The loss of a spouse or partner can be one of the most profound losses experienced. On Dana Being Dana’s “Remembering Loved Ones During the Holidays,” she welcomes four friends who are widowed and have graciously agreed to share their stories of love and loss. The group discusses the many stages of grief, the holidays, single parenting, finding support, and all the ways they keep their loved one’s legacy alive.
How can people best support those who are grieving?
The first segment focuses primarily on the grieving partner. Dana and the panel talk about therapy, the stages of grief, caring for the caregiver, and how important it is to ask for and be willing to receive support. The panel discussed what-not-to-do when someone is experiencing grief, and how just showing up and being there is one of the best ways to help.
“I think one of the things that overwhelmed me is people would ask me “how are you?” And to me, that question was upsetting because I’m not okay, and so for you to ask me that was a trigger for me. I’m not ok can you please not ask me that question? Can you instead do something that will brighten my day? But don’t ask me how I’m doing,” said Abigail Tiu-Kemph.
Marlon Milne agreed, “Yeah be present, I think often when people ask “How are you?” it’s well-meaning, but it also suggests they don’t know what the experience is like. And so to have this sense of someone wants me to give them some insight into a very profound experience that they’ve not experienced, that feels selfish on their part. But when people are just there, and say “Marlon you know we’re making dinner this weekend we’re having guests, can we bring over some food for you?” That’s doing something. So I think when people just show up and do things that are helpful that matters more than trying to find the right words to say.”
How to explain the loss of a partner to children?
The second half of the program explores the experience of raising kids after the death of a partner and how to talk to a grieving child.
“Being direct is so important, especially to little ones who don’t understand abstract phrases like “passed away” or “they’re in a better place” or something like that. It doesn’t make sense to them. Using really frank language is difficult for us as adults, but for children, it really puts it in more concrete terms so that they understand,” said Sarah Potter.
The group also discussed what parts of their partners they see in their kids and how that brings them comfort and joy.
Bob Black reflected on his kids saying, “I see all the good things. I enjoy just being around my children, watching them, and interacting with them because I see so much of my wife. And it’s such a strong feeling that way. It’s, it’s…nice.”
Planning for Unexpected Loss
The episode concludes with a conversation on the importance of estate planning. Dana is joined by Heather C. Parker a Real Estate & Estate Planning Attorney at Rosenberg & Parker, LLC to talk about the best ways to plan for unexpected loss. Parker explains how estate planning is not just for the wealthy and why it is so important for everyone to have a plan for their assets and beneficiary(s) at the time of their death or incapacitation. She goes on to explain the difference between a will and a trust, why it’s important to have medical power of attorney in place, and how vital it is to get an estate plan in place early when you still have a healthy body and mind.
Dana Being Dana Guests
- Sarah Potter
- Bob Black
- Marlon Millner
- Abigail Tiu-Kemph
- Heather C. Parker, Real Estate & Estate Planning Attorney – Rosenberg & Parker, LLC
Dana Michelle is a Naperville resident who is passionate about life and living intentionally. Originally from the northern suburbs of Chicago, Dana is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia and the University of Chicago Law School. A practicing commercial attorney and mother, Dana divorced in 2015, unleashing a new lease on life. She created, “Dana Being Dana” and brought her unique brand to live first as a live weekly radio show in 2017 on intellectualradio.com. Then in 2019, Dana brought her show to larger television audiences on Naperville Community Television.
She is the co-founder and Director of The Homecoming Challenge, a go-back, give-back campaign originating in 2017 that challenges college alumni to surprise the current freshmen in their old dorm room with words of encouragement and a little love ($20 suggested) whenever alums return to campus.