The depth of grief measures the height of love. Breaking down or crying for losing a loved one isn’t a “negative” emotion. It is part of the journey. When the time is right, you will realize that it is possible to be sad and yet create a magical life for yourself at the same time. Jan Warner has been going through this journey since her husband, Artie, passed. As a result of her deep grief over losing her beloved husband, she created Grief Speaks Out, which is now a flourishing Facebook community of over two million people worldwide. She also emerged from the experience to pen the bestselling book titled Grief by Day: Simple Practices and Daily Guidance for Living with Loss, which provides 365 daily reflections, weekly themes, and 52 healing exercises to help its readers to make peace with their grief one day at a time.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT:
- What Jan has learned about being sad yet having a magical life at the same time.
- Jan’s recent visit to Ukraine, and her experiences with the Ukrainian people whose spirit of celebration and productivity is mixed with trauma and mourning.
- What inspired Jan to write her book Grief by Day: Simple Practices and Daily Guidance for Living with Loss which has sold over 70,000 copies.
- Why Jan often thinks of grief as a sunflower.
SOME QUESTIONS IRENE ASKS JAN:
- What in your loved one’s life or death can help you find meaning in your own life?
- How is healing about learning to be inspired by grief rather than deadened by grief?
- How is the Ukrainian war zone like an “aware” zone?
Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
Jan Warner: The Depth Of Grief Measures The Height Of Love. “I Never Would Have Thought I Could Be Sad And Have A Magical Life At The Same Time.”
I hope this finds each of you very well. I’m delighted to have this opportunity to introduce all of you to Jan Warner, who has produced several documentary films and theater productions, is an avid world traveler, and the author of the book titled Grief Day By Day: Simple Practices and Daily Guidance for Living with Loss, which provides 365 daily reflections, weekly themes, and 52 healing exercises to help its readers to make peace with their grief one day at a time.
Jan has a Master’s in Counseling Degree and has also studied Neurolinguistic Programming and Different Forms of Hypnotherapy. As a result of her deep grief over losing her beloved husband, Artie, she created Grief Speaks Out, which is now a flourishing Facebook community of over 2 million people worldwide. I’m looking forward to asking Jan about her love story with her husband, Artie, and his transition, the healing modality she has tried, her journey from being suicidal to having a magical life, and a few subjects from her book Grief Day By Day that speak to me, her experiences in Ukraine with people in deep grief, and more for what is surely going to be an enlightening, comforting, and empowering interview with a very special woman. Jan, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much for your loving words. I’m grateful for them.
Thank you, and you are all of them. I was reading about all that you’ve done and all that you’ve accomplished in your life. You’re awesome. What a story, and talk about courage and resilience. Our readers will be particularly interested to read your story and the courageous way you found your way to your story, which is amazing. It’s very inspiring. First, let’s get everyone to know about you, Artie, your love story with him, and then his transition. What would you like to tell us?
My husband walked into a bookstore that I owned years ago called The Turning Page in Phoenix, and sparks flow. It’s funny because if I start telling the story, then it’s like I’m back there instead of here. He said I was a very nice person. It was long ago that the phone was connected to the wall, which is important to the story because he asked if he could use my phone, called somebody, and said, “I left my bathing suit at your house, can I get it back?”
I found a book for him. He laughed. I say to everybody, “I met a man.” He didn’t call me for one month. When he called a month later, I said, “I know who you are. I recognize your voice.” I could hear that he was suspicious. I said, “Did you ever get your bathing suit back?” He said once that we were connected before we met, and that we would always be connected, and it was that kind of relationship, but we were both damaged people. He was scared. We were together for 10 years before we got married and then we were together for 13 years.
It’s interesting that we’ve become this worldwide love story. I always said, “He held my kite string so I could soar. He was the root of everything. He was thuggy. He had a rough background. He was brilliant.” Also, we yelled at each other. We weren’t perfect. When he died, he used to call me his raison d’être. That’s what he wanted me to call him. If my reason for being was no longer alive, how could I have a reason for being? That was part of the journey.
Can you share how he passed?
