Death

Navigating The Tough Part Of Grief Together With Tina Fornwald, Founder Of Widowhood Real Talk With Tina

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Tough Part Of Grief

  Navigating the grief process is hard, and nobody knows just how tough it is better than the person who is going through it. But even the most challenging aspects of the whole healing journey are surmountable with the right mindset and tools. In this episode, Tina Fornwald takes special attention to speak to us about navigating the tough part of grief. Specifically, she shares tips on overcoming the anger, guilt, and isolation that many people experience upon their loved one’s transition. Tune in to hear more of Tina’s wisdom! — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   Navigating The Tough Part Of Grief Together With Tina Fornwald, Founder Of Widowhood Real Talk With Tina It is the month of May 2024, and Widowhood Real Talk with Tina is celebrating our Founder’s birthday. Yes, that’s me, and we invite you to help us celebrate. How? By donating $5 in the month of May. Five and five. See what we’re doing there with that? How do you do that? Text Hopeful Hearts to 53555. Thanks for helping us celebrate and support a worthy cause. Let’s get into this episode. — I am staying true to my promise of conducting a solo podcast at least once a quarter. Today is May 16th, 2024, and you are helping me celebrate my birthday. I want to say thank you in advance for the $5 donation going towards the Widowhood. Widowhood Real Talk with Tina is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit on a mission to support the people who are grieving in our world. At some time or another, we are all grieving. Having a community is helpful, which leads to our conversation.   Why People Get Stuck In Grief I am going to tackle things that people have asked me about, where I have found the pattern of people being stuck in grief, and what my recommendations are for working yourself out of grief. The first thing that I’d like to tackle is when people feel the death of their loved one was a personal attack. Let me say this is not related to the death of a loved one that has a crime related to it, or there was a murder or something that was intentional. That certainly has different implications, which I am sorry for. I am referring to situations where, such as my husband having a heart attack at the age of 51, someone’s mother, cousin, uncle, sibling, or child dying earlier than they anticipated, maybe an accident, but feeling like their loved ones’ leaving of this Earth was a personal attack to them. That is something that I find often puts people in a place of feeling like they’re stuck and unable to move forward. That also goes to the second item, which is guilt. When people carry an immense amount of guilt related to their loved one’s death, it keeps them in a place of being stuck. They cannot move forward. They feel as if they would have only done something different if they had stayed home, not gone to work, done CPR better, given them that last meal, or forced them to go to the doctor. They think that there was something they could have done to prevent their loved one from leaving this world. That often leaves people in a place of being stuck. The third thing that I have seen that allows people to be stuck is isolation. It is being alone. These three things you may say don’t relate to me, and that’s fine. I am sharing three things that I have found as a pattern overall when dealing with people related to grief. That is the person who feels like the death of their loved one was a personal attack. They feel like God or a higher power took their loved ones from them. That is the person who wrestles with guilt, feeling as if they could have controlled the situation. The third person is isolation, where they are alone. They are disassociated from society, and they do not want to interact with anyone. They have come to a place where they feel like no one cares. They feel like no one understands their pain or grief. They feel like they have lost themself in the grief fog, and being around other people will not help them. I want to encourage you to do the opposite of that. It may be hard to digest, but I would ask you to entertain three other things that are different from that. One, death and life are a part of our existence. All of us will transition from this world. That is the reality. If we are able to come to peace with that reality, it will disassociate the idea that the death of our loved one was a personal attack. If we’re able to find peace with the reality that life and death are part of our existence, it will eliminate us from thinking that the death of our loved one was a personal attack.   It’s not granted. I’m not a fan of it. I won’t be happy that it happened. That is not what I’m asking you to consider, but I’m asking you to consider the reality that our loved ones leaving this world is part of human existence. If you’re able to take a sliver of that concept, it will eliminate you from feeling like somebody, someone, some power, some being, and God made this happen to you. It is part of life. As our own existence will end, the ability to now harness the love that we have from our person who is no longer here, harness everything we learned in our relationship with them, harness everything that they were good and the things that we learned that they were not good to use that in our existence in living. We get to honor every person with whom we have traveled this life journey. We get to show …

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Cosmic Parenting: Raising Children As A Widow With Amy Balchune

