Ep. 118 How Travel Helped My Grief

Learn how travel can provide a “safe container” for healing grief and loss.

PodcastGriefTravel

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In this episode I’ll share my own insights into how the experience of travel can help with the process of grief. This is also the subject of the new book I’m writing (I did research for it on my recent trip to Italy) … I’ll share a brief overview here!

You can check out all of my Italy photos on Instagram!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

virtualdeathcafecroppedEach month I host a “Virtual Death Cafe” with fascinating conversations about death, grief and the end of life. Anyone can join by telephone or online. You can learn more about it at www.eoluniversity.com/death-cafe.

Also, if you missed Death Expo earlier this month you can still access the replays at this link: www.eoluniversity.com/de17speakers.

Patreonbecome2xThis podcast is supported through the generous donations of my patrons on Patreon.com/eolu. I’m sending a HUGE THANK YOU to all of my current supporters – your support makes a big difference! Join the fun for just $1 or $2 per month and you’ll receive the “Patrons Only” Q&A recording each month (Hospice Happy Hour!) Go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more and sign up!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

During several of my travel experiences in the past I have been dealing with grief and have found the process of travel to be helpful. On one trip to Italy, my husband and I learned of the death of our brother-in-law on the day we arrived in Venice. Unable to cancel the rest of our trip and return home immediately, which we wanted to do, we stumbled through the remainder of the vacation and managed to make peace with our pain.

Here are some of my “takeaways” about how travel can help with grief:

  • Permission to wander aimlessly. On our Venice trip we canceled all of our sightseeing plans and activities. We started each day with a totally clean slate and just wandered the streets and canals of the city all day long. By following our intuition and our broken hearts we were able to enter into our grief without distraction or attachment. Had we been at home with family we would have felt obligated to “do something” and “be somewhere” but because we were traveling we were free of all expectations.
  • Seeing the big picture. Because we were freed up from the details of our daily life at home, we found more space to explore grief from a “trans-personal” perspective, as something bigger than just our own individual lives. Experiencing grief in another country allowed us to:
    • Recognize that all people, everywhere, experience the death of loved ones. Our mortality and the grief it causes us is the interconnecting thread that binds us to all of humanity.
    • Go deep into history. By visiting ancient ruins we can see that all of humankind, throughout history has dealt with the pain of loss and struggled to make peace with death. Our experience of grief is just one part of a vast “whole” picture of human loss.
  • Surrendering to grief to find joy within. As travelers “stuck” in another country even though we wanted to be home, we had no choice but to surrender to the pain that engulfed us. When we allowed grief to find a home within (and even “became” a living embodiment of grief) we also discovered a startling capacity for simple joy over the beauty of being alive. I’ve written this before: suffering hollows us out so that we can contain an even greater measure of joy … and also love.
  • Understanding impermanence. Strolling through cemeteries, relics and ruined structures of the past illustrated to me perfectly that everything that exists in the physical realm is impermanent and will one day dissolve away. Only love and the energy of life persist eternally. And it is the depth of the love we experience for others that causes the magnitude of pain we feel upon their deaths. Grief is one of the visible manifestations of love in the physical realm.
  • Learning how to navigate in unfamiliar territory. On our “grief trip” in Venice we simply wandered every day until we were hopelessly lost. We took in everything around us along the way–noticing all the colors and sounds and fragrances of life. And when we felt ready to return “home” we studied our maps to figure out where we were and to slowly find our way back to more familiar territory. This skill of navigating in the unknown will prove to be very helpful to us throughout life and especially during our own dying process as we struggle to get back to a home we can’t remember.

I hope you will take the opportunity to travel some day, even when you are experiencing grief, to experience the profound benefits it can offer!

Tune in every Monday for a new episode of the podcast! If you enjoy this content, please share it with others and leave a review on iTunes! Until next week remember:

Face Your Fear            BE Ready            Love Your Life

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Ep. 92 Suicide: Surviving the Aftermath: Part 8

The story of my long journey of healing after my father’s suicide death – told in a series of 8 episodes. Part 1: The Phone Call If you are currently experiencing a crisis or feeling hopeless please know that you are not alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential support available […]

Suicideblog_

The story of my long journey of healing after my father’s suicide death – told in a series of 8 episodes.

