Ep.33- Emily Thiroux Threatt: Overcoming Grief with Compassion

What helps us grieve? Join me in this conversation with Emily Threatt, as she shares her story about losing, not one but two of her husbands and how grief lead her to find compassion for herself and others.  She has now established a community to help others through their grief. 
Transcript

[00:00:00]

Gissele: Hello and welcome to the Love and Compassion podcast with Gissele. We believe love and compassion really has the power to transform our

lives in our world. Our

guest Emily Thiroux Threatt.

is the author of Living and Loving your way through grief, a comprehensive guide to reclaiming and cultivating joy and carrying on in the face of loss published by mango publishing. Her book is the winner of the book authority’s best new grief book and the silver medal for the living.

Gissele: Now book awards. Hi, Emily.

Emily: Aloha. Thank you so much for inviting me.

Gissele: Oh, thank you so much for being here. I wanna start by asking you if you could share with our listeners, a little bit about your, journey with grief.

Emily: Wow. I, I can do that. , I’ve had so much grief in my life and so many different situations that parents, family members, friends, lots of things, but most recently I have had my husband died and then [00:01:00] my husband, before him also died.

So that’s, that’s where I’ve been with all this grieving. And I, when the first husband died, I was kind of a mess. I was trying really hard to figure out what to do. And it took me a while and it was, it was quite a journey to get to a point where I felt kind of. okay again. So I never thought I’d get married again.

I was, I was very surprised that that I met somebody and we fell in love and eventually did get married. And then he got very sick and died. Both husbands, ironically died of the same thing. So. I lived life differently though with my husband who was most recent to, to die because he very much believed in living in the moment.

And that just changed everything for me. I, I thought, wow, I wish I could have [00:02:00] lived my whole life this way. because I, I can be happy in the moment where, when I was just thinking about grieving, it seemed like everything was dark and sad, but when I would shift back into the moment and stay there, then I found great happiness there.

And I, I started writing. I’m a writer I’ve written for many years. I, I have taught writing, still do actually at the university level for many, many years. I have written several college textbooks. So for me, it was just natural to turn to writing, to help me deal with my own grief. Yeah. And I was just writing for me, but the more I wrote, the more it helped me and I thought, gee, I can help other people by showing them how to do this too.

So that’s kind of where my, my grief path has taken me. And now I do all kinds of things. I, I did write a book. I have a, my own [00:03:00] podcast called grief and happiness. Mm-hmm . I have, an organization that I’ve founded it called the grief and happiness Alliance that meets every week on zoom, where it’s just peer to peer doing writing exercises and learning happiness practices.

And I can honestly say I’m happier now than I ever have been. And I’m, I was kind of surprised when I realized that that it’s really true. Mm, wow. What an

Gissele: extraordinary story. Thank you for sharing that. for most people it’s really difficult to deal with, you know, like the loss of maybe one husband, but to, to lose a second partner.

And like you said, other people in your life, what do you think really helped you get to the point where you could. As you say in your book, love and live through grief, like instead of what some people do, which is basically, bury themselves

Emily: with the person they’ve lost, right? Yes. Well, for me after Jacque died, he was my first husband who died and [00:04:00] after he died, I.

I really didn’t know what to do. And I spent so much time just alone. I did go back to work at the university teaching and I would go teach my class and come home and sit, I wasn’t doing anything. Wasn’t reading, wasn’t talking to anybody, seeing anybody. And I was so relieved when I was able to start working my way out of.

Cold that I seem to be, have fallen into. So I knew when Ron died, I, I thought about it a lot with an anticipatory grief. They call it before he died. I thought I’m not going to that same place again, because I’m, it was not helpful. It was incredibly unpleasant. And I thought I can, I can do better than that.

And with focusing on living in the moment, that really helped me to. kind of transformed my life into a whole different way of living into [00:05:00] appreciating everything, seeing the beauty in everything, finding the love and everything. And even, even when you think there’s nothing there to be happy about, you can find something.

