Have you ever been at a “loss for words” when someone you know has died? Have you ever wanted to “say more” or “do something meaningful” but you are drawing a blank re what that could be? Emma Payne is the Founder of Grief Coach, a text-messaging service focused on giving support to those in grief by delivering personalized content, tips and reminders to people who are grieving, as well as to their friends and family who want to support them.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT THINGS LIKE:
- Emma’s grief story that changed her life.
- The powerful role that friends and family can play in helping a loved one emerge from their grief and how Grief Coach text messages help.
- How subscriptions to Grief Coach have altered people’s lives.
- The powerful “Happiness Jar” that Emma and her children fill all year long and empty on New Year’s Eve, that helps them to express gratitude and joy.
SOME QUESTIONS IRENE ASKS EMMA
- How often do grievers receive the messages on their phones?
- Why is every subscription to Grief Coach for 5 people?
- What is the custom coupon discount you are offering to Grief and Rebirth Podcast listeners who wish to subscribe to Grief Coach?
Receive 50% off a full-year Grief Coach Subscription. Price is only $49 instead of $99. Click the link Below! https://grief.coach/subscribe/griefandrebirth/
Listen to the podcast here
Emma Payne — Tech Start-up Founder/Executive and Founder of Grief Coach, Text-messaging service focused on giving support to those in Grief
I’m speaking to you from Northern New Jersey while Emma Payne, our creative, compassionate, and tech-savvy guest is speaking to us from Seattle, Washington. Emma is a passionate award-winning change agent and skilled consensus builder who loves helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses and ideas.
Her online and mobile projects have included building tools to register young people to vote, creating online networks of support for families facing health challenges, and launching North America’s first online crisis intervention line. Emma has combined her passion for mobile technology and engagement with her deep commitment to giving people the confidence and tools they need to support each other through grief by creating a text messaging service called Grief Coach, which she considers to be her life’s work.
Emma, I could not be more delighted to welcome you to the show. I do not doubt that many of our readers will begin to use Grief Coach, your text messaging service that delivers personalized content, tips, and reminders to people who are grieving as well as to their friends and family who want to support them. Let’s begin our interview with this question. You are very clever and very creative concept called Grief Coach has its roots in a twenty-minute walk in Montreal that began your grief journey and changed your life. Can you please share your heartrending story with our readers?
Thanks for having me, Irene. I lost my husband to suicide a long time ago. It took me a long time to work through that experience. As it was a suicide, some people found it difficult to know what to say and how to engage with me, so there were lots of people I didn’t hear from. In the absence of hearing from them, I invented all kinds of stories about how they must hate me, blame me, or who knows what. I also was extraordinarily lucky. I had a sister who moved across the country to be with me. I had girlfriends who sat up with me at night. I had free one-on-one counseling from a wonderful therapist in Vancouver who specialized in suicide losses.
You were also lucky and smart because you got healing and support.
I worked at my survival for sure. There was one friend of Barry’s who was a key part of my recovery. His name was Gordon. He was Barry’s best friend. They were also second cousins. Where others shied away, Gordon would call me on the anniversary date. We would cry together. When his first child was born, he asked me to be Charlie’s godmother, which was a huge deal because I felt like if Gord could still trust me in that way, then I was still a trustworthy person. Sadly, Gordon was given a terminal cancer diagnosis a few years ago and he passed away. I had the experience of being with him, his family, and his wife and boys during that experience. I was with him when he died. That was a huge loss for me.
Before he died, Gord asked me if I would deliver a eulogy at his funeral. I said, “Anything you would like.” After he died, I realized that what I’d said yes to was flying across the country and going back to my husband’s hometown. It was in Oakville, Ontario. As they were both second cousins and best friends through high school, all the people in the church for Gord’s funeral were Barry’s friends and family. I was very nervous about being there. I took my place in my pew, and I was quite near the front because I was speaking.
Immediately, the woman to my right said, “How are you related to Gord?” I said, “I’m a longtime friend of him and his wife.” She asked a few more questions. I told her my name and her face just fell. She teared up immediately. She’s like, “Are you Barry’s wife?” “Yes, I am.” She said, “I’m so sorry. I don’t know why I didn’t reach out. I’m his aunt.” The story comes out and she feels awful.
