Even after someone we love dies, it's possible to continue to evolve and grow together, healing and restoring our fractured relationships to wholeness.
My guest today is Jessica Waite. She’s a talented writer, a widowed single mom, one of my dearest friends— and unwavering tracker of yes.
Our conversation explores how, after discovering a series of betrayals and lies in the wake of her husband’s sudden death, she restored their fractured relationship to wholeness.
Jess shares how her beliefs about what happens after death have shifted through this experience, and how 4 and a half years later, her relationship with her husband is still very much alive.
We also talk about the capacity of children to have honest conversations about truths that we, as adults, often believe they can’t handle—and just how healing it is for them when we trust their resourcefulness, resilience and strength.
Links to awesome humans mentioned in the episode:
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The story that launched the ethos:
it looked like I had the ingredients to make a cake out of bitterness and resentment and just feed it to myself for the rest of my life. Crumb by Crumb and I did not want that. I did not want that for myself. And so I just had a look at the pieces and say, What else can I make from this?
Hey, glad you're here. This'll is tracking. Yes, and you are exactly where you're meant to be. I'm your host. Liz Wilson, coach, writer and round the clock philosopher On this, my friends, is where the magic happens. Join me and my guests for stories that will inspire you to dial up your curiosity, fine tune your courage and wisdom, and create an empowered relationship with whatever's happening. Now my guest today is Jessica Wait. She's a talented writer, a widowed single mom, one of my dearest friends and an unwavering tracker of Yes, Our Conversation explores how, after discovering a Siri's of betrayals and lies in the wake of her husband's sudden death, she restored their fractured relationship to wholeness. Jess shares, however, believes about what happens after death have shifted through this experience and how 4.5 years later, her relationship with her husband is still very much alive. We also talk about the capacity of Children to have honest conversations about truce that we, as adults, often believe they can handle and just how healing it is for them when we trust their resourcefulness, resilience and strength. Jess, you have seen your share of challenging times, and I've watched you navigate them with tremendous presence in grace. I'm wondering if we can start today with how Sean died.
Sure. Yeah. So Okay, um, Liz, you never met Sean, but he was an extremely energetic and smart and funny and very, very capable man. And his career, in the years before he died, had taken a really kind of skyrocket trajectory, and he traveled on business a lot. And so he, uh when he died, he was on a business trip that was supposed to be for only two days. But he had a heart attack in the Houston airport. Ah, and never made it on the plane back home. So he phoned me from the airport shuttle and said, see in a few hours and then he never made it on the plane and s o I got a call from the e r charge nurse at the hospital that they took him to, and that was how I found out that he died. And, yeah, it was awful, of course. And it happened that I was in a small town. I live in Calgary. Um And then I was in a smaller town, called Cochran with my mom who was visiting, and so we had to drive back to Calgary. And on that drive, I had to figure out how to tell my son, who was nine at the time. And so, yeah, telling my son that is that died was probably the hardest thing that I ever will have to do in my life. But it wasn't many other hard things happened in after that fact. As you know, Yeah.
