E226 Grief and Loss is a Gift with Debbie Wood

A little out of the ordinary for this podcast, but today we will be talking about grief and loss. Something that all of us either have felt or will feel in our lives. Grief and loss comes in all different forms, so this episode applies to literally everyone.

It may be hard to stay on the positive side during situations like these, but we have Debbie Wood here with us to discuss how we can turn these emotions around for the better and see that grief and loss is actually a gift.

Reach out to Debbie at: parentslivingbeyondgrief@gmail.com

and for some of the yummy maple syrup mentioned in this episode go to: www.woodssyrup.com

Transcript

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Jason Mefford: Well, I am very excited for today’s discussion now, you may have looked at the title and thought my goodness grief loss, what are you talking about Jason that’s not normally.

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Jason Mefford: The kinds of things that you talk about but i’m excited because all of us right all of us experience grief and loss throughout our life.

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Jason Mefford: And it’s how we choose to deal with that we can see it as a gift or something that’s not a gift right and so i’m excited to have my friend debbie would with me today.

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Jason Mefford: Where we’re actually going to jump in and talk about it because, again whether it’s you know, maybe losing a family member whether it’s losing a job, whether it’s.

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Jason Mefford: losing your identity, if you will, we all experience grief and loss in our life and today we’re going to talk about how to turn that into a gift so with that let’s roll the episode.

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Jason Mefford: All right, debbie my friend, I am so excited to have you here with me.

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Debbie Wood: I am.

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Jason Mefford: Well, and it’s you know, this is a topic I haven’t told you some stuff.

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Jason Mefford: I mean we’re friends, but I haven’t told you some stuff because I wanted it to kind of come out today on the podcast as well.

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Jason Mefford: As as we go through this, because this is a.

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Jason Mefford: it’s a serious topic it’s it’s something that so many people deal with, but not a lot of people talk about.

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Jason Mefford: And I think you’ve seen that from helping people yourself right and.

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Jason Mefford: You know I just had to do one thing because i’m a little off the wall, you know that anyway right so.

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Jason Mefford: So debbie.

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Jason Mefford: Why stop now right.

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Jason Mefford: So debbie you know i’m in California you’re in.

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Jason Mefford: Where Am I.

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Jason Mefford: In Vermont so when you think of Vermont, what do you think of right you think of.

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Debbie Wood: maple syrup.

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Jason Mefford: syrup and I have some words Bourbon.

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Jason Mefford: syrup.

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Debbie Wood: Oh no.

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Jason Mefford: Well, and especially when I when I you know because I knew, you know that your husband has asked the company from what we were talking about, and so I jumped on there and i’m like holy shit Bourbon barrel, aged maple syrup are you kidding me i’m all.

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Debbie Wood: Over that that’s just a little side thing you know yeah so it’s it’s a yummy thing, and I did get a few extra bottles, for some people for.

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Debbie Wood: Christmas and I let them know that means a lot.

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Jason Mefford: Thanks well because it’s one on one of our sons really likes Rom.

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Jason Mefford: So, of course, I had to get the runway.

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Jason Mefford: And anyway, I just had to do that and I like to see you smile too, but anyway, I will refrain from doing my typical one right the show is doing.

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Debbie Wood: Great on ice cream and.

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Jason Mefford: Oh well, there’s a little sweet stuff.

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sweet.

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Jason Mefford: So.

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Jason Mefford: But no, so I guess you know let’s let’s kind of get into what we’re what we’re planning to talk about today, because I know you have had.

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Jason Mefford: Some of these experiences in your life that have led you to help people who have gone through grief and loss so maybe, let me just kind of turn it over to you, maybe just just share a little bit of your story and why you help people with this.

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Debbie Wood: So I have been drawn to the topic of loss for several years and it was really started or like birthed out of the adoption, I have.

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Debbie Wood: Three biological sons and then, I have three adopted children two girls they’re not biologically related because that’s always the next question.

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Debbie Wood: Who were adopted at three years old and one, and then a year and a half later boy who was adopted, because of our story through the same age same place in Liberia West Africa long story he ended up in our home at the age of nine so.

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Debbie Wood: I didn’t have words for it like I do now and for many adoptive families that’s the word is the loss in their body shows up in all sorts of ways, for me, there was loss of the family i’d had before we adopted.

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Debbie Wood: That I didn’t know was going to happen, and so you have a lot of mixed feelings and then over the years, different behavioral issues.

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Debbie Wood: The stress on the marriage we’ve been married 27 years to the same person, so I started reading up kind of about grief and loss outside of the typical narrative of it has to be around a loved one.

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Debbie Wood: And so I just loved learning about it and reframing and and kind of seeing an as a platform to.

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Debbie Wood: Start over let go and what is possible from here, and then in May of last year, our daughter, who was 17 or adopted daughter passed away suddenly.

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Debbie Wood: And we found out was from a seizure disorder, even though we had had her tested she’d had about three or four random seizures out of nowhere, the year before.

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Debbie Wood: And so, she passed away, and I remember after I hit the knees hit the ground that night that I knew I would not do this healing journey alone I don’t know why that thought came to me, but I knew.

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Debbie Wood: I could not let this did you just know this is going to destroy everything that I knew and held dear and was pure you just instantly feel a purity in your life and innocence of your life is just stolen, and then I just kind of set the intention that I would find helps in some way.

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Debbie Wood: And it’s like such an intuitive thought right now that came to me that I I knew I wasn’t prepared to walk that.

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Debbie Wood: And no one else was going to know how to walk it with me, because at the time I didn’t know any other person who had lost.

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Debbie Wood: An older child, you know people lose them through miscarriage and no matter when you lose a loved one it’s very painful and awful.

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Debbie Wood: so fast forward in the summer, and that was in May, and then in the summer I happened to listen to a podcast and it was this lady talking about the five stages of grief and how that was bs and I just thought I love this lady because.

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Debbie Wood: I didn’t want to have to go through stages and I knew within me not everybody, but I knew for me I didn’t want to take a long time.

