Tag Archives: Grief

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Book Review: Permission to Grieve by Shelby Forsythia

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I was honored to be asked by author Shelby Forsythia to review her book Permission to Grieve: Creating Grace, Space, and Room to Breathe in the Aftermath of Loss. Shelby is an Intuitive Grief Guide and the host of the Coming Back Podcast which are conversations that tell the truth about life after death, divorce, diagnosis, and other important topics.

Shelby’s breaking point was Christmas 2013 when her mom, who she’d seen struggle for a year and a half with breast cancer, suddenly died. Her death was preceded by her dad being in and out of the hospital for two years for major brain surgeries, Shelby’s body battling her mind as she fought binge eating disorder, and what felt like a total loss of home, security, and stability after she came out as pansexual. She affectionately refers to her college years as “the four years of hell.” Losing her mom was the tipping point for Shelby.


Permission to Grieve is a book for people who are tired of covering up and pushing down their pain. It’s a book for people who know that there’s a better, more compassionate way to approach the worst thing that has ever happened to them. It’s a book for people who believe that grief is not an enemy to be vanquished as quickly as possible, but an opportunity to connect more deeply with their human selves. Because even in the midst of loss, Shelby writes, we can create grace, space, and room to breathe.

Drawing on her experience as a grieving person and two years’ worth of interviews with grief experts like Megan Devine, Kerry Egan, and Caleb Wilde, Shelby Forsythia makes the case for radical, self-honoring permission—free from personal judgement and society’s restrictive timelines and rules. Permission to Grieve guides you to call your grief out of hiding and invites you to give it permission through thoughtful writing prompts, easy-to-follow exercises, and clever visual illustrations.


GROUNDBREAKING….Shelby’s thoughtful and groundbreaking approach to grief in Permission to Grieve provides the universal truths to help someone who has experienced loss of any kind, move from surviving to living again.

COMPELLING….Having experienced so many losses in my own life I thought I knew what it takes to move through grief. Once I started reading Permission to Grieve, Shelby’s compelling, thought-provoking, and heartfelt words transported me to back to a place in my heart I thought I would never find again.

TRAILBLAZER….Shelby Forsythia is a true grief trailblazer in her new book, Permission to Grieve. Weaving her personal loss story with grief myth-busters, thought provoking “Pause Buttons” and real world actionable tools, Shelby brings loss out from the abyss of darkness back into the light.

Some of my favorites quotes from Permission to Grieve include: 

– “Whether someone you love has died and you can’t imagine yourself surviving in a world without them…or you’ve just been served divorce papers, wrecking your dream of a long and happy future…or you’ve just received a life-changing diagnosis that takes away your balance, health, and control, the outcome is the same: This is not my life. This doesn’t belong to me. This is not happening.” (Page 29)

– “Getting fired from a job, having a relationship hit the rocks, seeing a parent or grandparent get sick…these are all difficult losses to experience and are grief-triggering life events. But instead of honoring our grief or even taking time to look at it, we’re taught to bypass our feelings, reject the fact that we’ve been hurt by what’s happened, and carry on.” (Page 32)

 – “What if we had permission to share our feelings with others without fear of being a burden? What if we had permission to believe that the life of an animal is just as significant as the life of a human? What if we had permission to carry loss with us even after time has passed? What if we had permission to show weakness, break down, and cry in front of others?” (Page 46)

– “It is normal and human for us to ride the waves in grief. It is incredibly scary at times, especially when our lives up until our loss have been relatively smooth sailing. But we will never fully witness the next emotional wave if we lock up our grief and don’t give it space to move through us. All grief wants is the experience of moving through us.” (Page 60)

“Don’t ask your losses to stay small so that you can feel safe. The moment loss happens, we no longer fit into our old lives. Post-loss, we know more. We’ve seen more. And we’ve grieved more. Allowing grief space to permeate your life “before” and influence your life “after” is a powerful piece of permission, one that honors your role as an active participant in the world. And when your world changes, so do you.” (Page 77)


– “Hold this book close to your heart. It won’t take away the hurt, but it will give you a roadmap for how to carry it forward.” Stephanie Zamora

“This book is relatable on so many levels to anyone dealing with death, diagnosis and the other various struggles we incur during this lifetime.
You will be finding yourself saying “that’s me” and “I feel the exact same way” allowing you to feel as if you’re not alone in this journey that you probably have never ever prepared yourself for. Comforting and written with heart and soul. A must read!”
Amazon Review


Permission to Grieve is available September 4th 2019 on Amazon and on Amazon Kindle.


Sending you love, comfort and peace!

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Signs From Dad

Signs From Dad

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September 6th is my Dad’s Birthday.  He would have been 87 years old this year. I miss him every day.  Since Dad died in January 2017, he has been very busy from the other side sending us signs and messages. Almost too many to count. Writing about them reminds me that even though he isn’t physically here with us, he is never far away.

Here are some of the signs Dad has sent us since his death.


