Episode 40: Working through Pandemic Grief and Holding on to Yourself in a Life with Loss

Mar 1, 2022 | Podcast Episode

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Kimberley is an award-winning poet and author who writes about loss, joy, and being mindful, with a love for all things wild and winged. As a philanthropic, end-of-life planning advisor, she’s frequently asked to speak about death—specifically, why we can be better in our relationships with donors and clients (and ourselves) when we stop avoiding, and get comfortable with, conversations about death, dying, and end-of-life options. As a charitable estate planning specialist and past nonprofit executive, she’s spent 25+ amazing years helping people from all walks of life plan meaningful gifts that transform some corner of the world as well as their own lives.

Episode Highlights:

  • How to create new life patterns for yourself after loss
  • Finding a sense of self after loss and grieving mindfully
  • Why giving and philanthropy work is sometimes a bandaid in grief
  • What it means to “become an avatar”
  • Survivor guilt and Kimberley’s advice for when you feel stuck in your grief
  • Advice for when you feel stuck
  • Covid/pandemic grief and how it’s affected all of us even if it doesn’t necessarily feel like it
  • The power of nature and finding beauty wherever you’re at

Learn more about Kimberley and order her book:
Grieving Us: A Field Guide for Living With Loss Without Losing Yourself by Kimberley Pittman-Schulz


Transcripts (Please Note: This transcript was computer-generated so please be mindful of errors):
[00:00:00] Gianna: Thank you so much for being here today. How are you?

[00:00:02] Kimberley: Oh, I’m doing great. I’m doing great because I’m here talking with you and getting all of your energy and that’s always a good thing.

[00:00:08] Gianna: Yay. Yes, you, I right. We’re on zoom, but it’s like, I already feel. I can feel your energy. You have such a beautiful smile and you have such like a positive energy radiating off of you, which I feel you already are a positive person from the things that I’ve read about you. One of the things that I loved that your PR person had.

That you challenge the assumption of grief and joy as opposites and believe that they can co-exist. And when I read that, I was like, this is someone I need to have on this podcast, because that is something I am so trying to get out there into the universe that. They don’t cancel each other out. And that just because you are experiencing grief in your life, you can’t have joy again.
It’s totally, totally possible. What has brought you into this world of writing about grief?

[00:00:57] Kimberley: I mean, none of us, when we’re little girls say, when I grew up in could write a book about death and loss and grief, none of us start out life that way.
Right. But I will say, and we, and there’s nothing magical or unique about me. I mean, we all live with different kinds of loss and grief. Most people have experienced a significant death often early in their lives. So most of us are dealing. You know, many losses. And really, if you think about it from the moment we’re conceived and born, we’re dealing with loss because at some point we’re going to be separated from our mothers and that’s sort of like our first loss, so, oh, wow.

I think unique about me, but what I will say is that as a young child at about three and a half there was a house fire and I survived it, but I had two other sisters that were sleeping in the same room with me. I had an older sister who is not quite seven yet who is sleeping in an upper bunk.

I was sleeping in a lower bunk and then a little sister and it was her second birthday actually. And they did not survive that fire. I lost two sisters sleeping in the same room with me, my father, gosh, punched his hand through the window where we’re eating. [00:02:00] Fire department to show up and he was able to pull me out and take me to a group of waiting, playing pastors by my mother. And he was turning to go back to the house where there was a loud explosion and fire just completely engulfed that room.

And he could not get into say my other sisters. So that really, you know, as you can imagine, that becomes you. You’ve dealt with your own very serious loss and. You cannot help but shape a lot of who you are and how you perceive the world. And in my case, my mother and I would only learn much later. It wasn’t till I was 30, that I really understood learn how the fire started, but my mother, as you can imagine, any parent losing children.

You know, in any way, any way, shape or form but in a fire like that, where you survive and your kids, don’t, that’s a pretty hard thing to bear during life. And she was never really able to talk about it, which meant I wasn’t able to talk about it. So it was a little kid. I was trying to figure out. Great then what was going on with me?

[00:03:00] Without really any intervention or counseling or the ability to sit down with my parents or another center box. And then much, much later, actually I would say the other big losses are when my mother passed away two weeks before she died of lung cancer, my friend and next door neighbor Ruth. Committed suicide and she did it, unfortunately under the tree.

