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National Network News!

National Network News!

When Melissa Wilson of Fox 26 News, Houston, Texas contacted us for an interview in response to our national media release, it was a welcome surprise. And it also made Roy just a little bit nervous. We were still early in the book promotion, and he was still finding his feet in media interviews, learning to boil down complicated answers into simple bytes viewers and interviewers could use to help propel the book’s message forward. (Click on the image below to watch the whole interview.)

As it worked out, Melissa’s piece, “How to learn to live and thrive through grief” made it not only as a “Heartwarming News” segment on Fox 26 Houston’s January 24 midday news, but also on its “Lunch for the Soul” YouTube segment.

Melissa’s interviewing skills immediately put Roy at ease as he spoke from his heart to relay a few simple things that helped him navigate his journey of terrible grief after losing his wife Judy to glioblastoma multiforme in 2016. His tips for others dealing with devastating grief include:

Get out among people and seize private time.

While it’s tempting to stay home and hibernate, away from other people, do your best to get out among people as much and as often as possible. Be with people. You don’t even have to interact. In fact, because Roy took his journal everywhere he went, he often found a quiet spot on the perimeter of activity and wrote in his journal as a way of being with people, but also protecting his need for emotional space.  And while this may seem to contradict getting out, seize your needed private time, even if it means declining invitations from others who care about you.  Those who really care will understand.

Give yourself permission to grieve—whatever that looks like for you. 

“This is not encouraged and supported in our Western culture,” Roy relates, “but it’s important to allow your grief its own space.” What he means by this is to create little rituals that mean something to you, even if no one else understands. When dining out Roy often ordered an extra wine glass for Judy and propped her photo up against it as he enjoyed his meal (dining out was something they often enjoyed together). When it came time for dessert, it was always pie, and he always asked for two forks—because Judy loved pie. Did this confuse the waitstaff? Possibly. When this private ritual drew questions and comments from the more forthright ones, Roy welcomed the opportunity for conversation about Judy.

 Rely on people you trust

This may include family, friends, colleagues — and sometimes people you just met. Part of Roy’s grief journey included long solo road trips to places he had never been. On these trips he encountered many people with whom he felt an immediate sense of trust. Sometimes these random encounters offered messages of comfort and wisdom that surprised him. “You never  know when the stranger you sit beside may have just the words you most need to hear,” he adds. “You just have to keep yourself open to these moments.”

Lean into your Faith

Regardless of your faith tradition —and even if yours is on a bit of shaky ground — trusting you’re not going through this alone can make a difference on this seemingly endless trail of dark nights of the soul.  “If you’re having trouble with your faith, admit it!” Roy encourages. “God understands, and I believe cries with us when we’re going through an incredibly difficult time.” Roy says it also can help to find someone of your faith tradition to listen to your questions, doubts, fear and anger, to help you sort through your emotions, to sense moments of peace within the storm.

Special thanks to Melissa Wilson and Fox 26 Houston for her insightful questions and this wonderful opportunity to share the messages of It All Belongs with others.

(Click on the image below to view “Lunch for the Soul” on YouTube)