I joined the Podcasters’ Roundtable to discuss diversity or the lack thereof in podcasting.

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The second Helping Parents Heal Conference went virtual due to Covid-19.  On June 10th, 2020, I gave a presentation on forming a new relationship with death.

In this presentation, I cover my early childhood fears of death, the common view of death in Western society, what we can expect when we’re in grief, tools we can use to recover from grief, skills we should develop to help with grief, and how to form a new relationship with what we call death.

 

 

Transcript:

Elizabeth Boisson
Good afternoon evening to everyone. helping parents heal is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting bereaved parents to become shining light parents. By providing support and resources to aid in the healing process, we go a step

Brian and Tywana Smith’s daughter, Shayna Elayne, whose name means beautiful light transition on June 24 2015. At 15 years of age, Shayna was a force while on earth and continues to be a force after her transition. The couple has had many visits from Shana including sessions with mediums where she came through loud and clear. After her passing, they began experiencing a series of synchronistic events.

led them to mark Ireland, Elizabeth West, and Mark Pitstick. The unique common connection of events was undeniable and help them understand that it was their destiny to become affiliate leaders for the online group. They also Brian is a board member as well. And he now has published a book brief to growth. And we are just absolutely thrilled to have Brian here tonight. So without further ado, please welcome Brian Smith.

Brian Smith
Hey, everybody, I think a lot of you know me, if not most of you, so I’ll try to keep the the bio portion of it. I try not to make it too boring. But I appreciate you guys having me here tonight. I’m gonna go ahead and share my screen. Let’s see. Can you guys see it now?

Unknown Speaker
Yes. All right. Cool.

Brian Smith
All right. So what I want to talk about tonight is basically for me a new relationship with with death, death is something that we don’t like to talk about when we like to think about. Of course, we’re all here on this meeting today, because we’ve all dealt with it up close and personal in a very unique way compared to what other people have gone through. So I’m going to talk about that tonight. Go ahead, is that alright, so this is what we’re going to talk about tonight. We’re going to talk about my story a little bit. And the reason I’m going to talk about my story is because I don’t think it’s completely unique. And I think you guys, some of you, at least, will be able to resonate with some of the things that kind of got me to where I am today, we’re going to talk about my inspiration, which we’ve already touched on most was my daughter Shana. So Shani will feature prominently in the in this conversation? We’re going to talk about society’s relationship with death. What is what is it that we currently think about it? What do we think as a society? We’re going to talk about what grief is, again, all of us here are close the person familiar with grief. We’re going to talk about grief from a different perspective. What if it’s the beginning of a journey What to Expect while we’re grieving? We’re going to talk about how we can do grief a little bit better some tools and then I’ll summarize. So that’s those are the things we’re gonna go through. This is my family. These are the people that I live for. It’s really interesting. You know, being the situation I’m in right now I feel like my daughter, Shayna, who’s there to my left, and my wife to my right, and my other daughter Kayla batalla, when the yellow dress, those are the people that I said I live for. Shana keeps me connected to my higher self, I would say she keeps me striving to be higher and Kayla, and you want to keep me grounded. They’re the ones that keep me here connected to this earth. So this is these are the people that said I kind of live for now, my background. I grew up with the very what I would think is a traditional view of death. I grew up in the Pentecostal church and was taught about fire and brimstone, Heaven and Hell, a judgmental God. Is the the end of this physical existence and all those types of things. So as I said, that was pretty traditional Pentecostal home, I guess if you can call it traditional. But some of the things a lot of us were taught in church in Sunday school. And for me, I was a sensitive kid. So these things really impacted the way I viewed everything in the world. And I actually was terrified of death. My grandfather was the pastor of the church. So I took it very seriously. My, my whole family was really involved very deeply. So I grew up with her death was kind of traumatic. I thought about you know, Heaven and Hell and, you know, when we’re taught how, I think a lot of us kind of think we don’t really ponder it that deeply. I did. I thought about eternal torture and eternal separation and darkness and and I literally wished I’d never been born. From the time when I was a small child. I was like, why would I take this risk and come to this planet or God sent me here, and if I don’t get it just right, he’s gonna send me to hell. So this is like Kind of trauma that I was going through. I was taught that the dead sleep. There’s there’s verses in the Bible that said the dead no nothing the dead are asleep. So there would be no relationship when someone dies. You know, there’s no relationship between them and the living until the final judgment, the resurrection, where all resurrected and then we see them again, hopefully, if they go to the same place that we do. So there’s maybe heaven and the buy and buy and get, frankly, as a kid, have it’s on the boring to me. I mean, I did not want to play a harp all day or there’s one song that says when we’ve been there 10,000 years, bright shining as a sign we’ll still be singing God’s praises, and I don’t like to sing and I didn’t want to sing for 10,000 years. So this this view of death was didn’t really work well for me. Now moving broader, that’s my own personal view of death as a society. Death is a stranger to us. We don’t we don’t talk about death. We Don’t want to think about death. We can’t we push it aside, and a lot of us, you know, a lot of us have never even seen anyone die, we hide it away people are, they’re taken away to hospitals to die often or they died in a nursing home or a different setting. back even several years ago, when someone were to pass away, they bring the body to the home, and they’d have to have a service there. But now we have funeral home. So everything’s kind of pushed away when it comes to death. We live in a very youth oriented culture, all of us want to keep looking young we and part of that is as denial of the fact that the fact we’re getting older, which means we’re getting closer to death. So you notice the ads on television are all about staying young and looking young and being young. And so we we push aside the idea of the fact that these bodies that we’re in, are actually aging and moving us closer to what’s inevitable.

