Ep #219: When There’s No Template for Widowhood: A Widows Unfiltered Interview with Erica Lee

The Widowed Mom Podcast Krista St-Germain | When There’s No Template for Widowhood: A Widows Unfiltered Interview with Erica Lee

Like most widows, my Mom Goes On client Erica Lee felt totally unprepared for her husband’s passing.

Widowhood is undoubtedly a tragedy that can make us feel like our lives are over.

Even though Erica couldn’t join any of our live coaching calls due to a difference in time zones, she was present in our community. Her life shifted, and she’s here this week to tell us all about her journey of navigating widowhood without a template.


Listen to the Full Episode:


If you want to create a future you can truly get excited about even after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to apply for Mom Goes On.


What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • What made Erica decide to join Mom Goes On.
  • Erica’s experience of early grief.
  • The advice Erica would give herself in the early days of grief.


Featured on the Show:

  • Leave me a review in Apple Podcasts.
  • Interested in small-group coaching? Join us in Mom Goes On. Click here for details and next steps.
  • Join my free Facebook group, The Widowed Mom Podcast Community.
  • Follow me on Instagram!
  • If you are a Life Coach School certified coach, I’m working on an Advanced Certification in Grief and Post-Traumatic Growth Coaching just for you. If this sounds like something you would love, email us to let us know you want in on the interest list to be notified when it launches!
  • I send out several pick-me-up emails each week including announcements and details for free live coaching sessions. Enter your email in the pop-up on my home page to sign up.
  • When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron


Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 219, Widows Unfiltered: An Interview with Erica Lee

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 truly look forward to. Here’s your host, Master Certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.

Hey there, welcome to another episode of the podcast. Hey, I have a request for you. If this podcast has improved your life, if you’re in any way better because you’ve listened to this podcast, would you please do me a favor and leave a rating or even better, a review wherever you listen to the podcast? And the reason is that, one, it helps me learn what you like about the podcast. But even more than that, it tells the podcast apps that this podcast is good and that other people should listen to it.

It gets us in front of other widows, and there are 11 million of us in the US. And you know if you’ve listened to me for any length of time, I want to reach all of them, at least one million. Can we at least get to one? So your rating and review just it helps do that, it helps more widows find the podcast and it really literally changes lives. So if you would take even five minutes to do that, I would be so, so grateful. And other widows who have yet to discover the podcast would also be so, so grateful.

Okay, today you’re going to get to learn and enjoy getting to know my former client, Erica. I love Erica’s energy, you will love it, too. I love her story. I love, it’s always fun to have examples of women who have done the Mom Goes On program that don’t live in the same time zone as the United States. And being in Australia very much not in our time zone, but she still made it work for her. And she just has a lot of wisdom to share.

And I think you will enjoy her story, appreciate her story, come away from her story feeling uplifted and heard and encouraged. That’s my hope. So with that, let’s jump into my interview with Erica Lee.

Krista: Okay, Erica Lee, welcome to the podcast.

Erica: Yeah. Thank you.

Krista: Yeah, I’m excited to have you here. For people who don’t know, I’ll let you introduce yourself, but we really didn’t get to see a lot of each other on camera because of the time zone difference. So it is kind of fun to actually FaceTime with each other because you live in a completely different time zone.

Erica: That’s right, though to me it feels so natural because I’ve seen you so much. It feels like no change to me.

Krista: People are asking me all the time, “Can I do this if I don’t live in the same time zone or can I do this if I live in a country that’s away, far away?” And you’re such a good example of that, but we’ll get into all that. So let’s start, just introduce yourself. Tell the audience a little bit about who you are, how you became a widow, give us the basics.

Erica: Well, hello to the audience. Hello, everybody. I’m Erica. I live in Brisbane, Australia. I have three sons in their 20s. I met my husband when I was 21 and he was 26. And he died two and a half years ago when I was 59. And he was diagnosed in 2019 with glioblastoma, which is a terminal cancer, brain cancer. And he lived for 16 months. And so he died in November 2020, so about two and a half years ago.

Krista: Yeah, it’s funny how I never heard of glioblastoma until I became a life coach and then I just feel like there’s so much of it. I don’t know if that was a cancer you were familiar with before, but every time I hear.

