BW 033: We Get to Choose How Long We Stay Buried in Grief - with Yolanda Mitchum

industry interview May 30, 2023
 

Watch the video here or on YouTube; listen anywhere podcasts are played (Apple, Spotify, Google…)

The Transcript is below.

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I have a special guest on the show today. Yolanda (@h3haven) and I met through a mutual life coaching certification program that we're a part of. We connected on a topic of grief. And while Yolanda isn't a widow, she has personally experienced a very deep grief and loss, which she'll tell you about. I think you're really going to enjoy hearing from Yolanda.

 

We talk about:

~ Giving yourself grace

~ Don't compare your journey with someone else's

~ Allow yourself to feel whatever the feelings are

~ You have to be proactive in your healing journey

 

Quotes:

~ "I wanted to heal properly and not just go through the motion because we can have an Academy Award performance that everything is okay, and then at home when we're all alone, we're really struggling. I think we have to be honest with where we are. And know that it's okay for you to struggle."

~ "I allow myself to feel whatever the feelings are. I don't deny myself of being human and feeling those things. And it's a process, but we have to be comfortable with it."

 

You can find Yolanda on:

Facebook | H3Haven - Health, Hope and Healing Haven Inc.

Instagram | @h3haven

Email | [email protected]

Website | THE PLACE OF HEALTH, HOPE AND HEALING | H3Haven

 

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The Brave Widow Community is a place where you can connect with other widows, find hope and healing, and begin to dream again for the future.  Learn more at bravewidow.com.  

 

Hey guys, I’m Emily Jones

I was widowed at age 37, one month shy of our 20 year wedding anniversary.  Nathan and I have four beautiful children together.  My world was turned completely upside down when I lost him.  With faith, community, and wisdom from others, I’ve been able to find hope, joy, and dream again for the future.  I want to help others do the same, too!

 

 

FOLLOW me on SOCIAL:

Twitter @brave_widow

Instagram @brave_widow

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bravewidow

YouTube@bravewidow

 

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Transcription:

Emily Jones: [00:00:00] Hey guys. Welcome to another episode of The Brave Widow Show and today I am so excited because I have a special guest on the show today. Yolanda and I met through a mutual life coaching certification program that we're a part of. We connected on a topic of grief. And while Yolanda isn't a widow, she has personally experienced a very deep grief and loss, which she'll tell you about.

And she's also involved in the grief recovery method and some other things that we really connected on. So, I asked her to attend the podcast, share part of her story, talk about a few things, and I think you're really going to enjoy hearing from Yolanda. So Yolanda, thank you so much for coming on the show today.

I'm really excited to have you.

Yolanda Mitchum: Thank you Emily, for having me here today. It is a pleasure that I get an opportunity to speak and just share a little bit about my story, how I came to deal [00:01:00] with grief and loss, and how I have used my journey and my experience to help others in their journey and experience with grief and loss.

I have experienced grief from a young age. I didn't realize it was called grief then we called it bullying. We called it, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts. We called it all different kind of things. And it wasn't until 2020 that I really understood that grief has so many different, labels and so many different life events that could cause grief.

I associate as many people associate grief with the death of a loved one, and that did happen to me in 2020. The most devastating loss that I have ever had and thought that I would never experience is the death of my 18 year old daughter unexpectedly, August of 2020. Very hard time for me, and it just caused my entire life to come to a stop.

Everything didn't matter. It was hard for me to[00:02:00] focus. It was hard for me to breathe. I didn't wanna imagine a future without my daughter in it. And previously, four months before that we had a miscarriage unexpectedly. So those two losses back to back just really helped me to pause and reevaluate everything that I thought I knew and what I was doing.

Me being a woman of faith, trusted in God for a very long time, even from my youth and believing in professional therapy, had been a therapy client for many years. I needed something else. And I found the grief recovery method that Emily mentioned, and it really changed my outlook on life.

It helped me to go back and deal with things that happened to me. When I was a young lady and helped me understand the choices that I was making in life and how I had the wrong tools. And on that journey, me being educated, having faith and understanding therapy. I just [00:03:00] knew if I didn't have these tools and I didn't know that these things were available, there were so many other people that could be impacted in a positive way by obtaining these tools.

So I was inspired. Started a nonprofit organization called H three Haven stands for Health Hope and Healing Haven, and being a safe place where people can come, take their mask off, be real about what they're really feeling, what they're dealing with, so that they can move forward in a healthy manner. So that's a little bit about how I put all my losses and all my experience into one bucket and dealt with them.

I got real, and then I now help other people with their grief.

