Grief and the Passage of Time

What's Your Grief Podcast / What's Your Grief Podcast : Litsa Williams

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The What's Your Grief Podcast: grief support for those who like to listen.

In this grief podcast, Eleanor Haley, MS and Litsa Williams, MA, LCSW-C, the mental health professionals behind the website and book 'What's Your Grief', leave no stone unturned in demystifying the complicated and messy world of living life after loss. One digestible topic at a time, Haley and Williams distill topics ranging from grief theory to coping. Grief is sad and confusing, but your grief support doesn't have to be. You can listen here by using the player above or listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Below we have provided a transcript of the episode.

Episode Transcript

So welcome to everybody. This is the first episode of the What's Your Grief. I guess we're gonna just call this our community podcast.

It's kind of just like a discussion that we're having and sharing in our What's Your Grief community and with the podcast listeners that we still have out there. So welcome everybody.

So Litsa and I were taught yesterday about what we wanted just to discuss and there's been something that's I feel like always kind of on my mind a little bit. And it has been especially on my mind because last week, we were asked to write an intro to our publisher's newsletter. So for those of you who don't know, we are, we just wrote a book. It's going to be released on September 27th (2022) and it's available now for pre-orders for anybody who's interested.

And our publisher was asking us if we wanted to write an intro to their newsletter about grief and loss. And they suggested the loss of summer time. Which initially, you know, being in the world of grief and loss and having experienced our own losses ourselves, we were like, we recognize all losses lost, but we're like really like that's such a small thing and (and) I had to think a lot about it.

And eventually I really did come to the realization that what we were really talking about is just loss of of time. And that is something that really resonates with me. I think, since my mother died when she was 57 and I was, (I was) I can't ever remember, I think I was 23 maybe 24. Ever since then I have felt that time is just ever more important in so many different ways.

I'm constantly thinking about how much time I would have left if I lived to the age my mom lived to. Litsa and I call this grief math, where you do those calculations, where I ask myself Okay, if I live to 57, how old will my youngest child be? Will I be able to get them to adulthood? How old would my mom be now? What would she be doing? Would she be in retirement? 

So it's something that really really has resonated with me in so many ways. Both thinking back about past and also thinking about my moments and how precious my moments are in the here and now. So we wanted to talk a little bit about time because we think it's different for everyone.

Just last night, we had a little bit of a meeting in (in) our community and a lot of people were talking about time in the sense that they're in the second year of their grief and really feeling that it is the absolute hardest thing. And the first year was hard and the second year feels harder for many people they were saying. And this is something we hear all the time. And so, time in that regard, I think is something that is (is) really tricky and can really kind of intersect with grief in a lot of interesting and surprising and sometimes frankly distressing way. So, we wanted to talk a little bit about it and hopefully hear back from people who are listening about how they feel about time. Litsa what (what) is your thought on this very broad subject, on the very broad umbrella topic of time?

Well, I (I)  think one of the things that is a challenge with this is, it just goes back to one of those very  basic kind of misconceptions about grief, which is this idea that it's going to get a little bit progressively easier every day. Like, I mean, we've said this before I think, people think that grief is like recovering from an illness and you get a little bit better and a little bit better and then it, you know, maybe even if you don't think it goes away, you think that it progressively is getting easier.

And then we hear from so many people about this feeling where they realize, and it's not always just in the second year, sometimes it is realizing in the middle of the first year, you know, at six months. So, I think that, that it can be all different times, that people will suddenly realize Wow it isn't feeling easier.

And part of that, I think, is because of that experience of realizing, as time is passing I'm becoming more acutely aware of how far I am. I'm getting further and further away from the time that I shared on this planet with my loved one and (and) when they were here. And so, I think, there's that looking backwards piece where we feel like we're getting further and  further away. And that feels like we're losing that person even more, you know.

The more each day passes or in the case, like, of Summer, like, the more each season passes. On the other side, there's also, I think, a part about looking forward with time. Like, you described there's, you know, these aspects of the second year, I think. Part of it is looking back and saying Wow we're even further away. Now we're facing, you know, the second birthday without them, or the second ever, or just you know, or just time is (is) slipping through. Another summer is ending that (that) they weren't here for.