Erica: Yeah. I mean, I had heard of it, but I thought that’s like getting struck by lightning. That’s really unlucky, poor people, because it just comes out of the blue, obviously, yeah.

Krista: Yeah. So that happened in November of 2020. How did you then find me or did you find the podcast first, what happened?

Erica: Sure. So, look, like most widows, I felt totally unprepared for being a widow, even though I’d had the 16 months or so leading up to it. And I didn’t know any widows. Like so many people, I didn’t know anybody. And so I started looking around at books because I’m a big reader. And I couldn’t find any books that were of real interest. I read a few and didn’t like them that much. And I did have this basic story going around in my head, that I’m sure many widows have, which is it’s all over for me. My life is just sad, sad, sad. I’ve had the big tragedy, etc., etc.

And there was no template at all for me to move forward. But there was a bit of rebellion in me against that. And somewhere, I reckon probably in the first few months, I’m guessing a little bit, Krista, I found your podcast. I found a few other podcasts too but yours I listened to really religiously, week to week. And I listened to it for an entire year I think and it really did give me hope. It gave me hope and it also gave me lots of practical commonsense. Well, maybe not so common sense, but practical advice about how to be getting on with things.

And it also gave me a lot of hope, that fuzzy template that I had in my head, not that anybody stated it, nobody was saying anything about what it was like to be a widow, nobody could help me. So nobody was saying, “Your life’s so sad from now.” But you were obviously challenging that. And also I have to say you have a very beautiful melodious voice and listening to you once a week, while I was going through stuff was comforting on a lot of levels and you’ve probably heard that from other widows.

Krista: I have. I find it odd because I don’t think of myself that way, and I certainly never thought that would be part of podcasting, but it is consistent feedback that I get. And that people sleep, fall asleep listening to the podcast. I get that a lot too. Purposefully, they put it on and then yeah, it’s comforting as they go to sleep.

Erica: Yeah. So I listened to you for a year at least. And meanwhile I’d done some other things. I had dived into some study, study that I really loved and was really engaging. So a few months after Chester died, I dived into some online courses and they happened to be in mindfulness coaching. And that went for over a year and it was incredibly engaging and it felt like a growth path and it felt like it was something dragging me forward but also something I could manage at the time.

Anyway I was coming to the end of that and I was thinking, that was a kind of a year and a half after Chester died. And I was kind of thinking, I’ve got to make some really big widow type decisions soon. So the big, one really big widow type decision was what do I do with this house that Chester had chosen and loved and that we had raised our boys in for 11 years? And we’d planted this amazing, beautiful native garden that was just growing up everywhere and producing amazing insects and bugs and blossoms and bees and butterflies and lizards, so there was that.

But I also knew on some level that I couldn’t manage this large house. My boys had come back to stay with us when Chester was sick, they stayed for the year and helped out. But they were going off to their lives again and I was getting left in this large family house. And that had a lot of wonderful things about it, but really, the shoe didn’t fit anymore. And I thought, well, that’s such a widow problem. I know so many widows must face this exact problem, and I have to work out what to do. So there was that one.

And there was also, I hadn’t really thought about my single status. Well, I hadn’t thought about doing anything about it. I was just giving myself space, but that was another issue that was in my head and I was thinking, well, what do other people think in this situation? What do they do? So those two things really made me think, it’s time to jump into, Mom Goes On and get some support to make some big decisions.

Krista: Yeah. It’s always interesting to me to find out what people’s motivations are, because you would think it’s always the same. But there’s so many different motivations that people have and problems that they want to solve. So let’s back up just a little bit too, because I think there’s so much value in other people hearing what your experience was like in early grief. So can you talk a little bit about what that was like for you, even knowing that he was sick for so long, of course, that can create some challenges there, of course, but what was it like in early grief?

Erica: Well, in the year that Chester was sick, he was very fortunate that he was able to have the tumor removed. Not that that’s a cure, but it was removed very early in the process. And most of the time that remained to him, he was totally able to do stuff. And we had the most amazing 16 months. And he spent his time really making sure that we were going to be alright. And making sure that his legacy, which was not only his wonderful voice but also in the business that he had founded and built up, that that would survive.

