A Sherpa Named Zoi With Eric Hodgdon

It was beautiful to sit down with a fellow Shining Light Dad. A Shining Light Parent has a child in spirit.

Us dads taking the mic is rare indeed. Eric Hodgdon (pronounced Hodge-dun) is a coach, author, and speaker. After losing his 15-year-old daughter Zoi to suicide in early 2014, Eric found a way to survive and get back up, and through his grief journey, he is now living beyond his loss.

Now, Eric is sharing his story and his journey so that no one else has to walk alone on their path. Eric’s TEDx talk has close to 400,000 views and is continuing to give hope that we can all get up after the loss of a loved one. His book ‘A Sherpa Named Zoi’ is an instant Amazon best seller, and he has trained thousands of people who simply wanted to know how to navigate the worst setbacks that can happen to all of us.

Get his book FOR FREE! https://www.YourJourneyGuided.com/FreeGriefBook

His TED Talk (it’s excellent) https://youtu.be/ihp1_szQlM8

Brian Smith 0:00
Close your eyes and imagine what are the things in life that causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we’ve been buried. But what if, like a seed we’ve been planted, and having been planted would grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes, open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. Hey, everybody, this is Brian and back with another episode of grief to growth. And today I’ve got with me a gentleman named Eric Hodgson. He’s a coach. He’s an author. He’s a speaker. He lost his 15 year old daughter’s Zoey to suicide in early 2014. And Eric’s found a way to survive to get back up and get through his grief journey. He’s now living beyond his loss. He’s sharing his journey so that no one else has to go through this alone on their path. Eric’s TEDx talk, TEDx Talk is close to 400,000 views. And it’s continuing to give hope that we can all get up after the loss of a loved one. And I met Eric through his TEDx talk someone recommended to me and I reached out and asked him to be on the show. His book is called a sharper named Zoe. It’s an instant Amazon bestseller, and he’s trained 1000s of people who simply wanted to know how to navigate the worst setbacks that can happen to all of us. So if they don’t want to walk them to grief to growth, Eric Hodgson,

Eric Hodgdon 1:38
thank you so much, Brian. I really appreciate us having this conversation today. Because I think it’s very much needed.

Brian Smith 1:45
I absolutely 100% agree. And we were start when we’re talking before we start recording you and I have a lot of parallels. Yes, we used to we got the facial hair got the same haircut, our daughters both passage age of 15 Your daughter and 2014 mine and 2015. And it was those as I was reading your book, the name Zoe resonates with me too. I wanted to name my first daughter Zoe. My wife Fito this. David, my dogs Zoey, several years later, but I haven’t I have a dog named Zoe too. Well, I was

Eric Hodgdon 2:16
gonna name my daughter Brian. So I mean, look at this. It’s all good. And now I appreciate I appreciate that. Yeah, it’s, it’s interestingly enough. In Greek, the name Zoe means life. Yeah. And so I think Zoe has been a gift to not only the folks, her friends or family, anybody she came in contact with while she was here, but I still believe that her life is effect impacting others today. Seven, eight years, nine, nine years almost now after she, after she passed, so yeah, it’s uh, it’s pretty powerful.

Brian Smith 2:53
Yeah, yeah. Well, what I want to do I kind of know your story, because I’ve heard your talk, and I just finished your book. Thank you. Wonderful. But I’d like you to tell our audience about Zoey.

Eric Hodgdon 3:04
Well, I appreciate that, Brian. In my when I was about 27 years old. So his mom and I found out that we were pregnant. And we are going to my 10 year high school reunion. And it was pretty funny because we were sitting in this outdoor cafe in Freeport, Maine. Talking about baby names. Now in the Greek tradition, it’s very traditional to name your child after the father’s parents. Well, there’s already five Christina’s or Chris’s in the house, in the house in the family. So that’s not going to work. And my dad’s name was Walter. And so I said, if that’s if Zoey at that point, if, if the baby comes out as a boy, we’ll have we’ll call him Walter. If it’s a girl, then we’ll figure out another name. And so we had a pretty good idea that it was going to be a girl. And so I started asking questions. I said, What’s the Greek word for freedom? And she said, It’s LF Vidya. And I said, Okay, so we can call her le or L for short. So what’s the Greek word for hope? And she said, That’s Elpida. So again, we’re L R. Le. I said, What’s the Greek word for life? And she said that Zoe, then we both looked at each other. And we said, Yes. And so on October 18 1998, Zoey, Christina Hodgdon was born. And I remember sitting down next to her plexiglass cradle in the hospital, and I looked at her and I was really scared because now I am 100% responsible for this, this law this person’s life. And I just said to her, I said, I’m going to do everything in my power to be the best dad for you. And it really is I, I tried hard to embody that, for her 15 years that she was here, you know, towards the latter part of Zoe’s life. She was struggling, she was in some group, adolescent group homes. And, and we were finding a way for her to come back home and live with me, her mom and I got divorced in 2007. And so we’re trying to find a way back home, if you will. And unfortunately, in late January, Zoey took her life. It was probably the single worst day of my life up to that point. And I just, I didn’t know where to go or what to do. I looked around, and I felt as though every thought was pushing me further and further down into a dark abyss of grief. And the only glimmers of light that were coming through the darkness were her friends and my family checking in with me, and I was checking in with them. And I don’t know, there was something about that, Brian, that was just so powerful. Because I didn’t, I knew that I did not want to stay in this abyss, I knew I was there, because I was grieving. It’s part of the grief process, if you will. But I didn’t want to stay there. And so I vowed to fight for my family and all I was always friends to find our better days. And so that’s every time I can contacted them, or they contacted me, it was I was always asking them several questions like, you know, how are you doing? What’s what’s on your mind? You know, what are you struggling with right now? You know, have you What have you done to get through today? Or today or yesterday? You know, what do you think it’ll be like, a year from now or six months from now. And while I know this stinks and sucks, you’re gonna have to embrace it. But we can do it together. You don’t have to do it alone. And I think that’s one of the biggest messages in this process that, you know, a lot of folks think that nobody’s gonna get me, I got to do this alone. But I wanted Zoe’s friends to know that they weren’t alone. And that in helping them it, conversely, helped me as well. So very impactful group of friends. And I’m happy to report that all her friends are still here. And, and I still connect with them and communicate with them frequently. So collectively, they remind me of her and so is a very free spirited child. She was just all about love and connection. And just a beautiful being. And I still feel I don’t know about you, but I still feel as much love for her as I did the day she was born. And that was so scary at the beginning, because of my own, I was always gone. Am I going to, you know, forget about her or am I going to stop loving her. But it wasn’t about that it was about just carrying on with her friends so that we could continue to feel the same love from Zoey and from now until the end of our days. So that’s a little bit about so.

