Ep #123: Widows Like Us: An Interview with Kim Murray

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The Widowed Mom Podcast with Krista St-Germain | Widows Like Us: An Interview with Kim Murray

This week, I’m speaking to my former client and now mentor for widows, Kim Murray. 

Kim lost her husband Mark in 2014 to glioblastoma, and she’s here to share her journey since becoming a widow and solo parent. 

If you ever feel like you’re trapped under an avalanche of overwhelm, convinced you’re never going to be okay again, Kim’s story will hopefully help you tackle each day with more grace for yourself.

 

If you 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.

 

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Kim’s journey after losing her husband Mark. 
  • What Kim wishes she had known about how to support herself in the early days of grief.
  • How Kim was able to make solo parenting easier on herself. 
  • Kim’s battle with not wanting to feel her feelings and how learning that skill has enabled her to help other widows. 
  • How Kim has used coaching tools to get out of her own way and heal. 
  • What Kim’s experience of biting the bullet to start dating again was like. 

 

 

Listen to the Full Episode:

 

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Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 123, Widows Like Us: An Interview with Kim Murray

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. I’m excited to bring you an interview with one of my former clients, Kim Murray. And I hope you’ll enjoy it because we cover a lot of things in this interview.
We talked about Kim’s journey after losing her husband, Mark, to glioblastoma in 2014… What she wishes she had known about how to support herself in the early days of grief… How she was able to make solo parenting easier on herself after struggling with it for years… Her battle with not wanting to feel her feelings and why learning that skill really made all the difference in her ability to help other widows now and to get unstuck in her business… And even how she went from just wanting to rip the Band-Aid off and get past her worries about the first date, to meeting someone that she’s now engaged to marry.

So, I hope you’ll enjoy this interview with my former client and member of Mom Goes On, Kim Murray.

Krista: I am so excited to have a guest today, Kim Murray. Kim, welcome to the podcast.

Kim Murray: Hi, Krista. Thanks so much for having me. This is so fun. I haven’t seen you for a while, so it’s good to…

Krista: I know.

Kim: …Be back with you again.

Krista: It’s been a while. I remember thinking… Well, we can talk about this as we go in the interview, but I remember thinking way early on, even before we worked together, that at some point you would probably be a guest on the podcast, not only because of your story, but also because of your business, right? What you have created.

Kim: Yes.

Krista: So, I want to talk about, yeah, all those things.

Kim: All the things.

Krista: So, let’s just get started, and I’ll just let you kind of introduce yourself. So, tell the audience a little bit about Kim.

Kim: Okay. So, my name is Kim Murray. I’m a widow. I’ve been a widow since 2014. So, several years now. My husband was diagnosed with glioblastoma in 2013.

So, glioblastoma is a terminal brain cancer and there’s no cure and no one survives glioblastoma. So, when he received his diagnosis, we were shocked, to say the least, that our perfect little family… We were just having so much fun and doing all kinds of fun things with our kids and getting along and life was good, and then boom. You receive that diagnosis.

So, in February of 2013, he was diagnosed, and he died in February of 2014. So, just shy of 12 months.

Krista: A year.

Kim: Yeah. The average rate—or whatever you want to call it—to live with glioblastoma is like 12 to 15 months. So, he was in the 12-month range.
But yeah, so, that was it. We were going along fine and the next thing I know, I’m a widow and a solo parent. So, that was a really difficult and challenging year.

Krista: And how old were your kids at that time?

Kim: They were eight and 10 when he was diagnosed in February. They turned nine and 11 that April. So, they were young. They were very young when he was diagnosed. So, that was a difficult thing to handle with them because we knew he was going to die.

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: We knew his cancer was terminal. We just didn’t tell the kids that until it got closer to the end.

Krista: Yeah. I’ve never really added it up, and it would be interesting to do so, but it seems like glioblastoma is so common. Or I guess, it’s so much more common than I ever knew it was until I started doing this work, but it’s so common among the women that I work with. I don’t know why that is.

Kim: It’s weird. I don’t either. Well, it’s like we talk about your brain shows you evidence when you start to think about certain things, but I never heard of glioblastoma until he was diagnosed. But then—what was it? Ted Kennedy had it, and I think Beau Biden died from glioblastoma.

So, there other people. And so then, I meet other widows and they say, “Oh, my husband died of glioblastoma.” Wow, that’s crazy. But it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since my husband died. When I hear the word “glioblastoma,” I mean, I suck in my breath. It’s like I can’t breathe.

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: This many years later, I talk to other widows whose husband had it, and I’m thinking… I still feel that visceral reaction too. I know what they went through.

Krista: Yeah. Yeah. So, one of the things I try to do with these interviews is just give people an idea—you know, some hope, first of all. And it seems like since your husband died and—compared to where you were then to where you are now—pretty significant change, right? We were kind of talking about this before we started this interview that, in those early days, it feels like the days will never end and everything is going so slowly and it’s like you’re kind of stuck. In my mind, it’s like being in a time warp almost.

Kim: Yes.

Krista: And then now, where it feels like all of a sudden, days are going by really fast. And that’s actually, I kind of think, an encouraging thing to hear, especially if someone’s listening and they are in those early days. It does feel terribly slow, but it’s not always going to feel that way. Can you talk a little bit about what it was like in the really early days of your grief?

Kim: Sure. Yeah. I was a mess. I mean, like anybody else would be. It’s just a very scary place to be when you’re a new widow. And especially with young kids. So, when you’re trying to figure out your own grief, but then try to shepherd your kids through their grief, it’s complicated. So, the early days, I was in basically a constant state of panic.

Krista: Panic?

Kim: Panic. Anxiety. I am afraid of a lot of things. I’m an Enneagram Six if you’re familiar at all with Enneagram. Fear kind of rules my life. And I do it anyway even though I’m afraid.

But those first couple of years after Mark died, the fear was insane. Because I just thought that everybody else was going to die too. Like, “Why wouldn’t they? Why wouldn’t they die? My husband died. Maybe my kids, you know, might die or I might die.” So, the fear of death and just the fear and anxiety was pretty intense in those first few years.

But I was working and the kids had school and they had extracurricular activities and we had things to do, so I just kind of powered through those days. So, they were very hard and very challenging and very scary. And then, after you get used to kind of your new normal—which, people either hate that term or love that term—you just start to do things the way you become accustomed to doing them.

So, it becomes less about the anxiety and the fear and what’s next—what’s going to happen next—because every day you keep going forward, you realize that the earth did not stop spinning on its axis.

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: Right?

