Am I stuck in grief? This was the question Catherine McNulty asked herself when someone told her she was. It had been 2 years since her infant son died yet sadness and depression were her constant companions. Grief had become her new normal.
Normally, I don't walk around thinking about grief. In fact, I honestly try to avoid it. But within the last two weeks, at least three people I know have buried a parent. And within the last couple of years, I've gone to more funerals than I've ever wanted to. Though my conversation with Catherine was taped some time ago, it could not be more timely.
Catherine McNulty is a Grief Coach, something that she so desperately needed when she found herself in the throes of grief. She was stuck and didn't know how to find her way out of the sadness, the overwhelm, the hopelessness. Desperate for help, she looked for resources. There were books that told her about the stages but no "manual" to navigate her out. She created her own manual.
Through her desperate quest to find hope, Catherine discovered that:
- With a broader context of grief, you can move through it to a greater experience of life
- You can channel your pain to something that honors your loved one
- Counseling can get you on the path. Having someone who has gone into the unknown as a guide can help you navigate the unknowns of the path
- Your grief doesn't have to lead to suffering. You can feel the pain and move through it to purpose.
Hers is a story of being broken open--going from stuck in grief to finding purpose on the other side of it. Now, she helps others do the same.
More About Catherine
After losing her infant son in 2011, Catherine embarked on a journey to do more than survive grief. The loss forever changed the trajectory of her life and sent her looking for meaning and purpose for the life she was given. She channeled the love for her son into her own healing, self-growth and personal empowerment.
Today, she has created a framework to grief that disrupts conventional ways of looking at loss. She challenges her clients to step outside of a victim mindset and regain control of how they navigate grief. She teaches how to grow through grief and encourages speaking openly about grief to break down the walls of silence around grief.
Catherine lives in San Diego wit her family where she speaks, writes and offers coaching to those who wat to do more than just survive grief. She is a board member of Empty Cradle and volunteers at Miracle Babies and The Ronald McDonald House. Her business, Grief INSPIRED supports those who are grieving and guides them to create a new normal that honors the ones they've lost.
Things that made me go hmmm:
"I was going through the motions. And I'd go through my day and I went to work and I did all those things. But I really wasn't living."
"Why is there not a manual for this? I looked and I looked and I could not find what I personally needed."
"We don't talk about grief as a society...and so we don't know how to deal with it."
"It is very easy, and often understandable, to sit in your loss and feel like a victim and say 'My life is over.' And that's one route that you can take. But what I stand for is a different route that's saying, 'Let's work through this...Let's figure it out.' "
"The reason why we are here is really to uncover who we really are, and what our what our gift to the world is."
Grief INSPIRED Website https://griefinspired.com
The Gifts of Grief Book https://www.amazon.com/GIFTS-GRIEF-Grief-Unwanted-Changed/dp/1539385248
Grief INSPIRED Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/257805561235106
Grief INSPIRED YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6dVH-N7WGAivV19oh4UtDw
Grief INSPIRED Twitter https://twitter.com/Grief_Inspired
Says Catherine, "I think the takeaway is I really want you to know what to do. When grief happens to you. You don't necessarily need to be a victim, there is another way. So come to me and I will help you do that. And when it happens to someone that you love, someone that you know experiences a loss, don't be afraid to step in and be courageous enough to say, to say, 'I don't know what to say, but I'm here with you.' Don't avoid it. I know it can be hard, but those people will really, really appreciate you if you don't just avoid them. So step into it, and just say, 'I don't know how to help. But I want to help.' "
What were your aha moments? We'd love to hear them!
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