • In mentioning hope, it is good to be reminded that hope can and will be redefined over and over and over again. Hope may go from wanting to live long enough to you see your children’s children to hoping that your children will grow up to be an emotionally healthy and capable adult having being taught by your role modeling.

  • It is also helpful to be reminded that our stories don’t end when we die, they continue in the lives of our loved ones...including our children.  The illness and perhaps death of this family member will be part of that story, but it won’t be the final chapter.The current story that is being created is being “authored” not just by the illness, but by you, your family, and the people in your life. There is an opportunity for the story to be written in a way that can be beneficial for each person involved. Families will need to determine what that specifically looks like but generally, it looks like each person feeling informed, connected, valued, and able to express themselves.

  • Many children and teens have vocalized the need to have a tangible connection to their sick family member throughout their lives. Some have asked for a memory box where they can put pictures, clothing, and other personal items. Others have wished for letters, videos, or tidbits of advice they can access as they get older. One family collected stories of the person who was ill so that their children can learn about who their father was from others. Another family had children videotape and interview the person who was ill, so in the future, they can be reminded of their interactions.

  • Children with a sick family member often exhibit a lot of energy and in need of a lot of attention…and paired with a home that typically needs quiet 24/7 and focuses on the person who is ill, can often leave children feeling isolated and their energy stifled. Help identify positive ways to daily release that energy...running, sports, martial arts, gardening, dancing, etc… Neighbors, friends, and extended family members can be a great resource to help keep children active when a primary caregiver’s attention or energy is needed elsewhere.

  • No one likes to feel helpless, including children and teens. Many will want to be able to care for the person who is ill, including young children. Exploring ways that can demonstrate they care, can be really helpful it helping ensure that each person feels valued. Contributions can be as simple as the drawing of a picture to hang in the person’s room, to getting water, reading a book, or massage lotion onto the person’s skin.

  • For friends and family, it may be hard for families with a person who is ill to ask for help, but getting through all the challenges of a serious illness without any support is unlikely. The illness takes away many choices families have, so for those who want to help, offering to help with a menu of possible activities, rather than offering advice, or just doing something, is often advisable.  Once something has been talked about, ask how the person would like it done. This also provides another opportunity for the family to have agency over their lives.

Jul 24, 2015
Ep. 18: Grieving The Death Of A Sibling - Tips For Supporting Children

Jana talks with Rebecca Hobbs-Lawrence, a staff member at The Dougy Center, about ways to support children who experience the death of a brother or sister. The loss of a child shatters assumptions parents hold regarding their role as protector and their beliefs about the natural order of children outliving their parents. A child’s death can cause tremendous upheaval in families as a parent’s overwhelming grief pulls them away from their surviving children, often leaving siblings alone to deal with their own grief. Children and teen siblings grieve a unique relationship, one of friend and foe, a companion that will travel alongside in life’s adventures. After a sibling death, children and teens may question their own importance, wondering, “Am I not enough?”  

Suggestions for supporting a grieving sibling:
  1. Grieve together as a family, allowing space for the individual expression of grief.
  2. Celebrate together, choosing important days and rituals of remembrance.
  3. Talk with each other about anything and everything.
  4. Be together. It’s easy for parents or kids to isolate from each other. Try to find things to do together.
  5. Seek out support.
For additional suggestions, check out our Tip Sheet about siblings.
Jul 10, 2015
Ep. 17: Grieving A Suicide Death

Jana talks with Erin Shuster about the death of her brother from suicide. A former young adult group participant and volunteer, Erin talks openly about the unique aspects of grief when someone dies of suicide and how she learned to identify her needs and advocate for herself. 

For information about our groups for young adults, visit:

Know a child who is grieving? The Dougy Center Workbook: After a Suicide Death: an Activity Book for Grieving Kids is designed for those ages 5-12.
Other great resources for suicide grief support:
Jun 26, 2015
Ep. 16: Grief And Father's Day

Jana and Joan Schweizer Hoff talk about navigating Father’s Day while grieving. Joan, a long-time staff member at The Dougy Center, shares both personal and professional experiences in constructing new ways to approach the holiday. Whether you’re grieving the loss of a father, or parenting a child who is,  some of these suggestions may be helpful:

  • Know that for many, the lead up is the worst part.

  • If you are supporting a grieving child, talk with them ahead of time about what they would like to do or not do.