But  we're also sort of looking down the future and looking at that reality of maybe, you know, last year I was just trying to survive and now I've been able to put my head up enough that I can see that after year two is year three and four and, you know, ten, twenty. And that (that) aspect of time in grief can start to feel really overwhelming and really, you know, there's this new weight that it's like Now I'm not just trying to survive, I'm trying to figure out how to feel connected with what life looks like going forward. So I think both of those are things that really  jump out at me when I think about this topic.

I think what you're, something related to what you described, it's that, for me, and with comparing  the first year to years after that, I think it's this sense that when you lose someone you lose them, like, all at once. And then you also lose them in pieces, bit by bit over time. It's (it's) really weird because they're gone. You've lost them all at once, like, there's no mistaking that. And you feel that very acutely. But then, you start to realize, all it's like secondary losses over and over again.

When you realize that, you know, the (the) smell of her clothes is faded, or I, what I would give to, you know, hear my mother's voice again and I can't imagine it anymore. And those little pieces of them, a lot of the sensory stuff those really tangible connections, they do begin to fade in a lot of ways and there are things we can do to hold on to those things, right, like take pictures or keep items and things like that.

But it's not the same and (and) there is so much that gets lost that we can't (that we can't) hold on to. I remember within the last six months I think, I wrote an article for What's Your Grief that talked a little bit about how now my mother is very much kind of an abstract for me in a lot of ways. Like, she's not this tangible being that she was for so long and I (I), it sounds dismal, I think, for people who want very much to hold on to their loved one in a tangible way. And (and) so it's not as bad as it sounds.

I have a very close psychological connection to her but I guess what I'm trying to say is for me, there is a lot that I grieve in an ongoing way about just those tangible very realistic connections with her. The other thing that what you were saying kind of made me think about, and this is a little bit of a shift, is just that feel I have this feeling now because I work from home, I have a toddler, like, it sometimes feels like the days are really long and the weeks are long.

Sometimes, it feels like there's not, you know, a lot to get excited about, there's not you (you) have a hard time struggling to really connect to purpose and to really feel like who am I in this world. So the days feel really long, in a lot of ways you're kind of like Oh can this day end? But then, the years feel very short. And so, that's kind of how I feel a little bit about grief sometimes. Like, the days feel like a slug. And sometimes it just feels like Oh can I just go back to sleep? But then, when you have a chunk of time that's passed and you look back in retrospect, you're like Oh my gosh, so much time has passed. And that gives me panic, because there's so much time since my loved one was in this world. Does that make sense to you?

Oh, I (I) think that, yeah, no, I think that makes total sense. And I think that sense of panic that comes when thinking about the numbers like that, the numbers make something feel, it quantifies something. We're like, day to day most people, there are people out there in grief who count (who count) the days that it's been. But I think in general, you know, people are aware of how that feeling of Wow, I'm either struggling to survive the day or I'm kind of, I compartmentalize. And I (I) survive the day just fine, and I just, I plug through itBut then, you know, the nights are hard or the weekend is hard and I, I'm (I'm) kind of losing that sense of time like you described.

But then a specific date comes up. Or a specific moment comes up that triggers us thinking about how much time has actually passed. And I think, once our brain puts a physical number on it, it (it) carries this new weight. And we posted about this on in this idea of, like, kind of grief math on Instagram, and, you know, time passing, measuring time, thinking about how (how) long it's been, how many birthdays have passed, tell me how, and so many people, when I was reading through their responses and their comments, it felt like there was sort of this, well one that's like, Yes I thought I was the only one who did this. I, I'm relieved to know I'm not the only person doing these kind of calculations and feeling kind of distorted about how time passes and somehow feeling at the same time that it has been a turn an eternity since they died and also it feels like yesterday that they were still  here. And, you know, or different variations of that. 

But also, that there was just, like, sort of a pressurized anxiety that went with it. That there was a feeling of, like, when I, when these numbers come up for me, you know, when these days come up and I suddenly go wow, you know, a number of people commented on, you know, the number of, soon I'm going to have had the same number of years with my loved one that I had without them. Like, whether that's the amount of time that we were dating, and then married, and you know, together. Or with if it was a child, who died how many years they were alive compared to how many years they died.

