How I Made It Through Podcast Appearance
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How I Made It Through Podcast Appearance

I recently had the pleasure of being a guest on the “How I Made It Through” podcast with hosts Kristin and Ray. It was an honor to be invited to share my journey of navigating grief and finding renewed purpose after the passing of my daughter Shayna in 2015. I enjoyed meeting Kristin and reconnecting with Ray, who was a guest on my own Grief to Growth podcast. Our illuminating conversation delved into science and spirituality, signs from beyond, processing loss, and supporting those moving through grief to once again embrace life.

A Dime Makes A Guest Appearance

Desperate for a connection and sign from my daughter after she passed, I continued research started in my youth and was surprised by the amount of scientific evidence that exists on these topics. I opened up about the first clear sign I received from Shayna a few weeks after her passing when a single dime appeared after I specifically asked her for this sign. Since then, the signs and synchronicities have been flowing, reminding me that our relationship continues in a new form. During the conversation, a powerful synchronicity occurred as Kristin discovered a 2019 dime that had mysteriously appeared on her desk, despite never using cash or coins. We were amazed at the divine timing.

How I Support Others

When supporting those processing the loss of a loved one, I emphasized the importance of meeting them where they are at emotionally. In those early stages of grief, it’s about taking things minute by minute, day by day, and focusing on basic self-care and survival. I share hope by holding space for belief, even if the bereaved person isn’t there yet. However, I’m also honest that not everyone is ready to take those first steps forward. Healing is a profoundly personal journey that unfolds in its own time.

Taking Responsibility

Having been on the brink of not wanting to go on after losing Shayna, I intimately understand the despair of grief. But my journey has shown me that not only can you survive, but you can once again find joy and profound purpose. I discussed how Helping Parents Heal, a community of bereaved parents further along in their healing, provided vital inspiration. They modeled that you can emerge from the depths of sorrow to create something meaningful from the pain. I learned I had to keep going for my wife and other daughter, and I refused to become someone embittered and toxic. This meant taking responsibility for my healing.

Looking back, I now see Shayna’s passing not as a tragedy or mistake, but as a sacred plan. I shared the signs she gave us, even as a healthy teen, about death and her wish to be cremated. Her brief 15 years forever transformed me, my wife, our other daughter, and Shayna’s friends. I’ve come to realize her passing was a divine catalyst for my current soul work, my ministry of supporting others through grief into growth. This is part of my lineage, my calling.

Being Patient

When people are frustrated that they aren’t further along in their healing, I compassionately remind them that wherever they are in their grief is exactly where they need to be. Our culture rushes grief, imposing toxic expectations and timelines. But grief is not an illness to get over or an enemy to fight. It is something to be honored and lived with, a sacred initiation. When we stop resisting the pain, a newfound tenderness can blossom. Grief and love are forever intertwined. I shared how a client wisely stated that she would proudly carry grief alongside the eternal love for her fiancé.

During the discussion, the image of planting versus burying arose. When we lose someone dear, it feels like being buried alive. What’s buried is dead and gone. But when we plant something, it may sit in the cold, dark earth for a time, but the seed eventually sprouts into something greater and more beautiful than what was originally planted. Though intensely painful, our most broken moments can birth a new being and way of living.

It’s All Temporary

This wisdom applies not only to grief but to life: both the good and bad times are temporary. The key is to savor the good, for it is fleeting, and to endure the bad, for it too shall pass. Finding meaning is essential. When we know the “why” behind our suffering, we can withstand almost anything. This quest for purpose is what enables us to thrive, not just survive.

Our beliefs shape our experience of death, as evidenced by the diverse near-death experiences (NDEs) people report. Those who expect to see a particular religious figure often do. In that liminal space between worlds, our expectations and perceptions are projected outward. Upon death, we initially find ourselves in a state similar to our last moments, which is why healing and raising our vibration while alive is vital. However, the spiritual realms we transition into are as diverse as the variations in landscape and culture on Earth. Ultimately, we must all find our own truth about what happens when we exit our physical body.

When asked about my biggest takeaway, I reiterated the importance of honoring your unique grieving process and not comparing yourself to others. Our relationships with our departed continue, just in a new form. Though we miss their physical presence, the soul connection remains. I now relate to Shayna’s passing as her going off to college or an extended vacation. I know that one day, when I close my eyes for the last time here, I will open them to see her once again.

… Except What’s Not Temporary

Death teaches us the impermanence of all things. What is the legacy we wish to leave behind, the reason we were born? In the end, it all comes down to love. Love is the only thing that lasts. When we realize we are eternal beings having a temporary human experience, we can more fully embrace the gift of life. We can recognize that we are here to learn, grow and serve.

My hope is that by sharing my story, others feeling lost and hopeless will realize that they too can transform their grief into a force for good. If you’re ready to begin exploring how to alchemize your pain into purpose, I invite you to connect with a healing community through The Grief 2 Growth Circle Community (grief2growth.com/community). For those wanting to dive deeper into the mysteries of life, death and beyond, my new course “Love Never Dies” (grief2growth.com/loveneverdies) provides insights and tools for navigating grief with greater grace and meaning.

My Hope For You

However your healing journey unfolds, please know that you are not alone and that a new dawn is possible. From the depths of darkness, may you find the light within. May you discover healing, hope, and purpose. And may you come to trust that death is not the end but a sacred initiation into the next stage of the soul’s journey.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my conversation with Kristin and Ray on the “How I Made It Through” podcast. I hope that something I shared spoke to your heart. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can find it here. Sending you love and strength for the path ahead.

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