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: You still woke up. The sun’s still shining. You’re breathing. Your kids are breathing. Everybody’s fine. So, you just have to kind of get over those first—I don’t know what you would call them—humps? Whatever you want to call them. Just that terror that things are never going to be okay again. Every day you move forward, you realize that they are.

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: So, it takes different times for different people. Some people… I had—I’m talking a solid two years. A solid two years of panic.

Krista: That’s how you felt. Yeah.

Kim: That’s how I felt. And then my mental health and my physical health and things started to suffer, so I knew I had to kind of get a grip on that.

Krista: Yeah. If you could go back in time and you could talk to yourself in the early days after Mark’s loss, what do you suppose you would tell yourself? Any advice you would give yourself?

Kim: Yeah, I would tell myself to not try to run away from my feelings. I would tell myself to feel them. I spent quite a bit of time thinking that I was the one that could bypass the grief.

Like, everybody else tells you, “You got to feel your feelings.” Well, “Maybe I don’t have to feel my feelings. Maybe I can bypass it. Maybe I can work a lot or travel a lot or do a lot of other things, and maybe I don’t have to deal with it.”

Well, that’s not realistic. I mean, I found that out. Again, mental and physical health was suffering because I wouldn’t feel them. It’s intense, right? It’s awful. It’s an awful feeling.

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: And I didn’t want to deal with it. But we traveled a lot in the first couple of years. So, it was almost like I was literally running away from my grief. I was trying to escape it.
So, I would say the most useful thing for me was deciding that it was okay to have those feelings and feel them and just sit with them. Just sit with them and let them do their thing. I tried to avoid it and I suffered because of it.

It’s easy for me to say now… And I talk to a lot of other widows too, and I say the same thing: “Just feel the feelings.” It’s one thing to say it. It’s another thing to do it.

Krista: Totally.

Kim: I wasn’t all that of that kind that wanted to feel them.

Krista: I think also—and I’ve mentioned this on the podcast before too, but I always think it’s worth repeating—that it’s not all or nothing. It doesn’t have to be like… If you’re worried about feeling feelings and you’re kind of thinking, “Well, that means I have to spend all my time feeling feelings.” No, that’s not what we’re saying either, right?

Dual process theory of grief says, oscillate back and forth. You find the balance. You do the work of feeling the feelings and thinking about your thinking and thinking about your grief, right? But then also you take respite in the activities that let your brain rest.

And so, purposeful distraction—purposeful hobbies and things that help you take a break from the intense emotion and that reality of the loss—are actually quite useful. And healing… It’s when we get out of balance and we go and swing so far over to distraction that we’re not actually, to your point, doing any of the feelings work at all because we’re just trying to get away from it. So, I think a balance.

Kim: That’s a perfect explanation. That is exactly what it is, and if you don’t know that, you don’t know that. So, you don’t know what you don’t know. I was all or nothing. Either I am all this and I’m plowing ahead and I’m not feeling grief, or I’m stuck in the grief of this and I can’t get out of it.
And I didn’t want to be stuck in the grief of this. So, I’m like, “I’m just going to keep powering forward and trying to escape it.” But if you don’t know that it’s okay or that it’s necessary or that it’s whatever…

Krista: And it almost seems praiseworthy, right?

Kim: Yeah.

Krista: That phrase “powering forward.” It feels like… When you think of—at least, that’s coming to me—it feels almost powerful.

Kim: Well, sure.

Krista: You would think that’s a good thing, “powering forward.”

Kim: I thought it was good thing. You know, people would say to me—this is what used to drive me nuts—they would say to me, “If anyone had to do this, Kim, we know you can handle it.” People would say that to me all the time. Like, “We know this is hard, but we know you can do it. Because out of anybody we know, you’re the one that could… You’re so strong. You’re this and you’re that.”

You’re thinking, “Well, the strong people don’t suffer less than the weak.” Whatever [inaudible] as being weak. I’m not saying that that’s the right phrase, but just because you’re “strong” or perceived as strong doesn’t mean you’re not suffering or you’re not feeling…

Krista: Yeah, your heart is not broken into a million pieces.

Kim: It’s not broken into a million pieces. But I wanted to keep that persona. I wanted to keep that persona of, “This will not break me. I will be okay.” Well, you can be okay, and it doesn’t have to break you, but it doesn’t mean you have to be stoic 24/7 either.

Krista: Yeah. So, you said you kind of got to a place a couple of years in where your wellness was really suffering. How did you know? What were your warning signs?

Kim: Well, I don’t think I breathed in the first two years after Mark died, really—took deep breaths. I had persistent pain in my neck. I had a persistent knot. I couldn’t take deep breaths. I think I was shallow breathing so much that it was almost like I was unable to take a deep breath without it really hurting.

And the physical part—the knots in my neck—I would go get massages, and the massage therapist would try to get these knots out. And I would say, “They don’t come out. So, don’t even bother.”

They would really try, and then I would hurt worse leaving the table than it was when I went in. And I would say, “Don’t even try. Just do the massage and make it comfortable. But don’t worry about the knots.” Well, that’s not normal. That’s not okay.

So, I would go to the doctor, and I did go to the doctor quite a bit in those first two years because I was afraid I was going to die. So, I had every procedure known to man. I had every test known to man. And I was going to get ahead of… “Cancer’s not going to get me. I’m going to get ahead of it. So, I’m taking tests of whatever I need to take tests of.”

And I’ve shared this story before, I think, on my blog, but this is so embarrassing to me. But I went to the doctor—family doctor—one time because I had shoulder pain. I believed the shoulder pain was because I had lung cancer.

Krista: Aw.

Kim: Okay, that was what my brain told me. And I’ve smoked before. I’m a previous smoker, so it’s not unrealistic to think I could get lung cancer at some point. But I was convinced the shoulder pain… That’s what my brain was telling me because I was so afraid of leaving my children orphans.
So, she said—she was so sweet—she said, “Kim, I don’t really think that’s because of lung cancer.” She said, “Were you working out in your yard? Or were you doing any…?” I said, “Oh my God. Yeah. I laid, like, 60 bags of rocks in my yard the week before.”

Krista: Maybe that’s the more likely culprit than…

Kim: Maybe that’s why. But I didn’t think that. Didn’t even dawn on me I’d laid 60 bags of rocks by myself.

Krista: Yeah. But our brain is always trying to prove our thoughts true, so of course your brain would be showing you evidence of impending doom.

Kim: Yeah. So, I was convinced that these… So, I was constantly getting tests and it just didn’t help me. That was not helping me.

Krista: Yeah. Right.

Kim: So, I finally went to see a functional medicine doctor because I also wanted to get on some supplements and vitamins and stuff. So, we did a test to see how my adrenal glands were functioning, and they were basically fried. So, whatever you know about adrenal glands, that’s what controls the cortisol that courses through your body.