There’s this preconceived notion that when people died. The thing is, you know, again, back in the olden days before we had modern medicine, and we have more plentiful food, etc, we’ve controlled diseases. You know, children died a lot more often back in earlier days. And so families got used to the fact that you had eight or 10 kids, you know, you might lose one or two of them. And frankly, my grandmother lost a couple of children. So, for us, when our children pass at an early age or a spouse passes at an early age, it seems so out of order and so I don’t normally expect to live to be 70 or 80 years old. So that’s another thing that makes death in our society even harder, because we know that none of us has promised that we’re going to live those long lives. And there’s really not much knowledge of the afterlife. You know, back in the day when people took everything on faith, we said again, heaven in the sweet by and by, but when people kind of started pushing aside faith As much as moving towards science, sciences didn’t tell us much about the afterlife. So people said, well, then there must not be anything. So if you don’t have a knowledge of the afterlife, we fear what we don’t know. So it’s natural to have a fear of death if you don’t know what death is. And if you think you are this body, it’s clear, one thing that’s clear is when this body stops functioning, you know, that’s it, the body stops functioning. If you think you’re the body, then you stop functioning. Therefore death means the annihilation of who you are. So if you don’t have a knowledge of what’s going to happen to you, after the body stops functioning, you it again creates more fear. And we see death as the ultimate failure. The medical profession, they’re taught to avoid death at all costs. Even when people are terminal, even when people are very old. They will try to delay death for as long as possible. Again, us that have lost children. We say, Well, you know, that’s not right. It’s out of order that I failed them or They the guide failed them or God failed me because this should not be because they’re gone and they shouldn’t be gone. And again, that comes from a lack of knowledge. Our children are not gone. They are healthy, they’re they’re healthier than they’ve ever been. They’re happy, they’re with us. But if we don’t know that we see death as the ultimate failure. So these notions of death caused a great deal of stress, and fear, and anxiety and all those emotions and all of us. So for me personally, I had a dark night of the soul because of what I talked about earlier. The fear of death that I had got to the point was so bad that I was having panic attacks. And for a person that has a fear of death if you if you guys have ever had a panic attack, you know what I’m talking about. When you have a panic attack, you feel like you’re dying. You feel like you’re leaving your body, your heart races, your skin gets clammy, and you just feel like this is unreal feeling comes over. When you have a fear of death. And you’re having a panic attack. It’s like the worst possible thing that can happen to you. And this went on for quite a while with me. And it got to the point where it was, it was untenable. I couldn’t I couldn’t keep continuing on the way I was. Another triggering event from my dark night of the soul was my uncle passed away when I was in my mid 20s. And my uncle was gay. And my uncle was not accepted in the church because he was gay. And since he wasn’t accepted in church, the teaching was that my uncle was in hell. And I remember talking to my brother one night we were talking about my uncle and he said, yeah, it’s too bad that know that uncle Michaels in hell and I was just like, what he said, Well, yeah, of course, you know, he wasn’t in the church, so therefore, you know, he’s in hell and I’m, it just really took me aback. It didn’t make any sense to me that someone who I knew to be a good, loving, caring person would be in hell because the church told him he couldn’t join the church, therefore a godsend in the house. These are the types of paradoxes or conundrum That toxic religion can set up in you. And if you’re again, if you’re a person like I am a kind of thinks about things deeply, they’ll literally drive you insane. So I needed a new way to look at things. I need a new way to look at the Bible. I need a new way to look at basically everything. So I went on a big explorations that I got on the internet, like everything I could I studied the Bible. I study church history. I read books about how the Bible came about, and I learned a new way to look at the Bible. And I’m glad to say that I was able to salvage a lot of what I what’s in the Bible. There’s a lot of

really good stuff in the Bible. One of my ancestors is Thomas Jefferson. And one things he’s famous for saying is that the Bible is full of diamonds and done, which is entirely true. There are some great things in the Bible. There are some real gems in the Bible, and but there’s a whole lot of done in the Bible, and you have to learn how to kind of sift through it. So what he did is he took a New Testament and literally cut out the parts that he thought didn’t belong and created his own Bible that was called the Jefferson Bible. So I think we all have to say the Bible is a great book, when it’s looked at critically. Now for me, personally, I ended up getting into counseling. I got to the point where I just could not take the panic attacks. I couldn’t take the relationship I had with this guide that was like, so angry at everybody. And even if he was going to save me, what about everybody else? What about people like my uncle, I just I just couldn’t accept that. So for me personally, because my I knew my fears were rooted in my Christianity. I went to see a Christian counselor, and I got on medication. I was on medication for a few months, we had a plan to get off the medication, which I did, but I just formed a whole new relationship with with my faith, and basically formed my own faith. I mean, I don’t, I don’t call myself a Christian anymore. I’ve studied Buddhism, I’m kind of Buddhist. But I jokingly say I practice Brian ism. And I encourage people to whatever works for you. You know, take that and make that part of your of your practice your religion, your faith you whatever you want to call it. And I remember growing up, they said, you know, religion can’t be a cafeteria religion, you can’t go and pick and choose what you want. You’ve got to choose one thing or the other. And I totally reject that I say, find truth wherever you can find it, whether it’s in the Buddhist texts, or a Hindu texts or Christian texts or a Muslim texts, or if it’s a book that was written yesterday by Natalie sudbin. You know, wherever you find truth, truth is truth. And I believe that God speaks through multiple ways, whether you call it God or source or creator, whatever you want to call it. There’s all kinds of way to tap into that ultimate truth. They’re all part of. So I studied not only my faith all over again, but I also started looking for evidence. Because I’m an analytical person. My training is engineering. I’m like, Is there any evidence? I mean, is there any proof that this stuff is real, and to my surprise, I found out there is a ton of evidence of the afterlife. And one of the first books I found was the afterlife experiments by Dr. Gary Schwartz. And here 18 years or so later, I’m actually working with Dr. Schwartz, the soul phone project. So it’s it’s funny how that’s come full circle. But you know things like near death experiences, which you guys are probably all familiar with people who have been to the other side and come back and tell us about what they’ve seen mediumship and I started talking to mediums, Gary Schwartz has actually tested mediums. Julie Beisel has tested mediums. So anybody who tells you that mediumship is a bunch of hogwash has never been proven scientifically. It’s absolutely wrong. mediums have been studied scientifically. And it’s been shown that they can get information that they couldn’t get any other way.