Widowhood Real Talk With Tina | Amy Balchune | Cosmic Parenting

  When you lose a spouse that you had kids with, you’re not just losing a key part of your life. You’re also losing your biggest support in one of life’s biggest challenges – rearing your children to become the best people they are meant to be. How do you do that when you’re suddenly left on your own? Amy Balchune went through this experience a few years back, and her extraordinary grief and healing journey led her to conceptualize Cosmic Parenting, a movement that seeks to support widows who are trying their best to be good parents while navigating the grief journey. Join this conversation and learn how Amy is making an outsized impact on the lives of the women she’s helping!   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   Cosmic Parenting: Raising Children As A Widow With Amy Balchune In this episode, our guest, Amy, has some very valuable information to share with you. She wanted to jump right into the information but she allowed me to take us on a journey through her life. When we do get to that valuable information at the end, it has so much meaning and power because you’ve learned who Amy is and resonate with her and understand how the information she shares is going to be helpful for you. Let’s get into the conversation.     Amy is here with us. I’m going to let her introduce herself a little bit and then we’ll go from there where she’s at. My name is Amy Balchune. I am here to talk to you about my journey. I became a widow at 40 and I’m trying to navigate this the best I can. When I became a widow, I had a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old. It was the height of COVID. There were a lot of things going on, a lot of uncertainty. I was brought to Tina to share my story and connect with other people. We are going to back up a little bit. One of the things that we all find important is to realize and validate that although we may miss our spouse, we were a person before them and we continue to be somebody in their absence or after they are no longer in this world. I don’t want to start the conversation right there. I want to know who Amy is. Where are you from originally?     I am from Pennsylvania, a little town called Duryea. I’ve been a teacher for 22 years. I went to the University of Pittsburgh for my degree. What gave you an interest in being a teacher? When did you say, “I want to be a teacher?” Did you start with 2 or 3 other majors and then end it with being a teacher? How did that come about? I wasn’t called to be a teacher initially. I’m this little girl living in Duryea, a teeny tiny little town, and decided I wanted to make the leap to go to a city. I went in open-minded and initially had a Psychology major. That led me to a little bit of Anthropology. I’ve always been interested in cultures and understanding why people do specific things culturally. It still intrigues me, which also is a bit of my mission as well to understand how different cultures deal with grief but we’ll go there later. Initially, I was a Psychology student and then that led me to this idea of an Anthropologist moment. I was navigating college life and loving it. At nineteen, I was in my second year. It was winter finals and there was a knock at my door. I opened the door and my beautiful cousin Colleen was there. She gave me the most devastating news I could have ever gotten. My father died of a massive heart attack. Very early on in my journey, I experienced this. There was a moment in which, I had a dad and then he was gone. My dad was honestly one of my best friends. He would come to Pittsburgh and hang out with me, not even bring my mom with the family. We would hang out, connect, and chill. Very early on in my life, I had to understand this idea of death and grief. I believe truly that that altered my path. To be an anthropologist takes lots of years, money, and a ton more debt. I believe that what happened was that I went home, did what I had to do, went back to the University of Pittsburgh, and finished out that spring semester. I did go back another year but I was lost. That was my junior year but I knew that there were decisions that I needed to change and alter. Financially, I felt like I needed to get closer to my family. I was five hours away at that point. Ultimately, I took that year to be confused and try to find myself to the best of my ability. I did move closer to home. I left the University of Pittsburgh and went to Bloomsburg. I chose the path of becoming a teacher. I was closer. I was 1 hour away from home instead of 5 hours. I’m the oldest and then my sister is five years younger. My brother was only about 9 or 10 when my dad died. I was a little bit closer to help but also to feel that comfort when I needed it. Ultimately, that shaped my path and career. I would say so. Let’s spend a …

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Becoming A Death Doula: The Beautiful Journey Of Living With Death With Stephanie Dawson

