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Build A Life After Loss

by Mark & Annette Anderson
November 3rd 2021

In this episode, Mark & Annette have an open, vulnerable conversation with Julie Cluff.  Julie has a story that honestly none of us want to own.  As you listen to this episode, you will realize... More

friends Welcome to trail Angels powered by carrying the load. We are thrilled to have you here and we are even more thrilled to have our friend julie cliff with us, julie, thank you, thank you. And we say friend because you know, unlike many of our guests who are in various parts of the world that we often say, hey, if you ever make it out to Utah, we'd love to have dinner with you. We've actually had a chance to sit down with you and your husband a couple of times now and just enjoy each other's company, haven't we? Absolutely, yeah. That's been so fun, so grateful for a mutual friend that introduced us a few months ago. It's a small world and I love, I love the orchestrations of life that they're bringing us back. Can re acquaint us back with dear friends and that's how I think of you and your husband, but friends? Let me just share a little bit with you about julie. She is the founder of build a Life after loss.

She's the author of the book, miracles in the Darkness. And she's an international grief and life coach. She's a voracious reader, a pianist, an artist and enthusiastic traveler. You'll see some of her adventures on instagram. She's a mom to six, a grandma to 10 and a wife to one. So why is julie here? Well, julie has, has a story to share one that is full of much loss and grief in her life, including financial loss and helped loss. She lost her brother john was suicide. Her first marriage ended in divorce. but by far the most excruciating painful experience of her life was when her two youngest Children, David and Carrie Died in a car accident on Mother's Day in 2007. And they were eight and 10 julie.

I'm just going to stop there because I, you know, we understand what it's like to lose a child. Absolutely. But your experience of losing two Children on Mother's Day, that grief and has got to just be just all consuming. Oh, absolutely. Was, you know, at the time of the accident, it was, we were in a rollover accident and yeah, it's, it's hard to, it's hard to imagine how painful that was, You know, and I lived through it and it's hard for me to imagine. So when people say to me like, I can't even imagine, I'm like, I get it. I can't imagine either. Like it's, it's excruciating julie. Can you share with a site as difficult and as painful as it is. Could you share with us the events of that day on mother's Day as to maybe why your life changed and maybe where our lives changed as well and how we became friends because of that one experience.

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So we were living in Houston texas at the time and we and my three younger Children and I had planned a trip. We were going to visit my in laws. My husband's family In um North Carolina, which is a long day trip. But we were left early in the morning. We expected to get there before dark like that was the plan. That was the expectation as we would get there before dark and mid afternoon. And our trip, I had James, my son, James, who was 12, sitting in the seat next to me in the passenger seat and Kerry was in the back. She was 10 and David was in the back seat. He was eight. Um, lots of toys, lots of trees, lots of, you know, games to keep everybody occupied and having fun. And then suddenly in the middle of the afternoon, I woke up and we were and I was behind the wheel and we were going 70 plus miles an hour down the grass median between the eastbound and the westbound lanes.

And shocking. Isn't even a good word for it. And I, I immediately turned the wheel trying to pull our suv back up on the highway. And when I did that, I felt the wheels just pick up off the ground and we started to roll And we rolled all the way across two lanes of eastbound highway into the grass on this, on the side. And um, when we stopped, we were upright, but I couldn't see anything. I had hit my head or something and was temporarily blinded and I could hear James in the, in the seat next to me crying so I knew he was alive, but I couldn't really assess what his injuries were. But there was no answer from carrying David in the back and I kept calling for them and there was no answer. And as my eyesight came back and just seeing all that shattered class and our belongings just strom everywhere. And it was at that point that I noticed people gathering in the grass to the right of me.

Um They were what felt like a football field away, you know, yards away from the car. I'm sure it wasn't quite that far, but that's what it felt like. And that's when I realized Carrie and David had been thrown from the car. Right? And I am a man came to my door and he said, my wife is with Carrie. Of course he didn't know her name. But my wife is with with your little girl. And and he said, he offered his phone and I called my husband Ron. And I said, we've been in a car accident and Carrie and David been thrown from the car And I don't know if they're gonna make it. And unfortunately later that day it was confirmed that they didn't that they didn't survive the accident. Mhm. You were sent to different hospitals. Is that right? That's right? Yeah. Two ambulances showed up that, you know, as I recall the, the experience and and the one ambulance took carrying David to hospital in Alabama.