Krista: Yeah. Yeah. Hashimoto’s right here, so…

Kim: Yeah. So, I had some serious cortisol issues because I was in constant fight or flight. So, we just decided to do some alternative things: yoga, meditation… You know, I drank [inaudible] my hot chocolate. I just tried different things. I’m not big on pills. I don’t like to take pills, but I take the supplements and the vitamins.

So, I just had to bring myself down. Really, that’s all I had to do was just start to tell myself, “You are not going to die. You do not have cancer. The headache doesn’t mean you have a brain tumor. The cough doesn’t mean you have lung cancer. The stomach issues don’t mean you have whatever.”

It was a process. So, it’s not overnight. It’s not like you just, “Oh, Kim, you’ll start to feel better.” But I just really decided also that I was projecting or setting an example for my kids to be afraid of everything, and that’s not how I want them to grow up. I did not want them to grow up being afraid of things like me.

So, I knew at that point, too, I had to get a grip on it, so that they weren’t picking up on that and deciding that they were going to live their lives in fear. Because that’s absolutely not what I want for them.

Krista: Good for you.

Kim: So, it was just a process of trying to figure out where all this was coming from. And I didn’t actually go to therapy. I started seeing a therapist about four years after Mark died. So, it took me a while to get there—to that point where I’d actually talk about my issues…

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: …And bring them to light. But once I did, then things started to change for me and I realized that I’m not a superhuman. I’m not a robot.

Krista: Good to know.

Kim: Good to know!

Krista: Might be a little less pressure you’re putting on yourself now.

Kim: Right.

Krista: In your human status. Yeah.

Kim: Yes.

Krista: Okay, so fast forward then. So, Mark died in 2014.

Kim: Right.

Krista: Our paths crossed in 20… What year is this?

Kim: 2020.

Krista: 2020. Yeah. I don’t know, I feel some days still like I’m in a time warp. Okay, so 2020. So, where were you when you reached out to me and when we connected? What was going on?

Kim: Well, I’d been a widow for about six years at that point, so I wasn’t coming to you from… I don’t think I was coming as much from the grief standpoint as I had been struggling mightily with some solo parenting issues. And obviously, you’re a widow coach for widowed moms. So, we all are solo parents.

Krista: Right.

Kim: And most of us have young kids. So, it wasn’t so much the grief, but then I didn’t know that maybe it was grief that I wasn’t acknowledging or bringing to the surface. I didn’t know.

So, I just had issues with parenting and my unnatural fears of failure or whatever else. And then, my perfectionist tendencies that derail me and prevent me from maybe even being more authentic or providing products to widows like I do now through Widow 411.

But I was stuck there. I couldn’t move forward with any of that. So, I think it was one of your podcasts on… I think it was money. Like, “money purgatory” or “wealth purgatory.”

Krista: Wealth purgatory.

Kim: Something like that. Yeah.

Krista: Yep.

Kim: And I thought, “Okay, I’ve got some limiting beliefs here. I have some things that are stuck in my brain.” So, that’s when I reached out. So, again, it wasn’t so much me saying, “I don’t know how to live with widowhood.” I didn’t know what to do about my solo parenting issues.

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: We had some major, major issues.

Krista: Yeah, it seemed like you had a lot of things happening that I remember, so for sure the solo parenting, and then I also remember that you were still running your late husband’s business.

Kim: Yes.

Krista: And I want to talk about Widow 411, but that was already in the works, but kind of you were a little stalled-out on it in terms of…

Kim: Very stalled.

Krista: Yeah. And you had been in a relationship for a couple of years at that point too, so you were…

Kim: Yes.

Krista: That’s a lot.

Kim: Yeah, two years after Mark died, I went on my first date, which ended up being my only date, which ended up being my fiancé, and we’re getting married in November, so…

Krista: Right?

Kim: Weird. Just unexplainable way things happen.

Krista: That’s where I am though too. First date that seemed…

Kim: Yeah. Exactly.

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: It’s weird. It just is, but part of getting… Let me back up just a bit , I won’t go too much into this, before I put too much into this, but part of getting past my anxiety and my fear and panic and whatever is that I had to decide that the universe was in control and not me. I’m not in control of what happens.

So, once I started letting go of some of that control and realizing that things happen unguided, unsupported—things happen to me the way they’re supposed to—that I had a little bit better outlook on life. I’m not saying that, “Mark died because he was supposed to and that’s how my life…” I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that whatever happens to me is going to be okay. It’s the way that it’s supposed to be.

So, when I went on this date, it was two years after Mark died. And I thought, “I’m a planner.” I mean, I like to plan things. I like to be in control. I’m not, but that doesn’t stop me from planning to be in control.

So, I thought, “I’m going to go on a date, and I’m going to get over that first date after the death.” Because I knew that would be a sticking point for me. “I’m just going to do it, and we’re not going to continue. It’s not going to go any further. I’m just going to get over that hump with whatever…” My neighbor wanted to introduce me to this guy named Tom. “I’m just going to go out with Tom. Get over the hump. I have an exit strategy planned.”
I’m a grieving widow, so if it went south, I’d be like, “This isn’t gonna… I probably shouldn’t have done this. This was too soon.” I mean, I had it all planned out.

Krista: You were going to play the widow card.

Kim: Play the widow card. “Everything’s going to be fine.” So, this is how it was in my brain. Well, we had our first date. Like I said, we are still together and we’re getting married. So, I guess, you know, chuck all those whatever—beliefs—out the window about how you think things are going to go because you just never really know.

Krista: Yeah, you just never really know. But I love that you were willing to do that for yourself—to just kind of rip the Band-Aid off and not go in with any big expectations other than it seemed like a healthy thing for you to do.

Kim: It was a healthy thing! And I just wanted to… Again, I felt like that would be a block for me, so I just wanted to get over it. It didn’t have to be with a specific person. I just wanted to get over it.

And so that’s how it all started, and my neighbor said, “Well, I’ve got somebody I’d like you to meet.” And I said, “Okay, well…” I knew I had an exit strategy. So, “Okay, fine. We’ll go meet for coffee.” Well, then coffee turned into lunch, and then lunch turned into another date, and then another date, and then another date.

And I’m not going to say I wasn’t feeling like what other widows feel, like, “Am I doing something wrong? Should I be… Maybe this means I don’t love my husband?” You know, all those things go through your mind. They’re not true, but they go through your mind anyway.

