GAR Melissa Fiore | Spiritual Awakening

 

Melissa Fiore, who has lived in northern New Jersey and now resides in Florida, is the third incredibly inspiring interview in our Rebirth series. Her grief journey began in her 20’s when she went through a bad divorce that included a custody battle over her young son. Balancing a fledgling business, the challenges of divorce, caring for a dying aunt and more, Melissa eventually decided that “I choose to choose me” and, propelled by a spiritual awakening, began to rebirth her life.

  

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT THINGS LIKE:

  • How her dog let Melissa know that her aunt was transitioning to the Other Side.
  • Melissa’s spiritual awakening just after her aunt passed.
  • How the healer Seta Shahinian (who is interviewed on Grief and Rebirth podcast), helped Melissa to find her life purpose.
  • The ways Melissa gets her strength from the Other Side.

 

SOME QUESTIONS IRENE ASKS MELISSA:

  • What was it like for you to learn to accept help from others instead of the other way around?
  • What kinds of signs have you received from the Other Side?
  • What is the name of your new wonderful online accessories business?

Listen to the podcast here

 

Rebirth Series – Melissa Fiore – Rebirth After Divorce

 

 

 

 

 

I am so happy to be here with you because I get the blessing of interviewing an amazing friend of mine who is a dynamo and talk about grief and rebirth. She’s like a poster child for Grief and Rebirth with all the things she’s been through in her life and how she has come through it with the most amazing, positive attitude, learning her lessons, and creating an amazing, incredible life for herself. I’m introducing all of you to Melissa Fiore. She’s beautiful inside and out. Missy, it’s such a pleasure to see you. Everyone is going to talk about your story. You talk about grief and rebirth. You are a poster child, so tell everyone.

You have all these stories. You went through a horrible divorce, and that led to a spiritual awakening. Your story of rebirth is amazing. We talk a lot about grief that comes from death, but there’s also tremendous grief that comes from divorce and other things that happen in life. Missy, you want to tell us about your life before all of that happened so people can get a feel of where you were before all this drama went on in your life.

Thank you, Irene, for having me here. I’d love to share my story. I’m a normal girl from New Jersey, great parents, and an only child. Anything and everything I could have had in childhood, I did. I have a loving family, a loving extended family, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. I’m very fortunate and blessed, and I always talk about that. I had a great upbringing and beginning to my life. I went to college, graduated, and thought I had met the love of my life. I was young and naive.

Did you meet him in college?

I met him down the Jersey Shore, but I did meet him when I was in college. He was several years older than me. He’s a great guy and loved me. I loved him and went for it like most people would. I was a little on the younger side, but I followed my heart, and I did get married. Out of our marriage, I had one beautiful child. I have a son.

Joey is a fabulous young man.

He’s my biggest accomplishment in life. The marriage didn’t work and I had to make the hard decision to move on. It wasn’t the right fit for me.

How long were you married before you made that decision?

We were married for four and a half years. We were together two years prior. We were together for almost seven years at the time of our separation. I don’t have any regrets that I married him because it started my life and my path. At the moment, I thought it was the right decision. It’s okay, but unfortunately, the divorce happened. I separated. At the time of my marriage, I did live in the state of Florida.

Did he accept the divorce well, or did he give you a hard time?

He gave me a very hard time about it. I had to sign a legal separation for a year with the hopes that he and I could return together. It was my way out of the marriage, so I agreed to it. He did allow me, and I used the word allow.

He was tough and controlling.

He allowed me to move back with my son to New Jersey to be near my family, and his family was also from the state. The separation happened a year to the day at which point I filed. I was legally separated for a year prior to engaging in the divorce. At that time, my parents welcomed me back with open arms. My son was fifteen months old. It was a hard decision. I was a baby myself and had given up my future career.