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Debbie Wood: To move through my grief story your journey and I wasn’t thinking I gotta save my family either there was a point on the plane when we flew down to.

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Debbie Wood: Do the viewing and bring her home that absolute fear, because I could see the heads of my children, their adult children and my husband and I thought oh my God, are we over.

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Debbie Wood: And that I breathed and said no we’re going to be okay we’re going to be different, but we’re going to be okay.

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Debbie Wood: So I think that, combined with the intention, I found a nice and she is a widow, who works with other widows and.

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Debbie Wood: didn’t start out that way but that’s her story, and she ended up people were like you should help people and then she had a vision of creating an academy where other.

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Debbie Wood: coaches there’s niches that they’ve lost a loved one whether it’s a parent child husband, whatever it is, and we work with people for me specifically parents who are ready to do the work.

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Debbie Wood: Around identity.

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Debbie Wood: Just kind of unpacking what does it feel like to no longer be a parent of a child, what, no matter what the age there’s a lot of changing and your.

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Debbie Wood: routine your habit identity as far as if I call myself a mom like you know people will say how many children do you have and I always say six but then I don’t know if i’m supposed to you know you have to feel it out well one went to heaven.

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Debbie Wood: Oh, and then there’s there’s that change of conversation, and then you don’t you feel like you get to pick them up, because you really are okay because i’ve done the work.

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Debbie Wood: But yeah it’s the most it was the hardest thing i’ve ever done through, and then I sit here talking to you and I am so aware of.

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Debbie Wood: The incredible gifts that have come to me out of this loss and I swear I can sit here and say I wouldn’t change it, I want her back.

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Debbie Wood: And i’m shaking saying this, I wouldn’t change anything, because I truly believe in this idea that it was her time and that her leaving.

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Debbie Wood: ushered in this incredible story and challenge and amazing life that i’m now living completely out of that loss.

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Debbie Wood: But it’s also because I i’ve done the work and i’m putting on a new way of looking at things and choosing a new identity today.

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Debbie Wood: While grieving and the loss of the family and yet again and then not taking on all of the responsibility of how are all my loved ones doing oh my gosh my husband.

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Debbie Wood: But I couldn’t do it alone, so I went through what Denise has created a course that we do one on one and eight week program and you dive in and you do the work, and then we meet together one on one.

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Debbie Wood: And some clients work with me for a few more months, I want to keep going for the year and you come into a Community of other parents who.

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Debbie Wood: know that the last, the death of their loved one was the opening it just magnified what wasn’t working, which I would say is kind of what loss does.

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Debbie Wood: It kind of rattles your chain, so to speak, and you either.

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Debbie Wood: kind of lose the way you did things and you’re like off kilter or you find the support and there’s that’s the strength and the courageous thing, whether it’s, starting with the book.

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Debbie Wood: Where you find the podcast that’s how a lot of my life has been and then eventually that one on one work or group coaching where you hear other people, they may ask a question and I love that quote what’s most general is most personal and you grow together.

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Debbie Wood: And you get stronger so.

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Jason Mefford: yeah cuz I think it’s interesting, you know as you as you described that you know a lot of times we don’t.

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Jason Mefford: We don’t share people just don’t know right so when when you lost your daughter, you know again you’re like cheese, am I, the only one right I don’t know anybody else who’s done that.

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Jason Mefford: Well there’s lots of other people who have done it, because what I haven’t told you to is guess what you know when you were talking about at the beginning, three biological kids three adopted.

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Jason Mefford: I have two biological kids to adopted to kind of step from the second marriage okay so.

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Jason Mefford: As you were talking about you know, having the adoption and it really kind of being a death or change of what you were originally in and moving into something else I can totally relate to that because I have adopted kids as well right.

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Jason Mefford: My mother, my parents right I there’s there’s seven of us.

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Jason Mefford: kids, two of which are in heaven right as well, so I had you know, as I gotten to know you, you know if I started to kind of appreciate or realize how my mother, especially was right to where she lost a child very young sudden three three years old.

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Jason Mefford: You know, again, you lost your daughter sudden right.

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Jason Mefford: And then my my younger brother.

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Jason Mefford: Again, sudden right, and so we all experienced this, but we don’t realize how many other people are out there that are going through exactly the same thing.

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Debbie Wood: Right, we want to say we don’t even say it’s a human condition.

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Debbie Wood: Loss it’s but we don’t have language for it.

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Debbie Wood: Many times.

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Jason Mefford: Well, it is and and that’s why you know some of the things that you said here that let’s just kind of jump into a little bit.

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Jason Mefford: More, and again I mean this is.

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Jason Mefford: You know we’re talking about a death, but again it’s it’s any any loss this kind of goes along with right like I heard you say that you felt like your innocence of life was stolen.

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Jason Mefford: Maybe explain that what is what is, what does that mean what does that feel like and how do you how do you get through that.

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Debbie Wood: So I would say the previous years before her passing there were these moments where you’re you’re.

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Debbie Wood: you’re connecting with the child for just for her, I guess, I should say, and she you know would get mad and I didn’t always have the tools, so I get mad back and you just when they were little you were connected and then all this, and this is kind of common I mean teenagers period.

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Jason Mefford: There comes a point and it’s like.

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Debbie Wood: So i’m that’s what i’m saying it’s the normal conditioning, we have this huge heavy awful.

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Debbie Wood: death of a child, but my goodness, every day, we have to, we have to be open to what this is or will not out and you have to feel the loss of it so it’s just the innocence of.

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Debbie Wood: You know you remember, they don’t remember how we saw them, you know this cute innocent child and then what they see is this angry parent.

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Debbie Wood: And they take it on and they they build stories around it, and so the innocence of just this beautiful acceptance between the two of us that i’m fully loved and my mom gets me and she accepts me you.

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Debbie Wood: could feel like that wasn’t there and then she’s yelling at me saying things and you’re like oh my gosh you know you were hanging on to my leg and saying I was the best thing that ever happened to you and.

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Debbie Wood: I love my mom and I can’t go to school without you and then all the sudden you’re in this, you know these hostile same with a marriage, you know or a partnership.

