Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Emily Graham | Grief Journey

 

Emily Graham is a wife and mother to three children — 2 daughters on this side and her son who is on the Other Side. She is a Career Strategist, a Resume Writer & an Interview Coach who is also an author, a speaker, and a grief coach who works with bereaved parents to help them rebuild their lives after the loss of their child.

Emily’s writing has been featured in many well-known publications, and now her beautifully written, 5-star rated book titled Confessions of Child Loss takes her readers with her as she claws her way back to life after the sudden loss of her precious 7-year-old son Cameron. Tune in to hear the enlightened answers to Emily’s heart-wrenching questions such as: Why? Where did my child go? Who am I now? How do I even do this?

 

 

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • The prescient messages Emily received that foretold who she would marry and that her son’s life would not be long.
  • The telling shadows that started appearing 3 months after Cameron transitioned, and how Emily felt Cameron’s touch.
  • How people can learn to normalize the messy parts of loss, so that they feel less alone.
  • The importance of self-care to one’s ability to find life again after loss, and what real self-care looks like when we are grieving.

 

SOME QUESTIONS IRENE ASKS EMILY:

  • What beliefs did you hold that were shattered by Cameron’s physical death?
  • What was the significance of the number 12 that was your sign that Cameron was still with you?
  • What did you learn through a medium about Cameron’s death being part of a plan, that his soul contract was up?

Watch the episode here

 

Listen to the podcast here

 

Emily Graham: Can Grief Transform Into an Intense, Magnificent, Powerful Version of Love?

 

I hope this finds each of you very well. I’m speaking to you from my studio in West Orange, New Jersey, and I could not be more delighted to have this opportunity to interview Emily Graham, who will be speaking to us from Orlando, Florida. Emily is a wife and mother to 3 children. Her 2 daughters are on this side, and her son is on the other side.

She is a career strategist, a resume writer, and an interview coach who is also an author, a speaker, and a grief coach who works with bereaved parents to help them rebuild their lives after the loss of their child. Emily’s writing has been featured in the Huffington Post, Still Standing Magazine, Her View From Home, Compassionate Friends, Build A Life After Loss, Making Lemonade with Whit and Kels, and Living Full Out Radio Show. Her beautifully written five-star rated book titled Confessions of Child Loss takes her readers with her as she claws her way back to life after the sudden loss of her precious seven-year-old son Cameron, and shares the answers to her heart-wrenching questions such as, “Why? Where did my child go? Who am I now? How do I even do this?” Her readers also get to witness a new relationship unfold, and they rejoice with Emily as she realizes her son isn’t gone. He still exists, just in a different way.

I’m looking forward to talking with Emily about how to normalize the messy parts of loss so that people feel less alone. How thinking differently about healing can provide a way forward after child loss, ongoing spiritual connections with deceased children, the path to healing and shifting into living, and so much more for an interview with the refreshingly authentic Emily that will surely inspire us, enlighten us, and touch our hearts. Emily, a warm welcome to the show.

Thank you. I am honored to be here. I’m looking forward to our conversation.

I know we are going to help a lot of people and bring insights to people. It’s going to be fabulous. Let’s introduce everybody to your family and Cameron. Could you tell us about Cameron, his relationship with you, his dad, and his sisters, and the heart-wrenching way you suddenly lost him? When I read it in your book, I was like, “My goodness,” On a special day in the world.

 

Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Emily Graham | Grief Journey

 

Cameron was our oldest of three, my only boy. He was the mama’s boy. He was the rule follower. He was the super sweet kid who would go out and find the underdog and make friends with them. When it came to his sisters, he at one point used to call my older daughter, our little daughter. He took care of her. He was the sweetest ever. When I tell our story, I always say he went from being a normal, happy, and healthy boy to the complete opposite in a matter of twelve hours.

