Ask A Doulagiver #
We Need to Create ”Outlets” for Grief
Guest: Mary Landry
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Episode Show Notes
On this episode of Ask a Death Doula,
I had the pleasure of Interviewing Mary Landry, the creator of the My Loved One and Me grief journal.
My Loved One and Me started as a sympathy gift for a friend. It is a guided journal to assist the grieving process by reflecting on how time spent with a loved one can help you to continue to move forward.
To create it, Mary Landry drew upon her professional design background, Tai Chi/Chi Gung/Chinese Medicine training and a lifetime of intuitive experiences. As an Instructional and Graphic Designer, she made the journal inviting and inclusive regardless of belief systems. As an energy healer, Mary honors death as a natural part of life and reminds us of our connection to all. And as someone who has experienced loss and is an empathetic friend, she provides loving support during the quiet moments when comfort is most needed.
You can get the Journal here: Here
Get the FREE Doulagivers Grief Guide Here
For More Information and Death Doula Training, Click HERE
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Speaker 1 (00:02):
Hi everyone, and welcome to this episode of Ask a Death Doula. My name is Susan O’Brien. Today we have a special guest and I’m going to tell you a little bit about her and she’s got a wonderful thing that she has created. So my loved one and me started out, it’s a grief journal and it started out as a sympathy gift for a friend, and it is a guided journal to assist the grieving process by reflecting on how time spent with a loved one can help you to continue to move forward, something that we necessarily don’t do right now. And we’re going to talk about why we are so stuck in complicated grief. This is Mary Landry, the author of that beautiful journal. To Create it, Mary Drew upon her professional design background, Tai Chi and Qigong Chinese medicine training, which I adore and a lifetime of intuitive experiences. As an instructional and graphic designer, she made the journal inviting and inclusive regardless of belief systems. As an energy healer. Mary honors death as a natural part of life and reminds us of our connection to all. And as someone who has experienced loss and loss and is an empathetic friend, she provides loving support during the quiet moments when comfort is most needed. Mary is also currently training to become a certified end of life doula and care consultant. Mary, welcome to Ask a Death doula.
Speaker 2 (01:34):
Thank you. So happy to share this with you.
Speaker 1 (01:36):
Thank you with
Speaker 2 (01:37):
Speaker 1 (01:38):
Yeah, absolutely. I was very moved by the uniqueness of this offering, and so I love that you said it was originally created as a gift to a friend and I love the loved one and me, so we’re going to get into it because this is so needed and so very special, and we need to have these rituals, containers, pathways that people can access to help them process grief. So we’re going to talk all about it, but first, welcome to the show. And I wanted to start out by asking you how did you come to the idea of creating this beautiful journal?
Speaker 2 (02:18):
A friend called me up, it was actually she was suffering through losing her dog, and she called me up for support because that’s a role I play with several friends. And I kind of thought that I could create something to help her memorialize and capture her experiences of not only memories of her loved one, in this case, her dog, but also to learn from that shared experience and capture that in some way. So as I was doing that, I was like, oh my God, this applies to people, to how I’ve lived my life. By always kind of reflect when anybody who’s been close to me, I’ve always kind of just measured what I’ve learned from them, and I’ve always kind of explored the qualities that they offer in life and what that meant to me. And so then I’ve always appreciated and cherished that and realized that it’s been a lifelong approach that I’ve always had and that has always helped me through difficult times. So
Speaker 1 (03:51):
That’s interesting and it’s really something that we don’t have as an understanding that philosophy anymore. And last about 120 years, we’ve completely created a lack of awareness and almost like this, maybe death can happen, maybe it won’t. Maybe it’s optional. Don’t prepare for it, don’t talk about it. And that’s on so many levels. It’s so tragic because the miss on just the value of every single day, the beauty that, the gift of that day, and then also not even from a practical standpoint, planning even just some fundamental ways when it shows up, it makes it a thousand times more difficult. But what happens too is that the celebration of life, just like you shared, what did I learn from that person? What are those moments, those gifts, all of it we can carry on and do we forever and ever and ever. And what happens in trauma and things that are heavy is our brains usually go right to those painful memories. So I always call it like a highlight reel because this is very important when we process grief,
Speaker 2 (05:09):
Speaker 1 (05:09):
That right now it’s not going well for people. And so it shows up because a hundred percent it will, no matter how much we try and outrun it when we’re not prepared and we don’t talk about it and we don’t even live with the awareness one day it will happen. It usually is not going well for most people or as well as it could go. And they’re remembering all of those moments of pain, shock, whatever they see. And we forget about all the richness that
Speaker 2 (05:37):
Speaker 1 (05:39):
Whether it’s a dog or a cat or a person, which by the way, there’s no diminishing animals here. In fact,
Speaker 2 (05:46):
Speaker 1 (05:46):
Even more intense. So I absolutely love that you just shared that because when we can bring back this awareness and knowledge to people general is that that person is never gone. And when you can replace the highlight, what I call the highlight reel of the painful memories to these memories that you’re talking about that you can do in your journal every time, then you look back on that, you’re bringing up those gorgeous moments that have a completely different energetic frequency and really allow us to move past a heavy, painful part of grief into a more healthy one.