Yes, I’m shaking my head because he was misdiagnosed. He got sicker. His doctor kept saying I was hysterical. I went away. He was a super negotiator. I said, “If you don’t go to the emergency room, I’m not coming home.” He believed me. He tried to get out of it. I said, “I’m not coming home. I’ll see you in the emergency room.” He had stage four cancer all over his body, including his brain. He died six weeks later.
It was quite quick. I was quite angry. I still am because he lost his ability to fight. He was a fighter. The lucky part of it was he got to die at home. We had the hospital bed in the living room, and I decorated the room with everything that he loved. The front door was unlocked. People came in from 10:00 in the morning until 10:00 at night. We play jazz. We said everything that we wanted to say. A psychologist friend of his at his celebration of life didn’t mean to start to cry, but he said he’d never seen anybody die that way. The gift I was given was to share his dying time with him.
You have a lot of closure. A lot of people don’t have a lot of closure. I’ve seen people get closure when they speak to their loved ones through mediums. I can quickly relate because those who read this know my story that night before he died suddenly. I didn’t have that period of withdrawal. It was the accident and done. The night before he died, he said to me, “I’m lucky and thankful to have you in my life.”
That provided me with the closure that I needed through the years which I will never forget. The next day we went skiing, and then the accident happened. I heard that the night before he died. I’ve always been very grateful that he said that to me. It stained me. You had a very much greater opportunity for that, but still, we both had that closure. It makes a difference.
There are mediums, but I also say and do it myself. I close my eyes and look into my husband’s remembered eyes, and ask him what he has to say to me. Just because he’s dead doesn’t mean we don’t talk to each other anymore. I don’t know if they’ll ever be closure. It’s difficult because he’s not here physically, but I believe in Mitch Albom’s quote, “Death ends a life but not a relationship.”
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I love this visualization. Tell us, why do you often think of grief as a sunflower?
This came from something that was less of an image. The center of a sunflower is black. I always think of grief. I want to honor the pain. The pain does not go away. I am still in pain many years later. Sometimes I go, “Why are you still in pain?” Even though you have that black center or a black layer, the sunflower also has these beautiful yellow petals. The petals are all the things in my life that are wonderful. I’m both. I have a dark center of pain, all this joy, and wonder. The sunflower always turns to the sun. My husband is my sun. I turned to him and did it as a layer cake. I have like a bitter layer, but I build new layers all the time of sweetness and joy. it becomes a part instead of the whole.
That’s a beautiful visual for people to think about. I know that you did a lot of healing. A lot of people seek out healing modalities. There are a lot of healing modalities on my website. What were some of the healing modalities you tried and which did you find to be the most helpful?
I did everything I was trying to save my own life. I went to bereavement groups. I had a therapist and a friend that was a medium so I had a phone call with my husband. I traveled to conferences because I was interested in hypnotherapy. Whenever anybody wanted somebody to work on, especially having to do with grief, I raise my hand. That person originated in Neurolinguistic Programming, which is a way of changing your thoughts and patterns in your brain. Richard Bandler has a small group that costs a fortune and I went to that twice, then I did something interesting.
I said, “Everything I’m doing is sad.” I started taking comedy sketch writing. The teacher said, “Why are you here?” People said what they said. I said, “My husband dies. I thought I’d do comedy.” I got a combination of, “Ha,” and people laughing. I realized I needed to add in something beyond dealing with grief because it was like, “Stop already. Where do I go to see beauty? Where do I go to laugh?” it’s getting the help, but also feeding the other parts of me.
It seems to me laughter was one of your healing modalities.
I knew I like to go to the theater. I would go to the theater and sleep. I even slept through Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman, which is not easy. I would wake up when people applauded, then I went to see Carrie Fisher in Wishful Drinking. Not only did I stay awake for the whole thing, but I also laughed I had a little interaction with her, which she initiated. She gave me a medal, which I still have because it reminded me it was like, “I can laugh. I didn’t know I could laugh.”