It was Christmas 2015, we were doing all of our traditions, getting ready for the holiday. He had been a little bit sick, but nothing that was out of the ordinary. We had taken him to urgent care because it was one of those we needed to get some meds before we went into the holiday. We did all of that. We got home. That night, he put himself to bed because he was so excited for Santa to come in the morning. He put himself to bed and within a couple of hours, as my husband and I were done with all of our prep stuff, I heard him get up and I heard him in the bathroom.

I went quickly to see what was going on, and he was very sick. It escalated quickly. It was not anything that would have been super alarming, but then things got weird and he started slurring his speech and he was maybe hallucinating a little bit. There were some weird things. When his fever spiked, it was 2:00 in the morning, Christmas morning now. we were like, “Put him in the car. Let’s get him to the hospital.”

We can't change the past, but we can choose how we move forward. Click To Tweet

Very rapidly it became a medical mystery. He continued to decline by probably 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning. He was going into a coma. We were being transferred to Children’s Hospital, and when we got there, that was when they said, “There’s nothing more that we can do.” His organs were starting to shut down. His brain was starting to hemorrhage. It’s crazy everything that could go wrong was.

At that point, it was probably 10:00 in the morning, Christmas morning. We should all be at home opening gifts and doing our Christmas thing but instead, we were preparing for the removal of life support. We had that next twelve hours where we knew that was the outcome, but they made you wait for a period of time to test brain activity.

After midnight on Christmas Day, which is also my birthday, we were withdrawing life support. It changed everything. That was the start. I always say we had time to think about it. Those twelve hours, I was trying hard to imagine what my life was going to look like that next day, and it was nothing like what it felt. As you know, experiencing a profound loss is so life-changing that you fall into this dark hole of grief.

Experiencing a profound loss is so life-changing that you fall into this dark hole of grief. Click To Tweet

I can relate to everything you are saying because, in my situation when my husband passed, he was buried on my son’s 21st birthday. My son was also born the day after Christmas and all of that. It’s like holy moly. It’s a wow. You also received precious messages that told you not only who you’d marry, but that Cameron’s life on the side would not be long. Your story is so interesting because I got a heads-up that Saul was going to go too. I’m interested in what was that like for you.

For me, it was a voice in my head. The first time I heard it was the voice saying, “This is the person you are going to marry,” and it was the first time somebody had said my husband’s name to me. It sounded like my voice, but it was this weird surreal thing because I’m like, “I know that’s not originating from me. That’s not my thought. That’s just the way I sound when I talk to myself in my head.”

Somebody had said, “Have you met David yet?” This voice came in. I remember I was standing in front of the mirror and I looked at myself and the mirror and I was like, “What was that?” I was like, “I have not even laid eyes on this person, and you are telling me this is a person I’m going to marry.” When it happened again later, obviously we got married and several years later, Cameron would have been my only child at the time. He was probably two. He’s playing in the room in front of me and I heard the same voice say to me, “You are going to lose a child.”

I remember going, “I recognize this, but why? Why would I have such a dark thought?” I would always write it off like, “It’s a mom who imagines the worst.” Our worst nightmare would be the loss of a child. Maybe it’s me doing this weird thing. I always tried to shove it off. Throughout his life, I became very intentional in our relationship. I was always focused on the memories. What are we doing? What does that relationship look like? Take photos and videos. It was very different than maybe what I did with my girls. I always felt like that sounded bad, but for whatever reason I felt like this was different. I had to do this. I was going to need this stuff.

Our kids are still here, just in a different way. Click To Tweet

You had gotten the message.

Even though I can write it off and I don’t want to believe it, there’s still something back there that’s like, “I don’t know.”

I can relate also because when I got the message, the first message I got two months before the accident was, “Saul has to go. Many lessons will be learned from his death.” The weekend that we were driving to the country, I didn’t know that was the weekend, but I thought to myself, “I will do anything he wants this weekend.” I had a feeling, “Wherever he wanted to go and whoever he wanted to see.” The night before the accident, he said to me, “I’m so lucky and thankful to have you in my life. Wasn’t this the greatest weekend?” As I was preparing for your interview, I thought there were so many similarities in our stories.