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Debbie Wood: And then, so the desert was, like you, you all of a sudden, you watch and feel it now it’s the worst splintering that goes out, and you can feel the.

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Debbie Wood: The my daughter here, just like everybody starts screaming and I ran like I needed to run so ran into the House and you just know they’re not the same, and you will you can’t ever get it back and you.

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Debbie Wood: You feel like you didn’t just lose her you lost everybody because they’re not going to be the same i’m not even as.

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Debbie Wood: You know my best days are ahead of me, but it won’t be who I was in that moment before her passing and we were literally taking photos outside I was so incredibly peaceful all my kids were home yeah because of coven.

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Debbie Wood: The sea, and so they were home and then that was a miracle and we’re taking pictures with the dog and you couldn’t have had a more innocent moment and then.

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Debbie Wood: The phone call and they’re not the same and we get still you know beautiful family I love us we love it man it’s definitely made us incredibly tight in that regard.

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Debbie Wood: But my oldest he’s figuring out his way but he’s definitely not the same and it’s again multiplied of this i’m can’t be attached anymore to how I thought it was going to look, I have to live here and now.

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Debbie Wood: Be in the press, I mean that’s the gift of death gift of loss you you you either for you either choose to be here and now, or you will keep going, either in the past or you’re in the future, so your children lose their mom.

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Debbie Wood: Because you’re not there, and you can say you are but you’re not when you’re not here and that’s why the work is so important, but that’s what I mean by the innocent sentiment that was a long answer.

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Jason Mefford: No, no, no, because it brought up some other questions or or things to maybe talk about because it’s.

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Jason Mefford: You know, as you as you’re talking about her explaining that that’s obviously what we feel when there’s a major event like a death.

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Jason Mefford: But, but as you were sitting there talking it’s like these things happen to us all the time right because.

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Jason Mefford: they’re they’re just come those different points in our life when things will never be like they were before again it doesn’t have to be death it’s anything else right.

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Jason Mefford: And and, and this is where you know again like you said, we can choose to just hang out in the past and oh woe is me I want things to be like they were but that’s not how life works right.

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Jason Mefford: I mean it’s.

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Debbie Wood: Not you’re not going to have the expansion, you were meant to have here, there has to be a ripping there you know.

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Debbie Wood: Working out, they all you know you rip the muscle down and it builds back stronger nature, you have to prune trees in order for it to blossom even more we don’t we don’t want to feel that what we consider a pain or.

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Debbie Wood: it’s an interruption to what felt so comfortable and normal and yet if you can reframe it that this get comfortable with the uncomfortable lean into that.

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Debbie Wood: You will get through what this feels like you know, especially the death part of the absence of their presence you can’t call her up again, you can’t talk to her, I can’t text her there’s I can’t I have no control um.

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Debbie Wood: But then you got to move through that but um yeah.

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Jason Mefford: Well, you doing it’s it’s it’s interesting because, like you said.

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Jason Mefford: I like how you said that with the reframing right.

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Jason Mefford: So you know with with my brother, I mean I was 15 he was 13 accidental gunshot wound to the head gone right and and at that point, you know, like you said it was.

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Jason Mefford: How do you want to frame it.

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Jason Mefford: How do you want to frame it.

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Jason Mefford: And, and for me, because you know a little of my backstory i’ve got 11 years between me and my next oldest sibling.

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Jason Mefford: So without my little brother I wouldn’t have had the experience in life of having a brother, I would have been like an only child right, and so, when I was the accident baby and I came along, you know.

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Jason Mefford: My mom wasn’t supposed to get pregnant.

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Jason Mefford: So the doctor told her and that’s why she was really surprised.

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Debbie Wood: You are like it, you were a determined I was determined to be right.

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Jason Mefford: But, but what it did was in the they they tried again to be able to allow me the opportunity of having a brother.

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Jason Mefford: And I, and I remember at that you know, for me, going through that again as a 15 year old kid it’s kind of hard to to understand or wrap your head around a little bit.

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Debbie Wood: yeah you’re not even yeah.

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Debbie Wood: The brains, you know developing.

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Jason Mefford: But, but I remember I can’t remember who it was but somebody said something to me that really resonated with me at that time about the fact that well weren’t you lucky.

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Jason Mefford: That he came along, and you got to have a little brother and that just really hit me like you know, again we all go through these different experiences in our life.

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Jason Mefford: To make us who we need to be and, as you talk about open the doors and we’re going to go there, a little bit more, here too, but I wouldn’t be who I am today if I hadn’t had him in my life for those 13 years.

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Jason Mefford: Actually, you know and yeah there are days when I think gosh you know how old Would he be now you know, but I don’t really focus on that instead i’ve chosen to reframe it of how lucky, am I.

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Jason Mefford: That I got to have those experiences.

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Jason Mefford: You know i’ve got the pictures i’ve got the memories i’ve got all of this stuff that helped me to be who I am today.

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Jason Mefford: Right, instead of just sitting in that grief and loss and worrying about the past right and I, and I know so let’s so let’s talk about have you know know when you when you found.

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Jason Mefford: Ever what the name was, but you know the five stages of.

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Jason Mefford: The five stages are bs right and yes.

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Jason Mefford: And you know because, again, most of the time, you know that goes back to kubler Ross drive the denial anger bargaining depression acceptance right.

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Jason Mefford: That that most people understand or know about, and so the the whole idea, at least, I think the way it’s usually Todd is look trying to get through all five of those as quick as you can right.

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Jason Mefford: You don’t want to say stuck in depression and.

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Jason Mefford: You know, being angry and move on, but but talk a little bit about how.

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Jason Mefford: How do people get through it easier, without having to go through these stages, because, again, I mean it was.

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Jason Mefford: I can we were just watching a movie or TV show and somebody it brought up about the loss and grief too and they’re like oh so you’re in.

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Jason Mefford: you’re in denial, so you better hurry up and get through anger whatever right and then what’s next depression so so that’s the way that a lot of us have been taught.