WRT 45 | Death Doula

  What does a death doula do? Today’s guest will enlighten us on the path she walks. Stephanie Dawson is a retired nurse turned death doula turned grief coach. Stephanie takes us into her journey from a career-ending injury death of a loved one to becoming a death doula. The tragic events may have been painful, but they did not close her doors and, instead, opened her mind to believe that death becomes our friend that we take with us. Let’s take a moment to listen to this beautiful journey of Stephanie Dawson today. 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   Social Links: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephanie-dawson-955948183 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deathwithsteph — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   Becoming A Death Doula: The Beautiful Journey Of Living With Death With Stephanie Dawson In this episode, our guest is Ms. Stephanie Dawson. I found her on Twitter because I wanted to know what a death doula was and she is one. This conversation is so interesting. She drops some gold nuggets in here. I’m going to give you one. She said that death becomes our friend that we take with us. I want you to know how she talks about this.     In this episode, our guest is Ms. Stephanie Dawson, a death doula. I believe I tracked her down on Twitter and reached out to her. With the idea of a death doula, I didn’t have a clue but the more that I read about it, the more interesting it became. It’s morbid but here we are. We’re on a whole widowhood conversation. As you know, one of my intentions is to always have guests who are interesting. I never heard of a death doula so here we go. Welcome, Stephanie. Thank you for having me. Thank you for being here. I know that you’re more than a death doula so we won’t start right there but it is something that I do want to get into. Where are you from originally? I was in Michigan until I was six and then I moved to Black Hills of South Dakota. I grew up in Deadwood, South Dakota. Those were two different places. At what age? How do we get to South Dakota from Michigan? My mom was a hippie. She went out to the Black Hills on vacation. She was a single parent. I was six and my sister was one at the time. She fell in love with the Black Hills so we moved there. It up and moved us. Did you take on some of that hippie atmosphere? Where would you put yourself in the placement of that? Almost everything about me as an adult is directly related to my childhood. I’m a strong advocate for women’s rights and people of all colors and dispositions. I have a queer daughter so I’m very active there. I was rabid about the environment. How does that show up in your everyday life being rabid about the environment? I was always trying to lower my footprint with reusable silicone baggies, beeswax paper, bar shampoo, and bar soap. One is partly water. Also, laundry sheets. I used to make my laundry soap. My daughter never thought it worked as well. She didn’t like it. Now, they have so many ecological options. I have magnets that I have in my washing machine. I found them on Amazon. I have balls that are made of wool or some material. I use that in the dryer. We have those too, the Woolzies. My grandsons like to steal them from my laundry when they’re around. It’s a ball and they’re boys. I can relate to that. My husband has a garden in the back where he does his compost. It was interesting. The trash went out and we did not have much trash to go out. We have more recyclables but most of the food products go into the compost besides fruit and meat. We have a dog so he’s trying to make sure he gets everything else. I never thought about being rabid for the environment but to some extent, we are doing the same thing. When I get grocery store bags, the little plastic ones, we have reusable grocery bags but we always get some of the plastic because I use them for garbage. I don’t buy garbage bags. I don’t think I’ve bought garbage bags in many years. We do have garbage bags. We recycle so much that it’s not worth it. We don’t have that much garbage. We have a grocery store bag every other day. It’s just me and my daughter. We don’t have all that much. How did we come from the six-year-old to this woman who’s a death doula? There’s a lot of story in between there. How do you want to unpack some of that? Going back a little further, even when I was four, my sister died. I told you that. I grew up in a grieving family. My first memory of a funeral is my sister’s. She was a week away from turning three when she died. We were dressed alike. First of all, I am sorry. That is a very young age. Thank you for sharing that. We may have talked about some things in the pre-conversation but thank you for bringing that to this discussion. When you say you and your sister were dressed together, was it at the time she died or at her funeral, Stephanie? At her funeral, we had matching dresses. We were fourteen months apart so we dressed alike often. I’m sure they were our newest best dresses. …

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Giving Yourself Permission To Find The Beauty In Grieving With Isobelle Morrison

