Shapes of Grief is brought to you by Liz Gleeson, an Irish grief therapist. Liz hosts conversations with people about their experience of loss and grief in their lives. Through the recounting of our grief stories, integration can begin to happen, both for the teller and the listener. Everyone has a story of loss and everyone's story offers hope and inspiration to other grievers. Sharing these stories with each other can go a long way in normalising this human experience. Please do become a Patron on https://www.patreon.com/shapesofgrief for as little as $5 per month, help keep us going!
Ep. 98 Sacha Langton-Gilks on Childhood Cancer & Anticipatory Grief
Sacha and Liz discuss childhood cancer, anticipatory grief and the misunderstandings that often surround incurable disease. They talk about the different meanings between incurable, terminal, palliative care and end-of-life. Sacha describes what is was like going through anticipatory grief and how her son wanted to speak about his death in ways that would surprise her. #childhoodcancerawarenessmonth #childhoodcancer #anticipatorygrief #parentalbereavement #cancer
Ep. 97 Melissa & Emma talk about Grief.Coach, a texting service for bereaved people
A conversation about some of the needs of bereaved people and why Grief.Coach texting service could be a wonderful balm for people during their most vulnerable months and years.
Ep. 96 Mary Shine Thompson, Poems for when you can't find the words
Order your copy of ‘Poems for when you can’t find the words’ here
In this episode, I speak to Mary Shine Thompson about the power of poetry at end-of-life and during times of grief. We also talk about her personal experiences of loss; how the death of her brother as young adults reshaped her life, and how the death of her mother at age 93, brought with it a profound grief. It’s another beautiful conversation that looks at yet more Shapes of Grief.
Poems for When You Can’t Find the Words is a comforting collection of poetry from the Irish Hospice Foundation surrounding loss and end of life. The book brings together classic poets, beloved Irish figures, medieval translations and new commissions, which together form a diverse anthology designed to bring solace and refuge to those in need.
Created in partnership with Poetry Ireland, Poems for When You Can’t Find the Words offers intimate verse of honesty, candour and solidarity to patients, carers and the bereaved alike. Readers will find comfort in the penned reflections of death, grief, loss and love that span the barriers of time, geography and language.
‘Sometimes, the right words in the right order remain tantalisingly beyond our reach: when, for example, emotions are raw, or formless, or just overwhelming,’ said Mary Shine Thompson, who edited and introduced the collection. ‘[Poetry] speaks to the fears and concerns that illness and approaching death awaken. Poetry can keep us going.’
An essential collection for those leaving or left, Poems for When You Can’t Find the Words includes comforting works by Patrick Kavanagh, Louise Glück, Seamus Heaney, Emily Dickinson, Michael D. Higgins, Paula Meehan and more.
Irish Hospice Foundation is a national charity that addresses dying, death and bereavement in Ireland. Their vision is an Ireland where people facing end of life or bereavement, and those who care for them, are provided with the care and support that they need.
Mary Shine Thompson lectured in English at St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, now Dublin City University, until her retirement. Her edition of Skelligs Haul, by Michael Kirby, was published in 2019, and her exploration of the literary heritage of Westmeath features in Westmeath: Literature and Society (edited by S. O’Brien and W. Nolan, 2022). She is a former chair of Poetry Ireland, the national organisation for poetry, and also of Imram, Féile Litríochta Gaeilge.
Poems for When You Can’t Find the Words by the Irish Hospice Foundation will be published by Gill Books on Thursday, 1 September 2022, priced at €16.99. For publicity enquiries, contact Kristen Olson, Publicist, email@example.com / 086 013 7939.
Ep. 95 Adriana Marchione on Addiction, Cancer, Dance & Grief
Sometimes I wish the world were a little smaller, so I could meet my guests in person. Adriana is one of those people who I’d love to spend time with. This, for me, was a beautiful, insightful, honest and tender conversation about humanity, addiction, love, capacity to show up in the face off death, or not, and finding our feet again, literally, after profound loss. #cancer #addictionandloss #death #grief #movement #dancinggrief
Adriana Marchione has been involved in the arts for over thirty years as a filmmaker, dancer, photographer and is internationally recognized in her work as a movement-based expressive arts therapist and educator. Since 2002, Adriana has taught at the renowned Tamalpa Institute, WHEAT Institute in Canada and founded her own wellness center in San Francisco. She has presented her creative healing approach, with a focus on addiction, eating disorders, trauma and grief, at festivals, conferences, and treatment centers including South by Southwest, Studio le théâtre du Corps in Paris and the prestigious Commonwealth Club of California. Adriana created When the Fall Comes in 2014, a performance project that culminated in a short film based on her own life story encountering intimate grief and loss. When the Fall Comes was translated into French and Korean and streamed in universities across America and Canada through Kanopy. She has been in recovery from alcoholism for 29 years and was awarded Artist of the Year by ‘In Recovery’ magazine in 2016. Adriana recently released The Creative High, an award-winning documentary film featuring nine artists with substance use disorder who are transformed by the creative process.