It was the same. Before Cameron went into a coma, our last words to each other were, “I love you.” It was like, “How perfectly timed was all of this stuff.” I heard that voice several other times. Once maybe a couple of months before he died, the voice said to me, “It’s almost time.” I remember being so shocked every time this would come in, but it did make me very intentional at that moment and for the time that we had. The last time I heard it, I was standing at the end of his hospital bed. We had gotten him to the hospital and I had this feeling of like, “We are at the hospital. We are going to be good now. Everything is okay.”

As I stood there looking at him in the bed, I heard it say, “This is it.” It was this feeling that it was about to happen. We always think that it’s going to be okay but it’s about to happen. I was angry because I was like, “I don’t want these thoughts. This needs to go away, especially right now.” When it all played out, it ultimately helped me because, down the road, I was able to look back at those things and align myself with the idea that there’s a plan in some way. This was meant to happen. It helped me make that leap a little bit faster. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something here.

 

 

Before you know it, it gives you the sense that there’s more. That’s how it was for me. Before I believed or knew, it was preparing me to give me a sense of becoming contractions. It was like it planted the seeds.

If I had never heard that voice, I probably would not have been as intentional in that relationship. I think that was helping me to prepare in some weird way, even though we can’t prepare for this.

In some weird way, by being intentional. It happened to me too with Saul. You didn’t have any would have, could have, and should have with him. You were so sad to lose him, but there was no stone unturned. Nothing that needed to be said or wasn’t said. No regrets of, “I should have caught that moment.” In a way, you were being prepared. It’s amazing. I know it took you seven months to receive Cameron’s autopsy results. What was that diagnosis and how did that impact your family?

It was all a medical mystery. Nobody could figure out what was going on that night. We asked for the autopsy and it did take a long time to get the results back. It was a fluke thing that they found, but something came back and they were able to rule it out. It was 1 of 2 things and they ruled that out because of testing he had that night. They said, “We think maybe he had a rare blood disorder called porphyria and it would have been a medication.”

I gave him medication. He was sick. I bought an over-the-counter nasal spray that the doctor said he’s good with now that he’s seven. I had this weird physical reaction of like, “Don’t give it to him. I don’t feel like he should have this,” but I talked myself out of it and I administered it. That’s what they point to as being something in that medication doesn’t work with this blood disorder. We all had genetic testing. My husband has it. Both of my daughters have it. There was a feeling too at some point where it was like he saved everybody else because now we know this exists. We know what to do. We know how to manage it a little bit better.

Out of loving yourself, you have forgiven yourself. I would expect.

 

Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Emily Graham | Grief Journey

 

It took me a long time because I feel like those feelings that I had were like, “This is it,” but I think that it would have happened another way as crazy as that sounds if it hadn’t been there.

I saw had two accidents before the accident that took him out. It was this exit point. The same thing with Cameron. You also talk about in your book the significance of the number twelve, that it was Cameron’s sign for you. What started happening? There was also a thing about shadows that started appearing after he transitioned. Tell us how he was acting in spirit to like, “Mom, I’m here.”

Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Emily Graham | Grief Journey

Confessions of Child Loss by Emily Graham

He 100% did, and it took me a while because I was able to go back and find out. That the first morning, he showed up. He used to come to my bedside at 6:30 in the morning. He would quietly sneak into my room, step up to the side of my bed, and lean against it slightly enough that I would feel the bed shake a little bit. I would wake up and look over. That happened to me that morning.

I woke up expecting to see him standing there and he was not. I think that was his first time showing up. A couple of weeks in, I started seeing shadows running through our house. It was the same size as him. I was like, “I have got to be crazy that I’m even thinking and seeing this. If I speak these words out loud, somebody is going to have me committed because this is insane.” I would see it through certain parts of my house. That happened for a while, and then the number twelve came up. I would start seeing twelve.

What is the significance of the number twelve?

