Healing The Grieving Heart

Transcript: January 10, 2008  |  Back To Previous Page

  Healing Through Service


Transcript (abridged):

Dr. Gloria: Hello, Iím Dr. Gloria Horsley with my co-host

Dr. Heidi: Dr. Heidi Horsley.

G: Each week, Heidi and I welcome you to Healing the Grieving Heart, a show of hope and conversation with those whoíve suffered the loss of a loved one and for healthcare professionals who work in this most difficult field. And as always the message is others have been there before you and made it, you can, too. You need not walk alone. <abridged> These shows are archived on our blog, www.thegriefblog.com, as well as thecompassionatefriends.org websites.

G: <abridged> Well, Heidi, would you like to introduce our guest today?

H: Sure, Iíd be honored to. Our topic today is "Healing Through Service" and our guest is John Pete. John Pete is a certified grief counselor and founder of www.mygriefspace.com. Like many others, John came to the field through losses in his personal life that include drowning, suicides, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, homicide, leukemia, AIDS and pets. Whenever possible, John uses his personal experiences to ease the suffering of others who have lost a loved one. He encourages anyone grieving a loss to actively seek out healing resources as a way to regain some much-needed control in their lives. John states that he finds tremendous personal healing by helping others. Welcome to the show, John.

John: Good morning, itís great to be here.

G: Hi, John, itís great to have you on the show.

J: Hi, Dr. Gloria.

G: Well, first of all I just want to mention www.mygriefspace.com to start with because youíre trying to do a lot with your site to help people. Youíre having chat rooms. What else can people do from your site?

J: Well, actually our site is pretty comprehensive. It offers resources for blogging. Our blogs also have the capability to be used as a private journal as some people donít want to post publicly. We have a pen pals area where people can sign up and become pen pals with other members on our site. We offer support groups broken down by types of losses, and those are headed by members themselves. And then we have a live chat room which is secure behind a password so they can feel secure talking about their losses. And weíre looking to add new things all the time.

G: Thatís great. Tell us and weíll talk a little bit more about your site a little later on in the show, but tell us how you got into this field. I mean youíve had quite a few losses.

J: Right. The most recent thing that happened in my life that really pushed me towards this was I lost my best friend to suicide. We had been best friends for over 20 years and he really had no other family so he kind of became another one of my brothers in my family. And we did a lot of things together, spent weekends hiking in Colorado and doing all kinds of things together and he did suffer from mental illness which deteriorated through the years. And I had moved to New York and been gone for two years and got a call one day. I had just talked to him a couple days before he took his life on the phone and Ė

G: Thatís a tough thing to have talked to somebody and felt like you could do something about it, right?

J: Right, absolutely. And they always say hindsight is 20/20. The phone call that I got from him was, you know how much our relationship has meant to me and Iíve really enjoyed the years of hiking, and it did seem a little odd to me at the time. But you donít ever piece it together.

G: Right. Yeah, you donít get it until after.

J: Yeah, and then a couple days later I got a phone call from another mutual friend who said that he had taken his life earlier that day, and it was very traumatic. And as you mentioned, Iíve had gosh, I think I sat down yesterday and just quickly counted up, and it wasnít all-inclusive, but something like 10-15 losses in the past 10-15 years.

H: Wow, thatís awful. What was your friendís name?

J: My friendís name was Rich.

H: Rich?

J: Rich Kennedy. Yes, yes. And at that point it pushed me Ė I wanted to do something. As I went through my own grief over the next year and tried to sort out what happened, I was doing a lot of research primarily on the Internet looking at different sites and different resources, and it began to occur to me that I was spending a lot of time jumping from site to site to site to site. And I thought, why not put a lot of these resources together into one site? And that kind of sparked the idea for www.mygriefspace.com which is now www.mygriefspace.net by the way.

G: Oh, you changed it to .net. Weíve got that on our site, www.thegriefblog.com. Well, tell us, youíre a certified grief counselor. Were you a counselor before you had these tragedies, and what got you into grief counseling?