Find more about Adriana’s work, www.adrianamarchione.com, and her film work at www.whenthefallcomes.com and www.thecreativehigh.com.
Ep. 94 Damien Quinn on Addiction, Prison & Rebuilding Life after loss
This interview really hit me in the guts. It is sometimes a roll of the dice how our lives can unfold. Damien’s story is an incredible story of resilience and determination in the face of loss and hopelessness. Following a significant childhood trauma, at the age of 14, Damien found himself sole carer for his younger brother in a new country without any supports. What followed were years of addiction, criminality & an overdose which gave him a brush with death. Damien became very familiar with that ‘rock bottom’ place and yet somehow found the internal courage and strength of character to completely transform his life, despite meeting significant social stigma due to his criminal record.
Damien and I met through Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, who do amazing work to support Social Enterprises in Ireland.
The founder of Spéire Nua is Damien Quinn. Damien had his own challenges with substance abuse and criminality right through his teens and well into his twenties. He realised he needed to change when it was too late. Knowing that he would be looking at a lengthy prison sentence, Damien made the decision to use the time to get an education.
What he found though, when his time was served, was that no matter what he had done to improve his employability, the label always outweighed the progress he had made since ‘that time’.
This led to disillusionment with the whole system which seemed stacked against him, even though he was after putting in a huge effort to change, become educated and employable and to do all the right things to set himself up to start again.
His progress started to wain and he was finding himself right back where he started. He felt it was no wonder people kept ending up back in there. After a bought of misery and then some treatments Damien returned home to start again.
Unable to get employment anywhere, he reengaged with education to fill his days. As he progressed with education he found employment through a friend and hasn’t looked back since.
Throughout his studies, he has always been interested in making easier for people that are actively trying to turn their lives around and his goal is to make sure that no one has to experience the difficulties he did when trying to rebuild his life.
Damien linked his Masters Study to the problem described here and wrote the paper Spéire Nua – New Horizons – Life after prison for the reformed individual, opportunities or barriers?
This research was the foundation for the Spéire Nua you find here today and by engaging with this process you too can apply for a Certificate of Commitment to Change to support you as you seek employment and validate the hard work you have put in to distance yourself from your former way of life.
Ep. 93 Rosie Mankes on losing her Mom to Dementia
Rosie Mankes’s mother has had dementia for ten years. She had to be transitioned into assisted living, and then into memory care. And little by little, Rosie has had to watch her mother go. She recently wrote an article (https://thriveglobal.com/stories/what-i-wish-i-knew-when-i-transitioned-my-mom-into-an-assisted-living-facility/) about this deeply troubling experience that more and more of us are going to have to go through. It starts like this:
I am watching my mother’s brain die, right before my eyes. During a recent visit, she said to me, “Please, Rosemarie, can you help me remember who my children are?” I held my composure and said, “Of course, Mom, let’s go through them. There’s Betty Ann, Tommy, Carl, and me.” She looked deep into my eyes and tried to repeat the names but couldn’t. So, we did it again, and again, until her frustration and agitation seemed to settle. She said to me, “I’m so upset that I can’t remember things. How many children do I have, six?” I said, “You have four.” And then we repeated their names numerous times until she somehow felt soothed.
To learn more about Rosie and her work, visit
To learn more about Rosie's book, Find Your Joy and Run With It, visit
Rosie Mankes is a life coach, motivational speaker, and author of Find Your Joy and Run With It, a heartwarming memoir about overcoming her second battle with cancer, the transitioning of her mother into an assisted living facility, and the unexpected loss of her brother, all within one year. Rosie’s recovery from these major challenges inspired her to become a life coach, in order to help people pull through significant adversity and life challenges. Rosie is a resident of New Jersey, where she lives with her husband. She is the mother of two grown sons.
#grief #ambiguousloss #dementia #grieftraining #griefpodcast #rosie mankes
Great Stories to Help Find Hope
Liz Gleeson is an excellent host, working to look at all the different aspects of grief her guests share. She is empathatic and caring while making the listener both feel the story and get ideas for how to manage their own grief. In bringing on guests with their own grief story, Liz makes those who are grieving feel less alone.
Thoughtful, philosophical and practical look at grief and it’s many forms
Shapes of Grief is an incredibly thoughtful and important look at grief and the many forms that it takes. Liz, the capable and empathetic host, has a natural talent for supporting people in sharing their stories. The diversity of guest experiences creates a space of information and healing. A must listen.
What do you say to someone when their loved one has died? How do you deal with the empty space that now exists when your family member or best friend is gone? Grief and loss can be almost impossible to talk about, but Liz Gleeson, in her Shapes of Grief podcast, addresses this and many other issues head on, with grace. compassion and directness. This podcast is a must listen for anyone wrestling with tragedy, heartache and loss. I highly recommend Shapes of Grief.