  • Let children know that it’s okay to still want to celebrate and it’s okay to not want to celebrate. Don’t force a child to pick another adult to honor, unless that’s something they want to do.

  • If you are a grieving parent, consider whether and how you want to engage with the holiday - perhaps you recreate a tradition you shared with your child or do something new for yourself.

  • Come up with a plan - even if that plan is to do nothing. If you do want to do something, consider doing something that connects you with who the person was and what they meant to you.  

  • Consider a social media fast for the day - or - plan what you want to post.

  • Identify others in your life who feel fatherly - and - it’s okay if you don’t feel this way towards anyone. Don’t pressure yourself to put someone in that role if it feels inconsiderate, impossible, or dishonoring of your father.

  • Plan something for yourself - hike, brunch with friends, a trip out of town. …. decide what environment you want to be in, knowing that you are likely to run into dads and families.

  • Get together with others who are grieving.

  • Focus on a category - say food, movies, activities, color, or music - choose a few from one or all the categories that your dad or child loved. If you don’t know, and many people don’t, go with your best guess or pick the ones you love.

  • Volunteer - doing for others can often take us out of our own experience and create a sense of contribution, belonging, and connection.
Jun 12, 2015
Ep. 15: Language, Suicide, And Stigma (Part 2)

Jana and Donna Schuurman discuss terms to avoid, and what to say instead, when talking about suicide. Here is a link to download our Tip Sheet on how to support children and teens who have had someone die of suicide.

Terms not to use (and why):

1. “Committed Suicide”

Committed suicide,’ with its implications of criminality, is a carryover from the Middle Ages, when civil authorities, finding the victim beyond their reach, punished the survivors by confiscating their property. Victims were forbidden traditional funerals and burials, and suicide was considered both illegal and sinful by the laws and religions of the time.

2. “Completed Suicide” or "Successful Suicide"

These terms make it seem like something to celebrate: He completed this! She was successful!

3. “Suicided”

We don't say someone "cancered" or "car accident-ed"...

4. Using "suicide" as a noun (as in "he was a suicide") 

This reduces the person to the mode of their death. 

Better terms:

1. Died by Suicide

The Compassionate Friends was the first to officially adopt the terms ‘died by suicide’ or ‘died of suicide. ’

2. Died of Suicide 

Here's a general Rule of Thumb: If you can’t substitute the word “Cancer,” you may want to reconsider how you're using the word "suicide." He died of cancer: He died of suicide.

3. State how the person died (jumped off a bridge; took an overdose); of course, this is the personal preference of family members, something not all will choose to do)

4. “Suicide Death”

 Advocated by the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. (Some find it repetitive in that suicide IS by definition a death. (Whereas, for example “cancer” by definition does not always mean a death.)

May 29, 2015
Ep. 14: The Death Of Both Parents: Grieving As A Young Adult

Jana talks with Jenna, a participant in The Dougy Center's group for young adults, about the experience of losing her mom when she was a child and then her father, just before the start of her senior year at college. 

For information about our groups for young adults, visit:

Other great resources for young adults who are grieving:



Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers

The Long Goodbye, by Meghan O'Rourke

May 18, 2015
Ep. 13: Grieving Through Mother's Day

Tips for grieving through Mother’s Day

  • Whether you want to acknowledge the day or want to ignore it, know that the lead up, for many people, is the worst part. It can help to make a plan for the days leading up to Mother’s Day.
  • If you are supporting a grieving child, talk with them and their teacher ahead of time about possible activities at school. Work with the teacher and the child to come up with alternatives and options. 
  • Let children know they can still celebrate Mother’s Day - and that it’s okay if they don’t want to. Don’t force children to pick another adult to honor, unless it’s something they want to do. 
  • Know that there will be an inundation of advertisements in many places. If needed, come up with some strategies to navigate shopping and social media. 
  • Consider a social media fast for the day - or - plan what you want to post. Maybe choose a favorite picture and think ahead about what you want to write. 
  • Identify other women in your life you would like to celebrate- and - it’s okay if you don’t want to. Don’t pressure yourself to put someone in that role if it feels inconsiderate, impossible, or dishonoring of your mom. 
  • Plan something for yourself - massage, hike, brunch with friends, etc. Decide what environment you want to be in, knowing that you are likely to run into moms and families.
  • Get together with or reach out to others who are grieving the loss of their mom. 
  • Focus on a category - say food, movies, activities, color, or music - choose a few from one or all the categories that your mom loved. Plan part or all of the day to do something with those elements. Maybe it’s eating a favorite meal while watching a loved movie and wearing their favorite color. This is a great one to include children. 
  • Volunteer - doing for others can often take us out of our own experience and create a sense of contribution, belonging, and connection. 
May 01, 2015
Ep. 12: Helping Children And Teens Cope With Fear After A Death

