Emily Thiroux Threatt is the author of Loving and Living Your Way Through Grief: A Comprehensive Guide to Reclaiming and Cultivating Joy and Carrying on in the Face of Loss.
Having gone through the experience of two husbands die, as well as the deaths of her father, mother, sister, many family members and friends, Emily has much experience in the grieving process and has learned to face life with love, optimism, and joy. Her mission is to comfort and support those dealing with grief and loss focusing on positivity.
She earned a master’s degree in English with a concentration in writing which led to her career teaching writing at the university level, so she naturally turned to writing to deal with her grief. She also is teaching those dealing with loss how to use writing to deal with their grief.
When she’s not writing, you can find her tending to her garden, creating art, and walking on the beach.
You can find Emily at:
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, to 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 Smith. I’m back with another episode of grief to growth I’ve got with me today Emily throw threat. And Emily is author of the book loving and living your way through grief, a comprehensive guide to reclaiming and cultivating joy and carrying on the face of loss. Emily has gone through the experience of having two husbands pass away, as well as the death of her father, her mother or sister, many family members and friends. So Emily has had much experience in the grieving process and has learned to face life with love, optimism and joy. And our mission is to comfort and support those dealing with grief loss and grief and loss focusing on positivity. Emily’s are the master’s degree in English with the concentration of writing, which led to her career teaching writing at the university level. So she naturally turned to writing to deal with their grief. She also is teaching those dealing with loss how to use writing to deal with their grief. And when you when she’s not ready, you can find her tending to her garden, creating art and walking on the beach because Emily lives in Hawaii. So with that, I want to welcome Emily throw threat.
Emily Thiroux Threatt 1:44
Aloha. I’m happy to be here today. Thank You for Your welcome.
Brian Smith 1:47
Yeah, it’s great to meet you, Emily. And we were talking earlier, you live in beautiful Hawaii. So I’m sure that the weather is nice Thursday. So glad to have you here. I want to just talk to you a little bit about your background and how you got involved in writing about grief. What What brought you to this subject?
Emily Thiroux Threatt 2:06
Well, as you said, I’ve had two husbands die. And the my first husband that died was a philosophy professor and his special with ethics, specifically dealing with death and dying. And so the whole time we were together, everything seemed to be about death and dying. And he taught a class that was required for all the nursing students at the college where he was with helping nursing students learn how to deal with death and dying. And he even had been with Elisabeth Kubler Ross and he’d been around a long time, he was instrumental in bringing hospice to the community that we lived in. At that time that that just went hospice was first getting developed across the country. So I say all that because we really kind of immersed him in all things related to death and dying during that time. And he was he had health problems for probably really bad for the last five years of his life, the last two years. Jake, and I kind of could feel and we talked about everything, but he never talked about dying. And he had written an ethics textbook many, many years ago, that would get revised every he would revise it every two years because it was used internationally. And he had been struggling trying to get this last edition out. But he was doing because it was physically hard for him to do things. So we’ve been working on it together. And the morning that he finished it, he was so happy. And it was the first time we were able to submit it electronically. So we submitted it, and we call this editor and we were celebrating and it was all all a really great thing. And he was so happy to get this thing accomplished. And then right after that we are gonna have lunch, and then he was going to his dialysis treatment. And while he was having lunch, he said to me, am I going to get better? And I thought, you know, all these thoughts went through my mind all at once. I thought in all this time, it was all his background and everything else. He didn’t realize he wasn’t doing all these medical things to get better, that he was going to get cured and be back to who he was before. And we were always honest with each other and I just said no. And I think it dawned on him at that point that that that was what was happening. And within about an hour when I was working to get him into the car to go to dialysis. You just died. Wow. So I think he he once once the realisation came to him that he was never gonna feel better than I was. He was right then that he was ready to go And he hadn’t been until then he just kept thinking, you know, I’ll just do all the things that doctors tell me to and eat the way I’m supposed to behave the way I’m supposed to. And I’ll get well.
Brian Smith 5:09
Wow. So it’s Do you think maybe on some level he knew are he was? That’s that’s a really interesting question to ask.
Emily Thiroux Threatt 5:19
I think. I think it was trying to get his book done. And that was his goal. And when he got his book finished, he was he was ready to be finished. But as I said, we haven’t talked about it, which I find is kind of strange. And boy, after he was gone, I was so lost. We’d been married for 22 years. And I just, frankly, didn’t know what to do with myself. And it took about a year before I started to come out of it and really be functioning again.
Brian Smith 5:57
Yeah. So did his the work that he had done. Did that help you at all? Were you involved in the work that he was doing?
Emily Thiroux Threatt 6:04
He was involved with with what he did, we were very active in getting people to find to sign durable power of attorney for health care, so that they could have their wishes carried out when the time came. And he had, we both had ours filled out and we both had DNR Do Not Resuscitate that, you know if it was our time, it was our time. Yeah. And ironically, when he died, he was in the process of getting into the car, he sat down on a seat. He looked at me and he said, I won’t repeat it because it’s not good language. But he looked at me like he realized what was happening at that moment. And then he was gone. And in the process, he slid down between the seat and the dashboard. And he was stuck, absolutely stuck. And I couldn’t get out. I couldn’t do anything. I wasn’t sure what to do. And the only thing I could think of was to dial 911. And after I did that, I thought shoot, he’s a DNR, that was not what I was supposed to do. But I didn’t know who else to call, right. It wasn’t a neighbor home around us. Anybody if there just wasn’t anybody to call. So when they got there, it was really hard for them to get them out of the car. And when they got him out, laid him down on the driveway. They saw that his he was in atrial fibrillation. And so they decided to resuscitate him. And I said, Wait, he’s got a DNR and I said we have it and I goes, Well, I can go and find it. And they said we can’t wait and they started it. So they went ahead and did that and took him to the hospital. But he was gone. There was there was no question that he was already gone. So it was it was quite an experience. But I I don’t think he really went the way he wanted to. I think he wanted to be more vital by the time you land that he had just really deteriorated, deteriorated over two years with two heart surgeries and dialysis and congestive heart failure and all kinds of things like that.