I did not witness this. Thank God, but under the tree that my kitchen window looked out upon. So that every time I looked out that window, after that pretty hard, you know, and I used to have a habit of going out and saying good night to the night, every night and that night I hadn’t done that. And so you go through, as you can, as I’m sure you’ve heard in some of the people you’ve interviewed, you go through this whole rigmarole.

I could, I should have. I wish I had, what if I’d been out on the deck that night, could I have seen or what I’ve stopped or all that. So that led to a two year period of grief that I came to call loss limbo, where I just really was stuck and had to find my way out. So that’s, you know, that’s, those are the two big, I mean, obviously we’ve had [00:04:00] other loss along the way.

I’m sure person. So animal losses have been difficult for me, but those, those were the big ones,

[00:04:07] Gianna: significant ones that really shaped the experience. I totally understand what you mean. Like of course, you know, everybody. Losses along the way, but there are the ones that are really transformative and to what your journey through life ends up being.

First of all, I mean, I want to extend my consultancies. I mean, those are some very tragic occasions that have happened amongst your family and amongst your friends. And I’m sure you get asked this all the time. Was there some type of survivor’s guilt that you had to fight through in your years after.

[00:04:35] Kimberley: I think it was, I mean, as a little kid, you don’t quite know what to make out of it. The day of the fire. I had broken my older sister’s crayon and I remember having this ideology and it wasn’t even words. It’s just, you know, it’s like, prelingual in a way thinking like maybe she wasn’t coming back because I broke her crayon, you know, and that kind of thing.

So you have, you know, kids don’t quite know how to process it. [00:05:00] Right. And literally as a time I was, you know, pounding on the window. I could see people outside and before my father was able to punch through and get me underneath the bed was actually that broken red crayon. So that kind of really stuck with me for a very, I mean, to this day, you know, decades later, this craft, so you, you know, you do those kinds of things as a kid.

And then I would say You do get to a survivor’s grief. You do get to like, why me? And then you get to this, you know, for me, I turned that into a positive. And I didn’t really have a word for it. Until I started trying to recover from the loss of my mother and my friend, and I called it becoming an avatar where I began to say, okay, their lives were taken so young.

But I have these eyes, I have these ears and. I’m going to show them the world through me. And so I tried to turn that survivor guilt into I’m living for them as well as for me now that’s a danger too, because at one point I ended up being a workaholic and, you know, and then I would beat myself [00:06:00] up if I didn’t do something well, because you know, I’m living for all these people, right?

Yeah. The stream, but at the right level I think that survivor guilt can really be living for people and letting them live through you. There were closed. My mother never got to where now she was taller than I am, had longer hits. So they don’t quite look the same on me, but for a while I wore some of her clothes.

I told her that she never got to where

[00:06:25] Gianna: yeah, I have a similar philosophy kind of with this, this traveling that my husband and I are doing it’s, both of our parents before they passed, had said, oh, when I retire, I want to do this. I want to do this. I want to do this. And they never got that chance.

So, you know, coming down to Florida and just being on the beaches all day long and going golfing and drinking and having fun was a total dream of my dad. And that has really compelled. Us to live the way that we are now to be able to experience these things for them, but also with the fear of knowing, right?
Why are we going to fall into the same pattern as them and say, oh, we’ll do it [00:07:00] later. We’ll do it when you know, what, if that never comes. So I, I am intrigued by what you said of becoming an avatar and, and having them experience life through your eyes and ears and experiences. But I do see where there can be fault in that, or almost a danger of.

When are you living life for yourself? And when are you letting your life be controlled by the fear, the grief, the memory of someone else. And I think, I think that’s a real thing that is, is helpful to acknowledge, to make sure that you know, myself and the listeners are checking in with ourselves. Hey, is this a good idea?

Is, is this a Wolf in sheep’s clothing, almost is this what we think is a positive, but actually it’s kind of cloaked in this, this negative experience of this is my grief gripping me not necessarily enacting positive change. because of these experiences, were you always a writer or did you just start writing as a way of therapy for yourself?

How did you get into the poetry and how did you [00:08:00] get to writing your book, which is called grieving us and congratulations to you. First of all, I do want to say, I commend you. Using these experiences to catapult you into something good, and to be able to help other people. And second of all, this book grieving us, number one on Amazon new releases in several categories when it first came out.