WRT 21 | Beauty In Grieving

  We deal with grief differently, and many do not allow themselves to live. Most people choose to run away from reality. We don’t have to live like that. In this episode, a widow, Isobelle Morrison, shares her inspiring tale that demonstrates how the beauty in grieving shows up if you are giving yourself permission to see it. It was her husband who taught her to deal with grief. Isobelle’s relationship with her husband may not be smooth and easy, but she sees beauty in their relationship because of their love. Tune in to this inspirational episode and see beauty in the new normal you face today. 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. — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   Giving Yourself Permission To Find The Beauty In Grieving With Isobelle Morrison My conversation’s with Isobelle. The nuggets that she shares is so helpful. I literally want you to have something to write with. When she talks about learning how to do it her late husband’s way and learning how to live and being able to give herself praise, there are going to be some tips that you will find helpful, whether you are newly widowed or a widower or you have a friend or a loved one that has someone that they’re grieving. There are going to be some things here that you can share with them. Let’s get into the conversation.     Here is my guest, and I’ll let her tell you a little bit about herself. I’m Isobelle Morrison. What do you go by? It depends. If you know me from college, it’s Isobelle. My husband’s family called me Izzy, and in South Carolina, everybody calls me Belle. Okay, I did not know, I just knew about the Izzy. If somebody calls me Belle, it’s like, “They know me from way back.” The origin of Belle, that nickname? It’s because of the name, Isobelle, so they just call me Belle, and Belle means beautiful. Where is your home? I’m originally from South Carolina. I moved here to Virginia in ’87. Military spouse. We were married for fifteen years, divorced. We have three children, but they’re adults now. I met Freddy in ’08. Who is Freddy? Freddy is my husband that passed away. I met him in ’08, and we dated for almost ten years. It was a crazy kind of love. We lived together, he moved out and moved back in, and moved out again. What was happening during those time when he moved out? I don’t want you to go through it real fast. Let’s back up a little bit. I’m going to bring you back just a little bit. You moved here from the Carolinas and how old were you then? I was eighteen and a mom. We had our kids very quickly. By the time I turned twenty, we had three kids. What are those three children? My daughter’s the oldest, Chica. The second is Albert, but we call him Jay. Where are the children and what are they doing now? Chica lives in Maryland. She’s actually a psychiatrist. Why is that important? I’m a therapist. That’s what she does. She does ER, so anybody come into the ER with psychiatric issues, she works with them. There’s Jay, he sells solar panels in this area. I’m going to have to talk to him about that because I’m interested in the solar panel. I’ll let him know. There’s Marcus who’s my youngest, he’s a mechanic. They are all doing what they want to do. Chica knew at five that she wanted to be a doctor. Marcus, I think he was two changing a tire and he’s a mechanic. Jay is like his mom. He’s going his way. For me, I wanted to be a reporter. I always wanted to be Barbara Walter when she did the Nightly News. I got married and my kids. I went to school and I actually worked at a local TV station here. In fact, I worked as an intern at two other stations and then I worked at one. That’s fulfilling a dream. You did it. Low key? No? I wasn’t a reporter, but I wanted to be a reporter but I didn’t have it. As fate had it, I ended up hating the job so I quit. One of the deans from Norfolk State was having an event and I went, and the guy there had a badge on and I didn’t even know what he did. I said, “If your badge says director, that means you hire and fire.” He said, “That’s exactly what it means.” Long story short, I ended up working for him. In what capacity? I worked in Anger Management. That’s how I got into the mental health field. What was that like? It was amazing. He’s like, “First you need to know what I do.” I was like, “Okay.” It was in Norfolk with young men, at-risk youth that were on probation or parole. I went there and it was just like I was at home, working with them who did Anger Management and it wasn’t easy because they would give you the business. I did that for about three years. I worked in the city of Norfolk, and then I got a job as an in-home counselor for a couple of years. Those are two totally different. Yeah, because then you go in the home when you work with kids that struggle with may be at risk with out-of-home placement, they just trying to get them to get on track in school. It was still …

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A New Life After Widowhood: Words Of Wisdom From A 21 Year Widow With Alma Davis

WRT 14 | Life After Widowhood

  When my late husband passed, I met Alma Davis in CA to attend a widow conference, which was extremely helpful for me in learning to be a widow. In this episode, Alma shares her journey of being a widow for 21 years. Alma shares about her life, how she met her husband, Tony, his death, and the life she developed after widowhood. You are going to enjoy her transparency, her ability to convey the importance of her faith as it relates to dealing with the death of her husband, her professional background, and how it impacted her life. Tune in for more! 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   A New Life After Widowhood: Words Of Wisdom From A 21 Year Widow With Alma Davis Our conversation for this episode is with Ms. Alma Davis. You are going to enjoy her transparency, her ability to convey the importance of her faith as it relates to dealing with the death of her husband, Tony, her professional background, and how it impacted her life. Let’s get into the conversation now.     Welcome to the show, Alma. Thank you. Thank you for being here. We know it is a Saturday morning and Alma is on the West Coast. She has gotten up bright and early to be here to join the show. Yes, I have, bright and early. Alma, what gives you hope right now? I’m looking forward to the future. It’s bright and sunshiny as it always is in San Diego for the most part. I’m about to finish my seminary journey, which has been a journey, especially with grief and health conditions which are not unusual as it relates to our grief. I’m about to complete May 27th, 2023, which is my daughter’s 36th birthday. I’m really excited about that because I’m in the process of implementing a mental health group program that was created by Joe Padilla. It’s called Living Grace. Anyone who’s dealt with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issues can go online with me and join this group. I’m currently in the process of creating some peer support. It gives me great hope because I’m booming with excitement and opportunities that will come my way. You have written a book if I recall in this journey. I did. It was called A Widow’s Virtue. It was about my process through grief. It begins prior to the moment that Tony passed away. It goes through my journey. It was incredible writing it because I felt like Groundhog Day. I was constantly in it. I tried to write it in such a way that it shared the experience, but at the same time demonstrated the hope that was there. Looking back on it retrospectively, I’m not certain that it showed enough hope because I did have some comments from other widows and they said it was too raw, but it’s out there. I want the raw because that’s what the real talk is about. If we don’t have the rawness and the realness, how do we know what to prepare for? That’s true. I’m not always sure that I talked about the preparation as I did about what God was doing and showing me. Of course, the rawness of my desires for that future. I had future expectations about how my husband and I would live, especially after the children were out of the house. I wasn’t too graphic about those things, but certainly, when you have an empty nest, there’s some excitement that you had to put on reserve. The show is for ages eighteen and older. This is not for children. I talked about some fun times that we could have during that emptiness season that we didn’t have a full opportunity to experience prior to my getting pregnant. I got married at a really young age. Tell us about who Tony is and how you guys met on your journey. Tony was the love of my life. I was in the Air Force Reserve and I had prayed, “Lord, I want to go to England where our six-week tour was going to be.” He made that happen for me. I met the love of my life while I was there. We worked in the same building. I remember I had on my fatigues and I was walking up to the building. There was this guy at the door. I had my hands in my pocket. In the military, you’re not supposed to have your hands in your pocket, but I’m a reservist and I’m spending too much time in the real world. There’s this beautiful guy at the door with a grand piano smile, and he was like, “Why you are playing pocket pool?” I was like, “Excuse me. Who are you to be telling me what to do?” I went on into the building and he disappeared. He knew my boss from previous reserve trips to England. He arranged for me to come to his office because one of my girlfriends was working in the office with him. My boss was like, “You need to go see Cassandra.” I was like, “I’m busy. I don’t need to go see Cassandra.” Eventually, I gave in because he was nagging me. Mr. Davis is in that office with Cassandra. It was a setup, but it was a good setup. For the time that I was there, the whole story unfolded. I remember one occasion right now. I wish I could have sent you this picture, but everything is packed away in …

