CCAirwaves welcomes Dawn Cochrane King, author, grief specialist, and CEO of Journey Lessons LLC. She discusses the complexities of grief and how it extends beyond losses associated with death. We also discuss her book "Survivor's Nuggets: Walking Through the Stages of Grief to Find Hope," which includes true stories of her personal experiences with death, grief, and loss.
Tune in as Dawn illustrates the powerful ability to find value in the process of grieving.
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Temporary. Hello everyone and welcome back to CC Airwaves. My name is Paige Matillo and I'm here with my co-host, joel Hansel, and our guest Don Cochran-King. How are you doing today, don?Speaker 2:
I'm doing great Wonderful to be here.Speaker 1:
So why don't you start off by telling our audience a little bit about yourself?Speaker 2:
Well, I am an author and I'm also what I consider a Greek facilitator. I gave myself that title. I do a lot of work in grief bereavement with bereavement ministry with. My book actually talks about grief and just going through that entire process and being able to find hope and meaning in the end of it, and that's something that people don't necessarily think is possible when they first hear about a loss. But that's that's sort of my mission in life.Speaker 1:
I like that, so can you tell us a little bit about the journey lessons?Speaker 2:
Yes, yes, the journey lessons is my online community. I started that on Facebook and it actually grew out of my desire to write the book and also some of the things that I do in terms of, like women's ministry and just wanting people to be encouraged, and then I realized you know what that's really. My book is really centered in all of that, so that's how people could get in touch with me. The community has been growing and, again, it's really about encouragement a safe place to talk about things that we're going through in life.Speaker 1:
I was actually looking at your website a little bit ago and I saw that you look at life as a journey of wins and lessons, and I really like the way that you describe that. I like that you weren't like wins and losses, so I thought that was very creative.Speaker 2:
Yes, it's kind of looking at what we would consider and I'm doing air quotes as losses, as the glass being half full. So what can we learn from it? You know, how do we go forward with it? How can we share it with someone else to keep them from going through the same thing or maybe going through it a little bit easier? So it's just all about helping people.Speaker 1:
And how do you celebrate your losses?Speaker 2:
Well, you know, the initial feeling is not to celebrate, and that's why I love the stages of grief so much, because they apply to so many things. It's not just the death of a lost, of a loved one, that's what we initially think about, but it also has to do with, you know, when a parent is given the news that their child has a severe disability, or if you're given some news that you're going to be losing your job or you're losing a home, any kind of loss and when I say the disability, you know, some people are probably thinking how is that a loss? It's the loss of, maybe some dreams and plans. You know when, when a family is welcoming a new child into the family, the first thing they think about is oh my gosh, I want to teach the child to do this and I wonder if he'll do that, or wonder if she'll like this, and you have all these dreams and plans and, hopefully, goals that you'll help them to, to embrace, but then a lot of that may be lost, you know, or may be different, and so you lose what you once thought would be your future, and a lot of times they go through that grief, and I have a lot of experience in special education as well and I found that using those stages of grief with parents who were sort of in denial or thought maybe differently about their child when we were going through a meeting, I sort of helped them go through it to say it's not, you shouldn't have, you shouldn't be hopeless. I guess is my point you shouldn't be hopeless. These stages of grief are things that people go through in any type of loss and that's why I always talk about wins and and lessons, because all of us teach and hope them. I hope I'm answering your question. I think I'm going around with the question. Did I answer your question?Speaker 1:
I thought. So I thought you went over it really well and the fact that you kind of explained how grief does relate to non-death related loss as well. I thought that was a great topic to hit on, because sometimes we focus more on the death related losses that we experience, but we forget that grief covers all areas.Speaker 2:
So in the book I talk about the stages. However these stages are, I don't want people to feel when they read it. I don't want people to feel like, oh my gosh, I didn't go through these, I didn't go through this particular stages, it's about to happen to me, or is this still going to happen? You may not go through all of the stages. You are very it's very likely that you won't go through the stages in the same order that they're written. There is sort of the denial, and the shock is usually the first stage, because that's how we all relate to it. When we hear bad news, the first thing we say is no. When the person giving the news is not lying to us but that's the first thing we say is no, like I don't accept this. And so there's some level of denial there. But all of the other stages they can happen at any time, and when you think that you've gotten past it, they can come up again. And so I say these things not to make anybody feel down, but to make them feel prepared and to say this is normal and it's okay for me to feel this, but I shouldn't be this way, I shouldn't be stuck in it. It's okay to feel it, feel your feelings, work through them. I feel guilty. Why, now? What am I going to do about this? I feel angry. Why, now? What can I do about it? Take some action, because grief makes a lot of people feel helpless and out of control and we can't control losses, a lot of the losses that happen to us. We don't always have control over them, but we can take control over how we respond to them. So that's my main focus is how do you respond and what new things can you bring into your life to maybe replace some of the traditions you had, or what can you do so that life is still hopeful and meaningful to you?Speaker 3:
So the book you referenced is Survivors Nuggets.Speaker 2:
Yes, Survivors, Nuggets Walking Through the Stages of Grief to Find Hope.Speaker 3:
Okay, and what is this book? Could you just give a little bit of a description about the book for our listeners? What inspired you to write the book? What listeners could expect when they pick up the book?Speaker 2:
Sure, so it's written as a series of true stories. They are stories that I experienced or I either spoke with someone, but most of them are firsthand from me, and what I did was I. There are five main chapters in the book. There are some before and after, but the five main chapters in the middle of the book are actually dedicated to the stages of grief the five stages of grief, and what I did was I found the little stories, the true stories that I've written down over the years and I'll get into that in a second, which I think will really answer your question and I found, okay, this particular person in this story was going through anger, so when I approached the anger chapter as a stage of grief, I used that person's story to illustrate what that means and what someone actually went through, or what or something I went through, and then how I got through it, cause we don't get over-greep, we go through grief. So that's what really inspired me, though, was when I was doing all of my bereavement work, when I was in the ministry, and then later on, when I the bereavement ministry at my own church. Then later on, I became a hospice volunteer, so I would go into the rooms of the hospice patients and I would talk to them and, you know, do a lot of listening as well. And then I would meet with families also when I was facilitating the hospice support group. So these are families that had already lost a loved one, and from children we had different groups, you know, according to age. So we we serviced children as well as young adults and then older adults, and it was really interesting because every time I went out with the idea that I was going to help someone, I was going to go and serve someone else, I came home with a story because it touched me in a certain way, where I felt like they were helping me to grow in another area. They were helping me to maybe be able to illustrate what I've been teaching for years in another way because of their experience, and so I would just journal it. And then I realized that after over like over 15 years, I had journals of stories and I thought this is a book right here, and so I incorporated the stories into the book and I always give, I always pay homage to Elizabeth Kubler Ross, who was the one who came up with the stages of grief. She wrote it, you know. God rest her soul. But she started all of this and there have been many, many books since then and I just felt like this was a great way to teach it. There are many books on the market about the stages of grief, but I felt like I would personalize this and say this is how I've gone through it, with the work that I've done and also the experiences I've had with friends and family.Speaker 1:
So for our listeners, oh sorry, yeah, go ahead, go ahead. So for our listeners, who may not be familiar with the stages of grief, what are they?Speaker 2:
So the first stage is typically like I said earlier, would typically be shock and or denial. That would be the first stage, and then the others. It doesn't really matter the order. There's anger, guilt, bargaining and acceptance, and I like to say and I may write another book about this, but I like to say and I think I mentioned this in the book too is finding meaning and finding hope. So with me, I focused on finding hope and I started reading a lot about this, and there are other authors out there that say this also finding meaning. So then I think that's really tied to finding hope, because there have been a lot of deaths where we go why this doesn't make any kind of sense, and so in order to just be able to get up in the morning and brush your teeth and go through your day, after you've had such a devastating loss, either of a child or a spouse, a sibling, a parent, someone that's really close to you or someone who's really young, and it was sudden, those kinds of tragic type deaths. So we always ask why, and so I say we could find some meaning in it. It doesn't mean that we could say, okay, that was good, that happened, but we can say this is what I learned through it, or this is something that this person left, which is what the nuggets are. Here is some word of encouragement, here is a lesson that that person taught one person. But because it's in a book now, I'm hoping more and more people can get that nugget and learn from it as well. So it's finding meaning, finding hope. And then I have a strong desire to want to write, because the survivor's nuggets is primarily about the loss of a loved one, so it's about the loss through death. But what I'm looking to do next is to write a book about all kinds of loss and how the stages of grief relate to that. But that's what inspired me from day one.Speaker 1:
Will you format the new book in the same way where you use stories from those you have met or own personal stories?Speaker 2:
I would like to and I'm not sure if I'll have it be an anthology where I'll have other people share their stories and become contributing writers. I've always been a fan of Chicken Soup for the Soul, so that's one anthology that everybody you too and that's an anthology that everybody knows about. So I think that that might be a format, but I'm beginning to write a few things about losses in other areas other than death.Speaker 1:
I think it really helps when people are able to see those experiences and read them from other people, because you know that other people are going through it and you kind of see how they were able to work through their grief. So I really like the way that you did that.Speaker 2:
Thank you, Thank you. It's like the whole premise behind support groups. Yeah, Some people say, oh, I don't want to Initially. Do you have some that shy away from it? Or I'm here because my significant other told me to come with them. Or maybe their child? They've been recommended because the child needs some type of counseling, so they're coming into it. I've had many experiences like that where the child was there because the school counselor and maybe a therapist recommended it, and so the parent or the grandparent is with them, and then they realize later on you know what. I needed this just as much, if not more than the child did. So, yeah, I agree with you that hearing other people's stories makes you feel a lot less alone and a lot more normal. It's amazing how many people say I don't know why I'm going through this. I just feel not myself. So I don't feel like this is normal and all of it is normal as long as you're not stuck in one stage to the point where you become immobile and you're not doing those things in life that you should be doing every day when you find that it's time to seek some help. And I don't profess to be a counselor, so I always advise people to speak to someone who is either a counselor or a therapist, someone who they can get some serious help from. If they find any stage like taking over their life, they're so angry that anger is showing up all the time. You don't want to be stuck in any one stage for too long, and too long is subjective Too long for you, paige, or for you. Joel could be totally different than too long for me. So I tell you.Speaker 3:
Well, it's individual for everybody.Speaker 1:
Yeah, it's different for everyone.Speaker 3:
We've talked about that many times on this podcast, about how whatever it is you're grieving is very personal and very individualized, and so there's really no standard no set time frame et cetera to work through these different stages.Speaker 1:
Exactly, that's something our bereavement coordinator, Ronda, says all the time.Speaker 2:
Yeah, and it's true, and we have to remind people who you know. A lot of people who speak to people who are going through bereavement have not learned these things, like maybe the three of us have, and others who've been doing the work for a while, and so their hearts are in the right place and they have all the right intentions, but they say things they shouldn't. Well, I know exactly how you feel, because my mom passed away too, or your brother is in a better place. Those things are just not what people need to hear, and so I do a lot of that.Speaker 3:
Well, they're the cliches.Speaker 2:
Yes, very cliche.Speaker 3:
And they don't always have a place, so that's right.Speaker 2:
Right, right. So I tell people, if you're not exactly sure what to say, don't go to those cliches, like you said, joel, because it's easy to go to those because they've heard them so many times in life. But if you really don't know what to say, just say I'm here and be silent. Sometimes they just need to talk or they just need to know that someone is there keeping them company. You know what? I'll sit with you while you watch Jeopardy, whatever it is. Just be there, be there for them and follow their lead.Speaker 1:
Another thing that we talk about is how important it is to check back in months, years after the loss, because originally, after you lose that person, everyone's surrounding them, everyone's supporting them. But as time goes on and people for lack of better terms get over the loss, it doesn't mean that that person has gotten over the loss themselves, so it's really important to stay with them.Speaker 2:
Absolutely. You're so right, paige. And for other reasons too. We always looked at when I was at the bereavement industry, at the church, we always looked at time frames. So we looked at the anniversary of the death. We would call the person because they'd say you know what? I'm so glad you called because I was wondering why all week I've been feeling so out of sorts. And then I realized the anniversary is coming up. And so those kinds of conversations would happen or their first birthday, the first Mother's Day without your mom, those kinds of things. So we would always make sure we were checking in. We kept dates and we would check in with them. That's so important. Yeah, I agree with you.Speaker 1:
So do you have any experiences that you can share with us? I know that you said you wrote about them in your book, and is there one that you can share here with us today?Speaker 2:
Well, it's really interesting to me because I'm at an age now where, unt陽이 Most of my friends and my relatives of the same generation have lost one, if not both, of their parents. I can say that and I have both my parents and to me, and I've never lost my spouse or child. So to me those are some of the most significant right. Unless you were raised by a grandmother or an aunt, then that would be maybe more significant than if you were raised by your parents. So I've not had the significant loss that I talk about so many other people going through and I say yet God gave me this mission to help others through it and I feel like I'm still equipped with it. I mean, moses was told that he needed to go speak and he had a speech in bed of it. So I feel like, even if you don't think you have the skills, if you've been called, you're going to have the provision to do it. But I say all that to say that one of the significant experiences that I had and I've got a few that I write about in the book and I will say this about my uncle we called him Ruddy, a nickname that stuck ever since he was little, my uncle. He was sick, he had cancer, and so we were anticipating the loss. And so I said, okay, well, it's getting closer and closer. We lived on opposite sides of the country. I went to see him two weeks prior and I could tell he was really ill. He'd lost a lot of weight. You know what cancer? It ravishes the body. But he still had that quick wit. And I brought my Bible and I had my what am I trying to say? My communion. I had the communion scripture that I wanted to read to him, and I had my little communion receptacle where I was going to give him the wine and the wafer and all this. And he looked at me and he said are you licensed to do that? And I said you don't have to be licensed. So you don't have to be licensed. And I knew