J: No, actually again it was at the point where I was doing a lot of research and working through my own grief. One of the things that I found most helpful to me was talking with other people, relating to other people.

G: Now are you talking about your grief with Rich or someone else?

J: I think my grief with Rich and I think past grief, unresolved grief over the few years preceding that.

G: And what was that?

J: You mean who was that?

H: Right.

J: I lost my grandmother who I was very close to. She helped raise me as a child, and after that I lost two close friends, one to a brain hemorrhage and another one to AIDS. And then not long after that I lost another close friend to a brain hemorrhage.

G: It sounds like youíre a good friend, doesnít it, Heidi?

H: Yeah. Absolutely. And I think youíre making a really good point also, John, because itís not necessarily who died, itís the relationship we had with that person. And like you said, your grandmother helped raise you and these friends of yours were like brothers to you so you had a very tight bond with the people that died.

J: Right.

G: Yeah, I think one of the things we forget sometimes is that there are primary care givers that people are very bonded with.

J: Yeah, and I think I do take that on a lot with my friends. I donít have a lot of casual friends. Most of my friends are a close inner circle of friends and when something happens to them, it seems to affect all of us pretty profoundly in our group.

H: I think in society, and you can tell me if this has been your experience, but in society people tend to judge peopleís loss and say well, that person wasnít related or that person wasnít a brother or that person was the grandmother so therefore your grief should not be as significant. It should not be as big, and I donít agree with that.

J: Yeah, youíre absolutely right. I run into that all the time, not only with myself but with other people, where people are telling them well, it was just a friend or it was just somebody you worked with, but that doesnít negate your feelings of grief are real. They are what they are.

H: Exactly. And you need to have them acknowledged and validated.

J: Yes, yes. And so eventually all of this made me want to get into the field of helping others. I kind of always found myself going quickly from being helped by the support of others to being the one that was trying to help everybody all the time. So I think it is important, though, that anybody that gets into this field is at a point in their own grief that theyíre ready to help other people and it doesnít drag them back into their own grief.

H: Thatís a good point, and how long after Rich died did you start www.mygriefspace.net?

J: Letís see, he died in April 2003 and we got our site launched in December 2006.

G: Now what were you doing before you went into the grief counseling business?

J: Wow, I was doing a lot of different things actually. Iíve had a pretty diverse career. I would say I did grow up in human services. My parents were in the nursing home business so I was always exposed to that and earlier, fresh out of high school and even through high school I did a lot of work in nursing homes and that kind of got me into that. Right out of high school I worked for 10 years as a residential counselor for developmentally disabled adults. I got kind of burned out on that and I left that and did a complete flip-flop and went into the banking business where I was an operations supervisor for a few years. And then I managed a staffing agency after that, again a kind of diverse employment, and then after that I went into the grief counseling.

G: And Iíd love to talk about how you got into that counseling. I think itís very interesting to me how youíve come around to that because I know a lot of our audience is interested in going into this field since theyíve gotten into it I think, and weíve had people ask us how we entered the field. So maybe we can talk a little bit about that when we come back from break. Weíre going on break and Iím your host Dr. Gloria Horsley with my co-host Dr. Heidi Horsley. Please join us on this show by calling our toll-free number, 1-866-472-5792. If you would like to email us about this or upcoming shows, you can reach Heidi and me through our blog, www.thegriefblog.com. Our guest today is John Pete and our topic is "Healing Through Service." Please stay tuned for more.

G: And I want to remind people if youíd like to call in, our toll-free number for this show is 1-866-472-5792. Also email us through our blog, www.thegriefblog.com about any shows that youíd like to hear about and any topics. So John and Heidi, when we went to break we were talking about how John got into the field. But before we do that, I just want to again mention www.mygriefspace.com because itís a fun place to go. Well, I guess if grief can be fun. Itís kind of an uplifting place to go, John, I want to say that. I like your colors and your energy on the space. Itís nice.

J: Thank you, thank you.

H: Mom, itís www.mygriefspace.net.

