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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