We were right on the border at the time of the accident, right on the border of Alabama Mississippi. So they were taken to a small hospital in Alabama and we were taken to a hospital in Mississippi and and I you know, waited to get news on whether or not they were okay. And I you know, laid on on a striker board. I don't know if you're familiar with the striker board but I laid on the striker board for while while they were running tests and so forth and not knowing not knowing whether or not they were dead or alive and asking for answers and nobody seemed to want to answer my questions. And they just kept saying well you know we're checking, we're checking. But really what they were doing is they were waiting until my aunt uncle got there. They lived about two hours from the hospital, hour and a half, two hours they lived in Mississippi not far from where we were. And so they they drove up and when they got there they put my husband on the phone who was in the airport in Houston trying to catch a flight out to where we were.

And he told me they didn't make it. And that was just before our son was heading into emergency surgery for his lake. Um He had injured his leg in the in the accident. And so right after he told me that my aunt said you know they they're going to take James into surgery Do you want to see him? And I said, absolutely. So they rolled me in next James and I reassured him that he was going to be okay. And and of course didn't, I didn't share with him what was happening with his brother and sister at timing was not good for that. And so he went into surgery and you know, he found out several hours later. I mhm. I can't even, I can't find the words. Um I know what it feels like to be at an accident and to have your husband hours away. Yeah. And and losing a child very different in the fact that I wasn't a part of the accident, but the fact that, you know, you you were you were driving.

I was and yeah. But yeah, I just feel like I just want to tell our listeners that the love that you have now, I'm kind of jumping ahead in the story here. But julie is remarkable in the healing that has taken place in her life and then her husband Ron's life and what they do now because of those experiences has has really been such a blessing to countless individuals throughout the world. And if I'm right julie here, um tell us about how this propelled you into what you do for a living. I mean, you know, you didn't, you weren't focusing on grief prior to this experience, were you? Oh no, not at all. In fact I did an interview with a friend, his therapist one time for his show.

And and he says, I'm guessing that when you were 10, you didn't say I want to be a grief coach. And he's exactly right. And and certainly that's there's a big, big space between that devastating day and what I'm doing now and and that there was quite a bit of a journey which I share in my book, miracles in the darkness, a journey between that reality and the reality that I live now. It's, you know, night and day and and and there. Um, and we can't expect ourselves, we can't expect others to make that transition in any prescribed time period it happens the way that it happens, but it also is very, very influenced by the choices that we make and when I look back, I can see choices that I made that helped me, and I can see choices that I made that didn't help me.

And that's what I felt compelled to share when I did find healing. When I did find that that piece when I found that that piece around what happened, I find peace around that experience certainly not all the answers. You know, I don't have all the answers. Just like I imagine anybody that goes through a devastating loss. I don't know, there's at any point where we have all the answers, but we get to the point where we have enough answers and we have enough knowledge around what's happened and how it's happened and around grief and healing that we're able to come to terms with what's happened and were able to to live a beautiful life. And in many ways I look back and I think I live a better life now than I did before. And I I know that sounds crazy, but it's it's almost like you are you already did the hardest thing.

Yeah. And and uh yeah, it's hard to put into words, you know, it gives you this this, this courage that it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks. It doesn't matter what happens here happens there because I've already lived the hardest thing for me so far, you know, and God willing, there won't be anything harder. Um, and I and I do recognize that, you know, losses that I had before this informed my journey. I had lost my brother to suicide and only a couple years after that horrific experience. I went through a divorce from my first husband. And both of those experiences just kind of felt like they were right on top of each other because one was kind of happening at the same time as the other. And that was really, really hard. And um and yet losing carrying David, you know, there was no comparison.

But I when I look at that experience that I had before I was able to look back and go, I have been in tremendous pain before and I've gotten through it and lived a decent and good life. And so maybe, you know, this is, was my thinking my thought process, Maybe there's a possibility I could do that again. But I'm telling you, it looked messy, it looked hard, it looked just as ridiculously messy as you might imagine. And and I did not do it well, I didn't cope well, I didn't, but there were things I did right and led me along. But I really feel like a huge, huge part of my healing was just this inner belief that healing is available. You know, we we understand that messiness that you're talking about because the uh, the resolution doesn't come and sometimes it takes many years for that resolution to come. And you know, whether we want to or not experience allows us to become experts and you know, your, your ability to help others who are grieving.