If you really. Look at it. Mm-hmm

Gissele: yeah. you mentioned such powerful things, such as mindfulness, which is really like you, you mentioned being in the present moment mm-hmm but also gratitude. Right? Absolutely being grateful for every moment. what helped you during those  times when it was challenging to either be mindful or grateful?

Emily: That’s interesting that you would say that because, gratitude is always the first thing I talk about with that, because, when I had friends after Jacque died at, at 1.2 different friends came to me and said, you you’ve gotta do something. You know, you can’t just stay where you are. And both of them suggested that I watched the movie, the secret.

And I thought it doesn’t [00:06:00] sound like my kind of thing, but I’ll try. And I, I watched it with kind of a chip on my shoulder and wasn’t sure it was really for me, but at the end, I, it, it said to write a list of things you were grateful for. And I found that kind of puzzling, cuz I thought I don’t have anything to be grateful for.

My husband died. And then I thought, you know, I had two different people. Tell me about this. I need to pay attention. So I thought I’ll just try writing a list. Once I started writing that list, it was, it was like a. Fire hose, it J I just kept finding more and more things. And I was, I was shocked cuz here I went into it thinking I don’t have anything to be grateful for, but when I write what I was grateful for and why then I think of something else I was grateful for and write that I got to the point where I was carrying a notebook in my purse, cuz I didn’t wanna lose something that I thought of it.

And I wasn’t home by my journal where I’d been writing [00:07:00] and the more I did. The more I smiled and the better that I felt and it, it was like, it opened a door for me to be able to see the world still out there. My life I’m still alive. You know, I, I still can experience things and I want to. I didn’t even realize I wanted to before I started writing all this gratitude, but it, it was amazing the power of doing that.

And to this day, I still write in my journal every day, things that I’m grateful for. And for me, the kind of irony in that is I don’t repeat myself. You, you, you know, I could see how we fall into a rut of saying I’m grateful for where I live or I’m grateful for my family or that sort of thing, but I just keep getting more specific and finding more things and it it’s quite wonderful, actually.

It is wonderful. It is very

Gissele: wonderful. and what a great strategy for people to kind of shift out of that, the perspective of like, I’ve lost to one of like, you [00:08:00] know, I, I have wonderful memories. And I’m grateful for the experiences that I have now. because everything in life is limited, right? Like everything in life that’s right.

You know, comes and goes. Everything is in. What do you say to those people that, for example, feel guilty about, moving on or, or feeling grateful? The reason why I ask this question is because, you know, especially in particular cultures, like say Hispanic culture or Italian culture, there’s like a level of expectation that you were the black, that you, you know, you not show yourself that you not show too much joy because then if then it’s almost like you’re celebrating the person died.

What do you say to

Emily: those people? Well, I, I realized that, it, it wasn’t that I was moving on so much as moving forward and I, I, one of the things that I have learned a lot about in this process has been forgiveness. . Yeah. And I had to start forgiving people when they would say [00:09:00] something stupid. you know, for instance, I had, I was very active in the community and, and my husband was too, and there were some events coming up after he died that I thought, gee, I’d like to go to those, but I don’t wanna go by myself and I I’ll just stay home.

And then a mutual friend of my husband’s and I. My friend called me and he said, you know, I, I know there’s some things coming up that you’d really like to go to. And if you don’t go by, if you don’t wanna go by yourself, I would be happy to escort you. He says, it’s not a date. It’s not anything else. I just wanna be there for you.

And I thought that’s really cool. So I said, yes. And I kind of surprised myself that I said yes, but I did. And the first, or actually the main event that we went to, because it took me a while to do anything again, after this happened. the first time we did that, we were, we didn. It’s not like we were standing [00:10:00] close to each other or holding hands or making eyes each other.