I don’t know. I would tell you now, looking back, I can see all kinds of twelves throughout our life. I would tell you that there’s some significance there. Even going back to how we have a due date when a baby is supposed to be born. His due date was October 12. There are so many twelves throughout our life that were significant. It started with seeing it on the clock. Every time I look, I see a twelve, and then it would show up in other weird ways.

When we would go out and do something fun, there would be twelve. We went to lunch one day and we sat down at the table and they sat us at table twelve.  There was a little placard there with the twelve on it that fell out of the holder onto the table. I kept going, “There’s something with these twelves.” In my mind, I was like, “Maybe he’s going to use this to communicate.” I feel like that was all he needed to say, “She sees this, let’s run with it, and we go.” One of those things that was weaved into our life so I would see it, connect those dots, and then make the leap to where he is now. He still exists.

 

 

You started seeing mediums. Talk about finding out where he is now. Tell us about that.

My number one thing was he couldn’t possibly be gone. It shatters every belief you have ever had about whether there’s an afterlife. What is beyond this? We went to a medium. I had always believed in mediums, but I didn’t know to what degree he was going to come through.

Were you referred to this medium?

My husband found her. He did his due diligence. He was looking to be like, “How do I find somebody who’s well-rated and has lots of good reviews, and how do I book an appointment so that there’s no way she knows who we are, or can Google our story or anything at all?” He jumped through a lot of hoops to make that happen.

When Cameron came through in the reading, she looked at me and said, “You are seeing shadows, so you have seen him and you are seeing a number over and over again,” and I hadn’t even told my husband. My husband is sitting there going, “No.” My eyes are going huge because I’m like, “Yes.” He looked at me surprised and I was like, “I have not spoken those words to anybody, but here you are telling me this, and so he’s here. There is something to this.” Having enough of those experiences, matching what I was experiencing with him pushed me forward to this whole idea that he’s still here. There is still an ongoing relationship. We can communicate. He knows everything that’s going on.

Did she tell you something about his death being part of a divine plan?

That was the second medium reading that we did. She goes, “I don’t usually go down this path, but he’s pushing me to do this. He wants you to know that this was part of a plan, that the two of you have done this life so many times before, and this time you were like, ‘We are going big. We are doing a whole bunch of stuff.’ If it hadn’t happened that night in that way, it would have been soon because his contract was up.” She goes, “I don’t like to use those words with people because you never know how people are going to take it.” At the time, I was reading books about that stuff. In my head, I was saying to him, “Is this real? Is this the stuff that I should be focusing on?” For her to go there was my validation that I was on the right path.

Cameron has sparked a spiritual awakening in you. You are starting to work on your post-traumatic growth because you are becoming aware, which is why you are using these healing modalities. Now, you become inspired to write your book Confessions of Child Loss. Tell me what that meant, what inspired you, what it meant for your healing, and how sharing your story and your grief helps others who are also grieving. I want everyone to know I read the book and it’s wonderful. What would you like to tell everyone about your book?

Our grief doesn’t negate our ability to find joy. Click To Tweet

I started writing right out of the gate. I wrote that night that he died within the first few days, mostly because I had to get it out of my head and put it down on paper. I shared it and it resonated with a lot of people. I believe that Cameron guided me in this direction because I started writing before he died. I started a little mom blog thing, and he was a part of that. When he died, I was like, “I feel like I need to share this story.” That was the direction that I started writing. I was writing my grief. I had probably three-quarters of the book written and it sat on my computer for a couple of years because I’m like, “I don’t know how this ends.”

I’m so deep in my grief. I have written the grief part of it. I have told all of these confessions, which are everything that I felt like if I said out loud, people were going to be like, “There’s something wrong with her,” but I know that in grief, these are normal things. It was that way of putting the stuff out there in a way that felt like confessions, but people are going to resonate with this stuff because it’s how we are all feeling. We are not just talking about it. It took several years for me to figure out the ending, and it felt almost like a download at a certain point where it was like, “This is the end right here. This is what you need to write.”