[00:08:21] Kimberley: thank you. That’s surprised me too, you know, it’s just yeah, so I ha it got off to a good start and I continue to I mean, for me, And we talked a little bit right before our conversation started. One of the most amazing things to me about the book is how it has connected me to people literally around the world who have picked up a copy of the book whether, you know, electronic or audio version, you know, of all the versions and some of the stories and the email conversations I’ve had.

You know, what you hope is that, I mean, it’s not about fame or glory and certainly not making money off of that. I guarantee you that. But the ability to say to yourself before I even wrote the book, I mean, I researched to say, does the world really need another [00:09:00] grief and healing book? And I looked at it and literally went and looked at what was out there.

What was selling, look at some of the comments people made on others books about what was missing or what they didn’t like or what they were hoping for. And so I tried to actually fill some of that. Including people feeling like there was a lot of support for understanding their grief, but not a lot of like specific how to, okay.
So everyone says, go take a walk when you’re feeling sad, how do I get off the couch? I want to do that, but how do I get off the couch? That’s where, you know, I tried to really just kind of go back and look at the system that I developed for myself that, you know, that began, you know, after that long two year loss limbo period where I just really.

Stuck and do, I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life just feeling like who cares, nothing matters so much in my life had just come to a stop. I was just going through the motions and I know life, you know, whatever we believe in the afterlife. The only thing we know for sure about this one and the slight and this body in this time is it’s a once in a [00:10:00] lifetime thing.

Right. So I didn’t want to, and particularly. Because people have lost their lives. People that I loved, people that I don’t know that have lost their lives at very young ages. And, you know, it seems, it seemed almost wasteful to me to not want to live more fully. And like you say, that’s, that’s all of these things are a balancing act because taken to extreme, they can, they can be Wolf in sheep’s clothing.
You can be you know, setting yourself up for more harm. But taking in the right and everybody has to figure this out themselves, right? That’s one thing you say all the time. That’s so true. Everybody grieves differently. Everybody finds their own way, something that will set you off or set me off.

And so we have to find our path, our own path that works for us.

[00:10:45] Gianna: Right. And it takes a little bit of time to get that. And that can’t be the expectation that a month, six months, a year after grief, that that is where you’re going to be able to accomplish it. It takes a little bit I’m. I know the book is filled with so [00:11:00] many great pieces of advice for how to get to that stage of your life, to feel a little bit more comfortable in your grief and make sure you’re making the right decisions, but give us a teaser.

What is one of the best pieces of advice you could give to somebody who is in that feeling stuck phase?

[00:11:14] Kimberley: Well, I think for me what I had to do and it happened completely by accident. So I’ve encouraged people to try to do it on purpose. And then I discovered you could do it on purpose. And that is, you know, you can’t, my sense is sometimes the world wants you to go from, okay, it’s a year in a day.
You okay. Now, just like you were saying, it doesn’t work that way. But sometimes we sort of want it to all go away. Like just, we just want to feel better again, and it doesn’t necessarily work that way. It’s in fits and spurts. It’s two steps forward, three steps back and seven steps sideways. So my first.

A piece of advice is to look at first is trying to take small breaks from grief, you know, not focus on, I want this all behind me because Greek actually serves a purpose. As you know it’s part of helping us. [00:12:00] Take the love that we have for someone and find a place for it in our life to find a new way to take that person forward.
I don’t believe this is forever. The loss is forever, but I don’t think really grief has to be all the time, always forever, but I call it. Like the ocean, it will come and it will go over time. You know, years later I can have a wave of grief, just come over me with something that happened when I was three or 30, you know?

So the bit, so I would say one of the things that came to me with learning how to focus on just one of my senses. And it started when I was trying to get away from this two year lost limbo. And it’s what I call tiny. Come back to your senses rituals, and I didn’t have a name for it. Then. All I know is one evening.

One of the things that I did every night, no matter what was going on in my life, one of the few routines that stayed in tack was locking all the doors. At that point, I was living in Southwest Washington. I was blessed to live along a stretch of the east fork of the Lewis river, beautiful wild river.

But I would lock the [00:13:00] doors every night before I went to bed. And one night when it was time to lock the doors, something just made me feel like I’m going to walk out to the river. And I walked out in the dark out to the river’s edge and I just stood there and I listened to the water, flowing over the stones.