And you know, our our brains do all that math and it suddenly feels like a very weighted number in some way. And (and) you know, I (I) don't know, I think it's just it becomes real. Like, it's something concrete and tangible, that's like I (I) get, it gets you out of that haze of just kind of going through the day-to-day routine and suddenly it's like, you see that number or you think about that number and it's just this real kind of wake up moment of the reality that we're living in. And I think, that can be really hard. I think COVID has also distorted time for people. Like, there are things that just blow my mind when I try, not (not) grief related but just life related, when I try to think about when it was, if it happened between March of 2020 and now there are a lot of things where I can't tell you whether it happened three months ago or 24 months ago.

And I'm not great with time to begin with, so part of it is that, but I think layering that on top of this and the fact that time, for I think a lot of people, during COVID has felt more distorted than ever, means that these numbers are even more weighted when we see them. When we realize Oh wow that's, you know, sort of the Summer is gone. This is the end of my second summer, my third summer without them, you know. All of a sudden, that number makes that very fluid feeling of time or that abstract feeling of time feel real.

Yeah. Bringing up COVID, it makes me think also just how those who lost loved ones experience, people experience so many different types of lost during COVID. So we really have to expand it to those who experience any type of lost during COVID. You know, there's this, people have this timeline in their mind of how grief is supposed to be. And we already talked about how the second year can be harder, but I think that, COVID especially, even kind of messed that up even further because people were denied the ability to have a lot of the traditional ceremonies and rituals and rights that they would have around their loved ones death. I think also because part of grieving is (is) really having the very difficult experience of having to engage with the world after the loss. And you know, go to the places that remind you of the person, see the people who remind you or who have the questions or the comments, things like that.

That is a big part of (of) grieving. And for those who lost a loved one during quarantine, that part of the grief was delayed in (in) many ways. And so their grief happened and was still (still) very much present during those years where, I don't even know how long it was for people at this point, during the time that they were really under kind of locked "quote-unquote "lockdown or quarantine".  And then, it was a little bit prolonged for a lot of people because they had to, after that fact, in a delayed way, go out and have those experiences. So for many people, their experience probably looked very different than they would  have, than it would have, that COVID had not been a thing, or that they probably even anticipated or  expected.

Yeah. I thought about this so much when we, when I was reading Mary-Frances O'Connor's book, The Grieving Brain, which came out earlier this year. And you know, I thought it was just such a fantastic and fascinating book. And one of the things that she talks about is, you know, it's (it's) sort of saying "time heals" is very deceptive, right. Like, time doesn't magically heal. But what she does talk about is our brains, you know, part of what happens, and she really goes into a lot of the Neuroscience of our brain, is that, you know, our brains have mapped the world with our loved one in it and, or our loved ones in it. And so, we come to expect them everywhere.

That feeling that you have so often in early grief of, like, you just think you're gonna see them, like, sitting in the chair where they always sat, or you look out in out, you know, in their parking spot, you can't believe their car is not there, like that, is because, I'm a very neuro-chemical like in a very like neurological way, we've mapped the world with them there. And one other thing that she talks about is that, that experience that we get through living and our brain's expectation of remapping, that kind of happens with time, has to happen through exposure and experience in the world, you know. Sort of encountering the places, going to the, doing the things without them. And that doesn't magically mean time heals, but it does mean that our brain starts to get more and more experience with the  world without them. And so it starts to become a little less jarring that they're missing from the world. You know, something about that happens.

And I thought so much about COVID and how that was taken away from so many people. Now, if you're of course if you lost someone who lived in your home with you, you still had all those home exposure. But you still didn't have the, you know, going to the places where now maybe you didn't go to some of the places that you, you know, you didn't go to your bowling league with them that you usually went to  week to week, or you didn't go to the gym and play tennis together, to church, or to whatever those places were.