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Jason Mefford: yeah right, and so we feel like oh man i’ve got to be angry about it and then i’m going to be depressed and i’m going to have to be on medication or whatever else right so.

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Jason Mefford: Right so help us understand how do you get through it, without necessarily going through those stages, because we want it to be a lot easier than that.

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Debbie Wood: right because of all yeah good.

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Jason Mefford: Well, I was gonna say because some people spend years.

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Jason Mefford: stuck right.

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Jason Mefford: And I don’t think it has to take that long.

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Debbie Wood: Well, no, and again it’s just we don’t have the tools, but I would also suggest what’s the story you’ve been told about grief.

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Debbie Wood: And what.

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Debbie Wood: Does that mean for you and what, if you could recreate how your story around grief goes.

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Debbie Wood: And that’s it can be difficult, because you are, you know we’re not doing this as a solo journey, most of us.

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Debbie Wood: And when I got out of my head about it and just decided, maybe i’ll be one of the few out there that decides I don’t want this to take.

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Debbie Wood: Because there’s a lot of misconceptions I think when you we say to move through it quickly there’s this.

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Debbie Wood: myths that well if I move through it quickly, that means i’m letting go of them or i’m not gonna i’m just kind of ignoring it i’m in denial.

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Debbie Wood: And it’s not any of that it’s saying i’ve got I today was thinking it’s kind of like you get the graphic idea that you lose a limb.

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Debbie Wood: Your life is still, for the most part, really intact you’re moving forward, but you have these phantom pains, you have you don’t just.

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Debbie Wood: start today or it were move through it and now we’re healed you learn to live with that it’s that kind of practice this is the new normal when I so our acronym within our flow program as you the F is for feel and so often, you know will feel the heavy grief and I haven’t I don’t have.

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Debbie Wood: The resource in front of me but i’ve heard that the body actually only feels grief the grieving process for six weeks.

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Debbie Wood: What we do after that is up to us your body, and it makes me think of Naomi because I think when she was younger she wasn’t fed regularly, and you know Third World country.

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Debbie Wood: She learned the body can’t stay starving, so it tells itself i’m not hungry.

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Debbie Wood: And if it’s not been the diaper hasn’t been changed oh i’m fine because, when she grew up a little bit more, we saw she was an aligned pattern, and we were helped to understand that, because her brain protected her same with with what we do here.

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Debbie Wood: So I think the idea is learning to feel your feelings and not just feel the pain of oh my gosh I can’t see them, but what you know a few months after.

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Debbie Wood: Where is it that you’re not actually allowing yourself to go and have a huge eight or.

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Debbie Wood: The crying or the getting out of the better you to smash something or you just you know your body isn’t meant to contain it, it has to release it so you feel it and then you l you let it go.

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Debbie Wood: And you’re not letting go of your loved one you’re letting go of that moment of the getting used to the new normal you know, this is a process, and then the oh was your overcoming so we work with you on.

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Debbie Wood: What are the areas now in your life that this deaths that loss has triggered magnified and we need to you know unpack that a bit where some of the stories and then and the.

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Debbie Wood: beliefs, that are not working, and then the w is that your hope you’re becoming whole in this particular let’s say it’s.

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Debbie Wood: it’s affected the business and you can’t focus and but you realize, as I haven’t most of the clients it’s never the death that held them back in these areas, it just magnified it.

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Debbie Wood: So I think my biggest piece of advice for people is that it’s a normal process, there was a lady who was in the widow’s group she can morning her husband 14 years.

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Debbie Wood: And just starting to do this work she’s already you know, had so much growth because it’s really coming back to you and loving yourself and putting yourself first self acceptance self love and.

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Debbie Wood: yeah that’s kind of where it starts.

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Jason Mefford: Yes, let’s just let’s just kind of.

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Jason Mefford: kind of go through that a little bit, we can use that losing a limb analogy.

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Jason Mefford: that’s a great one right so so i’ll be i’ll be pirate Jason you know for for a little bit and let’s say I have a you know I lost I lost a leg let’s say right so again, I mean.

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Jason Mefford: Everything that we’re talking about is you know emotional in nature, usually for grief but let’s put it into the context.

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Jason Mefford: Of a limb right because again it’s a way for people to.

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Jason Mefford: To think about this, and often if we think about it in that way we can understand it better emotionally, because sometimes the emotional stuff is not really tangible and it’s hard for us to wrap our mind around it right.

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Jason Mefford: So Okay, so I get in some sort of an accident, I lose one of my legs okay so first off i’m gonna need to feel.

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Jason Mefford: Right, so what what what does that kind of look like how How do people actually feel.

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Debbie Wood: Well they’re angry you’re feeling.

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Debbie Wood: This isn’t fair, why would this happen to me.

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Debbie Wood: What did I feel um.

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Debbie Wood: I don’t want to talk to anybody I don’t want to see anybody.

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Debbie Wood: Oh, my kids going to get in the car and drive What if he dies, how do I keep them I don’t wait, am I going to lose.

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Debbie Wood: Other people wait a minute life does we don’t all get to be together how do I live life without people how do I stay close to them, but then what without getting too I don’t want to get too attached to them, I don’t want to need anybody.

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Debbie Wood: Oh so graduations coming she’d be graduating everybody’s talking about graduation, but no one’s noticing that i’m here and we’re not talking about her graduating she would have been with your class.

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Debbie Wood: And just kind of that feeling bitter you know you have to kind of let that thing that whatever it is, come up so you can.

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Debbie Wood: Remember just ran into the window and you can feel it and then.

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Debbie Wood: don’t let it run away you kind of get get it get Ahold of it, so to speak, and.

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Debbie Wood: You are in control of where you take this.

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Debbie Wood: so to speak, and if it’s the limb I would imagine you, you know there’s that you got to feel like my whole life is over, how do I not i’m not to have a wheelchair that you’re just the support you’re going to need in your life is changing.

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Jason Mefford: yeah because I would assume you know with something like a limb.

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Jason Mefford: Right, I mean again I haven’t done this.