Brian Smith 8:12
So do you feel like were you somewhat prepared for his passing? Or?
Emily Thiroux Threatt 8:17
Well, I knew he was I had been thinking for probably five years that any time he would be gone. I didn’t know specifically when that was going to happen that so I think I was I was preparing for it. I was thinking about Okay, what am I going to do when is gone? And how am I going to handle things. And we did things like fixing up the house because it needed some painting and freshening and that sort of thing. And so while while he was going through all this, we were working on cleaning up the house and letting go with stuff. I was getting rid of stuff like crazy because I just I knew when the time came, I didn’t want to deal with it. Then I wanted everything to be clean and orderly and to have health things just stuff to be gone. And that’s that’s kind of how I was dealing with it in the process because I never knew he had been admitted to the hospital so many different times and emergency situations that I never knew when that was going to be right. We had one kind of might find a little humor in it. He liked Prince the performer prints for songs and he just was crazy about him and he happened to be coming to the community that we lived in for a concert. And so we bought us tickets, you go to a concert, we’re gonna get you in and out of the theater. He was determined to go so we went and it turned out the town that there was a town with the city was Bakersfield in California at that time was not exactly Prince oriented, more cowboy Country Music oriented. And so they hadn’t really sold enough tickets and I guess of the ticket, they gave away a lot of tickets. And they still didn’t have that many people in this big arena. Well, and Prince was not happy about it. So he refused to go on until they got more people there. And I happen to know that the stage crew because I have a theater myself and was new the the all the tech people in town. And they told me that they were told to call everybody they knew and tell them come down canal for free, we just have to fill up the house for prints. Yeah, for prints. So about an hour after he was supposed to start, he finally came out and did his concert in it. I don’t think it was the full length that was supposed to be and what I think I got him out of the car and got him home. And there was a message on the phone from the doctor. He’d had lab work that afternoon. And they said, you have to come to the emergency room immediately. And this was like six hours before because of all this length of time we’ve been dealing with getting to the concert and sitting through it and getting them home and everything. Oh my gosh, what’s happening? And so I took them over and they said, Oh, we’ve been waiting for you. And we got a minute Tara data’s potassium is really high. And when your potassium is high, you can just die. That’s how they do executions. Yeah, right died very quickly. And fortunately, we did get that get in there in time, and they were able to get it balanced out. But that was always one crisis after another was happening. So I kept thinking, Is this it? Is this when it’s going to be you know, what’s going to happen? And finally, it didn’t happen.
Brian Smith 11:40
So did you start writing about grief after his passing? Or was it later than that?
Emily Thiroux Threatt 11:45
It was after my second husband to die. That was it my writing because I just, I really didn’t know what to do. I was at the time I was teaching at at the university teaching mine at university. So I go to work, and come home and sit basically, and then go to work and come home and serve and just, I just felt kind of blank for a really long time. And I had journaled before then but I just didn’t feel like journaling at that point. Yeah. But things were so different with with my next test, and I never getting like get married again, I just didn’t, you know, I’ve been married and that I was happy with that. But then I met somebody who was we were perfect for each other. And they were his opposite is they could have been shocked that my husband I was just talking about was much older than I am. And he was, as I said a philosopher and he had been Catholic, but he had turned agnostic and almost almost not believing in anything at all, which was a huge transition for him. But with studying philosophy, that’s that’s where Ron, my, my next husband, and chocolates, French, Italian. And when my next husband was so different from that he happened to be a religious science minister. He was he was African American. And he was absolutely brilliant. He had three master’s degrees and had done the most amazing things with his life. And we had an amazing conversations. And I learned so much for him and really learn to live a different way. And we really focused on living in the moment. And by doing that, even when he was having his health challenges, everything was okay. And we knew it was okay. And we knew that when he left it was going to be okay. And then I didn’t need to worry about anything. And we just really focused on love. I learned to let go of fear because I think that was something that was really holding me back when shock died was I was always afraid of everything I sold her house and moved someplace else because it was afraid of the neighbors and fear was kind of driving me so with with Ron that I really can say I don’t really deal with fear anymore. And I focus on on love and very much on living in a moment.