After a death, it’s not unusual for children to have an increased sense of fear and anxiety. (It’s not unusual in adults, either.) When bad or sad things happen, it’s natural to be afraid more bad things will happen. The questions and concerns are normal: How will we live without the person who died? Who will take care of me?  Will someone else die? Where do people go after they die?  Will I die too?

There's PDF tip sheet included with the podcast. The tipsheet can also be found here:

Apr 17, 2015
Ep. 11: Who Am I Now?

Losing and finding yourself in grief.

Brendon and Jana delve into the many layers of loss that we grapple with when someone dies and how that loss can change us. When we grieve, we miss the person and who they were in our lives. We miss who we were with them. Often we miss who we were in general before the death. As we think towards the future, we grieve for the events and occasions that we won’t share with the person.

Over time, people in grief may start to see themselves differently. What they value, prioritize, and want in life can change radically.

These changes occur on many levels:

  • Spiritual shifts
  • Difficulty remembering/accomplishing small tasks.
  • Want to be social/difficult to be around people
  • More compassionate/less able to tolerate everyday drama
  • Put more time and energy into relationships
  • Less concerned with work and material success/more immersed in work
  • Can’t seem to exercise/exercise all the time – need it
  • Increased interest in movies/books/songs about grief – vs. can’t tolerate them at all

As you sort through what is different, it can be helpful sit with a series of questions:

  • How do you see yourself now?
  • How do you see the world?
  • Which of these changes do you value?
  • What strengths have you discovered?
  • Where are the places in your life that you need additional support?
  • What parts of yourself do you miss and want to re-cultivate?

Here is a related article on The Dougy Center web site.

Apr 03, 2015
Ep. 10: Seasons Change

Seasons change, but what about my grief?

There can be a lot of emphasis on special occasions – anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, etc. when it comes to events that influence grief. Seasons and other markers of time can exert a similar effect, but can be confusing for those who are grieving – and those who support them. With an anniversary or a birthday, there’s a specific day to connect with an uptick in distress, but with a season, it can be harder to pinpoint. In this episode we talk about seasonal influences on grief and things to think about when navigating those changes. We highlight the approach of spring and how it can be particularly challenging time for those who are grieving. We also share ideas for ways to cope with the shift of seasons. 

If you are grieving, it can be helpful to think through:

  • What are the associations you have with this season and the person who died? 
  • What role did the person who died play in your life during this season?
  • What traditions do you want to keep? What new ones do you want to make?

If you are in a support role, be aware of the events in each season that can be challenging for those who are grieving. 

Spring – 

  • In the frenzy of excitement and high energy enthusiasm, grieving people can feel left behind, not wanting to bring other people down. 
  • Being surrounded by the growth and change in the natural world can intensify a longing for grief to change. On the other hand, the march of time can be difficult as grievers worry they are leaving the person or their memory behind.  
  • Season of school graduations. 

Summer – 

  • Time of outdoor activities and family vacations. 
  • With children out of school it can be a stressful time for solo parents and children too.  
  • Tends to be the season of weddings. 

Fall – 

  • Darkening days, Halloween and all the imagery of death and ghosts.
  • The sounds and smells of the end of something. 
  • Thanksgiving. 

Winter – 

  • Winter holidays emphasis on family.  
  • Hunkering down in the weather can make it difficult to connect with others. 
  • Here in Portland, there can be solidarity in complaining about the weather and the ill effects of never seeing the sun. 

What helps?