Uh and and hopefully our podcast does the same thing as well, is to give people hope and is horrific. And and the reason why Annette said that it's difficult to put into words your experiences because those who have had these kinds of losses uh go through similar type of feelings and emotions and feelings of inadequacy. What could I have done differently. And I'm sure that that went through your head so many times over the last number of years and, and, and we would say the same thing as well, what could have been done differently. Not sometimes thinking that there's a plan and that plan, even though we might not appreciate the plan is there for a wise purpose and it's how we react to those experiences and whether we want to become experts or not, we do become experts because of how we have to resolve those issues that you're talking about, you know, and part of the reason I even asked that question at the beginning, you know, when you think about you're probably thinking that was kind of a strange question to ask up front.

Not at all. But my thought was hope. You know, hope from the beginning that as we talk about these really hard things, other people out there that are listening have hard, hard things Absolutely. They are different than ours. But what that might even be similar to ours. But what I want them to feel during all of this is the hope. So that as they're learning as they're hearing our story that they can see and pull out those nuggets of hope that their life can be beautiful. So with that And back to what Mark talked about you and I julie have talked a lot together about forgiving ourselves mm hmm. How did you, how did you go on in in life, you know here, all this happens and you know, I know at first things are busy and you're going through and you're having to take care of of James, and you're having, you know, your healing and you've you've got your other Children and you're worried about everybody, but there comes a time that things slow down and you have to start taking care of you and dealing with those feelings and those emotions that you're having, how Mhm.

Well, again, it was not pretty and and it's certainly, I think one of the hardest things is when we experience a painful event, and somebody else is involved, and and we and we have this feeling that I should probably forgive, but they did something so horrible, so awful. So, you know, unforgiveable, that I can't forgive, and we have those thoughts, but there's a separation between us and that person. And so it gives us that buffer between forgiveness. It gives us a buffer of space to work through the thoughts and the feelings of forgiveness when it's you you live in you and you can't get away from you, and and it it's uh mind bogglingly hard, and I know that's probably not good english, but it's it's just it's it's just impossible, you know, it's like, you can't even get away from yourself long enough to have thoughts about how to forgive yourself.

Like, um my thoughts and my feelings were so consumed with regret and self uh self hatred, even, and um guilt and shame, and every word that you want to throw at it, and it was um it was really hard and I'm grateful to my husband who was so loving and calm and steady, through all of that, Amazingly steady, through all of that. And when I was obviously beating myself up and and having, you know, I suffered from PTSD, I couldn't drive a car. I was, he was driving me everywhere most of the time for the first, I would say a year um I was just like in this place of, I had so much self hatred like that that just, that would spew from me and like you know how it was almost like I was kind of constantly saying how can you stand to be around me tight?

You know, I mean it was just, it was ugly. I I just, I hate to paint such an ugly picture, but it was ugly. It really was and I it took me time and specialized help and experience and understanding and learning and growing to get to that place. You know, I love and I used this quote a lot from victor frankel where he said when we're no no longer able to change the circumstances, we are challenged to change ourselves and that is what it boils down to. I had to find a way to change the way I was thinking and feeling about things and I had some pretty profound experiences. One of the reasons I named the book miracles in the darkness is because there were miracles that happened during the accident itself just before the accident just before the and just after the accident that really informed my healing process and when I was open to it, What what I'm recognizing even more now, you know, almost what has it been 14 years later.

What I'm recognizing is that I always had everything that I needed to heal from the moment that it happened that it was all there. Like all the clues, all that everything was available to me. It's just that because because of divine love, because of divine guidance, because of divine knowledge that just permeates our atmosphere, that's just part of of what we exist in. It's all there. It's just whether or not we can open ourselves to that um to that experience. And it took me it took me time and effort and specialist help to open my mind to the truths that were there all along, how beautiful that is that you did recognize that. But I also think of the power and the beauty of the messiness. Yeah, there was a purpose in that that part of the journey and I think it's helped you to become who you are.