Yeah, it made it easier to do so. After, you know when Ron first died, and his whole process was pretty amazing and beautiful. But when when I found myself alone and thinking okay, now, exactly how am I gonna do this because we moved to Hawaii two years before he died because he lived here a long time ago. And he loved Maui and we visited it. We came here on our honeymoon and then visited it, like twice a year. And finally, so why do we keep going back? Why can’t we just so we sold her house and bought a house here all within the period of about a week, my wife made a phenomenal profit on our house that we had no idea that that was going to happen, because we’d only had it for about five years. And it was it made it so that the transition to move over here was no problem. And it was really great living here for those two years. But I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to do. And what I what I found myself focusing on was okay, what’s my purpose now? Because you’re been spending so much of my life taking care of children, husbands, and now I don’t have a husband to take care of what am I supposed to be doing? I really felt like finding my life purpose was was very important. And so I thought, well, I’m gonna write about it. And I wasn’t writing to anybody, I was just journaling. And I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote, and the more I wrote, the more clear things became, and what I discovered was, in trying to learn more things about grief, or dealing with grief, that most of the things that I was picking up, or the groups that I found online, were also sad. And, you know, people tend to be just really sad, and under the situation, totally understandable. But I, I felt like I didn’t want to live the rest of my life being sad, that I wanted to find a way to to find joy, to find happiness, and to have this purpose of what I was supposed to be doing. And so I found myself writing about this, where do I find joy at this point in my life, when what is good? What can I do? And I, I, with my writing, it was helping me so much that I started teaching writing, I just put was funny. I happen to notice and meetup online, because I didn’t know that many people this fall, we’d been in Hawaii, I was mostly home with him. And I just said, if you’re dealing with grief, and you’d like to learn how you can deal with it through writing, come on over to my house on the stand time and I had about seven people show up. And we became a real tight little group, we were first starting to meet once a month. And then they said, We liked it so much, can’t we meet more often. So we were meeting twice a month, and it was going really well until the pandemic hit. And the people that were involved were not real computer people. So I took the group online and still had a group online, but then it’s only got a couple of the initial people because of that, I think I think when we can start meeting again, those initial people are going to be coming back. So yeah, they really liked it. But I still do every every Saturday morning, I do a zoom group online, where we felt like good, and I was enjoying that. But I got to the point where I need to be doing more. Yeah. And about then a really close friend of Ron, who still lived in Ventura. And was bout 20 years younger than than Ron. And perfectly healthy. We were family friends. They lived a couple blocks away from us in Ventura. And he just died one day. Wow.
And the first thing I thought about was his wife is going to have no idea what to do that and what she needs to think about what she doesn’t need to think about what to focus on. And so I wrote her, I sat down, wrote her letter, and I thought, you know, and this was just a few hours, maybe six, eight hours after he died. When I found out I wrote it. I knew if I mailed it from Hawaii, it could take up to a week to get there. And I wanted her to have it right then I knew if I emailed it to her she wasn’t going to be on the computer right now. Right? So I emailed it to a mutual friend of ours who lived close to her and said, Could you please print this off and take it to her now? And she did. And she told me later on it that that letter meant the world to her because she hadn’t thought about any of these things. And she didn’t mean didn’t know what she needed to be concerned about and what she didn’t need to be concerned about. So she she said it was so helpful, and she had two daughters. One was a senior in high school and the other one was a sophomore in college. And she said when she realized that each one of them needed to know what I had written in that letter that she read it out loud to them, just Just the two of them in that it helped them to and so I decided I had to do more than one letter was nice, but I had to do more. So I decided that I was going to say Send her something every week in the mail for the first year. And I had done something similar to that was a friend who had had breast cancer a couple years before it, where I just i’d either call or email or do something every week just to support her while she was going through all the therapy and treatment. And she really, really appreciated it. And I thought it was my relationship with Laurie the new little that with her, it would be better to send her something in the mail every week. And so I take pictures on Maui all the time. And I put a different picture on the front of each card. And then inside, I thought, What am I going to write. So I sat down and in about a day and a half, I had written a content for 52 different cards that kind of took her through the first year, the different things that she thinking about the further and further away she got from when you die. And she she just she cherished them. She said, you know, gonna get her going. It was something to look forward to every week, she knew that was going to be some comfort coming in the mail. And I told my step granddaughter about that, and shocks, granddaughter, that I had done that. And she told me that a good family friend of theirs had just had the same situation. They weren’t that old, and he just died suddenly. And she was so concerned about his widow, and I told her what I was doing. She said, Could you meet me? I said of those cards, too. Wow. So I did and open I was and it took quite a while to print them on the computer and cut them and fold them and do all the stuff you have to do. Well, obviously, in the process of doing that, I thought I’m just gonna listen to a podcast. And I had a friend here on the island that did a podcast that I knew that I liked your podcast. So I picked one of them out that she was stealing. And I felt like I could really relate to the person that she was interviewing. I really liked it. And she had written a book and I thought I’m going to order a book. So while I was making these cards, I went on to her website, and at the bottom of the website, she said, and also I am a book agent. So if you have an idea for a book, give me you know, let me know. So I said, Hmm. I have an outline already written. He could have 52 chapters. Yeah. And so I emailed her right then. And by the end of the day, I had an agent and worked with her. And then then the book came to fruition and was published in January now.
Brian Smith 22:34
Wow, that that’s that is an incredible sequence of events. So I have to ask you, so you start with Jacques, he was kind of an atheist, I think a materialist. And so I was like with Ron, he was much more spiritual. How is your spirituality evolved over this time?