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Jason Mefford: You know, again, maybe it’s it’s like you said i’m going to be feeling like man how am I how am I going to do that Sir, I was a runner I.

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Jason Mefford: Consider myself an athlete.

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Jason Mefford: And now you know what what am I going to do i’m might be angry, especially maybe if it was something that I did that was stupid.

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Debbie Wood: right that.

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Jason Mefford: That led to it, so now, I might feel a little guilty of doing it right, I might start to feel like all my whole life is is wasted now.

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Jason Mefford: But you know again so so at that point, because then I think we start we quickly kind of move into the let it go or that’s what I wanted to kind of, say, because you were you’re talking about, and this is one thing i’ve learned, especially the last year, so it’s okay.

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Jason Mefford: to feel those emotions it’s just not okay to get stuck and stay in those emotions right.

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Jason Mefford: So so So how do we so I guess at that point we’re kind of feeling it, but then we have to kind of let it go or.

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Debbie Wood: honor what you’re feeling it’s an honoring I think so many of us, especially an emotional world we are not.

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Debbie Wood: we’re taught so often okay you’re sad now move on or your you didn’t get the exam the test you on it didn’t come out the way you want, and you didn’t get the job you didn’t but you know.

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Debbie Wood: tomorrow’s a new day you know and we kind of make a happy statement because we all want to stay in that state of what we think is happy.

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Debbie Wood: But what happens is if it’s not allowed, because energy is I mean emotions are energy in motion, and so, when you don’t allow it to at least come out and.

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Debbie Wood: Either find a way to you know, maybe exercise take a walk the letting go isn’t that we’re just going to not go there and we’re not journaling you know, maybe voice recording how you’re feeling nobody else has to see it.

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Debbie Wood: But it’s it’s not just seeing it now, you have to actively do something with it.

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Debbie Wood: And so, building a new practice in your life of when it does come up and it’s maybe around the grief and loss because it’s going to come back up again.

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Debbie Wood: Where do you go with that that could be a healthy or habit than just stuffing or doing all the other numbing things that most of us do when we have.

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Debbie Wood: And just practice and being kind with you’re not able to let it go, you know that’s in the moment i’m just being curious with yourself and.

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Jason Mefford: So so we’re actually kind of doing something, because, like you said there’s got to be some activists to it right as well, and I know.

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Jason Mefford: So, for example, I don’t know if you if you did this, but I, I saw this in my family right when my brother died his room stayed intact.

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Jason Mefford: Right, the door just close the door just got closed.

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Jason Mefford: You know, for a long time and.

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Jason Mefford: I don’t know if my parents did, but I did I would go in and lay on his bed.

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Jason Mefford: And you know do stuff.

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Jason Mefford: As as part of kind of letting go, but it but it’s kind of the.

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Jason Mefford: Now we got to get on with our life.

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Jason Mefford: Right right so again if i’ve if i’ve lost one of my legs at some point i’ve got to get my butt up off the couch actually go do something go get some crutches figure out about prosthetics.

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Jason Mefford: Because it start and start to change my stories as well right because again that’s one where you might say, you know, all I lost my leg well again I just.

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Jason Mefford: wanna documentaries, you were watching last night, there was a guy that Boston leg, and in the military and he’s doing just fine with the prosthetic right, I mean how many olympians and other people.

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Jason Mefford: have been able to do it so changing our stories moving ourselves closer to that way and just letting go of what we thought the future.

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Jason Mefford: Exactly be right.

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Debbie Wood: it’s helped me is sitting with this was going to happen.

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Debbie Wood: And I know that goes against everything we want to say that we could have prevented you know she wasn’t even in our care at the time she was at a different school, I have the guilt oh I wasn’t there.

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Debbie Wood: But if you really sit in if you saw my whole life deb if you’re looking at your whole life honey, this was going to be a part of it.

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Debbie Wood: it’s new to you, but from this higher a vantage point, this was always a part of the timeline here’s this next stage of who you become and you’re being you’re still this woman, but now, who are you going to be with this new.

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Debbie Wood: Chapter new you know with this percent bounce back and forth, but then you did like that’s what I had to start to recognize was that life that I knew was over, so that meant I had to kind of do new things like.

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Debbie Wood: Well, what do I, how do I see myself as a mom all of a sudden, I had all this extra not energy, but I was so used to dealing with her life and the things that that were around her.

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Debbie Wood: Whether it was positive or negative you you just get so used and they’re not.

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Debbie Wood: There, so you have to kind of feel you I don’t even know how I think you just kind of you’ve learned new things, but we still have some stuff of hers.

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Debbie Wood: But this week, I was like you know what we need to clean out our basement and it’s time but I thought, do I sell some of it or do I just.

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Debbie Wood: I don’t really want to give it away because it feels like it’s and then i’m like well why are we attaching any meaning to her stuff she’s not here, so you kind of go it’s kind of you have to let yourself go there you got it you’ve never done this before.

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Debbie Wood: Like we have with the leg you’ve got to get used and then, if there is the phantom pain and that’s what I would consider.

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Debbie Wood: All the sudden i’ll see a picture of her and the reality that I can’t have her put her arm around on me and instantly i’ll feel the emotion and i’ll cry it out.

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Debbie Wood: But then I go into the part of letting go now for me as oh my gosh going back to what you said earlier, the absolute joy and gratitude that I got to know this kid.

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Debbie Wood: Who nobody knew was even interested in from the other side of this globe, she somehow we attracted each other and I brought her home from Liberia.

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Debbie Wood: And she was in my house what that’s amazing and the laughter and the joy that she brought in, and knowing that i’m not the same, but I think when what happens with because the grief is two sided we think of the negative, but this side of it.

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Debbie Wood: Is we have this tendency with grief to arm, if you don’t let it go kind of you stay in the starkness is that.

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Debbie Wood: You miss out.

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Debbie Wood: You miss out on the the value of her your loved one you miss out on that that energy never changes that energy of having them and loving them and.

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Debbie Wood: we’ve gotten so used to the physical way we love each other, they have to be here, I should right.

