January 2024

Shipwrecked: A Widow’s Journey To Healing, Parenting, And Dating Again With Jeanette Koncikowski

WRT Jeanette Koncikowski | Widow’s Journey

  Guilt can sometimes show up in grief. For Jeanette Koncikowski, being a widow brought up many realizations about the challenges that are often overlooked as we grieve our partners. We tend to look back and feel guilty and ashamed, thinking we aren’t good enough. In this conversation, Jeanette joins Tina Fornwald to lay bare her experiences and realizations when she lost her husband. When did she start being comfortable in the process of making choices on her own? How did she begin untangling the layers of guilt and shame? What does the healing process look like for a widow? How does she handle parenting with grief? What is life after loss for Jeanette? Find out the answers to these questions and more as you follow this episode. Plus, hear about Jeanette’s book, Shipwrecked: A Memoir of Widowed Parenting and Life After Loss.   Thank you for viewing this post. I am not a licensed therapist or professional life coach. I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others.  Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach out to a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide/suicide-prevention-hotlines-resources-worldwide — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   Shipwrecked: A Widow’s Journey To Healing, Parenting, And Dating Again With Jeanette Koncikowski Jeanette, welcome to the show. Tina, thank you so much for having me. I am glad to have this conversation. You can tell people how I tracked you down on the internet and stalked you to be here because I have no shame about that. I am always intentionally looking for people who have a voice, people who have something to share that will encourage other people. I believe it was on Twitter where I stalked you and said, “This would be a good voice to bring to the widowhood.” Thank you for not thinking of some internet creeper or something like that. I’m happy to connect. We did connect on Twitter. It’s been a great resource. Grief Twitter is a real thing, and it’s been a huge resource in my healing. Thank you for saying that. Before we get into your story, just on that topic, as far as the internet, I know a lot of times people say, “I don’t want to be on the internet. I don’t want to be doing all these things.” Elaborate a little bit more on how the internet or social media has been a positive and helpful resource for you.     I was widowed in the fall of 2014. While there was a local widow support group, everyone was 30 or 40 years older than me, and our challenges weren’t the same. I was raising two young kids. While I did get support from that group, initially, the generational difference was hard to meet in the middle. It was hard because when you’re 60 or 70, your issues and needs as a widowed person are very different than a 35-year-old. I had to go to the internet because it was the only place I could find other young widowed parents. That’s how I started the @WidowedParentProject, was looking for a community that was going through similar struggles as widows and parents raising grieving children. Let’s talk about how you and your husband met or who you were before you even met him. What were some of your interests? Grief is part of our story, but it’s not all about who we are. I want to know who you are as a person. We were fifteen when we met. We had 21 years together. He was my high school sweetheart, so I don’t know what my adult self would’ve been like without him, but we grew up together. We were very young when we met. We were sophomores in high school. On the first day of sophomore year, we met. It was hard for me to know what my life was like before Mark. It was my childhood, we grew up together. In that sense, when I lost him, I didn’t know how to adult without him. That’s been part of my widow’s journey in learning how to be alone and how to make decisions alone. We met in high school, Spanish class, and we were together for many years. My late husband’s name is also Mark, which I thought was very interesting. You touch on something regarding when your Mark passed and adulating, decision making, also identity. Would you share how you came to realize about making choices on your own and how you became comfortable with that? What that process was like for you? Mark and I had 21 years together. As I said, we were married in 2012 and got married when we were 24. We had a very codependent relationship. I guess it wasn’t the healthiest relationship. When you get together that young, sometimes isn’t. We were separated the year before he died. We were separated for thirteen months, but our marriage was in the process of some deep healing. We were not divorcing, but we were living apart while going to marriage counseling. It was that year before his death that I learned how to live alone. I look back and I thank God that I had that year because if I had lost him the way I lost him, and I hadn’t learned how to sleep alone, how to take care of myself alone, and how to go out to eat alone, it would’ve been that much harder for me when he died. In some ways, that year, I told myself God was preparing me to learn how to be alone and I needed some staggered time to do that. It was some difficult circumstances under which he died. Part of that was that we were separated when he died, which is also something that informed who I am …

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Losing Your Love Of Your Life By Accidental Overdose With Tawana Proctor-Robinson