We weren’t sending out any signals that we were together, you know, at all. But he was having a conversation with somebody else and I could hear the people behind me talking and. You know what other people think isn’t my business, but mm-hmm, it. I still overheard the conversation and they were saying, can you believe that she’s out dating already?

Her husband’s barely dead. How could she do that? That’s so disrespectful to her husband. And I felt like turning around and slapping him both. You know, , that’s not me. I would never do that, but oh my gosh, it just broke my heart and I, I was getting teary. And so I asked my friend. Take me home and, and he did.

I’m not sure I even told him what happened or why, cuz I, I didn’t want him to feel bad about it. Yeah. And, and I realized that that bothered me terribly and, and the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. And I finally got to the point where I said this isn’t serving me. Why am I dwelling on [00:11:00] this?

It’s you know, their ignorance in not really knowing the whole story and speaking out of turn. And I thought, well, that sounds judgemental. So I realized that I, I was judging them here. I was upset with the them judging me, but it was actually the other way around. I was judging them. Mm-hmm and when I realized that I said, okay, I have to forgive myself.

It’s not them who I need to forgive, but I kind of felt like I did, and I did forgive them, but, but the big deal was to forgive myself for thinking that way, because they didn’t know what they were saying. They didn’t know my circumstances. They didn’t know how I was feeling. They didn’t know that it wasn’t a date.

Yeah, they, they didn’t know. And once I actually forgave them, I did this in writing, cuz I write in my journal a lot and there’s something about the process of writing something down like that. That makes it seem real mm-hmm and so [00:12:00] I, I wrote it all out and when I finished writing it and I put my pen down.

I just felt like this wave come over me. things are better, you know, mm-hmm I just felt like I could take a deep breath. I could smile. I could go out in public again. I didn’t have to hide because somebody might say something like that. Yeah. And that I was okay. I didn’t do anything wrong. And I forgave myself for the thoughts that I had.

That weren’t really true. I, I really had to ask myself that they were true. And so I used that as kind of a, a baseline from then on for if I’d start to slip into something like that, I’d stop and go, okay, is this really true? am I making this up? You know, or, and if, if it is true and they are saying things like that, it’s their problem.

It’s not my problem. And I don’t need to accept it. Mm-hmm

Gissele: yeah, absolutely. I, I totally agree with you, you know what people think of me as their business, right?

Emily: mm-hmm

Gissele: I agree with that. And, and I [00:13:00] love that, that you were able to, like, you acknowledged the fact that you had these feelings and that they were there and you used a strategy in your case writing to be able to.

Allow yourself to just let it pass to allow it rather than resist it and say, oh no, I shouldn’t be having this. You allowed it to pass. And then you can, you were actually able to shift out of it. Right. Which I think

Emily: that’s right. Is really, really, really powerful.

Gissele: and forgiveness is, is, is really a gift you give to yourself, in your community.

Do you encounter people that maybe perhaps have forgiveness to do of self if there was, Maybe if the relationship was conflictual before the person passed away, were there any in, in, what do you find helps? those

Emily: individuals? Well, that I, I do see that sort of thing all the time with the different people that come to my group or ask me questions and things, because people just feel terribly guilty about things.

I, I can give you an example of my [00:14:00] daughter actually, cuz my parents didn’t live in the same town where we lived and they drove through town one day and called and said, can you meet us for lunch? I said, sure. And I called the kids to see if they could come to. And my daughter showed up for just a minute because she was busy doing something else, but she wanted to say hi to ‘ and she did.

And she left. Well, not long after that, my dad died. Suddenly we weren’t anticipating at. and she felt so guilty about not having told him that she loved him. The last time she saw. and I said, you showed up that, you know, that’s what they wanted. They wanted to see you, you don’t, and they knew that you loved them.

You don’t have to, to carry that, but she did carry it for a while. It, it took her a while to get past that. And she tells me all the time that she loves me. I think she keeps thinking, this might be the last time I get to say it she might go tomorrow, but that’s good. At least you get, you get to vocalize.