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Debbie Wood: But that doesn’t ever end, I can still visit my memories, I can still who, I am here is because of her in my life so when i’m living choosing to live.

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Debbie Wood: In the best place, I can right now she’s here and that’s part of, I think, where I I rest now is, I have a choice to live my life.

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Debbie Wood: So fully alive, because she passed away I am so much more aware of being here and what do I want my life to look like and i’m going to leave someday So what do I want to go about now doing in my life um yeah it’s the big esoteric questions and.

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Jason Mefford: I love going esoteric Okay, we can go down lots of rabbit holes no because because, as you were as you were.

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Jason Mefford: Talking you know again it’s we get taught certain things in our life we get taught these stories indoctrinated and, as you were sitting there talking.

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Jason Mefford: I was thinking to myself, you know.

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Jason Mefford: If.

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Jason Mefford: If you don’t feel grateful.

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Jason Mefford: For the impact that Naomi had in your life.

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Jason Mefford: For how she helped make you a better woman.

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yep.

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Jason Mefford: And if you don’t get on and live your life as the new debbie.

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Jason Mefford: Right, who has learned this new stuff.

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Jason Mefford: What almost a.

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Jason Mefford: disrespect.

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Jason Mefford: It is to having her in your life and again for a lot of people that’s going to be like holy shit.

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Jason Mefford: Oh, did you just say right.

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Debbie Wood: But let’s hope that bear.

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Jason Mefford: yeah but but but really I mean it’s like you know again if we can’t.

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Jason Mefford: come to terms with and get to that place of gratitude and again like you said there’s the ripping there’s you know there’s there’s death in nature there’s but there has to be death for renewal.

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Jason Mefford: right along along the whole way and so.

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Jason Mefford: Why do we think as humans that we’re any different and it’s about time to you know get on and and move on up, if you will, right that that that place of gratitude and letting letting go and allowing what’s coming or the gift.

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Jason Mefford: That you got from the grief that you.

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Jason Mefford: That you went through a completely different person now than you were a couple years ago.

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Jason Mefford: Absolutely.

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Debbie Wood: Because of this yeah my whole frame of how I look at the world it’s like that’s the gift of loss and death, if you choose to go there with it.

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Debbie Wood: What is it here to teach me and if i’m not attached to what does it mean for me and it’s got to be about me and my loss and I no longer have my child and you can get into this identity of i’m.

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Debbie Wood: You know very easily you can look to others to come and coddle you not coddle you but that’s i’m going to say that’s what it is we can have we can rehash our grief story.

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Debbie Wood: And at the end of the day that just gets old because you’re not you’re actually disrespecting your own life, you get this one good life, you can choose to stay in this and say well it’s my right, and I am.

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Debbie Wood: I do believe in the five stages which by the way, I guess that lady wrote it about cancer her and her own journey and that it has morphed into all this and there is no there’s no right or way to grief.

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Debbie Wood: grief, but there you have loved ones in your life you it’s not about you you’re here to love and serve and create expansion, for those who are with you and it’s.

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Debbie Wood: yeah it’s it’s choice.

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Jason Mefford: Well, it isn’t it is you were talking there reminded me of kind of what you.

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Jason Mefford: Were you were sharing at the beginning.

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Jason Mefford: You know where a lot of times, especially grieving parents, they withdraw.

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Jason Mefford: And you know there’s the rest of the family that’s there and so now it’s not like.

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Jason Mefford: You know that the kids didn’t just lose a sibling.

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Jason Mefford: Right, they also lost a parent at the.

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Jason Mefford: same time.

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Jason Mefford: Right and that that’s that’s again it’s it’s it’s our impact that we have on on everybody else as well.

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Debbie Wood: yeah that brings up Sunday, I went mental mentioned earlier, I remember in that moment, the first couple hours they’re all work together and crying and holding and.

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Debbie Wood: it’s very, very clear to me if you can’t abandon them.

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Debbie Wood: And I have enough in me like the resources and being around loss, and I was reading about it that I was able to go there quickly with that I know, most people may not think i’m.

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Debbie Wood: they’re abandoning their children because they’re grieving that the other child that they lost, but if I knew, whatever it took I needed to still show up.

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Debbie Wood: They don’t they still need the mom that they had they still need an intact home they still need a home that is going to be.

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Debbie Wood: predictable and safe and not you know grieving we did it for a couple of months you definitely could feel it in their house, but we got back to a somewhat more and what we weren’t in denial.

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Debbie Wood: But we needed to get back to our rhythm and a routine because that’s what the human spirit needs and our children, they were you know older but.

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Debbie Wood: They needed that and it was good for me to kind of get back to a normal seat, you know and then with my husband, we needed to go back to laughing I mean I remember the first few times you start to feel joyful you’re like ooh.

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Debbie Wood: You know this is so common with everybody i’ve heard this before before nearly passed that awkwardness do I have the right to be happy, yes, because you are.

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Debbie Wood: When we’re joyful and happy and well being and peace that ripple effect it just expands those around us in our home and our communities.

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Debbie Wood: So I just wanted to add that little piece, that it was very important to me.

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Debbie Wood: Even now, to see them he’s there in front of me my child naomi’s not here, but I am fully his mom here now and then we’ll have conversations miss my oldest is very much.

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Debbie Wood: open to talking about he always checks in but not the other kids and you’ll find that to some people will check in but very few you know and then with those ones you do, who say how are you doing you get to have that conversation.

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Debbie Wood: Well, you know today, it was just I really missed she could just put her hand on my shoulder and then he.

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Debbie Wood: says yeah it’s really hard for me not to be able to make a tick tock video and send it to her, you know you just, and that is such another way of letting go you’re getting an out your.

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Debbie Wood: You know, sometimes I think to we get nervous, I thought to me bring it up to our children to even bring it up to my husband we don’t really have conversations Alan I, but once in a while I will you know cry or or.

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Debbie Wood: You know, whatever it is, maybe i’m thinking Moody and i’ll say I think it’s because.

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Debbie Wood: I think grief, is in my body or you know loss and feeling lost you don’t know, and so you just have to have the conversation with your family members of.