So, he asked me—Tom asked me very early on if I felt guilty dating him. And I said, “No.” Because my husband had glioblastoma. We knew he was going to die. It was terminal. Nothing was left unsaid between Mark and me. And he was very clear that he wanted me to date again and have a relationship. I was 44 when he died, so, obviously young. And he was very clear about that.

So, people will say to me, “You’re so lucky that your husband gave you permission and told you that it was okay with him that you date again.” And I’m like, “Yeah. But it’s not his permission I needed. It’s my permission.”

Krista: Absolutely.

Kim: Mine.

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: And I don’t know that I was giving myself that permission in the first, you know, couple of years, but I finally decided to give myself that permission. But it had to come from me.

Krista: Yes. Yes. And I see so many people who did have that discussion with their person and did get that permission from their person, but then still won’t give themselves permission. So, just because you got permission from your person doesn’t mean you still don’t have to give it to yourself.

Kim: Exactly. But I decided that, yeah, it was okay. It’s okay. There’s no reason for me not to pursue happiness or pursue another relationship. I don’t think love is limited. I think it’s infinite. If you could love 12,000 people and if another person comes along, you can fit that into the mix too. There’s no limit on how many people you can love. I don’t believe in one-and-done. One soulmate. One true love, blah blah blah. I don’t believe in any of that.

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: I think if you’re living and you’re still alive, you should go on living.

Krista: You can love.

Kim: And that means loving.

Krista: Yeah. Our children are proof of that.

Kim: True.

Krista: You think, “How could I ever love another child as much as I love my first one?” And then when the second one comes, you fall madly in love with the second one.

Kim: That’s a perfect example. And you just don’t know. Again, you don’t know what you don’t know. So, leave yourself open to the possibility.

So, again, talking to other widows, it’s always like, well… I always have to laugh. You probably get this, too, in Facebook groups. Widows will say, “I can’t ever date again. I can’t ever have another relationship. I loved my husband too much. I can’t go there.”

Well, does that mean I didn’t love my husband too much? Or I loved him less? No. That’s absurd. So, these excuses or whatever you want to call them—limiting beliefs, blocks, whatever you want to call them—are originating in, obviously, their own brains. But I didn’t love my own husband any less than any other widow.

Krista: Right.

Kim: I just decided that I’m going to go on living my life and allow the love that is all around us to come back into my life.

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: And it would be okay.

Krista: Yeah. I think I see a lot of it being that people are so worried that they’re going to get hurt again.

Kim: Yes. For sure.

Krista: Yeah, and their capacity to tolerate that. It just doesn’t seem bearable to them.

Kim: Well, it doesn’t seem bearable.

Krista: It’s like misery in advance. So, instead of taking the chance that you could love again, then you just resign yourself to unhappiness now instead of taking the chance that there might be unhappiness in the future…

Kim: Exactly.

Krista: …If it were to end.

Kim: Exactly. And there was a person who asked me out on a date—this is a long story; I’ll make it short—but asked me out on a date before I met Tom. And it didn’t work out. But the point of that, to me, was, “Oh, wait a minute. Maybe I’m not dead inside. Maybe I’m not frozen.” It stirred up some feelings.

Krista: Is that what you thought?

Kim: Well, I didn’t know because I wasn’t thinking about dating and I wasn’t thinking about a relationship. It just so happened that, through a turn of events, this person asked me out. It did not work out.
But that got me thinking like, “Oh, huh. So, maybe that is an option. Maybe that is something I could do because these feelings of not being dead inside and actually looking at someone else thinking, ‘Well, he’s attractive,’ or, ‘He seems nice…’” That started happening where I was like, “Well, maybe this is an option.”

Then that’s when I was like, “Well, maybe I should do this first date thing and get it over with.” I started to realize that there might be some opportunities out there.

But if you’re blocked—if you say, “No, this will never happen…”

Krista: Yeah, there’s no possibility that doors can open because you’re just firmly holding them shut.

Kim: Right. But why? And then at the same time, you’re upset—or whatever the word I’m looking for—because you’re lonely, but you’re not allowing yourself to bring someone else into your life or be vulnerable. I guess a lot of it is vulnerability. But again, it’s not one or the other. It’s not. We all have a mix of emotions and we’re all taking them as they come, right?

Krista: Totally.

Kim: Right. So, that’s how that all kind of went down.

Krista: Yeah. Okay. So, I want to talk about perfectionism.

Kim: Yeah. Ugh.

Krista: Yeah. “Ugh. Jesus. Kill me.” Yeah, what’s your immediate response to that word?

Kim: It’s a curse. It’s a curse.

Krista: It’s a curse? Yeah.

Kim: It’s a curse and a blessing. So, I always explain it like this. I am a perfectionist. That’s what I do. Okay. But I’m trying to get over some of my perfectionist tendencies. But I’m also the girl you want on your team to get stuff done and to get it done.

So, I think it’s a curse where it does prevent me from doing things I want to do, but I also thinks it’s a blessing in some ways because I can get stuff done and do it really well. I know sometimes other people can’t because my brain is so focused on the steps or the process or the end results, so I think it’s both a curse and a blessing.

Krista: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Okay, and the reason that even came to mind to me is because of Widow 411. So, Widow 411—it’s .com, right?

Kim: Yes.

Krista: .com? Yeah, Widow411.com. Okay, so, talk to us about how that came to be. How did you come up with it? What is it? And then, I would love for people to hear your journey of kind of feeling stuck with that and then how you’ve gotten unstuck.

Kim: Sure. So, the weird thing is, again, if you keep yourself open to possibilities and not shut doors, the year that Mark died, I was obviously overwhelmed. I had to do everything by myself as a young widow and solo parent and I had an inkling that things would get better and that I would figure it out. I just didn’t know how at the time.

So, I always had that thought in my head that I would not be miserable forever, but I didn’t know how to get out of it at that point because it was still so new. But I did think that once I figured it out, maybe I could help other widows. And that year that he died, I bought the domain name “Widow411.com.” Well, “411” means information, right? Remember the old phone exchange information?

Krista: Right.

Kim: I will provide information. I didn’t know what that meant to other widows. But I didn’t know when. So, I bought the domain.

Krista: Did you just wake up one day and go, “Widow411! I think I’ll see if that domain is available”?

Kim: It came to me. I just came to me.

Krista: I love it.

Kim: Somehow. I don’t know. Somehow, it came to me. So, I just thought, “Well, a domain name is…” The first time you buy one it’s like, what, 12 bucks?

Krista: Yeah. So cheap.

Kim: Or something? So, I thought, “I’m just going to buy it. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. But I’m just going to buy it.”

So, the first two years I go through all my panic, anxiety, mental health struggles, physical struggles, blah blah blah. And then I decided around probably 2017-ish that I would start just writing blog posts.