Emily Thiroux Threatt 22:53
Well, I’ll take that back a while for me, because I was raised in a very small town and a very fundamentalist church. And even as a youngster, I just couldn’t quite buy what they were saying. It just didn’t resonate with me. And I ended up on in junior high school, going to the youth group at another church in town where my girlfriend was going, and mom, dad, so that was fine. And the people from the church that I was going to with my girlfriend, called my parents to say, you know, your daughter’s here and doesn’t she go to your church and this sort of thing. My mom got so mad at the whole thing. She goes, You can’t go back to that church again. And I thought here I found someplace where I thought was safe and good and kind and people there were doing that. And so I thought, you know, not doing church. I think it’s a people that are problem. It’s not what they were talking about, or what they believed that it was the people. So after that, I came I I knew there was there was more to life than what I’ve been taught in those two churches. And that there was more than I needed to know. And I felt like I was spiritual, but didn’t really understand what that meant. So when I’m married, Shaka was no problem because he wasn’t going to church, and I wasn’t going to church. But I always knew there was something more something that I was missing. That wasn’t there. And once I met Ron, and we started talking about him and his beliefs, so many that I thought now this makes a whole lot more sense to me to believe that, essentially, God, to me is everything everywhere. Everyone’s God, and everything is love. And the only real two emotions in life are love and fear. And I chose love and that’s where I wanted to focus my life. And so when I was writing the book, everything’s focused on love there. And I can I can fully up I understand other religions and other refle beliefs, and I fully respect them. But I feel very comfortable in in my own spirituality and don’t feel like I need to be associated with an official religion or something in order to practice it.
Brian Smith 25:19
Yeah. So having gone through this experience twice of having husbands that were ill, that you cared for, and then having them ultimately transition Do you feel like it was, you learn something from the first one that you applied to the second time, or salutely?
Emily Thiroux Threatt 25:40
It was, it was interesting one, when I met Ron, he wasn’t, he didn’t have health problems. And I knew about I knew they had high blood pressure, which was common in his situation. But he’d been taking medication for it for years and was fine. And he, he, so I didn’t, I didn’t realize that he had any kind of health challenges. And he didn’t really either. And it turned out that he had the same two health challenges that jack had had. Well, they both had heart failure that ultimately led to dialysis. And so I learned a lot from what we went through with Jacques with all of this medical issues about recognizing things and wrong when they were happening, and how to deal with them and how to get appropriate help and time so that he can be the most comfortable that he can be as it went along. And I learned I learned that that I felt like Jacques some somehow wasn’t wasn’t content with dying when he died. He was he was angry about it. those last two words he said were were words of anger. And I could tell he was angry because it was he didn’t get finished. You know, he wanted he finished his book, but he wanted more out of his life. Where was wrong, it was entirely different, that he was perfectly comfortable with his mortality. And whatever happened whenever it happened was was okay with him. And it made it much easier for me so that we could we could really enjoy the time that we spent together and make the most of it. And it really was quite beautiful.
Brian Smith 27:33
Yeah, yeah, it sounds like one of the one of the big lessons that you got out of going through that. So you talked earlier, about being joyful and having gratitude when we’re going through stuff like this? How does one get to the point where they’re joyful and grateful when we’re going through? terrible loss?
Emily Thiroux Threatt 27:54
I can tell you, gratitude is what started for me. Ron, and I’m not long chalk had been gone for about a year. And I was talking to a couple of friends of mine. That day, I had introduced them, we were working on a project together, they didn’t really know each other very well. But they were both expressing that they were concerned for me because I just didn’t seem to be doing anything. And I really wasn’t doing much. And they both at the same time said you got to watch the movie The secret? No, right. You know. But they I thought both of them said it. They’re they’re coming from two different perspectives. I thought I’ll I’ll give it a try. Yeah, I’ll watch the movie. And the whole time I was watching a movie, I had kind of a chip on my shoulder. And I felt like it was kind of magical thinking and how could this possibly work. And when I got finished with it, and I went to put the DVD back in the case, on the paper that was inserted in there, there was a it said, Don’t turn this over until you watch the movie. And I thought, Oh, come on. So I turned it all over. And it said, it was just essentially a page with a whole lot of lines on it. And it said, write down what you’re grateful for. And I said, I’m a widow, I’m by myself, there’s nothing that I have to be grateful for. And then I thought about what I’d listened to in the movie and I thought it It won’t hurt to try this. So I started writing. And I was really shocked that it was really easy to fill up there was like 10 lines or something on there. And I thought I’m grateful for more than that. And so I started writing down what I was grateful for anytime I think about it, and I got to the point it was it was like an addiction. If I’d be standing in line at the bank, I dig a receipt out of my purse to write something that I thought of on the back of it because I wanted to hold on to all these things that we’re grateful for because I found the more gratitude I expressed, the better. I felt And here I’ve been in such a negative mood and I was pulling myself out by realizing I’ve got a whole lot to live for, and my life is good. And there’s a lot of beauty and joy and wonderful things in my life. And that’s where I need to focus. So gratitude really pulled me out of of where I was that made all the difference in the world.
We’ll get back to grief to growth in just a few seconds. Did you know that Brian is an author and a life coach, if you’re grieving or know someone who is grieving his book, grief to growth is a best selling easy to read book that might help you or someone you know, people work with Brian as a life coach to break through barriers and live their best lives. You can find out more about Brian and what he offers at WWW dot grief to growth.com www dot g ri e f, the number two, gr o w th comm or text growth gr o w t h 231996. If you’d like to support this podcast, visit www.patreon.com slash grief to growth www.patreon.com slash g ri e f the number two gr o w th to make a financial contribution. And now back to grief to growth.