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Debbie Wood: i’m just navigating this and I are the kids made their snappy and you know edgy we just assume there’s part of the grief showing itself and loss and we don’t make anything of it.

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Debbie Wood: And if that’s, the last thing i’ll say is the gift that it’s given us is we’re much more open to them reacting and not just demanding this kind of demanding thing of.

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Debbie Wood: Well you’re Moody today or get yourself back into happy mode, because that will make us feel better it’s you just can’t bottle it that it’s going to come up and so we’re much more patient were much more open to allowing emotion and.

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Debbie Wood: it’s just it’s a huge gift.

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Jason Mefford: Well, it is and that’s you know that it is something that can be overcome.

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Jason Mefford: much quicker usually, then I think I think what most people are taught about right and that’s that’s one of the things that you’re helping people do but.

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Jason Mefford: I wanted to also ask because you know and again this this comes up from time to time to is when you know people who have experienced some of the laws.

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Jason Mefford: Sometimes we’re we’re a little awkward we don’t know what do you say, what do you do I.

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mean.

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Jason Mefford: How is the best way to support people that are going through grief and loss be big because you know again it’s like sometimes it’s like pull up your big boy pants and put a smile on your face.

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Jason Mefford: right but that’s not really helpful.

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Jason Mefford: So, so how you know because we’ve been talking about how we can kind of support ourselves.

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Jason Mefford: You know, feel it let it go overcome you know put some of those new habits those new things in place, see the world differently have have different stories.

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Jason Mefford: And that we can be a whole person and realize that again it’s it’s.

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Jason Mefford: it’s part of our whole experience right is all this stuff that we’re going through, but if there’s somebody in your life who’s experienced that and you want to help support them, how are some of the best ways to support other people.

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Debbie Wood: I think it’s allowing this my I guess the word that I would just you’re holding space.

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Debbie Wood: I think so often I think most people are just not they’re just we’re so ill prepared to handle how to communicate about what we’re feeling, first of all, and then add this but.

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Debbie Wood: They don’t know what they’re feeling even I think a lot of people are just unaware that they’re feeling it so if it’s maybe an interaction and, like you, don’t you don’t know or.

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Debbie Wood: I think just showing up being yourself but not trying to like hide the elephant in the room, just being aware that.

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Debbie Wood: it’s also their journey and sometimes you have to wait for the queue.

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Debbie Wood: Maybe if they’re like snippy at you it’s just holding giving them extra grace, they are.

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Debbie Wood: It really is just the body doesn’t always, I think I guess I go back to Naomi and I can look back now and see a lot of what she was going through as a teenager in her early years and her anger was more about.

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Debbie Wood: She didn’t have words for what was happening she really didn’t and I think most of us just don’t have words so it’s just that comfortable space.

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Debbie Wood: That you can provide by sending with them, maybe sending a card that’s The one thing that stopped was you get all these cards in the beginning, and then there’s nothing.

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Debbie Wood: So if you have a thought of them, and you know, send a card and just say was thinking of you today.

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Debbie Wood: I know you miss her every day and.

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Debbie Wood: Oh no or maybe if it’s like a graduation, this is so good, I haven’t even really thought like what would I do.

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Debbie Wood: My graduation time and if you know that they’re like they say they lost their child and the young.

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Debbie Wood: All these years later if you’re like a family member, you would you’d be the only one to know this, that their child will be graduating this year, what an amazing.

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Debbie Wood: thing to get a card that would say i’m you know, thinking of her that she would have graduated this year, maybe for other people, that would be a trigger but.

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Debbie Wood: welcome it if it makes you go oh my gosh they would flip out.

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Debbie Wood: Part of that is just a health, you know, maybe that’s not you’re not responsible for their reaction, maybe that’s what I need to say.

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Debbie Wood: just see even trying to analyze well you know just show up if it’s something you want to send a card or you or send a text or can I give you a hug today, and maybe they say no, or say yes.

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Debbie Wood: I don’t think we need to worry about how they react, you have some love to give you have some joy some your presence is all that.

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Debbie Wood: is needed, and just the fact that you’re sending them that vibration of love and encouragement that’s all that matters, and the fact that you’re even trying, because it is everybody gets awkward everybody.

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Debbie Wood: yeah.

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Jason Mefford: Well that’s that’s that’s a good way to kind of end up you end up on it it’s a life lesson and in general for anybody right is that if we can just show up allow other people to be who they are allow them to be on the journey that they’re going to be on.

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Jason Mefford: Actually, and hold space for them, you know and not try to fix it because we can’t fix it it’s their journey right right, but if we’re there.

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Debbie Wood: and put it back on there.

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Debbie Wood: You can’t put the mess missing limb back on it’s oh it’s done its final and this okay banality is a gift it’s beautiful it’s now help them pivot support them in the pivoting that’s really where we need as a human species to help one another because we don’t.

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Debbie Wood: The person pivoting doesn’t know what they’re doing and the people around all the sudden everybody’s changing it’s like wait you’re not the same.

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Debbie Wood: Everything is just so interesting and different but it’s normal it’s okay what’s going on.

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Debbie Wood: And we’re taught how to get and you know, Mary and get a partner and have kids but we’re not taught how to let go.

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Debbie Wood: And so it’s just allowing each other that space to just figure this next phase next chapter out and no time does not heal all wounds and you don’t heal grief you heal yourself, and I think that’s.

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Debbie Wood: An important lesson grief is a gift, but if you don’t tend to it in the way that needs to be it can certainly reach some habit in your life.

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Okay.

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Jason Mefford: yeah and I did, and what you brought up there to you know about having gone through.

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Jason Mefford: several deaths and my family as well you know again if somebody’s listening and you know somebody who’s gone through that there’s a huge outpouring the first week.

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Jason Mefford: The funeral all that kind of stuff.

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Jason Mefford: And then everybody retreats everybody else goes back to their regular life so if you really want to help somebody reach out to them at those times when other people are withdrawing that’s usually two or three weeks afterwards.