At this point, several years had passed, she’d been carrying that guilt and sadness for all that time, and she genuinely felt terrible. “I don’t know why I didn’t reach out. Too much time had passed then I couldn’t think what to say,” that type of thing. Essentially, I spent the next 48 hours hearing the same story from probably 50 different people.
I consider this a final gift from Gord. When he asked me to deliver the eulogy, what he presented me with was an opportunity to go and hear from all the people that I hadn’t heard from and to realize how painful and difficult it had been for them, too. It sucked for me to not hear from some people, but it also was horrible for them truly.
As Barry had committed suicide, did you feel they were judging you in some way and didn’t talk to you because of that?
Yeah. I invented all sorts of stories, and then there I am at Gordon’s funeral discovering they didn’t know what to do. They would say things like, “It was my first time that anyone died. I wished I said something,” and then I felt so embarrassed. When I got back on the plane home at the end of that couple of days, and it was right before Christmas, I sat there and thought, “This is silly.” This was difficult for me, but it was also difficult for them. We are talking about a decade’s worth of feelings on both sides.
That’s when I started to conceive of Grief Coach. I thought that with all the experience that I have doing other things via mobile phone and text message, surely we can do better here. It’s not that difficult to send people some tips, support, and suggestions, remind them about key dates, and let them know that this would be a good time to reach out to this person who’s lost somebody. That’s where Grief Coach came from.
It’s an unbelievable concept because all of us feel a little perilous when someone dies. You go to a shiver, the wake, and maybe you make a donation to charity or whatever, but then what? What’s your creation enables people to support that person through at least the first year.
Flowers are lovely. Casseroles are great. The $25 donation is great, but the ultimate condolence and way to say, “I love you and I care about you,” is to get support for yourself and that person all year long so that you can be there and be the friend you want to be.
Do most of the people who buy it are the grievers or the people supporting them?
I imagined it was going to be the supporters. It’s been both, but often, it’s the grieving person. I have had a lot of people sign up because they don’t feel that they are getting the support that they need. They purchase it for themselves. They are getting messages. They wait maybe a couple of weeks, and then they start to add in their husband, their friend, their neighbor, or people who have said that they would also like to get messages so that they can help. It goes both ways.
When you sign up, you don’t have to immediately fill in those for people. Let’s say you are a friend and you get it. You fill in the person who’s grieving, and then there are three other spots that don’t have to be filled in right away. It’s like a choice.
I have a couple of good examples. Somebody subscribed because her friend’s daughter had died by suicide. She had known this daughter her whole life. She was just desperate for some help and support about what to do to help her friend. She purchased a subscription. She signed up herself and a couple of other friends who wanted to help the grieving mom. They received messages themselves without even adding the grieving mom in because they thought, “It’s too soon. Let’s worry about getting support and suggestions ourselves, and then if and when the mom is ready, we can always add her in to receive messages.”
If somebody is upset, it doesn’t have to include the griever right away. They can wait until the right time.
Sometimes that’s quite common because if it’s a grandparent, the grandmother might not even have a text messaging capacity. You can purchase it for yourself as a supporter and get messages tips and suggestions about how to help the grieving person. You can add the grieving person in later if you want, and conversely, I have grieving people.
Another lovely example is I had a woman who signed up herself. She had lost her baby. She had a stillbirth little boy and was devastated by that loss. She struggled to try and go back to work because her maternity leave had become a very short bereavement leave. Her husband wasn’t able to speak to her about it. Her best friend had moved across the country to help with the baby, who was shell-shocked, and had gone back home saying, “I don’t know how to be with you when you are like this.”
The mom is sad about her son, but she’s also feeling completely isolated because no one knows what to do and say, and how to help her. She purchased the subscription herself then she added in her husband and her best friend, the friend who said, “I don’t know what to do.” On the second day of the messages, the friend wrote back to us and said, “Thank you so much for understanding that this is hard for me too.” It was very powerful.