Brian Smith 8:11
Yeah, yeah, I appreciate you sharing that sounds like a wonderful girl. I’m sure. I was struck when I when I was reading your book. And he’s, as you told your story, you know, when we when a child is lost from I hate that word loss. But when a child who transitions leaves leaves us plain, you know, as a parent, and I could feel your love for so I can only and I have some I have some idea of what you went through. I remember walking into Shane his room and finding her and she was suddenly gone. So I know that feeling of sudden loss. But you immediately seem to play like helping everybody else. Where do you think that came from?

Eric Hodgdon 8:53
That’s a really good question. I thought honestly, up to that point, Brian, I thought that my divorce from Zoe’s mom was the hardest thing that I’ve ever gone through in life. I that was never a plan. My parents are still married. Her parents were married. And so when we went through that process, it was such a deep amount of loss, and I had no coping skills at the time. And so I started to see a wonderful therapist up in Massachusetts, where I was living at the time. And she’s like, okay, what are we going to do? You know, it’s not it’s not so much how are you feeling? You know, tell me how you’re doing today. No, she wanted to dive right in and our debate, I had already been seeing her a little bit during our separation. And so for the next seven years, up until the time that Zoey died, I was in therapy once a month at the minimum. And I always felt like it was a chiropractic adjustment for my for my head, you know, for my thoughts. And so what When Zoey passed, I knew. And I remember driving home from the hospital that night, my sister was driving me and I was I was little holding on to the seatbelt like I was going to fall, it was kind of surreal. And I just said to her, I said, I don’t want to go back down to that dark hole of depression, like I did with my divorce. And she couldn’t really say anything to that my sister. She’s just, you know, kind of looking at me, because we’re just all in shock as well. And so and so. But I didn’t. That was the thing I remember a couple of weeks later, I went back to my therapist is to have you know, she wanted to check in with me. And she asked, you know, where are you right now? She wasn’t asking, How am I doing? She’s like, where are you right now? And I love that question. Because it was so it gave me the opportunity to answer openly and honestly. And I said, Well, I said, I’ve kind of looked at that hole that’s in the ground. It’s the size of an ant hole, I can’t fit in it. So I’m not going down in there. And and I think that was partly because to answer your question as well, that because Zoe’s friends and my family were with me, in those early days and weeks, supporting me and our family, as we were trying to figure this out. They needed that as well. And I did not want anybody else to feel like they didn’t have something to connect to in this darkness. And we all need a guide. We all need a guide through this. Yes, we can go it alone. Yes, we can let time be the healer. But I think time is not the driver of our healing. It’s a companion along the way. And so I didn’t want any of Zoe’s friends or my family to feel like they didn’t have a way forward. And so I decided to focus on their, what they needed, because in turn helped me if that makes some sense.

Brian Smith 11:54
Yeah, it makes it makes a lot of sense. And I was just reading your, in your book, you talked about how many people showed up at Zoe’s service? Was what 900 people or so showed,

Eric Hodgdon 12:05
yeah, over 900 people. We were there for five hours at the wake. I would stay there another five if there were more people, but they had to, they had to get you know, they had to prepare for the next day for the for the service. And her funeral. And it was a it was a very powerful experience, Brian. I felt so strangely connected to Zoey even though she was she had passed. I wanted to be the steward of her life.

Brian Smith 12:42
Yeah. Yeah, I it’s, you know, it’s again, I have a friend who is Greek. And so I’m gonna throw a stereotype idea, but I think it’s true. And it seems like your family seemed very, very closely connected. You talked about that thing about naming your child after your father. That’s what his what his parents did is yes, it’s just your name, Paulina. His father’s name was Paul. So I was reading your book, as I’m getting this. I’m like, I kind of get this vibe from you. Yeah, you’ve gone through life with community. That yeah, you’ve had that to rely on? Is that true? It is true,

Eric Hodgdon 13:18
Brian. You know, I’m a kind of an introverted kind of person. I like to spend a lot of time reflecting and getting centered and re centered. And so but I know the importance of relationships, and family and community. It’s got to be at the heart of any healing process. And so what, what was really powerful after Zoey, and I didn’t expect any of that, by the way, because I didn’t really know what to expect all of this. And you know, this, too, is this is this happened out of order. It’s not supposed to be this way. And so when her friends showed up at my house, the day after, and they stayed there for three weeks. I had I haven’t had a very small house at the time, I have maybe 1100 square feet. But I had 20 to 25 people in there and it still felt like the house was big, just because of the energy. The only thing that was missing was Zoe’s physical presence because we felt her that an entire week and we weren’t that we were, you know, it was an emotional roller coaster. We were smiling. One minute. We were all collectively crying the next. But at no point did we ever feel alone. Yeah. And so the community is really important. And I think this is the hardest part is that after about two or three weeks when everybody goes back to their lives, you’re there in this deafening silence. Of oh gosh, what’s next? Yeah, how am I ever going to get through this, how am I going to survive this? And how can I even think about anything beyond that right now? Because, you know, it’s it’s, it’s a an emotional mess, right? And I remember feeling that I mean, I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t eat and I had Phantom Pains in my body. And it was just surreal. I’d you know, I’d be jolted awake in the middle of the night. But is this real? Is this a, you know, it’s just a nightmare of flashbacks. I mean, all these things that I’m sure you can attest to as well. And what about you, Brian, for you know, with you and Shana. You know, what, what was some of the things that that Shayna left behind that are still impacting you today? Her qualities and traits?

Brian Smith 15:44
Oh, wow. Well, you know, I was telling you earlier that I wanted to do my daughter, Zoe. And Shana. My older daughter is an older daughter Kayla. And I believe in meanings of names. So cables name is he says pure St. His name actually is Hebrew. And it means beautiful. So named after my answer, a middle name is Elaine, which is light. So she’s beautiful white. So if I couldn’t name her Zoe, you know, saying it was the second best thing. But that spark, that spark of life, that zest for life, that living full out, always wanting to have fun, just just just a bright light, you know, just a very bright light. And, again, we have so many parallels, because even I’m not really that close with my family, we’re more alike, or more distant. But when Shayna passed away that first couple of weeks, my family came here, and I didn’t drive for two weeks, someone drove me everywhere that I went, there was always someone here. And I felt that that connection with my family, frankly, that I had never felt before it was really kind of surreal. And that you said the only thing missing was was seen as physical presence. And that’s still to this day, she’s you know, what she left with me is her spirit. She’s still with me. We were talking before we start recording, we both got pictures of our daughters behind us. Yeah, you know what we’re doing this because I used to use a fake zoom background. And it was it was a picture of a room. And I had a photograph that are like a lithograph of a woman’s face up there. And someone asked me once is that your daughter? And I heard Shayna say in my ear, it’s like, no, but that needs to be me. And so I cropped her into my into that fake background. And now she’s in here and my real background. I love it. And that’s it’s more than symbolic. She’s what drives me. She’s she’s right over my shoulder. And I know that’s how you feel about Zoe as well.