Part 8: The Fire Ceremony

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suicide lifelineIf you are currently experiencing a crisis or feeling hopeless please know that you are not alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential support available 24/7 for people in distress:

1-800-273-8255

or Text HELLO to 741-741.

This episode consists of:

  • What I’ve learned about my Dad through my investigations
  • The “Tapestry Dream” that changed how I saw everything in my life
  • The hard lessons I learned through hospice work
  • How I recognized that Dad had been my silent partner through all of my grief journey including writing the book What Really Matters
  • The Fire Ceremony: A ritual for healing my Dad’s trauma and my own
  • The song The Sun is Shining for You by Gia (used by permission)
  • Closing comments about this podcast and farewell
  • A message of hope for those grieving a suicide and for anyone who might be considering suicide at this time:

Please don’t give up. There is light in the darkness, there is love for you, there is grace. I have survived and I am here to spread hope.

Highest blessings and deepest love to you!

karen-signature

Please call 1-800-273-8255 for help if you are thinking about suicide.

Click here to talk with someone now.

suicideLogo-with-ribbon

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/end-of-life-university/id1033282990

Sign up here for the End-of-Life University mailing list. Visit the EOLU website.

Ep. 91 Suicide: Surviving the Aftermath: Part 7

The story of my long journey of healing after my father’s suicide death – told in a series of 8 episodes. Part 1: The Phone Call If you are currently experiencing a crisis or feeling hopeless please know that you are not alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential support available […]

Suicideblog_

The story of my long journey of healing after my father’s suicide death – told in a series of 8 episodes.

Part 7: Omaha Beach

omahabeach

suicide lifelineIf you are currently experiencing a crisis or feeling hopeless please know that you are not alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential support available 24/7 for people in distress:

1-800-273-8255

or Text HELLO to 741-741.

This episode consists of:

  • Exploring Dad’s memorabilia from World War II
  • How indigenous cultures hear the stories of their warriors in order to share in their pain
  • My travels to Iceland and Normandy to retrace Dad’s steps in World War II
  • What I learned about the pain of war on my journey
  • A healing dream about my Dad
  • A message of hope for those grieving a suicide and for anyone who might be considering suicide at this time:

Please don’t give up. There is light in the darkness, there is love for you, there is grace. I have survived and I am here to spread hope.

karen-signature

Please call 1-800-273-8255 for help if you are thinking about suicide.

Click here to talk with someone now.

suicideLogo-with-ribbon

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/end-of-life-university/id1033282990

Sign up here for the End-of-Life University mailing list. Visit the EOLU website.

Ep. 90 Suicide: Surviving the Aftermath: Part 6

The story of my long journey of healing after my father’s suicide death – told in a series of 8 episodes. Part 1: The Phone Call If you are currently experiencing a crisis or feeling hopeless please know that you are not alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential support available […]

Suicideblog_

The story of my long journey of healing after my father’s suicide death – told in a series of 8 episodes.

Part 6: The Purple Heart

purpleheart

suicide lifelineIf you are currently experiencing a crisis or feeling hopeless please know that you are not alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential support available 24/7 for people in distress:

1-800-273-8255

or Text HELLO to 741-741.

This episode consists of:

  • How hospice work help me get “unstuck” on my grief journey
  • How I uncovered my anger at my Dad and my need to forgive him for taking his life
  • The “secret” my Aunt Lena told me about Dad and World War II
  • What I learned from psychiatrist Dr. Jeff Black who treats war veterans for trauma and “soul loss”
  • The RAIN formula from Jack Kornfeld for healing trauma:
    • Recognize the effect the trauma has had on your life
    • Acknowledge and accept the pain you are experiencing
    • Investigate the patterns
    • Non-attachment to the “story” of the trauma
  • Poem: “Griefwork”
  • A message of hope for those grieving a suicide and for anyone who might be considering suicide at this time:

Please don’t give up. There is light in the darkness, there is love for you, there is grace. I have survived and I am here to spread hope.

karen-signature

Please call 1-800-273-8255 for help if you are thinking about suicide.