It’s like a bingo moment because that’s exactly what you are trying to do.
It’s so simple in a way, but it’s life-changing for the bereaved person. If their best friend can be with them and find a way to build their comfort and resilience to a very difficult process, then the grieving person’s outcomes are going to be better too. It goes both ways. Sometimes the supporters, sometimes the griever, and you can add in others, and you can also change. You can also have some supporters for the first little while, and then if they don’t want messages anymore, you can change it and add in other people.
Emma, how do you figure out what exactly you are going to say with these text messages to people? Who advises you and how often do they get the messages?
It’s been such a humbling and wonderful experience to spend the last few years working with bereavement managers, grief and loss authors, and experts. What I now know to be true is that there is no shortage of wisdom out there. Even in this country, the number of sites, books, therapists, resources, and support groups with all kinds of wonderful wisdom and support is there, and people are very willing to share what they know.
I have authors who have agreed to let me use their content and nonprofit organizations who publish all sorts of material. I’m pulling from those often large and lengthy books and pamphlets into small text messages that go out over time. You get a message at least twice a week. The first month is more frequent. We reach out quite a bit in the first few weeks, and then it goes down to a few times a week as well as key dates.
If you are a mother who’s lost a child or a child who’s lost a mother, you would get a Mother’s Day message for example. The wisdom is out there and the need is there. For all these people who need support, there are thousands of people with wisdom. What Grief Coach does is try to take small and digestible pieces of that wisdom, and give them to people when they need them and how they need them in small doses at the right time.
Do you tailor it to the way the person died or the situation?
The messages are customized based on lots of things, but the cause of death is one. The age of the person receiving the message, the age of the person who’s died, and the age of the person who’s grieving. All kinds of factors are in there, but the cause of death is one and time since the death, for example, and your relationship to the deceased is an important one.
Someone who’s lost their husband in a car accident is getting different messages than someone who’s lost a child to cancer and is getting them at different times. For the recipients, it’s very simple. You sign up and you get text messages at the end. On the back end, we have all sorts of things happen to try and make sure everyone is getting as appropriate messages as we can.
Are any of the messages spiritually based? Do you talk about the soul and all that or you leave all that out and it’s simply the emotional dealing with grief?
It’s the emotional dealing with grief. We give people the opportunity to tell us if there are religious holidays that are important to them. You can say that Ramadan or Christmas is important, and then you would get messages around those times, but in terms of the base content that everyone is getting all the time, it’s not spiritual. We work on emotional support, quite a lot of logistics, nutrition, well-being, and tips around specific kinds of losses.
How do you deal with that with what’s going on now? What do you even text about that?
I find that it’s very challenging for sure. Trying to think what to say, when, to whom, and how often. Stillbirth content, that’s its own thing as well. Drug and alcohol type deaths versus cardiovascular. They are different situations. My mantra in life and with Grief Coach is to not let fear about not being perfect or saying exactly the right thing keep you from saying something because this is what cripples grief in general.
You are so worried that you might say the wrong thing or you might upset the person that you don’t even go and knock on their door. That’s the worst thing you can do. The worst thing you can do is nothing. We try to venture forward and do our very best to send people the best messages that we can in as thoughtful a way as we can.
I could see someone saying, “Should I pay them a visit or shouldn’t I pay them a visit? Will it be better? Do they want to talk about this?” This is so much of an easier way to purchase or subscribe to Grief Coach. Now the person will reach out to you saying, “Thank you so much,” or there will be a comment, and it’s a way for you to start a conversation or a dialogue to know what to do even more.
Giving people a little bit of confidence that they are doing the right thing and that it’s okay to bring up stories about the person who’s died. Most grieving people love it. They usually love to hear a favorite story or a time that their dad made them laugh. We shy away from those stories and we are nervous to even mention the person who’s died, when in fact, the person wants the person that they have lost to still be talked about all the time.
Our readers know that my husband died next to me in a car accident. In my world, people still laugh about how funny Saul was. I often think about, “He would have done it this way.” Even with the kids, we will talk about funny stories. You are right. I don’t want him to disappear. We still want to visit the huge contribution he made as a person to our lives and all.