If you would have always from the get go remembered those divine signatures, those divine miracles, then I don't, I don't know if you would be who julie cliff is today. Had she not had the messy part of the journey well and I absolutely agree. And I and I experienced, you know what, I would call a miraculous healing, where I felt healing like a miraculous change of heart and experience in one day's time, three years later. And then it was at that point, speaking of self forgiveness where my inability to forgive myself had become so great and my pain was so great and I was just sure that God was punishing me, I was positive of it, I was positive that my experience was because God was punishing me for something and you know, I just constantly ruminating over what did I do, what could I have done different, all of those regrets, all the disappointment, all the english, and and I had worked myself into a place of despair, I'd worked myself into a place of despair and despite that place of despair, I was still taking these tiny steps of action to try to find footing, to try to find the step to try to find uh healing in the process.

I, I was going to therapy, I was, I was, I was part of a tennis team, believe it or not, like I had gone back to playing tennis after I healed and that was super healing for me to move my body physically and to be active and to have that social circle, I was continuing to go to church, even though it was painful, I knew that was where I needed to be. I was continuously continuously seeking it even though I was in this place of english and God sent me a miracle, he sent me a miracle. And it really for a while I experienced this feeling of like why did I get the miracle? I see people suffering all the time. Why did I get the miracle? And it was when I was writing the book early last year that an answer came and he said to me, I gave you healing so you can testify of healing. And I look at that and I think if he had given that to me in the first month and the third month in the fifth month in the six months, it's exactly what you said in that I would not have had the experience that I needed to really appreciate what was given and to really pass that gift along julie.

We talk a lot about the importance of words and how how words mean different things to different people. One of your tags is to build a life after loss. Now it had been easy to say instead of build to say maybe find a life after loss. That word build is very important because building in my mind commentates tools, You need tools to build something. Could you go a little bit more in depth than some of those tools? Because you know, it's so interesting the up it there are a lot of our listeners who are feeling that hopelessness, feeling that anxiety, feeling those losses and it doesn't matter what the losses we we all have those emotions and and the key is is that we don't just try to push those emotions away, but that we deal with them real time. How are some of the ways that our listeners can deal with those emotions and those difficulties? What are the tools they can use? Well, I love that you mentioned that word build because build really means, it really implies that it's going to take effort.

That we don't build something by sitting and not doing anything. Like it takes effort and like you said, it takes tools to build. Um and it does take tools and it takes it takes that combination of tools and effort and expertise, you know, I look at uh the I say so often our support needs to be greater than our challenge, greater or equal, equal or greater to our challenge because what supported me before the accident was completely adequate for the life that I was living, you know, friends and family and church support and so forth, was completely adequate after the accident. That support was no longer adequate to to help me to move through what I was experiencing. But some of the tools that are are crucial in in healing and some of these are going to feel a little um they may not feel concrete.

And I think that's one thing that we that that we struggle with a little bit in grief and healing is that sometimes the tools that we need to use in healing, I don't feel concrete, for example, allowing, what does that mean? You know, and and and that doesn't, you know, how do we allow? And when I think of allow, it's like, how do we experience the emotions that were experienced in a space where we can, when we can experience self compassion that we can allow the pain, we can allow the um, the guilt, the shame, the grief, the sadness, the depression, the disappointment, all of those emotions to allow those without piling on additional guilt and shame for having those emotions, You know? So allow feels like, what does that mean?

And it's something that we, over time we have to learn and experience to understand what that is. And I think, you know, early early in my experience, I knew enough about grief from my experience was previous loss to know that yes, it was going to be painful. And yes, it was okay for me to grieve. And yes, it was okay for me to sit there and be sad and cry and, and feel whatever I needed to feel. But there came a point where I started to feel a lot of judgment towards myself for not being better, you know, after a year and a half, two years, I just heaped so much judgment on myself that I wasn't moving forward fast enough that I couldn't find happiness, that I couldn't find joy, that I couldn't experience these things that I wanted to experience, that I couldn't just make it happen. And what I did was I stopped allowing, I stopped allowing the pain, I stopped allowing the grief and I I stifled my progress in that moment, and I not only stifled it, I buried the progress, I buried the progress in my own self self destruction, you know, in my own self judgment.

