Monday, January 27, 2020

Reimagining Grief: Lisa Keefauver

This podcast episode is typical and atypical.

No two stories are the same. 

In this one we hear the tender tale of a young wife and mother who lies by her husband the last night of his life, knowing he is dying. 

You hear how her husband not immediately dying, after being taken off of life support, became a gift she could have never imagined.

As Lisa, a social worker, therapist, CEO of Reimagining Grief & Podcast Host Grief is a Sneaky B!tch, reminds us– our stories of loss aren't absolutely unique; loss will come to 100% of us.

Each of the stories on our podcast are distinct, however, because they hold a person, a love and unique circumstances that have a fingerprint–a heartprint– if you will, of their own.

A person and a love that will never be replicated on this planet.

Lisa digs into the depths of this love story– this death story– and the telling has affected her so much she has written a piece published on Medium since our conversation.

Find Lisa's work at reimagininggrief.com . Listen to her podcast–Grief is a Sneaky B!tch on all of your favorite platforms-- she is on a similar mission as us. Look up Reimagining Grief on Instagram and Facebook.

Here's a quick link to Lisa's story:


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

infinite connection

so blessed to have my mama with me the last two years of her life
Recently I threw out the question-- have you ever felt you've had contact with someone from the beyond.

The responses were overwhelmingly positive. 


Much like Death, after-death communication is another area that many people feel afraid to openly discuss. It's an area that I've always been intrigued about but more so after my experience of my father's contact after he died when I was 22. My mother, brother and I had an experience and I also had a strong visitation dream. 


For me, the topic of afterlife went from a flirtation to a deep knowing.  


Energy does not die.



Einstein — 'Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.'


One thing I've embraced on this journey of life is "the great mystery." 

Don't get me wrong. I have a knowing; deeply sensing the truth within a vast array of teachings. 

If I mire myself in too many teachings and stay in my head with those, I lose touch of the magical cord that links from my heart right into the Divine.

I've learned to trust a deep sense of resonation when it happens.

I've also moved way past Death Anxiety and into a liminal space that walks with one foot on the other side, without need for absolutes.

One day I will share with you what happened with my mother at her very last breath which was a miracle in how it bridged from her fundamental Christian convictions into all things.  

My loss is so eased when I can move into that moment. 

Most of the listeners of The Death Dialogues Project Podcast know that one area of their stories I love to hear are the experiences they may have had where they have felt connection to their deceased loved one. 

Imagine my excitement when renowned Medium Rebecca Rosen agreed to be on our podcast?  She has published books had TV shows, talked with Oprah and all sorts of "biggies." Bless her heart for making space from her busy schedule to join us!

Keep those stories of connection to the beyond coming in.

And take a listen. 

Below you'll see the story I referred to re. the first connection with my deceased father as well as the AMAZING conversation with Medium Rebecca Rosen.

I've just finished Rebecca's book Spirited and can't recommend it enough; full of so many beautiful accounts and a practical guide to keep our channels of love to the beyond wide open. And those of you that feel this topic might not gel with your religious belief system; I suggest you give it a try as it incorporates your God all within the teachings.  

Enjoy!

All things good,

Becky 







Monday, January 13, 2020

a letter to the beyond: three years gone

On the job: My Teacher

Three years have passed since I've been in your physical presence, heard your voice on the phone, gotten an email from you.

So many times I go back to your "knowing" about your premature death. 

Your hunch. 

Men in our family die early, you said.

Nah, please think positive. Look how old mom is. You'll have a long life.

You laughed, Well don't think you're immune; you are from the same gene pool. 

(thanks bro)

A mere half a year later you call me and ask me to keep your confidence, sharing concern about your memory. 

That was our last extended lucid conversation.

God, I miss our talks.

So very many people will be thinking of you today. 

Who else could have been considered a "best friend" by so many people?
  
The premature death conversation occurred right before this photo was taken on his trip to New Zealand. Photo taken by one of my BFF's whose daughter had taken her life when she was 19, but is so full of love and light. He sobbed as we left her, so touched by her story and the way she walked in the world and the loving connection he felt.
No one can compare their level of loss or grief with anyone else– each is so utterly unique. 