Part of it was for me was showing up places and waiting for life to seep back in. It didn’t matter that I didn’t want to be there. I still do that. I make lots of plans. A lot of times, I don’t want to do things. One night, I went out to dinner with a friend. I went and had a great time. I’m showing up and helping people.
I saw that show of Carrie Fisher. It was wonderful. I loved it. One of the advantages of being in the New York City area is we have access to Broadway. You went from being suicidal to achieving much. It’s like your sunflower about being sad. You’re having a magical life at the same time.
I believed that my husband was going to come to get me. I would go to sleep with my hand up in the air. I live in New York City. I lived in an apartment building. I mixed my metaphors. I pictured him with angel wings in a swan boat, going through different apartments going, “Excuse me, I’m going to get my wife,” then I have a park bench in Central Park with a plaque that talks about us. I went and sat on that. I said, “You’re not going to get me here either, are you?”
After that, I thought, “I’m your wife. If you’re not going to come to get me, I’m supposed to go get to you.” I did. I researched suicide. That’s why it’s in my book. They didn’t want me to put the word suicide in my book. I said, “We talk about things that are real because a lot of people consider suicide when somebody they love dies.” I have a daughter and a lot of friends that love me. My grief at that point was overwhelmingly annihilating and painful. I couldn’t give that to the people that I loved. My choice was to figure out how to make it work.
How I live my life is even now there are times when I go, “I don’t know how it happens when you’re at a time, I’m going to be 72 in February. I’m done. I’m finished. What can I do to make it an adventure? What’s the next best thing?” One of the things that Richard Bandler says is, “What didn’t you ask now that you wanted to but you were afraid of the response?” It’s interesting because I told that to a famous historian that I got a chance to spend an afternoon with.
She said, “Do you really do that?” I said, “Yes. If I want to say something, or ask if I can have this opportunity, the worst thing that can happen is that somebody will say no.” Life needs to be an adventure. I mentioned at the beginning taking naps. I’m also somebody that needs downtime. On my husband’s birthday, it’s okay for me to collapse. It’s not okay for me to collapse for the rest of my life. If I want to spend a day in bed, streaming weird things on television, feeling sorry, or crying, that’s okay. There are no negative emotions to me. They’re all part of the journey.
You’ve accepted yourself, all of you, and your needs.
It took long enough.
It happened. There are people who stay stuck, and it never happens to them. You’re inspiring for them. You also have an inspiring story about a woman in grief who speaks out and was actively suicidal after her husband’s suicide. It’s an inspiring story. Can you share that?
I remember starting my Facebook page, Grief Speaks Out, and trying to get the first 100 likes, then getting 1,000. I never thought I’d have 2.4 million people from Africa, Australia, the United States, and all over the world. This woman was from a totally different continent. She wanted to die. She wasn’t making huge attempts, but she was doing a little bit of self-harm. She felt guilty for her husband’s death that she couldn’t live.
There are very few people on Grief Speaks out that I know their names and I’ve had conversations with. After some time, she met somebody. She fell in love. She’s very present for her children. I messaged her and said, “Is the smile I’m seeing on your Facebook page, something that goes all the way through? Are you really happy?” She says she’s unbelievably happy. She still misses her husband who died. She still posts his picture on his birthday and on the anniversary of his death.
If I had said to her, “Don’t kill yourself. You’re going to fall in love and be happily married,” she would have said that I had no idea what I was talking about, but because she stayed alive, that was able to happen. It doesn’t have to be a man. I’m not interested in another man, but you don’t know what’s out there for you. You cut off the chance of something happening that might be fun for you. Even though you can’t see it, you might be somebody who’s saying, “That woman has no idea what she’s talking about. I’m going to be miserable forever.” I thought that I was not going to survive my husband’s death, and I didn’t want to.
How many people can relate to you, and also relate to going on and finding magic in your life? What happened to keep this woman before she met a new love from committing suicide? Was it the Facebook postings of people? What turned her and got her to veer away?