Well, I had to learn how to do everything on the backend of the website and the WordPress and the learning how to do… The technical issues are quite a lot. They’re quite intense. So, I had to learn how to do all of that, and as I was figuring out how to publish the blog posts and put them out there. So, that took quite a bit of time for me.

So, I think around 2018, I was ready to go with blog posts. I thought, “I’m just going to start writing about my experience and other people that I talked to and their experiences and see if we can  make something here. I could help people.”

So, as I’m going through all of my issues in the beginning of widowhood, I was taking a lot of notes and had a lot of file folders and just, again, not sure how I was going to put it all together. But I think you know—and everybody knows—when your spouse dies, you have to do a lot of things.

Krista: So. Many. Things.

Kim: So many things. So, you’re closing accounts. You’re contacting credit bureaus. You’re figuring out what bills need to be paid. All of that. So, as I’m doing all of those things, I’m keeping notes. Because I would come across something and be like, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t even think about this.” I write it down. “I forgot we had to do this.” I’d write it down. So, I thought, “At some point, I’m going to compile all of this information, and I’m going to help other widows with those post-death tasks.”

Krista: Yeah, the logistics.

Kim: The logistics.

Krista: Just, the organizing. Yeah.

Kim: Right. Because I knew how to do a lot of things. I knew how to balance a checkbook. I paid the bills. I knew where all of our accounts were. I knew where our money was. And it was still ridiculously overwhelming. Because I’m thinking, “Well, if you don’t know how to do that or if you don’t even know what your account name is or how to find a bill, what would you do? How would you even…?” So, I put all of that together and decided to put some of that information in Widow 411 too.

Krista: Plus, widow fog. I mean, even if you are an organized person and you know all of this stuff…

Kim: Good point.

Krista: Yeah. Was widow fog intense for you? How did that affect you?

Kim: It was pretty intense. I mean, I share stories. I’ve done other webinars too, and I’ve shared stories about things that I did in the middle of widow fog.

One that I am embarrassed about is my phone got run over by a car because I left it on my bumper of my van. We were at a ballgame with the kids, and I’m trying to put stuff in the back and getting bags and mitts and balls and whatever, and why I put my phone on the bumper is beyond me, but I did.

So, I pull out of the parking lot and I realize I didn’t have my phone, and so we backtrack. I’m hoping it dropped where I pulled out of my parking space. But no, it was in the middle of the road, smashed to smithereens. And I use my phone for my business, so that was at like 5 o’clock maybe. I had to rush to the Sprint store before it closed to get a new phone and go through all that.

So, the widow fog was intense. I would forget words. I would forget how to say things like “shoes.” Like, I would tell my kids to put their shoes away, only I couldn’t think of the word for shoes.

Krista: “Those things that go on your feet and I’m tripping over them.”

Kim: Exactly!

Krista: “Please put them away.”

Kim: It’s so ridiculous. They’re looking at me like I’m an alien or something, and I’m like, “You have no idea how ridiculous this is to not be able to think of the word ‘shoes.’”

Krista: Yeah, it’s so frustrating.

Kim: Frustrating. So, yeah, that’s a good point. When you’re trying to close accounts and do all of these things, but your brain isn’t functioning at optimal capacity, how do you do that? So, I thought, “Well, I’m going to try and help widows with those post-death tasks.” So, I created a product called “The Ultimate Survival Guide for Widows.”

And when I was coming to see you, I was putting that together, only I couldn’t get past my perfectionist tendencies to actually launch the product. I was stuck with, “This is terrible! Nobody’s going to like this.” I don’t even know what I was thinking. “This is awful! I need to change the font.” My girlfriend and I joke all the time that I change the font about a million times. It’s stupid. The font means nothing. Right? That’s like non-meaning.

Krista: But it’s such an easy thing to hide behind, right?

Kim: It is.

Krista: It’s such an easy thing to hide behind. Yeah.

Kim: But we joke about it now, so when we talk about other things, we’re like, “Are you hiding behind the font or are you really…?” So, this is like a thing between us now.

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: [Inaudible] the font anymore.

Krista: So, how did coaching help you with that? What shifted?

Kim: Just getting past my own limits and my own mind. So, again, a lot of what you talk about are optional thoughts. So, does the font matter? No. That’s an optional thought that I’m making the font mean something that it doesn’t mean, or the color scheme, or whatever.

But those are also ways for me to buffer or to prevent myself from doing something that might be scary. I don’t know how it’s going to be received. I don’t know whether or not people are going to think it’s valuable. I spent a lot of time on it, so to me it’s like, “If I put this out there and people don’t like it, this is, like, years of my life.”

Krista: Yeah. It’s almost like saying, “They don’t like me.”

Kim: Well, that’s it. It would be saying, “They don’t like me.” And so, I had to learn that I’m not my products.

Krista: Right.

Kim: And I’m not even my feelings. My feelings don’t mean anything about me as a person. So, those were all the kinds of things that I learned.

So, I’m still a perfectionist. I don’t think that’ll ever change totally. I can’t say that I’ve overcome it. But I am able to say to myself now, “Okay, wait a minute. That might be an optional thought. That might not be true.”
It doesn’t mean anything about me, and so I try to use some of the coaching techniques—the self-coaching techniques—to talk myself out of my spiraling.

Krista: Yeah. It seems like you’ve been really able to use it to get out of your own way.

Kim: I am so 100% in my own way most of the time. It’s ridiculous. It really is kind of ridiculous. So, yes. I need to get out of my own way. So, without having those skills or strategies to do that, it was like I was paralyzed. Not even stuck. Like, paralyzed. Could not push that button.

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: “Submit” button.

Krista: Yeah, because we’ve got to be willing to feel the feeling of whatever’s on the other side of the “submit” button, or whatever the new thing is, right? Maybe for somebody listening it’s not necessarily a new business or it’s not even helping other people, but it’s that thing that, yeah, you put yourself in the ring and you risk judgment and you risk failure, and if we’re not willing to feel the feelings, we can’t do it.

Kim: Well, I think one of the things you would say is—and correct me if I’m wrong—but, “What are you willing to feel in service of your goal?”

Krista: Yes.

Kim: Is that how you say it?

Krista: Yeah. Yeah.

Kim: So, I want to help other widows. So, what am I willing to feel? Am I willing to feel fear or anxiety if that means I can help someone else out from underneath that avalanche of overwhelm? Well, I guess I can feel a little bit. I guess I could take a little bit of anxiety if that means I’m going to help somebody else.

Krista: Yeah, that’s the price of being able to help someone else is being willing to feel your feelings.