Yeah. I was

Gissele: thinking more in terms of the, the people that are more ambivalent. And so, for [00:15:00] example, if you had, a negative relationship with your spouse and they died, mm-hmm , there might be an element of relief that there might be that death, but at the same time, there might be like, A guilt, a loss or that, people might experience ambivalence can be a bit of a tough one right?

Emily: Yeah. that, that can be really hard. And, and one of the ones I I’ve noticed that people really struggle with is if they’re loved, one is dealing with a long term situation. Yeah. And especially if they’re caring for their loved one in the process and their loved one, when they die, they, they feel a sense of relief.

and they feel terribly guilty that they feel relieved that their loved one isn’t there anymore. And it’s, it’s really a process of, of walking through that with them. helping them see what they, they did for their loved one, how, how they made their loved ones life better just through their, their presence, [00:16:00] whether they were actively doing caregiving or not, but they were there for them.

And the importance of that. and if you can help, help them try to see things from a different perspective, that can make a, a big difference. But there are other times too, when you know, someone. they get in a fight and somebody storms out and they happen to get in an accident and they get killed. Yeah. And they, then that person will carry that guilt for a long time, because they said, well, if we wouldn’t have gotten in the accident, he wouldn’t have stormed out.

He wouldn’t have been in that situation at that time. And they can, they can make up things. Yeah. Mm-hmm and then beat themselves up over that. And that’s, that’s a, that’s a real sad trap to get sucked into or allow yourself to get sucked into. So it gets back to that thing about asking yourself if, if what you’re worrying about or sad about is the [00:17:00] truth.

And, Byron Katie is, is somebody who’s written something, called the work. and what she asks you to do. She’s got a set of four questions and you can, you can look her up on online. Just if you look up the work online, you’ll find this. And the first thing is you ask yourself if it’s true, mm-hmm . And a lot of times, if you just can discover that what you’re saying, maybe is something you assumed or something that you made up that if, if you can release that, realizing it.

Probably isn’t true. Mm-hmm and don’t don’t make yourself, have fault in what it was doing. You, you didn’t do that. Yeah. I, I had a, a friend once who, He lived in a different town that we were in and we had gone to something together and he’d had [00:18:00] a little bit too much to drink. And so we said, come back to our house, you know, spend the night, stay here or have some coffee, you know, and he stayed for a couple hours and, and drink quite a bit of coffee.

And then he said he was going home. And I said, please, don’t go home. Please just stay here with us. It’s not a big deal. You know, lived an hour away. You could. First thing in the morning and get there in plenty of time. And he didn’t, and he didn’t get home. And when we got the, the phone call that said he’d been killed in an accident, I was devastated because I thought I let him go out that door.

Yeah. and it, it took me a while to let myself off the hook for that, because I, I really had done everything that was in my power to make a difference with bringing to my house, you know, keeping him there as long as we could keep him giving him all friends of coffee, doing all that sort of thing. I don’t think anybody realized how much he had to [00:19:00] drink or, or how much of it was just, he was really tired because it was a really long day.

And the combination. yeah. that he just fell asleep and we’ll never know. And it, it took me a while to not feel guilty about his death that I finally got to the point where I, I started asking myself, is that true? Did I do that to him and I, no, I didn’t. He made his own decision, made a choice. It was a wrong decision, but it was his choice.

And, and he did do that on his own. So I miss him. I’m, I’m sad that he’s not with us anymore. and I did all that I could do. and I forgave myself for anything. I thought I should have done that. I didn’t cuz I, you know, I was making up all kinds of stories. So once, once I got past that, I, I will never say that I’m happy that, that he died, but I [00:20:00] no longer take any responsibility.

For his passing mm-hmm and I, you know, I had to actively work on it if I would’ve just let my mind run away with that forever and not, not examined it, not tried to figure out what to do. I could’ve been a mess. Mm-hmm yeah.