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The Challenges And Rewards Of Relocating After The Death Of A Spouse With Monika Dunn

WRT 13 | Death Of A Spouse

  There are many things you can do after losing a spouse. One of these can be relocation. In this episode, Monika Dunn provides insights into the rewards and challenges of relocating after the death of a spouse. The discussion with Monika Dunn wraps up with sharing Tina’s journey from her perspective and those of family/friends. Moving to Virginia, Tina stayed with Monika on her last night in PA. Many connections join Tina’s friendship with Monika, the similarities of their children’s ages, serving in the military, their faith, and being in an interracial marriage, to name a few. Tune in to this episode and see how friendship gets us through challenges. 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 a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country. — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   The Challenges And Rewards Of Relocating After The Death Of A Spouse With Monika Dunn Hello, widowhood. I want to thank you for being on this journey with me. Thank you for investing your time in tuning in to this show and hearing the stories of my grief over the death of my late husband from the vantage point of myself, my family, and my friends. The conversation with Monika in this episode is wrapping up the sharing of my story because I wanted you to understand you are not in this alone. This is a road that I have traveled longer than some and shorter than others. As we continue on this topic of grief and losing a loved one, I want you to know that I care, and I want to hear your stories. I want you to share questions that you would like for us to cover on the show. I would like for you to email me if you’re interested in sharing your story. You can go to the website because Widowhood Real Talk with Tina is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with the mission of supporting people that are grieving, and providing a candid place for a conversation about grief. That’s what this is all about. You can email me at WidowhoodRealTalk@gmail.com. You can go to our website, Widowhood-RealTalkWithTina.org to be able to share your stories and recommend different questions. Let’s get into this conversation with my friend Monika.     Our conversation is with my girlfriend, Monika. She got me out here way past my bedtime but Monika is committed to the hood, so she got me committed too. I’m appreciative of her time. Monika, tell us a little bit about yourself. I’ve known Tina for quite some time. We go way back to when our kids were little. We met in church mainly because our kids were together and in school together as well. Besides that, we connected pretty easily because we share a lot of similar interests. I have two kids and I’ve worked most of my life either for a company. I work partially for a spa and partially build my own clients so when I retire one day, I’ll have a little lovely job or hobby, and provide some monetary resources as well. I’m from Poland but I’ve been in the US since ’87. This is my home now. I love God. I love sports. I’m very competitive when it comes to football. The Steelers are my team. College football and college basketball, I’m all into it. I love the outdoors. I love working out. I try to be healthy and I like having fun. Let’s go back to Poland. What age did you come to the US and what was your life like in Poland? I came here when I was sixteen. I came from a tiny little place with literally less than 1,000 people in my village. I came from a little place to New York City. That was a shock. Life in Poland was very different from what I experienced here. Most of the people were farming, but not business. It’s to mainly grow food for themselves. Either one or both parents were working as well to provide income. As kids, we work since we were very little, either attending to the livestock, going out and working in the fields, school, and very little playtime. Everybody knew everybody. If you got in trouble with anyone, they would correct you right there. We didn’t get in trouble that much, but it was very loving and open at the same time in some ways. I also had a tough time growing up because my mom was in the US. When I was ten, she left and I didn’t see her since I was sixteen. We also didn’t have phones available or camera phones for sure. I would talk to her maybe twice a year for a couple of minutes with a very bad reception. In between, we would write letters. Also, my youngest sister, who was three at the time when my mom left in ’81, I haven’t seen her until she was ten. She left when she was a baby and then she was a little brat when we got here to the US, but she was super excited to see us. Tending animals, you said two words. You shared some of that with me. I want you to expand on that a little bit more about what tending animals look like. They have to be taken care of every day. Usually, I would get up around the summertime probably at 3:30 or 4:00. I go out there and feed them. I clean up all their mess. I give them water. In the summertime, we would take them out to pasture and we didn’t have enclosures. The way our lots were set …