And so even though now maybe it's been a year since they're gone, the first time you go to that place and they're not there, your brain's last mental map of that place is of them being right next to you. And so, I do think there's this interesting, it made me think a lot about that with the passage of time, and (and) I think, for  my personal, you know, personally, having lost two friends at the very very beginning of COVID, you know, one in at the very, in actually in February 2020 but, and then in March. And these were, you know, I lost two friends who then suddenly, I, all my friends interaction disappeared, right. Like, I stopped seeing people at all. And it felt, so that period were, it's always going to feel, like, shock and, you know, disbelief.

And where you're reminding yourself over and over again sometimes that a person is really gone, not denial, but like you know, that sort of shock about it, I felt like that was so extended for me. Because, I wasn't seeing anyone so there were so many moments where I would see something and (and) just think that they were still here, you know. It just, I was re-reminding myself over and over and over and over again because of that. And I think it took a lot longer to get out of that shock numb period for me because it didn't feel, you know, it kind of felt like Oh maybe it's just like all my other friends where I'm just not seeing them because of lockdown. So, I definitely thought a lot about how all of those things during COVID really distorted stuff for us.

Yeah. The Mary-Frances O'Connor stuff is so interesting about the brain and mapping and having those experiences. And it really does highlight how avoidance of people in places can make things a lot more difficult because we don't have those experiences. So, in a way we're (we're) living in a world, you know, that's a little bit different than the one that's out there because we haven't gone and had those experiences and (and) sort of forced our brain to remap in a ways. And I can see where that might actually even be, like, an appealing idea to somebody. Like, I don't want to map the world where my loved one doesn't exist. But of course we know that avoidance can play all sorts of tricks on people and cause all sorts of problems.

So, one thing that as we've been talking about how complex, like, this issue of time is and how, you know, talking about how even over a decade later for us, you know, time is still something that we grieve, and then we still, after all this time, grieve our loved ones, it just makes me think about the disconnect there is between what society tends to expect of somebody who's grieving and just how long and complicated the experience of grief is. It's lifelong in (in) many many many many cases. And so I think, it's just interesting to think about how our world around us might have such a different expectation of what our grief is supposed to look like, and how our grief is supposed to be after a certain amount of time versus what is (is) reality.

Something that Kenneth Doka, a researcher, said about Disenfranchised Grief. For those of you who aren't  familiar with the term, Disenfranchise Grief is when people deny people the right to grieve something, based on just the type of loss they've experienced or maybe their expression of loss is something that isn't socially accepted, so there's a little bit of a stigma and a shame around it. That's a very weird suggest version of that.

But what he said is that Every loss eventually becomes Disenfranchised. Eventually, every loss becomes stigmatized to a degree because after a certain amount of time, society just sort of expects people to be back in the world in a productive way, having moved on, not talking about the loss. Many people expect people to go "back to normal". So it (it) really, just (just) really highlight that contrast for me between what is expected. It's like that meme (on on) online, the expectation versus reality, right.

Yes. Absolutely. I know. I think that's a huge (a huge) piece of it. And (and) I think it applies, you know, we talk a lot about how society, other people impose that on us. And I think when Kenneth talks about Disenfranchise Grief, it's very much based on that idea when society doesn't give us permission or they feel like we should be doing differently but part of it is our own expectation. Like, going back to the, that idea I mentioned of, I think that we do think that we're supposed to be moving through at some pace that we've set for ourselves, or we look around and we compare, you know.

One of the things I've been thinking about a lot and talking to some people one-on-one in (in) the community has been about comparing within support groups. And people talking about that experience of sometimes joining a support group, where there are other people who experienced a loss of the same type of relationship, you know. Maybe they also lost a sibling, also lost a spouse, or a parent, or child, right around the same time. And all of a sudden they're measuring, like, okay these deaths happened at the same time and yet these other people in the group feel like they're moving through their grief quicker than I am. Or that they're on a different timeline than I am.