Gissele: And forgiveness is such a powerful act of self-compasion right.

 absolutely

Gissele: so we have a different perspective on death. we believe that we are spiritual beings living, a human life

Emily: mm-hmm

Gissele: and that these human lives are chapters in the larger scheme of I guess, events. and where we find it really helpful is that, We see kind of the 3d human experience as experiential, right?

So, you know, like you and I decided that we were going to do this together, you know, and let’s say, you know, in this life, I decide to be kind of quote unquote, what you would call your enemy in order so that I may help [00:21:00] you really step up into your power and say, no, I’m gonna give you boundaries. But when we cross over, we’re like, Hey, Emily, , you know?

Yeah, because the soul cannot be destroyed from our perspective. It cannot be harmed. And so we also believe that souls choose when they choose to transition, which can be a challenging thought for people. And so, from our perspective, death is a celebration, cause it might be a new beginning and it’s really challenging just for the human beings that are remaining here that miss.

The being, although we feel you could tap into, you know, you could talk to them still and, you know, maybe don’t get a word response, but you get responses in other ways. What, what’s your perspective on, crossing over passing?

Emily: I it’s, it’s similar to your actually, I I’ll give you an example and that when I got together with Ron, after Jacque died of, I had a hard time.

Being in more than just a friendship with him because although, [00:22:00] traditional wedding vows, they tell death, do your part. I didn’t feel unmarried after he died. And so I felt a little bit guilty with going out with Ron. She really good friend, but you know, and then one day Ron said something about my ex-husband and I said, oh no, you can’t call him that.

You just can’t call him that we had a big discussion about that, but it also kind of opened up my eyes to that too. And we did end up getting married. I’m very glad that that we did. And, and that went very well. And now I, I write, I told you I journal every day. And one of the things that I do is, say good morning to.

Everything I wanna say good morning to, and I say good morning to Ron and Jacque. And when I first started writing that in my journal, I thought. Wow. Cuz I, I could see both of them being jealous over me being with somebody [00:23:00] else, but I, that was actually just kind of a fleeting thought because I thought now I can, I can feel different times where, where their presence is very important to me.

Mm-hmm and because you’re in such a different, Different space. I, I don’t know exactly how to describe that, that, that different things can happen. Mm-hmm and for instance, a few months ago, I was in, in a car accident and it was terrifying. I was going up a, a highway, a divided highway, and somebody in a truck was coming down the divided highway and he.

Just suddenly went across the center divider and was headed directly at me very fast, directly at my driver’s side of my door. And I was looking forward. So I didn’t see it until he was just almost hitting me. And my son was in the front seat and he, I, I don’t even know he exclaimed [00:24:00] or something. And I turned my head just in time to see, and I slammed on the brakes and closed my eyes, cuz I thought, I, I don’t wanna watch this.

Yeah, and I felt that bump when he came into the car and I thought GE that didn’t feel very hard for   as fast as he was coming. It was obvious that he was in, it was downhill mm-hmm . And so I finally was able to open my eyes. And there was damage done my car, but his truck wasn’t there. And I looked out and I could see he had pulled way down the road to pull over because he was going into oncoming traffic and there were, those guardrails on the center divider.

He, he crossed right. Before the guardrails, but he couldn’t get off of the highway till he got to the end of the guardrail. So he was way down the highway mm-hmm . And I saw him get out of his truck and he was just fine. And people stopped and came up to me. And said , are you right? And I said, I, I think so.

And they [00:25:00] said, we can’t believe you’re alive. Cuz they, we had so many witnesses that saw this happen and I thought, you know what. Somebody turned that car away. you know, it wasn’t when I was supposed to be going, cuz it wasn’t anything that I did. It wasn’t anything that the driver did that prevented that from being a, a horrendous accident.