Eric Hodgdon 17:42
Yeah, it’s so funny. I in the week after she passed, I was so convinced that we were going to be able to talk like you and I are having a conversation right now. I don’t know why. Maybe it was a defense mechanism in my brain trying to help me make sense of what was going on. But I remember getting to that point a couple of weeks after we laid her to rest. And I’m in my house. I’m in my living room standing there. And it’s quiet, and I can’t hear her. And I get scared. I’m like, oh, no, I’m never going to hear from her. And probably for the next 1516 months. I was, you know, always asked her so I miss you. I just want to hear from you. I didn’t dream about her that much. And the dreams that I had were pretty powerful. There was just a handful of them and 15 or 16 months and I was that I got back to work after a few months after she passed and I was invited to go out to Los Angeles to help the company I was working for create a booths at a tech show. And I was the IT guy at the time. And I loved it I’d never been out to LA and so we get through that few days of the of the trade show it went off without a hitch. And my boss at the time said hey man ages stay back and he did bring the rental car back is i and it makes sure that everything gets shipped out back to the back to the company space. And I said no problem. And so for the last day I was in LA I had access to a rental car fully gassed up. I’m like I’ve been I’m in LA I’ve never been out here let’s let’s go somewhere. So I drove to I didn’t know where I was going. And LA is huge. I don’t know if you’ve ever been out there. Brian. It is huge. And and so I went over to Santa Monica beach. And I had heard that was such a beautiful beach. And so I decided to stop there. This was end of May, early June. And there’s this phenomena out there called may rain June Gloom were for those early, late spring months. In the mornings. The coastline is just it’s either foggy or gloomy, and it might be rainy there err, and that was no different yet when I left the hotel about an hour earlier, it was bright and sunny, la 75 degree weather, right. And so I parked, there was nobody at the beach because it was such a nasty, I guess, you know, weather day for them. And so I, I wanted to find a rock, just a single rock that because I told Zoey after she died that if I take any trips anywhere, I’m going to bring a rock from the place I’m at, bring it home, put it up in her room, and tell her a little story about what I did and where I found it. And so I’m on a mission now, in Santa Monica. Santa Monica Beach, by the way is huge. It is long, and it is deep and turned and wide. You know, it takes a while, you know, walk in a straight line from the parking lot down to the water could take you a good 1520 minutes. I mean, it’s a walk. And so I start walking, and I’m looking for rocks. And it can’t be that hard. It’s a beach. Now there’s no rocks on Santa Monica beach. And so I’m walking and walking, and then boom, I finally found a rock. It’s not great looking. It’s just a little round, one inch round rock. And so I picked that up and put that in my pocket. I’ve succeeded in my, in my quest to find a rock. And I wanted to not go put my feet in the in the Pacific because I’ve never done that before. So I’m zigzagging I walk five minutes in a different direction. And I looked down and I find another rock, it’s a little bit longer, a little bit less a little thinner. I’d still I put in my pocket. Maybe it was just because of the rarity of the rocks that is wanting to collect more than one. And so I kept walking and zigzagging to get my way down to the water. And I managed to find two more small rocks and I put those in my pocket. And I’m standing at the water. I took my shoes off my socks off. And I’m standing there on this cool water, ocean water and I’m looking to my left and to my right. And there’s nobody there except for one person who’s probably about a half a mile down the beach in a chair looking out over the water. And that was it. There was nobody else there. And I said to myself, Man, so and wish you were here right now you would love this. It was warm. It felt like the perfect weather day, in terms of it wasn’t blazing hot sun. It wasn’t raining, it was just a cloudy and overcast. But the you know, 75 degrees, it was perfect. And then I remember that Zoey was a Red Hot Chili Peppers fan. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, they’re from Santa Monica. And then it hit me. And I got a little upset. I’m like, sorry, I wish you were here right now you would absolutely love this right now. And I probably stayed there for about another 1520 minutes and just kind of took the environment in. Listen to the waves crash looked at a sailboat going way out across the horizon and just taking it all in and I made my way back to the car, got in the car and went back to the hotel I was staying in. And I went to my room, Brian and I was I took the rocks out of my pocket and I placed him on the desk in the room. And I looked at him strangely, I’m like wait a minute, I moved to have the rocks. And it spelled her name. And I broke down crying not because she wasn’t there but I broke down crying because she was there. She was there that day. I’m not that creative, to be able to put that stuff together. And just for for small rocks to write Z Oh, I it blew me away. And it that showed me that that there were still very much connected. This I feel was a sign if you will from Zoey. That this is how she was going to communicate moving forward.

Brian Smith 23:55
Yeah, yeah. I love that. I love that story. As you’re telling it. I’m just getting covered with goosebumps. And you know, I I’m an engineer by training, right? So I’m one of those people I’m very, very rational and very skeptical. I’m like, How does this stuff work? But Shana sends me signs all the time? And I don’t know. Yeah. I don’t know how they

Eric Hodgdon 24:15
work. How do they show up for you? What do you say? And what do you hear? Like, what sense is there she touched it.

Brian Smith 24:20
It could be all kinds of things. It’s a she loved electronics, so a lot of times is through my phone. So this happened actually before she passed. I don’t even know this happened somehow her contact lists got merged with my contact list. And a lot of people in their family she put hearts next to their names. So my name on my phone says Daddy in his hearts next to it. So every once in a while I get a message from somebody, it’ll come up like it’s coming to daddy and it’s got the hearts on it. I don’t know how that happened. Yeah, one time my podcast episodes I was looking at him on my phone and every single cover on my podcast episodes. Have my my stream had changed to a picture of Shane one of my favorite pictures of her? Wow. And I’m like that is because I thought it had happened like across the Internet of course. So I went in to check the internet, it was only on my phone, it wasn’t anywhere else. Wow. And then somehow they flipped back. Things like you know, flashing lights, you know, the normal thing like the ceiling fan will come on and the light will come on. One time she my hard drive. My computers are actually really funky for like a week. And I’m trying to troubleshoot it and I’m talking to my tech guy that was helping me out he goes, I think you have to buy a new computer. I’m like, I’m gonna give another day because it was it was going back and forth. It wasn’t like consistent. And then it just started working again. And like a week later, I had a reading with a medium and she said Shayna says she messes with your computer, and I’m like, Oh, well, Shane has stopped doing that. Wow. So there’s just been all kinds of stuff like that animals, you know? Yes. The whole the whole gamut of things. Yeah. i It’s interesting in your book, because I part of helping parents heal. I mentioned earlier. I don’t know if you’re familiar, but we’re really into the afterlife stuff and the signs and all that. And your book. I didn’t see so much of that. But you did tell some stories. Like I was really fascinated by you had a couple of astral death communications with Zoey. Yeah, like like, so tell us about those.