G: Oh, I forgot, .net.

J: Now if people go in through .com itís okay because I do own both and one will lead to the other. But it is on .net.

H: Well, I like the fact that itís so comprehensive and I love the pen pals because sometimes when weíve had certain losses, people that have had similar losses can really relate to you.

J: Yeah, that was something somebody suggested. One of our members suggested they just wanted some way to directly go into the site and find other people with similar loss. We do have a search feature where they can also do that, but I thought the pen pals was a great idea so we added that on.

H: I love that and I know that Iíve been working with 9/11 for six years and my 9/11 families say to me all the time, Heidi, people that have had other losses really canít relate. What Iím going through is unique because it is so public and the way that they feel this through searching others that have had someone die on 9/11.

G: Yeah, so that is a great idea. Well, letís talk about how you did get into the field. When we were at break, we were also talking about the fact that your dad is ill with cancer and that his mother, your grandmother on your dadís side died. Thatís kind of hard for him with cancer.

J: Yeah, it was.

G: To lose his mother. I donít care if sheís 96 or whatever.

J: Right. It did take a toll on him and I was coming back and forth from New York the past couple of years. I made a couple of trips back when he had surgery for his cancer which was in his throat and I saw him deteriorating and we were never quite sure which way it was going to go. Thankfully, heís doing well right now but I just decided that it was time to come back to Denver to be closer to family. As your parents get older you do start to think about those things.

G: Well, as a grief counselor, what do you find? I was in the field of grief and loss when Scott was killed in 1983. I was actually working as a clinical nurse specialist at a hospital and I was working with people whose kids were killed in automobile accidents and burn units and all sorts of things. And yeah, what do you see about a counselor having grief?

J: Well, itís going to happen, of course, and I think how we handle grief as grief counselors is not so different than everybody else. We may be armed with a little more information and be a little more prepared, but I think when it happens to us, we go through everything that everybody else goes through.

G: Thatís a very good point. I think thatís extremely true because I remember after Scott died, some of the psychiatrists and other nurses and people that I worked with at the hospital, I remember one friend standing with me and I was reading through some of the literature because Iíd actually written articles and things and Iím like I am going through all these things, yearning and searching and emptiness in my stomach and waves of grief and all these things. Iím reading about them and Iím doing them.

H: Plus the bottom line is you can read all you want about pain and rage and anger and depression and until youíve actually felt it at your core, you canít begin to get how much pain youíre going to be in and how hard itís going to be.

J: That is such an excellent point because I think a lot of people that come to the field of grief counseling come here through their own losses and their own experiences and end up wanting to help others. I mean loss is an experience in life like nothing else and having been there yourself is just invaluable to helping others. You can go get all of the technical experience and all the book experience and all the degrees and what not, but I think one thing that you canít get anywhere else is the experience itself, until itís happened to you.

G: Itís a tough way to get it.

J: Yeah, it is, it is.

G: Yeah, I think you make an important point there and one of the things that I found as a professional is that sometimes people hide their loss because youíre not supposed to talk about it. That's like back with the Freudian kind of thing. Youíre not supposed to reveal anything about yourself as a therapist. And I think weíre kind of giving up that idea, donít you, Heidi?

H: I absolutely donít practice that way. I do tell my story. However, I donít get into detail and I always check in with myself, who am I doing this for? Am I doing it to help my client or am I doing it for myself? When Iím appropriate with them and when I show empathy and tears with my clients, itís for them, and I never do it to the point where they have to take care of me because this is about their loss and their grief and not mine.

G: Thatís a great point especially for our audience out there. If you are in therapy or if youíre finding a therapist, and you sometimes feel uncomfortable that theyíre getting too involved or a friend is getting too involved in their own story, itís time to find somebody else to check in with. You need support.

H: Right, you donít need to be taking care of your therapist and also all losses are unique and different and I say to my clients, and John, I donít know if you do as well, you probably do. I say, look, I know what itís like to lose a brother in an instant and have my life turned upside down. However, I donít know what itís like to lose someone in the World Trade Center. Thatís your experience and your journey and together weíre going to heal.