Another thing that's that's helpful and this is a this is uh such a useful tool that I use it all the time, and I don't know why it took me so long to discover this, but it is so simple, breathing deeply, it is such a huge like it is, it's bind boggling. I'm going to use that word again, how simple it is and how easy it is to use at any time and how it shifts us and how when we get that phone call from somebody who's you know, we're going to call him mr jerk and he calls and he says something mean, and we feel bad about it and we feel that like panicky anxiety, I did something wrong, I shouldn't have done it and this person is mad at me. They're angry and so forth. You know, I've learned that I can just stop and take a couple deep breaths and you don't even have to count.

You don't even have to, you know, you don't even have to measure the breath. But just by stopping for two minutes and taking a deep breath slows down that panic, it slows down that fight or flight reaction and allows us to settle and to re engage our thinking mind and to really see things clearer. And that's a simple tool that can be used at any any time and any allowing as another tool we can use at any time. And when we feel heavy emotions are negative emotions, were we live in a society that's resistant to negative emotion. We we know the power of positive words. We know the power of positive emotion. And so when negative emotion comes up, we resist it instead of allowing it. And when we can allow it. And one of my favorite things to do is to say, I feel sad and it's okay.

Mhm. And I don't know if you can feel that shift, but when we give our herself permission to have that negative emotion, then we're allowed to metabolize it like our body, our spirit or mind metabolizes the emotion rather than stuff it down. Because when we tell ourselves it's not okay to feel that, then we have to shove it down and act like it doesn't exist. And we don't allow it to just move through. Has a long answer No, no, it's a great answer. It's a great answer. And you know, I'm just I'm writing notes here as we go here and so thank you. But you talk about shoving down, we shoved down those negative feelings and those emotions and we bury them, but they're active within us. And aren't they doing, you know, use the word destruction. Yeah. And and as we barry as we hold our breath, because I don't know, I'm one that holds my breath and I don't even know that I'm doing that and people say just breathe.

And it's like this is why I hold my breath and think the pain's gonna go away. I don't know. But it's something I've consciously I had to learn to breathe and to breathe deeply. But no, me too. It's like we're bracing ourselves for the next hit, right? You know, we breathe, you know, if we hold our breath, we can like brace ourselves. But so just tell, I mean, can you explain what happens to our bodies physically as well as emotionally, when we just very everything within. Yeah. So, you know, just speaking from an energetic perspective when you were talking about that, like when we shove it down and we hold in those negative emotions, the image that came to my mind was free radicals, like we hear a lot about free radicals and how destructive they are in our body. And if you think of the negative emotion like free radicals that are bouncing around in our body and creating pot marks or, you know, dense and and I'm not a doctor and I don't pretend to be a doctor in any sense of the word as a therapist or indie, but but the the connection between our emotional health and our our physical health is well documented and and it's important for us to, to really uh to really allow again those negative emotions to move through Instead of two stuff.

And it's a learned skill and it's a learned skill that we're not taught, we're not taught. And I I so often say that experiencing loss and grief is so similar to being thrown into the middle of a deep lake and you've never learned how to swim. Now, it's terrifying enough being thrown into the middle of a deep lake with no boat or life rafter or life preserver, but imagine not being able to swim and you're just drowning and you're overwhelmed and you you feel helpless and hopeless and desperate and that's what grief feels like because we don't really pay attention to grief or what to do or the tools or any of that until it happens. And then all of a sudden we need those tools, we need that understanding and we don't have it. And so we drowned and we're overwhelmed and we don't know any better than to think that that there's no hope and and unfortunately in our highly communicative world where we can get on facebook and we can discuss with other people that have had similar losses.

We will get reinforcement for you can't heal and there's reasons that we do that? There's reasons that we feel that way. There's reasons that we hang on to the pain and and because there's reasons that we do that, there's also steps to move through it and let go of it because when we understand the reasons that we do that, we understand the reasons that we have the despair, then we can start to untangle to loosen and to move through it and to slowly let go of the grief and the pain that we're experiencing. We we've learned that we grieve definitely, you know, grief isn't the same. And I think that for a long time It's been 10 years since we lost our son. And I think it took probably eight plus years to realize that we grieve differently. And it was difficult to support each other knowing that we did grieve differently. And we talk about being experts in in uh and in tragedy.