WRT Tawana Proctor-Robinson | Accidental Overdose

  The shadows of a tragic event shall cast the beauty of love that radiates between you and your late hubsand. You will only feel the rhythm of life’s music until you learn to overcome the loss. In this episode, Tawana Proctor-Robinson recounts her life with her husband, Victor, and how he struggled with fentanyl, which led to an accidental overdose. As a drug dealer turned into a drug addict, Victor was a product of his environment and became his own demise. Tawana shares her insights on Victor’s struggles and what she learned along the way. Let’s join Tawana as she flips the pages into her story of Victor’s addiction, death, and their love and life together. Tune in to this episode today and indulge yourself with her wisdom and insights. Listen to the song Tawana and Victor created HERE.  Thank you for viewing this post. I am not a licensed therapist or professional life coach. I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others. Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach out to a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide/suicide-prevention-hotlines-resources-worldwide — Watch the episode here Listen to the podcast here Losing Your Love Of Your Life By Accidental Overdose With Tawana Proctor-Robinson My guest is Tawana Proctor-Robinson. She is one of the founding members of Widowhood Real Talk with Tina, our private Facebook group. She is so low-key and so quiet but so intentional. I want you to pay close attention to this conversation. If you have a loved one or maybe you are struggling with a drug addiction, pay attention to the words that she has to say. The journey that she’s been on and the wisdom that she is sharing will be life-changing for you. Let’s get into this conversation now. Tawana, welcome to the Widowhood. I guess it’s not welcome to the Widowhood because you’re already part of it. You’re part of our private group but welcome to this conversation. Thank you. Tawana is part of our private Facebook group and I am super glad to have her in our private group. She wanted to share her journey and I appreciate her for wanting to do that. Tawana, where are you from originally? I’m from Gary, Indiana, where I reside. You started in Gary. Where have you traveled and lived? What does that look like for you? I lived in Indianapolis, Indiana for 31 years, and then I moved back here to take care of my mom in November 2023. I have been hear back home for a year. What prompted you to move to Indianapolis? My first husband and I moved to Indianapolis to have a better life. How did you like Indianapolis? I loved Indianapolis. There was so much to do and easy to get around. I had to move back to take care of my mom. I knew I’d eventually probably move back to Gary, but I didn’t know when. Before you met your first husband, what were some things in your life or what were you doing? My first husband and I got married when I was eighteen, so I was in high school. Do you have some interests or any activities in high school? I was in the concert choir and gospel choir. I was in the marching band and concert band. I modeled for a modeling troupe at Horace Mann High School here in Gary, Indiana. I did a lot of things in high school. I did not know any of that about you. Tell me what type of modeling things you did. I modeled on our modeling troupe when we had fashion shows at school, and we modeled all types of fashion. Do you have any pictures of that? I don’t. This was before the era of taking pictures all the time and stuff. In a yearbook maybe or something like that? Maybe in the yearbooks. In my senior year, I didn’t take a lot of pictures in the yearbook. I only had my senior picture in there. You said marching band, what instrument did you play in the marching band? I was the first chair clarinet. Do you still play a clarinet or did you let that go? I don’t. I let it go after high school. I played for a couple of years after graduation because my band teacher asked me to come back and play for the seniors. I did that a couple of years after I graduated. After that, I haven’t picked up a clarinet. My oldest son and daughter both played clarinet in high school. You passed it on to your children. You still do have a love for music, if I recall correctly. I do. I love music. My late husband and I, Victor, recorded and wrote some songs and they’re actually on our YouTube pages. How did you meet your first husband? My first husband and I met a month after my daughter was born in June of 1990. We got married about 7 or 8 months after we met. How long were you guys married? We were married for about 4 or 5 years. Not very long. Long enough to have two sons. How old are the boys now? 31 and 29. Absolutely men. I was not born, so I should say that for sure. My 31-year-old will be 32 in January 2024. Do your children live in proximity to you? My daughter lives here in Gary with my two grandchildren. My oldest son lives in Philadelphia, and my youngest son lives in Bloomington, Indiana. Both of my sons graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, but my youngest son decided to stay and become a school teacher. He did that for several years after he graduated. There cannot be enough men in education. That is a field where people are needed. After the …