One of the primary signs from Dad is music.  Songs when you least expect it.  There have been a few music signs which have made a big impact on me.  The first one was shortly after his death.  My Mom and I had stopped to have lunch.  It was probably the first time we had been out since he died.  We walked into the restaurant and were shown to a table.  As soon as we sat down, two of my Dad’s favorite songs (both from his Memorial Service) began to play.  My Mom and I looked at each other and knew immediately Dad was there with us at that moment.

The second time was when I was at the Dentist’s office.  I had walked from our house to the dental office thinking about my Dad the whole way there. When I sat down in the waiting room, two of my Dad’s favorite songs played over their music system. Hearing these songs opened the floodgates. Fortunately, I was still wearing my dark sunglasses. Another reminder Dad knew I was thinking about him. Luckily, I was able to compose myself before they called me in for my teeth cleaning.

Another time, my Dad sent music at Walmart. My Dad loved shopping.  When I walked in to Walmart, I thought about how much my Dad had loved to shop there. As I moved through the store, the song from Wedding Bell Blues by The Fifth Dimension played over the sound system.

“Bill I love you so
I always will…”

It wasn’t so much the song or the lyrics but the fact the song was about “Bill.” My Dad’s name was Bill.  I hadn’t heard that song in years and years. I knew immediately that my Dad was there shopping with me.

The most recent music sign form my Dad was this past Saturday.  I was sitting in LA freeway traffic. My mind wandered (as it usually does) to my Dad.  For some reason, I decided to change radio stations and ended up stopping on the one playing Christmas music. As soon as I stopped there, the song Blue Christmas by Elvis played.  This was my Dad’s favorite Christmas song.  He sang it all the time. It is my most favorite memory of him.  At the moment the song played, I knew my Dad was there with me in the car.  I began to cry.


One of the most special signs from Dad happened for my son.  He had wanted one of his Papa’s watches.  My Mom found one for him but it wasn’t in working condition. It probably didn’t even have a battery.  But my son loved it and wore it anyway so he could be “close” to his Papa.

Last week my son was in a school golf tournament in which his team came in first place.  This was the first time EVER a student team had won.  My son attributed the win to the fact that he wore his Papa’s watch which gave the team good luck.  As he was explaining his win to his roommate that night, my son looked down at the watch and saw that the second hand was moving.  He thought there was no way it was possible because we had never bought a battery for it.  He looked away and when he looked again, my son not only saw that the second hand was still moving, but the time on the watch was the exact time on the kitchen clock.  Then watch then stopped working again. My son said he was so moved, he couldn’t finish talking to his roommate.  He ran upstairs to his room and cried.  He then called me and told me the story.  I couldn’t believe it either. I said it was Dad/Papa’s way of telling him he was there with him on the golf course that day.  What an amazing gift!

I will probably write more about my Dad’s signs in the weeks and months  to come since there are too many to include in this article.  These signs are help to make the Holidays less painful.  They are just another reminder our loved ones are never far from us!


Sending you love, comfort and peace!

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Grief Reiki® Card Reading

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The Grief Reiki® Card Deck was my way of trying to pull together comforting thoughts and words for a griever in a non-traditional format. The approach is to Pick-A-Card that jumps out at you. Whatever number comes into your head first. Or just go with your gut. Now read the message corresponding to the card you picked.

I have found we usually get the message we need to hear most.


Today's Messages (1)

If you picked Card #1: Today’s message reminds you not to go through grief alone but to draw strength from your friends. Society has conditioned us to “Grieve Alone” when in reality this is the worst thing we could do. We have also been taught not to ask for help or family and friends will think we are weak. Again, this is furthest from the truth. Family and friends want to help us but we have to reach out and ask for that help. They cannot read our minds so if we wait for them to offer it may never happen. Ask for what you need.  Don’t try and go through it alone.


Today's Messages (2)

If you picked Card #2: Today’s message is a reminder to REST when you are grieving. I know that sounds easier said than done. If you are like me when I was grieving, you can’t even sleep or think about sleeping right now. But resting doesn’t mean you have to sleep for long periods of time. Sometimes just taking a 5-10 minute cat nap can leave you refreshed. It is so important that you try to do this since it is common to be more prone to accidents and injuries when we are grieving. This is because our minds, bodies and spirits are on an emotional roller coaster. Make the time to rest when you can. It’s especially important right now.


Today's Messages (3)

If you picked Card #3: Today’s message is a reminder that it is perfectly normal to feel extreme sadness when you are grieving. Since Society seems to have put a time-constraint on how “long” we should grieve, we often feel pressure to not be sad. We force that sadness down until we feel like exploding. Most places of employment don’t help either by only giving us 3-5 days bereavement time. How could anyone “feel better” after such a short period of time? Expressing your sadness is normal part of being human. Don’t plaster that fake smile on your face or say you are “doing fine” when you aren’t. This card reminds you to share your sadness. It will help you move through your grief. It will also help those around know that expressing sadness is a normal and natural reaction to loss.


Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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