Kim: Yeah.

Krista: I had to go through that same journey myself, and I totally relate to the perfectionist tendencies. I always want the A+. I have that history of doing everything quote-unquote “perfect,” and so…

Kim: Yeah.

Krista: Yeah, it’s uncomfortable.

Kim: It is.

Krista: Maybe you’re not going to get the A+. Maybe somebody isn’t going to respond to what you put out there in the world in a positive way, but…

Kim: But isn’t that where we grow? Isn’t that the growth process…?

Krista: One hundred percent.

Kim: …Is where we find it, is in that moment that you do the thing you don’t want to do.

Krista: Right. Yeah. Yeah. And in service of the people who are going to go to your website and be helped by what you’ve put so much time and effort into creating.

Kim: Right. Right.

Krista: Yeah. And I love the idea, too, that… Well, I don’t know how it was for you, but I think it can be such an integral part of healing, too, right, when we take something that’s been really crappy for us and then figure out a way to make it valuable for someone else. It feels really good.

Kim: For sure. I hear that all the time. In self-help or self-development, you hear that all the time. The best way to heal or the best way to get better is to help someone else.

Krista: Yeah. Pay it forward.

Kim: Pay it forward. And I don’t want other people or widows to think they have to go start a website or they have to stand on a podium. I’m not saying that.

Krista: No, not at all.

Kim: I remember when Mark died, I had a meal train. So, I had—I don’t know—three or four months of meals coming, like, five times a week. We had just a lot of meals.

Krista: Wow, that’s a lot of…

Kim: It was a lot. It was a lot. Totally grateful. Thankful. But it was a lot. So, then I had a neighbor—I had a friend whose husband had a stroke, and so some of my friends were giving out a meal train for her. I was so thrilled to be able to make a meal for someone else because I wanted to get out of my own head, whatever, but that made me feel so much better. It was nice to get my meals from my friends, but I actually felt better when I was able to do it for someone else.

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: Even if you make a meal, you walk a dog, you talk to the garbage man… I don’t care what you do, you’re just being a human and you’re putting your gifts out there.

Krista: Yeah. The other side of that, as you’re saying it, I think, is if you’re hesitant to ask for help—because I think a lot of us are—sometimes it can be useful to kind of remind yourself that when we don’t ask for help, we also deny other people the opportunity to help us who actually really want to help.

Kim: That is an excellent point, and I put that in my Ultimate Survival Guide, too, is that you need to ask for and accept help. And I put together like a two-page document of all the ways people can help you, whether it’s in the home or with your kids or whatever. I’m like, “If you don’t know what to ask for, just give ’em the sheet, have ’em check off what they can do for you, and you’re done.”

Krista: Because sometimes you don’t know what you need.

Kim: No!

Krista: You don’t even know what to ask for.

Kim: No. You have no idea. But you have lawns to maintain or groceries to bag or kids to get to practice or whatever, and because you’re on autopilot and you’re just doing all the things, you’re probably not doing them 100% because you’re not 100% in your brain.

Krista: Right.

Kim: So, again, making my list of all the things I have to do or had to do around my house… And so, I just made this how-to-help-your-widow-friend checklist and said, “Here, go give that to someone if they’re asking you what they could do.”

Krista: I love it. And your Survival Guide, it’s a downloadable PDF, right?

Kim: It was.

Krista: So, you can get it anywhere?

Kim: Yeah, it was. I moved it from a PDF to an actual online course. It’s an online course now.

Krista: Oh. Okay, well I need to be updated then.

Kim: Yeah, I think you’re better able to navigate it through the course, because I took all of the chapters and I made them modules—or sections—and then the chapter subheaders are modules. So, it’s a lot of information.
You can print it—I’m not saying you can’t print it. It is a PDF, so in the online course, I give the PDF version of it. Because some people like books. They want to see the paper and whatever.
But I had so many checklists and worksheets and templates and things you can use on your computer that having it printed in a bound book is okay, but the checklist and templates and worksheets you can do online—it’s a little bit easier to get to those in the online course and see them…

Krista: Could someone gift that to someone else?

Kim: The way that the platform is set up that I sell on, no. You could if we worked together. I could help you gift it to someone. But you can’t go to where it’s being sold and check off, “This is a gift.” You would have to sign up for it as that person.

I did have a friend of mine—it was a local person in our community who was recently widowed—and my friend wanted to purchase this for her. So, she did. I said, “Just fill it out with her name and information on it,” and that’s how she did it. So, we could do it that way.

Krista: Because I think that’s a brilliant idea. I think by the time—I don’t know; maybe I could be wrong—but by the time people find me, they’re not necessarily in those early, early days.

Kim: Exactly.

Krista: And it seems like that’s when something like your Survival Guide would be—not saying it’s not useful later—but it would be really, really useful in the early days.

Kim: Oh, it’s very useful in the early days.

Krista: Yeah, how do you reach those early?

Kim: That’s the crux of this is, “How do I get those widows who are…?” I would say within the first year. Sometimes this could go within the first two years, because there are some [inaudible] that need to be done right away. But I give you lots of budget worksheets and there are insurance review worksheets and things that you can use from now until the end of time, not just…

Krista: Not just in the early days.

Kim: Yeah, so some bonus things in there that you can use throughout. But yeah, it’s mostly for newer widows, so that’s the hard part is, how do you get in front of those widows that are really struggling with this right now?

Krista: Yeah. And need it and maybe are too foggy to even be able to ask for it or do the research to find it.

Kim: Well, exactly. So, that’s why I thought it might be a little bit easier in a course format because you can… Plus, I added video. I was able to add video.

Krista: Good for you! You’ve come so far.

Kim: I’ve come so far! Video, I didn’t want to do for a long time, but I did it and I got a little ring light and I did all of the things so I don’t look like I’m 80 years old on camera. I got all the accoutrements. So, yeah, I finally decided that people needed to see my face and hear my voice, so I made that part of the course and it’s just more of kind of a handholding of, “I know where you are. I’ve been in your shoes.”

Krista: “I’ve been there.”

Kim: “And when you’re doing this part of it—when you’re going to Social Security—ask these questions. When you’re dealing with closing accounts, make sure you don’t forget to do this.”

Krista: Yes. Yeah, and you know, I bet it would be really easy for someone to come in and take your course and look at you and go, “Well, she’s got it all together. She’s not me. I can’t do…” You know.

Kim: Exactly.

Krista: It’s so easy to look at someone’s end product and think it came easily to them. Right?

Kim: Absolutely.

Krista: And that isn’t useful or true. Usually, most of us who are putting ourselves out there, it’s not easy to do.