J: Right, I agree and it is their journey and you are there to support them in their journey and I think that is a very, very valid point that itís not about you. I did get into this because it is healing to me, but at the same time I donít go in and spend my sessions talking about Johnís grief. You go in and you focus on them. You draw on your experiences to help them but you make it about them.

G: And John, how did you get into the field of grief and loss? You were in banking and all these things and then you decided to go into the field. What if weíve got somebody out there who is in a totally different field? What did you do?

J: Actually, while I was surfing endless hours online sometimes at 2:00, 3:00 in the morning, when I was going through my own grief, I met a gentleman named Dr. Dominick Flarey, who heads the American Institute of Healthcare Professionals. And I emailed him and talked to him about that I was having an interest in helping other people and got suggestions from him, and they actually have a course that lasts about Ė Itís self-paced but it takes about a year to complete the course and it does involve fieldwork. I know a lot of people shy away when you say learning to do something on the Internet but it does involve testing. It is accredited and it does involve a lot of fieldwork that is invaluable to becoming a grief counselor. So I kept in contact with him and when I was ready to move further into the field I began taking their course and it was a lot more intensive than I had expected but it was great. It was a great course, and itís something that anybody that has a genuine interest and a commitment to become a grief counselor can do it.

G: Thatís interesting. Online. Where would they get in touch with to do that?

J: Their website I think, I donít know 100%, I think itís www.aihcp.com, American Institute of Healthcare Professionals.com.

G: And they could probably go to your space at www.mygriefspace.net and get that information from you, too, right?

J: Yes. And I would also suggest reaching out to others in the field. Email others that are in the field that are helping people and ask them about their experiences. Itís not something you want to go into blindly. I think itís something that you really have to want badly to do and be dedicated to do it.

H: And John, are you in a private practice now or how do you see clients now?

J: Well, I generally was seeing people one on one in New York. I didnít do group support. Now that Iím in Denver, I havenít really decided yet which direction Iím going to take it and I have been focusing on my website. But I do think that moving forward Iíll definitely get back into one-on-one counseling but I probably will also expand into group support.

H: Well, if thereís people in the Denver area that would like to get involved, they should go on www.mygriefspace.net to get in touch with you?

J: Absolutely. Iím open to hearing from anybody at any time on our site.

G: What kind of plans Ė I know you have some interesting thoughts about the Internet and what can happen. What kind of plans would you see for the Internet?

J: Well, I think the Internet has opened up a whole new world. I mean we were doing grief counseling. I think it was evolving about the same time as the Internet was evolving and at this point instead of reaching out just to your community you can reach out to millions of people literally. So I think it plays an extremely important role in providing grief support.

H: I was just going to say, Mom and John, itís a virtual community 24/7 and sometimes our grief is the most profound in the middle of the night.

G: Absolutely.

H: And to be able to log on and have a community and a support system I think is invaluable.

G: And we found with the radio show weíve gotten, I think weíre up to 22,000 people now listening to the show and itís just an amazing thing that people can come in and listen to the show and hear people like John talk on the show. Isnít it, Heidi?

H: Absolutely and itís very important to know that thereís people out there that will give you metaphorically speaking a hand and that youíre not alone in all this.

G: And the other thing is everybody grieves differently and hereís an opportunity to hear over 100 different people talking about their grief process which is quite an amazing thing and also professionals in the field. Well, weíre coming up on break now and Iím your host Dr. Gloria Horsley with my co-host Dr. Heidi Horsley. Please stay tuned to hear more from our guest, John Pete, about "Healing Through Service." You can call us at our toll-free number, 1-866-472-5792 with questions or comments regarding the losses in your life. You can also reach us through the blog, www.thegriefblog.com. Stay tuned for more.