There’s something called after death communications. People have talked to people that on the other side through instrumental trance communications through things like Electronic Voice phenomenon. So all these things are areas where If you’re really interested, and if you say I just don’t want to take it on faith, I want to know more. You can, it’s all out there. And there’s the great thing about the world we live in today with the Internet, and books and podcasts, you can find out as much as you want. And then physics, interestingly enough, is catching up with what faith has told us for a long time. We know things like quantum mechanics, the fact that things can be a particle in a wave at the same time, the fact that there are not three dimensions of space and the dimension of time, but they’re like 11 dimensions. And so what are in those other dimensions, dark matter, dark energy, which make up like, 95% of our universe, all these things are not proof of an afterlife, but the indicators that there’s something more to our universe than meets the eye. And just that, you know, I think really points to the fact that there’s something else out there. So I kind of went through what I what my background was my relationship with death. What I was Going through up until the time that Shana passed and this is my daughter Shana Elaine. Shana passed away June 24. So it’s gonna be five years and 2015 Shana was a top scholar she was like 16th in a class of like 600. We homeschooled Shana for eight years before she before she went to public school. But she went to public school she fit right and she was one of the most popular kids in the school, which is really pretty wild since she hadn’t gone there. Up until that point. She played basketball for I guess it was like, what was it seven or eight years. She was being recruited by the high school team. She was always destined to go play in high school. But then she decided about two years before that I’m gonna play volleyball. And it was a Shana you’ve never touched about volleyball in your life said I want to pick it up. She picked up volleyball within a couple of months. They were the high school tryouts she made the freshman team. She said she wanted to go out for the for art for a traveling team. We said Shane, if you just started playing volleyball a few months ago, you’re probably not gonna make the track. Team she called up and said, then I want me on the regional team. They want me on the national team. So she played on the national team for volleyball after I played for a few months. So this is not saying that everything in life was like this for her. She was a very adventuresome child she loved. She just wanted to experience everything. She said, You know, I want to have a broken leg. And I would say, Shana, don’t wish for a broken leg. Why would you wish that I wouldn’t know what it’s like to be on crutches. So she just wanted to experience things when she was about, I guess about 10 years old, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. That’s a pretty serious case. So she had to go on these injections and have blood drawn and had she had a couple of procedures. But she took them all just like a trooper. I mean, she, I remember the first time she got blood drawn, she said, I wonder what it’s gonna feel like to get my blood drawn. I mean, that’s just the way that Shana went through life. She was a great scholar, very popular, even to this day. She was 15. When she passed there’s a group of girls that call themselves the Shana six and they start still come by the house every Angel date every birthday. They still keep in touch with with Taiwan on myself. And they still talk about Shana when they went to college. They use Shana for a lot of the college essays. So she made a huge up sorry about that at the wrong button. She made a huge impact in her 15 years while she was here. What happened to my presentation? There we go.

Unknown Speaker
Can you guys see my presentation?

Unknown Speaker
Can you guys see my presentation?

Brian Smith
Okay, I read I think he’s nodding yes. So I’m gonna go ahead. Yeah, sorry about that. I hit the wrong button. So let’s talk about what is grief. And you guys all know what it is. Let’s just give a quick definition. I call grief a deep prolonged mental anguish and intense sorrow, emotional suffering, suffering resulting from a loss. Now we’re all familiar with grief from a loss Have a person. The brief proof can be the loss of a job. It can be the loss of a relationship. It can be the loss of anything. What I’ve observed over the last few weeks or months, we’ve been going through a lot of grief over the Coronavirus. We’re locked down, we’ve lost freedom. We’ve lost certainty. Some of us have lost jobs, we’ve lost money. What we’re going through right now with the George Florida situation, and and the protests, everything is just going around the world that’s causing people grief. So there’s a lot of grief that we’re all experiencing right now. But grief is not a particular emotion. It’s really kind of a container for emotions. And so while we’re going through grief, we can experience shock. We can just experience disbelief, rage, anger, fear, all these things of guilt. All these things can be a part of grief and they kind of come and they go and they come in waves. So for you that are new and grief, you might find yourself going I’m going crazy. You know yesterday, I felt this today. I’m filming this and then tomorrow you’re going to feel something else. And I want to tell you that’s actually very normal, that people do go through all these range of emotions and they’re up and down and back and forth. Now when creep hits, one of the analogies I like to use and this is something I use in my business and it’s the tagline for my book is planted, not buried. Because grief feels like the end, it feels like you’ve been buried. You’re You’re like, you’re literally underground, you’re never going to see the sun again. And my planet not buried tagline is actually inspired by a Bible verse. As I said, I’m still under the Bible. I assure you, I must have solemnly say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone, just one grain never more. But if it dies, it produces and this is black in my view, but it produces much fruit and grain and yields a harvest harvest. So the thing about the grief of the triggering event that causes your grief, it’s gonna feel like it’s ended your life. It’s going to feel like, you know, this is the worst thing that’s ever happened. It is I mean, it is I’m not gonna deny the real pain that comes along with it. But it can be something that triggers you to go into the next phase of your life. And if you allow it, it can allow you to grow and to produce even more fruit than you would have if this event not not happened. So another thing I use when I’m working with clients is is like, what if this is the beginning of the journey, because we see grief as the end, it’s the end of a relationship. And the thing about when someone passes away, it is the end of that physical relationship, and there’s no denying that. And that’s why it feels like you’re never going to get over because you know, you’re never going to bring that person back. But what if you can have a different relationship with that person? What if you could still continue the relationship while you’re here? And what if you can look forward to seeing them again, and not just to believe you might see them again, but to know you’re going to see them again and to actually look forward to that day. And I I’m telling you that it’s possible to get there. So one of the things I do with people help them understand what do you expect when you’re going through grief because, again, if you haven’t been through a traumatic grief, and there’s different types of grief to let’s, let’s talk about that for a second, if a grandparent dies, like my grandmother died when I was in my 20s, and I lived through 13 years, we were very close. She was like a mother to me. But my grandmother was old and she was sick and when she died, you know, it was bad, but it didn’t. It didn’t crush me. When Shana died, it was a whole different story. a completely different level of feeling like it was the end of my life, like my life would never be worth living again. But when we go through grief, those first few days or even weeks, you might feel numbness. I’ve had people say to me, I think there’s something wrong with me. I don’t feel anything. That’s a normal thing that happens when you’re going through this because frankly, you’ve got to still function. I remember you know, having to plan Shana service and going to the funeral home and picking out things and all the decisions I had to make And having to take care of people as they came into the house. So we will actually shut down emotions for a short period of time. So we can continue to function so you might feel some numbness up front. Don’t worry about that the feelings will come back.