Kim: No! And it’s funny that you say that because—this was not in the original PDF, but I added it to the course—is a section on changing your limiting beliefs, because I say exactly what you just said. If you’re telling yourself you can’t do this, you’re not smart enough, you’re too whatever this, whatever that, I made some journal entries—journal prompt pages—that they can download and [inaudible] this out for. Because I knew that was coming. I knew that same thing was going to happen where they’re like, “Well, you can do it, but I can’t.”

Krista: “She can do it.” Right. Yeah. Yeah, the point is, if you’re listening and you want to do something and you think you have to be perfect to do it or that the only people who can do it are somehow different than you, it’s just totally wrong. Right? The difference is that you were willing to feel feelings and put a camera in your face and do it anyway.

Kim: Right. And do it anyway. So, I know. And it’s not easy. It’s not easy. We all have the… Some of the stuff—the insurance, the taxes, or things like that—can be very complicated. So, I’m not going to tell you that I know how to do all the tax information, but I can tell you what tax forms to look for and why you need them and why you need to include them in your return, but I’m not a CPA.

Krista: Right. Pitfalls, yeah.

Kim: Right. Right. But we all struggle with those same issues when we’re doing these post-death tasks. They can be complicated.

Krista: Yeah. Totally. Okay, so switching gears a little bit because I really want people to hear solo parenting challenges.

Kim: Yes.

Krista: Right? Because I know we coached a lot on that. Even though our kids get older, we’re never done parenting, right? So, the challenges can sometimes still continue.

Kim: Right.

Krista: But can you kind of talk about what was useful to you? Where were you stuck and struggling before with your solo parenting? What helped you kind of change your experience parenting? All that.

Kim: Well, I want to say the biggest thing for me in this entire coaching experience—the most eye-opening thing to me was how I actually contributed to my own suffering. How much my thoughts in my brain that weren’t true—that I believed were true—contributed to my suffering.

Krista: Do you have examples of maybe some thoughts? So other people could see if they’re thinking those same thoughts?

Kim: Well, the funny thing is, the one coaching session I remember the most is… I think we were on Slack. I don’t think we were on camera. There are probably two. But the one on Slack where I was very upset with my son because he was doing things he shouldn’t be doing.

And we talk about manuals and how we have expectations of people. And, you know, you were very clear about, well, he’s doing these things, but I’m getting angry about it and saying that he shouldn’t. “But he’s doing them.” But I’m saying, “He shouldn’t.” But you’re saying, “But he is.”

So, we go back and forth, and it’s funny sometimes because I’m sure you see the look on people’s faces when you’re coaching them like, “Krista, are you listening to me? He’s doing something he shouldn’t be doing.” Right? And you’re like, “Because he’s human and he has his own thoughts.” “But he shouldn’t be doing it.”

So, we go back and forth. And I’ve seen you coaching other people with the same thing, and I chuckle to myself when I see the other ones, because I’m like, “Oh, I know. I know what she’s thinking.” Because you want to just say, “Yeah, that sucks and he shouldn’t be doing it.” But you’re not saying that because he’s a person with his own thoughts. He’s doing it anyway.
So, when I say, “I contribute to my own suffering,” I’m convinced people have to act and do what I say. Especially my children.

Krista: Hello.

Kim: “Hi, I birthed you. I brought you into this world. I am your mom. By definition, you have to do what I say.”

Krista: And then…

Kim: And they don’t.

Krista: …They don’t.

Kim: And I’m like, “Son of a bitch. Now what?”

Krista: Yeah. Yeah, it is really tricky. I think sometimes when I’m coaching people on that—I don’t know if they think it’s, like, semantics… But what I’m always just trying to say is, “When we argue with reality”—it’s Byron Katie’s work—“When we argue with reality, we lose—but only 100% of the time.”

Kim: Exactly.

Krista: And so, we say, “It shouldn’t happen,” but it’s happening. And it’s the arguing with what’s in front of us that creates that suffering.

Kim: Well, I argued a lot. Everybody grieves differently. You know, kids are no exception. My older son decided to self-medicate his way through high school. So, we had a lot of challenges for a lot of years because he did things I felt like he shouldn’t do.

And obviously, any normal parent would say, “You shouldn’t do these things,” because, you know, he was smoking pot at 14… He got expelled from school… He did all these things. He ended up in juvenile detention. It was just years of things…

I’m not going to say I would do anything differently in terms of the consequences that I did, because you have to keep kids off the streets or try to keep them safe.

I think the thinking about what was happening I would have changed, because I took everything personally. I would tell solo parents right now, “Don’t be like me and take everything your kids are doing personally.” Because I did. And I felt like I was a failure. “If he’s not doing what I say—if the consequences aren’t working—I must be completely and utterly failing at this parenting job.”

Because other people lead you to believe that too. Let’s be real. Other parents are like, “Well, I would never let my kid talk to me that way. I would never allow that in my house.” I’m like, “Okay. This is apples and oranges. Not even close.”

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: “Not even remotely the same. But thanks.” I think other people who have no idea what you’re going through and what you’re experiencing or what you’re feeling decide that they know how they would handle the situation. “No, you don’t.”

Krista: Well, and even if we could get a panel of experts to agree that you were handling it perfectly, right, and you were doing all the right consequences and doing it all textbook, the child still has agency. The child still thinks their own thoughts and feels their own feelings and takes their own actions, and none of it is anything we can control. So why would it ever be a reflection of us?

Kim: Right. And I thought I could, because like to control things, right? So, I thought I could. I thought I could fix it. Change it. Make it better. So, every time something new came up, I’m researching, I’m calling people, I’m going to the school, I’m doing this, I’m talking to that person… It didn’t change. It just kept getting worse. And I’m like, “How is this even possible that it could keep getting worse?” So, the change in me—I had to stop judging my thoughts about what his actions meant about me.

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: His actions and his decisions didn’t mean anything about me as a person or a parent. I didn’t know that before we started coaching. I didn’t. I thought it was my fault and I did something wrong. So, coming to that conclusion was like the sky opened up and light shone down on me and the angels started singing. Right?

Krista: That’s a great visual.

Kim: “This isn’t my fault? What?!” Could I have done things differently in some situations? Yes. I’m not saying I’m completely blameless in how some of the things went down. But at the end of the day, he did exactly what he wanted to do when he wanted to do it, regardless of any consequences. And I also started to understand or believe that the natural consequences of the world are actually better consequences than I could give him.

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: So, all the things—ending up at juvenile detention—those natural consequences, I think, meant more to him or gave him a better understanding of things than anything I could say or do.