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On Ground Zero: Why Your Support System Is Important During A Time Of Loss With Jesse Beckom III

WRT 4 | Support System

  Losing someone you love can feel isolating. Having people surround you with love and support can mean the world as you cope with grief. For Tina Fornwald, much can be said about the great people in her life that helped her find healing. In this episode, she interviews a key person who has stood by her: her brother, Jesse Beckom III. Together, they discuss how Jesse supported Tina in those first two weeks after the death of her late husband, Mark W. Fornwald. They also discuss Jesse’s encounter with death at an early age from living on the south side of Chicago. Sharing their own griefs, they then talk about the death of their own father, Mr. Jesse Beckom Jr., and how they saw their mother, Addie Beckom, become a widow. Full of candor and transparency, Tina and Jesse’s conversation gives you a true sense of how valuable the people are in your life as you go through these crippling and tough times. — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   On Ground Zero: Why Your Support System Is Important During A Time Of Loss With Jesse Beckom III My guest is my brother Jesse Beckom III. We are going to have a very candid conversation. That ragged exterior lets you know that everyone is impacted somewhere or another by losing a loved one. My brother’s candor and transparency will give you a true sense of what people in my hood look like and how committed we are. Thanks, and here we go. Jumping right into it.     As I spoke in our last edition, we are now here in Texas, visiting my brother Jesse, who has been an integral part of my journey in this process. Jesse, if you could share a little bit about yourself? First of all, Widowhood subscribers, welcome and thanks for following my sister through her journey. I love the support. Again, I’m Tina’s oldest brother. Only brother and youngest sibling. I’m the oldest brother again, so that’s a fact. You can ask my mom if she has any other older sons and she will say no. She has only one son. I’m the oldest, so there you go. I’m living out in Texas now. Tina’s come down to visit me, and I joined the company. I went to school at Iowa State University where I played football as well to get my graduate degree and undergrad in Community Regional Planning there. From there, I completed the USA Bobsled National Team for over a decade there. When I competed, I was the Chairman of the Athlete Advisory Committee also. Now I work at Atlassian as a Program Manager Team Lead. I stepped away completely from the Olympic movement. I’m one of the members of the Ethics Committee for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. I’ve served in that manner. I’m trying to still be involved and help guide the process. At Atlassian, I also work as the Chairman of the Employee Resource Group, which is called Black Atlassian’s Group. I’m still trying to stay active and do more than my “day job” at Atlassian. I didn’t know about this with the board on Atlassian. What are you doing in that? We’re just getting started. We’re trying to make sure that people feel welcome at Atlassian. The founders there want to make sure that they have a social impact, in general, on the world and also at Atlassian. Also, make you feel like people of every shape, color, race, gender, and things like that are welcome. I’m the Global Chair for the Employer Resource Group, and I have people across MIA, USA as well as AsiaPac as well that we try to develop programs for people of the African diaspora. There are several different groups for women, LGBTQ, military veterans, and people of the age of descent. I’m the Chairman of Black Atlassian. One thing I have totally been impressed with about your company is when you share the different things that they do for their employees. There’s a lot of work involved, but they seem to have that personal touch that they’re concerned about the people. That’s pretty cool. In this conversation, even though it’s about the widowhood part, there is a part of death in general. Unfortunately, the way the world that we’re in set up my husband’s death is not your first interaction as far as someone that you’ve known within closeness to you dying. There have been other people. Can you share some of those experiences even from your youth or things that you can recall? Sometimes it sounds a little bit cliché. For instance, growing up on the South side of Chicago, unfortunately, things happen. Some of the things you see on the news are true. Some of the things are exaggerated tremendously. When I think about deaths that have happened like experiencing death in graduate school with some people where 7th or 8th grade have been murdered by gang violence, that’s my first introduction to that. Growing up, we had an obituary in our high school yearbook for graduates. In your high school yearbook, there was an obituary section. Yes. A couple of people had been killed for various reasons and stuff like that. It becomes one of those things that’s, unfortunately, a way of life. Life and death come in, even in college. At Iowa State University, several of our players pass away through heart attacks or different reasons. Even my teammates, we talked about that and it was tragic. A lot of our running backs and quarterback, my uncles, and also my father passed away. All those things that happen, you find a way to deal with them and push on. You take those lessons from those people or different situations. For once I would say that some people who passed away in a negative way and you learn from that. When you say learn in the negative impact, what …

