Life After Loss: A Transformative Grief Journey With Alethea Felton

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Alethea Felton | Transformative Journey

  Discover the unexpected way a friendship has led our guest on a transformative journey. In this deeply moving episode, Tina Fornwald sits down with Alethea Felton, a dynamic High Performance/Transformational Coach and host of The Power Transformation Podcast. Althea shares her poignant story of losing two of her closest friends. Through her reflections, Alethea explores the profound impact of this loss, detailing how it spurred her to seek therapy and ultimately transform her life. Join us as we delve into Alethea’s inspiring journey from grief to growth, uncovering the lessons of resilience, intentional living, and the power of cherished friendships. — 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 episode here   Life After Loss: A Transformative Grief Journey With Alethea Felton Hello, Widowhood. Our guest is Ms. Alethea Felton. She is a dynamic high-performance transformational coach, founder of Alethea Felton Coaching LLC, and host of the Power Transformation Podcast. With over 20 years of experience in the realms of education, instructional design, and learning and development, Athea’s mission is to empower ambitious professionals and leaders to shatter limitations through mindset mastery, unleash their true potential, and create holistic lasting life success.  Our conversation with Alethea is outside of her normal discussion. I am so glad that she said yes to speaking with us. Oftentimes I have conversations with people who are grieving the loss of their spouse but in terms of widowhood. We know that people who grieve our loved ones are dear friends. And that is the perspective in which we will discuss today. Let’s get into this conversation now. Alethea, welcome to the widowhood.      Thank you so much, Tina. I am so happy to be here and thank you for having me.  I want to say our discussion now may not fit in the wedge that people may be accustomed to because you hear the word widow and automatically the conversation is, what is that connection? For this, it is, as we talk about widowhood, it’s not always that spouse that passed. This is a community that is impacted when someone transitions from this world.  Our conversation is for someone who may be thinking of the loss of a dear friend or someone close to them because when someone leaves this world, everyone in their community feels the loss of that person. I appreciate you for stepping off into some uncharted territory with this conversation and being willing to share.  I appreciate that. I just hope that something that I say can affect someone in a transformative way as this journey has done for me.  Transformative. That is a really good place to start. Let’s start with where you are literally in the world today, as far as where your life is in some of your youth, if you would share that.  Meet Alethea In terms of where I am today, I am a full-time entrepreneur now in terms of profession. What that looks like for me is I am a holistic transformational coach, motivational speaker, and podcaster. When I say full-time, I dabbled in entrepreneurship for almost, approximately 20 years, part-time but now I have the flexibility and the freedom where I’ve taken that deep dive into it full-time, where I’m building my business with speaking, coaching, writing, things of that nature and podcasting.  I can tell you that being where I am now is certainly a ride. It’s an adventure. It has its highs and its lows. Every day is unpredictable. Also, in terms of just more of where I am, not just in a job space, I can tell you that every day of my life, I have such peace. I live with great joy. Joy does not mean that every single day is happy necessarily but I have a consistent joy, a consistent hope, and faith. That’s where I am in my life right now. That’s who I am.  How did we get there though? Has this been a space you’ve lived in your entire life or is this someplace you’ve come to recently?  In terms of the emotional aspects of who I am, I’ve always pretty much been an eternal optimist. I was always the person, even as a little kid who always saw the glasses, half full to overflowing. That’s how I always view life. I’ve always looked at things in the positive frame of mind, not ignoring the negative, but really in the positive frame of mind. I can tell you that with my life in terms of where I am, I was born with certain conditions that frankly made chapters of my life quite challenging but to get here, I had to go through a series of hard knocks, heartache, pain, grief to get me to where I am now.  In terms of the entrepreneurial journey, I’m a former public school educator and I use the term educator because I have more roles outside of the classroom. I was a classroom teacher, but for 20 years, I worked in the field of education as an English teacher, Spanish teacher, instructional coach, department chairperson, and team leader. I ended my career in human resources where I was coaching seasoned and new teachers.  I was pretty much the one who determined in a sense, if they kept their employment pretty much. I loved what I did, ended on a high note, and I was blessed to be able to retire early at the age of 41, last school year. Nothing happened bad or anything like that. It’s just that it was time and I’m a woman of faith. I knew that God was speaking to me before the start of last school year about making …