Prior to your departure, when I had ever considered Death visiting our family, I had always breathed a sigh of relief knowing you and I would grow old together and your grace would guide me.

Together we would comfort and care for and then dismantle and sort what was left behind of our mother. 

Together.

Imagine the intenseness of your absence, having to walk that terrain with our mother a mere ten months after your departure (although there were many times I perceived your ethereal support). 

Three years or three lifetimes; it feels like forever. 

A huge piece of me went with you. 

Thank you for teaching me full-spectrum-living: 
  • to question and not settle
  • to feel all the feelings– deep and wide 
  • to stop, pause and do the right thing
  • to be brave and bold, tuning into my inner compass 
  • to walk through the fires of fear and explore with an open mind and heart
  • to be a justice seeker
  • to love with abandon– even if it means indescribable pain 
  • to turn heartbreak into hallowed ground
  • that divinity lies within– just around the corner from grace 
  • and for showing me that talking, processing, feeling and talking some more beats the shit out of childhood trauma  
  • teaching me, by your actions, that men could be kind, helpful, listeners and great talkers; that all men did not spew aggressive rage––not that I didn't require a "talking to" now and again, but as with most everything, you chose compassion and that taught me to do my best to do the same 
Thank you for being my first and best Teacher as I send you so much love today and every day.

                                         *                      *                    *

My brother could have written this song; it reminds my family of him:



Monday, January 6, 2020

do we stay or do we go now



Hello you.

Peeking out on the other side of 2019.

Was the last decade kind to you?

Did it bring deep love?

Did you experience deep loss?

The Death Dialogues Project was born out of a lifelong "knowing" that denying Death's inevitability was not a healthy dynamic and, after working with Death, seeing the need for people to become more empowered about their own experiences.

Here we are.

We said we'd give the podcast a year and if there wasn't interest we'd drop it.

And my own personal payment-- if we help one person a day? AMAZING.

Thousands of people have listened and so many people have given feedback about how they have been helped by our podcast and resources and productions and presence.

Here's a wee podcast update as we go into our new year. See what we decided.

All things good,
Becky

Thursday, October 31, 2019

T R U S T



trust 

has long lived within me

early days it told me that anger and venom were always around the corner 

possibly awakening you in your sleep

no room for restful silence

the anticipatory space for negative vitriol dug pain-full cracks 

in the very foundation of a wee life 

then later –  trust that those days of egg shell dancing were long gone 

as if reborn

but the jaggedly gapped foundation made for precarious progression

all of the two steps up and one step backing

until one day fully awakening to the fact 

this sacred life is mine alone

and it was two thirds (if not more) complete

and I began to deeply trust

listen and trust

listen to my body when it needed accomodation 

listening to the creaking joints 

listening to the longing of my heart

listening to death and its whispers 

as childbirth had called me to deep dive into the liminal mystery 

and take back my power 

Death sends the same call

magic visits more frequently 

and trust

believing the efficacy of the whispers 

trust their guidance to The Real

the velvety depths of life

trusting that the relationships have been loved 

to their very aching core 

and can go on in their own beautiful 

and terrible 

way

without me

cleaner than with me

trusting that now is the time to be fully awake 

to my very own life

and live it

and leave it

knowing I've done what love and life demanded

trusting that the word selfish has no business here 

and that all transformation takes a deep deep breath

and then a plunge

a free fall into what life and death is calling us to do 

and for that I say thank you

for the lessons

the love

the heart-wrenching

the knowing 

the big mess that has now turned into a massive foundation

cracks cemented by unbreakable 

trust

Sunday, July 14, 2019

first, do no harm

Let's be real.

We are all the walking wounded.

My world revolves around death: before-death, death-death, after-death.

Conversation topics surrounding all of these developmental stages of death seem to trend.

A couple of common issues that have been surfacing, and giving me pause, are judging how people treat us within the grieving process and self-judgment about how we are perceived in the grieving process. 