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Jason Mefford: And just be there just show up just don’t have to talk don’t have to fix anything just let people know that you’re thinking about them, that you love them and you’re there to support him hey if you want a hug and i’m here for hugs.

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Debbie Wood: And I will say, because now that I go around town, I noticed seems like more and more people i’m sorry i’m like losing my light.

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Debbie Wood: But more and more people are saying hi to me it could just be me noticing, but I think just go about you know, I have one lady.

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Debbie Wood: friend who will text and say how are you feeling about Naomi today, or what.

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Debbie Wood: Have you in a memory that you’ve had about Naomi and I love that that’s great because it gives me an opportunity to share and I don’t have to answer right away, you know remember people don’t always have to answer right, then, so if it’s a.

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Debbie Wood: text or a card that gives them the space to kind of what do I want to respond, but also if you see them someone who has had a loss still say hi to them and treat them as if their life is going on, because we also feel awkward that you know.

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Debbie Wood: like this and you can just be so sensitive to like.

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Debbie Wood: Twice and then also hey me saying hi to people in the beginning was kind of awkward because you knew that they knew.

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Debbie Wood: Naomi was not here anymore, and yet she’s happy and saying hi because.

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Debbie Wood: Like I said life goes on, and you know, in the beginning 90% of your day is awful and then before you know it it’s like 80% and then the end before you know at 70 and then.

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Debbie Wood: pretty much latest feeling normal and then occasionally you’re hit again by the two by four oh gosh we had where that family, you know.

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Debbie Wood: But yeah both sides it’s.

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Debbie Wood: it’s just practice getting used to it.

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Jason Mefford: Well, and I think you know, again I love your the idea that grief is a gift.

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Jason Mefford: mm hmm that’s a story that serves all of us very well, regardless of whatever grief or loss, where we may go through if we see everything that’s happening to us as a gift be grateful for what we’re learning and just keep moving along right that’s that’s a great recipe for a happy life.

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Debbie Wood: yeah and you’re this What if life is about your learning, not just things happening to us and we just get up and we go about it but truly everything here is operating for our highest and best good.

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Debbie Wood: And you have to take that even to your losses or you are missing out on the actually the deepest lessons of life and actually helping you to let go even more of things that keep you attached and down.

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Debbie Wood: And you’ll meet the most amazing people when you start to let go, because you will need that support group and they come in the most amazing places when you decide that it’s you’re not going to do the solo.

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Jason Mefford: Well, and I love you and thank you for.

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Coming.

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Jason Mefford: Today I know it’s it’s you’re my sister from another Mister right.

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Jason Mefford: so well, thank you for coming on because I know again.

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Jason Mefford: You know a lot of times, as we were just talking about here at the end even we don’t know what to say they don’t know what to say when when we know people are going through tough times, again, regardless of what the tough time yeah.

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Jason Mefford: yeah there’s so many tough times you know divorce, I mean all these other things just show up and love, on the other person hold that space for them.

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Jason Mefford: In just allow them to be and understand their path that they’re going on, because, like you said that’s that’s actually where the magic really happens in life that’s where the real connection and intimacy really come from.

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Jason Mefford: us in those experiences and like you said don’t.

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Jason Mefford: don’t just think of all the good things as gifts, but think of the things that we might label as bad as being a true gift to us as well because we’re learning a lesson that we couldn’t learn any other way.

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Debbie Wood: And you’re not going to feel this in the middle of it, I mean this is we’re talking after.

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Debbie Wood: The body’s gone through it and you’re getting back to your new normal but interacting with each other and creating some sense of normalcy.

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Debbie Wood: Whether it’s something that you know you used to joke, with the person kind of go back to you being you because that’s and i’m saying this for the person who hasn’t had the loss.

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Debbie Wood: it’s hard enough when we lose somebody but to notice the dynamics might have changed with other people in our life that’s hard to.

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Debbie Wood: So we really do want you to stay you so if you come into a usually bubbly person come in bubbly you know, after a few weeks or a couple months, whatever you know sense it out, but.

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Debbie Wood: We don’t want to lose that either and that’s kind of what it feels like in the beginning, because you can sense everybody does this awkward.

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Debbie Wood: You know and they’re grieving you know you got your people, everyone was grieving and then eventually we have to get we want to have that sense of normalcy back.

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So.

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Jason Mefford: Perfect well, I know, like I said at the beginning, you know you’re helping parents that are going through this so how’s that how’s the best way for people to kind of reach out to you and.

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Jason Mefford: If they’re needing help because they’re like debbie i’m in the same situation right, I mean we like I said more of us are going through this and then we realize, because people aren’t talking about it.

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Debbie Wood: Right and we need to collectively talk about it and get get the healing going so you can reach out to me at parents living beyond grief at gmail COM.

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Debbie Wood: Eventually i’ll have a website, but for now just reach out and even if you just want to say you know, can you please pray for me or I need.

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Debbie Wood: Just encouragement that’s what we can start with, and then we can decide if that’s something you want to work with you one on one we can have that conversation but start by just reaching out that’s what I did with Denise, and here I am.

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Debbie Wood: yeah I didn’t even you know she was a widow, and I was like I don’t know I don’t think I, and I remember thinking I don’t think I need.

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Debbie Wood: coaching necessarily because she won’t know what i’m going through, but it was more of that the.

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Debbie Wood: The bond of loss that she knew, and the fact that she chose to get healed because she had been in therapy for many years, and she remembers going one day.

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Debbie Wood: And the ladies like oh you’ll you know, like How long do I feel like this, I think therapist says, but you know, several years, and she was like.

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Debbie Wood: She went hell no I am done so she she went about our own healing journey and so that’s who I want to work with people who know that they have more to give and your best days are ahead of you and that’s hard.

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Debbie Wood: To have that belief, there are.

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Jason Mefford: there’s lots of good days ahead and.

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Jason Mefford: i’m grateful for you coming on here and for the women that you are and how you’re helping people as well, so thank.

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Debbie Wood: You.

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Debbie Wood: Thanks for letting me share my story.

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Jason Mefford: you’re welcome thanks.

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Right.

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