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The Things That Keep Us Young: Shifting Your Mental Perspective To Enjoy Life While Living With Sheila Finkelstein

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Sheila Finkelstein | Mental Shift

  When you lose the love of your life, it’s easy to succumb to regret, to the what ifs and what could have beens. But our departed love would have loved us to carry on living to the fullest. How does one transcend grief and learn to enjoy life while living? Sheila Finkelstein helps us make this powerful mental shift so we can learn to deal with loss gracefully and with hope. Tune in for her incredible wisdom! — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   The Things That Keep Us Young: Shifting Your Mental Perspective To Enjoy Life While Living With Sheila Finkelstein Our guest is Miss Sheila Finkelstein. She is coming to us from Florida. In lovely artwork, she has her signature color purple there. We’re going to get into all of that. She hangs out a lot on LinkedIn. I want to read a little bit of information that she has listed there, and I want that to be the start of our conversation. She is shifting the perspective, a guide for women aged 50 and above, at a turning point, feeling stuck, and open to photography and more as a way to expand creativity, enhance relationships, and reconnect with themselves and others. I don’t read people’s LinkedIn a lot but the conversation in the widowhood and community, a lot of times, people isolate. A lot of times, people feel disconnected. I know that the age of being a widow is shifting. It’s not always 50 and older. I am connecting with a large number of younger widows. Still, the premise of what you’re doing resonates with everyone. I love that you said you didn’t have to be creative. You don’t have to be intimidated by not having this huge sense of, “I’m a creative person,” but you have a way to let people use their simple abilities to reconnect and enhance relationships with themselves and others. I thought that was a beautiful way to start the conversation. Thank you. One of the things that has been my mission even back from when I was teaching elementary school many years ago is the, “I am not creative.” People think that they have to draw, paint, or something and that is creativity. It’s problem-solving. I did something, and I forgot what it was but I was like, “I solved that problem.” That’s being creative. It’s a simple thing. I suggest people look every time they’re faced with a problem and they look for it and come up with an answer, they’re being creative. I feel like a little bit of creativity hit me because I’m solving problems all day at work as a project manager. I never looked at it as being creative. I’ve always connected the word creativity with something artistic and something appealing, not something, to me, that seemed like basic problem-solving skills. I like that idea. You have so many different pieces going on. I’m sure as we touch on each of them or maybe some of them, there will be a story but I want to start with your necklace, what’s going on with that, and how that will take us on a journey of getting to know you better. Thank you. Thanks for noticing. This happens to be one of the things that I had when I started college years ago. I was going to be a social worker. I’ll come up to it later. I went to Temple University in Philadelphia. I met my husband on a blind date. He was in textiles. There was nothing in textiles in Philadelphia, although his school was there. He got out of the Army, went to New York, got tired of New York girls, came back, and we met on a blind date. Six weeks after we met, we were engaged. We were married three months after that.     That’s still super fast. We’re going to need to slow down a little bit. Tell us about this blind date. The funny part of it was that somebody I knew from high school was engaged to Sam’s best friend. She broke the engagement. She saw me in school and she was sitting on the toilet. I don’t think I’ve ever shared that. First here. Go ahead. She fixed this up and we went out together. Four of us went out on a blind date. Was it with her ex-fiance? What did you say your husband’s name is? Sam. It was you Sam, the girl on the toilet, and her ex-fiance. You guys went out on a date. What did you think of Sam on that first date? I don’t even know. It wasn’t like love at first date or that kind of thing but we got along. We were communicating. He was caring. He went back to New York and came home one weekend. We started writing. He was writing every day. This was days long before texting and everything. I want to pause there to make sure we understand. You are writing letters and putting them in the mailbox. Is that what we’re referring to here? I have spoken to some people that the idea of even addressing a letter is foreign. I want to make sure we’re able to ensure that our audience understands that you are writing letters and putting them in the mail. Keep in mind that this was 1960 so it was many years ago. He did more writing than I did. He would talk about the day or whatever. Remember. Phone calls were expensive too but periodically, he’d call. I’d be up in the middle of the night and he’d be concerned about me getting my schoolwork done. He was a very caring person. As a matter of fact, years later, a friend of mine who has since passed, rest in peace, was a psychic. She said that after he died, his mission in life had been to fulfill me. What more could one …