Eric Hodgdon 26:24
Those that did not happen through any type of training or any type of meditation practice. It happened because I was missing Zoey. So very much. And I just wanted to connect with her. And there was one specific day I was at work. And I was having a really difficult time. I commuted from the town I lived in, in South South Western Boston, into Boston itself. And it’s about 45 minute ride. And I had been back to work for a few months. And I was still kind of dealing with all this sometimes I would just sit in my office and just closed the door and just weep because that’s what I was feeling at the time. But this particular day, I was just I don’t know if something popped into my head and I was feeling so stuck. Emotionally, I was I couldn’t stop weeping at my desk. And so I went into my boss, he saw my eyes were kind of red and puffy. And I’m like, I gotta go man, he’s like, don’t worry about it. Go ahead. So I get to the commuter rail as quickly as possible. And there’s a train that’s leaving right away. And because it’s mid afternoon, it’s not very busy. So I pretty much had an entire train car to myself and it was a double decker cars that they used. And so I go up to the second floor of this double decker car and I sit the very last seat, it’s a single seat. And I am still trying to fight back tears. And I close my eyes. And I found out I need to calm down I need to find a different space because this isn’t working right now. And I say space meaning a mental space. And so I close my eyes and I said alright, just imagine this most peaceful place that you can possibly think of. Meaning it’s almost a vacation like in terms of its its feeling that there’s no cares. There’s no worries, you just feel like you are just your toes are on curling and you’re relaxing and you’re breathing again. And what opened up in my mind’s eye was this high elevation Lake and it was dusk across the other end of the lake was this mountain and behind it the sun was setting behind the mountain and but the sky was going from this deep purple to a pink to a blue you know in terms of just the way you see colors at night sometimes during a sunset. And it was so peaceful there like there the lake was like a glass of water. But I allowed myself in my mind’s eye to look all around and see details. There was a a an old of driftwood tree to my right that was laying on the edge of the lake but that was the only one of those a build neath my feet. Were these smooth, almost silk like feeling black rocks that were lining the shore, the water was was clear. And to my left I look and I see Zoey coming to me. And she’s wearing this flowing shear. I’m looking for I don’t know the term it’s a chiffon or it’s a very it’s a it’s she’s wrapped around in this material and it’s flowing behind her but it’s the same colors as the Skye and her hairs in the bun in the back. And she comes up to me, I’m like, oh my god, Zoey, are you okay? That was the only thing I could ask at the time. And she’s like, Dad, I’m more than okay. And I’m like, oh, and I, I just started asking her a bunch of questions. And some of them I can’t remember, just because I was just rapid fire, you know, what do you do right now? You know, how do you feel like, oh, and all these questions were so I don’t know, realistic in terms of, of what, where she is and what she’s doing with her, her her energy, if you will, her soul. And at the very tail end of this conversation, I’m just feeling I’m feeling relaxed, I’m feeling Ultra connected to Zoey in this space. And I said, you know, are you can always be here and she said, Dad, there’s no space and time here, man. So whenever you are going to come back, I’ll be here, I’ll be in the same spot. And I came out of that. What I call a meditation, if you will, and I was at my stop. I had, I didn’t fall asleep. I wasn’t asleep, I had just gone into this space. And it had taken 45 minutes. And so I at that point, I needed to write about that. So I came home and I just grabbed a notebook just wrote out what I had just experienced, because I didn’t know if I was ever going to share that with anybody, but I wanted to, to at least have it memorialized of the experience. And, and it wasn’t the only one there were several of these. I had one enter graduation day from high school. But that was setting up in her bedroom. The day of that was very powerful. I think I wrote about that in the book. But yeah, there were just some other ones. But it just what it showed me was also that we are, we’re you know, we’re in this realm that we are here. It is a physical realm. Energy doesn’t die, It just transforms into the next iteration of itself. And so I had finished, I just finished reading a book called Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander, if you haven’t read that book, I would. It’s fantastic. And in this book, he had a near death experience. And he’s talking about how we are all connected, basically, that when somebody moves from this room to the next room, and I’m not encouraging this, by the way, all I’m saying is that when you move from this room to the next room, you are ultra connected to everything that is living on this planet, every grain of sand, every blade of grass, almost every water molecule, every air molecule. And when they the way that you can relate to this is in your room where you are right now you know what’s in this room, I like I know what’s in behind me in my room here terms of pictures, books on my shelves, the color of the walls, my desk, this computer, all of it. But take that and amplify that to this entire world. And you’re connected to everything. And that is that’s why I felt like Zoey was at such peace when she came to me because she’s like, Okay,

Brian Smith 33:27
this is cool. Yeah, I

Eric Hodgdon 33:29
can I can work with this, you know. And so it was a just a very powerful experience, Brian,

Brian Smith 33:35
that’s, that’s phenomenal. And as I was reading that in your book, and as you tell the story, again, I’m thinking about, you know, there’s something called induced after death communications, where people will use guided meditations to get to that space. And as you describe it, that’s kind of the way I’ve done a few of these with some professionals. And that’s kind of the way they try to get you to that space. They have you imagine a peaceful place, whatever that might be for you. And the fact is, this came spontaneously to you I think, is fascinating. Without without, you know, training or that any kind of prompts or music or you know, you’re sitting there on the train. But it shows that, that connection that. And it’s interesting because when people when someone crosses over a lot of times, we’re like, where are you? Why can I hear from you? And I’ve heard people say that deep grief can prevent them from reaching us that that density of the of the spirit of emotion, they’re frequently where they can’t reach as low as we are. But it seems like sometimes the opposite is true. It’s like, yeah, we get to that low place of like, desperation, right, and we just cry out, and that seems to pierce the veil.

Eric Hodgdon 34:45
Well, yeah, that’s a great point. I think that we, you know, when we’re grieving, we’re in a sympathetic state physically. Our vagal nerve system is is protecting us. It is a survival mechanism that dates way back to 250,000 years ago, for early humans where this system was, was we evolved into the system as a means to protect ourselves in danger. Grief is a stressful event stress prompts your vagal nerve system to I got it, okay fight flight or freeze or fawn, right? It’s one of those four. And in that moment, I was able to without, again, not really knowing what I was doing. But calming myself, I must have done some diaphragmatic breathing even though I didn’t understand what I was doing because, or something converted that sympathetic state to that parasympathetic state, which is calm and connected. rest and digest is the other part of that. So I think that’s why I was able to do that. And that’s what I think pierces the veil, when you’re so wound up and you’re so upset. That could be a low point, like you’re saying, in your grief, to the point where it’s, you know, you’ll try anything. And if you haven’t tried going opposite of what you’re feeling, or, you know, then it could have just, I could have bounced that day, if you will, you know, I was I was definitely up here from a sympathetic state. But something happened and I bounced down to that parasympathetic state, and I was able to connect with Zoey. And the train was loud, by the way, there’s squealing wheels and brakes and horns, and, you know, the clicking of the wheels going over the tracks, you know, it’s a noisy thing. I didn’t hear any of that that day. It just it and I wasn’t asleep, either. So it was, it was an experience that I was grateful for. And I was able to, to continually use that over the next couple years, every once in a while. I can’t, it’s hard for me to go back there. Now, Brian, to be honest with you. Just because I think that when I needed it the most it showed up. And I was able to access it.