I could hear birds sort of shifting in the roofs, up in the trees. Sometimes the water coming through the rocks on the side of like distant voices. But I realized it really was just the sound of the water and the way it interacted with, with the bank of the river and the rocks. And I just stood there.

I mean, that’s, it just stood there and did nothing, but listen. And then as I was walking back to the house to lock the door and go to bed, I realized, oh my gosh, in that moment, I felt okay. I’m not saying great. I wasn’t sprinting to the highest peaks of happiness, but you taken a break. Yes. I had taken a break from grief because I had simply paid attention to what my senses were, bringing me without judgment without a whole lot of thought.

I was [00:14:00] just simply being in that moment. And then I realized if I can do more of this over time, I think I can. Like, like stepping stones across the river, right? You can little by little, start to step your way through the grief and have my goal was to create longer and longer grief breaks. And that’s where it started with simply by picking a sense in that case, it was listening.

And just, just paying attention to what’s there and letting it enter you and being so absorbed with what’s happening around you and cure. That I took a little break and it’s not to say, you know, I didn’t wake up crying the next day. Right. But it was the start. Right. And it told me that it’s possible getting better as possible.

Yeah, feeling good when you’re seriously grieving, you know, feeling okay. It’s like fantastic. Even though you might not feel fantastic, but feeling okay, it’s so much better than feeling awful.

[00:14:53] Gianna: Right? You remember those little moments that you feel okay. Because unfortunately they are so few and far between, but they’re so profound [00:15:00] when they do happen like that simplicity of just walking out to the water’s edge and feeling nature for a moment and feeling settling is something.
Now, years later, you are not going to ever forget because you remember that feeling. Love this thing that you’re talking about with title, and it’s so ironic, but like at the end of the day, is anything ironic. Is anything. Coincidence anymore, you know, it’s all the universe is all tied in into, yes. I just had this conversation with somebody earlier today.

They had asked me how I was liking Florida. And I said anywhere that I can be near water, which we are. I just love it. I feel so comfortable. There is something so soothing to me to be near the water because I feel the rhythm of the waves is such a mirror of what I go through in my own grief. That it’s almost like, I feel like I’m in an environment where I’m understood.

So I had just had this conversation literally two hours ago. And here you are. Basically saying the same thing that the [00:16:00] title and the waves of your grief and everything. So it’s nice. And I love being able to have conversations with people like this because it’s like seeing that reflected in others and knowing like, okay, this thing that I’m thinking about, my grief, others are experiencing too, and others are feeling, and this is all I’m on the right path and I’m okay.

[00:16:17] Kimberley: Well, that’s why I think what you do, John, and with this podcast and you know, what you do with your writing and your posting. It’s so important with grief, because I think grief, even if every, like right now we’re in sort of communal grief, cause we’re recording this during, you know, what we hope is the beginning of the end of the pandemic, but there’s this sort of global grief, this sort of communal grief that’s out there.

And it’s so, but it’s, you’re still isolated because we each experience it so differently. And so the beauty and the power of what you’re doing and having these kinds of conversations. Is it helps people feel a little alone, like, oh my gosh, I’m not the only one. I’m not the only one. And there is something about, [00:17:00] and frankly, there’s nothing wrong with being the only one, but it’s human nature to just want to know.
Okay. Okay. Others are having this I’m okay. You know, I might not be okay.

[00:17:12] Gianna: Absolutely. Yeah. And thank you so much for the kind words. I really appreciate it. And same thing. I mean, right back at you, I, the things that you’re putting out there into the world are certainly helpful to everyone you’ve, you’ve done some work to with, with post pandemic.

Grief is something that you are out there talking about a lot, as you said, like, where are we in this pandemic world? We hope we’re towards the end of it. At the end of the day, it’s brought on this enormous amount of grief to the entire world, the, you know, society as a collective. And I see it as being a huge challenge because when you are thrown into your own grief, your life changes your upside down life.

As you know, it does no longer exist not to say that’s always a negative thing. You know, we talk about it takes a little bit, but. Life can change in a [00:18:00] positive way. Joy and grief can co-exist and you can get to a place where you feel that life has a different meaning than it may have had before. But now when you’re you’re battling a pandemic as well, it’s like, you’re, you’re figuring out how to live life without your person.