It’s something very Frank, Frank about you might have death wishes, suicidal thoughts. And the reason I bring it up because again, people think they’re going crazy. They may have never had suicidal thoughts before, they may have never had a death wish. But especially during the loss of a child As parents, we want to be with our children. And we want to know our children are okay and we’re used to being there for them. So you might have a feeling, I need to be there for her. I need to be there from here who’s taking care of them. I’m telling you, those feelings are normal. If you start thinking about acting on them, get help. But if you start planning, you know, get help. But if you have those passing thoughts, they’re completely normal. You might have a feeling of indifference. Sometimes when people go through this deep grief Like it, nothing matters anymore. So you just don’t care about anything. So you might stop taking care of yourself, you might start sleeping too much, you might start drinking more, you might start driving recklessly. These are types of things that might happen. You on the other hand, you might have an intense intensified feeling of fear. If something happened to my one daughter, maybe something else could happen to my other daughter. And I can tell you with I remember feeling that with with Kayla, you know, we had to say, you know, sweetie, you got to start telling us like when you call first you need to say is I’m okay. We call you you need to pick up the phone. I don’t have time to tell the story. But we have one time we were going to see her. And we called her for hours on the way to see her and she had overslept. had her phone under a pillow was on vibrate. And we’re both in the car thinking she’s dead, you know. So, those those feelings will go through your head. You might cling to the past and this is something that I did you know, my daughter was 15 Seeing when she passed away. And the way I looked at it was okay, every day I get farther away from from being with her. Every day, I’m going to lose a little bit of her, I’m going to lose that memory. I want to go back to June 23 2015. So, actually, as time went forward, it was actually making me feel more stressed out. What I’ve actually done is turn that around, and I look at it now. Every day I’m getting a day closer to seeing her. So I don’t claim to the past anymore. I also know that she’s with me right now. She’s literally with me right now. Shana is always over my shoulder. And I’ve talked to mediums that have told me that I’ve walked in the room where they’ve been intuitive people. They’re like, Who’s the little girl with you? And I’m like, I guess it’s Shana. So she’s she’s always here and she likes us now. And even just yesterday, she dropped in on us. You might have feelings of regret or guilt. Again, as parents, you’re gonna have these. They’re very normal people, when especially our parents would think for admission. We think we’re nepad sent and we I think we get we’re omnipresent. We think we’re like little guides to our children. So we should have been there, we should have stopped this from happening to them. We should have known it was going to happen. We should have been, we should have, you know, we should have saved them, even if they were sick. You know, we should have been able to heal it. Let all that stuff go, there’s your grief is bad enough. When you compound grief, with guilt, it makes it even worse. And I’ve talked to parents who have said, You know, I shouldn’t I may I talked to one person that said, I made six mistakes today. My daughter died. Six, she counted them. And she said, and and if I hadn’t done this thing, she’d still be here. And I’m like, Well, how are you supposed to know that does lead I said, I guarantee you, you make six what you call mistakes every day. That just happened to be the day for her to transition. You had nothing to do with a drunk driver that killed her when she was coming home for work. You can’t be everywhere all the time. But a lot of times we’ll think that it will be harder on ourselves than would ever be on anybody else. So I’m encouraging it as much as you can to let go of that. Now grief is as hard work. And I’m not going to tell you any different it does require practice to get through it, to deal with it, when I’m going to call successfully, it, you know, I say it gets better and it does get better, it gets easier to deal with. I liken it to carrying a weight. If you carried around a 25 pound weight all day, every day, when you first start carrying it around, it would be very heavy. After a while it’s going to just become routine. It’s kind of the same way with grief, you’re going to still carry it around, but you’re going to get used to it. You can remain stuck, you can make that choice. And I’ve seen people make that choice. One thing about the fact you’re part of helping parents heal, you know, that’s part of our not only our mission statement, that’s part of the name. If you want to heal, that’s why you’re here and if you want to heal, you can heal but it’s going to take some work.

So some of the things that I found that really helpful is having a graduate To practice and this might seem counterintuitive, the worst thing that could ever possibly happen, just happened to you. And I’m telling you to be grateful. I’m not telling you to great, be grateful for that. I’m telling you find things that you can be grateful for. And believe it or not, this will make a difference. I didn’t think it at first. I’ve been doing it for a few years now. But every morning when I get out of bed, I think of three things that I’m grateful for. And they don’t have to be big things. It could be I’ve got a lunch appointment this afternoon, somebody I really want to see, it could be the fact that I could go for a walk that morning. It could be the fact that I can during this Coronavirus thing, the fact that I’m able to breathe because there are a lot of people that were having trouble breathing. So find things to be grateful for one thing about the human mind, there’s this misconception that we can multitask. And the fact is we can’t we or we can do one thing at a time. So if you’re thinking about gratitude, you can’t be feeling sorry for yourself at the same time. You can switch back and forth, but you can’t do both at the same time. So if you practice this gratitude practice, it actually will help your Place the negative thoughts with the positive thoughts. And one thing people will tell you when you’re going through grief, and you want to connect with your kids, especially which we all do, raise your vibration. And you’re like, How am I supposed to raise my vibration when I’m going through the worst thing I’ve ever been through? This is one way to do it is to practice gratitude. Practice forgiveness, forgiving yourself, as I kind of touched on earlier. A lot of times, that’s the hardest thing to do. forgiving anybody that might have been involved in your child’s passing, whether it’s a doctor, the drunk driver, the person that sold them, the drugs, the whatever, it’s letting go. And the thing about forgiveness doesn’t mean you’re condoning the behavior. It’s not something you have to do. It’s not a requirement. It’s not something that is easily done necessarily, it’s a process. But what it is, is when you are holding on to a grudge, you’re energetically tying yourself to another person, and you’re literally energetically dragging that person around with you. When you forgive them. You’re letting go of that and you’re letting your letting go of a weight. So I encourage people to work on forgiveness, finding hope. And that’s what we’re talking about with the afterlife studies, you know, understanding who we are as as human beings, that we are not just the meat suits or the earth suits that we were that your child was not just the meatsuit that they were and that your child is there with you even now and your child is waiting for you. And starting to look forward again as opposed to looking in the past. Finding your tribe, this is something that Ty and I talk about all the time. We were so fortunate to find helping parents heal you know, really early on through a series of quinces I don’t really have time to go in today but we just have to plan a vacation. We met Elizabeth she she talked to us about helping parents heal. We became affiliate leaders here in Cincinnati started you know, the online group and just continued to find people that are like minded. You’re going to find Unfortunately, sometimes when you go through this process, you’re going to lose people that were part of your earlier tribe, you people you thought were great friends, you might lose some family members. They are grieving too. They may not be able to cope with the passing of your child. That’s okay to let those things go to find people that you can feel comfortable talking with. Some tools for navigating grief, meditation, mindfulness, I think I touched on this earlier. I know a lot of people don’t like the word meditation. It sounds painful. It sounds hard. It could be as simple as finding a good song to play an inspirational song for three to five minutes. It could be if I always tell people if you haven’t, if you can’t meditate, you just haven’t found the right technique yet. It could be listening to music, it could be going for a walk. It could be frankly, mindfully doing the dishes, turning everything else off and just concentrating on what you’re doing. This practice of looking at your thoughts and turning with them will help you to slow your thoughts down which may be racing. It’ll help you to understand when you’re having bad thoughts that I can choose my thoughts. So if I’m having a thought that I don’t want to have, and I catch myself, I can actually choose a better thought. So I encourage people, you got to find a way to practice mindfulness. Exercising physically can help because we are mind, body and spirit. And if we let ourselves get rundown, our bodies get run down, it’ll actually run down our minds and our spirits as well. So again, you don’t have to become a world class athlete, whatever works for you. I like to walk. So walking actually helps me both mentally and physically. And so I walked for seven miles every day, whatever works for you.