Emily Jones: Oh, that is so awesome. And I know just from the few days we spent together, you have such a beautiful heart and a desire to help other people. But this is a very different [00:04:00] path than what you did before, the loss that you experienced. So I think people would be interested to know maybe what you did prior and then in your grief as you suffered the horrible loss of your daughter, what inspired you to give back to other people to help make a difference in someone else's life? When I'm sure there are times that you felt like you were drowning, you felt like there was no point for the future. There's a lot of similarities of pain and loss in that.

So do you mind to share a little bit about that?

Yolanda Mitchum: Absolutely. So I am a healthcare provider. I've been a registered nurse for 19 years, and I love what I did. I went to college for nursing immediately after high school, and my mission at that point was to share God's love with the world one person at a time, and I had to honor an opportunity to do that.

I impacted patients in different modalities of healthcare, and most recently, my [00:05:00] last 10 years have been in dialysis. I have a master's in business administration and I climb corporate ladder. Developing teams and nurses, helping them to empower patients who take control over their health, even in sage renal disease.

So I work with, dialysis patients who were in a hopeless situation, giving them hope and expiring them. So it has always been in my heart to help people improve their life. And take bad situations and make the best of them. So that's what I was doing in healthcare and I loved it. Thought I would be in dialysis and doing that impacting teams forever.

I had no idea that my life would change this way. And, I use my experience and my loss to help others because God called me to that. I felt a calling. I was not unhappy in my job. I loved it and I absolutely love doing what I do now because I am given [00:06:00] hopeless, situations hope. People without hope, people with broken hearts, people who feel like there is no way they can move on a chance to just breathe again to get relief and deliver communications that their heart didn't even know they wanted to say. So while I went to school and by profession, I chose healthcare and nursing to help people. My life experiences and all that I've been through combine have has called me to help people in a different way, so instead of helping their physical bodies, I'm able to help their mental health and help their hearts to experience joy.

Emily Jones: Oh, that's so beautiful. And I'm curious, as I know, especially people who are early on in their loss, that's really hard for them to fathom that they'll be able to find any kind of hope or joy or move forward. [00:07:00] So I'm curious if as you share your story with the groups that you work with, and as you help people move through their grief, do you find that it's easier to tell your story?

Do you find that it brings up a lot of challenging or difficult memories and so it's hard to help other people? Or do you find how do you find that you feel as you're trying to help other people through their own grief journey?

Yolanda Mitchum: So, in this I tell my clients and the people that I speak to that it's never too soon to start their healing journey and that everyone's grief is different.

I immediately started like maybe within a month of my daughter's passing, I started seeking out tools to help me to feel better. I was willing to do anything and everything just to get some relief. And I have worked with clients who experienced a loss of a child or a [00:08:00] significant loss 10 years ago, 20 years ago, and it takes time for them to get to the place.

Some people can't speak their loved one's name for months and years after they pass away. So before I answer that question, for me personally, I just want to say that wherever you are, it is okay and it's natural and normal for you to feel the way you are. But as for me, it brings me joy to talk about my daughter.

It brings me joy when I hear other people talk about her and her life and the impact that they had. So I get joy outta speaking from her. And that could be because I've done the work to deal with the relationship that I've had and my emotions and feelings associated with it. I still get sad. I still, Feel lost sometimes, depending on what's going on.

Graduation season is here now. [00:09:00] She was 18 and in her first year of college, she graduated when she was 17, so she had completed a year of college by the time she passed away, and I still remember those moments of prom and graduation. She has friends that are having babies now and I think, oh, would I have a grandbaby by now?

So those things bring me joy and sometimes I get sad. I allow myself to feel whatever the feelings are. I don't deny myself of being human and feeling those things. And it's a process, but we have to be comfortable with it. I verbalize it. I have a haven of loved ones that listen to what I have to say about her. They talk about her. I may post on social media about her, so everyone is different. But for me, if my story could bring hope and light to someone, it will be robbery not to share it. And I [00:10:00] honor her by sharing her story, my story, and the journey that I have been on.

Emily Jones: Yeah. Wow. I couldn't have agreed more.

I think about my first month or two of, maybe it's that same ambition and drive we have in the workplace where it's order all the books, get the therapy, do this, do that. Like we're gonna move through this healing process as fast as possible, and I scoured all sorts of different Facebook groups just trying to learn like what to expect.

What were other people saying? Am I crazy? Am I the only one who feels this way? I talked with other people who had gone through, the process of losing a loved one, the process of losing a spouse, and I found even though I was only, two or three months out, that I could still help the person who was one month out or one week out, or who had questions about even where I was or even what I knew other people were saying. And it really, [00:11:00] for me, I think was helpful to feel like that in some very small way. I could possibly help someone else through that loss. Cuz I, I agree. If I did not help someone else through that horrific, painful process, it felt like a waste. Like I just went through all of that and nothing good came back out of it. So I definitely, resonate with that and telling the story. For those of you that still have a hard time doing that, I think it does get easier over time. I can typically tell the story with fewer and fewer tears each time.