And he also just traveled to parts of our state, Queensland, well, we all did to wild places that he loved. So even though it was an incredibly stressful and sad year, it was also a really amazing year. And then he had a very short illness and we were all, well, he had a long illness, but a very short sudden demise and we all stayed with him for a few days in hospital while he died. So early grief. I remember even though there was this lead up and it was in ways, I felt an immense amount of relief because we had got Chester through to a good death.

And he himself had been a major contributor to getting himself through to a good death, but the last part was fast. And so first of all, I had this amazing relief, which I wanted to share because I’m sure other people must feel it too.

Krista: Did you have guilt about that relief?

Erica: Well, I think people looked at me a bit strangely, but it didn’t last that long.

Krista: Okay. Yeah. I actually am really glad you said that because I think very often, well, I don’t want to be too general and assume. But just after so many conversations that I’ve had, it seems like most people who have watched a loved one go through a terminal illness, do feel relief. But often don’t want to acknowledge that they feel relief because they feel guilty about feeling relieved, like it’s something that they did wrong. And so they may not say that they felt it, but they did and they’re often judging themselves for it, which of course is so [crosstalk].

Erica: Yes. Well, funnily enough, yeah, I didn’t actually, not that I haven’t found being a widow difficult. But I didn’t judge myself about that because I was more literally happy that we’d pulled, and luck was on our side too. That somehow we’d pulled off a final 16 months that wasn’t nearly as bad as it might have been. So anyway, so there was that and then…

Krista: So it was also relief that with the idea that it could have been so much worse and it wasn’t and it was relief that the quality was where you wanted it to be?

Erica: Yes. And he did die with us all around him. But then after the relief, I remember feeling like I’d been hit by a bus. So that was another thing I thought widows might want to hear and that is that grief feels very physical, literally like being hit by a bus. And the other thing I think is that it’s almost a cliche, but after the funeral, people do move on. Everybody moves on, that’s how it feels, everybody moves on and I kind of get that.

I know that people, they’re the stars of their own show and they’ve got their own dramas and sufferings and big things happening in their lives. And mostly they don’t get big bereavements like that. And I’m not saying I would be any better, but people don’t. So I did find that very quickly. And the other thing I found was that people say the wrong thing frequently, or even worse, they say nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing.

Krista: What were some of the wrong things that were said to you?

Erica: Well, sometimes it’s almost like they just completely go on to another topic straightaway. So that was probably in a way, it was complete avoidance so I got that a lot. Or they’d ask you how you are and I was fortunately quite self-contained. So I wasn’t about to blurt out a big sob story, but they would make an excuse before I’d had a chance to say anything and move away and so that kind of thing.

But actually, and I think I’ve mentioned on Slack the one about more or less straight after he died, “Well, when are you downsizing? When are you getting out of this house?” And at that stage, in my early days of grief, taking me out of that house would have felt like ripping my skin off. It just felt like that. And then a year and a half later, I was really ready to contemplate it. But in those early days, the house that he was in, and filled up the spaces and chose and so that was one.

But lots of just, even things like they ask you how you are and you say you’re well. This happened recently and I said, “I’m really well.” And that person said, “You look pale.” And I can’t explain how undermining that was.

Krista: Thank you. I don’t know.

Erica: You poor thing, you’re a widow, what’s wrong. But I would say the main thing was that people did not talk. And I don’t know, that’s probably not the same in every culture. But an example was the first Father’s Day after Chester died, I was at a celebration for my father for Father’s Day. And I had two of my 20 something sons with me and we went through the whole celebration lunch with nobody mentioning Chester and that it was my first Father’s Day without him and the boys’ first Father’s Day without him.

And once again, they’re all good people, no blame. But boy, I’ve learned that if Chester is going to be mentioned, I mention him and I have to mention him and if there’s going to be a toast raised or whatever. My birthday’s coming up and it’s around Chester’s birthday. Well, I will raise a toast to Chester because nobody else is going to do it.

Krista: Why do you think that is for you? And I have opinions about what I think, but maybe there’s some cultural differences or some ways that you see it differently.

Erica: Look, I think it’s cultural because I’m sure it’s not people trying to be nasty. And I think sometimes they think, well, maybe that will just be painful. But I actually think it’s just somehow written into the culture. You just don’t talk about these things, when you just move on and you just keep it to yourself.