It’s about there’s not a fix for this. We don’t suddenly put the grief on a shelf and we are done with it. We have to learn to live alongside this, and it’s a path of healing that allows us to come back into life in a new way, connect with things in a different way than maybe we did before, and figure out who we are now. That was coming full circle, but it’s like, “Let’s go into the dark and messy parts of grief, and let’s put it all out there.” We normalize it for people and then along the way, share some things that may help people if they are in that place to feel there’s hope or there’s a path forward.

 

 

Now that you are talking about the messy parts of grief, I can relate to this. How does a loss like this change your relationship with others?

It entirely changes everything. I remember when I was trying to imagine what this was like, I thought, “It’s about him not being here. Missing him. Maybe our daily life is being interrupted,” but I didn’t expect it to bleed into every relationship in my life. When we are in deep grief, we have a hard time being with people who are still living life the way that we used to. I didn’t feel like I fit into that anymore. I felt like I had these new priorities or my priorities were together in a way that I was like, “Everything is the small stuff. I’m not even looking at the small stuff anymore.”

That changed you. Yes, it does.

You guys out there, you are all focused on these little tiny things. I can’t do that level of stuff anymore. There’s that piece that feels weird. There’s also the piece of grief, especially child loss, nobody wants to go there. People are so uncomfortable.

They don’t know how to talk to you. They don’t know what to say to you. They don’t know how to relate to you.

We take a big step back and we are like, “We are not going to go there.” I have a hard time being around people who aren’t willing to hear Cameron’s name to acknowledge the fact that you might miss him. Something might be happening, or even to talk about the fact that you still are grieving even years later. For a lot of people, that’s so uncomfortable that they do disappear from your life.

You find yourself alone for a while and you figure out who your safe people are. You start rebuilding this group of people around you, and then you have this new way of being with people. It’s like I can go back into those relationships now and do some of that small talk, but it’s not where I want to spend my time. It’s not meaningful to me. I don’t want to spend my time there. I would rather sit down and have these types of conversations.

You have been through something so deep and traumatic. It gives you a large overview. For a lot of people, bless them that they don’t have to face this stuff, but they are looking at things that are minutiae that are so important. You had the literal rug pulled out from underneath your whole life. It changed your perspective. I want to know also how thinking differently about healing provided a way forward for you after Cameron’s transition, and the big thing is how this loss, which was so devastating led you to discover yourself.

For a very long time, I hated the word healing. People would say, “You need to find healing. You are going to heal.” However they would use it, I was like, “I’m not doing that. That’s not going to happen. This is ridiculous.” What I realized as time went on, my healing snuck up on me where I would notice and I would be like, “That’s weird. I can do that now but I couldn’t before or I would start doing certain things that helped me show up in the world.” I was like, “Maybe there is some healing, but maybe it’s different than what I thought it was.” I found I had to redefine entirely what healing was.

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For so many of us, we are conditioned to think of healing as that destination where it’s like you put a Band-Aid on it. In a few days, that cut goes away and you never think about it again. That’s how I thought healing was, that I had to forget, that I had to put this in the past, and that I had to be who I was before. I didn’t want to go back and be that because I didn’t think that was possible for me.

I had to reshape what that looked like. For me, healing became finding the things that helped me. I learned that there were a lot of things inside of me that could be healed. It wasn’t that I was healing the grief necessarily, but I was healing the trauma. I feel like grief and trauma are so intertwined. When I started to heal the trauma piece of it, grief changed. It became something that I could live alongside, and then it became about, “How am I living my life? What am I doing? What do I need to change, work on, or do to help me go back into these relationships in my life, be more functional, or show up in the world in more authentic ways?” For me, that became the journey.

There was a point where it was all about my grief journey. It was all about the fact that Cameron had died, and then there was this shift where it was like I’m focusing on his life now and the fact that he lived. I have to focus on how am I going to live after this because I believe that is what we are supposed to do. We have to figure out how to keep living. My healing and the things that I was doing to help myself heal helped me to do that.

What kinds of things were you doing?