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Here For The Long Haul: How To Help A Family Member Who Is Grieving With Ulanka Beckom

WRT 3 | Grieving

  When someone is grieving, we are often tempted to just ask them how you can help. But when someone’s grieving, they don’t know what they need. In this episode, Tina Fornwald interviews her own sister, Ulanka Beckom. They reminisce the time that Ulanka drove countless hours just to assist Tina in her time of need. It’s difficult to provide strength and support during this difficult time, but it isn’t impossible. Listen now as Ulanka shares practical strategies that can help your loved one cope with the pain of loss and help them on their journey towards healing. — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   Here For The Long Haul: How To Help A Family Member Who Is Grieving With Ulanka Beckom Family Series My guest for this episode is my sister Ulanka Beckom. Ulanka is 52 years old and single. She’s a retired Senior Chief and now a government contractor. Her hobbies are cooking, watching movies, creating artwork, working out, dancing, spending time with friends, music, and supporting family members. Her ultimate goal is to become an aerospace engineer. Our conversation with Ulanka is going to give you some insight into being a sibling and the daughter of someone that has been widowed. She shares things that she thinks and knows from her experience will be helpful like being on deck for someone, being in their space and being quiet, understanding that grieving is not over in a year and a lot of other great tips that she’ll share. Thank you for joining me. I look forward to you being part of our conversation. Let’s get into it now.     Welcome to the show. My guest is my sister Ulanka Beckom. Ulanka, thank you for joining us. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your interests, how you spend your day, and things like that. My typical day is wash, rinse, and repeat. I get up, go workout, go to work, come home, and sit around watching TV. You like listening to music. I listen to music on the way to work and at work during the day, but it’s wash, rinse, repeat. It’s the same thing every day. There’s not a lot of variance in what I do daily. Tell us a little bit about your workout and your favorite music. The workout I do is with Burn Boot Camp. I go there Monday through Friday. The 5:30 class is the class I go to, 95% of the time. The type of workout program there is a HIIT program. It’s pretty much a high-intensity interval training type of workout. They concentrate on different parts of the body daily like arm day, leg day, core day, cardio day, and everything day. It circulates through all of those. As for music, I like house music. It’s because we’re from Chicago. I love some Prince every day of the week and other stuff. That’s hard. You grind with workout routine. She started incorporating a stretching process. Share a little bit about that. There’s this place called Stretchlab. Burn Boot Camp nor Stretchlab are paying for any of these endorsements. I go to Stretchlab and just started doing that. You stretch your body yourself. There’s only so much you could push yourself. You have to have someone to help out. Along with going to Stretchlab, I also go to the chiropractor. Going to Stretchlab helps to push your body past limits that you can’t do personally. I keep thinking about the fact that I workout all the time like an athlete. I watch football, basketball, and all these sports. All these athletes are agile and doing all this stuff. If you think about it, they have somebody like the people at Stretchlab. They are there on a regular basis to help them to have maneuverability. I’m like, “I need to do this for myself.” That’s why I do it. We talked about you now, but we didn’t talk about a little bit before now, about your career, and what you were doing for gazillion years before you started this. I was in the Navy for twenty years and retired as a Senior Chief in the Navy. It was a good time. My job was called Gas Turbine Systems Technician Mechanical. What places have you traveled to? This is the fun part. We used those engines to propel the ship and the generators. We worked on a lot of other accessory equipment. I was pretty much down there with the engine. I was with the engineers. Think of your car but much larger. Think about walking inside your car and working on all the parts. In my last part in the Navy, I was the lead engineer. I traveled to a lot of places, which is one of the fun parts of being in the Navy. When I met my first ship on deployment. I flew from Norfolk to New York to Spain, then to our ultimate meeting place in Bahrain. After being in Bahrain for a couple of days, we took a helicopter from Bahrain out to the ship. It was a three-month deployment because I did the last half of the deployment. You’re saying deployments, when you were in the service, were generally about six months? Most of the time, it’s six months. Some deployments have been seven months but for the most part, six months is normal. If you’re gone for three months, they considered that deployment also. You have to be gone for at least three months for it to be considered a deployment for the Navy. I’ve gone to Spain, Bahrain, UAE, France, Monaco, Italy, and Greece. It’s probably about 60% of the world. She has a map in her study. You pinned up all the different countries that you’ve traveled to. I would say my greatest experience being in the military was being able to come onto Ulanka’s ship in full Army gear and perform one of her re-enlistments. That …