Krista: Do you think that same rule applies inside the immediate family? Is that only an external rule outside of your immediate family?

Erica: No, I think it’s in my immediate family.

Krista: Okay, it’s the whole, yes.

Erica: Yeah. So, people like my parents, and I’ve got lots of brothers and sisters, six in fact. And even my beautiful young men who I’m so proud of, they’re such wonderful human beings, they rarely talk about him. So I raise him with them all the time and not in a creepy or yucky way or an overly dwelling way or anything but just to keep his presence around. And with my boys, I don’t know whether it’s because they’re male. We’re a bit of an unconventional family, so I’m a little bit surprised by the strength of that cultural message, really quite surprised.

Krista: Yeah, it is pretty consistent though. I mean, I don’t hear a lot of people telling me that those around them have been very comfortable bringing it up or have been the ones to bring it up even. It usually is something that people are worried about stepping on eggshells around thinking, well, she must have forgotten it by now. Or she looks like she’s doing fine so I’d better not bring it up or that will remind her. When usually it would be so refreshing if somebody would just tell a Chester story.

Erica: Yeah. So just at least acknowledge him. Yeah.

Krista: Yeah. So then you mentioned you loved reading and you started reading some books on grief. Were you able to read pretty quickly? Was your window fog very intense, not so much?

Erica: Look, I didn’t really experience it as fog, but I wonder if there’s, that feeling of being hit by a bus was kind of whole body so it’s probably very related. It kind of was a bit more like sometimes I’d just have to leave a situation, a social situation or something. I’d just have to go and sit by myself but I did keep working my jobs, not that demanding but I did keep working.

Krista: The whole time, you never took any time off?

Erica: No, I did take time off, yeah, I took a few weeks around when Chester died.

Krista: Got it.

Erica: Yeah. And I work part-time, and it’s in the business that he set up. So yeah, no, it’s not a high pressure situation.

Krista: Okay. So if you could go back and give yourself some wisdom, some advice in the early days, what do you think you would tell yourself?

Erica: I would say, expect to feel like you’re hit by bus and give yourself space to rest and cry. I would say, don’t expect too much of people. Don’t expect the wrong things of people. Don’t expect what they can’t give. It’s a hard lesson, but I had a couple of people who really did turn up. I had an old friend who we were really close before and we kept sharing in the same way, not even, it wasn’t always about me and my sorrows or whatever. But she just kept coming over reliably and she made a bit of a fuss of me and we talked all about her stuff. And then we’d talk a bit about my stuff.

But the thing was, she just kept coming and coming and coming and she did make a little bit of a fuss. I turned 60 after Chester died, a few months after, six months after he died. And she made sure that there was a big birthday celebration, that kind of thing. So if there’s anybody in your life like that, appreciate them.

I would also say talking the very early days, I got a lot of help from nature, which also sounds cliche, but I don’t mean going off on big treks to national parks or anything. I mean walking around our bushy neighborhood and looking in our backyard, which was planted with natives. And one of my sons, my middle son, he’s 27 now I think, all my sons were really supportive but he was really somehow able to come with me on the emotional journey a bit. And we would go around the neighborhood and we would spot insects. So we went bug spotting and that was kind of, we did that a lot.

Krista: I love it.

Erica: And the funny thing was, there were so many amazing insects. We saw such amazing beauty by really, really looking, looking really hard, getting our insect eyes on. Because you don’t normally, you just don’t see them, so that.

Krista: Before we go, I’m just curious to know. So one of the dimensions of post traumatic growth is appreciation for life. And I know for me I definitely experienced that where there were some moments that even though I was so very sad, where I kind of almost experienced a childlike wonder. Was that part of your kind of bug experience or did you just go out on a mission?

Erica: Oh no, definitely. And we were genuinely awestruck because when you start to look at insects, at least in our neighborhood, which is kind of bushy, they are simply astounding.

Krista: I wonder if I would find them terrifying and you find them astounding.