Speaker 2 (06:26):
Yeah, and I might say instead of replace, I might say transform because it’s in my life experience. It’s the difficult times and accepting the difficult times and working with those difficult times that help shape and hone who you are and influence your growth process. So they’re like gems that contribute to your personal growth and make you shine and appreciate your own humanity in the process.
Speaker 1 (07:03):
I think the hardest things we go through in life are our greatest teachers and our greatest gifts.
Speaker 2 (07:08):
Speaker 1 (07:09):
I know they don’t always seem like it at the time, but having that faith, and so when I say replace, I mean just the highlight reel so that free spring,
Just try and change that. But of course everything and the wisdom of our end of life patients is the best teachings that there is to offer on how to live. And they talk about that everything was meant, even the hard stuff, especially the hard stuff. So I mean for us to hear, it’s like from the mouth of babes for us to be able to share you and I as practitioners working at the bedside of those at the end of life, which many people, it’s the number one fear in the world for us to be able to share that wisdom, that perspective with others can really help them to change their relationship and to be able to step into something that’s very natural and take part in these beautiful things. You wrote this, okay, so you wrote this journal, and I love your background, a graphic designer, but also explain the tai chi and how the keong did that. Is that influenced in the journal?
Speaker 2 (08:15):
Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, I woke up through when I was studying Tai Chi and then Qigong, and that’s how I became familiar with
Speaker 1 (08:28):
Can you explain more? When you say woke up, can you just share? Yeah,
Speaker 2 (08:32):
Just the energy mechanics of who we are as a person, our physical state, our spiritual state, our emotional state, our energetic state. That became my toolbox for which to explore my own personal depth of who I am as living in this world. It shaped my understanding of how we are basically spirit experiencing life in this physical body.
Speaker 1 (09:08):
I want to hold onto that for a minute. I really want people to hear this. So we talk a lot and doula givers and all over about that we’re human beings, right? Human being. And I often will say that at the end of life, it’s so beautiful when people’s physical bodies diminishing their spiritual bodies growing. And to watch the birth of this in its completeness because organically we’re there, but for you, you just shared is everything for people to hear. Because we can do practices to get in touch with our being part now, and it can allow us to access a part of us that is always at peace, that is always full, that is always in its completion. And then be able to, I don’t want to say navigate, that’s the wrong word. Life go through life with this beautiful pathway that is almost magical because I’ve done the same thing.
So when we have so much going on and we do in the human experience and the world in that place, when we are able to have this as our path and our guide, because we stepped into it, we did the work, but we’re trusting in that guidance, this journey is completely different. And I just want to share this is what created all of doula givers, everything we do because of that moment that working with hospice patients transformed me and allowed me to connect to that part that you’re talking about, knowing the being part. And I said, oh, that’s how this works. It’s not, what do I think? It’s what do I feel from my heart? And I said, I’m never going to make another decision other than following that guidance, that knowing. And it keeps leading me on this magical path. And everyone has access to this, and I want everyone to know it’s available because it is difficult in this human experience or it can be. And when you have this place that’s home, and this is again what end of life patients say, they say that we’re not these bodies. I’m not this cancer that there is no death. So I love that. I think you gave a lot of listeners a real tool about Qigong and Tai chi. And so to step into that, I think people are like, well, how can I strengthen the relationship? Yeah.