I’m practicing self care. It’s really important to be gentle with yourself, especially when you’re going through grief. take naps, take extra breaks, take care of your diet. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. All those things that may sounds kind of routine are silly, but they’re really help and you really need it when you’re going through grief because your body is going Going through physical withdrawal, especially those early months or even a first year, you’re going through kind of withdrawals, you’ve got to really build up your strength. I talked about taking breaks. And I encourage people to study this, and this works for me. We have this mindset in the world of materialism that we’re all surrounded with, and your friends gonna think you’re crazy. We start to talk about some of the things we’re talking about. You’ve got to really reinforce this renewing of your mind, I call it renewing of the mind, you’ve got to reinforce this new way of looking at things. So listen to podcasts, read books, go to conferences, all those things that can help reinforce this new mindset that you’re trying to build. I want to just drill in a little bit more on finding your tribe. I’ve worked with clients who have unfortunately, as I said, even family members have said it’s too painful for me. I don’t want to talk about about your son or your daughter. And I’ve had people say I’ve had to turn away from my brother, sister, mother, father, uncle. So find somebody you can feel comfortable with. And it might not be the friends and family. It might be church, it might not be church. For us. We were going to a church that when Shana passed away, we said, Man, this is not it’s too superficial West. We left that church and went to another church where that blade more like well we were in line with believing so we started going to a Unity Church which was very, very helpful for us. We went there for a couple of years until we got so involved with helping parents heal. And the other thing is we’re involved in that we don’t need that anymore. So we found you know, other community. You may find that surprising people come into your life. Like I said, You’re elusive people that sounds horrible, but you’re gonna gain some people to you’re gonna gain people you never dreamed that you gain and some of the best friends that we have now are people that we’ve met frankly since Shana transitioned. People that have become like instant friends Best friends family, like a lot of the people have been parents, you know that you guys are like family dies. So these things will come along if you allow them to if you look for them, and so be open to those things as they come along. peer to peer groups. Again, helping parents heal is the one that I recommend, of course. And social media gets a bad rap, but there’s every group under the sun on Facebook. So find a group of people that you can hang out with, and you can talk with, do zooms do book clubs, you know, whatever. This is just my own personal experience since since China has transitioned, I found an organization called ions. They have local meetings around they also have online meetings if you don’t have a local mini close to you. Our local chapter meets once a month. They allow people who are not experienced. This is for International Association for near death studies. For those of you don’t know there are a lot of people who haven’t had near death experiences to go. I go I get to talk to people have had near death experiences face to face. author’s come and they talk about their experiences, it’s a great thing to do, helping parents heal something that I’ve found I’ve become involved with, actually on the board now. I work on the cell phone project, I worked with Mark Pitts tick and Gary Schwartz on that. That’s technology we’re trying to develop, to allow people to talk to people on the other side. Again, I mentioned Facebook groups earlier. I’m in a group called afterlife topics. I’m in a group called voiceover angels. This is a couple of the groups that I’m in. So

what we’re trying to do is basically the set we’re trying to form a new relationship with death. We don’t want to be afraid of death. We don’t want to see death as an end. And I chose this picture from the Day of the Dead here because I think the Mexicans have it right. They honor their ancestors, as they call them on the other side, and they know that they’re still with them. And we can have this relationship with death, where we just see it as a transition. My daughter Shana didn’t get it. chance to graduate from high school. And you know, I could be sad about that. But Shana didn’t graduate from high school didn’t learn to drive a car. But Shana graduated from life. And I’m the slow learner. I’m 59. I’m still here. She graduated early is the way I look at it. I had a reading with Suzanne Wilson about, I think, nine months after Shana passed, and Suzanne said, I’m seeing car keys. Why am I seeing car keys. So I think shame is driving on the inside too. But that is a transition. But that’s not only transition, it’s an illusion. And you find I rarely use the word death because it’s really the death of the physical body. What we are never dies. And when our kids transition, most of the time they stepped out of their bodies before their body even stopped functioning. But all the time, it’s a smooth, seamless transition. We’re here and then we’re there. We don’t go to sleep. We don’t. We’re not asleep for 1000 years. We’re not in the grave if you’re if your child is in a cemetery and you want to go visit that place it’s a special place to, that’s great. Your child will go along with you when you go because your child is with you where you are right now. And the grief of that can be seen as an opportunity for a new beginning, think of yourself as a seed that’s been planted. Think of yourself as starting a new journey. And again, this might sound flippant, or try to people who are just starting out on this journey. And I don’t mean that, because you’ve got to process all those emotions I talked about before. So maybe six months or a year in is when you get to the point where you can start saying, Okay, now, now what do I do? How do I how do I start to grow from this? So the first part of it, we’re going to be processing, you know, all those, all those terrible, terrible emotions and all the shock and denial and the guilt and all those things. And then we’re going to start looking at Okay, now what do I do? And the idea the thing about death is because we know our bodies are not here eternally. It makes life a little bit more precious. We know that we know that we have to cherish this day that we have to live with that. Now, so I think the death, the death of these physical bodies actually serves a purpose. So I’m going to wrap up, you know, if you can be prepared before the event happens. So you’re all here because it’s already happened to you, but it’s going to happen to you again, it’s going to happen to a spouse, or parent or another loved one. So prepare yourself as much as you can. Grief is not limited to the loss of life as a grief guide. I work with people that have had all kinds of losses, I’m also a life coach. But if you if you are going through another loss, and you say this feels a lot like grief, which a lot of people were with this Coronavirus thing. It triggered a lot of us because it felt a lot like when our kids passed, it is recognizing this grief and deal with it the same way. You’re going to have those raw emotions at the start, we need to deal with us. We’re going to try to develop a new perspective. We’re going to use these practices tools I talked about earlier to get through and to build our strength. We’re going to build community We’re going to look at this as I said as a new beginning. So with that I’m at about 55 minutes. This is me, you can find me at www grief to growth calm. That’s the number two I have written a book that’s planet not buried grief to growth, planet not buried. It’s a very I know a lot of people can’t read when they’re in early stages of grief. So it’s purposely very thin and easy to read. It’s also available in audio. And I think a lot of you guys know I have a podcast as well. I’ve had Elizabeth on I’ve had Irene on I’ve had some some really fantastic guests on so you can find my podcast. And with that, I’m going to stop my screen share and see if we have any questions.

