Ep #17: Making Friends with Grief

Now, I understand that when you see the title of this podcast, you might be thinking, “I don’t want to make friends with grief. I just want to get over it and be done.” And I totally understand what you’re feeling. I just wanted it to be over too. But it doesn’t work like that.

Grief is going to be with us forever, so what can we do to make it an experience worth going through? Can you really imagine a time when you’re “over” it? I certainly can’t, and knowing what I do now, I wouldn’t forget about it, even if I could choose to.

Tune in this week and discover why grief is something we will never be able to leave behind, but also why that in itself is not a bad thing. This is a short and sweet episode, and the concept might be a little daunting to wrap your head around, but I wouldn’t be sharing it if I didn’t think it was 100% true.

Listen to the Full Episode:

If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about even after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so you can move forward with confidence.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why, just because grief stays with us forever, that doesn’t mean the feeling of loneliness and depression will last forever too.
  • How my clients think their progress through grief will look, compared to reality.
  • Why acting like grief isn’t there or can possibly be forgotten about is definitely not helping.
  • What you can do to weave grief into the fabric of who you are, for the better.
  • How you can use grief to your advantage, to reevaluate and decide what you want out of this one precious life.


Featured on the Show:

  • Interested in small-group coaching? Request a Consultation here!

Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 17, Making Friends with Grief.

Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief to grow, evolve, and create a future you can actually look forward to. Here’s your host, certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.

Hey, everybody, welcome back to another episode of the podcast. It’s Sunday afternoon, almost time for me to go cook dinner actually here in my world. And it’s starting to look like fall here, which for me, is like my very most favorite. I love fall.

I may or may not have had my fall decorations out in mid-August. My daughter and I are kind of both obsessed with fall, probably her because her birthday is in October, me just because I’ve always loved the changing colors. I’ve always loved the temperature and how it drops and it gets so much more pleasant to be outside. And then, of course, the holidays are coming, which since I was a little kid were my very favorite.

Now, not the topic for this episode, but I am keenly aware that you may have just heard me talk about the holidays, and you may have a whole host of other thoughts and feelings that don’t involve looking forward to the holidays. Holidays without your person are quite different than the holidays from before.

So I get that, don’t worry. We’re going to cover that in another podcast episode, or episodes, plural, perhaps. So if the mere thought of holidays got you down, I feel you. I feel you.

Alright, I have one more winner to announce, you guys; one more winner of the $100 Amazon gift cards. I’ve been running this competition since we launched the podcast and I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve been using a little random number generator to help me determine which is the winner.

And the winner number five is Gail Hall. So, Gail, congratulations. We will be in touch and get your address so we can get that gift card sent to you. But I want to read to you all the review that Gail left. The title of it was Genuinely Love this podcast.

“Krista knows grief and the landmines that come with it. So the topics have been spot on, insightful, and packed with clear constructive advice. She validated the grief journey and has compassion for the struggles of widowers. She’s candid and open about her own experience in dealing with traumatic loss and heartbreak. I come away with each podcast with a little more clarity and optimism and inner peace that I’m finding my way.”

Thank you, Gail, I appreciate that review. I’m glad the podcast is something that you genuinely love. I really appreciate knowing that. And like I said before, one million widows, that’s the amount of women that I want to reach with this podcast. So I would love it if you would share it with friends, if you would just simply take a few minutes to rate and review it because that’s what seems to make whatever the little algorithm is at Apple Podcasts happy, and that makes the podcast a little more discoverable. So, thank you for taking time to do that.

Okay, let’s talk about making friends with grief. I know you may have read the title and you may have thought, “What are you talking about? The last thing I want to do is make friends with my grief. I really just want it to go away and I want to do whatever it is that I need to do to make sure that it’s gone and that I am cleanly on the other side of it.”

And I get it. And I remember thinking that myself, that this was just something I was going to go through. There was a process for this. Of course, at that time, I didn’t really know anything about the myth that there were stages of grief, and I just figured, it’s something, yes, it’s changed my life, but surely you move on from it, you get over it. There has to be a way to do that.

And that is not how it works. That is not how it works at all. And I don’t even think, when you really consider it deeply, that that’s how you would want it to work. Grief is going to be with us forever. That does not mean we’re going to be sad forever or lonely forever or depressed forever or any of the negative emotions forever.

To say that grief is going to be with is us not a sentence. It’s not an undesirable diagnosis, or a diagnosis of any sort. The idea that grief is going to be with us forever just means that we are now forever changed for having gone through what we’ve gone through. But that’s not a bad thing.

It’s not a bad thing to have a life circumstance. We have them all the time. This one is no different. Would we wish for it? Probably not. Do we enjoy it? mostly no. But that’s not to say we want to discount its presence in our life. Grief will always be part of the fabric of who we are, and that’s only a terrible thing if we decide that it’s a terrible thing.

I wonder why it is, with this type of experience, that we are so eager to get rid of it, to get beyond it. And if that’s the goal, I just think that we’re missing out. I think we’re missing out on the opportunity to evolve, to grow, to become the next version of ourselves, to be wiser, to be stronger, to be more human, to be more awake, more alive.

And when I’m coaching my Widowed Mom life coaching clients, it’s often very frustrating for them when they realize that the grief is still with them when they thought it was going to be gone. It can be quite shocking. They will have expectations of how they’re doing and then all of a sudden, reality doesn’t match the expectation.