I did a lot of writing and journaling because I think that it’s important to learn to put words to what you are feeling. I had to spend a lot of time going into my emotions. I was very uncomfortable with anything emotional. It’s learning how to name what I was feeling. What was it like in my body? What do I do when I’m feeling that stuff? I used to have panic attacks in the kitchen every night. I know that it all stemmed from bringing up all the stuff that happened that night. I had to go through some of that stuff.

You are a grief coach helping people to do this, but you were able to generate this for yourself.

I tell people all the time. I did not do it the right way. When I said that, I couldn’t go do traditional therapy because I thought my thoughts were so dark that people were going to be like, “She’s not fit to raise her daughters.” I had all these fears that were coming in this. I spent a lot of time almost putting myself into those situations to stir up the trauma because I felt like that’s what I deserved for a long time.

Talk about a lot of self-love.

I tell people that there was almost this torture that I would do to myself of you have to go do these things even if you are not ready for them and even if you don’t have the tools to do them well because it’s okay that you are messed up on the inside. That’s how it is when your kid dies. I had all these bad narratives.

There was a lot of reconditioning that I did. It was all divine in some way and the inspiration of putting people and things in my path helped me to see that maybe some of these things that I did the wrong way somehow helped me start to get to that healing level, and then I dove into the right things. I was looking at what are the tools, things, and training. Through that, I was healing myself first. In all the stuff that I was doing, I was healing myself. I was like, “I have to figure out how to get this to people. It took me so long to find those things to feel like this was possible and to have hope. I’m like, “I want to help people.”

You are providing them comfort and guidance from your own experiences. It’s an internal knowing plus adding to whatever you studied. You were starting to take care of yourself, which I love. My thing is about being loving and kind to everyone including us. What did self-care look like for you while you were grieving? Was it a massage, facial, or walk in the park? What were you trying to do to consciously love Emily?

I love that message because when I look back and even as we said, through my early grief, I was not taking care of myself. I did not love myself. I didn’t have a true concept of what self-care or self-love meant. What I found on my journey was it’s so much bigger. Even then, the things that you mentioned. For me, it became about judgment. I had to stop judging myself. Things were just is. Whatever you are feeling or thinking, it’s just is. We are not going to judge it. I had to learn how to be compassionate with myself. Everything that happened gives me a ton of grace. It changed or rewired the way that my brain operated because I had that self-talk in there that was like, “You deserve this” I had to rewire a lot of that. I spent a lot of time doing that.

For me, it has been, “How do I take care of myself? What do I need?” Figuring out what I need at any moment. I call myself a recovering people pleaser. I used to live my life for everybody else. A lot of my healing has come from recognizing those things and unlearning them. Most of this healing is unlearning the things that have been conditioned into us and learning a new way.

 

Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Emily Graham | Grief Journey

 

That takes courage because you have to say no to people. I experienced this. As a former people pleaser also, they get mad at you when you change. They will learn that. Someone can be just fine for that.

That’s another reason. When it happened in this grief, so many people have left anyway. Now that I have changed, other people are either going to leave or I’m okay at that point with, “Whoever is leaving, go ahead and go. I’m going to do this myself.”

You are a grief coach now, and you have a program called Living With Grief. You help others rebuild their lives. Tell everybody what that looks like and hopefully, no one ever needs it, but if someone needs you, where they can reach out to you and how you help them.

Everything that I do is child-loss-related. I felt like it was hard for me to find the things that helped, and everything out there is very general grief. I also went into all the self-help stuff. I was like, “If this helps me, I’m going to spin it so that people can see how this helps in child loss. My program Living With Grief is designed to normalize this experience for people. I find that for so many, you don’t have people in your life who speak grief. They don’t understand what you are thinking and feeling. You feel distant and alone. This offers you that safe place where you can come and everybody speaks the same language.

It’s a group experience. I have a couple of levels for the program. Some people come in on their own and I host weekly live events on Facebook in a group. There are lots of videos. I have a growing video platform where I will put things out there for them. I have people who want to do weekly small groups. We will meet once a week for an hour as a group. It’s the same people every week. You build relationships.