And so a couple people mentioned that experience of sort of counting the passage of time for themselves, but also in comparison to others around them who are grieving, and then feeling this, you know, I'm I must be failing, or I must not be grieving as well if I'm not on the same timeline as someone else. Now, there's no magic timeline of, like, what the right timeline is. But I think people often create ideas about what they think the right timeline is. And then, if they think someone  seems, like, they're doing better or further, or what, you know. And there's a lot to that, right. Like, we only see what other people are putting on the surface. So, who knows there's (there's) certain ways   that one person in grief might be doing really well outwardly in terms of, you know, they're back to work and they feel like they're functioning, and concentrating, and doing all these things but then in another area maybe they're still deeply in avoidance of places that they just can't return to, or you know, at night they're barely functioning at all.

And then someone else that might be quite the opposite, they (they) can't get back to work, they've tried to go back and they can only go part-time, they're struggling to get through the day, they're still really in, you know, that moment. But in other areas they're really, you know, engaged in a support group, they're back to doing, you know, some of the self-care stuff, they're going to the gym again, you know. So a lot of times it's not a one-to-one connection. But we're like mapping it out in our brains as we're looking at these other people around us and comparing how long they've been grieving and how long we've been grieving.

Well, right. And we start learning about how people grieve from a very young age, right. So, and (and) we don't learn it correctly necessarily. Like, we build up a lot of assumptions, some corrected, some not correct, based on what we watch in  TV and movies, based on people in our lives that we've seen. And a lot of people don't show outwardly the struggles that go on inwardly. So, we come to build up a lot of assumptions about how much time things take, how grief looks. 

And something we've recently talked about Litsa is just how people grieve and cope in such different ways. And for many people grief doesn't  look like that emotional expression necessarily. It often does look like diving into activities, and work, and volunteering, and things like that. Things that might make a person say like Oh, they're not struggling as much. But in reality, that's just their way of grieving and coping. So it just looks different. So I think, like, the takeaway here is just comparison can really cause a lot of, it can cause a lot of beating oneself up, and it's often not based on reality. I had to have this conversation with one of my kids just yesterday is that, you know, you think that someone else is so good at something, or so much better at something than you because of what you see for example online. And they're curating that, right. 

How many takes did they take before they put that online. I think that's something that we talk about too in the grief space. Because there is (is) now so much grief content online, on Instagram, TikTok, everywhere, and some of it's great and very normalizing but some of it can make, can feel a little aspirational. I think for people who are, you know, really in the thick of it. And they see someone who's maybe Oh I'm a year out and I'm a butterfly now, you know.

Oh yeah. Absolutely. And I think, I notice a lot how often people, especially in the space of like grief coaches, will mark their timeline. And as part of almost how they advertise themselves of being, like you know, just 18 months after my husband's death, I managed to, I just saw this the other day and it like hurt my soul, you know. I-managed-to kind of this list of things that they, I guess, viewed as accomplishments that were less grief focused and more were, like, I started a new business. And I, you know, bought a new house. And (and) I just thought Wow. This is the kind of marketing that really emphasizes this problematic comparison, this problematic timeline piece. And, you know, the reality we know is that sometimes when people rush through all these things that then look like they're making a checklist of, like, look how well  I'm doing. Sometimes, that really sustains and they really are doing well, and it's all all great. And then sometimes, people crash and burn a little bit, and realize that they were using some of those things as avoidance or as bypass of their emotions in early grief and threw themselves into some of these new products and projects in order to not sit with some of their feelings and, you know, used some of these new the, yeah, these new shiny objects as ways to distract from the grief. And that can come up later and that's not always the case, right. I mean it can go both ways but we have certainly, we've been doing this long enough that we've definitely heard people come back and say Wow, I really thought, you know, that I was doing great. And now I realize that what I was doing was avoiding my grief and now I need to go back and learn how to sit with these feelings and learn how to cope with it. 

As we wrap up the conversation, I (I) think whenever we can, and we can't always, it's good to share it, something, anything constructive around the topic. So, I wanted to just take a minute, I think a lot of what we would have to say that could be constructive is stuff that hopefully you already know, like for example, that grief is, for many I would almost say for most people who've lost someone they love, it's forever. And so, that is normal and okay, and the grief takes as long as it takes. And it is expected for it to bubble up. Over (over) time years later, when you do that grief math and maybe you are the age that (that) your loved one was or maybe so much time has passed that you're thinking about My loved one would have graduated this year, would have gone to prom. Oh all their friends are starting to get married and have kids, your grief is going to bubble up over time and that is very normal. It's grief is not something that we ever put at full stop on. So just saying that it takes as long as it takes and it's totally normal to carry it with you. And like we just said, not (not) to compare oneself to others.