You’re figuring out how to live life in this new world that we’re, we’re living in. What are your thoughts on how this pandemic world is making it? Is it making it more difficult for grief? Isn’t making it easier for grief aware? Where are your thoughts on.

[00:18:36] Kimberley: Yes. Yes, no, no. Okay.

[00:18:39] Gianna: Did you follow

[00:18:42] Kimberley: all of the above?

I think what makes it challenging is we’re all going through this moment and the moment keeps getting longer. We keep seeing there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and then it ends up being another COVID trade. Right. So you get your hopes up and that is hard to, on people to kind of

[00:18:56] Gianna: your hopes up You know,

[00:18:59] Kimberley: we had this [00:19:00] period again, when we’re recording this, this was a year ago. Eight months ago or whatever were for like two weeks. We actually didn’t wear masks masks back on, you know, here in California where we’re a very mass mass school society, or just given the way we respond to it. So I think the most challenging thing that was we’re going through this moment internationally it’s affecting people in different places, different ways.

You’ve got political landscapes, you’ve got racial. Inequality in the background, in the foreground, really all of this as well. So you’ve got all of these other sorts of law. Oriented big, big things happening, but then our own personal lives is different. I mean, so I was working from a home-based office before.

It was a thing before everybody else, you started the trend. Right. And so I was really trying to help colleagues who had never worked from home, probably that know, some people do great with it. Some people are bouncing off the walls, right. So you have the, you know, you have that group of people, you have other people.
The pandemic didn’t change one thing other than they had to do it all in a mask. Now, you know, who got up every day and they put on [00:20:00] the mask. I hear a lot of people talking. Well with all that extra time it had during the pandemic and I’m sorta like, hello, a bunch of us did not have extra time. You know, if anything, I had less time during the pandemic with what I was doing in my personal life.

So, so everybody’s, so there’s this idea that, you know, we’ve all been through this together, so it’s all the same and it is not, I think that’s the biggest issue. And what I’m seeing as people are being asked to come back to work. As you’ve got on one hand, people are like, I’ve never thought the masks were a good idea.

Anyway, I think they’re dumb. Why do people have to wear them to other people feeling like I, my child has auto-immune or my grandmother living with me and I’m sorry. I happen to think Macs are really important. And I have some people that are just biting at the bit to go back to work. And I know other people that are.
Honestly, honestly, afraid. So I think that’s where there’s so much here. Even if you didn’t lose someone, John, a two COVID there, people did lose other people.
Worse than socially distance living in some regressed [00:21:00] has been the socially distance dying that’s happened during this period where people couldn’t be there with their loved ones and to end your life. certainly in the care of good medical people, but at the same time, not with your people right there, that’s hard and that’s forever.

You can’t fix that. That’s unfixable, that’s, that’s a done thing. So, so you have all of these things overlaying. And so for me, the big message is we need to give people some grace. We need to grant some grace here that everybody is in a different place and people, some of the people, not just healthcare workers, Folks at the grocery store, the post office, the folks that come along and grab garbage who’ve had, you know, they have a lot of stuff that they’ve just gotten up and worked every day.
That’s now are starting to pop up in their lives, are starting to, I feel anywhere from resentment to grief that they didn’t let themselves feel. You know, so I think that’s the big message here is don’t think if we said tomorrow, the pandemics over. We’re all good now, you know, it’s like any other kind of loss, right?

That’s not going to be okay in summer. Really [00:22:00] not going to be okay for a long time. And our lives for many are radically changed.

[00:22:06] Gianna: everybody lost something during this pandemic. We look at grief as if it’s only the death of a person. And that’s what I’m trying to put out there into the world of that is not quite the case.

You know, we you’ve talked about pets. We had an episode about pets. Recently. I did an episode about somebody who lost their job during the pandemic. People that live their sense of lose their sense of normalcy. People that lose their relationships, lose their routine. Everyone lost something. And really that’s like the death of a life that you had before.

And that in itself is grief. And to compliment what you were just saying, I feel like a lot of people are waking up and realizing. What the hell was I just going through, what am I currently going through?

I am having a grief here. And I think that’s still looked at as almost negative or it’s looked at as it’s, it’s not valid for them to feel that way because oh, but everybody in my family is [00:23:00] healthy and everybody in my family is okay. It’s not comparable to some of the other grief that people may have gone to the field briefly about, right?