You talk about organizations also subscribing. We have people who subscribe for themselves, which is a tremendous act of self-love. Here you are grieving, you had a loss, and you are doing this for yourself also, which is a first step to trying to help yourself heal a little bit in the grief. You have friends and family who don’t know what to do. This is so great. You could send a condolence card that ends up in the recycle bin or you can give a gift that lasts and is so meaningful by using Grief Coach. How do organizations do it? How does that work?
This is a part that I’m excited about. It’s wonderful. We have all manner of organizations here in the US that provide bereavement support. Hospices, for example, have a Medicare requirement to provide thirteen months of bereavement support. I’m working now with Oregon procurement organizations who also, as part of their accreditation process, provide bereavement support.
Not to mention the thousands of nonprofit organizations across the country that support children who have lost a parent or have had a cancer loss. The list goes on. Organizations can purchase a package of subscriptions, which they in turn roll out to their patients or the next of kin of the patients, the people to whom they provide bereavement support. They try to meet these requirements by putting flyers in the mail.
In month 1 and month 4, for example, they host summer camps for kids or candlelight vigils on Mother’s Day. It’s time intensive and infrequent and generally for people that are geographically able to attend these things. What they love about Grief Coach is that they can now provide exponentially more support, at least twice a week, not just to the immediate griever, but to their supporters as well. The messages can come from them. Pine Hill Hospice is pleased to be providing this bereavement support to you as you work through the loss of David, for example.
One of the people that I interviewed talked about how he makes presentations to corporations about how, especially, men often fall through the hole. Fall because people don’t know how to relate to men, and men themselves don’t know how to deal with grief and their feelings. I would think for anyone, especially for a man, that this would be a great thing because he can look at his phone. He doesn’t have to deal with his feelings if he’s not ready, but here is that message coming through to comfort him and to show that you care.
It’s great for guys because it’s non-invasive. It’s not asking you to go and sit in a support group on a Saturday morning. It’s text messaging. It’s not one-on-one therapy. It could be a supplement to all of those things for people who want more and someone who wants a little nudge and a little bit of support. I was at an event and I was talking to someone about Grief Coach. A man in his mid-30s to my right said, “I have been getting your messages for months.” I was like, “That’s great.”
I asked how it had been. In his case, he was supporting a friend who’d lost a baby, and he said he loved it. He’s like, “I had no idea what to do. This is my first time being with someone who has experienced this close of a loss. I like getting the messages and it brings her into my mind at regular intervals and gives me some suggestions about what to do.” That’s all it is. It’s a couple of messages a week. It’s not taking over his life. He can read it, think about it, and then act on that or not. It’s not invasive in the way that other things might seem to be too much.
Now somebody has a loss and a good friend decides they would like to purchase Grief Coach for their friend and themselves and fill in the blanks of other people later. Do you send the, “Congratulations. You have received Grief Coach through the email?” How exactly does the subscription process work and how do you ease people into this concept? The person is crying their eyes out and all of a sudden, someone is subscribed to Grief Coach for them. How does that work?
On our FAQ page on the website, we have specific suggestions about language. Here’s how you might want to talk about Grief Coach to your neighbor who’s had a loss. Do you want to buy it for them, but check with them first, or you have had a loss and you want to invite people to support you in that loss? We have given people some language around that.
You go to Grief.Coach/Subscribe. You can start with as little or as much information as you want. If you only start with the name of the person who’s died, your cell phone number, and your relationship with them, that’s okay. You will start getting your messages, and then you can log back in any time and add supporters or give us more details. The more detail you provide, the more customized your messages will be all year.
I can imagine if they put in their cell phone and their name, they are going to get very generic messages. If they give you more specifics, you can speak to that.
That’s true but isn’t that also true how universal many parts of grief are? At the beginning, we thought, “If we don’t have specifics, it won’t be as good.” I suppose it’s not. The more we know, the more tailored the messages can be. However, if that’s your comfort or if you prefer not to share as much, you are still getting all of that support around working through a trauma and a loss. Whether it’s breathing techniques, ways to build support, or recommendations for a TED Talk that applies to a similar relationship, it’s still helpful. Much of it is universal.