I had gone to Villanova University in the hopes of becoming an attorney. When I got married, I let that go. Moving forward, I found myself having to figure out what my career would be. My mom was in the bridal business so she encouraged me to spend time at the store. It was a safe place for my son and me until I figured things out. Lo and behold, this is where the story begins. No sooner I was in that business, my mother’s youngest brother fell very ill. She had to leave to go take care of him.

My uncle passed away from cancer at the age of 44. The responsibility now became mine to make sure I financially provided for me, for my child, kept my mother’s business running, which was her financial source, and also be there for her as she experienced the second loss of a sibling. My other uncle had passed away about five years prior. There was the beginning of different losses in our family life. Moving forward, I was in this business doing what I needed to do, figuring it out, and started raising my boy alone. Everything was okay, and then the next thing happened, which was my great-aunt, my maternal mother’s sister, who fell ill also.

Now, she was someone that was very influential in my life. She had combated cancer also. She had skin cancer when I was in my teenage years. She had moved in with my family because my mother took care of her as she got better and recuperated. I developed a close bond with her. She was like a second mother to me. Unfortunately, many years later, I was in my late twenties at that time, it came back and then it became terminal. She was at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, and I would go there every day. I would work at the store and settle my son.

The store was in New Jersey and you were going to New York City to Columbus Presbyterian every day to see her.

She was more to me than her children felt about her. At a given point, it was a very hard moment. I was in the room and the doctors came in. They said, “There’s nothing more that we could do for you,” speaking directly to her, which I thought was so abrasive at that time. They said, “The decision is we no longer can keep you here. We would suggest that we move you over into a nursing home.” I was in shock. I have never in my life been in front of something like that or a situation like that. I was like, “Absolutely not.” I spoke with her and said, “Would you want to come with me?” My aunt held my hand and she said, “I want to be with you.” I fought my family very hard.

They did not want you to bring her to New Jersey. They were nervous about this responsibility, I’m sure.

They did not want it. They felt that she should pass on. I fought the family very hard, and the family has never spoken to me ever since.

This family was your part of your family that we’re so mad, and they didn’t talk to you because you wanted to take your aunt to your home.

Correct. She still was off her wits. She made the decision and her husband agreed to it. That was fine, but her children did not.

They wanted her in the nursing home.

They did because they didn’t want the responsibility of her. They felt that if she was in a nursing home, she would be taken care of. They could come and go as they please. Eventually, she would pass on and life would go on. That was their attitude towards it. I didn’t feel that was correct. Her husband agreed with me, but he couldn’t handle it himself. I took it on. I was 27-ish, single mom, and had gone through a divorce with a business that I was trying to keep afloat.

What about her husband? Was she living with you, was he not, or were they both together with you?

My great-uncle lived in Manhattan. That’s why she was in Columbia Presbyterian. He did agree to commute back and forth to New Jersey. I set up a room in my house and whatnot, and he would stay for the weekends. We were figuring it out. That’s what we were doing. I had her in my home for 33 days. For 33 days, I was with her every moment of the way.

Hospice came in and taught me what I needed to do and how to keep her medicated. I went through that whole entire experience with her. She and I talked a lot, and she always promised me that I’d be okay. She always did, and I believe her. That would be me beginning to understand that I had those moments, and those conversations would keep me going.

In a way, they fed you. The conversations nurture you, and you’re going through a tough time with all that is on your plate.

After my divorce, years later, my ex-husband and I had a disagreement about something. It ended up being a bad custody battle. I was in the middle of the custody battle while I was dealing with going on with my aunt. It was a two-and-a-half-year custody battle. My aunt would always tell me, “You’re a good person. You’re a good mom. Do what you’ve got to do. Fight for your son. It’ll be okay,” and I did not think it was going to be okay. It was not a good scenario. Fast forward, I’ll get to the point where she passed.

She was with you 33 days before she passed?