Yes, yes. Right. But. Everyone is allowed to feel something they’re allowed to feel grief for whatever it is that they may have lost during this pandemic. And quite frankly, everyone lost something.

[00:23:22] Kimberley: Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think, you know, one of the things that I saw and I work in philanthropy as well, so I worked do a lot of.
Planning to do the plan philanthropically as well as from an estate standpoint. And during some of the worst early pandemic, when New York was hit so hard. And at one point, this is a real statistic at that time, it’s gotten much better now, but at the time. About 94% of all people over 65 who were put on events later died.

I mean, it was like a death sentence. And so I had some older donors charitable [00:24:00] donors I had been working with who are like, I want something to put in my estate plan that I don’t want to do that. That’s not, if I’m getting to that point, I don’t want to be in some place where people are wearing suits and I don’t have my family.
And so it opened up a whole, like it, like, it had such a pack just in estate planning that people never thought about. And then you had all these young people that, you know, it was very easy when you’re younger to like, okay, death is out there happening to somebody else. Right. So it put our own mortality and that loss of security safety, you know, if you remember the early part of the pandemic, you know, we didn’t, we were afraid of our produce.

[00:24:35] Gianna: Oh my gosh. So, right. Yeah. We were afraid of the mail was like a terrorist encroaching on your home.

[00:24:40] Kimberley: Yeah. And so that’s still there. You can’t erase that. So we may have forgotten about it a little bit, but it’s still kind of working back in your brain. It’s working in your cells, it’s working in your body. That idea that, you know, there’s stuff out there we can’t see or feel it can be dangerous and some people can just navigate through that. Okay. And for other people [00:25:00] that was wasn’t remained a huge aha moment.

[00:25:03] Gianna: What was your role with the estate plan?

[00:25:05] Kimberley: I’ve been working with Michigan state university and they’re a charitable gift planning. So donors looking to and I’ve worked with other charities to international humanitarian work and Benson end of life, work with compassion choices in the past, but currently with Michigan state. And so working with donors that want to include some kind of gift plan in their. For some, some cause usually it’s wanting to benefit students.

And what’s been interesting about that trajectory. Deanna, you don’t always think about what you asked me early on and what led me to this place. What I discovered in many years of working in philanthropy, I used to have a community foundation for several years in Pennsylvania and literally work with people from all walks of life, you know, very affluent ranchers, you know, grandma, to me, just all kinds of. All ethnicities, all backgrounds, and so much of philanthropy ends up being motivated by loss. It’s something that even [00:26:00] in my own, in this field of philanthropy, people, don’t often pause to think about it. I’m not saying all philanthropy, but so often if someone is setting up a scholarship for a student or wanting to fund a research center or some humanitarian initiative, they’re often doing it.

I mean, I, myself built a school in memory of my parents and Sierra Leone. Which I eventually got to see, which was very cool. But so that’s how I, you know, that’s been an interesting way that loss has been woven into my life is helping people take a loss and you can never write it, You know, often young people that are lost in people feeling like, okay, my child’s not going to get to go to college and say, I can find somebody else, kids who can’t afford to go to go. So it’s that idea of, of giving is such a therapeutic thing. It just is. And sometimes when we’re really grieving, it’s hard to think about anyone but our own broken selves.

And that would be the other piece of advice I would give is if you can take that little break from grief and then think of. Who else is out there that’s hurting, maybe even more than me [00:27:00] that I can do some little thing. And it may be as simple as a smile at somebody in the grocery store. It sounds hokey, it sounds corny, but we there’s plenty of real stories out there about how someone’s smile prevented somebody from jumping.

[00:27:15] Gianna: I totally agree with you. I think that these acts of kindness like that, or these things that people are compelled to do in the wake of a loss when you’re able to help other people, and especially when it’s in memory of the person that you love. It’s like putting a bandaid on your own grief is when you’re able to do something positive and say, you know, okay, this is what has come out of this, or let’s make sure that something, beneficial for somebody else.

I’m happy that we touched on this topic because I do encourage anyone that if they’re. If you’re struggling with, how can I find meaning how can I move forward? What can I do to almost just like, oh, I’ll get that like angsty feeling out of myself, a really [00:28:00] good way to exercise that is to look into doing something good in the person’s name and the estate planning and the donation and philanthropic activities are, are certainly a great way to do that.