Speaker 2 (11:28):
And so for me, that was my access point. I know that other people get it through prayer and meditation and yoga and direct physical, running the high from running. I mean, there’s all the access points,
Speaker 1 (11:44):
And I got it from working in hospice there.
Speaker 2 (11:47):
Absolutely. In addition to that, the Qigong, the Chinese medicine, I mean, I became aware of the energy mechanics and then it also kind of lit me up as a teacher healer type of thing. And so that gave me the foundation from which to then experience how I approached the experiences I had from my parents passing and the grief process that I went through. And it all became a toolbox from which to, there’s an inner strength there that I firmly believe everyone has. They just need tools to access it.
Speaker 1 (12:36):
And isn’t it interesting because I think we’re all taught to look outside for the answers and they’re inside and only you can unlock them, right? Exactly.
Speaker 2 (12:47):
Speaker 1 (12:48):
Talk about this strengthening of your being part. The connection is that it’ll always guide you on your path of purpose and what you’re supposed to be doing. And so it’ll give you that. And we know what that feels like is it feels really good when you get an idea and you get inspired, but then it’s up to us to take that inspired action step, which I think is where most people block it. So you took the inspired action step and you created this journal. So can you tell us a little bit about the journal, what’s in there and what people can expect?
Speaker 2 (13:19):
Yeah. Well, I come from a empathetic background and I come from a place of respecting everyone is on their own journey. So the journal itself is purposely meant to be inviting without overwhelm and helps neutral in a way. And so it kind of helps people understand. It helps them speak from their own perspective and their own experiences. It’s purposely not a prescribed outcome or a prescribed toolbox. It leaves the openness for everybody’s individual experiences. And it also, I wanted to be particularly sensitive to people who have struggled with, had difficulties with people that even some to the point that they have a lot of personal pain, and it’s difficult for them to call someone a loved one when they’re in the thick of it until they come through it on the other side and they learn just how it helped benefit them and their own personal growth, difficult experiences like we’ve mentioned before.
Speaker 1 (14:50):
We unpack a little bit because this is important. I just want clarity around that. When you say, when somebody’s having an end of life and it’s difficult for the person to even call them a loved one, is that because of dynamics and strife and
Speaker 2 (15:05):
Things? Yeah. Well, there there’s a range. Anybody. There is a range. Anyone who influences you, be it a positive influence or a difficult influence, just it shapes you and your perspective. And often in our culture, the filter that we assume is the right approach or the right way to be is that you have a loving relationship. And if you don’t have a loving relationship, then you’re lacking something. And that’s,
Speaker 1 (15:42):
That’s not how this works.
Speaker 2 (15:43):
That’s not how it works. And the loving relationship, everybody,
Speaker 1 (15:46):
That’s not how this works. You’re perfectly perfect where you are. That’s not how this works. Right,
Speaker 2 (15:53):
Exactly. And so I want to help encourage people.
Speaker 1 (15:59):
Speaker 2 (15:59):
That to understand that dynamic is, yeah, it’s a filter that you just have to work through. I
Speaker 1 (16:07):
Think the more we talk about being honest and authentic just in this whole human experience, because everyone’s just putting shiny posts up on social media, not, and that’s not real either, guys. That’s not how it works. And I often will say that grief has no set way and no set timeline, and that’s perfect. The way that people grieve is the perfect way for them. And I love that you gave that.