You get a team going.

It’s your support system.

It’s your tribe.

It is and we are sharing life with each other. When you are going through milestones, or even when you are going through the day-to-day and you are having a hard week, the people in your life might not get it, but you come in here and you are like, “This happened,” and every everybody understands all the layers that come with that. You come in and we laugh and smile. Everybody knows that doesn’t mean that you are okay now that your grief is gone and that you are not also still sad. It’s an easy place to be, and a lot of people find the discussions we have every week help them work through some of their stuff and create some of their transformations.

In your opinion, why is it important for people to heal this stuff? It’s painful. You need a lot of courage. You are facing down your stuff. You can’t hide from it. Why is it important for people to take that?

That’s what we want to do as humans. For me, it became a spiritual thing. When I launched on that spiritual journey, I started looking at Cameron’s talk about soul contracts and why we come here. Why am I here or why am I still here? One thing became a joke to me. I was like, “If I have to learn lessons, and this happened for me to learn a lesson, I’m going to learn every single thing I can from this because I don’t want to come back and do this again.”

It also became like I still have time left here. When I join him, I don’t want to look back on this time and feel regret that I laid down and died with him, essentially. There’s still time left. I have to figure out how to make the most of that time and how to stay on my path. This is all part of my path and I need to accept that, and I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and do what I came here to do. Even if it’s hard or it sucks, you figure out how to do it and you do. I promise you, when you find the things that help you and you start to have some healing happen, it changes. Grief changes for you and it becomes easier to be back in life, and you can get to a place where both of these things can come together in a way that is beautiful.

You are saying that you can experience grief and joy at the same time. When is that exclusive of the other?

No, and that was a huge learning for me in this. It was the whole holding space for two very competing things at the same time. It’s possible, but it takes a lot of practice. You have to be willing to be brave and have the courage to go into the things that you initially want to step back from. Keep trying it and you will learn that we can experience joy again or happiness or enjoyment, whatever word we like. It’s going to have some sadness undertones, but it’s there, and you can have that, and it’s about cultivating that.

I would think that working with you would be wonderful because you’d be such a great role model for people having come through it yourself and having the compassion to understand what they are experiencing with no judgment. Being a role model, this is where I came to. You can get here too. I know all your feelings. I know all that you are going through. I understand.

That would be tremendous for people, and I want to share this special quote from your wise and insightful book, Confessions of Child Loss. “Somewhere along the way, my grief transformed into love and only love. The most intense, magnificent, and powerful version of love I have ever felt before. Imagine how you would feel if your child walked through the door right now alive and well. When I paint that picture in my head and feel it, the overwhelming emotion that comes flooding out feels the same as the intense way I grieved, sobbing. This time, in relief and joy, in shock, disbelief, confusion, and total loss of control. Grief is love.”

Thank you so much, Emily, for all that you do, both through your important work as a grief and life coach, and also through your very wise book to help people rebuild their lives after the loss of their child. I thank you from my heart for this inspiring, enlightening, and very touching interview. Here’s a loving reminder, everyone. Make sure to follow us and like us on social @IreneSWeinberg on Instagram, Facebook, and wherever you get your shows, including YouTube. As I like to say, “To be continued.” Thank you again, Emily. Many blessings and bye for now. Thank you.

 

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About Emily Graham

Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Emily Graham | Grief JourneyA bereaved parent, writer, and grief coach, I am passionate about helping other child loss survivors navigate life after loss. My 7-year-old son died unexpectedly on Christmas 2015. As you know, it turned our lives upside down.

What I learned is #1 grief doesn’t end and #2 society is ill equipped to support it. I want to transform the way we talk about grief and child loss, increase resources and support, help remove the stigma of grief, connect bereaved parents in loss, and help others move through their experience to find life again… on their own terms.

Thank you with all my heart! YOU ARE AN ANGEL sent from above to bring love to people, there are no words to express how grateful I am for this conversation! Thank you so much!!

Riya S

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