Yes. On that morning of the 33rd day, I had a little Yorkshire Terrier dog, Dominic, who was awesome and dear to my heart. Dominic was a very good dog, quiet, spunky, and happy, but not a barker, nothing like that. My great-uncle was staying in the house. My mother was in the house. My grandmother, I had flown her in from Florida. About three days prior to my aunt’s death, I had flown to Florida at 6:00 in the morning. I got to Florida at 9:00 in the morning, settled her, picked her up, and got on a plane at 6:00 at night. I did a run in the matter of one day to make sure my grandmother got to see her sister before she passed. I think that was why my aunt was ready because she had her moment with her sister. I knew that was going to happen, and that’s why I did it because my aunt was hanging on.

That was the last-second sense of completion for her.

I almost didn’t want to do it because I didn’t want my aunt to go, but I knew I had to do that, and I’m very happy that it all happened. After being with my grandmother for a couple of days, I saw my aunt deteriorating more and more. Going to Dominic, he started howling at 3:00 in the morning, and I said to myself, “Why is this dog howling? He’s never howled ever.” He was trying to wake me up, and he did. The first thing I did was I looked around. I ran right into the room where my aunt was. I could see her breathing heavily. It was not good. I prayed and talked to her.

You might have been seeing deceased loved ones gathering around her also because animals have that sense.

I never had put any thought into it, but I do believe that now because I witnessed it. Her breathing was so laborious. It was terrible. I talked to her and said, “Let me know you’re going to be okay. Let me know when you’re ready. I’m here with you. Don’t be afraid. I’m not afraid.” I had all the strength to talk to her. I was holding her hand. I was the one gripping. It’s pretty much a lifeless hand but she squeezed my hand. I’m forever grateful that he woke me up because I was there, and I was the last person.

That started a spiritual awakening for you because you started to change your viewpoints. How did that structure change how you saw your world?

I hung onto faith to get through those days and everything going on with the family and the services. I knew she was okay because she told me. I was like, “I have to believe this. This is how I’m going to get through it. I’m going to be strong for my family.” I can’t explain it. I just knew I wasn’t alone. I knew from that moment on I was never alone. It led me to start figuring out what I needed to do to make my life better.

After losing a loved one, you start to feel that you are not alone. This will help you figure out what you need to do to make your life better. Share on X

It helped you because if you felt you were no longer alone, you knew there was support for you coming from somewhere.

Absolutely. Moving forward, I started to make decisions. I said, “This court case doesn’t define me. This marriage and divorce are not going to become my life. This cannot consume me.” I have to do something productive for me. I had been in this bridal business and decided, “My mom’s store had served me very well, but it was not my vision, and I needed to do something. I need to make my own money. I need to have my own outlet. I need to do all these things.” I started looking blindly. I’m driving around and found this little nothing hole-in-the-wall location. Everybody thought I was crazy. Everybody said, “You’re spending so much money with attorneys. What are you doing? You don’t have any guarantee.” I said, “I’m going to be fine.”

That led to the beginning of my business. It was my safe place because it was mine. It was my own key and the door that I closed behind. It was the place where I cried. It’s the place that I suffered. It’s the place that gave me hope for the next day that I had to go home to. It became my new home and my baby. Through my court case, there was a lot of time I didn’t have my son.

That must have been painful. At least you could pour yourself into your business a little bit.

There was a time throughout that court case I didn’t see my child for five straight months. There’s a lot to the why behind that. It was not a good time in my life. The business, I would sit there and say, “I have to make something happen. I have to make the money, pay for the attorneys, be strong, and give my son an example. If something happens to me, he has to know that I wasn’t going to wither up and die, that I didn’t give up.” It was a means for me to have a focus. It gave a lot back to me too.

What business was it, Missy? Tell everyone what you did because you’re very talented.

Because of my bridal background, I had put myself through school again. I graduated with Pattern Making and Design while I was at my mom’s place. I decided to open up a custom-design bridal shop. It enabled people who had a hard time finding things, whether it was the price point, modesty concerns, or weight concerns. Things they wanted they weren’t finding, like the top of a dress, the bottom of a dress, or whatever it is. It was a great outlet for me to express and be creative, and it also helped people feel good about themselves. That started my journey with that. It became a whole special occasion boutique.