I don’t know her well enough to say that. I have a letter from my husband where he says he’s proud of me because every time I fall down, I stand up again. Somebody said, “You keep trying, searching, and saying, ‘What can I do?’” In the beginning, I couldn’t move. I went out very rarely, but because of the internet, I could find something funny, something beautiful on the internet, or I could find somebody that was struggling and post something. I’m still friends with people on Facebook from many years ago when they would say that they were desperately unhappy and I would post something supporting them.
You have another story that blew me away. I know it is going to impact the readers. You visited Ukraine. You had experiences with Ukrainian people who are in very deep grief and have suffered atrocities. What would you like to teach us? What did you learn from them that you can transmit to us? It’s amazing. I read that they still have a spirit of celebration, while they’re mourning.
I had to apologize to my daughter because she said, “Have fun.” I said, “I’m not going to have fun. I’m going to a place where people’s lives are destroyed.” What has happened is that because everything is tentative, and they’ve suffered much tragedy, they’re determined to make every day count. Especially if I was talking to a mayor, I would say, “Is it okay?” If he said yes, I got more hugs in 10 days than I’ve gotten in the past 10 years.
The Deputy Mayor of Bucha, Mykha had heard about me because of my Facebook page, and her husband was killed in 2014. I asked her when I could talk to her. She was the one that says we have to celebrate as well. I became friends with a 24-year-old. His name is Olex. I have to keep remembering myself he’s only 24, but he had this big meeting with 100 people. The power went out so we all had to get candles, then he stopped, laughed, and said, “It was a little romantic.”
That’s what they’re doing. They want victory. They want to be fully alive. What I do is witness. The person that was running the trip whose name I won’t mention was afraid. He said, “Don’t talk about grief,” and I ignored him. I listen to people telling me stories that I won’t repeat, that somebody who is in Bucha is riding a bicycle and got shot. You’re standing in front of a mass grave. People who suffer atrocities like that need to keep telling their stories. That’s where all the hugs came from.
As I am with any grieving people, people say, “What do you say to grieve people?” What I say is, “I’m going to tell your story. What’s your story? I’m here to listen. I love you. There’s nothing I can say that can fix it, but I can listen to you.” It was inspirational that in the middle of all this to see the joy and the laughter and the determination to make every second of life fall.
What originally prompted you to go to Ukraine?
I’ve been watching stuff on television my whole life. I’ve never been able to do anything. For some reason, I wanted to be able to go to Ukraine and do something to help. I thought a 71-year-old grandmother showing up in person. I also donated money. Somebody helped me find Ukraine friends, which donate ambulances. They were not that expensive. I didn’t think before that, if you’re sending an ambulance to a warzone, you don’t want an expensive one, because it’s going to get blown up. I then was able to make my own connections and be present with people, loving, and continuing to help.
If you want to help, the thing is, they need everything. All the money goes to the war. They need rebuilding. Knowing that there are some people that maybe won’t freeze to winter because I was able to contribute something, also to see the young people have got together and learned how to make stoves out of metal barrels, and businessmen take their shops and turn them into places for displaced people, then they integrate them into the community. Everybody is doing something to help somebody who needs their help. Nobody is sitting back and going well, “It’s not my business.”
It sounds to me like the world will have a lot to learn from Ukraine when all of this is over. They’re living an evolved mentality. With a lot of spiritual principles, with how lucky and kind they’re being to each other, their acceptance of the situation, working with it, and all of that, they’re amazing people.
What Olex works with is a warzone. If you put in A and E, it’s the AwarE zone. One of the things he does is he goes into the rural areas and teaches them about democracy, critical thinking, and how important their vote is. It’s practical. the Mayor of Bucha, through an interpreter, I said, “How do you keep your spirits up? Where does your hope come from?” He said, “I have a goal in my mind. I gather people around me and then I achieved that goal.” That was the answer I got when I said, “Where’s the hope?” It was a practical answer because my thing is like, “Go to bed and put the blankets over your head.” That’s not what their mentality is, but, “Within my small ability, what can I do to help?”
I’m glad that we’re discussing this. This is helpful to people. Now I want to talk to you about your book, which I can recommend hardly to people. I read it. It’s wonderful. It’s called Grief Day By Day: Simple Practices and Daily Guidance for Living with Loss. What inspired you to write it?