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Tina’s Story: Healing From The Death Of The Person We Planned To Spend Our Life With

WRT 1 | Death

  Nothing prepares us for the loss of a loved one, especially the one person we plan to spend the rest of our entire life with. We are pushed into this difficult path of grief and sometimes, it can feel like the entire journey through it can swallow us up. Baring her soul and heartache with us to offer hope during this tough period in our lives, our very own Tina Fornwald shares her own story. Her friend, Jerri Newson, takes over and interviews Tina about how she navigated through the grieving process from the death of her husband that she spent 32 years with. She also talks about what prompted her to create a show around widowhood, loss, and death. Being in this dark place can feel lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. Let Tina and the stories of many others bring you hope through it. — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   Tina’s Story: Healing From The Death Of The Person We Planned To Spend Our Life With Welcome to Widowhood Real Talk with Tina. You’re going to have an opportunity to get to know me better. In that chair is going to be my good friend, Jerri Newson. She’s going to give you an opportunity to know a little bit more about me while we’re here, while we’re doing this. I want you to get your tissue ready because this is not a pretend conversation. This is a real discussion about the death of my husband whom I spent 32 years with. This is an opportunity for you and me to connect on a very organic level and realize I am here for the real talk. I’m looking forward to hearing from you, your friends, your family, and your loved ones as we go on this journey together. — Jerri. Tina, how are you? I’m good, and you? I’m doing great. Good. Thanks for having me over. Thank you, and thank you all for being here with us for the very first episode of Widowhood Real Talk with Tina. This is my dear friend, Jerri Newson, who has agreed to interview me to get a little bit more information to you as far as while we’re here. I want to say I am sorry for your loss. I am sorry for the person that is no longer here in your life and that has driven you to be here with this conversation. You’re doing fine. We are here together. Tell us a little bit about Tina. I was born Tina Beckom in Chicago, Illinois. I am 1 of 5 siblings, 4 girls, and 1 boy. Part of my hood being from Chicago is my family. You will meet many of them in a little bit. Our brother is the last to be born. One of the jokes in our family is that we’re only here because they didn’t have him first because if he would’ve been born first, there would’ve been no reason for my dad to push through all those girls. Thank you, Jesse, for being last. I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. I went in the Army for 21 years as a logistician and retired as a Warrant Officer in the United States Army. I went on to Civil Service where I currently work full-time now. I was married to Mark Fornwald for 29 years, which is why we’re having this conversation. I have two children, Katherine Alexander Fornwald, and I love people. I love connecting with new people. I could be in a laundromat and start talking to somebody about what may seem the most random situation and people become transparent because I believe that we all want to connect with someone, but we’re afraid of being transparent. We’re afraid of making ourselves vulnerable, and I love when people open up and become who they are and share that. You’ll learn more about me as we go on this journey. I don’t want to give all the tea away right away, so there’s more to come, but that’s a good introduction as far as who I am. I can attest that she does walk up to people or if they come even within any distance of her, she will speak to them and start asking questions. They like it, though. People like that. Tell us why you started the show. Grief is a terrible thing. We have many opportunities and so many books about how to prepare to have a baby, and how to prepare for a wedding, but there is not a lot out there on how to prepare for the loss of the person whom we plan to spend our entire life with. Mark, my husband, passed from a massive heart attack while we were on a lover’s weekend on March 11th, 2017, my entire world was crushed. I did not know how I was going to survive that. Someone I know that was a widow reached out to me immediately and said, “Tina, I cannot attend that funeral but this is the number to my therapist.” I was like, “I understand.” I started meeting with that therapist the day that I viewed my husband’s body for the first time. I reached out to so many widows and widowers, and they embraced me. They shared their story. They shared how they have been surviving this. Five years forward, I am having conversations with other widows or widowers that people are connecting me with. Each one of those conversations is so enriching and helpful, but I know that I cannot talk to everyone one-on-one. My desire, in God’s prompting, is to share my story with people this way, to be able to give hope and encouragement, to let everybody know you are not alone, and this is what grief looks like. For the people in your hood, your family, your friends, your coworkers, to be able to ear hustle into some of these conversations …

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