Elizabeth Boisson
There are questions and that was wonderful, Brian and I thank you for for telling us all that information. I one of the things that people have asked and I agree with them that this is a good question. Patty’s asking why do people People say the veil is thinning. What do they mean? And I certainly have an answer for that. I’m sure you do too.

Brian Smith
Well, you know, everybody has a different answer on whether the veil is thinning or not. The way and everything, everything I say, remember, our collective understanding is evolving, and our personal understanding is evolving. So I’m going to tell you where I am now. I think the communication with the other side is getting easier. So you could either look at it as the veil is thinning, I don’t think there’s a physical veil that’s actually getting thinner. But I think maybe what it is, is people on this side are raising their vibration. And a lot of people say we’re kind of at a transition point. And we were talking before we got on this. I think humanity is kind of an inflection point. So I think we’re raising our vibration is making it maybe easier to communicate from the other side. And we’re coming out of a period. I mean, there was a time I think the veil was very thin, and as man became more materialistic and became relying on our own understanding and science We kind of thicken the veil, because we stopped looking at the other side. And I think we’re coming back around to that. So that’s my my take on it.

Elizabeth Boisson
That’s beautiful. And I agree, I think that

I think that it’s getting a lot easier with the shift that’s happening in the world today for us to be able to understand all of these things that exists that have always existed that we’ve just never really looked closely at before. There are questions also about your podcast. And Alicia is asking, Can you talk a bit about your podcast series? Why Why you interview the type of people that you do. Could you kind of, Oh,

Brian Smith
yeah, yeah, I’ve got a very broad range of people that I interview, from shining light parents to people who have had nd ease to mediums to people that are involved in healing, like I said, like Elizabeth and Irene and Irene sister, Judy. So every episode is really about making people understand the greater reality, to understand who we are as human beings, why we’re here and how to heal. So anybody I can find that can bring that message across or people that are inspirational that have that have been through grief or had spiritual transform experiences. So that’s what they all have in common. It’s all about trying to help people to grow and to heal from wherever you happen to be.

Elizabeth Boisson
Alicia, saying thanks to your shows are wonderful. So she’s obviously someone who gets to listen to your shows. I I also wanted to ask about, about your communication, obviously with Shana. Andrea says great information. Is there ever time that you feel that your daughter’s busy, and you need and you need to connect with her Ty’s already answered this question, but maybe you could expand. I say a little bit more about this.

Brian Smith
I’m sure answer’s no. There’s never a time when she’s too busy. There’s, there’s a couple things about. Yeah. And we get really deep into what time is. But when we’re on the other side time, let’s just say it’s different. Some people say it doesn’t exist at all. It’s just it’s very, very different. So they’re not constricted by time the way that we are. So now your child’s never too busy to talk to you. You’re not bothering them when you communicate with them. That you might have been told that but that’s I don’t I don’t believe that’s not true.

Elizabeth Boisson
But, Lindsay, and yes, they they actually have plenty of time for us. I think that that’s a very good answer. There’s no time that you can’t connect with them. And from what I understand, they can be in many places at one time so they can be spending time with us and they can be spending time with their grandparents and they can be spending time with their siblings as well. Lindsey is saying forgiveness is a hard one. Maybe you could talk a little bit more about forgiveness.

Brian Smith
Forgiveness is a hard one. And it was interesting. I was on a call with my family this this Sunday, we had a zoom call, we were talking about forgiveness, and one of my cousins was struggling with it. I don’t mean to be flippant about forgiveness, and I don’t want to make it a requirement. It’s not a requirement. But forgiveness, if you think about it as being for yourself more than for the person that you’re forgiving. Maybe that’ll make it a little bit easier. You’re not the thing is when you’re carrying around that, that grudge. A lot of times they don’t even know it. You know, you’re you’re, you’re angry, and you think you’re putting anger on them. And they don’t they don’t even know it. But sir, but you’re energetically connecting yourself to that person. So what I say to you is to, if you start to look at it was I want to forgive this person, because I want to let go of this, then that might make a little bit easier.

Elizabeth Boisson
That’s beautiful. And I have let’s see, Carol is asking about the soul phone project. She wants to know how it’s going and says it’s very exciting.

Brian Smith
Yeah, the cell phone is going well. We’ve, we’ve shown that we can communicate with people on the other side. It’s a, it’s I don’t wanna get too deep into it, but it’s a binary thing right now. It’s like, yes, no answer. So think of it like, it’s yes, no, it’s binary. We’re working on a electronic version that probably be available, maybe like, I don’t know, think a year or so. So it’s coming along. There’s a misnomer. And it’s actually maybe the fault, maybe bad naming, that there’s going to be a device, you know, like this. It’s going to be called the sofa. I don’t know if that’ll actually exist or not. I don’t know if it’ll be an app. We don’t know exactly what’s going to be. But right now think of it as just a way that if we bring someone in from the other side, we can say, Are you this person? Yes or no? Did you die this way? Yes or no. So they can answer yes or no questions. And we’re at that point now. It’s not it’s not commercial yet. But it’s going well.