I did this for Christmas and weddings. I did that for almost twenty years. It evolved because I built relationships and friendships. People would come to me for all different types of services. Huge setbacks in my life between going through a custody battle, divorce, and physical family losses, I turned them around into a focus for me and for me to do better for the people around me to give them a better life. I did it with the strength that I knew other people were there for me.

GAR Melissa Fiore | Spiritual Awakening

Spiritual Awakening: Turn around huge setbacks in your life. Use them as a focus to do better for the people around you.

 

The next person that passed in my life was my grandmother, my aunt’s sister. I want to share this. I always say to my grandmother when I was about 17 or 18 years old, “Grandma, everybody comes to me to take a ride in my car.” I was exhausted that people always came to me for things. My grandmother said to me, “Stop it. it’s better to be needed than to ever need.” I live by those words every single day.

Look at all the needy people you were helping. You were taking care of these people all the time.

I’m the one that has the strength to help people through their things. Not that there’s anything wrong with needing because I’ve learned that. I’ve become vulnerable through the years. You can’t be stoic and perfect. Whenever I’m down or hard on myself, I go, “Thank God that I can do it and push through.” I do believe that the spiritual part of me is why the guidance that I have. It’s the reason I pushed through.

Whenever you are down, do not go hard on yourself. Instead, thank God that you can push through. Share on X

Didn’t the whole experience help you with the death of your grandmother? Was there a specific thing that happened that you knew you were there too?

I started reading a lot of self-help books on how to stay focused, positive, and ambitious. I started reading about the other side, the angels, the presence of things, and signs because I started having strange things happen to me in a sense.

Like what?

When my grandmother passed, a couple of months later, we went to clear out her condo. All of a sudden, lights would flicker. I was like, “What’s going on?” I remember, at one point, I said to my mom, “Grandma is here.” My mom was like, “What do you mean?” I said, “I know grandma is here. I feel she’s here.” My mom would say, “Okay.”

I started saying, “Grandma, are you here? I know you’re here.” I had lights flicker on and off. I was having a conversation and getting the sign. One thing my grandmother always loved was bluebirds. She always had birds. All of a sudden, whenever I went to certain places, I would see a bird or a picture frame that had a bird in it. I knew this was her way of telling me, “I’m with you.”

If I’m at Pier 1 Imports right now, what am I seeing? A bluebird and it would be random. Nobody would ever say to me, “Look at this beautiful furniture piece or this pillow.” I would see it and grab it. I would be like, “Look at this.” It’s something that resonated that connection with me. There are a lot of signs and personal little things. My grandmother’s engagement ring was a ruby. I got gifted a ruby. It’s things that I know I can’t explain.

I understand they weren’t signs. They didn’t necessarily make sense. That’s why they were signs.

I did clear through that court case with a settlement and whatever needed to happen. There are a lot of acceptance but a lot of belief that whatever was happening was supposed to happen.

GAR Melissa Fiore | Spiritual Awakening

Spiritual Awakening: A lot of acceptance is needed when dealing with grief. But there must also be a lot of belief in trusting that whatever is happening is supposed to happen.

 

Didn’t you also put your son through college with your business and everything?

I did. I worked hard. I moved my business around in nineteen years span. I had three different locations as I grew. I exhausted myself through the process, but I did do it. He graduated from college with a Master’s degree in three and a half years, two and a half years for his Bachelor’s and a year for his Master’s. he graduated in Finance and the top of his class. He got a job right out of the gate and is doing very well.

That’s fabulous. It’s all because of your grit and courage. You rebirthed yourself through this business and took care of your son. What did this rebirth lead to? Where are you now in your life? What’s going on?

A few years ago, I was blessed to be connected with a spiritual healer we know in common. That was suggested by you.

I’ve interviewed her on the show.

May I say her name?

Sure.

I did connect with Seta.

Seta Shahinian was the second or third episode of the show. Seta is coming back with a new healing modality that has been channeled to her. She will revisit the show. She’s quite wonderful.

