Today I’m talking with Mandy Capehart, author, speaker, and certified grief and life coach. She’s the founder of the restorative grief project, an online resource for grievers looking for growth and healing. Today, she’s here to speak loud about grief literacy, and the language needed to navigate grief for ourselves and others.
The Unalignment of Grief
Mandy recounts having lost someone to death almost every year of her life. While she was grieving almost constantly, she says that she wasn’t doing so in a good way. She coped with humor and by minimizing herself to service others. The first eye opener came in high school, when her senior class shared a loss of another classmate and Mandy began to realize that not all of the methods used to move through grief were effective.
In 2016, Mandy’s mother died 4 months after being diagnosed with cancer. Mandy had just had a baby and had planned on her mother being with her to help take care of her grandchild. After taking the time needed to process, Mandy began exploring what she recognized as the unalignment of thoughts, emotions, body, and spirit when someone is grieving. Since then, she’s been speaking publicly and educating herself and others.
Be Heard, Known, and Loved
Part of Mandy’s goal is teaching people how to be heard—and how to listen to others. Bearing witness, as she explains it, is more than just holding space for someone. It’s experiencing the honest truth of what they’re going through without judgment or advice on how to ‘fix’ a situation.
For someone going through grief, Mandy says it’s important to know yourself and your support group. Who would you call if you need an ear or a hug and who would you call if you need someone to organize your linen closet? It’s okay to be specific. The same goes for supporters. If there’s something that you can offer, let your friend know. Trauma survivors know how tough they are. Sometimes they need the space to be heard, known, and loved rather than having someone try to fix the situation.
Grieving Outside of Church
When Mandy’s mother died, Mandy had been leading a worship at church. After that loss, she didn’t know how to work through her feelings within the faith. Many people within the faith minimized her pain by supporting a religious agenda or their own beliefs. She stepped down as a worship leader, knowing she couldn’t lead herself, let alone others.
Mandy’s book came from this time of reflection and exploration of what faith means in this new world. She realized that the church did not know how to support her and also noticed that it wasn’t able to support people through the pandemic. Her book offers a guide for people within the church realms to move past scriptures and lean into the practical element with daily prompts and quotes and practical resources to revisit whenever needed.
Listen in to learn more about the Restorative Grief Project, the cyclical nature of grief, and how to start talking about grief in your life.