Well, this is a very exciting and interesting show for Heidi and me to have on because given the fact that our radio show is done on the Internet, weíve got www.thegriefblog.com, and we are starting a foundation called The Open To Hope Foundation. And we will also probably be changing the name of the show to The Open To Hope Show but itíll all be the same. Youíll be able to get in touch with us but itís going to be a big change on the Internet. Weíre going to have a bigger site. Weíll have our blog and everything and youíll be able to find us, but weíre excited about the opportunity for community on the Internet as I know that John is. And we were talking about how great his space is, www.mygriefspace.net. You want to go look at it. We love his pen pal thing. Itís uplifting. It just gives you a warm feeling when you go on it, doesnít it Heidi?

H: Yes, and just to add to that, Mom, itís so comprehensive. I mean with the blogs, pen pals, support groups, live chat rooms. Itís a very comprehensive site.

G: Yeah, I think for John and for Heidi and me, weíre all into this for the service to you all out there and we hope that youíll tell everyone about it and get everyone involved in the community with us so we can have this community of hope, wouldnít you say, John?

J: Yes, definitely and if I could also give your site a quick plug. We have nearly 1,000 members on our site and I am constantly sending people over to www.thegriefblog.com to connect with people that have posted there that have losses similar to their own. So I also want to applaud you for that site. Itís been a great resource for our members as well.

G: Oh, great. And the radio show, right? Archives.

J: And the radio show archives, absolutely. I love the archives. The archives are great. Anytime I have spare time I jump in there and find a different archive show to listen to.

G: Yeah, one of the things we want to do with our new site is we want to group Ė Now we have enough shows to group on different topics like the loss of a sibling, loss of an adult child, loss of a parent. So weíre hoping to do a little bit more of that, arenít we, Heidi?

H: Yeah, absolutely, and I just wanted to say one more thing about service which I love. This is why I love the Internet also. Even if youíre newly bereaved and you feel like you just canít do anything or give back, sometimes even if you feel really bad, you can get on the Internet and reach out to someone else who has had a loss and you can give back that way and be of service and that can be the beginning of your healing process.

G: Absolutely. People really value the comments that are made to their losses on www.thegriefblog.com. Now can people comment on other peopleís stories on www.mygriefspace.net?

J: Yes, there is a choice to do that. Whoever posts the blog has the choice to open it up for comments.

G: So I think youíre right, Heidi. Just making that comment can be the first step out to helping others. Well, John, I wanted to ask you, we were talking about grief. Youíre a certified grief counselor. Your dad now has throat cancer and his mother died recently. What kinds of thoughts do you have for people on this ongoing journey that weíre having in the world?

J: I think itís really important for people not only that have lost someone or that are going to lose someone but in general to be attentive to the fact that itís very, very likely that we are going to lose loved ones in our lives. And it seems to me, I run into this a lot that society has kind of turned a blind eye to the topic of death and dying and healing afterwards. I donít often run into people that are teaching their children about death and dying and how to cope with it.

G: Or schools that have it in their curriculum.

J: Schools would be great.

G: Yeah. Well, I was saying to Heidi earlier that John Edwards and his wife had mentioned, I donít know if you saw it in the press, but they mentioned the death of their son, Wade. And people said that was a cheap shot to use that for political gain. And Elizabeth Edwards said, thatís ridiculous. Isnít that just unbelievable that people would say that?

H: I donít understand that comment. That comment doesnít make any sense to me.

G: And people just donít get it in the world that we honor our loved ones by remembering them.

H: Exactly.

G: That itís not about getting --

H: And theyíre amazing role models of showing people that itís okay to keep memories alive of Wade and Rich and my brother Scott. Weíre always going to do that. Theyíre always a part of our lives even though theyíre not here.

G: One of the things I like to say is, someone asked me the other day well, you never get over it, right? And I said well, you know what? Iím not suffering anymore. I remember, but not with suffering.

H: I like that.

J: Right, and I think look, what does that comment mean? Getting over it. We move into different places with our loss. I donít think any of us want to get over who our loved one is in our life and who they always will be in our life. Itís what we do with that grief and how we heal it.

H: I love that.

G: And that gets me to the point I wanted to ask you, John. How do you take care of yourself with your dad being ill and with your grandma dying? How do you take care of yourself and what do you suggest to your clients?