[00:28:10] Kimberley: I have had people say to me, two things a, well, I’m not rich and affluent. It’s like, you don’t need to be giving can be time. Giving can be to your local food bank. Giving can be. You know, just even within your family, there’s many ways is when you’re kind of stepping beyond your pain to try to just have a little positive influence on somebody else because we’re all connected.

And when you are helping someone else, you really do feel good. It’s kind of like a tiny come back to your senses rituals. You don’t have to be. On a Florida beach or in a, along a river in Southwest Washington, or now I live in the redwoods. You don’t have to be, you can be walking in the middle of New York city in Manhattan, and you can find nature, whether that’s in the iridescent colors of a pigeon swings, whether it’s looking for that flower, coming up through the sidewalk, whether it’s just, you know, human beings are the very.[00:29:00]

You know, one of the most populous animals on the planet, just seeing that humanity in a person you know, just listening. I remember talking to a donor who said well, I don’t live any place, natural. How can I have, how can I create a ritual to help me bring me back to my senses and long story short, which she did it.
I live in an apartment in New York and she would open up the window in the morning and she would just listen. And the one day she said to me, you know what, I hear music and the traffic. And I said, oh, what kind of music? And she goes, no, not that kind of music. She said, no, just there’s actually a rhythm and a pulse to the way the traffic comes and goes. I never noticed that before. That’s powerful for her. That was powerful. And she got to where she looked forward to getting up in the morning, this for a person that didn’t want to get out of bed. So something that’s simple is powerful.

[00:29:47] Gianna: Absolutely. That is so beautiful. And I, I, you are just like a little Ray of light. I love this. I’m so positive and so wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing everything today. A question that I would like to end [00:30:00] with is if your book was to get picked. And someone was going to make a movie of the experiences that you had been through and your perspective on loss and grief who would play you?
00:30:14] Kimberley: Well, I’ve got to say, I am such a Meryl Streep fan talk barrel into to doing that. You know, that would, that would be pretty awesome.

[00:30:23] Gianna: She is fabulous. I don’t know why, and I wonder if you’ve heard this before, but you’re giving me Diane Keaton by.

[00:30:30] Kimberley: Okay. I should have a hat on for that. Yeah. Little hats on, you know, what I would have.
Deanna. I would happily gladly take Diane Keaton any day. I was actually thinking of Gilda Radner at one point, because I thought, well, you didn’t say the actress had to be alive. Right? You could have a lot of fun. She would, she would make this really a lot

[00:30:55] Gianna: of fun. Yes. Maybe all three of them. Maybe they could play different phases of your life.

[00:30:59] Kimberley: Oh, [00:31:00] that would work really well. I say that’s a good, maybe I should. That would be an interesting practice for me to try is to try living different. Like at times, picking a part of the day, I’m looking through Gilda eyes, looking through Merrill eyes, eyes, and just see how it changes my day. That’s a new practice.
I’ll take.

[00:31:17] Gianna: There we go. Well, again, thank you so much for being here. Where can people connect with you if they want to find you and again, Tell us the name of your book. So people can find that if they would like to purchase it, which they absolutely should. Well,

[00:31:28] Kimberley: yes. My book is greeting us a field guide for living with loss without losing yourself, because that was the number one thing I heard from people is feeling that they’ve lost themselves because we’re so connected to the people we love.
And you can find it anywhere that books are sold. I mean, Amazon sells something like 72% of books on the globe. So I have all the formats. Audio and ebook and that kind of thing. And then any place I would encourage you to go to your local bookseller and say, would you please order that and support your local bookseller because they are awesome,

[00:31:56] Gianna: awesome people.
Wonderful. All right. Well, great to connect with you. [00:32:00] Keep doing what you’re doing out there, spreading positivity. And again, thank you so much.

[00:32:04] Kimberley: Thank you and thank you for all you do Gianna. This has been a wonderful conversation. And I, I think these conversations that you’re having with such a diverse group of people are really making a difference cause we’re all dealing with grief and we always will be.
It’s one of those things that’s not solvable. It’s part of being human. Yeah,

[00:32:19] Gianna: absolutely. All right. Thank you.

[00:32:22] Kimberley: Thank you.


All The Skies

There’s no magic pill that can take away the pain of grief
But there are some pretty, little things that can help