So all of a sudden, they’re crying and they didn’t see it coming and they are deep in the negative emotion. And they kind of get mad about it. They make it mean all kinds of things; they aren’t as far along as they thought they were, that their healing has stalled, that there’s something wrong with them. And then, because they think there’s something wrong with them, then they think there’s something to fix. But I want to offer that that’s just not the way of grief.

What if it’s just sometimes unpredictable? What if it’s just sometimes messy? What if it’s just not linear? Can we allow that? Can we decide that it’s not a problem if, all of a sudden, we’re crying and we have no idea where it came from? Can we decide that it’s not a problem if all of a sudden, we miss him terribly when yesterday we were fine?

I think that not only can we, but I think it’s pretty useful. And if we keep making grief our enemy, if we keep making grief something that we fear, if we keep making grief something that we’re anxious to get away from or that we hate its presence, then I think that’s actually holding us back. I think that’s making it worse. I think that’s creating more of what we don’t want and less of what we do.

I think that’s adding energy to all of the parts of grief that, if we would just accept and make friends with, could be so much less suffering for us. So what if you just decided that grief was a friend, that it was just part of you now, that it doesn’t have to hold you back in any way, that it’s just part of the fabric of who you are, that just like any other life experience, you’re going to take this one and weave it into you. It’s just another little thread in the rope; another little piece.

Sometimes it takes up a lot more space than others, but that’s okay. You can just bring it with you wherever you go. It’s just always going to be a part of your life experience. It’s always going to be a perspective that you have. It’s always going to probably alter the way that you see the world. And not that that’s a bad thing; it just is.

So if you can just decide that, for now and forever, there are going to be some things that catch you off guard, that you weren’t expecting, some emotions, some thoughts, and that it’s okay, that it has nothing to do with how far along you are in your healing. It has nothing to do with your potential to live a happy life.

It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with anyone around you. It doesn’t mean you’ve made bad life choices. It’s just that sometimes grief is unpredictable and messy and that’s it. And you’re going to make friends with it.

And when you have forgotten it was there and all of a sudden it is, you’re not going to make it mean anything big. You’re just going to say, “Oh hey, yeah, how have you been? What’s going on with you? I haven’t seen you in a while.” Or, you have conversations with it. You don’t act like it’s not there.

You don’t act like it’s the boogeyman that comes out and jumps around and scares you. You don’t act like it’s the monster under your bed. You just acknowledge it for what it is, you accept it for what it is, and you love the parts of it that you can love and you accept the parts of it that you don’t love and you just stop making it such a big deal, and just stop judging it and stop avoiding it and you stop trying to get away from it, making it the villain so you get to be its victim.

And you just decide, it’s okay. Grief is part of my life experience and now it’s part of who I am and I can just bring it with me and nothing has gone wrong here.

Okay, I know this is a little shorter than normal, but it was just on my mind. And one of the things I want to help with is to slow down the suffering. And when I see this in my clients, when I see this resistance to grief, when I see my clients refer to grief as the grief monster, I just know that it’s not serving them at all. And really, you might think I’m completely crazy, and that’s okay; grief, as much as it has a very dark side to it that none of us like feeling, grief offers opportunities.

Grief offers new perspectives. Grief shows us what’s really important to us. It helps us reevaluate why we’re here. It helps us determine what we want to get out of this one precious life. It helps us make better use of our time, make better use of our energy. It helps us decide what we want to do for our career. It’s such a good and useful reality check.

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to go back and choose everything that has happened to you as though it was planned. That doesn’t mean you have to like it. But if it’s going to be here anyway, why not seize the opportunities that it presents as best you are able?

I’ve always liked the idea that’s taught with post-traumatic growth that, if the whole building is going to come crashing to the ground and you’re going to build it again, you may as well take advantage of the opportunity to build it exactly as you’d like to. You may as well take advantage of the opportunity to redesign whatever it is that you didn’t maybe intentionally create before.

This is the opportunity. If you embrace it, if you decide that grief could potentially be your friend, this is the opportunity to evolve, to grow, to become stronger, more resilient, to be more on purpose, to be more aware, more intentional, more in touch, more grounded.

It’s the seed that has to be split open before it can grow. And if here we are, split open, we may as well grow. And we may as well decide that, if grief is always going to be a part of our lives, that we make friends with it, that we stop trying to swim against the current.

Just relax, see what’s there. And if we’re friends with it, maybe it has something to offer. Maybe there’s goodness in there after all. Maybe it’s not quite the monster that we thought it was.

Alright, food for thought. Remember, I love you, and you’ve got this. I’ll see you next week. Take care.

Ready to start building a future you can actually look forward to? Get a free copy of Krista’s Love Your Life Again Game Plan, and learn her three-step process so you can stop feeling stuck and start creating your next great chapter. No matter what you’ve been through, your past does not have to define what’s possible in your future.

Text the word PLAN to 1-858-widows-1, or visit coachingwithkrista.com/plan and get Krista’s Love Your Life Again Game Plan delivered straight to your inbox. A future you love is still possible and you are worth it. Text the word PLAN to 1-858-widows-1, or visit coachingwithkrista.com/plan and get your free game plan today.

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About your coach

I created a new life using small, manageable steps and techniques that made sense. The changes I experienced were so profound I became a Master Certified Life Coach and created a group coaching program for widows like us called Mom Goes On. It’s now my mission to show widowed moms exactly how to do what I’ve done and create a future they can look forward to.

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