Speaker 2 (16:33):
Speaker 1 (16:34):
But I also want to talk a little bit more about this, and it’s very true because we have a lot of families that this is applies to because it’s what it is, this is how it works, is that they did not have a close relationship or maybe a very loving, positive relationship with a loved one. And now that loved one’s dying, are they required that they have to actually show up and do the care? I mean, it’s going to be different for everyone, but I want people to know that that is not a given. That is not just because this is your family member relative, that it’s not a given, that you need to show up and do that. If you don’t feel that that’s safe or healthy or whatever that is, it’s perfect. There are other ways that that person can get the care. I had this show up. And so I think that’s important because I think we assume that, oh, well, it’s our parent. We have to not always, not necessarily. Yeah, I think that was that you let that gift in there because that’s a big one. The more we have conversations around the truth around not only end of life, but life, the more healthy we can have this experience. And it’s really important to do that. Everyone is again looking to what’s being posted as reality, and that’s not reality. So we have to,
Speaker 2 (17:54):
Or when someone passes, we memorialize the positive aspects of that person. We let go of the stuff that is not so bright and shiny, but they exist. And at the time, on my dad’s passing, he was the first person. Both my parents lived to 90 and older, and my dad was the first one to pass. And at the time of my dad’s passing, I was working with a shaman and I said, oh, my dad’s about to pass. What can I do? What should I do? Because I was, at this point, I had a lot of energy mechanics and massage techniques, and I knew I could help him pass. And she said to me, he’s on his way. This is about your personal journey and what an eyeopener. So to me, so when I went through it, five other siblings, I saw them go through their own personal journeys, their own reactions to his passing. And I kind of saw it through the filter of everybody’s on their own pathway and they’re going to experience it however they’re going to experience it. If there’s some common overlap, often not. And
Speaker 1 (19:33):
Isn’t that fascinating? When we work at end of life, you could have seven people in the family, and each person is having their own unique relationship with that same end of life experience because of their, and it can be and usually is very different. So I love that. I do want to share a little bit about what Oprah said because again, I always say if Oprah doesn’t know what to do, none of us know what to do.
Speaker 2 (19:58):
Speaker 1 (20:00):
But this is important because end of life doesn’t care who you are, how much money you have, look like it’s the unifier in our humanity. And many people, she talks about it all the time that she had. She did not have a very healthy relationship, positive relationship with her birth mother, and her mother was dying. And she goes to see her and she tells it. She’s just such a good storyteller too. And she’s just like, okay. So I’m there. And she’s like, and I don’t know what to say. So I start looking at the pamphlets and the books and everything, and I’m just like, it’s, talk about the memories you had. She’s like, I don’t have any. She’s like, I don’t know what to do. She’s like, okay, I’m going to go. And she’s just like, all right, I don’t know. I’m going to go now. And the woman and her mom’s like, okay, bye. And she knows she’s close to dying and she’s just like, she leaves. She’s just like, no, no, no, that’s not, she literally says she took a plane, said, I have to go back. You would tell other people you were, get back there. And she’s like, but I just don’t have the tools. And she went back again and she had one of her friends who was this great beautiful gospel singer, sing Amazing Grace, and something opened for her like you talking about,
And she said to her, they kind of got it. Something happened energetically there. And her mother was really feeling that beautiful song and she said, I wish you only peace. I wish you only peace and love. And I think that no matter how complex, and they’re meant to be complex for the learning of these relationships, which there’s probably nothing more complex in parents, or at least they’re on the top tier when you can wish somebody peace, I think we can all, no matter what that looks like, I think that’s just a great offering because again, it’s about us and it frees us in that same moment. But it also can provide, and you don’t even have to physically be in the room with somebody to offer them that, but I think we can all reach into our hearts and offer others peace, whatever that means for them all on our individual journey. So
Speaker 2 (22:10):
The heart is the pathway to that. The heart is the pathway to that grief and joy are experience via the heart, the heart, the heart’s, your compass, and it’s whatever direction you point it at any given time is how you’re going to experience something.
