Happy Sunday, Journeyer!
Warren and I are heading home from the first National Grief and Hope Convention.
Words cannot effectively express the amount of growth and healing that occurred in those Grand Ballrooms.
I am exhausted, energized, overjoyed, and overwhelmed…all at the same time!
I met so many grief neighbors and healing allies that to list them all would be impossible.
But there are a few special bonds that moved me in undeniable ways…
One of the first attendees I met was Cindy, a bereaved mother who drove three hours in search of herself and hope…
“For the first time since Emmy’s death I know that I’m going to be okay,” she said to Warren and me yesterday.
The glowing smile and the gleam in her eyes were testament to those words, Journeyer.
There were Sherry and Joe…the work they have done since their daughter and her unborn baby were murdered…I’m inspired by their courage to stand strong together, to uphold Alisha’s memory and to carry on her message that “I can choose to be happy or I can choose to be sad. I choose to be happy.” Find out more or support them at the Purple Project.
And there was Tammy, a California grief coach who attended the convention as a way of helping her clients and an effort to rejuvenate and grow in the face of a recent tragedy so close to home. Find out more about her work here.
In addition to meeting these incredibly brave and compassionate attendees, I had the great privilege of meeting other courageous allies who have faced devastation and decided to grow in their grief by helping others.
I am so honored to make these connections, Journeyer, and look forward to continued conversations and hopefully a little collaboration.
If you’re in need of some healing, check out these sites!
Tanya Lord from The Grief Toolbox is as gentle as she is ambitious. After losing her son following a routine tonsillectomy, she went back to school to study, learn, and then go on to become a national-level, health care collaborator and patient advocate (as accurately as I remember.) Her conference sidekick, Linda, was equally delightful.
Terry Murphy has created something phenomenal in helping children deal with grief. The Healing Chickadee brings adventures to a child’s mailbox, a package that includes an Audubon bird replica that is accompanied with stories and activities that help with bereavement. AMAZING!
Warren and I enjoyed getting to know Carol Scibelli, an author and speaker who knows how to find the lighter side of loss. Find out more and check out her book Poor Widow Me!
There’s Becky and her girls who came up with the Grief Wear clothing line to send a subtle message to others that you might not be having a good day. What a tribute to the memory of her late husband.
Other authors, speakers, and coaches include Sandy Oshiro Rosen, Debra Morrison, JoAnnMichalik, Robyn Reynolds, Mary Potter Kenyon, and another subtle product to identify grievers Grieving Together.
The following presenters moved me in different ways. Sybrina Fulton, singer/song writer Beth Nielson Chapman, counselor/speaker/author Tanya Brown who has such a healing spirit and is also SO approachable, and last but certainly not least was one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s daughters, Dr. Bernice King. Dr. King is so full of grace and honesty; it was such an honor…
There were other fabulous speakers and exhibitors but these are the ones with whom I connected over the weekend.
Journeyer, even in the midst of some of life’s excruciating stories were signs of hope and healing. The three day convention brought a few tears, signs of growth, and many smiles that reflected the spirit of togetherness and compassion that was so prevalent.
A special thanks to Lynda Cheldelin Fell for her vision, her husband Jamie Fell for supporting her, and Angie Cartwright for her efforts in bringing this event together.
Even in a grief convention, happy happens, Journeyer, moments of warmth, comfort, connection, laughter, and light… You know what I say: Together we can help heal a world of hurt…
What about you, Journeyer? What moments brought you a smile or warmed your heart last week? Please share with us and spread a little joy!
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What a weekend Annah. I’m so glad that you can share your hope as well as your pain. So many people can relate to your honesty…
Thanks, Liv. It was such an amazing experience and one I am honored to have been a part of…. 🙂