When I first started recording these podcasts, I had to start and stop so many times because I'd just be bawling trying to get the words out because all the feelings would come back up. But, and sometimes I do still get teary eyed. I've got the box of Kleenexes right over here, but. For the most part. Yeah, she's holding up the Kleenexes. For the most part, it does get easier. So now you know, Yolanda, you [00:12:00] are are you three years out, almost three years out from having lost your daughter, what would you tell people to expect maybe in that first year or two years of grieving compared to maybe where you are now?

Yolanda Mitchum: Well then and now, give yourself grace. Allow yourself the grace to feel whatever it is that you feel. If you wanna cry. And find someone that you can talk to share what your feelings are. How do you wanna honor their life? What do you wanna do? If you want to do nothing, that's okay. And don't compare.

Do not compare your journey and how you feel with someone else, and don't allow anyone else to tell you how you should feel. Everyone's relationship with loss and their loved one is different. So try not to compare yourself to someone else. How I dealt with [00:13:00] it may not be the best way, for you to deal with it in your situation.

And I just feel like it doesn't matter how much time it is. I have done a lot of work. With my heart, with my relationship seeking help I have a life coach. I've had one, I've had a therapist and a grief recovery method specialist during that time, within the first few months of my daughter's passing.

Because I wanted to feel better. I wanted to heal properly and not just go through the motion because we can have an Academy Award performance that everything is okay, and then at home when we're all alone, we're really struggling. I think we have to be honest with where we are. And know that it's okay for you to struggle if you are, find the resources and tools that you [00:14:00] can get so you can find your healing and your joy the way that best honors your loved one.

Emily Jones: Yeah, that's such a great point that I really wanna make sure everyone hears and understands that you have to be proactive in your healing journey. Time on its own, it doesn't magically heal wounds. You heard Yolanda mention that people can be in deep grief for many years, and some people really try to suppress their feelings and avoid grief or engage in behaviors that really delay the healing process. So if you haven't involved yourself in proactive healing, whether it's therapy or life coaching, or a support group or something, if not all the things, then I highly encourage you, to do that. So Yolanda, one of the questions that I get, not often, but occasionally is being a woman of faith, and I know that you [00:15:00] are as well, is, how did your faith help you or not as part of your healing process?

Yolanda Mitchum: So personally, my faith helped me because I believe that all things work together for the good of those that love God, and in every situation you can find God if you look for him. I believe that he aligned and sent the right people at the right time with the right message for me to find what I needed.

I found out about grief recovery because a stranger reached out to me on social media. Because she had lost a child, because she understood her pain was great when she went through it. So she reached out to me and we talked. She was just being genuinely concerned and showing love to another mother who had lost her child, and she told [00:16:00] me what helped her.

She had tried everything and what helped her the most. She shared it with me and referred me to her specialist and I work with her. It changed my life. So I feel like, the things that we do helps us and our faith brings the things together and I have heard so many people. And I wanna say the contrast of what I just said, so many people have been hurt through, I'm not gonna say their faith, but through religious organizations in their loss. Because they compare, they have scriptures and they believe that We should cast our cares on God for, he cares for us that He will never put more on us than we can bare. That's debatable because I don't think that loss and bad things come from God. The Bible says that [00:17:00] every good and perfect gift comes from God, and if it's death, And that's not good and perfect, then that didn't come from God.

That's my personal belief in conviction. So some people misinterpret scriptures and they hear scriptures and they feel like I should have this, or I should have that. And if I'm depressed or if I'm sad, then I'm not praying enough, or I don't have enough word in me, or I'm not doing something right. So they then draw away from the religious organizations and the people in the religious organization, they feel left behind because.

Yes, so they're supportive for that first week. They're bringing you food, they're doing this, but they go on with your life and you're stuck there mourning the loss of your loved ones. Trying to figure out how or why I don't feel like the preacher says I should feel. I mean, I [00:18:00] didn't wanna hear that my daughter was in a better place.

I didn't wanna hear that. I'm gonna see her again. Yes, that is my faith and it did not help me. That did not help me. I want my daughter here now. You're so strong. Oh my God. The strength that you have. That's true. I do have strength. The joy of the Lord is my strength and I have to move on because I have other, another child that's depending on me and I don't feel strong.

Let me be weak. So sometimes the things that we hear, the things that people say to us in church or the religious organization is not helpful and it can cause more harm. However, for me, I look at my relationship with God and my faith in him, how he orchestrated my path and led me across the right people.