  1. Sometimes just knowing this is a common experience can bring relief. 
  2. If you know someone who is grieving, ask them how the change of seasons is for them. Remember to avoid platitudes meant to reassure. 
  3. If you’re caring for a grieving child or teen, open up a conversation about seasonal memories. Are there events or trips or other special parts of the season that your child is worried about missing or wants to skip?
  4. Look over your calendar, take note of any dates associated with particular memories, and make a plan for what you want to do during the lead up or actual day/week. Often our bodies remember before our brains catch up, so can help decrease confusion by making it visible. 
  5. Connect with others who are grieving, solace in community.
  6. For kids/teens, the I Remember poem can be a good activity. Kids get to think of a memory or memories they have of the person in each season.  In the summer I remember… In the fall I remember… In the winter I remember… In the Spring I remember…
  7. Think of what you enjoyed in the past, or what you would like to explore that connects to each season. Gardening, hiking trip, book club, class…etc.
  8. Love music? Create a playlist for the approaching season. Can be something to turn to in times when you feel lost/untethered. 
  9. Take advantage of the thaw to move – not your house (unless that’s what is happening). Move your body. Can be anything from a quick walk, to biking, to running to playing Frisbee in the park. Physical exercise is vital to taking care of your mental, emotional, and physical self. 
Mar 19, 2015
Ep. 9: Language, Suicide, And Stigma (Part 1)

"The language we use to describe events not only reflects our own attitudes but influences those attitudes as well as the attitudes of others."

--Sommer-Rotenberg, D.

Donna Schuurman, Senior Director of Advocacy and Training at The Dougy Center discusses some of the difficulties of language and stigma surrounding deaths by suicide.

Mar 13, 2015
Ep. 8: Living In Dying, Dying In Living: Grieving Before Death

Living with an advanced serious illness


All in all, even under the best circumstances where families have substantial financial resources and savings, great medical and life insurances, medical knowledge,  access to great health care and multiple caregivers, an articulated living will or end of life directives,  and emotional/spiritual support, it will be an extremely challenging and life altering experience.


Challenges and complexities


This is not an all inclusive list, but meant to highlight only a few of the challenges:

  • High Anxiety: Research has shown that children with an immediate family member who is dying have extremely high levels of anxiety and for good reason, death is ever present; Anxiety can be manifested in many forms; restlessness, “acting out,” anger, irritability, stomach aches,  nausea,  in-attention,  “on edge,” emotional distancing or clinginess to name a few.

  • High Stress: Family members may respond to the stress with big energy and little energy or varying between the two extremes. They will also be trying to cope with the stress in various ways, sometimes those ways will conflict with each other.

  • Exhaustion: There is usually complete emotional, physical, mental, social, and spiritual exhaustion.

  • Role Conflicts: The demands of the illness almost always creates role conflicts for each family member whether that is between  the role as a spouse or the role of a parent, spouse or caregiver, son/daughter pr caregiver, employee or family member;  teen/kid or child. This is one of the greatest contributors of stress.

  • Financial Setbacks: Loss of income and increased medical expenses & secondary care expenses usually confront most families.

  • Relationship Issues:  Life with an illness usually demands drastic changes in where one can spend time and invest energy. Maneuvering through social, professional, and familial relationship can be a challenge, even in a supportive environment.

  • Ethical Dilemmas: Most families will be confronted to make decisions that they never thought they would have to make or having to decide between options that are not favorable or agreeable. There may be differences of opinion within the immediate family. In addition,  many others will offer unsolicited advice when those dilemmas arise.

So what can a family do?


  • Keep open, honest, and clear communication in all directions. This includes between adults but also between adult caregivers and children. Most often adults refrain from sharing the truth with children because of our own fears rather than because of their lack of ability to handle the truth. As long as we are sincere, open to answering questions, repeatedly at times, and keep it to their age level, the long-term benefits of sharing the truth far outweigh the immediate benefits of concealing information or misrepresenting the truth.  Never lie to a child.

  • Communicate often.  Share what you know as you know it, even if that means you need to share that you don’t know anything.  You build trust with children when you communicate often about what it is going on and what you do know.

  • Give children tasks and responsibilities to reduce feelings of helplessness. No one likes to feel helpless, even kids. Soliciting their help and offering choices to help care for the person with the illness can help foster a sense of empowerment.

  • Provide structure and routine. Children and adults both need routine, especially in the midst of the chaos that so often ensues around medical issues. Provide as much structure as you can.

  • Leave room to be a kid/teen. The person who is dying is important, but they are one aspect of the child’s and/or teen’s life. Children need opportunities to play, have fun, be loud, and enjoy the company of other children. Teens also need opportunities for independence and socializing with other teens.

  • Role model being ok with not knowing. There will be a lot of unknowns.  Children need to see that it is ok not to know everything but still have confidence that something can be done, whatever that something may be.

  • Advocate for your child, your partner, and yourself. Unfortunately, the medical system is not entirely person-centered. Furthermore, our society doesn’t handle death, dying, and grief issues well. Therefore, you may have to step outside your comfort zone and speak up for what you and your family may need.