Tell our readers how they can contact you. I’m very proud to say to everyone that Emma is offering a custom coupon for the readers. I think a lot of you will want to use this service. How do they contact you? Also, tell them about your very special offer for our readers. Thank you.
We have got half-price subscriptions for your readers. You go to the Grief Coach website, which is Grief.Coach. Click on subscribe and you put in the code GriefAndRebirth and you will automatically be set up for a half-price subscription. That’s going to be less than $50 for a whole year for up to 5 people. It’s a screaming deal, isn’t it?
It’s $10 a person for the year. If you put the grieving person and 4 other people in and say the 4 other people decide they are going to share it with you, divide 4 into $50. Do the math, everyone. That’s a pretty good deal. You can even afford to send them flowers and make a donation to charity. That’s the whole bundle.
I have had a lot of people say, “Why is it for five people? Make it for one person. It seems almost too cheap, I suppose.” For me, that’s the root of it in the first place. Grieving is a lot easier if we have a few people by our side whom we can talk to. There’s already enough onus on the grieving person themselves. What they truly need at the end of the day is for a couple of people in their lives to be there for them as they go through the rollercoaster that is grief. All the subscriptions are for groups for that reason.
Say you have got a subscription and four people, plus the grieving person. One person is a sister, another person is a good friend, another person is a son, or whatever. When you find out about the profile of each of these people, are the messages a little different for each of them, depending on their relationship to the griever?
Yes. Messages are adjusted based on your relationship with the griever, but we do recommend that the subscriptions be created for a single grieving person. For example, if you have lost your dad and you signed up your sister and your mom, that’s going to be difficult because only one person is the core griever. The other people are the supporters, and they will be getting messages about how to support you as opposed to about their loss. You can do it that way and some people have, but the subscriptions work best when there’s support for a single grieving person from people who want to help them for the year. In that case, the messages are customized based on their relationship.
I have a couple more questions and one of the ones that I want to ask you because you went through so much on your own and you did so much to help yourself. Do you have a message from you about the importance of healing to share with our readers?
I did work hard at my healing. That’s true. I remember early on in therapy feeling very clear that I was going to fight my way through the mountain as opposed to looking for a path around it. I wanted to do the work sooner than later because I wanted to thrive. I didn’t want to survive. I don’t think that would have been enough. For me, gratitude became a very powerful tool. It still is. I have a happiness jar that my kids and I do.
It can be a little random thing. We take a scrap of paper, write down the gratitude, pop it in the jar, and then every year on New Year’s Day, we open up our jar. Even on a very difficult year with sadness in it, it is incredible the amount of joy and happiness that happens and it’s lovely to reflect on it. To me, gratitude is the best antidote to things like anger. I’m so lucky and well-supported. That gratitude role that I have had made it almost not easy, but it made it possible.
It softened it a little.
To counter to that because it’s true. I’m lucky and a very blessed person.
You had a friend or someone you knew who was helping you therapeutically or not. Did I hear that, right?
I had a therapist in Canada. There was free one-on-one support for anyone who had lost someone to suicide. Part of the reason for that is that when someone loses someone to suicide, their chances of dying by suicide skyrocket. It’s a prevention as well as a postvention, but it was a massive gift to me. I went religiously every Wednesday for probably three years, and I place a lot of credit there. That support was incredibly important for me, especially because of the specifics of the suicide. It was my first time knowing anyone to die that way, and then I remembered my husband and all the feelings, confusion, anger, guilt, responsibility, and all of that. I needed to work that through properly.
That’s one of the reasons I asked this question. I could not have processed my grief without the help of a life transition coach I went to. As I had this spiritual awakening, I also got help from a spiritually energetic healer. Between the two of them, it gave me the ability to breathe again. It helped me. I tell people all the time, “If you are open to it, it helps a lot and in so many different ways.” I believe in that.
I do too. When people say, “Text messages are not as good as therapy.” I said, “Agreed.”
It’s a wonderful adjunct.