Emily Thiroux Threatt 31:22
And that led me to the point where I finally could couldn’t be open to more experiences and about shocked I didn’t February. And so when New Year’s Eve came the next year, I was sitting home by myself on your safe. I thought I’ve got to make a new year’s resolution that’s going to change my life, you know, it’s gonna make a difference in my world. And what came to me was to accept invitations. Now, I couldn’t figure out why that came to me because I wasn’t getting any invitations. You know, people just knew that I was moping around, I think and didn’t want me to be a stay out there party. So I but I thought now I’m going to do it anyway. And I was committed to it. I just said I’m gonna do this, whatever it is that comes along that I’m invited to do. I will and I started getting invitations that were amazing, really, really interesting things, things that I never would have thought of doing before. One of them was I was looking at the newspaper that was back in the days when we read newspapers. And there was an article saying that they were searching for the editorial board for the newspaper. And that if you were interested in applying this was how to do it. And I thought, hmm, that sounds like an invitation to me. So I applied and I was accepted on the editorial board. It was a one year position. And it was had absolutely fascinating. And I met all kinds of different people that I never would have before and had good experiences by doing that. So it was really neat. And then somebody from the bioethics committee at the Regional Medical Center, called me and said we Jacques was on the bioethics Committee for the hospital. And they needed a lay person on on the committee. And since I was Jack’s wife, and could come from kind of his perspective, they wanted to invite me to be on the bioethics committee, as a lay person, from the community, a community representative. And that was fascinating work. I absolutely love doing that. And then another friend said, Oh, I was I started going to a trainer, because my daughter had a friend who was a trainer, and she said, I just had to go with him. And he happened to be an ultra marathon bike rider. And he participated in the race across America every summer. And he was getting ready for the day race that summer. And he said, how’d you like to come with us and be the nurse for the team? And I said, Okay, okay. So I did that. It was an incredible experience. And then another friend said to me that at the university, she was one of my colleagues. And she said, What are you going to do? The star said, I really don’t know. Yeah. And I said, What are you going to do? She said, Well, I’m taking my sister to South Africa on on this excursion thing that where we can learn all these different things. This is all that sounds so cool. I’d love to do that. She’s gonna come along. So they’re I went to South Africa. So I just kept being one thing like that and after another and one of them was somebody that I’d known before that I hadn’t really had a lot of contact with wanting to go to a lecture at the university. Oh, pre Sean, what’s your last name sister’s something free showing
Brian Smith 34:58
Oh, Yeah, she
Emily Thiroux Threatt 35:01
was doing a presentation, I thought, Well, that sounds really interesting. And so I went with her because she didn’t want to go by herself. And when we got there, she said, I hope you don’t mind that I invited another friend of mine to sit with us. And she’s bringing her new minister from from her church. And you Do you mind? I said, No, no problem. And when they came in, and she introduced me, and I shook his hand, I just felt something kind of magical. I said that this girl that was with a woman that was with him was really a lucky person. And I found out later, I’ve kind of found out later that it wasn’t his girlfriend, or anything, that she was just a member of the church that was showing him around the town, and that she had actually was trying to get him together with the girl that brought me. So that was kind of fun, because they didn’t look like they belong together at all. Anyway, I didn’t think about it anymore. Didn’t seem again, until several months later. The same friend that convinced me to go to South Africa with her said, you’ve got you’ve got to start dating again. You just have to do it. I say, you know, how am I gonna do that? She goes on call on match.com. I said, you go on match.com. She wasn’t. She just she didn’t let it go. She just kept saying and saying and finally that there’s a reason that she’s telling me this. And so I wrote down a list of everything that I wanted in in somebody, if I was going to go out with them, they had to have all these qualities. And if they didn’t, then I wasn’t interested. And after I did that, I posted all the about me all about me on on match. And within a couple of hours, I got this response from the sky. And I looked at it. And I read it and it was it was almost exactly my list. Interesting. Wow, it was so bizarre that it was it was everything that I was looking for in a relationship. And I love this picture. I thought it looks familiar to me. But I don’t know why. Because this was maybe nine months after that lecture at the university. And we ended up going out the first time for dinner. And I know you’re not supposed to do that you’re supposed to go for coffee or something for somebody, but we ended up going out for dinner. And we’re together ever since then we just knew when we first got together that we were such a good fit, and had so much fun together. And he was he was absolutely wonderful. And he was really great. And it was probably two or three months later that I said, you know, we met each other before. He was the guy at the lecture. But I met at the lecture. And there and I remembered that that handshake and stuff it was it was interesting that I felt that way then but then just saw him again, he didn’t really think about it again. But then that that was that was him.
Brian Smith 38:02
Wow. So I’ve got to ask you, how do you feel about soul planning or pre predestination or whatever in our lives? Because I’ve seen I’ve seen some really interesting patterns as you’re, as you’re saying this?
Emily Thiroux Threatt 38:16
Ah, well, I kind of believe in that. Everything happens for a reason. I know that sounds kind of trite. But there’s there’s too many things too many things of synchronicity that happen, that I don’t believe that things just randomly happen. I believe that that somehow we’re we’re called to do it suppose to do it. Whatever it is that there are things that I hadn’t put a label of soul planning on it that I can see that and with dealing with people who have experienced loss, I can say a lot of that it seems logical to me. Yeah.
