I would have never imagined myself hosting a podcast. But here I am, asking difficult questions about the deceased with people I admire and respect. Through this journey I have gained some communication skills and the smallest amount of technical knowledge, but my gains are not in learning how to cut out a hundred unnecessary ‘ummmms’ (just me?). It’s more about connection with my peers, exploring grief and sharing my excursion with the world. Interviewing people from all walks is a brilliant experience which continually fosters my heart-space living. I’m grateful for this conversation surrounding death and dying because I know there is healing in acknowledging our bereavement. I also know that listening to others and providing them a space to honor their loved ones is a game changer, for everyone.
1. GRIEF – Everyone grieves differently after a death. The people I’ve encountered all have their own way of dealing with their loss. Although there are some similarities, each person’s path to healing is quite unique to them. Some people recluse and get really quiet. Some get emotional and others reflective. Some rely on art and peer support groups. Some are very messy and show great signs of an inability to cope. The list goes on and on. What I find interesting is how people maintain a bond with their deceased loved one. There are many ways people continue their bond with the deceased from looking at photos, talking to them, visiting the grave, sharing stories, finding dimes, and even having dreams about them. One way I continue my bond with my deceased grandmother is by talking to her when I’m alone (but don’t tell anyone). This provides me the time to feel connected with her and catch her up on all my comings and goings. I am comforted in knowing that I can chat with her whenever I miss her so dearly.
The biggest piece for me when I podcast is to be mindful of the different ways that others grieve and continue their bonds. Even though it may not be the way I would grieve, I understand that this person has the right to journey on their path the way they need to. Being authentic in interviews is, in my belief, the single best thing we can offer those we stop to talk about death with. If our hearts aren’t speaking, it goes nowhere. By being present in the conversation, guests really open up and they comment that speaking about the death so many years later has helped them. They comment that most people stopped asking about their grief journey as years went on, even though they still wanted to talk about it. If you know of someone who lost a loved one (human or animal), one day ask them about it as it may help them in their healing.
2. GRIEF DREAMS – Grief dreams are very common, specifically dreams of the deceased. These dreams widely support people in healing, for the majority of the time. In a myriad of ways, they can truly help people and you don’t need to be spiritual for it to have an impact. Some people believe these dreams are the spirits of the souls visiting, whereas others see it as a nice encounter in ‘neverland’. The guests on the podcast commonly detail feelings of love in the dream that carry over to when they wake. Many times, the deceased gives them words of comfort like in Episode 35 where the deceased grandmother says “It’s going to be OK”. When guests talk about these positive dreams they light up and talk with such emotion. I never knew how few people ask about these experiences during grief, until I started to inquire. I am sometimes one of the first to pose the question. I should mention that not all dreams people have of the deceased are positive, as some can be negative. They may be reliving the traumatic death, or may be reliving some of the guilt/anger they may feel.
Not everyone will remember a dream of the deceased. Not dreaming of your deceased loved one (yes, even though you may really want to) is not indicative of love, nor the quality of your relationship. It may be that you just don’t remember your dreams enough. It is possible you are having them, but just don’t remember them when you wake. There are exercises that may help you enhance your dream recall, so don’t lose hope. When people don’t share a dream on the podcast we ask them what dream they would like to have? We get specific (e.g. location, clothing of characters, what is said, etc.) and it is amazing to hear what dreams people most desire. What dream of the deceased would you want to have, if any?
3. PEOPLE ARE AMAZING! – I cry most episodes. Not because I’m sad, but because the power of hearing others’ stories about loss and their relationships is so beautiful. I love it because it brings more life to the moment. Being with another while they detail their loss is not only fascinating, it’s powerful. It is in these episodes that I can gently be reminded that what we build with others is so steady. You hear that in their stories…that love is timeless.
To learn more about Grief Dreams you can visit www.griefdreams.ca. You can listen to the Grief Dreams Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Podbean.com, and many other podcasting platforms.