  • Acknowledge and validate emotions including guilt, fear, and anger. There will be many thoughts and emotions that each family member will experience at differing levels and at various times. All of them are normal and ok!

  • Forgive.  Families are not perfect. When we are in relationships with others, we are bound to disappoint and be disappointed. Acknowledging your human limitations and giving yourself permission to not just disappoint others but also yourself at times, can address some of the guilt one might experience.  

  • Anticipate future needs/wants. If it is possible, this would include preserving conversations between the person who is dying and the surviving family member and keeping memorabilia.  If it is a parent who is dying this could include writing letters of memories or videotaping advice for future milestones and events.

  • Finally, find allies and peers. This might mean finding new people or touching base with people you might otherwise may not know, but surrounding yourself and the children in your care with people who understand and empathize with your situation, can be the best medicine we can think of! If there was something else, we do be pursuing that.

What can someone else do who wants to support a family that has someone dying?


  • Be open.  Take a posture of listening without trying to fix, judge, rescue, minimize, advise, or silver line.  If one can do this, and do it well, it will go along way in changing a family’s experience.

  • Take your cue from the family; Each family is unique and each family member is unique and what works in one situation may not work in another. So what may have helped you may not help someone else, so be open to doing or being whatever the family might need at the time.

  • Only offer your advice/opinion if it is asked for. As much as we might want to share with the family our thoughts and opinions, that is not what most families need or want. We may be disappointed if they don’t ask us, but we should leave the opportunity to ask, rather than for us to share.

  • Offer to help with specific tasks. Offering to transport family members, mow the lawn, care give, or go out for a cup of coffee are great tangible ways to say I care.  

  • Don’t have any strings attached when you do offer support or communicate your care. Be flexible and patient. If you are not taken up on your offer or responded to, wait a few weeks and reach out again.  A simple “ I am thinking of you” communicates a lot without any added burden or pressure for the family to respond.

  • Provide opportunities for respite and normalcy. Restaurant gift cards, coffee breaks, watching a movie/ sports, etc… whatever the family interests were before the illness will be a challenge to do in the midst of the illness. Providing opportunities to reconnect back to those things, however creative it might have to be,  are generally appreciated.

For more information about our Pathways Program or how to support a family with an advanced serious illness, please contact us

Mar 05, 2015
Ep. 7: Somewhere In Between

Understanding And Supporting The Grieving Teen

If you know a teen who is grieving a death, you may wonder what responses or behaviors you can expect to see and how to help.

Grief is a holistic experience

Grief can affect teens in many different ways: emotionally, behaviorally, cognitively, physically, and spiritually. The following are examples of how grief might look in these realms. Keep in mind that this list is just a sample of the indicators: 

Emotional: Every emotion imaginable can be associated with grief. The most common ones include sadness, anger, confusion, fear, agitation, depression, relief, apathy, joy, restless, guilt, regret, irritability, yearning, increased appreciation, and gratitude. 

Behavioral: Dropping activities/hobbies, difficulty sleeping, clingy behavior, regressions, aggression, withdrawal, nightmares, diminished/increased performance at work or school, decrease/increase in social engagement, substance use, over-planning/scheduling of activities.

Cognitive: Difficulty concentrating/confused thinking, forgetfulness, difficulty completing tasks, memory loss, narrowed scope of thinking, intrusive/repetitive thoughts, easily overwhelmed.

Physical: Loss of appetite, weight loss/gain, increased frequency of colds/flu, stomachaches, headaches, and nausea.

Spiritual: Questioning or loss of faith, anger at God or other higher power, strengthening of faith, questioning values, rethinking the meaning of life and/purpose. 

So what does this look like in day to day life?

  • Grief can make everyone forgetful. Teens may need extra reminders about chores and plans. 
  • School can become very challenging. Engage with teachers and administrators to help support teens. 
  • Teens may be less able to modulate their emotions and have more frequent outbursts and easily feel overwhelmed.
  • Some may grow distant, turning more to peers for support.
  • May see swings of maturity as teens move between feeling like a six-year-old one minute and then speaking with the wisdom of an elder the next.
  • Push/pull of emotional availability. They may want hugs one moment and then retreat to their room the next.
  • Teens can take on additional fears and concern about how the family is doing in terms of financial security. May have questions about their future based on these changes.
  • Strong feelings of wanting to feel and be seen as a normal teen. “I don’t want to just be that kid whose dad died.”
  • Dislike sympathy, but appreciate acknowledgment of what has happened. 