My Facebook page has many likes and 2.4 million followers. I opened my email. I’ve always wanted to write a book, and I’ve never finished one. I opened my email one day from a publisher. They said, “We’d like you to write a book on grief.” I looked at it and went, “I can answer the email.” Step by step, to give them credit, they gave me the outline, which I didn’t like at first because I felt like it was restrictive, but then it turned out to be brilliant. It’s the kind of book that you can start at the beginning and read to the end. Because it has 52 different subjects and 7 quotes on each subject, you’re not just getting my wisdom, humor, and whatever. I know you’re getting wisdom and words from all kinds of people.
You can say, “I feel desperate. Look, there’s a section on despair. I need some hope. Look, there’s a section on hope.” You can close your eyes and point. I know some people whose spouses or friends don’t want to talk about grief. They’ll pick a quote and go, “I read this quote.” It works. There are two of my favorite things. One is a lot of people call it their true companion, but I got somebody who said, “I don’t like to read. I don’t like books, but I like your book.” It’s also set up because I know that when my husband died, my attention span died with him. If you also have a lack of attention span, you don’t need one for this book.
It’s true because the sections and the topics in the sections are very clear. Because there are 52 subjects, 3 that touch upon the mission of grief and rebirth are your subject of the afterlife, creating meaning and healing. I want to first ask you a question about the subject of the afterlife. You have a wonderful story of a question you posed to people, “What does UPS deliver to you?” I love that story and what it has to do with the afterlife, then also please speak to us about the subject of love which connects with what you call The Great Unknown.
I have more evidence. I know many people that are 100% certain there’s an afterlife. I tend to be more skeptical. The truth is, I have more evidence that there’s an afterlife than I have that there isn’t. The universe is huge and it’s expanding. There’s room for billions of souls. Shortly after my husband died, I went to the UPS store. There was a very conservative-looking man with wire-rimmed glasses and dressed very well, not at all. I don’t know. Sometimes people associate these kinds of stories with people that are artistic.
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He was a very conservative man. I bought two boxes. He knew already me, but as customers, we weren’t friends. He said, “Can I carry the boxes to your car for you?” I said, “No, I’ve got them. Thank you.” He said, “Please let me carry the boxes to your car.” I went, “Okay.” He carried the boxes to my car. When he got to my car, he said, “I need to tell you. Your husband appeared to me. He told me to tell you, you have to know that he loves you. You can’t ever forget how much he loves you. You have to know that.”
I looked at him and laughed. I said, “That must have been a heck of a dream.” He said, “You’re not listening to me. It wasn’t a dream. It was an apparition. Your husband appeared to be. You need to know and never forget that his love is still strong, and he loves you very much.” I started to cry then I turn it into a joke, “What does UPS deliver to you?”
He had no reason. If a friend had said that to me, I would have dismissed it and said they were trying to make me feel better, but this was somebody that had no reason to tell me a story like that. One of my friends Kevin, who never met Artie was meditating. He said Artie showed up and said, “Attaboy.” I have lots of people in my life, who never met, seen, or heard Artie well. I should say that he gets around.
It’s the subject of love and connects what you call The Great Unknown.
In our family, we call what happens after death, The Great Unknown. I respect people that have a very specific picture of heaven, or what it looks like, but I’m not sure what it is going to be like, but I know it’s there and it’s about love. I firmly believe the connection continues. If I am wrong, it doesn’t matter, because I’ll be dead and I won’t know. I couldn’t function. It doesn’t make any sense to me that this wonderful healing journey Artie and I were on together could have an end. I choose to believe in an afterlife.
One of the things I’m curious about is what he thinks about the fact that he was recovering alcoholic. I left this part out. He was always available to other addicts and alcoholics. When my reason for being died, I thought I can honor him by being available to grieving people the way he is to addicts and alcoholics. I’m curious that people all around the world know about us because he died.
It took me four years to realize, “I spent all the time with this wonderful man who helped many people. Why was I making his death more important than his life? Why was I thinking of him as my dead person?” I know he is dead. I’m not delusional. He is my living person. I want his life to matter. When I find myself thinking about his death, it’s like, “Think about his life, joy, and all the things that he did. Let him be there for you in whatever ways you can.”