Brian Smith 37:07
Yeah, those experiences are really interesting. And I was going to ask you how many you have, because we all want that mountaintop experience all the time. And that just doesn’t seem to be the way life works, right? We can’t, we can’t go back and grab it again. It’s like we have to, you know, take it for what it is. But and I’m actually doing that I took a medication meditation class with a guy named Calvin chin. And he talks about, like, you know, when your people meditate to talk about his great experiences he has, it’s like, it’s not about the experience, you know, don’t don’t get caught up on trying to have that experience. It’s about just reaching that calm place. And I always say to people, it’s like, I think we get what we need. Because people will say to me, why didn’t I have the kind of connection that Eric had? And I have done all these interviews, and I get jealous because I have people like, well, I saw my love when they actually came into my room one night, they were standing at the foot of my bed, and I’m like, why can I have that? Right? But I think we all get what we need. I think we all have a unique connection with our with our loved one.

Eric Hodgdon 38:05
We do. And I like to ask the question, often of the folks I work with, as you know what happens when we let go of what we’re holding on to. I remember, three years ago, this isn’t in my book. But three years ago, I had moved from Massachusetts domain, I had sold the house that we were in at the time. It was a challenging time to be leaving, but I absolutely loved where I was going to be living up in Maine along the coast. And I remember really struggling with feeling as though I was going back and regressing in my healing. You guys wake up every morning I’d be like, I miss you Zoey. And I miss you so and I’d say it so many times that I’d start to get really upset and cry. And now weaving again this is five years after she had died and and so I called a mentor of mine coach and we’re talking and I’m explaining, you know, I’m doing one of those things. I’m crying so hard. And and she’s like Eric, what would happen if you let Zoey go? And Brian when she said this, I got pissed. I’m like, what do you what do you mean? What do you mean? Let her go? What does that even mean? Let her go right you know I’m like this is why I’m not letting this kid go like this is my daughter. What do you she’s like No, no work with me. What does it feel like if you’d let so we go and I knew why I was pushing back and kind of getting frustrated with her because it hit me emotionally that there was going to be a gap there and that’s what I said to her there’s this gap there between us. And she’s like Eric, I hate to break it to you man but and you can hear this but the gap already exists. Oh and and I just started boohoo and big time on the call but pretty soon right after that. She’s like, but tell me What does it feel like? When you fill that gap with love and other things? And immediately just like, well, it’s great because I’m helping other people who are struggling. I’m, I’m building new resources for people, I’m just thinking about what I’m going to how I can help somebody through social media or, you know, maybe help people to get connected to my book, like all these things, were lighting me up with energy. She’s like, that is it. That’s it. That’s how you fill that gap. You don’t fill it with the what ifs and whys, you fit it in, fill it in with what can I do right now. And, you know, to kind of help myself, nobody else is coming to help us here. And so it is up to us. But we don’t have to do it alone. That’s the beauty of it. And so, ultimately, before we finished up the call, she said, it’s not so much that you’re letting go of Zoey, you’re just letting go of the pain. And it’s okay to do that. You don’t have to carry that with you. You’ll always carry Zoey with you. And she said, imagine what it feels like when all that you carry with you now is just the love that you have for Zoey. And I’m like done, like drop the phone like calls. Good. I’m good. Thank you. And so such a huge pivot point along my journey here of healing. And how about you, Brian? I mean, have you had those moments where you’ve kind of come up to a crossroads like, Okay, I gotta make a decision here about what I’m going to do.

Brian Smith 41:30
Yeah, only every day. But definitely, yeah. Yeah, you know, but there’s a couple things you said there that I really want to want to go back to I want to reiterate, because I think it’s really important that when I when I read your book, and I see you’re such a together guy, and you give a TED talk people a lot of times we think well, that guy’s healed. It’s all it’s done when he wrote the book, you know, and that was a couple of years ago, right? Several years ago, you wrote the book, right? But you still had this moment afterwards. And people need to understand that grief is not a linear progression, right? We don’t we don’t just get over it. It’s like, okay, now I’m done. So I had a moment this morning, just before we got on the call. I was I was doing my meditation. And it doesn’t happen very often. But I was in my meditation. And I was trying to picture Shana. And all I could think of was this picture behind me. And this was taken just a few weeks before she passed away. And she just cut her hair off. And I can remember her, I could remember her with long hair. And I started crying man, because I’m like, Okay, I’m forgetting her. And then I had this feeling, you know, my loved ones coming around me it was it was a really weird moment. But yeah, that we do we have this. It’s always this back and forth thing. And we we do miss that physical presence. And we still, I remember when she passed away, I mean, she was only 15. And I was in my mid 50s. And you know, people are like, Oh, Brian, do you have a long time to live? I’m like, You don’t understand. I don’t want to live. I don’t want to forget her. I will remember the were this the way she was. So I wanted to set up camp, right there and just that move. Right. So yeah, I understand that.

Eric Hodgdon 43:08
Yeah. It’s so funny that you say that last day funny. I remember probably about four years ago, I used to go visit Zoe’s resting place almost every single day. You know, initially, probably for the first three years, I just felt like I was closer to her even though it was a resting place. And I started to go probably on a weekly basis, you know, probably fourth fifth year in and, and I still go whenever I go up to New England to visit family and friends. I stopped by and spend time there I just, I just feel like I’m close to her. So I remember this one afternoon, it was a summer afternoon I was there at the cemetery. I just felt like this pole to go there to spend some time with her and and I arrive and a little bit further down probably five to 10 spots down there was a woman standing over somebody else’s grave just probably saying a couple little prayers to herself and, and out of the corner my eye could see she was kind of walking towards me and she stopped. She’s like, I’m so sorry for your loss. I said thank you so much. And she’s like, um, you know, who is this? I said, unfortunately, it’s my daughter. She’s like, Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. What happened to her? I said, unfortunately, she took her life. Oh, that’s so horrible. Well, you’re still young, you can have more kids. Right? And so what here’s the funny piece about this. Now? Yes, I could have turned around and landed on her With all four feet. Not going to do that. But instead what I imagined was Zoey standing right in front of me looking at me with the same wide eyes like that. But she didn’t say that. That she didn’t say that. So it to me it almost turned into a healing type have a moment or a resolve to like I was resolved with a lot of the grief but you’re absolutely right, Brian. This isn’t something that we get to a destination. This is a journey that in the summary care For the rest of our lives. And, you know, I think that in those moments when we have, you know, we’re at these crossroads, or we’re able to step through to the next level of our healing, there’s a catharsis that takes place before you reach that point, you know, you have to be resolved. And it’s the example the analogy that I like to use is that imagine if you have a water, plastic water jug, and your life is whole, as whole as it can be. And then you lose, or your loved one passes, and take that water jug. And to squish it back down to the very like, to the minimal, there’s no space in there, it’s damaged. It’s, it’s, you know, you can throw it away, it feels it feels like that’s what your life is like that you’re just empty, you got nothing inside of you. And with time, and with action, and with, you know, connecting with others, and whatever tools and means you use to help you to walk on this journey, there is some air and some capacity that comes back into your life. Now, if you’ve ever taken a crushed milk jug and tried to add air back into it, what happens is as you start to add more, it starts to push on those sides and things start to pop back into place, pop pop pop, to the point where you’ve got as much air as that is going to fit back into this water or this milk jug. And it’s not hold though, it is dented, it are still some scrapes in there there is, you know, it may not even stand up on its own, you know, but that’s our lives, you know, we are pulling ourselves back together and re adding this this capacity back into our lives as best possible. It’s not hold, but it has to be as hold as it’s going to be for us to move forward. Yeah. And so now, sometimes, externally, we kind of push that outside this, oh, yeah, I’m fine. I’m fine. You know, we’ll say to people, I’m good, I’m good. And meanwhile, you might be just crushed inside, you know. So I hope that analogy makes some sense. It does.