And I think that we do because of because of time because of tools and and because of learning how to go through something instead of going around something. And you, you talked about that as being something that stifles growth, that when you try to go around something versus through it, but that's that takes a lot of courage to go through something and it's not easy to go through something versus going around it. But as we have talked and as you have talked to people as a grief coach, can you just share for a moment what it means to go through something versus around and, and uh, the courage that it takes sometimes to make that change. Yeah, thanks. I I, you know, as you were saying that, and I thought about um, the trail, I'm trying, I think I'm losing the word trail angels as you were mentioning that, you know, you think about the difference between going on a trail that's not well marked and and having someone to guide you that's been on that trail a dozen times understands the trail understands where the turns are, understands where the hazards are.

The difference between doing that with somebody that's been there versus doing that on your own is like life and you know what that's like night and day, night and day difference and that's where we can, we can use our courage to reach out to people like yourselves who have been there, who have experienced it, who can guide and lead and share and and share these, these places where we might lose our way. You know, like one of my favorite things to share is something I just shared a few minutes ago and that is that that we've got, you know, in as best as we can, we have to let go of the self judgment and stay in self self compassion as much as we can because I have learned through experience that self judgment is damaging, it's damaging and it stifles our growth and and I don't know that um I don't know that I'm answering your question.

I just got kind of lead on this little little trail here to talk about that. But you know, like if we think about being thrown into the middle of the lake and we don't know how to swim, it's when that boat comes by, it's when that life raft shows up, it's when that life vest shows up that that we start to feel like okay, I can do this. And that's why it's so important that we share our stories that we share our stories of healing. Because if I can heal, if you can heal it's available to anyone, right? And the other thing I keep thinking when you talk about and we're using these examples and being thrown in the lake and well what if we didn't know how to put on a life preserver? And and we've talked about build and allow and the tools that it takes to build this life. Well we can have a tool bag or a tool chest full of tools. But if we don't know how to use them. Yeah, they become worthless.

And that's where these trail angels have blessed your life have blessed our our lives and it's what you're doing julie as you have developed these models of healing that go beyond you know, those those seven steps. Well this is what we hear, you know and when, when you have grief you're going to get angry then there's gonna I mean I don't even know all the steps, you know everything else you have those along with it all along. But they don't tell you how to get through it right. It's just like this is what to expect and these things but there was no now what Yeah. And so I see and I think I keep thinking about the miracle that you had three years later to be able to to be a witness that healing is possible and I think that's so much of what we're doing and in what we do with carrying the load and trail angels is just to be that to be a witness that healing is possible.

There is a beautiful life ahead of you that can be built even if you've experienced loss or trauma or grief or abuse whatever feel that that you know that the adjective been there for yourself. That yeah, that's why I love what we're doing. Yeah. And I love that you have taken that pain, the messiness of this, the self judgment and have practiced and learned by experts that taught you how to use some of these tools, learn to apply them to your life and now you do know how to have self compassion, you do know how to practice that. You do know how to share it julie. You you talked a minute ago about reaching out and how important reaching out is trail angels as, as we've talked many times before are those who have gone on before, those who have laid those foundations and those in those trail markers so that we can have a better way or at least to know the way.

Can you think of any trail angels in your life that have helped you along the way? You know? Absolutely, I mean, I think about my therapist that had this special, um, that, that new, the technology, you know, the therapeutic technology to help me to overcome PTSD. Um, I think about coaches that have helped me to, to not only, you know when my therapist said, you know you're done because I didn't have a diagnosed uh issue anymore, but I didn't know how to like, but what do I do with my life? Like what is this going to look like? You know, I still was in this kind of, so then I had coaches that helped me to move through that other side of it, you know, and then, but I, when you asked me about trail angels, the person that comes to mind for me that is just, is a true angel is my mother, my mother who has gone through so much difficulty in her life and had so much loss, you know, losing my my brother to suicide and going through a devastating divorce that was um, just extremely painful and, and very, um, you know, she just went through a lot.