that he and my mom and this is my mom's brother I knew that he and her other siblings had grown up, you know, knowing who God was, and they grew up going to church, but it wasn't something that continued on as they got older, and so I wasn't really sure where he was in his, in his walk with God. I just didn't know. I believe that he believed in him. But I just didn't know where he was and I said well, I just wanted to take communion with you and we don't have to be licensed, we can, we can do this together and read the scripture and pray and that's, and that would be fine. He said, okay, and so I read the scripture and before I could even get to the beginning of the scripture, he actually said it by memory, so he already knew. Yeah, he said it from memory. And then, and my mother and I just looked at each other with our mouths, kind of like what Paisia said a second ago, our mouths were open, oh my goodness. So, and I should have known he was an altar boy and all this stuff. So and so, as the conversation went on, my mom explained to me that he told her because she was kind of there as a helpful caregiver in the home for weeks before he passed away. And he told her because she started crying. This was, I hate to say, her favorite, but one of her favorites, right, one of her favorites because she does have another brother she's very, very, very close to. But and he told her, he says you know, you see the sky. And she said yes, and he said look way, way beyond that. You can't even see it, but just consider all way beyond that. That's where I'm going. And she said and she starts crying harder, you know. And he said I'm going on an adventure. So I don't want you to be sad, I'm going on an adventure. And that stuck with me. That stuck with me. He's been gone now eight years, but that stuck with me because shortly after that I'm gonna wrap this up. But shortly after that I went to see someone in hospice and when I walked in I live in Las Vegas, right outside Las Vegas, and it was so hot. It was a typical Las Vegas triple digit weather, you know and I had my hair down and I'm sweating. As soon as I walked into this patient's room, I greeted her, but I read the card. We don't, we never know what their diagnoses are. We just know that they're in hospice and they give us some information. So it said this person can talk. They no longer have their vision, but they are able to talk with you. They will probably sleep a lot as well. So I walked in not really knowing if she'd be awake. And she was, and I still not greeted her and I was sweeping my hair up in a clamp to get it off my neck and I was about to grab a tissue and wipe the sweat off and everything. And she said so what's it like outside? Now, she hadn't been outside, she couldn't go outside, she couldn't see out of, you know, through her window, cause she lost her vision. And I was about. I said, oh, it's so hot. And then I realized what I read on the card and I said but you know what it's beautiful. I said there is no way I'm going to complain about what I get to experience when this woman cannot get out of bed and go outside. And she's not allowed to be outdoors. So I told her what I saw, cause she couldn't see. I said it's sunny, this actually birds outside your window and the tree with the leaves are blowing just a little bit. It's not real windy. I said it's really a pretty day. She said oh, that's nice, that's really nice. And so we had a conversation and she started using humor about where she was going next, and she wouldn't say die, and she didn't know. She didn't say heaven, she didn't say anything. She says well, you know where I'm going. You know she would say things like that and she would drop off. Then it looked like she was cold. So I said would you like me to put your blanket around your shoulders and get you warm? You seem like you're cold. And she said no, no, no, this time, for that I'm going to be real cold later. And she starts laughing and I said well, you know, I guess you will. I said you know, I think you're going to go on an adventure. That's what my uncle that's how he described it. He was really looking forward to his adventure. And she laughed and she goes oh, that's what it is, that's the word. I'm going to go on an adventure, and so I hope she's loving her adventure right now. But those were just two experiences that I had that I was able to put together and use one to encourage another one and it was profound for me because that was my uncle and two weeks later he passed away and so I went back, you know, for the service, but I was able to use his words that he was using to encourage my mom to encourage someone else, and that's what Survivors Nuggets is all about is what did those people who survived the death of a loved one, what did that person leave them with? What nugget did they leave them with that they can pass on to someone else, and so for me, it was the adventure.Speaker 1:
That's incredible and I honestly I can't wait to read your book because I'm planning on reading it after this. So where can I find it and where can our listeners find it?Speaker 2:
So it's available on Amazon, so just search for Survivors Nuggets. My name again is Dawn Cochran King. You could probably put this in your show notes. For those who probably are driving. I always drive. Ok, thank you. I always listen to podcasts when I drive. And then also it's on my website and my website is TheJourneyLessonscom TheJourneyLessonscom. So if you want to order it through my website, I'll sign it and mail it to the purchaser, to your listener.Speaker 1:
That's exciting. I might also buy a copy for our bereavement coordinator, ok Well, thank you so much for joining us today, dawn. It was a real pleasure having you and learning more about your book. I really enjoyed everything you had to say and I think it's really going to resonate with our listeners.Speaker 2:
Well, thank you so much. It was a pleasure to be here and I do enjoy your podcast. I'll just say your website, your podcast, and I thank you for the work you're doing also.Speaker 1:
Thank you, well, thank you to all our listeners for listening to today's podcast. We will see you next Thursday.Speaker 3:
Until then, take care everyone MUSIC.