Brian Smith 47:11
And I think I think that’s important for people because you talk about in your book, this is one one of the ways is helping so many ways. People don’t know what to expect in this journey, man. So they come to us and they’re like, Okay, what’s this going to be? Like? How long am I going to feel this way? When am I gonna get back to normal? I’ll the questions that you answer in your book, even though we can’t answer for somebody else. We can give them some some idea. And people asked me like, am I ever going to be the way it was before? I’m like, I will say I hope not. And they’re like, Well, what do you mean? Like, because why would you waste this opportunity to grow? This is an opportunity to be better than you were before? Not? Yes. Not back to where you were before. And it’s like, Well, you talk about thriving versus surviving. And I know that’s really, really hard to hear early. And I know because when I heard it, I was like, No way. I mean, not gonna, I’m not going to thrive, maybe I’ll survive. If you make me. I’m certainly not going to thrive. Right. And that’s okay to feel that way. Because it’s very normal at the beginning, but just I tell people just have hope of having hope. Just like Eric and say, if he can do it, I can do it, too.

Eric Hodgdon 48:23
Yeah. And like you said to there’s I mean, there’s no timeline for this, right. But I think that what we have initially, when I, when I first started to look for resources, I what I found was a little bit, it kind of made me angry, it just made me frustrated, because it seemed like resources out there, were telling me that survival was the best that I can hope for on this journey. I’m not good with that. Because I don’t want to just merely survive, I am here for a reason. And life is about living, we have a short time on this planet. And I think as much as possible, it’s okay to honor your loved one and yourself at the same time. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Right? You know, and it’s not it’s not easy, you know, surviving, is necessary, but it should be temporary. Right? And so, you know, if you can find a way to, like you said, have that hope and hold on to that hope. You can actually predict your way out of this, you know, predict the future and walk towards it as because that’s an endpoint. You know, hope can be an endpoint. Okay, I want to hope that I’m going to have one day where I’m not going to cry. Right. And maybe you’ll get to that point sooner than you think. You know, but then I think once you survive, it’s about getting back up and that is a that is a that is a phase if you will, of grief that you’re having some better moments. Some better days, but there’s also days when you’re not okay. And that’s okay, too. And so it goes back and forth. It’s just it’s a, it’s almost like a roller coaster, if you will ups and downs and, but it is showing that you’ve made some progress. And yeah, you know, and so ultimately moving towards living beyond the loss is, I’m not gonna say ideal. It’s just it is a, it’s another hope that you can live beyond the loss. And that’s where I believe you’re at, I feel like I’m there. I but I’m still grieving, if that makes sense. And it’s not, it’s not heavy. It’s, it’s there. And so taking what I’m able to take from my journey thus far, and apply that every single day, and learn from folks like you about the tools that you share with your clients and your listeners, and to just, you know, put that in my quiver of of options to to use when I need to, I think that that’s awesome. I, I want to leave this planet now better than I found it. And I think by doing this work, that’s this is my contribution. I don’t want to be a consumer, I want to be a contributor to somebody else. Even finding one nugget even in my talk, or my book or a call, or it doesn’t matter, whatever resource that I have something to help them go to that next step. That’s take that one next step, because we can’t take all the steps at once. But you can only take the next step that’s in front of us.

Brian Smith 51:40
Right. So So I’m curious, because you’re you’re a coach now and you’ve changed. What were you doing before Zoey? transitioned? What were you doing? Like, right before she transitioned in terms of career?

Eric Hodgdon 51:54
I’m a 25. Year IT guy. Okay. That was my career. That was something that it’s interesting that you asked that, Brian, because when I was 22, I found that working on laptops and computers, it lit me up, I felt like I had a purpose. I just I felt like I connected to it. Everything that I learned, was self taught. And I was a little bit ahead of the wave of having to get certified to get a job. I was just always an advance of that in terms of my, where I was in my career. And so, but I continued to learn. And when I lost Zoey, I remember going back to work. And there was a gentleman in one of our departments where I worked at a tech company software company. And they require this development team required mobile devices to do the work of testing the software. And they needed to have all these different brands and sizes, and and makes of these tablets and these iPhones and these phones and all that. And so I get this call from him one day, and he’s like, man, where are my devices? I ordered these things like three weeks ago. And I said sorry, I’ll call him Bill. Sorry, Bill. I, I don’t know where it is. Let me find out. And he’s like, this is ridiculous. I need to talk to your boss about this. And I will I started laughing on the phone with him. i Okay, go ahead. You know, I didn’t care. You know, I think Previously I’ve probably been Oh, no, I you know, I don’t want that to happen type of thing. But in this instance, what popped into my head the reason I laughed was because I realized in that moment that that was not what matters in life. To him it matter for his work. And I understand that you need to have that those components for his work. But there was more important things than three cell phones in this life. Right. And so I just felt this. That was I think that the turning point in me saying, You know what, I don’t think that this is my purpose any longer. And very shortly after that I started to get involved in in storytelling workshops, and connecting with others about the work that I wanted to do and and, you know, six years later, here I am. So it’s a very powerful very powerful transition in life even you know, in this realm to be able to step away from one thing and do another right. And so yeah,

Brian Smith 54:41
so I was this is I think a curiously I always ask people back because there’s a there’s controversy about whether we plan things or things are just fade or whatever. What are your thoughts on you and Zoey, do you think this was planned or what? I’m just curious what you think about that. Oh, Um,

Eric Hodgdon 55:00
in terms of her taking your life? No, no,

Brian Smith 55:02
no, I’m sorry, of her transitioning early and you being here to do the thing that you’re doing.