Mm-hmm and I, I just feel like there’s there. People who love me are seeing like when, when I need protection or when they can support me in something I’m doing. I’ll give you another specific example. Yeah. when I, I told you that I had founded the grief and happiness Alliance, which is a group that meets weekly and I thought it was such a good idea, but I thought.

I’m not gonna just start this without knowing that somebody’s gonna be there or if it’s gonna work. So I did a pilot program and I had quite a few [00:26:00] people that I knew from one reason or another across the country, actually in this pilot program where we talked about what I, I. Thought would be a good idea to do.

Then I did a sample meeting for them. And then another week we came back and talked about, okay, how, how are we gonna do this? And we don’t want people to pay. They ended up deciding to create a nonprofit organization to fund everything so that people didn’t have to pay for this kind of help, which just thrilled me to death.

And it, at the end of the meeting, one of the people who’d been coming. Most charming lady. She was just, I never saw her not smiling. she was kind, she was always offering great suggestions to other people. She, she was a minister too. Hmm. And at the end of the meeting, there was like a little silence. And then she came out with this big, deep voice that didn’t even sound like her in very stern, [00:27:00] a very, Oh, I, I can’t think of the words like she, this, this was the truth that she was speaking.

And she said, this is an idea whose time has come. And she said, it’s slow and powerfully like that. I thought, wow, that mm-hmm , it didn’t sound like she was talking, you know, and two days later she died. Oh, and it hit me pretty hard, cuz she’d been so helpful to me with all the stuff that I was doing. And I thought, am I really doing the right thing by creating this Alliance?

Is this, you know, and I thought, okay, I’m just gonna write a letter to Ron. That’s that’s one thing that I do. I’ll write a letter to whoever I think I is most appropriate for me to yeah, yeah, yeah. Which is wonderful correspond with at the moment. And it was Ron for this one who also was the minister. So I, I figured they’d be.

Leaned some well, and I started writing this stuff, you know, I, I think I’ve got a good [00:28:00] idea. I think I should be doing this. And, and she said this on Sunday and I just wish you were here. So you could tell me what I’m supposed to be doing and loud and clear. I heard him say, I already told you on Sunday.

oh, that’s so powerful. Yeah. yeah.

Gissele: Yeah. Oh, that’s so powerful. So powerful and it’s so needed because I think one of the things you had mentioned to me is how lonely the journey of grief feels mm-hmm and how important it is. And people may not always have family. They may not always have supports that are, that they may consider supportive.

So to have a group like yours, that they can be able to go to and say, we understand cuz the other piece is sometimes people don’t understand. Why, you know, if, if you lose your partner and other people are like, oh, I’ll move on with your life. And you know, like, they mean, well, it’s not that people don’t mean [00:29:00] us don’t mean to love us.

It’s just, they don’t may not know how to support us to have a group of people that you can come together and say, oh, you understand what this is? Like, you understand maybe the stages of grief or, or what may help me or how we can support each other. So I think it’s, it’s definitely a beautiful, beautiful group to have definitely.

Emily: Thank you. Yeah.

Gissele: so I’m gonna ask sort of a little bit of a leaning question. and this is about suicide, because I’m, I don’t know, I’m sure a lot of people that you have worked with, maybe parents of kids that have committed suicide, or maybe friends of kids that have committed suicide, what’s your perspective and how can we assist, you know, loved ones whose families whose might have crossed over due to suicide.

Emily: That’s an interesting question. And one of the things I noticed in, in the way you were asking me about it is that you referred mostly to young people doing it and people of all ages [00:30:00] do. Yeah, but we’re noticing it right now because I think a lot because of the pandemic. right, because there were so many young people that couldn’t cope with the thought of never being able to leave their house again.

Yeah. It was at a time in their life where they just couldn’t cope. And the parents were just shocked when the suicides happened, because they were doing the best they could. And they didn’t realize the depths of their, their child or, or whoever it was, the depths of feelings that they were having.