Click here to talk with someone now.

suicideLogo-with-ribbon

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/end-of-life-university/id1033282990

Sign up here for the End-of-Life University mailing list. Visit the EOLU website.

Ep. 89 Suicide: Surviving the Aftermath: Part 5

The story of my long journey of healing after my father’s suicide death – told in a series of 8 episodes. Part 1: The Phone Call If you are currently experiencing a crisis or feeling hopeless please know that you are not alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential support available […]

Suicideblog_

The story of my long journey of healing after my father’s suicide death – told in a series of 8 episodes.

Part 5: Guns

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suicide lifelineIf you are currently experiencing a crisis or feeling hopeless please know that you are not alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential support available 24/7 for people in distress:

1-800-273-8255

or Text HELLO to 741-741.

timemagThis episode consists of:
-Dad’s passion for guns and hunting

-A Time Magazine Article from July 1989 about Death by Gun

-Statistics on suicide deaths by guns and gun ownership in the U.S.

Suicide statistics in Wyoming

-Poem: “Shattered” 

-A message of hope for those grieving a suicide and for anyone who might be considering suicide at this time:

Please don’t give up. There is light in the darkness, there is love for you, there is grace. I have survived and I am here to spread hope.

karen-signature

Please call 1-800-273-8255 for help if you are thinking about suicide.

Click here to talk with someone now.

suicideLogo-with-ribbon

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/end-of-life-university/id1033282990

Sign up here for the End-of-Life University mailing list. Visit the EOLU website.

Ep. 88 Suicide: Surviving the Aftermath: Part 4

The story of my long journey of healing after my father’s suicide death – told in a series of 8 episodes. Part 1: The Phone Call If you are currently experiencing a crisis or feeling hopeless please know that you are not alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential support available […]

Suicideblog_

The story of my long journey of healing after my father’s suicide death – told in a series of 8 episodes.

Part 4: The Bicycle

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suicide lifelineIf you are currently experiencing a crisis or feeling hopeless please know that you are not alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential support available 24/7 for people in distress:

1-800-273-8255

or Text HELLO to 741-741.

This episode consists of:

  • Dad’s difficult childhood
  • How Adverse Childhood Experiences are associated with suicide in adulthood
  • Low self-esteem as a factor in Dad’s death
  • The ongoing guilt experienced by suicide survivors over missed clues
  • An excerpt from my story: “Two Souls in cognito” 
  • A message of hope for those grieving a suicide and for anyone who might be considering suicide at this time:

Please don’t give up. There is light in the darkness, there is love for you, there is grace. I have survived and I am here to spread hope.

karen-signature

Please call 1-800-273-8255 for help if you are thinking about suicide.

Click here to talk with someone now.

suicideLogo-with-ribbon

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/end-of-life-university/id1033282990

Sign up here for the End-of-Life University mailing list. Visit the EOLU website.

Ep. 87 Suicide: Surviving the Aftermath: Part 3

The story of my long journey of healing after my father’s suicide death – told in a series of 8 episodes. Part 1: The Phone Call If you are currently experiencing a crisis or feeling hopeless please know that you are not alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential support available […]

Suicideblog_

The story of my long journey of healing after my father’s suicide death – told in a series of 8 episodes.

Part 3: Tough Times

toughtimes


suicide lifelineIf you are currently experiencing a crisis or feeling hopeless please know that you are not alone. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for free and confidential support available 24/7 for people in distress:

1-800-273-8255

or Text HELLO to 741-741.

This episode consists of:

  • The stigma attached to suicide
  • When friends fail to offer support after a suicide death
  • Financial stress as a factor for suicide in older men
  • Why helping doesn’t always require words
  • The song “Without You” by Gia 
  • A message of hope for those grieving a suicide and for anyone who might be considering suicide at this time:

Please don’t give up. There is light in the darkness, there is love for you, there is grace. I have survived and I am here to spread hope.

karen-signature

Please call 1-800-273-8255 for help if you are thinking about suicide.

Click here to talk with someone now.

suicideLogo-with-ribbon

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/end-of-life-university/id1033282990

Sign up here for the End-of-Life University mailing list. Visit the EOLU website.