H: And also with hearing the stories on www.mygriefspace.net and being supportive of others?

G: Yes.

J: Well, I do think that it is important to let yourself get somewhat involved because you want to be able to draw on your personal experiences. But I think that you canít take that to heart when you, if youíre on our site helping someone, when you leave that site there are other people that youíre going to be helping and you canít let that accumulate to drag you down or it will pull you back down into your own grief. So I think you really have to focus on it while youíre in it and then you have to go on to whatever youíre doing next. You can always come back to it. Itís always going to be there waiting for you if you want to come back to it or you need to re-address it or you need to do more counseling with that person. Itís always going to be there. You can come back to it. Itís okay to leave it there and go on to what you need to do next.

H: So compartmentalizing.

J: Yes, I think so.

H: I agree with you.

G: Now what do you do for yourself physically? Are you a walker or a runner or what do you do to take care of yourself?

J: My outlet actually is I love building websites, and Iím not real technical about it. I do use web-building software, but I love building websites for other people and I do a lot of that and thatís a great outlet for me. And I think whatever anybodyís outlet is, it might be a hobby, it might be exercise, it might be something else. Whatever it is, you can focus on that as a distraction.

H: So you design and create things.

J: Yes, I love to design and create things. Thatís very true.

G: How about you, Heidi?

H: My outlet? Oh, letís see. Walking, yoga, those kind of things, yeah, and I definitely compartmentalize like John said, taking time to visit grief and pain and then putting it away in a little box in my head. I just kind of metaphorically speaking put it all in there and shut it and say you know what? Now I need to focus on something else. Now I need to take care of myself. Now I need to do something positive because I can go and revisit it if I need to.

G: Because you have a pretty intense business where you actually go into peopleís homes.

H: Yes, I do.

G: And work with them.

H: I go into peopleís homes and do therapy and work with people that had deaths in 9/11, and the way that I take care of myself in that is we go in with a team and afterwards Iím able to talk with other people and share my feelings or my pain or my thoughts with a group of other people. I think itís important that we not try to handle everything on our own. In other words, for those of you that are grieving out there, itís important to find people that you can reach out to. Donít try to do this on your own. Reach out to others.

G: And I think the Net is a great way to reach out. However, sometimes people need some human contact, too, would you say, John?

J: Oh, most definitely, most definitely. I think nearly everybody that I talk with on our site, well, first off thatís one of the things that we do talk about is building a network of support around you and that very importantly includes human contact. Your friends, supportive friends, supportive family members, supportive clergy, whoever it is that you can put around you to help you get through this and cope with it on a day-to-day basis.

G: And of course animals, too.

J: And animals. Animals are great.

H: They are. In fact Iíve known many people that have gotten dogs including my own family after someone died and said it really helped in healing.

J: I think itís the nurturing. You have something around you to nurture.

G: Well, the other thing that happened with us. Heidiís talking about our little dog. We got a Shih Tzu named Brittany after Scott died. And the thing was that people had something to talk to us about. Itís strange, but everyone would come up and talk about our dog.

J: Right, isnít that the truth? People do not know what to say when somebody has died and itís really not that easy for anybody listening that might take something away from this. Just be there for them. Just say Iím sorry for your loss. Iím here to listen, and that will open a huge door, bigger than you think.

G: Well, one thing I want to say, and Heidi and I have found it, weíve been discussing this recently, John, is the fact that not everyone needs a grief group out there. We always recommend The Compassionate Friends or other groups. We have one in Palo Alto called Kara, and I am group leader for a Compassionate Friends group in Palo Alto, California. But some people donít want to do group and they like the Internet and they find that helpful. Some people find it with their clergy. Some people read more than others. Theyíre just very fascinating, the different approaches. Some people like individual therapy, some people donít. They donít get a lot out of it.

H: But some people donít want to hear other peopleís stories I found. They want to tell their story but they have difficulty hearing others and I think like you said, Mom, thatís fine. Whatever method works for you.