And you're listening to this podcast today. [00:19:00] There is hope. There is joy, there is love after a loss, and you can experience that. So if you have been hurt by scriptures or things that people have said, I wanna apologize to you for that because that in itself is not a world of God and that's not a good and perfect gift.

So that did not come from him. Yeah.

Emily Jones: Well, well said. I like that. It's such a difficult thing I think to navigate of, yes, maybe God didn't make a bad thing happen, cuz we know bad things happen and that was not the original plan for life. But he didn't intervene either. And so I think that's hard for people to wrap their minds around, well, why does he intervene?

For some people? And some people it seems like he doesn't. And I think to your point, we we can't see always the big picture The Bible says we see through a glass darkly. We [00:20:00] don't really understand why things are happen or are allowed to happen, but that's where we really have to tap into our faith and I know for me it was just even the words, you're not alone, that were just repeated in my mind over and over. And I thought about the story of Job and everything that he lost, which was even more than I had lost with my spouse, even though I felt like my spouse was pretty much everything to me and it is something that has happened. I know that God ultimately wants the best for me. I have to have faith that's going to come to fruition, even though I can't fathom what that looks like in my future. But, I know ultimately that's part of having faith is believing when things really don't make sense.

And that's a really difficult topic, I think, for people to navigate, but. Alright, well, any final thoughts that you have for people in dealing with grief or, anything that maybe they [00:21:00] should avoid or do more of that would be really helpful.

Yolanda Mitchum: So I do wanna go back to the difficulty and, people say, why do bad things happen to good people?

He didn't cause it and he didn't intervene. This is sticky conversation and it's hard to fathom because his ways are far greater than and had my daughter not died. In 2020, I would not be on the journey and path that I am on now. I would not have been able to impact and help all the people that I have helped because I would've been focused on my career and working in nursing.

I'm not sure why it had to happen. I joke I have a sense of humor and I share whatever I wanna share. I just talked to God, like I'm talking to you, and I was like, okay, you writing my story, but what were you thinking when you put this part in here? Because, I kind of liked my kid.

She was nice. I don't,[00:22:00] she's been with me all of my adult life. I don't understand even to this day why she is not here yet. I accept and I choose to make something beautiful out of that. Pain in this life is inevitable. We can't avoid it. Unfortunately, that kind of got in the Garden of Eden, when sin entered in.

So we can't go through this life without pain. We're going to experience some sort of pain at some point, but we don't have to suffer in our pain. We don't have to suffer in our loss. My life coach says that's a choice, and we get to choose how long we stay buried in grief or if we choose to seek out the resources and tools that are available.

So I, I just wanted to add that in there. That we do have choices in, in, in the matter, even after unfortunate situations [00:23:00] happen. What would I say to add to, everything that we have shared. I have the nonprofit organization with tools and resources there. There's a free ebook that can be downloaded where you can get some tips to help you with dealing with loss of any kind and don't feel like you have to.

Be strong and I heard, Emily, you mentioned, you kept reminding yourself that you are not alone. You are not alone. Oftentimes we grieve alone, so just be sure that you find a safe place, people that you can trust, that will listen to you and hear you out, even cry with you.

Emily Jones: Yeah, definitely. So maybe remind everyone of where they can find you if they wanna learn more about you or more about H3 Haven, or they'd like to download some of the free ebook that you [00:24:00] have.

Just maybe remind everyone of where they can go for that.

Yolanda Mitchum: You can go to H three, the number three, Haven, h a v e n.org and you can go around there. There's resources on there. You can also find a grief ebook. I'll also make it available so that you can share it with this podcast. And I am on social media, Facebook, and Instagram.

My name is Yolanda Mitcham. You can follow my personal page or the H three Haven.

Emily Jones: Awesome. Well, thank you so much and we'll make sure we have all of the links in the show notes. So if you're driving or you can't, write down that information, you can easily find it there. But Yolanda, thank you so much for joining us today.

I really appreciate it and I'm glad I got to see your face again.

Yolanda Mitchum: Thank you, Emily. It was a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Emily Jones: [00:25:00] Hey guys. Thank you so much for listening to the Brave Widow Podcast. I would love to help you take your next step, whether that's healing your heart, finding hope, or achieving your dreams for the future.

Do you need a safe space to connect with other like-minded widows? Do you wish you had how-tos for getting through the next steps in your journey, organizing your life or moving through grief? What about live calls where you get answers to your burning questions? The Brave Widow Membership Community is just what you need.

Inside you'll find courses to help guide you, a community of other widows to connect with, live coaching and q and a calls, and small group coaching where you can work on what matters most to you. Learn how to heal your heart, find hope, reclaim joy, and dream again for the future. It is possible. Head on over to brave widow.com to learn more.

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May 14, 2024