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A Double Widower’s Journey Through Dating, Healing, And Parenting With Isaac Byrd Jr. Part 2

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Isaac Byrd Jr. | Double Widower

  In part two of our heartfelt conversation with Isaac Byrd Jr., a two-time widower navigating life at 42, we follow his journey of single parenting, dating, and connecting with a community online. Discover how Isaac turned to TikTok during the pandemic, not to go viral, but to find solace and companionship, hosting Taco Tuesday live sessions that created a lounge-like happy hour for his followers. He shares invaluable advice on embracing spontaneity on social media and the challenges of single parenting, emphasizing the importance of communication over discipline and the support from his extended family. Isaac also opens up about preparing his son for the realities of life as a Black child, the complexities of dating as a widower, and the powerful impact of keeping his late wife’s memory alive. Tune in for an inspiring and deeply personal look at resilience, community, and the nuanced art of parenting through grief. 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 Double Widower’s Journey Through Dating, Healing, And Parenting With Isaac Byrd Jr. Part 2 Our conversation is with Mr. Isaac Byrd. If you didn’t catch the last episode, you want to go back because that is part one. This is part two. Our conversation with a two-time widower at the age of 42 is about raising his 3-year-old son, dating, and navigating life as a widower. Let’s get into the conversation.     As we ended the last discussion, Isaac was welcoming enough to come back and do part two. He was gracious enough to join us for part two because there’s so much to talk about. We barely got through that. Everybody wants to know about dating and parenting, but before we get into all of that, how did you get on TikTok? What drove that? TikTok Community Being lonely, being in the middle of a pandemic, having a child, and needing adults or some type of connection with the outside world. You can only watch so many movies and those kinds of things. I was like, “We’re not going outside right now. Let me see what this TikTok thing is about.” That helped me build a community, in a sense. TikTok has become a community. I was then like, “I got to interact with these videos.” I never intended to build like, “I’m going to have this huge platform. I’m going to try to go viral,” because I don’t care about any of that. Somebody commented on one of my videos and was like, “Imagine trying to go viral and trying so hard.” I commented back, “Viral is not a part of the goals that I have in life. The rest of you think that, but no.” TikTok became a community. It was a way to connect with people. I’ve connected with several people that I’ve done music with and other things like that. TikTok has been a level of therapy for me. As a matter of fact, I even talked to my therapist about it. It’s a level of therapy for me. It has been there. From that, on one Tuesday night, I was making tacos in my kitchen. I turned on some music. This was finally when I could go live back when they were really hard-pressed about you going live. You had to have at least 1,000 people or something like that. I finally went live and turned my camera on. My son was probably already in bed. I turned the camera on and I’m cooking and making tacos, and a couple of people have joined. That’s been the thing for two years, Taco Tuesday. Are you still making tacos every Tuesday? Are you buying them someplace? Have they evolved? I still make them sometimes. I do buy them, but because of my living or the way I was at my house back in Florida and in changing, my setup is completely different. The cooking part doesn’t happen anymore on Taco Tuesday. For some reason, on Tuesday, I’m trying to get something Mexican or make it. That’s my thing on Tuesdays. That’s how, over time, I developed a community on TikTok, and it’s been really good. I haven’t had any issues on TikTok or anything like that. It’s been pretty pleasant. This is how I met you. I wanted to expound on that. When they hear TikTok, it’s teenagers or it’s people gyrating on the screen, or it’s doing all this other stuff. You talk about going live. For someone who has no concept of that, can you maybe explain or elaborate on that? Yeah. Being live is basically, you’re inviting people into your home. You’re inviting them into your life. Some people make it very formal. Some people make it informal. I’m somewhat informal but formal in a sense because Taco Tuesday is a whole theme. The concept of when I go live for that is specifically, it’s like a happy hour lounge. First of all, it was for adults getting off work. Most of us are parents or whatever. We are not going out to a lounge or going anywhere to have a drink. You can grab your drink, get on here, laugh, have some good times, and talk with other people. Sometimes, I have questions. Sometimes, I have game night, which is fun. Those are brutal. There is a level of competitiveness on game night. My game nights are typically around some type of music theme. I’ll either have questions or I’ll do Name That Tune. What’s funny about that is they get mad at me sometimes because I pick songs and they’d be like, “Nobody knows what that song was on that album. I know. …