G: Yeah, I think thatís right. Do you have a comment on that, John?

J: Well, yeah, I think that opening up whatever resources are available to people, and if youíre really listening to people, you will find what works for that individual person and then you can encourage them in that direction. And it is something different for everybody.

G: And get in touch with yourself. If youíre feeling lonely, you need to reach out even if itís hard for you to get out of bed.

H: Well, and one way you can do that, Mom, is go on the Internet and read peopleís stories. You donít necessarily even have to respond. It's just as a way of connecting with something or someone.

G: And even turning your computer on can be a big deal.

H: Yeah.

G: Just getting out of bed to do that. We know that, but also with the Internet, with the radio show, you do get a human voice, which I think is interesting. But we donít get a lot of call-ins on this show, which is fascinating. We know we have a lot of you listening out there, but I think thatís part of the process. Itís part of the Internet process and also maybe some of the folks that listen to us are people who donít want to talk.

H: Possibly, yeah. And it can be a little intimidating to call in also. I remember before I hosted the show I had to call in. I called in at one point and then I was a little anxious and waiting. I mean once people get on they like it because they realize itís very casual, but just the process of sitting and actually doing it can be stressful.

G: Yeah. Have you got any thoughts about that, John?

J: Well, along those lines, one of the things that we are planning on adding to our website is the ability for people not only to chat but to use Web cams and see each other while theyíre chatting. And I think that takes chat to the next level and I think that can be a good and positive thing and itís totally optional.

G: Very interesting whatís going on with the Internet. Sometime weíre hoping to have some educational kinds of things going on, too, because we have our experts on the show. Weíre hoping to get a newsletter out and a few things so we can combine the educational along with the survivors and mix it up back and forth. Well, weíre coming up on break now and Iím your host Dr. Gloria Horsley with my co-host Dr. Heidi Horsley. Please stay tuned to hear more from our guest, John Pete, about "Healing Through Service." You can call us on our toll-free number 1-866-472-5792 regarding our show or questions that you might have or things that you might want to hear on the next show. You can email us through our blog, www.thegriefblog.com, and these shows are archived on our blog and on www.thecompassionatefriends.org website. Please stay tuned for more.

Well, John this is our last segment and I just want to again mention to people that they ought to take a look at www.mygriefspace.net and go into that and might want to interact with that site. I wanted to ask you, I know we were talking yesterday about the fact that when we get low and are wondering what weíre doing spending all these many, many hours on the Internet that you will get some kind of a message that comes through. You said that sometimes you feel like is it really worth it? All these hours Iím spending on this. Are people really out there? And then you said you get comments from people that really keep you going. Do you have any thoughts on that, any comments in particular that youíve found inspiring?

J: Absolutely and it happens every week that you kind of hit a point. You put so many hours into it and you start to wonder sometimes am I really helping somebody or who am I really helping? And then youíll get comments back, people will instant message with you or send you an email and say thank you for this site. I donít think I could have got through the hours without it or having the site thatís available 24 hours and that they can come on late at night. And it makes it all worthwhile. If I got one of those comments in the whole year that our siteís been up, it makes it all worthwhile for me.

G: Yeah, thatís great. Well, Heidi, we got one today from Carol, didnít we?

H: Yes.

G: You want to talk about that?

H: Carol whose son died in an auto accident?

G: No, the one who has a suicide website and somebody connected with her.

H: Oh, yes, Carol. Okay, that was Cindyís son that died in an auto accident. Yes, Carol just emailed us to thank us for the show and say that she touched base with someone that had called in when she was a guest and this person said that the show had impacted his life. And she just thanked us for having her on.

G: Yeah, so itís amazing. It even goes out to our guests and it just goes out into the whole universe. Itís amazing.

H: Well, like youíre both saying, we donít know who weíre impacting. We hear from some of the people. There are many people out there that are listening right now that weíll never hear from and we have no idea what our influence is, but there are people that we will impact and there are so many of you that have impacted me.