Brian Smith 39:07
It just seems interesting. The parallels between your your first husband and your second husband and their illnesses and and their different approaches to their passing and then you know how your approach changed. And it sounds like you were destined to be with with the guy that you met on match calm, and it’s interesting. We kind of talked about putting that or accepting invitations. This is second time. I’ve heard this in the last couple of days. So this is my synchronicities. Someone was saying they called it the surrender experiment. Someone I follow on Facebook. I was just listening to a bit yesterday a video that she recorded and saying to put it out there just like I’m going to accept the opportunities to come along and and see what happens and she was challenging people to do this for a week or for two weeks. And then literally today you say this, so I think there is something Just setting that intention to saying I’m going to be open to what comes along and just, you know, and say yes and see what happens. So that’s it. I guess it’s really interesting to say that. So when you start writing about grief, and you teach people how to write about grief, so the first question I have for you is some people say, why can’t write. So what do you say when someone says you, I just can’t write,
Emily Thiroux Threatt 40:23
don’t worry about it, just just come in and do what you’re comfortable with when we’re together and nobody else has to read it. And if you choose to share it, you can and every time they share, it’s amazing. Once you start hearing what other people have written, they, they want to share what they said to write. And it it’s, it’s really quite amazing. But one of the writing practices that they most enjoy, and I’ve used it in in a bunch of different ways, but the initial way that I had them do it was and there’s a term for it, I just heard the other day that I didn’t realize that term existed. And now I can’t remember what it was. But it’s, it’s apparently nothing new. But what I had them do was write a letter to their loved one who died and I say loved him, because some of them were kids that died. Some of them were moms. It wasn’t all like widows in the group that was a variety of people. They said, write a letter to your loved one who died and tell him anything that you didn’t get to tell them anything that you would like to have asked them in anything you want to say to them and write that letter. And I give them the time to do that in the group. And I always write along with them. And then when they’re done, they don’t know what’s coming. But when they’re done, and we say you know, sign up like a letter with love and your name, or however you would sign it to that person. And when you finish that, what you do is turn it around and write a letter back to you right then from that person, all of this stuff is fresh in your mind. And don’t worry about what you’re going to say just write whatever comes to you at as you’re writing. And they do and generally. A lot of them are in tears by the time they finished the letter. And they said that they felt like they were able to resolve things that they had been thinking about and couldn’t figure out how to deal with. They felt comfort from it, they felt love from it, they felt like they their loved one still was a presence in their life that they didn’t realize that they were that close. And they absolutely loved that exercise. And yeah, it’s a it’s a great thing to deal with them. So that’s usually what I get them started with. And once once they do that they’re kind of hooked. Yeah, whatever I come up with, they’re in for it. And it’s different every time. It’s not not a set schedule of different topics that we do. It’s it’s whatever seems to be appropriate for that particular group at the moment to tell right about
Brian Smith 43:01
Yeah, it sounds like a form of automatic writing.
Emily Thiroux Threatt 43:04
That’s the word. That’s what I heard. Yeah, that’s, that’s what it is. Yeah, you can do it in several different ways. It doesn’t have to be just the person who die.
Brian Smith 43:12
Right there. There are several different ways to do it. And it’s just, I just finished a book reading, reading a book about automatic writing. And that’s one of the things that people do and what a lot of us don’t realize, according to this, this author, and I believe it too, is when we write that letter back to ourselves. It’s actually our loved one speaking through us. And I think that’s why people become so emotional about it, because they realize that they can still tap into that person, that they’re still available. Mm hmm.
Emily Thiroux Threatt 43:42
I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s may amazing, really, I just see the change and the people that I’m, I’m just kind of surprised by one of the people had been dealing with the loss of a loved one. I won’t say the relationship in case he happens to listen to this. But the loss of a loved one years before and hadn’t been able to make peace with it. And by doing this, it changed your life. made a huge huge difference for her. And then writing sometimes to someone who’s died in a sudden, tragic sort of situation like the podcasts I was just listening to you with. I can’t remember her name her husband or not husband her son was killed in an accident. Doors Delores young and and how she was dealing with that. When you don’t get to say goodbye, you don’t have any idea that it’s coming. Doing this kind of writing can help you kind of pull things together and kind of work things out that you didn’t have a chance to do one person. Yeah, that’s really good. situations like that.
Brian Smith 45:02
So and your book I know, they’re, they’re like 26 practices that you offer in your book, what are some of the practices besides the automatic writing we just talked about?
Emily Thiroux Threatt 45:10
Well, they do that. And there’s actually 26 different things. And they’ll be things like meditation, a lot of people just aren’t familiar with actually meditating. And so it’s kind of a kind of a beginning introduction to meditation. It’s how to write affirmations. And how to deal with affirmations. It’s there’s so many of them, I shouldn’t pick up my book. Yeah. That they, they’re different things where they can actively be involved in something. Right? Right. And one of them is like, if they’re feeling closed off and alone and haven’t been around people, then it has them create an event. Oh, wow, they can have people come to me, it goes through the process of creating that. And of course, it’s a little different with the pandemic, but right, it still can can create something where they can get people together and have that social interaction. I think that came from me sitting by myself so much that I could have done something I chosen to, and I can see how big of a difference it can make when people do that. Yeah. And journaling, I have them do just plain journaling, regular journaling.