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A Polyamorous Widow’s Journey Of Grief And Healing With Elizzabeth Cannon

WRT 34 | Polyamorous Widow

  It’s easier for us to wrap our brains around anything if it’s put within the context of the mainstream. As far as widowhood goes, we almost by default put it in the context of conventional monogamous relationships. We don’t hear a lot about how the experience of loss works for someone who is in a polyamorous relationship. That is the perspective we’re going to hear from Elizzabeth Cannon, a polyamorous widow who makes the rounds on TikTok, talking about all things in the intersection between polyamory and widowhood. Liz shares her grief and healing journey after losing her husband, Josh, to liver disease. She shares how she was able to carry on with life and choose joy despite the pain of losing her soulmate. Tune in to hear her amazing story! 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 — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   A Polyamorous Widow’s Journey Of Grief And Healing With Elizzabeth Cannon We are about to have a conversation with Lizz Cannon who is a polyamorous widow. This should be very interesting and insightful. Let’s get into the conversation.     Let’s welcome Lizz Cannon to the hood. Hello, Lizz. The question comes up on how I met Lizz. You know I’m always looking for people who want to share their journey. I saw Lizz on TikTok and she was sharing her journey. I thought it would be a great opportunity for her to bring her story to the Widowhood, so here we go. If you want me to take the reins, I can give a little bit of a background. Go right ahead. I was married for twenty years to a fabulous soulmate and wonderful partner. He was a chef. His name was Josh Velasquez. Early on in our marriage, I guessed that his drinking might lead to some problems. He was, like many people in the restaurant industry, a heavy drinker. I never saw him drunk. He was so good at drinking that he would start early on his shift and keep drinking all day long. I kept saying, “You probably want to slow your roll.” He kept saying, “You don’t know my family. My grandmother used to drink a whole bottle of Ramade.” I thought, “Maybe a small bottle.” He continued. I thought he would become ill when we were in our 50s or 60s. Instead, when he was 38, he became very ill. I almost lost him three times in a row within about a month and a half. The verdict was liver disease and cirrhosis. His numbers were so bad that the doctor was trying to get him to have a transplant immediately. However, I noticed that since he had begun being sick and stopped drinking, his liver numbers had dropped precipitously. I said to him, “I am willing to go on this journey of seeing if you can heal yourself.” He tried and he did a very good job initially. He was doing everything he was supposed to and did get a lot better. Unfortunately, he wasn’t all better because you can’t get all better quickly from liver disease. One of his liver specialists made the mistake of saying, “Do you know why we call you around here?” He said, “What?” He said, “Wolverine.” I knew that was not going to be good. Sure enough, Josh started to do things he shouldn’t have been doing again. That wasn’t drinking so much as eating poorly, eating fatty things late at night, and smoking cigarettes again. When you’ve got advanced liver disease, you have to take care of that thing like it’s a little baby. He knew that, but as time went on, it got harder. He got sicker again. He got depressed. It became a vicious cycle of not taking care of himself. I ended up being a caregiver for the last two years of his life as ammonia started to affect his cognitive skills. I have so much respect for people who are caregivers to long-term ill spouses. I cannot imagine going on longer than I did because two years almost broke me. I learned so much about compassion from that. I’m amazed that people can be caregivers for long-terms because two years was so hard for me. One of the things that I’ve wanted to do in sharing my journey of being a widow is also to say to people who are caregivers that they need to take care of themselves, too. It’s becoming an epidemic in this country of people who are struggling to take care of their spouse or other loved one and they don’t have that much support. We don’t have a village anymore. We are a viciously individualistic country, and that leaves a lot of people stuck where there’s no one to help. There is no safety net in this government. There is nobody coming to help take care of your spouse. It’s hard. I have so much compassion for the caregivers, too. I learned a lot about compassion through being a caregiver, watching him struggle, and watching him try so hard to do the right thing and not have the capacity to do it. That’s the other thing. There’s this community of TikTok widows. We talk a lot about each individual person’s journey. One of those facets is, for me, recognizing capacity. Where you come from is going to inform what capacity you have. For example, if you’re a widow who knew that your spouse was going to pass away, that’s going to create a different capacity on how to heal when you are trying to heal. …