Erica: Yeah, because we love spiders and all of those things, all the little creatures, whatever little creatures we could see. So I also did a bit of artwork just for myself and I did that while Chester was sick and I did it around the time of his death too. And I’ve got a little book of it and that was actually really helpful. And it was helpful because it kind of crystallized a few things for me that I wanted to remember and so on. Well, my mother had given me a handmade book and I was filling this book up, it had proper art paper in it. And so I just used some, whatever I had to hand but mainly acrylics.

Krista: Was that something you had done before Chester’s sickness?

Erica: A little bit I’d started, but not really got me where. And then suddenly I had all this stuff to express during his illness and so on. A lot of stuff came out, I suppose.

Krista: Yeah, as Linda McCabe would say, it’s not about the art. She runs her expressive arts group, it’s not about the art. It’s about what needs to come through the art.

Erica: Yes. And for people grieving early, I think I probably hit the high points there, yeah.

Krista: Yeah, okay. So at what point did you kind of start feeling like you were ready for more support? I mean you listened to the podcast for a long time, did you get to a place, obviously, you kind of wanted to make some decisions and had a couple of issues crop up, but were you feeling kind of stagnant? Were you feeling pretty good? How are you feeling?

Erica: Well, I was probably feeling at a crossroads because I had finished this over years’ worth of study, which had been this really big tug along. And also I felt like it had given me some recovery space, things like the thought of selling the house had been so very heart wrenching. And I’d got to a place where I’m thinking, well, maybe I do need, it had kind of lost that extremely heart wrenching quality by that stage.

So I’d come to the end of this course and felt I’d kind of been putting off decisions or leaving things until a later date. And I thought the time had come for me to kind of face my widowhood a bit more squarely.

Krista: Yeah. Was that a very difficult decision for you to make?

Erica: It was a big decision. Every time you take something on and also spend money, it’s a big decision. And also of course there was a time zone issue and so yeah, it was a big decision.

Krista: So it sounds like though you were pretty decided on, it’s time for me to address this. Was that part difficult?

Erica: Addressing it is difficult still. Was that difficult? I don’t think so. I just think the time kind of felt right in that regard.

Krista: It felt right.

Erica: Yeah. And I had been looking around at what was available to help me. And so I’d had plenty of time to kind of come to the decision.

Krista: Yeah, I love it because it’s easy to kick that can. It’s easy to think, I don’t want to open this can of worms because who knows what’s in there and it’s not going to feel good.

Erica: Yeah, Well, I suppose I was pushed a bit with a big house emptying out as my sons left. The house actually started to feel bad because it felt a bit scary to be in this huge house in a bushy situation with no one else. And so I’d find myself at night kind of closing up really carefully and putting myself just in one part of the house where there was curtains. I was a little bit paranoid.

Krista: Yeah. Well, hey, I’ve never lived in a bushy area, so I might be a little paranoid myself, yeah, security system going. So you decided to join Mom Goes On. And then I always love to know, what did you expect it to be like and what was it actually like in your eyes?

Erica: By that stage I had quite a bit of experience doing online courses from America because the over a year long course I’d done was from America and so what did I expect? That’s a really hard question.

Krista: Yeah. We’re going back away, that was a year ago, April.

Erica: Yeah. I think I was kind of already in the mode of doing online things. So I wasn’t too put off by the format or anything. And yeah, so I think I just slipped in quite naturally.

Krista: Okay. Well, if you’d been listening to the podcast for a year, I mean, that’s not exactly new to me. So I assume the things you were learning in Mom Goes On were extensions of what you had already learned on the podcast, there wasn’t anything overly different. But sometimes people don’t know what to expect with group coaching or coaching or you think it’s going to be sad all the time or they don’t really know.

Erica: Yeah. No. I loved the way all kinds of issues were brought to the table. And one of the huge things in Mom Goes On for me was normalization because there’s always a widow out there feeling the same thing. And in Mom Goes On, they’re not only feeling it, they’re telling you they’re feeling it so yeah.

Krista: How did you use that to help yourself?

Erica: Look, I would say that that normalization was absolutely huge because not only, as I mentioned in my own sphere, I didn’t know any widows and even if I did that probably, if I’d known one or something that I’m sure it actually wouldn’t have been much of a help, but I didn’t know anyone. And suddenly I’m surrounded by, I don’t know, tens of women, lots of women who have just the same issues. And so how I experienced that was very comforting, very useful. And also just when you normalize something, it’s like, well, this is just what happens. It really just helps a lot.