Brian Smith 46:33
Yeah, it’s, you know, it sounds like it’s not sad, but it’s something that’s extremely helpful and extremely needed. Because as you said, when when jack pass you like, when this happens to us, we don’t have any idea how to grieve with no one, no one teaches us how to grieve. No one teaches us what to expect, we don’t know is what I’m feeling normal. You know, all those questions that the people that I talk to, on a daily basis, you know, we’re just people are just lost. And your book is a guide for people. It’s something that says, okay, you can take an active role in this, you don’t, you don’t have to be passive, like the way that you, you know, said, Okay, this is what I’m going to do and intentions that you set. And people can learn, you know, I would say people can learn two ways you can learn from your own mistakes, or you can learn from other people’s. So it’s always better to learn from what someone else has gone through, rather than having to go through ourselves. That’s just one of the great power, great benefits of being able to write and being able to read the pass that knowledge along.
Emily Thiroux Threatt 47:34
Yes, it’s, it’s, I love doing it. And I really feel like I’ve got a lot to do with doing this because I want I want to help cumference support as many people as I can, whenever I can, whether it’s with the writing or reading the book and having do the exercises or speaking in two groups, so that somebody will hear something and go, Oh, I can do something about this one, however I can do it. I feel like that’s what I’m supposed to do. And I just got to tell you an experience that happened to me just last week that we could go Yeah, I live on the side of a volcano. So when you either go down to the valley, or you come back up to get an in and out of that area where I live where we call it up country in Maui. And there’s one highway dark, very many highways on Maui, which is was kind of surprising to me when I got here from the LA area with all the freeways and everything, right, this is a divided highway that’s got two lanes on each side and the grass divider in between. and I was driving home in the middle of the day in the slow lane. And it was kind of a lot of traffic because the tourists are starting to come back to the island. And so there’s a whole lot more people than we’ve been having. So being especially cautious and my son was in the car with me sitting in the passenger seat. He said, oh my god or something like that. And I looked to my left, and there was a pickup truck that had crossed the divider in the fast lane going the fast speed coming right at my side of the car. Wow. And it just it was I will never get rid of that picture. Right then when it happened. And you don’t really have time to think and I so what I did was I just held tightly to the wheel kind of slammed on the brakes hoping that from what I saw that maybe we could I mean, I couldn’t. There was no place I could go to my right. There was no place I could get out of I mean, I couldn’t have gone fast enough. So I thought if I could stop that maybe then it happened. And so I stopped and I felt this bump on the car shook. And then I decided to open my eyes and see what damage had been done. You know, I just knew I was gonna see him there and there’s gonna be blood and people. Everything. Wow. There’s nobody there. And I thought, I didn’t imagine this. I saw this. And I was shaking so hard. And Jason, my son said, No, you so I did it. Wow. And so as I was trying to get out of the car to two other cars, it pulled over. And there was all this stuff all over the freeway apparently was in a big windstorm. And the guy in the back of his pickup truck had lots of loose stuff in it and had flown up, and it was all over the freeway. And so because of that all of the traffic slowed down really slow. And they were being really cautious to drive around this stuff. And these two cars that pulled over were right behind me. And they was seeing him coming down the wrong side of the freeway toward them ran them both off the road, but the rest of the people weren’t affected by it at all. And I said, was there a truck? I could swear sidetrack and she said, Yeah, I looked down there. And there were guardrails in between the two sides of the highway for quite a ways. And he came right before the guard rails is when he passed into me. And he kept going the wrong way until the guardrail stopped and he could pull over. So once they pointed it out, I could see him pretty far away, when it got seen get out of his truck and start picking stuff up and be destroying it into the back. And so I could tell that he was okay by the kind of movements. But I couldn’t I couldn’t see him. I think I recognized him if I had to. And then I looked at my car, my car that I bought brand new in November. And it just had some kind of like a scrape mark on the driver’s side fender and broke out the taillight on on that side and ripped off the trim on that side. And it was about $3,000 worth of damage, but that all it was with him coming that fast. I didn’t see how, how the car or us especially we’re going to be walking away from it.
Brian Smith 52:04
Emily Thiroux Threatt 52:05
And when I got home, I decided that I was going to post what happened on Facebook, and all these people, people I’ve known my whole life for responding, you know that Ron or Jacques, made it not happen the way it was going to, because you still have work to do, the work that you’re doing right now is so important, and you’ve got to work on it, it wasn’t time for you to go because you love you need to be helping the people that are grieving. And people didn’t need to be grieving you right now. And that’s that was the response. And I had tons of people respond, and they all gave me that same message. Wow. Wow. So it was it was uh, not that I needed reinforcement, but it really made me think, yeah, I’m doing exactly what I need to be doing. And I’m helping people who need to be helped, and I’m grateful to be able to do it.
Brian Smith 52:58
Yeah. Wow, that that is quite a story. And yeah, sometimes we all need reminders, you know, we all need reminders here. And there, we get caught up in the day to day and sometimes we forget, you know, that there’s something else that’s, that’s bigger than us that that’s, that’s in charge. I know, last year 2020 was a was a rough year for almost everybody, you know, in one way or another and often when we talk about grief, we think about death, we think about someone passing but um, Could your book help people that have gone through other things besides losing a loved one?