Eric Hodgdon 55:08
Got it? Yeah. Um, you know, it’s interesting that I have met so many incredible people in the last eight years that I probably would not have met. If so he was here. Now, of course, I wish that Zoey was here. I would prefer that. And but I feel like this is almost, you know, death took Zoe’s life, but it had to leave something behind. And it’s a gift. These are gifts. And I think that we have to find these gifts. You know, but But then in order to find the gifts, it’s not like we have to uncover anything. We just have to go forward, take the next step. Yeah. And that’s exactly what’s happened over the last eight years, I have just come across so many wonderful people who are, who have wanted to help, or at least provided me some guidance on this journey to help me get to that next step so that I can continue to grow and learn and bring new resources, excuse me, new resources to the folks that I need to be helping between now and the time I take my last breath. So yeah, yeah,

Brian Smith 56:15
I just I like I said, that question I like to ask, it’s something that’s interesting to ponder. You know, one of the things that I believe, like you do, there are gifts, and I and one of the things I teach is called Positive Intelligence. And we say there’s, there’s a three gift thing, right? So it can be the gift of knowledge to get them gaining strength from something or the gift of inspiration. And some people believe that things are put in our life. And it seems to make sense. But on the other hand, like you said, We’re meaning seeking creatures. So we seek meaning and things. But the thing is, we can create meaning. And that’s what you believe it’s fated or not, we can create meaning, but I, I love reading people’s stories. I love reading your story. Because I can see you started the story. Like you talked about some early deaths in your life. Yeah, I think those things set us up. And I look back through my life. I’m older than you are. I look back through my life. And I see all the events that I thought were terrible. I got divorced. And I thought that was like the worst thing. And it was the worst thing that ever happened to me at the time. It’s it’s like a death when you get divorced. Yes, it’s the end of a relationship is who you are as a couple. Right? So but all these things lead in to the next thing. Yes. And so I was talking with just someone the other day and they asked me about, you know, Shayna, and I so they said, Where do you think you’d be if Shayna hadn’t you know transition? What you did? I’m like, Well, I certainly wouldn’t be talking to you. I don’t know. But I know I wouldn’t be right. Right. Right. But you said something earlier, your therapist idea and it really caught my ear when she said that there’s a gap between you and Zoey. I have to say there’s no gap between me and Shayna. I love it. Yeah. You know, it’s really weird. I can’t believe I’m saying this. But I tell people. I talk to Shane every day, literally every day. She has a sister Kayla and I don’t talk to everyday because Kayla is still in the physical. But I talk to Shayna every day. I mean, I feel like she’s right here with me. i It doesn’t mean I don’t miss her doesn’t mean no cry. I was crying this morning doesn’t mean I don’t wish she was here. Right. But what I have learned through this, this experience, I used to play that people I always believed in the afterlife, we got to have an and weren’t having. I didn’t know that they’re still here. And that’s been the big difference for me.

Eric Hodgdon 58:35
Ya know, that’s, that’s really huge. And I appreciate that perspective. Brian, you know, we want the one thing I love about our capacity as humans is that there isn’t just one single way. There’s no one right way to grieve and to walk this journey except for the one way that works for you. Right, right. And so, you know, other there might be some times when you’re on this journey, and people might come up to you be like, Well, why don’t you know what you over this yet? Or, you know, what you should do? You know, okay, you know, I know they’re trying to help. But at the same time I there has been folks that have come into my sphere, if you will, who have shown me other ways to, to heal, and it’s not telling me what to do. It’s reminding me of what’s important. And the main thing to be here to remember this is that it’s important to take care of yourself. It’s okay to do that. It’s okay to go at your own pace on your own agenda and on your own timeline. Period. And and if that takes you the next 50 years, then it takes you the next 50 years if it takes you the next five months, okay? If it takes you five years, right so it just but it’s not a HARRIS game, it’s not a you know, that person’s, you know, people might come to you and say some things to you that make you feel like you’re not doing enough, or you’re not healing fast enough and you know, smile and wave boy smile and wave, you know, it’s like, it’s just, I appreciate it. But at the same time, I need to focus on what’s going to work for me. And everybody, everybody’s like, I think grief is like a fingerprint, in that there are similarities between us, but each experience is unique to us. Yeah. And so it’s the same thing with a divorce, it’s the same thing with the loss of a job. It’s the same thing with loss, losses loss. And so, but obviously, this carries a lot more weight to it. Because it’s a loved one. And, and, yeah,

Brian Smith 1:00:44
I love what you said in your book. And I love you called Zoe, your your Sherpa? Yes, because as you said, we go, I can’t do this for you. And as people that work with people in grief, you know, one of the things we have to learn very early on is we can’t do anything for people, we can give them tools, we can say this work for me, this is, this is a suggestion that I have for you. And I’ll never forget, there was a young lady I that I interviewed for my podcast. And people her mother passed away and people were like, you should try walking, you should try yoga, you should try knitting straight out. And she tried all these different things. And it didn’t work for her. She got into powerlifting it’s just like powerlifting works. I love the repetition. It makes my body you know, look and feel. Yeah. And she’s like, this works for me. So I tell people, you know, it’s meditation, it’s like, find the way that works for you. I can’t tell you how it works for you. Nine right changed over the years, sometimes I do. I used to do guided meditations. And I do silent meditation. So it’s just, this is where I am now.

Eric Hodgdon 1:01:43
Yeah, absolutely. And there’s, there’s something about that, that movement and meaning are linked. And so the more you take action, the more you can accelerate your way through whatever it is that you’re feeling at the time, if you stay stuck. If you’re stuck, are you first of all, are you breathing? Because we tend to brace and hold our breath? More importantly, are you moving? What can you do in that moment, and it’s not so much telling somebody what to do, but like you said, it’s reminding them, hey, maybe here’s some suggestions for you to look at. Maybe something will resonate with you. And for this for your for your client to be able to go out and go power, like that’s huge. I love that I that’s huge. I mean, that is literal movement. It’s it’s it’s strength training. And that physical strength can translate into emotional strength. And we need that we need to be able to know that we’re gonna get to the other side of this abyss that we’re in, and feel like it was worth that, that part of the journey to navigate that and that, you know, we emerge from that darkness, and we’re starting to come back into reconnecting with our lives. And we feel like there’s hope that you’re going to feel better. You like you said earlier, we’re not going to feel the same. In fact, you hope you grow in this process to become a little bit better equipped with what else life will throw at you as you walk through the rest of your journey. That’s huge. And, and, but when you stay stuck you are it actually amplifies the pain. And so finding anything even listening to your podcast, even reading a book or even even going for a walk or whatever might be cooking yourself some dinner or going out and getting some takeout. It doesn’t matter whatever riding the couch and watching friends for five seasons in a row. Whatever works for you works for you. And so that’s I think a something that people miss. They also don’t want to give themselves permission to do that. They feel like if they’re feeling better than they’re letting their loved one down, well, how can I feel better? Right? How can I feel better when they’re not here? Like I know. And so, but you can it is okay. It is okay to honor yourself because you honor your loved one. And you can do them at the same time.