We hear the list of insulting behaviors that are witnessed; what this person said or didn't say, the tone of their voice, the use of the double etrende, comparing griefs (ie my plant died in response to your dog dying), or . . . disappearing.

Usually these accounts are from a perspective of the reporter feeling victimized. 

How could anyone be so thoughtless.

And admittedly a couple of times I had a knee-jerk–– what a callous so and so–– response. 

Almost as quickly as my knee near-missed my chin, the thought came to me–– it's as if we think no one else has experienced great loss and that the commenters are flying by the seat of their pants, when in actuality, the vast majority of the walking ARE the wounded.

Boom.

Perspective changer.

How often do we see how someone else's trauma brings our own back up? 

Yep, you've got it. A trigger.

Consider that some of the people that are making the most awkward comments may be the ones who are struggling the most with their own losses.

Aw, yeah, but I know them, they didn't have it so bad. 

One rule of grief?

I don't get to decide how difficult someone else's experience was; we all hold our own personal grief/stress-richter scales. 

I adore Deepak Chopra's book, Seven Spiritual Laws of Success that I have used as my own personal how-to manual since the 90's when a walking partner and fellow mom of young children told me about it.

In the very first law, The Law of Pure Potentiality, Chopra stresses the need to practice non-judgment.

Within that space of non-judgment we make the promise to attempt to catch ourselves when we are being judgmental about others and ourselves. Even positive judgments are judgments and those will certainly arise when the person does the "just right thing" in response to our grief.

How about we try to retrain our knee-jerk impulse to negatively judge how someone reacts to our trauma and resort to what we know for sure: we have no idea what this trauma is bringing up for them so maybe they are just doing the best they can.

And since we are about increasing conversations surrounding death, why not take the next step and give them feedback, in the moment, about how they have responded: thanks for your input, but it really doesn't resonate for me; I'd love for your to explain what you mean by that statement; thanks for trying . . . 

During a time of anguish, we do not need more pain and angst. 

I prefer to try to see us all as the walking wounded and hope that my major trauma balances out your major trauma, on the calendar, so that I may be emotionally available to you. 

But if I fail? 

Please know that I care deeply and I feel deeply and those two things may have collided in a way that leave me less than eloquent in my feedback and condolences, but it does not diminish my wish that you pass through your grief as gently as possible. 

And while you are at it? 

Give yourself a pass and refrain from over-analyzing your emotional responses and reactions.

Practice the premise: first, do no harm. 

And the person to check in with first and make sure you are not harming? 

Yourself. 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Workshop Opportunity: A Good Death

The other day I was speaking with someone about life-partners, specifically, when the commitment "til death do us part" is made.

Within our culture we are all about talking about our lives and our living.

Ad nauseam.

Where will we live? Number of children? Children at all?  Garden or no? Listen to what I did today . . .

But interestingly, even when we assume we will be with someone until the end of our lives, we fail to have one of the most important conversations: what would you like for your death?

Yes, it's a given that we probably will not have control over how that death happens and it could happen out of the blue tomorrow– which is all more the reason to start having these conversations now.

Repeatedly, I hear how families have been comforted when instructions have been left and they know, unequivocally, that they are following their loved one's wishes. 

It's as if the person is involved in the aftermath, gently whispering support and directives in their ear, leaving the survivors to not have to second-guessing or doubt decisions.

Life partners are one thing but any significant people in our lives need the opportunity to make their wishes known.

You deserve to make your wishes known.

Maybe you don't know how to start.

Come along to this day where you will be gently held as we explore ways to walk this tender terrain. You will be gifted an invaluable tool created by one of the facilitators, Jane Cunningham that will assist in facilitating conversations .

You can find out more about the other facilitators at their websites:

Jo Samuel: A Graceful Undertaking
Jane Cunningham: Numinous Jane
Me, Becky Aud-Jennison of The Death Dialogues Project (hey, check out our podcast if you haven't HERE

Link to tickets is HERE.

We hope to see you there!