Emily Thiroux Threatt 53:33
Absolutely. I always say grief and loss, or grief or loss because it could be anything my last year in particular, a lot of people lost homes, lost jobs, lost incomes, lost friendships, or being able to be with family lost, being able to what am I my friends just had her first grandchild born. And she she was able to go he was in another state for more she was she was able to go be there with her, her son, the father of the baby. But the and she was she was because the father was not allowed. And with the mother while she was in labor, and during delivery, he wasn’t able to experience that with her because of the COVID restrictions. And you know, we’ve just gotten so used to dads being able to be part of the birth process that that’s that’s a really big thing to miss out on. And that’s a kind of loss. And I’m going to do a talk in a couple of weeks to breast cancer survivors Association and the woman who called to ask me to talk she says, you might think it’s kind of strange that we’re asking you to talk but losing a breast is loss is an absolutely losing part of your body. It’s a significant change for the rest of your life and in floss and you can deal with loss in the same way because you’re going Those things you read the things that you don’t get to do, or that you lose, just like losing a loved one. It’s very similar. And I’ve I’ve been coaching a lot of people through that sort of thing talking to people through that.
Brian Smith 55:17
Yeah, yeah. Well, I agree with you i to me, grief is loss. It’s we’re associated with the loss of a loved one. But it could be the loss of anything, anything that you that you weren’t ready to have go out of your life that goes out of your life. And as you said, it could be lots and lots of things that we’ve all been through recently. So I think your book is very timely to have come out at this time to help people with stuff like that.
Emily Thiroux Threatt 55:43
Yeah, so many people have sent out my book this family, that’s a perfect timing for that.
Brian Smith 55:48
Emily Thiroux Threatt 55:50
I have no idea when I started.
Brian Smith 55:52
Yeah, well, you know, I think things work out the way that they’re, they’re supposed to. And I think that I truly believe that. Well, Emily, we’re coming to the end of our time together, I really appreciate you sharing your life with us your story with us, your your, your book, anything, any last words you’d like to say to the people that are listening?
Emily Thiroux Threatt 56:13
I think the big thing is for people who are dealing with loss or with grief, is to remember to take care of themselves. Because that that so often gets, and speaking from experience, especially the first time through, I really wasn’t taking care of myself, and I couldn’t really get better until I started doing that. So just be gentle on yourself and take really good care of yourself loving yourself. Put yourself in good situations where you can be supportive. And that’s just just critically important when you’re dealing with loss and grief.
Brian Smith 56:53
Yeah, I think that’s really profound. And I and and I think especially not to stereotype, but a lot of times women are the caregivers. And a lot of times when people are caregivers are not really good at receiving care. And you might feel guilty about you know, I’m being selfish. And I tell people, this is the time to be selfish, it’s this is the time to take care of yourself, you’ve got to because it’s so it can be so draining, you know, the energy that it takes out of you.
Emily Thiroux Threatt 57:22
And, and and with that, you want to doubt about women, and I find that with me, and I’m sure it’s different for you. But with me, it’s mostly women who come to me for help. It’s the men a lot of times don’t seek help. And I one of the things I’m so impressed with you about is that you’re a guy and you’re doing this work. And I’m hoping that man will reach out more and maybe they need a man to talk to as opposed to a woman. And so it’s it’s it’s important for for all of us to be able to be available to the people who need us.
Brian Smith 57:58
Yeah, well, you know, it’s interesting, because we all have trouble seeking help and different ways. My experience has been 80 90% of my clients are women. Yeah, and I just happened to be talking with someone the other day, it’s a male, his objective, Executive Director of a grief organization, and we’re experiencing the same thing. So women, sometimes I have trouble, you know, doing the self care, but men don’t even bother. They don’t even know that they need healing. So it’s really, we need to find a way to reach the men too. I completely agree with that. Because a lot of times guys just try to just try to bear down and get through it. And it’s really important to process you know, the feelings that we’re going through.
Emily Thiroux Threatt 58:38
Yeah, they’ve always been taught to be strong and and not crack that shell open so that they can get some soothing. Yeah.
Brian Smith 58:47
So Emily, let people know where they can reach you if they want to find out more about you.
Emily Thiroux Threatt 58:51
My website is the same as my book title, loving and living your way through grief.com. I also have a Facebook group group that’s loving and living your way through grief that they’re welcome to join and awesome. I’m on Instagram, Emily underlyings. ro underlying threat and on Twitter app, whatever that symbol is, and then I can’t remember something throughout the threaders. I’m always really can’t remember which one it is. But I do lots of social media. I write a weekly blog that’s available on my website, I would be happy to have people reading. You can sign up there to get my little newsletter delivered once a week. It’s not a big thing, but it’s enough of just a reminder of different things that you can do or think about the convenient comfort.
Brian Smith 59:46
Yeah, I don’t. I want to remind people about the title of the book. It’s loving and living your way through grief a comprehensive guide to reclaiming and cultivating joy and carrying on in the face of loss. And Emily, you’re a great example. of how we can, you know, not only survive through these tragic events, but we can actually thrive and find joy again. So thank you for sharing that with us today.
Emily Thiroux Threatt 1:00:10
Well, thank you for the opportunity. I did. I just love to talk about. Yeah,
Brian Smith 1:00:15
yeah, it’s it shows and I really enjoyed our time together. So enjoy the rest of your day, and I’ll talk to you soon. Thank you. So that does it for another episode of grief to growth. I sure hope you enjoyed it. If you like this content, make sure you subscribe. So click on the subscribe button here, and then click on the bell to receive notifications and click on all that way you’ll be notified whenever I release new content. Thanks for watching and have a great day.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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