Elizabeth Boisson
That’s wonderful. So Brian And Ty I got to meet two here in Phoenix early on in your journey and Sangeeta is asking when you started talking to your daughter I guess I’m I’m wondering myself, had you already started understanding and realizing that she know was communicating with you and that she was with you when we met which was amazing, and it was certainly serendipitous or when exactly was that?

Brian Smith
That that’s a great question because I don’t communicate with Shana the way some people do with their kids. I have some people hear I know that. I know some I know someone out here that actually has seen theirs son since he transitioned. Some people you know, they hear their kids audibly and stuff like that. It’s not like that with me and Shana. It’s more like she’s in my thoughts. She’s in my mind. She’s sent signs, all kinds of signs. When shortly after she transitioned, I said, I want one of our signs will be dimes. So I’ll find dimes Just the time that I need it and yes, I give you one story it was we were we were on vacation is the first vacation we take and since she transitioned that was that with Ty and Kayla. I got burned them early in the morning to go for a walk and I was feeling really, really bad. And so saying I need you to you know, help me get through the day you need to send me a sign. And we go to get in the van to take us to the ferry to go across the island. And I decided to bend down and get in the backseat instead of get in the seat where Ty and Kayla were. And as I bent down underneath the seat was a single dime. And I just saw the time there. So it’s it’s the timing of stuff like that. Yesterday I’ve been doing a series of videos and this whole thing is going on with George Floyd etc. And I’ve been getting a lot of grief for so yesterday Ty goes I just found this this document on my OneDrive. I don’t know what it was from Shana. And it was something Shana had written on Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin. We don’t even know when she wrote it. We didn’t know it existed. But it came up on the one drive. Yes. And we found that just just this time I needed some encouragement, and I recorded a short video on it. And when I recorded the video I looked at the timestamp It was 1111. So we get those kinds of things from China and China drops in on mediums. She drops it on Suzanne giesemann all the time. I don’t know why she just really like Suzanne. So some calls, Susanna calls up and say Shana dropped in and you know, were you doing this and Ty’s like, Yeah, I was doing that yesterday.

Elizabeth Boisson
That’s wonderful. Well, Anna is asking, and I think this is this is definitely something that I can identify with. She felt a warmth in her entire body a couple of months ago, a month, a couple of months, when her son had transitioned, and she’s asking if that’s a sign. I’ve not felt it again. It was a wonderful, warm, and Ty’s answered it would you like to answer?

Brian Smith
Well, this is this idea about signs if you feel like it was a sign, it was a sign and not to discourage him from ever asking him Question. But don’t ask somebody else if it was a sign if you feel like it was a sign if it made you think of your loved one, and this is what you find a feather. If it’s something a sign that came up on your phone whether then yes, then it was a sign from your loved one. Because you got that feeling that feather that whatever, and you thought of them. So it was a sign.

Elizabeth Boisson
That’s beautiful. And I just have to say, I don’t know. And I’m sure you’re aware. I get hugs from my son all the time. And it’s exactly like that. That’s exactly actually I kind of described it in the beginning is drinking a glass of red wine. It just makes me feel warm all over and just that’s exactly just calms you down. And Morgan never let me cry because he kept giving me these hugs, which was amazing. So anyway, this is a question from Lindsey. And I would like to just see if you can answer it. A wonderful loss is that she feels she’s lost intimacy with her husband. Is this normal? And what can she do? Is this something you can answer for us?

Brian Smith
Yeah, it does happen. We all grieve differently. And the said earlier and I don’t know what stage she’s in or stuff like that, but our bodies go through changes when we’re going through grief. I mean, physically, we go through like a physical withdrawal, especially when it’s the loss of someone that has lived with us. So, yeah, it can definitely happen. Unfortunately, on the grief path, we all do things differently. Some people want to talk about it, some people don’t want to talk about it. So it’s something that you just have to kind of work on together and you know, be as open and honest, you know, with each other as you can, but I would say it’s not, it’s not unheard of for sure.

Elizabeth Boisson
Well, I feel really grateful to have both of you on here tonight because you both are about at the same stage of your the way that you’re evolving because of the passing of Shana and I was going to ask if maybe Ty would like to say something. would you would you like to maybe just say a little bit about what’s happened on your own path and and add to what Brian said and I guess I need to unmute you. Okay, there you are.

Tywana Smith
Yeah, you know, I am I came from a little bit different background from Brian. I was born and raised Catholic. But still, I just wasn’t I didn’t really feel like I was totally Catholic. I went a lot on Sundays just, you know, check the boxes or whatever. never had any interest in the afterlife or anything like that I had done no reading, meditating. Just I think I was one of those people that believed when our loved ones are gone, that they’re gone. And my father transitioned, I guess about five years before Shana. But he was 77 he had gotten to the late stages of dementia. And you know, when he was gone I was really sad but I had been saying goodbye to him along the way. So I just didn’t get it a lot of thought and when Shana passed, I mean, as we all i’m sure felt this way, I just turned my world upside down. And I just had to question everything that I had ever believed in and I just I just I had to know where is she is she really gone? Will I see her again? So it immediately just sent me into a path of reading and studying and one of the first books that I while I have three books I felt like really, really helped me along and one was a Suzanne geese Linds, messages of hope. And then George Anderson, in the garden of souls, I think is what it’s called. And then Tom zoo, but a new way to do our proof. What’s this book called?

Elizabeth Boisson
a new way to do grief on?

purpose I’m trying to admission to permission to

that’s what it was permission to mourn.

Oh goodness.