His legacy lives on within you. When I’m doing this show, my husband is a part of that. They don’t run within us. The other subject that is related to the show is creating meaning because many people who talk on this show have created meaning from the tragedy that they went through or from the loss that they had. There was a question that I liked, “What is your loved one’s life or death that can help you find meaning in your own life to create a new mosaic?”
You said the word mosaic because mosaics are made out of shattered pieces. the fact that we’re shattered pieces doesn’t mean that we can’t make something beautiful.
That’s exactly what you’re doing.
Thank you. I’ve come to believe over time that if you’re alive, you’re alive for a reason. I know a lot of people don’t know what the reason is and they feel like they’ll never find it. Sometimes they want to make it too big. Your reason for being could be as simple as being in a grocery store and saying to the person that’s checking you out, “Your hair looks beautiful.” It could be honoring many people. I’m not the only person that honors my husband. You honor your husband.
I know somebody whose son took his own life and she’s dedicated her life to working against bullying. She wants to create a world in which he would have wanted to live. It can be something out in the community. It can be something big. It can be something as personal as you’ve always wanted to paint, you never did, and you painted a picture. It doesn’t even have to be a museum-quality picture. It’s what is it about being alive. I always quote Mary Oliver, “What is it you intend to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Sometimes what I do with my one wild and precious life is curse the fact that I’m alive, but then when I finish, it’s like, “What am I going to do now that will help somebody reach somebody or do something?” I love making people laugh. It’s there. Reach it. I have a friend that’s written a musical. The quote I keep quoting from that musical is in a song. Her name is Lourds Lane, and the musical is called SuperYou. It’s, “If you dim your light, you dim the light of the world.” When we’re grieving, we tend to dim our light. We don’t want any light. If you dim your light, you’re not just taking away from your own soul. You’re taking away from the souls of the entire world.
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Look at what you’re contributing to readers. You’re turning a light on for a lot of people. I also want to ask you about the subject of healing which you talk about in your book. You see healing as a process you say that healing is like acceptance. It is honoring all that is. How is healing about learning to be inspired by grief, rather than deadened by grief?
I did a podcast and somebody wanted me to title it. I totally threw her because I said, “Why don’t we call it Celebrating Grief?” She said, “What?” My mother was not somebody that I got along with. I didn’t grieve for her. That was part of how I learned that grief is a gift. I celebrate that I was loved and I love that I have this grief because the saddest thing is not to have that kind of love in your life. I put healing with a question mark. I’ll be healed when I’m dead.
Accepting all that is making room for love and pinpoints of light to come through. If you think that you haven’t laughed since somebody you love passed away or transitioned, you may have but you didn’t notice it. I have to notice it. If I’m having a good time, I have to notice it. On my husband’s birthday, I always ask people on Facebook to do random acts of kindness to keep his smile alive, but I’m not happy that day. It’s hard for me. It’s a challenge, but that’s okay.
All the healing modalities that you’ve done have helped lighten a little bit for you.
It’s never stopped searching. I was talking to my friend who also does a lot and the world, “You go out for the day. You have a wonderful day, but one person says something to you when you go home, and you say, ‘You won’t believe what happened to me.’” For me, it’s changing my focus. It is paying attention to all the things I have in my life that are magical, all the things that I’ve achieved, instead of stroking the wounds because the wounds are still there.
Grief is exhausting. I have educated therapists about this. You’re not dealing with a trauma that happened in 2009. You’re dealing with a trauma that happens every morning when I wake up and go, “He’s still dead. He hasn’t come back. How am I going to make this day rich or am I going to take a day where I take some time off?”
The other part is that you’re taking care of yourself too, which is important. It’s okay. I got that message, “Be loving and kind to everyone.” That means being loving and kind to yourself also. That’s what you’re doing. What else would you like to tell our audience about your book, Grief Day By Day, which has sold over 70,000 copies and has many 5-star reviews? Is there anything else you’d like to add now that our audience is going to get your book?
