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.
Embracing Grief In Community - Adam Stevens, RDT
Adam Stevens, RDT, (he/they), knows grief. He grew up in a family of five. A family that is now a family of one. Adam brings this deep knowing of grief to his work as the Program Manager for Bereavement and Mental Health Services at the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI), where he supports primarily BIPOC queer & trans youth in transforming grief & the pain of loss through creative arts therapy.
We talk about:
How Adam came to work with grief & loss. What Drama Therapy is. Adam's work at Hetrick-Martin Institute supporting LGBTQIA+ youth in being seen and heard in their grief. The collective losses the youth they work with experienced through the COVID pandemic. The multi-faceted intersection of queer identity and grief. How Adam's personal grief has changed through this work. Learn more about the Hetrick-Martin Institute and follow them on IG & Fbook.
Note: this episode mentions suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling. Please reach out for support.
Crisis Text Line: text HELLO to 741741
The Trevor Project: text START to 678678 (for LGBTQ youth)
The Trans Lifeline: (877) 565-8860
The word complicated came up a lot in this episode with Joe, whose dad died in 2017 after a decade of failing health. Joe's dad was a complicated guy. Joe’s relationship with his dad was and continues to be complicated. So, it's unsurprising that Joe's grief since his dad died has been equally complicated.
That grief has evolved over time, from numbness at the start to beginning to feel and express a full range of emotions. These days, Joe continues to reckon with the complexity of his dad and their relationship, while also making space for remembering the times and places where humor and happiness also lived.
Things Others Never Even Have To Think About - Grief & Identity
Everett's spent the last few years trying to access and process the emotions that come with grief. Emotions that he learned to push aside when he was 12 and his father died. Emotions he didn't know how to make sense of in his early twenties when his brother died. Emotions he was better able to feel and express to when his grandmother died just this past winter.
Grief doesn't happen in a vacuum and that is particularly true for those who have aspects of their identity that are marginalized by others. For Everett, growing up poor and being trans are two of these aspects that add layers to his grief. Layers that those who don't carry these aspects never even have to think about.
Note: this episode mentions suicide. If you or someone you know if struggling, please reach out for support.
National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: 988
Crisis Text Line: text HELLO to 741741
Born For This Work - Supporting Grief & Death (Valenca Valenzuela, MSW)
Valenca Valenzuela, MSW, was born on Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) which seems fitting for someone who grew up to hold space for people before and after a death. Valenca is the Volunteer and Group Coordinator at Dougy Center, supporting children, teens, young adults and their adult family members who are grieving a death. As a death doula, she supports people who are facing the end of their lives. She is also an instructor for the Going with Grace program, readying others to do similar work.
Valenca comes to this work as someone with a lot of lived experience. When she was 16, her father died of cancer. As an adult, she was with her grandmother at the end of her life. A trip to Ireland to connect with her maternal lineage solidified her passion for working as a death doula and starting conversations about end of life.
Valenca shares about what it was like to be 16 and grieving for her father, what she’s learned from working with kids and families in our peer grief support groups, what it means to have a "good death," and ways we can all be better prepared for end of life.
We Have No New Memories - Amanda Drews & Buzzy's Bees
Amanda Drews is the founder of Buzzy’s Bees, the organization she started after her son Hudson, who was 13 months old, died of SUDC (Sudden and Unexplained Death in Childhood). Amanda started Buzzy’s Bees with a mission to provide financial support to families dealing with the unexpected loss of a child. Over time, Amanda realized what families really needed and wanted was a chance to talk about their children. So she launched the Give Grief a Voice Project where families meet with professional writers and artists who capture the essence of their child and their life in a unique piece of art.
In this episode we talk about:
The stories we tell ourselves about death & grief.
What Amanda's older son needed in his grief.
How Amanda navigates her season of grief - the time between Hudson's birthday and anniversary of the day he died.
Comedy & Grief & Father's Day - A Reprise
This episode originally aired in June, 2019.
What is it about dark humor and why are we drawn to it when wrestling with painful life events? Laughter, especially the kind that wells up from a shared understanding of heartbreak, can be a surprising aspect of grief. Harry Jensen's father died of stage 4 colon cancer in January of 2017. Harry turned to stand-up comedy as a way to put his grief into words that often spark discomfort and uncertainty, but also serve as inspiration for people in the audience to open up about their own grief.
We discuss prompting uncomfortable laughter, Father's Day, and how the intersections of identity can affect grief.
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.