It’s a good start. Not everybody wants therapy. Not everybody needs it. I will tell you what. Most people can’t afford it. What I see Grief Coach as an incredibly affordable gateway to support is a way to even think about the other types of support and by referring people to other resources, whether it’s TED Talks or podcasts. We are also providing them with more if they want it.
You are right. To me, some people, which happened to you, feel very abandoned when they have a loss. Through Grief Coach, they are seeing they are not abandoned.
Not just grief authors, but one of my favorite authors is a woman in the UK named Julia Samuel. She wrote a book in 2017 called Grief Works. It’s a beautiful book. There’s a chapter on whether you have lost a sibling, parent, or child. However, she closes with her chapter for friends and family and talks about how not everyone is going to go and purchase her book.
How many people will go and buy a hardcover 250-page book on grief? None. It’s a wonderful book, so it sells. She says that the real challenge is how to meet everyone else. How do you reach the people who are not buying this book? How do you reach the people who cross to the other side of the street when they see their neighbor coming towards them because they can’t think of what to say? Who stepped to the other aisle in the grocery line or who doesn’t call that friend from college because they can’t figure it out?
To me, Grief Coach is one answer to that question. Let’s reach everyone else and give them a way to begin. This was a year after my husband died. I got a card in the mail from a high school friend. We’d been very good friends for many years and I haven’t heard from her. A whole year had passed, and she wrote this card and it was heartbreaking. She’s like, “I have been thinking about you. I feel like such a failure. I’m sorry I didn’t reach out. I couldn’t think what to say,” and then more time was going on.
I responded immediately and I said, “It’s fine. I’m happy to hear from you now,” and then I never heard from her again. It’s a real struggle. How to support someone who’s in pain a real struggle? It’s very difficult. It’s not like anyone is taught in high school, “Here’s some tips for helping someone that’s going through something difficult.” I also try to remove the shame for people when people are saying, “I feel silly. I don’t know what to do. It’s embarrassing. I’m a failure.” I remind them that no one has taught you.
It’s like a normal response. We are helping and we are giving you some helpful ideas and all. I love that you recommend books, other modalities, and all of that because they can have a potpourri. they can have a choice. They can look through that and see what works for them too.
I like narrowing it down for people as well. You don’t need to go to the whole book, but here’s the chapter that’s for people who have lost a sister because I know that you have lost your sister. By being more specific, it’s a bit more accessible and more relevant, and then more ultimately digestible for people.
You do the work so that they can be free to grieve and support their friends. That’s wonderful. I have to ask you. You say that we’d be amazed to know how much fun, grief, and lost people are. Please explain that to our readers because no one else can understand that. Help them. You and I are grief and loss people, and we are having fun.
It is staggering to me. Now working with bereavement managers across the country, people working with organ donor families, and people who work in this space spend all day, every day understanding that it all ends. You can respond to that fearfully or the other way, which is what people seem to do, which is to live in the moment.
If you go to a grief and loss conference, there’s somewhat color. People are wearing all different kinds of colorful scarves. They are happy and they are living their lives. I feel ecstatic to be working now in this space. I have been doing volunteer work and working in everything through crisis intervention and so on for several years. It’s only been full-time for me now for half a year and I have never been happier that this is the work I’m meant to do.
You are making a positive change in people’s lives. You are taking this show for me and the book that I wrote is the same way. I’m taking this horrible thing that happened and it’s propelling me forward to help so many people. You feel free that you have gone through this excruciating pain, but you have been able to truly make it beautiful. It’s like the picture of lemonade from all those lemons.
Feeling that you can do something productive with your experiences is in and of itself quite joyful. We are all happier when we are productive and helpful.
Would you say that your tip for finding joy in life is to find something very productive to do in your life and have a gratitude jar? Is there anything you’d like to add to that?
Gratitude and being productive work for me, even in the quite immediate aftermath of suicide. One of the best things I did was start volunteering at a crisis center, going out to high schools, and talking to people. Everybody is different. Everybody’s grief is different and everyone needs different things. For me, I needed and wanted to do something useful and to have some positive come out of something that had been so dark.