Yeah. I think I would add with that is that, that can sound discouraging to people at first when we say grief is forever. And I think it's important to remember that what we mean by that is not that the pain of the acute grief is the same forever. Not (not) at all, right. Like, it (it) changes and evolves and we learn how to carry it, we learn what we can do to manage, you know, certain things. We get better at anticipating what's going to be hard. We learn who our support systems are. We learn the things that are giving us meaning and purpose and allowing us to get out of bed in the morning even though that (that)  is happening alongside of our grieving. So it's, I think, important to be able to see both of those things at the same time. That both that loss is always with us and also it's always evolving in ways that ultimately allow us to live in the world a little bit differently than we do in those early months, in that first year. Even though that second year can bring new challenges that can feel hardened and daunting oftentimes there are also a lot of things we've learned in the first year that (that) help us tremendously as  we're getting through the second year, and (and) the third and beyond.

Yeah. Thanks for clarifying that. That is a very important distinction. And I would say, having experienced loss myself, and grief, and just having worked and talked to people who are grieving, at a certain point when you have learned to kind of live alongside grief and when grief actually becomes that little reminder of (of) the thing that, you know, the thing or person or (or) time or all of those things that you really love,  it's in a way it's (it's) welcome. Does that sound really weird. Right now in where I am in life, I think I can say, like, grief is like a spiky little companion that I wouldn't want to leave. I (I) carry it with me everywhere and sometimes it pokes me and I'm like hey, rude. But in general, like, I would never want it to go away because it is a part of my love for (for) my mother who will always be one of the most important people in my life. Does that sound insane?

No. I think that most people, I think a lot of people really connect with it. I think it's the reason that for a lot of people, when they hear that the five stages are not how most people in modern, you know, grief mental health and (and) support think about grief, are relieved because, I think, and though I think this is a misunderstanding of Kubler-Ross, but (but) still I think that idea of acceptance let people to think Okay, the goal of (of) grieving is that I put it behind me and I move on and I accept. And I think oftentimes for people, it's a huge relief when they end up in a grief support group or with a grief counselor they've come and they've read our articles or you know listened to something and they hear like No. Grieving is about having a relationship with a person who died and that's going to be with you always. And it's going to be hard because it is like the spiky thorntony thing because with the most comforting memories are all of there's the bittersweet, right. Like, there, that there's always a sadness like that's going to be with it. It's all rolled in together. But I think that there's a relief people feel when we can say that's No. That's (that's) what grief is, it's (it's) learning to to hold on to that forever in a way that still allows us to live in the world and be connected with hope and values and other things in people. So, I think it sounds, spot on.

Well the last thing that I would ask, and this is something that we would love to hear feedback from the listeners and people in our community as well, is if you are somebody who feels like time is (is) passing and you're losing important memories, sensory memories, tangible things, and you're really grieving that loss, are there some ideas that people have for what to do, for how to cope? I think something we've talked about can of course be things like photos or are things to treasure. If you have them, not  everybody does have them, we've talked a little bit about (about) journaling as a way to write down  memories and to really get detailed about memories. What other things might you add Litsa, I don't, if you have any ideas?