Thank you if you buy my book. It’s a very good book to donate as well as buy for yourself. It covers everything. I’m surprised sometimes I got an email from somebody in Mongolia asking me for a copy of it. I have no idea how she heard about it. I got somebody who works in prisons asking me to donate copies for prisoners.
What I’d like to tell you about my book is to go to Amazon and read the reviews because there are almost over 2,000 reviews and see what other people say about it. I’m humbled by the fact that it has helped many people who don’t like to read or who think that there’s no light find ways to get through things with the book. Check it out. At some point, we’ll get a free gift. I’ll send you a copy of my book but also think about giving it to a library or somebody who might need it.
While we’re talking about your book, tell us about the free gift.
There are two things about the book. First of all, if you google Jan Warner and grief, everything comes up. If you google the book, it will come up all over the place. You can get it at Amazon, but all over the place. If you email me at EyeSeePic@Aol.com and say in the subject matter Grief or something to indicate to me and no fill in the blank of some of the weird emails you get, I will send you a free hard copy of the book. Please give me your address because a lot of people forget to put their address.
I’m old ideal in paper. I will send you a copy of the book. If you are working in a helping profession and you think it would be helpful to have 10 copies, I’m willing to donate more than 1 copy. If your family members, maybe somebody died, or you’re a funeral director, always ask. I’ve learned over the course of my life to say no. Whatever you want from me, email me, and always feel free to ask me anything.
If you don’t want to put grief in the subject line, just put Irene. I also want to submit to you, because the passion of this show is to encourage people to get to healing, and your book is a healing vehicle for people.
I’m humbled and surprised that across cultures and religions, I have people on Grief Speaks Out that are Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Wiccan, or Pagan. One was from Cameroon. I’m always surprised. Some were from Trinidad and Tobago, Algeria, and Nepal. I have an ability somehow to understand that people are in different phases and it’s okay to be wherever you are, but it’s okay to move. I bought a plaque when Artie first died. It said, “Have an adequate day.” I went, “I could do that,” because having a good day seemed like a lot of pressure back then.
In the section on moving in the book, it says, “If you want to go for a run, go for a run. If all you can do is move your little finger, do that.” It’s to meet people where they are, but also to the book, I call them resting places. Quite honestly, I have a chapter on pain. The editor would say, “Could you tear that up a little bit?” I go, “No.” There’s a section on hope, beauty, and faith. In every five chapters, there’s a resting place. That’s where the healing is because the healing words are coming again, not for me, but for finding quotes from people that touched my heart.
That’s such a beautiful thing. It’s wonderful. What is Jan’s tip on finding joy in life?
Keep looking for it and notice it when you see it. I posted on my personal Facebook page a poem about how joy chooses us and a lot of times, we ignore it because we don’t feel like we deserve or are capable of it. We feel, “How can I be happy when somebody I love is no longer in the world?” Embrace joy. My tip would be to look for and when it shows up, open your eyes and your heart to see it. If you can’t, ask the person that you love who died for or transitioned for advice because they can still give us advice.
Imagination to me is to door to communicating. If you close your eyes and look into their remembered eyes, and you don’t hear anything, it’s okay to imagine what your mom, child, husband, wife, sister, cousin, grandparent, or leaving people out would have said. For a miscarriage, what would that child that never got to be born say to you now? Don’t look at yourself through your own eyes. This is important. Look at your eyes to somebody who loves you because a lot of times, we’re too hard on ourselves.
Your personal experience of grief has left you with this profound wisdom about how to cope with this most painful but most human aspect of life through your supportive and thoughtful book, Grief Day By Day. Thank you for sharing your own personal story and your book with all of us. What you’ve shared with us is healing. I thank you from my heart for this enlightening, comforting, and empowering interview.
Here’s a loving reminder to everyone to make sure to follow and like us on social @IreneSWeinberg at Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Be sure to click subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode with people like the wonderful Jan Warner. Thank you very much, everyone. Thank you, Jan. As I like to say, to be continued. Many blessings and bye for now.
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