I love how you have translated what’s happened to you and what’s worked for you to helping other people. Talk about paying it forward.
I’m very proud of it. I’m so proud of Grief Coach and how amazing to wake up each morning. Every day at the end of my day, I look at the queue for the next day. Every day as more people sign up, that queue is getting longer. I can see what everyone is going to get the next morning. I make sure that it all looks right. I work with my content people and tweak stuff.
It is so rewarding and wonderful to see what people are getting and the responses from those people as the messages come in. I thought, “Maybe a ton of people will unsubscribe because one person signs up and adds in three supporters. Supporters then don’t want the messages and they will unsubscribe.” No one has unsubscribed. Since launching, I have had one person unsubscribe. That’s amazing because all you have to do is text back and unsubscribe anytime, and it stops, but it hasn’t happened. I think it’s because it’s bite-sized. It’s not invasive. It’s a small thing and it’s on your phone. You don’t have to download anything. There’s no app. It’s a text message that comes to you that gives you a little bit of support and encouragement and that’s it.
It’s like a touch of love that comes through your cell phone, and that’s so lovely. I can think right now of 3 or 4 situations in my life that are pending that I would use Grief Coach for.
Don’t forget to use the code.
Thanks. I’m sure you love this interview. Here’s a reminder to please be sure to like Irene Weinberg, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Thanks so much. This is an incredible interview, Emma. I think that what you have come up with Grief Coach is wonderful. I can anticipate. I feel a lot of our readers are going to spread the word and use it themselves. It’s a wonderful vehicle for filling in the blanks when you don’t know what to do or you want to do more. It’s fabulous. I must say that as a former violinist, I was very excited to learn that you play bass guitar.
Yes, I do. We had a show and it was so much fun.
She came up with the name of her band, which is called The Control Tops.
It’s mostly girls. Little punk rock. I go to a band practice every Monday night and I call it therapy. I tell my kids, “I’m off to therapy.”
It’s fabulous. Your female punk pop band and your songs tell it as it is. You are a middle-aged woman. It must be a lot that you are telling as it is.
I realized this after our show. There are five people in the band, and this has got to be unusual. One of them is in their 20s, one in their 30s, one in their 40s, that’s me. One in their 50s and our drummer in his 60s. How cool is that?
That is so cool, and then you have a guy drummer.
Does he wear control tops?
I haven’t asked that. Be a bit constrictive while he is trying to kick drum.
One of the things that I had read about you was that you felt after Barry died that there was going to be no lightheartedness left to your future but here you are. Kudos to you for that. I cannot suggest more to our readers to go to Grief Coach. Is the subscription for one year, and then they can renew it?
They can renew it. All the subscriptions are for a year. Some of the organizational ones work a little bit differently because hospices have a thirteen-month bereavement requirement, for example, but if you regularly go and sign up, it goes for twelve months
You get a little thing that says, “Would you like to renew?” Are the messages different in the second year or it’s the same?
They are because people don’t necessarily sign up right after a loss. I have people who sign up for a subscription 3, 4, or 10 years after a loss. The therapists I talk to say the same thing because sometimes at the beginning, we think we are okay. A couple of years later we realize we are not, and we need some extra help. The time since the loss also impacts the messages that you get. I had a person sign up whose husband died in 1999. She was signing up well after the fact and wanted to integrate that loss into her life now, all those years later. It works too.
I’m having so much fun chatting with you. I don’t want to end this interview, to be honest with you, but we are going to have to. Everyone reads not only is Grief Coach terrific, but Emma is terrific. I hope you will all go on to her site and learn about Grief Coach and let Emma and Grief Coach help you and your loved ones. Speaking of connections, this one is surely meant to be continued because I’m connecting again in person with Emma in Seattle. I happen to be traveling. I’m so looking forward to meeting you in person, Emma. What a coincidence. As I like to say, bye for now and see you very soon.
Thanks so much, Irene.
You are welcome. It’s truly my pleasure.
- Emma Payne’s Website
- Subscribe to Grief Coach
- Julia Samuel’s book Grief Works is referenced in this episode.