Needs of Grieving Teens and Ways to Support Them

  1. Assurances: Grieving teens need supportive and available adults in their lives. Reassure them that grief is unique and that there is no one right way to grief. Knowing that grief isn’t something they have to “get over,” but that it will change over time, can also be comforting. 
  2. Boundaries: Reasonable and consistent boundaries provide safety and support during a time of disorienting change.
  3. Choices: Teens are empowered when they have options and their choices are honored and respected.
  4. Food, water, and sleep: Grieving takes a lot of energy, so it is important for teens to have nutritious food, hydrating drinks, and enough sleep.
  5. Listeners: Not knowing what to say can leave us filling in the blanks with advice and words designed to make teens feel better. Practice listening and asking questions, allowing teens to talk and be heard. 
  6. Models: Teens look to the adults in their lives to provide examples for how to grieve and express their emotions. Molly story
  7. Privacy: Much of the grieving process is private including reflection, emotion, evaluation, and memorializing. Kelina story
  8. Recreation: Grieving teens need “breaks” and chances to play, laugh, and be active. More than just their death. 
  9. Routines: These create consistency so that teens do not have to constantly worry about what will happen next. Remember also to be flexible about your expectations.
  10. Truth: Grieving teens appreciate truthful information related to the death and potential changes in their lives.

For more info, see our guidebook, Helping Teens Cope with Death, or the DVD Helping Teens Cope with Death.


Feb 26, 2015
Ep. 6: Where Did Everyone Go?

Where did everyone go? How grief affects connections with family and friends. 

This episode grew out of a few questions from the community – 

  1. Why is it common for communication to either lessen with family/close friends or strengthen after a mutual loss?
  2. Why is it easier to connect with strangers?
  3. In my family we don't talk about the person - How do I know if I can bring it up? How do I bring it up?

Grief affects our connections with others in many ways. Loss can foster a greater closeness with family and friends and it can also wreak havoc on existing relationships, leaving people unsure and disappointed. Many factors contribute to changes in relationships, particularly the role that the person who died played in your family and friend constellation. For some grieving people, especially children and teens, it can feel more comfortable talking with those they aren’t close to, including those who didn’t know the person who died. 

Suggestions for ways to make it easier to talk about the person who died in your family: 

  • Let people know that you want to talk about the person. 
  • Reassure them that talking about the person is helpful, even if you get emotional. 
  • Provide suggestions for responses that you find helpful and those you don’t: “I like when people use his name. I don’t like when people tell me not to feel guilty.”
  • Start a conversation about creating a ritual at family gatherings to include the person who died. 
  • Examples include: set a chair or plate at the table for the person, invite people to bring favorite photos and create a family photo board, take videos of family members sharing memories of the person. 


Feb 18, 2015
Ep. 5: Grieving Through Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is one of the many holidays that shift and change while grieving. As with so many other holidays, the lead-up can be really hard. Advertisements and casual conversations about plans can leave grieving people left out, or eager to flee.

In this episode of Grief Out Loud, Jana and Brendon talk about strategies for approaching Valentine's Day in a way that opens up space to express love and appreciation.

Some ideas mentioned in this episode:

  • Decide on what traditions you and/or your children want to uphold and then figure out who will be responsible for what.
  • Connect with others you find to be supportive - this might look like setting up a phone call, email chat,  or getting together for dinner.
  • Schedule some self-care that feels replenishing: go for a hike,  check out a new movie, take a yoga class, meet up with friends,  journal, or cook a nourishing meal.
  • Ask your kids what helps them feel energized or calm - we sometimes forget that kids need self-care too.
  • Volunteer for an organization or event that is meaningful to you.
  • Send cards, flowers, or an email to friends and family who might also be going through a hard time.
  • If it feels right, create a ritual or activity connected to the person who died. Ideas include, make a meal they enjoyed, go to their favorite restaurant, make or buy a card for them.
  • Many kids like to bring something - card, flowers, balloons, to the grave site. If there isn't one, you could put them where you keep the ashes or visit the place where the ashes were spread. Or if that's not possible, display an image of that place.
  • Write a card or letter to the person who died. You might write about: events you want them to know about (your son's first soccer game, a promotion at work, a description of a sunrise you recently saw, etc), things you are grateful to them for,  ways in which you and your family have grown or changed, or anything that comes to mind. You can keep, bury, or burn what you write.