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Grief Transformation: Actively Healing From Unresolved Grief With Ghulam Fernandes

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Ghulam Fernandes | Unresolved Grief

  Oftentimes, people are stuck in grief and don’t know how to get out of it. And that sucks because most of the time, the other parts of our lives are perfectly fine but we aren’t present enough to enjoy them. Healing from unresolved grief is an active process, not a passive one, as today’s guest explains. Ghulam Fernandes is a grief transformation coach who specializes in unresolved grief. Ghulam has had multiple bereavements, something that she draws upon a lot when working with her clients. Ghulam believes that you can and should take active steps to heal yourself from grief and live your life fuller. She shares some of the resources that will help you do just that. Tune in to learn more about her transformative work and how it can make all the difference in your grief and rebirth journey! — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   Grief Transformation: Actively Healing From Unresolved Grief With Ghulam Fernandes Our guest is Mrs. Ghulam Fernandes. She is a grief transformation coach. She has had multiple bereavements growing up. Without the right knowledge, tools, and processes was stuck for years in pain and therapy. She is now passionate and training others in how to deal with unresolved grief, so they can move forward and get their life back. She had extensive personal experience with grief and training for over two years with the Grief Recovery Institute and also with Edu-Therapy UK in January 2022. She started her handling grief practice and has been working with individuals who are stuck in the pain of their grief to teach them the knowledge, tools, and processes that they can use to identify the process of all past, present, and future grief. She loves seeing lives transformed. Let’s get into this conversation now.     Ghulam, thank you for joining me. It’s my pleasure. Thank you so much for the invitation. I’m so excited to be able to be here and for us to have a conversation that can be a light to people who may be struggling in the dark. Same here. What would you like to share about yourself initially? I just became a grandmother, which has revolutionized my life. Are you a good grandmother or are you one of those grandmothers that maybe get away with everything?  It’s still early days. I’m trying to be a good grandmother because I know that without a lot of love, but also clear boundaries, children can grow up a bit wild. That doesn’t serve anybody. She makes me laugh so much. We live in a world that is full of challenges at the moment. Everywhere you look, there’s bad and sad news or even sadder and worse news. I’ve created a little file of my granddaughter, and all the different pictures and videos that my son sends me. Now and then, I think, “I need some granddaughter time.” I go in there and I’ll just laugh and smile until I feel restored, and then I’m back to being able to cope with the reality of the world that we live in. We all need something that brightens our hearts and brings a smile to our faces. She’s my first granddaughter, so that’s made it special. She has your heart in a different way. My youngest sister’s daughter and her husband who is in the Navy, your reaction is the same reaction I see from my sister when she talks about her grandson and how it bubbles her up inside. It’s that newness of life, the freshness, and the innocence of it all. It’s all so good and pure before they’ve been bombarded with things in life. It’s that purity of expressing themselves by saying, “If she’s not happy, you’ll know about it. If she’s smiling, you’ll know about it.” We get into, “Should I say this? Shouldn’t I say this? What will people think?” Monitoring and censoring ourselves and not being ourselves is not helpful to anybody. She’s extra special. We’ll talk about that in a little while. In my brief journey where I had multiple losses growing up, one of the things that happened was I had three miscarriages, and we don’t know about the first because the baby never really started forming. The second two were little girls. I had two sons and my husband. I always felt outnumbered. I was very excited when I thought I was going to have a little girl. After the miscarriage, that didn’t happen. It felt really special now that we have got a little girl in the family. Thank you for sharing that part because what we don’t know oftentimes is the backstory of a situation. Having this authentic, real talk brings some of those things to light that we generally may not be able to have a conversation with someone. I know that sometimes people’s friends will listen to a podcast and find out something about their friend that they didn’t know because the conversation didn’t come up or there wasn’t a safe space to have it. I appreciate you sharing that. Unfortunately, I also have experienced having a miscarriage. The first trimester was right around my late husband’s birthday, and that was my first introduction to grief. As you and I know, grief is surrounded by a lot of different things. Oftentimes when people hear grief, they dive towards someone who has lost a loved one, which is absolutely grief, but it does expand further than that, which is what complicates life because we don’t realize by the time we’re dealing with the death of a loved one, it’s compounding from 6 or 7 other different things that we handle. This was the one that may have broken us or put us in a place where we can never pay attention to everything else because it’s not only the death of that loved one, but it’s a compounding of other grief experiences that we’ve had. Now, everything crumbles …