Brian Smith 1:04:02
Yeah, you just said something. There just triggered something for me. When you talked about all these different things. It’s really not so much what we do. It’s the intention that we do them with. So you know, yes, sir. We spent said like mentioning watching five seasons of friends. You could do that with the intention of like, I’m going to indulge myself. Yeah, I’m going to do this as an act of self care. Yes. Or whether it’s cooking a meal, if you love to cook, and cooking a meal could be self care. If you hate to cook, then go out. Right. It’s the intention that you that you bring to whatever it is you’re doing.

Eric Hodgdon 1:04:35
Yeah, you’re absolutely right. I remember many years ago when I was about 22 or 23, I had heard a story of a of a woman who was I think in Dallas. She had had something happened in her life that was pretty traumatic. And every year on that anniversary, she would just stay inside with the curtains drawn, not get out of bed and just be you know inside of herself. And one year, this was many years after this incident took place, she decided that that wasn’t going to be the new narrative, the story that she was telling herself was that she had to stay inside and keep herself protected and all of that. But this next year, she wanted to change the narrative. And so she signed up for skydiving classes. And so every year since she has gone out, and she’s done a jump out of a plane to create new memories on that anniversary. Wow, wow. And so I have always thought of that as being okay. And early grief, you are just trying to make it to the next day, if not the next hour, sometimes the next minute. But as you start to emerge back into life and reconnect with some maybe something new, maybe there’s something you want to explore, explore it. Maybe there’s, maybe you want to create new memories on those anniversaries and holidays, that, that bring some new life back into into your life. And so and but there’s again, there’s no one thing that anybody can be told. They should be doing. It’s, it’s whatever works for them. And so yeah, you’re right. Yeah.

Brian Smith 1:06:21
Yeah, I think that’s and there’s so much, we’re gonna have to wrap up pretty soon. There’s so much good stuff in your book I don’t really want to talk about, but what can you talk about just one of the tools that you mentioned there? I love it. It’s the maps acronym?

Eric Hodgdon 1:06:33
Yes. So the maps acronym was actually developed in those days of talking to Zoe’s friends. And I was I didn’t know it at the time. But it was, it was the process by which we were actually moving through it, I didn’t have a name for it at the time, it was just the actions that I was taking in those early days, because it was the only thing I knew how to do, whether it was going to work or not, I didn’t know. And it wasn’t any intention behind it. At the time, it was just that, okay, I need to connect with them, I need to ask them how they’re doing. I need to make sure that we’ve got a plan for the next day, you know, I need to make sure that that we’re all that they know that we’re all in this together. And we’re gonna get through it together. And so when I was writing the book, I wanted to apply this maps process to the questions that I was asking at the time, and how I navigated my way through that particular question or struggle or conflict or setback on this journey. And so what the fight is okay with you, if I break it down what each step is. So the, the, in the maps process, there’s four steps and being mindfulness, and that’s the practice of acknowledging what you’re feeling and not judging your emotions when you feel them, but you’re doing this in the presence of stress, or a really stressful situation like grief, A is the approach that you take, it’s the practice of actually self discovering, and leaning into your struggles so that you have an open mind. And you’re curious about what options can emerge for you, in this particular struggle. And then there’s p, which is predict. And that’s the practice of envisioning what your world will look like in reality, when you have moved through this particular struggle, or this period of time. And then finally, the S is in the book, I call it embrace the suck. But in reality, it’s embracing the struggle, we, we actually grow with struggle. And if we can practice facing that struggle, and even have the courage to continue on, even when you’re afraid of the uncertain future. You’re you’d have a 50% better chance of getting through the worst of grief and moving to that next step. And so that this process was something that I wanted to share with anybody who read the book. And so yeah, that’s, that’s where it came from.

Brian Smith 1:09:08
I know it’s funny that you were saying that you said you didn’t really know what as you’re going through it, it wasn’t intentional. And it wasn’t. I kind of did the same thing. I went through my whole thing. And I after I wrote my, my, my first book, and I’m working on a second book, whenever that happens may be nice. But I was I still write a lot, but I was like, I came up with an acronym myself. And I’m like, I didn’t realize I was even doing it. So. So I was like, I’m like, wow, okay, I could put this into an acronym. This is the things that I’ve been doing. But what I was, as I was listening to you say that what struck me is we know how to do this better than we think we do. Yeah, we go when we go into this, you we intuitively you intuitively said these are the things are going to work for me. You worked through them and then you systematized it later. Yeah, transfer that knowledge to other people. Yes. Your your meditation on the train. I mean, There are people that that trained to do that. Yes. But you just leaned into your own internal understanding. You reached out to Zoe, who I think helped you. Because I think our loved ones do help us. They do give us thoughts they do give us inspiration. Yeah. So I just want to say trust yourself, when you’re going through this process. Trust yourself.

Eric Hodgdon 1:10:19
You will, yes. And you will, you will move from struggle to strength. You are stronger than you think you are. Period. And I think, I don’t know if many people give themselves that much credit. And they should. We’re human, we are not machines. We are an element of the human condition is losing a loved one death, unfortunately. But it’s also a reminder of what’s important in our lives.

Brian Smith 1:10:47
Yeah, yeah, I love that. Well, I could talk to you all day. But if you could just tell people like where they can find you, or my people name of the book, I’m gonna put this in the show notes. But sometimes people are listening when they’re walking, so I want people to be able to hear it.

Eric Hodgdon 1:11:03
I appreciate that. Ryan, so I’m on Instagram, it’s Eric B Hodgdon. And I actually have a gift for your audience, I would like to share with them and give them a free copy of the book, if they’re interested in so I think I provided that link as well. But it’s, it’s a, it’s this is a resource that I just, I I want to help people to get to their next level of healing. And if the book can provide one nugget, great, if it gives them more, even better, but I just want to get this into somebody’s hands and make it as easy as possible for them.

Brian Smith 1:11:40
Oh, that’s awesome. So I’ll just read it out. So it’s your journey guide. att.com/free Grief book. Yes. Is that correct? Okay. Yes, it is. Yeah. And I’ll definitely put it in the show notes also, but I want people to be able to, like I said, sometimes, I’m out while I listen to podcasts when I’m walking, so I didn’t I never see the show notes.

Eric Hodgdon 1:11:59
Awesome. Well, I appreciate this. Brian. Fantastic conversation. I agree with you. I could talk with you all day.

Brian Smith 1:12:06
Yeah, I’ve really enjoyed it. I do have other questions for you. But I’ll bring it back. And we’ll talk about it because I want to talk about fathers to Absolutely. There are a lot of fathers to what we’re doing. And we don’t know if we get neglected or we neglect ourselves, but we need more fathers.

Eric Hodgdon 1:12:21
I agree. I love that. I think that’s fantastic. And I appreciate you sharing that. All right.

Brian Smith 1:12:27
All right, Eric. Have a great rest of your day. You too,

Eric Hodgdon 1:12:29
sir. Thank you

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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