Krista: Kind of loses its grip when you can normalize it.

Erica: Yeah, it does. It does, yeah.

Krista: Yeah. And what was it like to be in a completely different time zone and not be able to make a lot of the live calls, what was that like?

Erica: So I listened to all the live calls, but at a different time, so I listened to the recording. That was a bit of a pity, but I’m not sure I would have put myself up for live coaching. So maybe it didn’t make that much difference.

Krista: You were pretty active in the online community though.

Erica: Yeah, I was. So I would post models and issues in Slack and that felt very helpful to get a bit of argy-bargie over the models and also be witnessed. And just putting the models on to Slack made me really think things through and see what I was doing. So that was helpful.

Krista: Yeah. I always find it fascinating, in the initial coaching program that I did before I decided to become a coach I never actually got coached live. I couldn’t make the calls either. They were all during my work hours. And so I would listen to the recordings when I was driving or when I was doing dishes or whenever I could, but I could never make the live calls and never be coached. And it literally blew my mind at how six months of that and I wanted to be a coach and I had never even gotten coached.

That’s how much that experience changed me, but I think it’s about how we listen. Because you can listen and say, “Well, her husband didn’t die from brain cancer and he was only 32.” Our circumstances are different so therefore the coaching doesn’t apply to me. Or you can listen and assume that there is something there for you, find what there is of value and take it and apply it. And how you listen and the attitude that you bring I think is largely responsible for what you get out of it. So what did shift for you, what did you get?

Erica: Well, so normalization was huge. But another thing was, I’m a long term mindfulness practitioner, as you know so I know that thoughts aren’t us. But with mindfulness, you don’t directly challenge your thoughts. So in Mom Goes On, you get into the content, which you don’t do in mindfulness, you just notice the content. You notice what’s happening. You notice the nature of thoughts, etc., but that doesn’t mean you don’t really, really still believe some of them. And I really, really believed some of my thoughts.

And, for example, I’m going to be alone a lot more, ipso facto, I’m going to be really lonely and it’s going to get worse, which also I think is probably a very common thought that widows have.

Krista: Yes, it is.

Erica: And Mom Goes On really drove home to me that you can really challenge your thoughts and it’s worth doing. You can expose them and challenge them. So, mindfulness doesn’t generally take that, it’s fantastic, but it doesn’t take that proactive kind of stance. And so really having it driven home to me that thoughts are optional, that I can challenge them, etc., etc., that was a big learning.

Krista: I love it. How about the decision making? What has shifted in your ability to make decisions, the way you think about decisions?

Erica: Well, up to this point, I have actually felt that I have been making good decisions. And Mom Goes On reminds me to give myself a pat on the back or at least acknowledge that. Yeah, I mean, widowhood just it, so requires you to step up in so many ways, doesn’t it? It’s just, as I say, I’ve had to woman up over and over again, just over and over again. I have to woman up. There’s the next challenge and the next challenge and the next challenge.

So yeah, seeing so many other women doing the same thing. And I know the stuff about decisions, about whatever decision you make, you can love yourself through it and deal with any feelings that come from it and so on. So that was, overall it was helpful.

Krista: Yeah. Also, just a slight reminder there. You can also praise yourself for choosing to step up and woman up. Because honestly, I think the reason I feel passionately about this is because I see a lot of social media posts from widows and I get a lot of emails from widows more so than any of you would. And a lot of them are filled with women who aren’t choosing to engage in their lives, and they aren’t choosing to figure out what’s next and do the things that you’ve done. And so yes, it’s easy to think you have to do it, but a lot of women aren’t.

And so it’s praiseworthy. It’s something to praise yourself about. I am actively engaging and creating the life that I want. I am choosing to do that and not everybody, not that that makes you better than the people who aren’t. That’s not what I’m saying, but it’s a missed opportunity to take credit for something that you really did choose for yourself.

Erica: Yeah, thank you. And I mean, it’s still scary. It’s still scary.

Krista: Right. Yeah, as growth always will be. Yeah. What’s next for you these days? What’s going on in your life?