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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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Widow-To-Widow: A Mother And Daughter Talk With Addie Beckom

WRT 2 | Widow

  Losing the love of your life can be too much. It is too painful that we almost forget how to live. In this episode, Tina welcomes her mother, Addie Beckom, to share some tips on living life in this widow-to-widow talk. Addie talks about her relationship with her husband, the experience of widowhood, and how she continued to live. It doesn’t matter what age you are when you lose your husband, always remember that there is hope and give yourself the opportunity for healing and encouragement. Tune in to this inspiring episode now. — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   Widow-To-Widow: A Mother And Daughter Talk With Addie Beckom My guest for this episode is Mrs. Addie Beckom, my mom. I share it with four other people but we’re not going to talk about them now. I have her glass of water ready and we are going to have a very engaging conversation. My mom is old and she is going to meet you with her sparkled-up sweater and give you some tips on living life. She will share about our dad who passed and being a widow, what that experience has been with her and how she has continued to live. She brought a picture of our dad right here, Mr. Jesse Beckom, the love of her life. I am so glad to have my mom here and share how important dad was to her life and encourage you that no matter where life changes you or what age you are, there is hope that gives you the opportunity for healing and encouragement.     Our guest is my mother, Mrs. Addie Beckom. Mom, can you share a little bit about yourself with everyone? My name is Mrs. Beckom. I have 4 daughters and 1 son. I like to sew, cook, exercise, help out and do volunteer work wherever I can, whenever I can. How do you spend your days? What are some of your interests? If it’s a nice warm day, I like to go for a walk but if not, I’m in the house doing whatever needs to be done in the house. Maybe taking a nap, watching some TV and before you know it, the day is gone. Let me tell you a couple of things. My sister and my mom live together. We live next door to each other. When my mom says she’s going on a walk, I don’t want you to think it’s like somebody casually walking around the corner. My mom is out here grinding. When I’m working from home, I’ll try to go for a walk with her at lunchtime. Oftentimes, I need to give a time limit because my mom will have me walking in these streets. As I think about it, my actual first experience with exercising is going walking with my mom to go run errands. We were in Chicago and we lived on 126 blocks. I believe we would walk down to 115th to the grocery store with a shopping cart and walk back. That was my first experience. Thank you, Mom, for making me stay healthy and introducing me to exercise. This topic is widow to widow. Mom, how long were you and dad married? We were married for 52 years. How did you folks meet? We met at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago. Your dad is from Chicago. I’m from a town called Hannibal, Missouri. It’s the Boyhood Home of Mark Twain. That’s the way I explain it to people and then they say, “I remembered that.” I was sitting in the corner by myself because I’m a shy person but your dad said he didn’t mind me being shy because no one else would talk to me so he came back and talked to me. We got together up to that. What were some of your dates like with dad, Mom? They want to know. We would go to lounges, movies and plays. You mentioned some walking too with dad. He would walk me home from work. He lived in an apartment that the hospital had for the workers but I lived in projects about 1 mile or so away. It was fun walking home until the mosquitoes would get to me but they wouldn’t bother him. I wouldn’t say we stopped walking. We stopped slowly walking. We would speed up to the destination. I don’t think I’ve heard the story of you and dad would walk. It’s interesting. Walking started early on in the process. I would walk as I was growing up. We went to a school in Douglas. High school or senior school? It was all on campus and that’s when I started walking because I would have to walk about 1 mile to get there. Raising children, what do you have to say about that? Any advice from your experience of raising children? Take care of your child as they’re growing up. When they get a mind of their own to do things, don’t try to stop them. Unless they get in trouble, then you have to take control. Coming from a family of eleven children, we would share things or have fun together. Our parents never restricted us from doing anything.     You got to develop into the person that you needed to be without somebody pushing you in a particular direction. Any memories from your children growing up, particularly me? I remember you have a friend that you would hang out with quite often but then something happened. You and your friend fought. That’s how it is in the Chicago hood. Anything you want to share that you have from my childhood, Mom? She told me she has. I was going through some papers and I found a poem. It says, “A short way to have a yummy day.” It starts with, “Happiness is something we create in our mind. It’s not something you search for and find. It’s waking …

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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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