Speaker 1 (22:28):
Yeah, they’ve actually studied the heart energy, the frequency, and it’s like three or four times greater than your brain. So it’s really your heart, which is where you want to dip into and where you want to take not only all of your direction, but just sit in that energetic frequency because it’s so beautiful. I love the fact that your book, your journal is meeting people exactly where they are, and it’s for each That is so rich. That is so important. And I love journaling because it’s only for you. You don’t have to show it to anyone, and you can be as clear and honest, and you’ve given everyone a gift to meet themselves. Right, exactly where they are. And that is perfect because that is what we need to do, not only in the journal, but with each other in the world meeting each other, right? No judgment. So Mary, I love that.
Speaker 2 (23:21):
Can I also just say, if you’ve had healthy relationships with, and
Speaker 1 (23:27):
That would be great,
Speaker 2 (23:28):
Right? You’re going to experience, you may experience a sense of loss that is a void for a parent losing a child. I mean, there’s a sense of purpose. The void that’s created from that sense of purpose that’s gone and in the physical lifetime because of the roles that you played with each other or grief just as a change in what was familiar, right? A loved one passing who struggled through disease or something is still your familiar path and something’s changed. You still got to work through that. And there’s inner strengths, and then there’s the gifts from the person who has passed who can support you through your journey if you remain open-hearted and don’t slow down. So losing a loved one who was a positive influence on you is you don’t realize just how that it’s going to be a completely different journey from somebody who had a difficult relationship. And I tried to remain open. I tried to leave that open regardless in I love
Speaker 1 (25:08):
That. I love that. And I love the fact of really highlighting that this is really for the person that’s doing the feeling regardless of what the relationship was, this is for you, that we all need to process and have closure and things of that nature. And just from a higher frequency perspective, everything in our lives has meaning and has gifts, and we know that even especially the most painful things can be our greatest teachers if we can be able to access what it’s trying to teach us from an evolution. So just keeping your heart open, loving yourself, caring for yourself, and knowing to
Speaker 2 (25:49):
Speaker 1 (25:50):
With yourself as you would be with your best friend or with somebody else. I love the idea of this journal, and I love the fact that you brought in animals, because that to me when you were talking about the positive relationship, because really there’s usually no negatives to them. They’re so loving and unconditionally present, but there’s such a void. And also what was coming up for me as children, we really need to be sharing with children and how to process and always be able to hold the same way.
Speaker 2 (26:19):
Absolutely. Absolutely. And they can guide you
Speaker 1 (26:26):
Well, they’re so smart and we them down. So these tools that we’re sharing now can be used on so many levels and really need to be, because the truth is those experiences and what that person brought to our lives never goes away. And it’s just a question of how we process that and get to that beautiful place where those are the gifts of whatever. Mary, I love it so much. How can people get this beautiful journal of yours,
Speaker 2 (26:55):
Amazon.com. You just put in my loved one? Okay. I’m
Speaker 1 (27:03):
Going to put the link down below everybody. So my loved one in me, absolutely beautiful. I encourage everyone. Yeah, let’s see it. Thank you. Oh, I love that. I love that I encourage everyone to get this because we all have things that, and even if it’s something from your past, this is a great moment. It’s always time. Yeah. That you can,
Speaker 2 (27:25):
Yeah. As I was developing it, one tool as an instructional designer that I’ve learned through the years is you share this with people as you’re developing it. And so I shared it with somebody who had lost her father fairly recently, and so I assumed she was going to do it according to that loss, but instead she did it according to her mother who had passed away several years prior to that time. And she said it changed her perspective on life and death. It literally changed her perspective and healed a very difficult
Speaker 1 (28:08):
Relationship. And it’s all about changing perspective. I can tell you right now, this is a fantastic gift to give somebody who has just gone through a recent cluster is going through one because it’s just, we often feel, what can I do for that person? How can I help? This is a beautiful gift to give. Mary Landry, thank you so much for being here. Absolutely love it. And so everyone will have that link down below. Get your journal. I’m going to get mine. I can’t wait, and I’ll share more. Okay. Thank you so much everyone.
Speaker 2 (28:37):
Thank you very much. Thank you.
Speaker 1 (28:38):
Yeah, ask a death doula and we’ll see you in the next episode. Thanks everybody.
Speaker 2 (28:43):