Erica: So I did sell the house. Mom Goes On finished and I sold the house the next month, but during Mom Goes On I was preparing it. And preparing it was absolutely mammoth. That was such a huge task because [inaudible] a whole family who are into everything in a house was just a huge task. So yes, so straight after Mom Goes On, sold the house. And then I moved into a rental apartment which is this one in the inner city. So I was in the outer suburbs and now I’m in a very lively pad in the city and looking to buy an apartment here. So that’s what’s happening now.

And also I’m more than midway through, I’m still doing some work in the software company my husband founded. And I’m also midway through an embodiment coaching course that finishes in August.

Krista: Yes. Do you have ideas of what you want to do with that?

Erica: Well, see, this is where the challenges keep coming. So I’m kind of trying to integrate all my learnings, my yoga and my meditation and this embodiment stuff into an offering. But what exactly that offering looks like I’m not sure yet. I am doing some volunteer coaching already, but yeah.

Krista: Can you imagine, it’s yoga, the medium is yoga and then the somatics or whatever else is brought in, is that kind of what you’re imagining?

Erica: Well, actually I’m a trained yoga teacher, but I’ve moved to more mindful movement. And I’m a meditation coach now because I did that qualification. So I’m actually not exactly sure which proportion I’ll put things into this mix. So there’s a little bit of discovery I supposed to happen there, how I’ll integrate all those things, yeah.

Krista: Yeah. That’ll be one of those things that if you just let yourself learn by doing, you just try it, test it, see what you love, see what works, see how it resonates and then adjust. I mean, how else are you supposed to know?

Erica: Yeah, exactly. And all that’s a bit scary.

Krista: Totally, because you’ve never done it before, your primitive brain thinks you could die.

Erica: Yeah, that’s right. 

Krista: Yeah. Listen, creating a coaching business was also scary, but totally I’m so happy that I did it. Yeah, so good. So just thinking as we wrap up, you talked about what you would tell yourself in early grief. What is it that you want other widows to know that you think would be helpful to them or words of wisdom?

Erica: Well, I think that what I’m reaching for and what I sometimes experience is this idea that being a widow is tragic, but everybody around us is experiencing their own tragedies. And what I’m trying to say is it just takes us into our common humanity more deeply. And so I’m trying to see widowhood in a way as a bit of a portal, I suppose to being bigger. Do you see what I’m getting at? Because it’s just part of the whole human experience. And scratch the surface of anyone and they have got a big loss. And so I just, I’m trying to use it as this crack, I suppose, this opening to something bigger.

Krista: Yeah, I love that because it really is. And none of us get out of life without experiencing pain and loss.

Erica: Yeah. So you asked for widows, what I’d say to widows. Obviously you don’t, you’re not thinking about that in the early days, you’re just getting through it. But that’s what I would hope for all of us who experience tragedy, as we all do, that it helps us be bigger, not to shrink away and so that’s what I’m trying to do in my own scared way.

Krista: I love that.

Krista: Well, right. I mean hey, that’s how we do it, it’s just we feel the fear and we do the thing. And to your point I see so much of that, when I read Pema Chödrön’s When Things Fall Apart, that was actually a book that I could read, it was probably a month or so after Hugo died that I read that book and I felt like it had been written exactly for me. This is the strangest experience. I was like, “Okay, how can I use this, how can I let this soften me? How can I let this help me become more in touch with other humans and connect me to them?”

Erica: Yes, yes, exactly.

Krista: Yeah, I love that for you. I love that other people who don’t yet know you are someday going to benefit from what you’re going to teach them.

Erica: Thank you.

Krista: Pretty cool. Yeah. Well, listen, is there anything we missed? Anything you wanted to talk about that we didn’t cover?

Erica: I don’t think so.

Krista: Okay. Thank you so much for coming on and being willing to share your story and let other people feel hope.

Erica: A pleasure and thank you for offering hope to women in this very common circumstance, and that is so misunderstood and underserved. So thank you for being a bit of a beacon of light out there, Krista.

Krista: It is my honor and pleasure, and it feels so good to me, I love that I get to do it. So I receive that and also I feel so much gratitude that I do it, so yeah. Alright, keep in touch, keep me posted on how your business evolves.

Erica: Okay, cheers. Thank you. Bye.

Krista: Take care, thank you.

If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about 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.

Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click work with me for details and the next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.

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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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