Because I’ve always been reading and very interested, I’ve drawn strength from this. I was at a point where my son was going through college. My business was doing very well and I had a lot of satisfaction out of that, but I also felt a little displaced. I was trying to figure out why. I decided I needed to speak to someone, and I started meeting with Seta, trying to figure out what I was missing. Even though I’m accomplished, I’ve gotten through very hard times, and I’m the rock for people. Still, I didn’t get remarried. I haven’t had that personal life. There are things that I was lacking for me. I needed to speak to her and understand where my life was and where it was going. She helped me a lot.

This was the beginning of healing for you, which led to rebirth.

It’s because I needed to figure out what I was missing from me. I was in that mode for a good twenty years of being the caretaker, figuring it out, putting it together, doing right for my customers and my family, and being a good mom. I did it, but not easily. What did I do for me?

That’s true. You’re taking care of everyone else.

I felt that I was in a very comfortable place and I’d raised a good kid. I feel that he’s an asset to society and that part of my job is done. Being a mother will never be done for me. I spoke with him a little while ago before I started this interview. He’s now my biggest cheerleader. He’s my biggest fan. He’s the one I draw from, interestingly, but what is my purpose? Is my purpose to help people?

Was my purpose to hold the fort up? I don’t know what’s my purpose. I started that journey with Seta. She guided me or my spirit guides told me I had to get a life. That’s what my family said to me as they channeled through. You got to do something for you. After a lot of sessions and understanding what my life purpose is, I realized I needed to rebirth myself. Now I had to do something that was 100% for me.

I made the decision to close my business, leave my career, and do something different. In one of my sessions with Seta, I went through past life transgressions and realized there was something that resonated with a place that was Southern and warm. That is the state of Florida, which I lived in when I was married. I was invited to Naples for a weekend retreat with a girlfriend. I had seen Seta the day before. No sooner than I landed, I hadn’t even stepped out of the airport. I felt the warmth. I got my cell phone out.

I called up my mom and said, “Mom, just so you know, I landed in Florida and I need to live here.” My mother was in shock. She was like, “Really? Where are you?” I said, “I’m at the airport.” I spent four days in Naples. I flew back home and started my plan to do right by my career. All the people that supported me and helped me as a small business owner and as a single mom, I felt that I owed it to them to give them time and do it the right way.

They were dependent on you. You’d been in that community for twenty years.

Correct. I gave a year of my life dedicated to wrapping things up correctly, getting people used to the idea, and getting myself used to the idea, and I did it. A year later, I left everything behind, started over, and moved to the state of Florida.

Now what’s going on with you? What are you doing in the state of Florida, and what shape is this rebirth taking for you?

I still have my signs. There’s a nest of birds that came about. I don’t know if it’s the change of season. I have no idea, but I have a little nest of birds I could look at. I know my grandmother is over there. I moved to Florida. It hasn’t been easy because my intentions were to open up another business, which I did. I was open for three months, and then COVID happened. I did make the financial decision to close it because I didn’t know how long I would have to carry it. Out of it, I started an online business to be productive, which has gone very well for me.

You’ve got a wonderful taste. I’m telling everyone who’s tuning into us that you’ve got amazing taste.

Thank you. All I can say is my business path is still to be determined. I’m working on it every day. I know I can do it because I’ve done it before. Right now, I am whole. I’m happy. I wake up every morning and I feel that warmth I was lacking. I know I’m supposed to be here. I have no other words to explain that. I know I’m supposed to be here.

You’re getting a new life. You have an accessories business online. Are any new relationships or things taking place in your life that you’re letting yourself be for choosing you as opposed to being for everyone else?

I made a choice to finally choose me. I am the first person that will still do anything for anyone. People still lean on me, but I have self-worth. I know I can accomplish anything I put my head to. I still have bad days and unknown moments, but I feel good. I’m happy. I wake up and I’m in a good place. I’m very willing to see where my life is going to go. I’m very open. I welcome it. I still pray every day. I talk to my family every day. I get little signs here and there, and I’m very comforted by that. I do believe.