Yeah. I think that one of the things that can be helpful with, you know, with this too is just talking to other people. A lot of times we have our own memories and we can kind of try to write those down and think about those things. But oftentimes, when I think about this with, you know, people I've lost in my family, it's just interesting who remembers what. And what, which things stand out. And sometimes, someone else, you know, shares a (a) memory, or shares not even sometimes just a memory, like, it's something about a person that then triggers you remembering this whole thing that you had completely forgotten. Or they share a memory that sometimes you didn't even remember yourself even if you were there because memory is (is) complicated, but you're able to really find a lot of comfort in that. And I think that the other thing is, and while I'm sure talk about this, we've talked about it in the past and (and) I know we'll talk about it again, is just sometimes remembering when we're very connected to those physical objects and those that, you know, those (those) things where it's like their clothes and this the smell and certain things that we know eventually we're going to have to let go of, and that will by nature, you know, at some point disappear. Being able to think about what is it that that, you know what is it that that represents. And what is it that feels comforting and important. And (and) sometimes it's that connection, and thinking about that, and knowing what that is, what that feeling, you know, what (what) is the feeling that went with that person's smell that was so comforting, and what is it about those certain things about their voice, like, what (what) are the aspects about it. Like, what feeling did that bring you. And (and) trying to remember those things. Because those are things that again it's bittersweet. Like, we'll never feel those exact things again. But being able to remember that what that represented, and how that felt is sometimes easier than remembering the thing itself.


And so I think that can sometimes be, at least for me, I think that has sometimes been a bit of comfort in thinking about certain (certain) people with aspects of the sensory, my sensory experience of them that has been lost.

Something else I think that can be really helpful that you mention talking to friends but also going back to places where you have memories, now going back to places can feel really really hard if there are really difficult memories associated. And when I say difficult, I mean it could be difficult at times or, you know, not great memories, but I also mean memories that were good that you're worried are going to bring up a ton of emotion and so you're kind of fearful to return to those places. So sometimes it takes a little bit of time to be able to return to that place and it's okay to take your time but we do encourage you to try and get to the place, right, to eventually return, especially it's someplace special to you. Because being in a place it gives you those context cues that can then trigger memories that you didn't have before. So there is a lot of benefit to returning to a place even if you have to really find coping skills to take with you into that experience to deal with the emotion that bubbles up. Going back to talking to (to) friends and family who knew your loved one, it was also mentioned in the chat that sometimes it's  helpful to talk to friends who may have other stories about them. And that reminds me of one last thing that I have to share is that sometimes it feels like, for (for) myself and for also many people that I've spoken to, it's not just about building up your own memories and reinforcing your own memories, it's kind of about adding to your memory bank by taking the memories of others, or sharing the memories of others. I (I) had an experience like this where I talked to my mom's identical twin. I wanted to know what my mom was like when she was in college, when she was a young mother. I wanted to know more about her because she died before I had the chance to really have an adult relationship with her, and learn those things. And so it was an amazing experience for me. And when I talked to my dad as well to get these (these) memories that aren't mine but they kind of add to my memory bank a little bit. And this is something that we often recommend to people who didn't know the loved one. Maybe it's a sibling who died before they were born or when they were very young, maybe it's a parent they never had the chance to know, so this is something that we often recommend to people is just talk to people you're, you know, you, the grief is around the loss of having any memories there. And sometimes there are things that can be done to at least, you know, learn more about them, and share the memories of other people.

I completely completely agree with that. Well I think that that kind of closes out at least some of the general thoughts at least that I had about this. I don't know, did you have anything else before we found out.

Yeah, I mean like I said I feel like this is a topic that I revisit constantly. And I think that's very normal for people, for one who are grieving, just who are living in the world who are getting a little bit older, time is it's a thing. It's a very um important thing for many people. So certainly, a topic will probably revisit again on our website and here, and in our community. So, we want to thank everybody for joining us both in the What's Your Grief Community and also through the podcast feed. As a reminder, we're going to be recording these in the What's Your Grief Community on Thursdays and then we will be sharing to the What's Your group podcast feed on Fridays, every Friday except for the last Friday of the month which we will hold to connect with our community. So you can always reach us at if you have any questions, topic suggestions, anything like that. And we are on social media, pretty much anywhere you can think of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, even TikTok. And our, we're at What's Your Grief everywhere, I believe.

Yes. Okay, all right. Well, thank you all so much for joining us. We really appreciate it and we will talk again soon.

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After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible, real-life book!

What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss is for people experiencing any type of loss. This book discusses some of the most common grief experiences and breaks down psychological concepts to help you understand your thoughts and emotions. It also shares useful coping tools, and helps the reader reflect on their unique relationship with grief and loss.

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