Grief is incredibly isolating and lonely, yet it is one of the most universal and undeniable things we will all experience. So, why don’t we know how to talk about it? Why does it feel so taboo? Why don’t we name it? And then there’s the flip side… supporting someone who is grieving. It’s hard, right? Do you give them space, do you insert yourself, do you mention the elephant in the room next time you see them, do you know them well enough to say anything, will it make them too sad? Am I the only one who has these conversations with myself? What do you send? What do you do? What do you say? Is it possible to find that one elusive, perfect thing or the words that will give them pause for a minute? I’ll save you the trouble –no, not usually or at least, not with any confidence. But, in my experience the fact that you showed up, is the thing that will matter.
My guest today, Marisa, is a do-er, she’s had a very accomplished career in finance, politics and consulting. She even started her first non-profit at 15 and more recently, she channeled her own grief into action – when you hear her speak this will not surprise you. She’s got an abundance of contagious energy and she cuts right through to get to the most impactful solution…at least that is my impression after speaking to her exactly once – this actual conversation. Marisa and a friend started Supportal, a site with the goal of making it easier to show up and be a support for someone during grief. There are items on there you can send to people and it’s not fluff and platitudes; it’s the simple truth about the situation, it’s the thing you always wanted to come up with that you might have been a little afraid to say, but when you see it, your like…yeeeeesssss! The site is filled with stories submitted by people outlining their grief experiences and they are really varied; an amazing starting point for empathy and understanding.
I loved our conversation, it was easy and real and we give our own answers to some of the questions I mention above, we talk about our experiences with grief, and the stand out moments when we felt supported –which might surprise you, they are often very small, but very impactful moments. We talk about different types of grief and things people are grieving right now, during this period of social distancing. And I don’t mean just the people with profound loss during this time, I mean everyone.
“Show up in a way that speaks to what you know about them as a person, beyond what they are experiencing right now.”