Remember the last time you tried to talk about grief and suddenly everyone left the room? Grief Out Loud is opening up this often avoided conversation because grief is hard enough without having to go through it alone. We bring you a mix of personal stories, tips for supporting children, teens, and yourself, and interviews with bereavement professionals. Platitude and cliché-free, we promise! Grief Out Loud is hosted by Jana DeCristofaro and produced by The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families in Portland, Oregon.
We're All Experts In Our Own Grief - Rebecca Soffer & The Modern Loss Handbook
Rebecca Soffer, co-founder of the Modern Loss Community, started becoming an expert in grief the moment she learned that her mother Shelby was killed in a car crash. Her expertise expanded when four years later, her father Ray died of a heart attack while traveling.
As a single woman in her early thirties, Rebecca needed to talk about her grief, and she really needed to hear others talk about theirs. It was this longing for an ongoing conversation and led her, along with co-founder Gabi Birkner, to start the Modern Loss Community.
Nine years later, Rebecca just published her second book - The Modern Loss Handbook: An Interactive Guide to Moving Through Grief and Building Your Resilience. It's the kind of book that many people are looking for in their grief - filled with prompts for writing, drawing, and movement practices to help people stay connected to themselves, their people who died, and the world around them.
Follow Modern Loss and Rebecca on Facebook, IG, and Twitter.
Grief Is Love - Marisa Renee Lee
As humans, we have a pervasive desire to compartmentalize. To box up messy thoughts and emotions and “just get on with it already.”
For Marisa Renee Lee, this was the approach she took to navigating grief. Grief that started when she was 12 and her mother, Lisa, was diagnosed with MS. Grief that grew as her mother was later diagnosed with cancer and died in 2008. Grief that expanded to included infertility, pregnancy loss, and most recently, a cousin who died of COVID-19.
These last three losses led Marisa to realize that she didn’t have to box up her grief and shove it to the back of the closet. She found a way to open those boxes, to sit with the reality of what was lost, to honor what was – and in that process she also found a way to make room for joy and beauty.
Marisa wrote about these discoveries for her new book, Grief is Love, Living With Loss. In our conversation we talk about how she got to the point of writing this book, what’s she learned about grief, what it’s been like to grieve in this world as a Black woman, and all the ways she stays connected to the memory of her mom Lisa.
Learn more about Marisa.
Order Grief Is Love, Living With Loss.
Follow on Instagram @marisareneelee
"How Are Your Parents?" - Sibling Grief & Jordon Ferber
In grief land, lots of groups are talked about as invisible or forgotten. Children, parents grieving a miscarriage, ex-partners, and siblings. For siblings, their grief often exists in the shadow of their parents – or it’s at least treated that way by others.
Jordon Ferber ran into that when his younger brother, Russell, died when Russell was 21. While Jordon’s parents recognized that Jordon needed support just as much as they did, the rest of his sphere started where most people do, with the question, “How are your parents?”
Jordon is the host and creator of the Where's the Grief? podcast. He's also a longtime facilitator for a sibling grief support group through The Compassionate Friends.
Follow Jordon on IG & Facebook.
**Note: this episode contains salty language.**
Trauma & Grief - Meghan Riordan Jarvis, LCSW
Being a plumber doesn’t mean the pipes in your house never leak. Being a landscaper doesn’t mean your own yard is magically free of weeds. Why is it then that those of us who work in grief sometimes fall prey to the magical thinking that we will somehow be immune to the heartbreak when someone dies? Meghan Riordan Jarvis, LCSW, is a trauma-informed psychotherapist with over 20 years of clinical experience who harbored the same secret wish. A wish which imploded when her mother died in 2019, just two years after her dad died of cancer. While Meghan’s training and clinical acumen didn’t prevent her from experiencing grief, they did enable her to recognize when she started to develop PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder – and that she needed additional help.
In our conversation, we talk about:
- What was different about grieving after her father’s death vs. her mother’s.
- How she recognized the signs of PTSD and the treatment she sought out.
- The concept of “meaning making” and how it’s important to clarify what types of meaning are supportive and which can be harmful.
In addition to being a trauma therapist, Meghan is a fellow grief podcaster and her show is called Grief Is My Side Hustle. Her memoir is due to be out in the world in 2023.
Grief is My Side Hustle website
Grief is My Side Hustle podcast
@meghan.riordan.jarvis on IG
@griefismysidehustle on Fbook
Splintering Grief - DJ Arsene Versailles & Marked By COVID
Lingering. Shivering. Simmering. Splintering.
These are the words DJ Arsene Versailles wrote to describe grief after his mother, Florcie Yves Versailles, died of COVID-19 in May of 2020. This grief was and continues to be layered - as most grief is - and some of these layers are specific to his mom being a Black woman who died during a pandemic, of a disease that has come to be so much more than just a medical diagnosis.
DJ's mom was committed to social justice and this inspired him to do similar work in the wake of her death. After meeting Kristin Urquiza, co-founder of Marked by COVID, he became involved in their effort to establish a COVID Memorial Day.
Listen to DJ's interview with Sarah Betancourt.
Learn more about Marked by COVID.
"The Silent Third Parent" - A Family Blended By Grief
Anne Gudger was pregnant with her first child, Jake, when her husband Kent died in a car crash. Years later she met and married Scott and they had a daughter, Maria. Fast forward to March of 2020, the beginning of the pandemic, when Anne and Maria found themselves drinking a lot of coffee and talking about grief. Those conversations inspired them to start Coffee and Grief, a Facebook group for folks wanting to connect around loss. The Facebook group grew into a series of curated readings called Coffee Talk where writers share short pieces about anything in the realm of grief.
Maria and Anne are funny and warm and somehow make talking about grief feel comfortable.
In our conversation we discuss:
What it was like raising Jake as a young widow. How Kent's memory acts as the silent third parent in their blended family. Why community matters when it comes to loss. How writing can help people integrate grief. Read Anne's writing at Anne Gudger
Join the Coffee and Grief Facebook group or visit their public Coffee and Grief page to learn more about readings and their 30-day writing classes.
Real Life Conversations About Grief
I just discovered this excellent podcast which explores grief and how it impacts the lives of real people. The host, Jana, asks smart questions and actively listens to her guests, providing insights and, for me, the feeling I am not alone.
A Calm, Peaceful Space
As a widow, I’m always looking for new conversations around grief, and this show always makes me think. I’ve also noticed that it’s easy to listen to because Jana’s overwhelming “vibe” is so chill. That rubs off on her guests as well. I’m glad I found this podcast and will keep coming back to learn more about my own grief journey.
Excellent interview skills
Jana is extremely talented at asking questions that would otherwise make people nervous. Her guests are engaged and share their lived experiences with grief in a profound way bc of her skill. There is a lot to feel and learn here, whether you are grieving or supporting someone who is grieving. Grief is universal and completely unique! Everyone should listen, especially in today’s world.