Yeah. And the thing about, Someone you, you know, someone you love doesn’t have to be related to you, but in anybody who, you know, who has died by suicide, which is I’ve learned, that’s the way you say it now, as opposed to committed, because committed. Shows that they really intended to do something and they might [00:31:00] not have really intended to do it.

So that’s a, mm-hmm, a way that you’re not maliciously, but judging the person. Yeah. When you say commit suicide. So I, I always try to say die by suicide. And if you have a loved one, his who has died by suicide. I believe the place to start that can help you more than anything else is to forgive yourself.

And you may not have done anything that you think had anything to do with leading to this suicide. And at the same time, your monkey mind is probably telling you that you did. And so you have to not have to, I shouldn’t say that it would be good for you to look at that, to examine that and forgive yourself, knowing that, that there probably was [00:32:00] nothing that you could have done to make any difference.

And not judge the person who died by suicide for the choices that they made or the accident that they had that led to it. Cuz it could be, they weren’t trying to, but that’s what the results were. Mm-hmm so it’s, it’s another really big case for, for forgiveness. Hmm. Yeah. Yeah. It seem, sounds like I’m saying the same thing all the time between gratitude forgiveness, but really that’s the big thing here.

And these are

Gissele: powerful things and they, these are things that actually do help us be more loving and compassionate to ourselves. Forgiveness is so, so powerful in gratitude. Thank you for clarifying about committing suicide. I didn’t know. So I appreciate that. the other piece that I’m thankful for is, you’re correct.

There are, but we, I guess, I don’t know if our, do you think our perspectives are different about older people that commit suicide, but you’re right. There are a number of people, some through assisted suicide, older people who, commit [00:33:00] suicide, , but I think maybe we’ll have a different perspective or maybe I have a different perspective when it comes

Emily: to, young people versus older people.

Yeah. It, it just seems like we hear about the young people the most mm-hmm . Yeah. But what, what I hear, more frequently than I would like to is about the, the spouse who is left behind, because boy did they judge themselves. They’re positive that it’s their fault. And frequently, sometimes they don’t, but frequently that’s what happens and it, they it’s important to work on that.

And I, the, the thing that you were talking about, the, the assisted suicide I think is, is something that we need to normalize in society. Mm-hmm . Whenever I hear somebody talking about how they, they, had their beloved pet put to sleep because they couldn’t bear to see them suffer. I thought that you let your mom suffer.

Mm-hmm you let your, your wife suffer. You let, [00:34:00] whoever it is, suffer unbearably incredibly because you don’t think it’s right to take their life, but you think it’s okay to take the life of, a pet. And it’s not you taking their life. They are choosing to stop suffering. Yeah. And it’s very important to look at it that way.

I’ve, I’ve actually known people who have, died, with, by assistance because of their situation. And there’s, there’s something now that I’m, I only heard about in the last couple of years, that’s, V S E D I think it’s called, voluntarily stopping, eating and drinking. And it’s, it’s a way that somebody who has, they either feel like they’re old enough they live, lived enough, or they do have a disease thing going on or injury thing growing on that that is so painful that they’re, they’re [00:35:00] choosing to not live in that discomfort anymore.

Whether it’s emotional or physical discomfort, they’re, they’re consciously making that choice. Yeah. And when that happens, I think it’s incumbent honest to not judge them for it. It’s none of our business. Mm-hmm, whoever it is, even if it’s your parent or your, your spouse or whoever it is, it’s their business.

We can’t possibly know how their fee, we know how they’re they’re. mm-hmm and I know I’ve had things in my life that, that, were incredibly physically painful because of something that happened. And, and for me, I, I never would’ve thought of it for that, but I’ve, I’ve seen people that die, these slow lingering deaths that go, you know, they can be sick for years and falling apart ALS for example, where your brain’s [00:36:00] there and your brain’s okay.