G: Absolutely. Yeah, well, John, before we close our show. Our show is about healing through service and you were saying that there are other ways besides the Net. Could you talk about some of those ideas for people?

J: Sure. I think there are a lot of opportunities for people that want to help others as part of their own healing, and those donít always relate directly to the field of grief. There are hospitals and centers for developmentally disabled or the mentally ill or the blind or the deaf. If you need to get out and do something that will more than likely take you in a positive direction, I would always suggest checking into volunteering in one of those areas of service.

H: Even the Salvation Army. We had a guest on who called the Salvation Army, said I want to volunteer at Christmas and was one of the ones that rang the bell and gathered money on the street in New York. And like you said, there are many ways we can be of service.

G: Thatís right, and it can be just a one-time thing, too. So if youíre at this point ready to commit to doing something at a hospital on a weekly basis or whatever, you can call the Salvation Army like they did and ring a bell.

J: Or look around you at your neighbors. Sometimes your neighbors need help. They might have a broken leg and need you to run to the store. All these little things do help you feel better about yourself.

G: You know Harriet Schiff who wrote The Bereaved Parent, which is really kind of the quintessential book on grief and loss, one of the first, said something that I thought was interesting. She said the first thing that I knew I was starting to come back was Iíd baked a cake.

H: Right.

G: And why do you bake a cake? You bake a cake to give to other people.

H: Absolutely. I had a guy once that paid for my toll in the toll booth and when I got up there in my car, the guy said the person in front of you paid and said have a nice day. He paid for me. That was his service.

J: Thatís great.

H: And it made my day.

J: And I think it often does encourage other people when you do a good deed. It kind of passes on down the line.

H: Absolutely.

G: And also if youíve suffered a loss and your family or friends and the other people know, when they see you able to do one thing theyíre so heartened because they do hurt for you, too.

J: Yes, yes. Thatís an important point.

G: So they see that youíre moving along, too, so itís inspiring on both sides. Well, itís almost time for us to close the show, John. I wondered if there are any thoughts or comments or anything that youíd like to pass on before we end the show.

J: I would just say that if youíre hurting, reach out. If you see somebody thatís hurting, reach out and try and meet somewhere in the middle and I think everybody will come out better for it.

G: And how about visiting your space?

J: Yes. Please come check out our space at www.mygriefspace.net and I would love to hear from you. Iím open to all comments, suggestions, new visitors, new members. Come on over and check us out.

G: Now is there a fee for joining?

J: No, our site is absolutely free.

G: Thatís great. So Heidi, do you have any more thoughts about the site before we close the show?

H: I think the site is wonderful for people out there, and I would just say what John had said, to visit the site and just check it out and see whatís going on especially if youíre feeling alone and youíre feeling isolated and youíre feeling like you donít know how youíre going to survive. You donít know how youíre going to get through this. Go on and see how others have done it and that will be the first step.

G: So take care of yourself out there and itís time to close our show today and we want to thank John Pete for talking with us about "Healing Through Service." And I think he is a prime example of how you can reach out and he has reached out in quite a big way, but how we can all reach out in smaller ways also. Next week our guest is Rabbi Earl Grollman. Rabbi Grollman is a noted writer, lecturer and teacher. Heís authored over 27 books on crisis management. Itís going to be quite an experience having Rabbi Grollman on the show. We hope youíll listen in. This show is archived on our blog, www.thegriefblog.com as well as www.thecompassionatefriends.org website. Please stay tuned again next Thursday at 9:00 Pacific Standard Time, 12:00 Eastern for more of Healing The Grieving Heart, a show of hope and renewal and support. Remember, others have been there before you and made it, you can, too. You need not walk alone. Thanks for listening. Iím your host Dr. Gloria Horsley with my co-host

H: Dr. Heidi Horsley. John, Rich, your grandmother and all those that youíve loved and have lost are gone but never forgotten. They live on in your heart and in your memories. Thank you for all the work you do to help others heal on www.mygriefspace.net. Thanks, John.

J: Thank you.

G: Thank you, John.

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