Yeah. So those three books just really helped me But yeah, I really feel like had Shana not have passed, I would still be sleeping and I feel like part of her transitioning part of our family plan our soul pack if you want was that this would wake wake me up for you know for instance and so it it’s really it’s helped me not to be afraid of death I was always afraid of death also I never wanted to talk about it but I feel like now I could handle anything because I feel like the worst thing has happened to me and I just I’m you know I’m still a work in progress. I still have to reach back into my toolbox from time to time to pull out things to help me get through, you know, a few bad hours or whatever. But I want to say that it is not the same feeling that it was in the very beginning that those raw stages I really have progressed forward from there. And I never thought that was possible because prior to Shana passing, I didn’t think I would live a day without losing one of our girls. And I feel like I’m definitely living and I’m definitely finding joy. Again, I miss Shane, of course, like crazy, but I know she’s right here and she always shows up when we need her so well. I just encourage everyone to just, you know, be gentle with yourselves and it’s there’s no timeframe or no time limit but our kids are with us. I know that I believe that to my very core.

That’s beautiful. Thank you Ty and I agree with you. They are still right here. And it’s wonderful. You know, I remember meeting you both at that breakfast place and just thinking that you weren’t in a in a really good place in spite of what had happened. I think maybe Brian was a little bit harder ahead than you were on the path at the time. But it really is wonderful to know that all of us understand that. Obviously, Shane is here tonight, as well as all of our kids and they’re all best friends. And that’s, that’s the thing that I love the most is that they are always together. They’re working together to teach each other how to communicate with us. And again, I say this all the time. They High Five each other whenever we smile, so they feel so proud of the fact that they were able to get us to smile, and so they’re not gone. That’s that’s the most important message that we can hear. And that’s the reason that we do heal because they are with us, and they help us to move forward. But thank you for that. And Brian, do you have any closing messages that you could tell everybody saying thank you, Ty in the in the chat box, everyone was saying thank you, Bryan beforehand. Do you have anything that you’d like to say in closing, Brian?

Brian Smith
Uh, no, not really. I just wanted to kind of emphasize, obviously, everybody’s part of helping parents heal. So I don’t need to plug that. I think you guys have found a great place. This group is definitely totally changed my life, I’d say saved my life. If anybody wants to reach out to me, you can reach out to me through my website, which is grief to growth, calm, happy to talk to you and check out the podcast.

Elizabeth Boisson
Wonderful. Everybody’s saying thank you. And obviously, what we always do when we close is we ask everyone to unmute their microphones and say thank you and goodbye. And I’m just so happy that everyone was here tonight. Again, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube where this video will be tomorrow. We’ll have that up on the YouTube tomorrow. And thank you. I hope that you entire reading the chat boxes this goes by but let’s go ahead and unmute. And thank you all for being here. Thank you ty. Thank

you, Brad.

Unknown Speaker
Thank you.

Unknown Speaker
Thank you.

Elizabeth Boisson
Tila is speaking on Friday. Oh, yeah. Thank you. I mean, East Coast.

Yes, you’re there.

Irene is here too. So yes, please don’t forget to come join us for Mavis patella but it’s going to be early. It’s because she’s in the UK. So make sure that you get on early. And we’ll see you then. Bye everybody. Bye. Thank you. Bye and thanks thanks ty.

I was a guest on the Donna Seebo Show. Donna and I discussed my journey, my book, and the grief coaching and life coaching work that I do.

 

The summer that Shayna transitioned, I needed something to bring me hope. Robert’s podcast “Seek Reality” was my lifeline during that summer. Roberta and I began corresponding and she introduced me to Susanne Wilson a few months after Shayna had transitioned. The rest, as they say, is history. I never dreamed when I started listening to Roberta that less than five years later I’d be a guest on her show discussing my life coaching, grief partnering, and my podcast.

The episode is here: http://webtalkradio.net/internet-talk-radio/seek-reality/

Sheryl Howard asked me to appear on her YouTube show and talk about my journey to this point including my religious background, my thanatophobia (fear of death), the passing of Shayna and how all of that put me on the path I am on today.

Yesterday afternoon I was on Suzanne Giesemann’s radio program- Messages of Hope. I’ve known Suzanne for almost three years. Our paths have crossed at three conferences, including where I first met her at one of her workshops. Shayna drops in on Suzanne and gives her messages for us from time to time. Suzanne has featured Shayna in one of her presentations over the last couple of years.

Whenever we talk to Suzanne, Shayna makes her presence known. Before we started the interview Suzanne asked me if anyone in our family had been having an issue with a tooth. She said she saw someone flossing. I hadn’t been to the dentist for several years. We recently got dental insurance again. So, I went to the dentist a few weeks ago. I had a filling that needed to be replaced. Two weeks ago, to the day, I had that work done.

Suzanne said she saw Ty wrapping herself up in something, throwing it around her shoulders. Ty loves shawls/scarves/blankets. She has several “scarves” that are really more like blankets. I told Suzanne this makes sense. It’s cold in our house in December. Ty is always under a blanket. Suzanne asked me if she had gotten a new shawl recently. I didn’t know. I told her I would check into it. Ty received a new shawl in the mail yesterday, unbeknownst to me.

Suzanne asked if I had received a sign with a rainbow lately because Shayna was showing her me and Shayna together with a rainbow. I have received many rainbow signs from Shayna. So, this made sense. Last night when I took Stevie out for the last time of the night, as I was saying good night to Shayna, I looked up and saw this. It didn’t photograph very well on my phone. There is a distinct ring completely around the full moon.

 

Here is the episode:

 

I was on Irene Weinberg’s podcast, Grief & Rebirth, discussing how I overcame my fear of death and my work with Grief 2 Growth.

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT THINGS LIKE:

  • The difference between a Life Coach and a Grief Partner.
  • How a Life Coach can help a grieving person in ways a good friend cannot.
  • Why life is about fulfillment, not happiness or wealth.
  • Loss is temporary.  We will see our deceased loved ones again.

SOME QUESTIONS IRENE ASKS BRIAN:

  • How does grief lead to growth?
  • Is the grief of a sibling different than the grief of a parent?
  • How do you help a person to find his or her purpose in life?

Irene Weinberg Grief & Rebirth Episode 44

Sandra Champlain had me back on We Don’t Die to discuss my work with Helping Parents Heal, my life coaching work, my book, and my podcast.

 

 

Because of my extensive work with mediums Sandra Champlain asked me to be the guest sitter for a demonstration of mediumship. The mediums did not know who they would be reading.

Tywana and I were guests of Tara Robinson on her program on WAIF 88.3 in Cincinnati. We were there to discuss our life after the passing of Shayna and the new chapter of Helping Parents Heal we were launching in Cincinnati.

Click to play the program