GAR Melissa Fiore | Spiritual Awakening

Spiritual Awakening: Despite having bad days and unknown moments, do not forget that you are still in a good place. Be willing to see where your life will go.

 

Things and the world is opening up again. Let’s see what the future is going to portend. I would like you to tell everyone about your website for your online accessories business because I’m sure you have the most precious things there. It’s wonderful and all. Share yourself with everyone.

My online store is called www.OneStopGift.com. If anybody goes to it, you’ll see. I do believe in gift giving the old traditional way. I do it with all bows, wrapped, and beautiful presentations because I believe everybody is special. It takes a special person to give a special gift. That’s my message, just to spread a little happiness. I do items on there that are $10. It doesn’t have to be big. It’s the sentiment.

We’re in a world where we need that. It’s my way whereby I have a business. With those little things, moments make a difference. It’s moments you hang onto and someone that remembers you. You feel good that you did something for a person or wrote them a little note. All of that is important in our life here. That’s the premise of it. It’s completely away from what I used to do. It’s something new that I’m trying.

GAR Melissa Fiore | Spiritual Awakening

Spiritual Awakening: What’s important in life are those little things that make a difference and moments that you hang onto a person to whom you did something good.

 

It’s something new when you’re starting. That’s wonderful. You’re living your life for yourself. That has launched. He’s great. He’s a support to you now. You’ve been through all of this, and now it’s paying dividends to you.

I cannot tell you when you put much effort into your children. I had very dim moments, but to see a great result, I never raised him to be a victim. I raised him the way I wanted to raise him as a mother from the day I had him.

You were an amazing role model. You were so courageous.

To now see his concern and appreciation for me, there are no words. He knows how spiritual I am. He is now spiritual, and he’s reading into it. He’s going on his journey and trying to figure out signs. My biggest advice to him always is to get in tune and get in tune as quick as you can. You’re fortunate that my example and you seeing it is helping you get in tune with it earlier. It’s never too late to get in tune with it. Embrace it because if you could connect that way, you could have a good life.

What a role model you’ve been for him. This is so inspiring, Missy. It was such a pleasure to have you on. A lot of people are going to be inspired to listen to your story because you went through a very hard time and were on your own.

I have. It stems from when I was that only child with great everything, and then it’s a little bottomed out. I wanted to get to that place I had early on. It took me a while but I’m getting there. It is a work in progress every day.

You’re getting there, and you’re on your way there. You keep making choices towards healing, evolving, and all of that. That makes all the difference in the world. Sometimes, they’re not easy choices. You’re conscious of your life.

I’m very conscious. I would encourage people to be very present in their situation, know it will get better, find faith, and find their spirit guides. Without them, I wouldn’t be sitting here. My message is to believe. Believe your loved ones are there for you and will never let you go in harm’s way. Even if something bad is happening at the moment, there’s a reason for it. There’s a lesson or something, but they’re going to be there for you. I said to you in conversation that I hope to live a very long life, but if something happens and that’s not my path, I’m okay.

Be present in any situation. Always remember that it will get better. Find your faith and spirit guides. Share on X

You’re okay because you’ve done it. The other thing I think is so admirable is when you were at a crossroads, you went to a healer. You let her guide and help you so that you were open enough to do that. You found someone you resonated with, and you went with that. That’s admirable. Thank you so much, Missy. This has been marvelous. I expect the traffic to increase on www.OneStopGift.com because there’ll be so many cute things people can look at, and you’re just terrific.

We’ve been friends for a long time. Thank you so much. Here’s a reminder, everyone. Make sure to follow us and like us on social at @IreneSWeinberg on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and we’re also on YouTube. If you’d like to be part of this wonderful show, please email me to Hello@IreneWeinberg.com. As I like to say, to be continued, many blessings, thank you again, Missy, and bye for now.

 

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