But your body just. doesn’t function anymore. Doesn’t serve you at all. And it’s, a great responsibility for somebody else to be able to care for you. Mm-hmm and if you choose to not live under those circumstances, I think that’s your choice. Mm-hmm yeah, it’s not up to me or anybody else to judge somebody else’s pain, somebody else’s disability, somebody else’s illness.

It, it’s not up to us. I agree. And going back to

Gissele: our, conversation about spirit, right? Mm-hmm , if you perceive that spirit can never be broken, you’re just choosing to exit out of this particular 3d perspective. and you know, you see, you said. One thing that is really, really important, which is about judgment.

You know, like in this world we have so much judgment. We judge ourselves, we judge each other. and really compassion is really about moving past the judgment to curiosity. You don’t know what’s going on for people who want to, you [00:37:00] know, choose the assisted. You don’t know what’s going on for people who died by suicide.

so it really is about how do we wrap around, like in your community? How do you wrap around people? And how can we show up for one another so that we can be there for each other, rather than saying, you know, you should be doing that or should be doing this or the other. So, so

Emily: thank you for that reminder.

You’re welcome. Yeah. I know that. Sometimes things happen like with, with, Ron, he had, I live in Maui and he, he had lived here for years before I met him. We came here on our honeymoon and then kept coming back. And he still had friends from many, many years ago when he lived here. And I never saw the island as a tourist.

I always saw the real beauty and Ohana spirit of, or, and Aloha spirit of the island. And when two years before he died, he said, I, I really want to go and live on Maui again. And I [00:38:00] knew what he was saying when he said that. So we just. Sold everything and moved, which was a big deal. I thought I was in my forever home with all my stuff , you know?

Yeah. And all that had to change. But often now I’ll look around where, where I live now and I’ll think, you know, Ron set this up for me so that he knew when he was gone, I would be in a beautiful place with people around me who loved and supported me in a way that I never found on the main. I, I was counting up how many different places that I’d lived in my lifetime the other day.

And I thought, wow, that’s a lot. I never had neighbors and friends, any place I’ve lived before that are like, they are here. Ohana is the word for family in Hawaii. And it’s also used for your chosen family. And I have a bigger Oana here than I’ve ever had in my life. And [00:39:00] I know he set this up for me.

Mm-hmm see. He knew he wasn’t gonna be here, but he wanted me to be in a, in a good place. That was good for me. And good for the people around you.

Yeah. so final question. can you share with the audience, what exciting things you’re doing? Where can people find you? Where can they go and check out your group? you can also talk a little bit about your podcast.

Go ahead. Okay. my podcast is grief and happiness and I, it comes out weekly and it’s mostly guests.

Sometimes I, I just talk myself, but, there’s so many wonderful people to talk to about so many different things in different perspectives, on grief and happiness, cuz I, I always wanna focus on happiness and then. The, grief and happiness Alliance meets every week. And you can contact me. I’d be happy to send you the link so that you can sign up.

And my book is loving and living your way through grief. It’s [00:40:00] traditionally published, so it can be purchased any place. And the, the thing that’s unique about my book is. I read so many books on, on grieving when I was trying to figure out what I should be doing or could be doing. And most of them were mostly memoirs and I didn’t want it to be that I wanted it to be something that people could actively use.

And so at the end of each chapter, there are suggestions of how you can. Implement something like this, a, a chapter on gratitude, there’s a chapter on forgiveness and, and on judgment. And at the end of the chapter, there are things that you can actually do to change things in your life. So I I’ve had really good feedback from people on that because it.

It actually helps them. Yeah, that’s great.

Gissele: Thank you. we’ll make sure that we add the links to our transcripts, cuz everything is transcribed. Thank you. Thank you so much, Emily, for being on our show. This was a terrific conversation. I think you’ve definitely have, we’ve touched on different topics, so we’re so, so grateful that you were [00:41:00] here.

and thank you everyone for joining us for another episode of the love and compassion podcast.

Gissele: Bye-bye.

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