And, and there were other experiences that she had and that's her story to tell. But I watched her go through these things and keep her faith in God and keep her good outlook on life despite the painful experiences that she has, has had. And she's truly truly a trail angel for me. You know, and I've had other family members who have gone through difficult things and they chose a different route and seeing the pain that they perpetuated through their own pain and seeing that stark difference between taking what's happened and choosing choosing into the good. Um, it's a powerful example. I love to watch people and, and that is how I've learned much in my life and the things that, that I I hold dear and in how I took these great examples of trail angels in my life and how they did certain things with their families or different things that I would apply these things to my life.

And so I love that you shared this example of your mother and how it was a choice, this choice. She had to have faith in God to have this positive outlook. And you know, come with me. She she was able to press forward and, and you have to, and, and it's it really is miraculous and you know, I I know I know of others who have been trail angels in your life as well. And it's so hard to pick just name just one when we could go on and on and on. But absolutely. But the characteristics of trail angels are similar with everybody that we talked to love compassion, courage, fortitude. The list goes on of those individuals that that have the ability to make a difference And and and our message really is that all of you have an opportunity to make a difference and all of you can betrayal angels.

We might be dealing with our own issues. But you know there are others around that are dealing with those issues as well in their lives. So we appreciate you julie for for being with us today. We always give our guests the last word. So what are we missing in our conversation here today? Oh there's so much I could say. But you know as you're talking about being on the trail if you think about it and in the area of our life there's people that are ahead of us and there's people that are behind us and so we we follow those leaders who are showing that good example of of what what's possible and when we reach out to the people that are behind us and say come along, you know look we're seeing some light here at the end of this tunnel and and it looks fabulous you should come with me, you should come with me this direction. And so that that's what came to my mind as you talked about that there's a lot of, lot of different things that we could we could definitely talk about if it's okay, I would like to share.

I I, you know, you spoke briefly about the the stages of grief, you know, the five stages of grief. And that was an early model developed by dr Elizabeth Kubler Ross. And and she's a wonderful person who was a Trailblazer um in in expressing these emotions that people had when they were diagnosed with a terminal illness and experienced that. And then that was over laid on to grief. And then there's a model that that I'm seeing quite a bit of now, the model of grief by dr Lewis Tonkin, that that demonstrates that, you know, our grief doesn't go away, that it stays with us, it's just that we grow around it. And that that's the model of grief that we've been given. That that, you know, perhaps grief doesn't actually go away, it just changes form a little bit, but it and we we grow stronger to carry it. And my hope model of healing takes it to the next level.

And that is we do grow around it, that is part of the process. But when we when we experience that strength and that growth, then we have the strength and the growth to go in and he'll what we've experienced, so that we're not carrying around this pocket of pain in us so that we can release that pain and we can heal our heart and we can reclaim that part of us That was covered in grief. And the hope model of healing includes five foundations of growth and because that is really where our healing comes from is our personal understanding and growth. And um I am, I have a free webinar on my website at build a Life after loss dot com slash gift and you can watch a webinar where I explained these principles so that you can see how all that works together and and and learn a little more about grief.

So we can start to learn to swim in the middle of that deep lake. I love that and thank you for offering that that gift to our listeners and we'll put the link directly in our show notes. So it's there and that people can go to that. You know, this has been such a remarkable episode to to see that healing can't happen. Feeling is a part of our blueprint. We are meant to heal. They give you scratch yourself, what happens you heal? It's part of our blueprint. I love that and people so often feel like that once they're broken, they're broken and they're not and and we will heal when we take the tools and learn from experts and those trail angels in our lives and learn how to use to use those tools correctly. We've learned about um, a lot of things in this episode, but just a couple that have stood out to me was to be kind to ourselves to be gentle with ourselves and um to know that grief is natural and it takes time and there is hope and we love you and we love you julie and we just are so grateful that you would take time to be with us today and just wanted to thank you for being a part of trail Angels and we hope that those that your listeners that you've enjoyed this conversation just a week as we've talked about, often each of us have a story to share and author Burn A brown reminds us that owning our story is the bravest thing you'll ever do.

The stories and experiences our guests share, inspire us as well as help us to grow and connect with others. We invite you to become a part of carrying the load community through social media as well as to share the site with those that you know, we are stronger together. Keep Karen

Build A Life After Loss
Build A Life After Loss
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