Whatever you decide, go easy on yourself. There can be so much pressure, both internal and external to think or feel a certain way. Know that it's okay to feel whatever you feel (sadness, anger, numbness, irritation, etc), leading up to and on the actual day.

Feb 12, 2015
Ep. 4: No Apology Needed

Alternatives to “I’m sorry for your loss.”


This episode delves into that moment when you find out about a death. Most of us don’t know what to say or do, so we go turn to what we’ve heard others say in a similar situation, “I’m sorry for your loss.” While there’s nothing wrong with those words, especially when said with authenticity and full presence, it’s helpful to know how that phrase affects those who are grieving and what you can say instead. Whether it’s getting a phone call with the news, writing out a sympathy card, or learning about a loss during a casual conversation, everyone encounters the dilemma of what to say and how to communicate we care.



  • “I was so sad when I heard the news about your mom’s death.”

  • With children and teens, they appreciate an honest: “That totally sucks.”

  • If you do go with “I’m sorry” expanding it to “I’m so sorry you have to go through this,” or “I’m so sorry this is happening.” can break up the monotony of “I’m sorry for your loss.”

If you’re talking with someone, try reflecting back what they’ve said, allowing them to say more:

  • “Your dad just died last night.”

  • “Today’s the anniversary of your sister’s death.”

When writing a sympathy card or email:

  • Consider sharing a specific memory of the person who died: “I remember so clearly your mom’s smile, it made me feel so welcome.”

  • “There are no good words, just want you to know you are on my mind and in my heart.” can acknowledge that words don’t always measure up in times of grief.
Feb 06, 2015
Ep. 3 Tips For Talking With Children About Death

“How do I tell my child about the death?” This is the most common question we receive at The Dougy Center. Someone has died, leaving parents and other adult caregivers to struggle with finding the right words to say to their children. In this episode, we outline tips for talking with children about a death. Adults can start by attending to their own reactions to the death. Often the thoughts and feelings they experience can impede or enhance having an open, honest, supportive conversation with their children. As an adult, what do you need to sort out with feeling shame, blame, confusion, guilt, or other emotions related to how the person died? How can you keep that as your story and not put it onto your children?


Summary of tips for talking with children:

  • Tell the truth
  • Use concrete, age-appropriate language
  • Allow for questions - in the moment and over time
  • Be prepared to tell the story over and over, esp to younger kids
  • Refer to The Dougy Center resources (below)
  • Know that you are providing children with a safe, trusting foundation from which to experience their grief 


Tip sheets:

Main site:

Jan 29, 2015
Ep. 2: Ashes & Funerals

In this episode, Jana and Brendon, answer two questions from the community. The first is from a mother of two young children who wonders what she can do with the ashes of her partner. The second from a young adult struggling with whether they should go to the funeral of a close friend’s mother. In this frank conversation, we discuss common and not so common options for what to do with ashes and outline some foundational questions to consider, both for adults and children when deciding.  

Two resources with ideas for what to do with the ashes of someone who dies:

Jan 29, 2015
Ep. 1: The Myth Of The Grief Timeline

In this episode of Grief Out Loud, Jana and Brendon discuss some of the current mythology surrounding grief timelines. We demystify the idea that there is a recipe for grieving or one right way to go about integrating a loss. Listen to learn new ways of conceptualizing the unfolding of grief. During the discussion, Jana mentioned a couple of relevant resources:


  1. Getting Grief Right, a NYT Opinionator article about grief timelines and "stages of grief"
  2. 5 Stages of Grief overview, which Jana noted is a familiar cultural landmark, but not a framework that The Dougy Center endorses for those who are grieving. While each of the stages involves thoughts and feelings that grievers may experience, it’s not a clear-cut linear process. Thinking that we need to achieve certain stages in order to grieve correctly can often create more suffering for those in grief.
Jan 27, 2015
Dear Dougy: Introductions

In this inaugural episode of the Grief Out Loud Podcast, Jana and Brendon introduce themselves, talk about the history of The Dougy Center, and our work with grieving children and their families. Jana and Brendon also do a little housekeeping with respect to episode timing (weekly) and duration (aiming for 15-20 minutes), as well as what TDC can offer to the podcast community.

Resources mentioned in the show:

  1. The Dougy Center for Grieving Children and Families
Jan 23, 2015