Krista: Yeah. Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense. Yeah, and I think when we can put down the struggle—we can stop spending our energy wishing things were different or saying they shouldn’t be what they are—then we can start to take back some of that energy and use it to decide, how do we want to show up given how things are? Given how the child is behaving? Who do we want to be in that?

Kim: Who do we want to be? And so, setting boundaries isn’t just for other adults. It’s with your kids too. So, I had to set the boundary that I’m not going to do this anymore. He was 17, so at the time he turned 17, he got a car, and I said, “You need to leave. You need to leave my house.”
So, I decided to set the boundary that I could not go one more minute—not one. So, we all reach our breaking point, right? We all reach the point where we say enough’s enough. So, I reached that point and decided that this was extremely hard and scary for me because, I mean, the kid’s dad died, and now I’m asking him to leave my house. That’s, like, worst parenting decision of the year.

In my mind, as I’m trying to formulate this… But I just told him, “I can’t do this anymore. You’ve decimated every single solitary boundary I’ve ever had, and I don’t want to live this way.” And so, I was very clear with him though. I just said, “You know, I love you, and I want to have a relationship with you. But I cannot do that under these circumstances with you living here. I’m not disowning you. I don’t hate you. But you need to go live somewhere else, because I can’t go on like this any longer.”

So, he did. So, he left. And long story short, everything changed. Everything changed. So, after he left, our relationship was repaired. We decided we know we don’t do well living together. I mean, there are probably parents out there with that kid that’s probably more like you than not like you that you…

Krista: Butt heads with.

Kim: …Butt heads with. We think along the same lines about a lot of things, and we both want to do what we want to do when we want to do it. So, the apple didn’t fall too far. But once he left, and I was like, “Damn. That boundary thing—that really works!”

Krista: It totally works.

Kim: It totally works. So, I’m not saying I would have kicked him out at 14 or 15, you know what I mean? Again, people can do what they want, but I’m just saying for me, once he was 17 and I knew he had a car, if he had to sleep in his car he could.

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: That was all I needed. So, things changed. But the natural consequences of him being on his own and spending his own money and working and trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B and all that stuff changed him. The natural consequences changed him more than I could have.

Krista: Yeah. Yeah, and setting the boundary doesn’t necessarily mean that the other person is ever going to change, but it’s the point where you decide how you’re going to keep yourself safe—how you’re going to keep yourself in the mental wellbeing that you want to be in.

Kim: Yes.

Krista: Yeah. Knowing that you can’t change that other person.

Kim: Exactly. And you have to get to that… Because I had another kid at home. So, I had to get to that mental wellbeing, too, or we can’t keep going on like this for his sake either.

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: I have another child in the house, so we have to figure this out somehow. So, that all came out in coaching, and me understanding or finally believing that it didn’t have to be the way…

Krista: Right.

Kim: If I was willing to change my thoughts about it.

Krista: Right. Which you totally did.

Kim: I did.

Krista: Yeah. So good. Is there anything else you really wanted to cover? You wanted people to know or hear from you that we missed?

Kim: I don’t think so. I mean, I think that my key takeaway is just separating the thoughts from facts. That thing we think isn’t true. And you can hear it. I heard that for years in self-help books. I mean, I’m a self-help junky, so I’ve got all of them. I read them. It doesn’t mean I always put them into action, but you can hear that a million times, but until you actually really physically start writing stuff down and analyzing it or separating it—like I said, separating the thoughts from the facts—you don’t even know what’s going on in your brain. You really don’t even know.

Krista: Yeah. I hope what everybody gets out of Mom Goes On is that I help them do that in the beginning because I’m a coach and I’m not in their brain and I’m outside of their life and I can show them the difference between fact versus story, but then I hope that you can get to the place where you have your own self-coaching practice, and you can, on the regular, do that for yourself. You can do a thought download. You can look through there. You can see, “What is the math here? And where is the drama? And what’s the difference? And what is serving me? And what’s not?” And you can coach yourself.

Kim: Exactly. And I have another idea—another plan—for another online course, and it’s going to be about feeling feelings and separating thoughts from facts. I’m not going down a six-month whole big thing, but just even in the conversations I have with widows, you hear the same things over and over again. They struggle with the same issues…

Krista: Over and over.

Kim: …Over and over again.

Krista: Yep.

Kim: So, let’s just decide that this isn’t going to be that way. And I can do some of that over email or talking, but I want to do it in a course format too. But that’s really what I would like these other widows to know, and my goal for them is, “It doesn’t have to be that way. It actually doesn’t.”

Krista: Yeah. Learn from our mistakes.

Kim: Learn from our mistakes and don’t suffer. Don’t continue contributing to your own suffering like I did.

Krista: Yeah. Yeah. So, if people want to get in touch with you, obviously they can go to Widow411.com. Where else?

Kim: I’m on Instagram. All my handles are at Widow 411. So, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook… All the normal… Yeah. So, I get a lot of emails from widows, and they’re always so surprised that I answer. “I can’t believe you answered my email.” I’m like, “I read them all. I read all my emails.” And I do answer them if I feel like they require an answer. Some of them are just feedback or best wishes, which is nice. But I do answer them. I’m a real person on the other end.

Krista: I wish you so much growth that you can no longer answer them personally.

Kim: I know. I think I’m going to get there at some point. I still probably do more than I should. This is my perfectionist tendency. I’ll share another quick story with you. When people sign up for the newsletter—my list—sometimes they put their name in lowercase.

Krista: Yeah. I know. Listen, I’m with you.

Kim: I go change their name. I go change their names to uppercase, so that when they get the email from me, it says “Dear Krista” with a capital “K.”

Krista: Yes. We have the same… We have a process for that, too, because I can’t stand it. Or if they put their names in all caps, I don’t… They’re going to think I’m yelling at them when they get my emails.

Kim: Exactly!

Krista: I have to change it. Listen, I feel you. I feel you. We can do a lot of progress on perfectionism, but I think there might just be some high standards there.

Kim: Well, there are standards. People say, “That doesn’t matter.” I’m like, “But it matters to me.”

Krista: Yeah.

Kim: “So, that makes it matter.” It might not matter to other people, but it matters to me. So, I take that extra time to do it, which I hope—like you said—I get to the point where I have too many to go through that.

Krista: You’ll just hire it out and somebody else will implement that process for you.

Kim: Yes.

Krista: Well, thank you so much for coming on the podcast and sharing your story.

Kim: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Krista: Totally. My pleasure. All right. Take care, Kim.

Kim: Thank you. Bye.

Krista: 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. Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than what you deserve.

Krista: Go to CoachingwithKrista.com and click “Work with Me” for details and next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.

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