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Widowhood Real Talk Shares Plans For 2024

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Plans For 2024

  This is the podcast’s first episode of the year, and I am here to share my plans for 2024. Join me as I look back on the amazing things that happened in 2023 and talk about the deeper support I want to provide to everyone. I also celebrate the memory of my husband who continues to serve as my inspiration in producing this podcast and guiding other people on dealing with their grief. Thank you for viewing this post. I am not a licensed therapist or professional life coach. I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others.  Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach out to a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide/suicide-prevention-hotlines-resources-worldwide. — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   Widowhood Real Talk Shares Plans For 2024 Welcome to the show. It is January 4th, 2024 and this is our first episode of 2024. The first thing I’d like to do is say happy birthday to my sister Ulanka. January 5th is her birthday. I wanted to take this opportunity to do something a little bit different than we did in 2023, introduce myself, and do a solo conversation. My journey for 2023 has been amazing. I am so grateful for every person that allowed me to be on this journey with them. I would’ve never thought that the show and our social content would reach over 73 countries and 1 million views. That tells me how many people are out there that need to know that they are not alone on this grief journey. I want you to know that I know it’s difficult. It is not something any of us wanted to have happen but if my loss, the death of my husband has been able to encourage you, then there has been purpose made out of my pain. Over the conversations in 2023, I’ve spoken to a lot of people but I wanted to take a little bit of time to share more of my journey and why this is so important to me. My husband, Mark, was a wonderful husband. He was a wonderful father, a brother, a son, and an uncle. He was a wonderful friend. My opportunity to continually share his memory and honor him allows me to keep his memory alive. It has shown me how devastating the death of a loved one is and how impactful, how it changes your life forever. I’ve also learned that there are so many people doing this by themselves. Many people feel muted because their loved one has died and they feel like they don’t have someplace to turn or they don’t feel like someone cares. I want you to know my experience has changed my life forever. I love Mark and I am so grateful for him being in my life for those 32 years. I’m grateful that I can use what I have learned from his death and in my continual living to be able to show up for people in a way that I never knew was necessary.   That is why in this show, I want you to know that we are more than a show. We are an entire 501(c)(3) organization set up with the mission to support people who are grieving around the world. The word “widowhood” was intentionally chosen because I’m from Chicago and hood to me means family. When my husband Mark died, my children, parents, friends, cousins, aunts, and uncles were impacted. When our loved one passes, it is our entire community that is taking on part of that loss. That is why our conversations are with widowers but also with their families. It is with their children and every aspect of that community. You’ll see a lot of that in 2024 when our conversations will start to broaden to that entire community. That widow or widower is impacted but I want that entire community to be able to show up, share, and let that widow and widower know that they are not alone. It is their entire community that is impacted. We will have conversations in 2024 with realtors, a financial advisor, and a lawyer because there are so many components to the death of a loved one. It is way more than just the funeral. Support Projects For 2024 The death of our loved one impacts us for years for the rest of our lives. That is why the conversations that we’re having are important to be able to have something to leverage and have resources. As far as those resources, if you go to our website, you’ll be able to connect. If you’re looking for a therapist or a group to connect with, we have a group where we connect people. Every second Thursday of the month, Mr. James Price will be hosting a peer-to-peer support group for men. On the last Thursday of the month, I will host a peer-to-peer support group for anyone who is grieving.   You may wonder why is there just a group for men. Men from the statistics suffer more from having a safe space where they can talk about their emotions and struggles, and feel like there are other men there that care. That is why I intentionally partner with Mr. James Price to be able to provide that support to men. James can provide that peer-to-peer support because he, unfortunately, lost his wife and their child soon after giving birth. He knows what that is like to be able to be in that space, be comforted, and be supported. When I reached out to him, he was gracious and willing to be able to be there in a space that he knows that men can benefit from. On the second Thursday of every month from 6:00 to 7:00 Eastern Time, you can …

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