Yeah, like, just keep walking us through it. What was it like as you kept moving forward and discovered more and more
difficult. So Okay, well, just to give context, it's been about 4.5 years since that happened. So in the immediate aftermath, like most people who probably experience a sudden and dramatic event, there was shock and then grief and then just all of those things that went on for a long time. And so we had the funeral about a week after Shawn's death. And then the next day, ah, box of his personal effects arrived. And when I opened it, I began to discover that Sean had been fully symptomatic with bipolar mania and he was keeping a lot of secrets from me. And so it took a little while to kind of unwind what all of those things were. And I don't want to go into into all of the details, but just for your listeners, who might not know what bipolar mania entails. Some of the symptoms are compulsive spending, drug abuse, sexual promiscuity. And so those were some of the things that I began to uncover. And then for people who might also wonder like, how could I not have known? Um, I'll just say I knew that something was wrong, and I knew that Sean, like Shawn, was on diagnosed and untreated for bipolar. But he and I both knew that he had those symptoms, and I thought he was managing them okay, and what I saw behavior wise that told me that he wasn't well, was things like, you know, really rapid mood swings and a lot of volatility and really a short, short fuse. And so I thought that, you know, it was an ideal, but that he was he was still functioning so well in his daily life. And so So it just there's a lot of ways that a smart person can hide these, Um and so I just I just want to put that out there in terms of white kind of my situation was what I knew and didn't know and how that sort of unfolded. So it was a lot, as you can imagine, a lot, a lot to kind of contend with all in a very short time. And because son was so well loved and so well respected by the people who knew him, I didn't want to tell them. Like I didn't want to tell them what I was finding out because I didn't want to hurt them. The weight, like it hurt me a lot. And I didn't want to spread that pain around. And they also I kind of didn't want to hurt his reputation. Like I just that really mattered to me at the time. And so what? I dead to try and cope Waas. I started writing it down. Just journaling, journaling, my feelings, all of that stuff. I sought some counseling, and I didn't turn to any kind of substance to help me cope because I have a lot of addiction in my family, and I was really afraid that if I went down any kind of, um, you know, drinking or even with food, like I have an autoimmune disorder and I'm not supposed to eat Ah, bunch of different kinds of foods and everyone was bringing all those kinds of foods to the house. You know how people will do that. And I I felt like if I even had any of that stuff, I might never get out of the hole. And so I just started drinking protein shakes like I lived on that for a year because I first I could need anything. And then I knew not to have foods, that we're going to sink me down lower, and then that was for about a year. And then the next year, I said, And this is kind of I guess, where I would fit the tracking. Yes, trajectory. I kind of ask the universe like please, let me find healing. I'm open to healing in all forms except numbing. And then I started to dry all different kinds of things, like, you know, massage therapy and cranial sacral therapy. And I saw a shaman, and I like I was just doing every kind of healing modality that I could think of to try to make myself feel better. And when I did, that lot met you for well, for one thing and lots of other people and things started to really open up. So, yeah, that's kind of in and out in a nutshell. DNA, the bad to the to the better of my situation,
the bad to the to the opening of the trajectory into that. Like it feels like you had that full year plus where you were just like wrestling around in the whole chaos and complexity and the discovery as things and and
and it's just dawning on me now. Like as you're saying, the discoveries of these things, like if you ask me like, were you tracking us at that time? Like I would know like a big note. Like I was just trying to breathe. I was trying to get through my days, but I was curious. Ah, about kind of what was driving Sean. And so I was willing to look at, you know, what was he doing? What was he hiding where like and so I started to kind of investigate and to try to come to an understanding with Shawn because, I mean, he was lying to me a lot, and and the lies felt like because there were so many lies and it was like almost on a daily basis. It felt like then everything was a lie, like every single thing he ever told me must have been a lie. And I had to kind of really get curious about, like, what's the truth in my life and to try and find that. And as I started to put the pieces into place, other things like little incidents that didn't make sense at the time, made sense when I had the whole picture. And so, in one sense, I was even in the depths of my grief and despair, acting with curiosity to try and figure out and make meaning? Out of what? Shawn's life really wise. What my life was. What was our life together? All of those questions.
Yeah. I want to step back in time for a moment. Um, because I know that you some people listening to this might feel like Okay, she saw a few signs, but mostly blindsided. You were not completely blindsided. And I remember you sharing an experience of you guys traveling in the car. Yeah, I was really struck when you shared that story with me about how intense this relationship was and living within this relationship. Waas regardless of what you didn't know. Yeah. So So be willing.
Yes, and I actually do. I'm writing a memoir, as you know, and this scene is something that I've written about. This is kind of It was a breaking point with Shawn, and I knew that things were untenable for his mental health. So we we we took a road trip down to Denver. He was working in Denver and he he wasn't really sleeping or eating. And he was working around the clock. And so he had flown home for our son's birthday party. And then we were driving 17 hours from Calgary to Denver, and about 15 minutes into the road trip, his mood just started changing and things felt like it was just a really toxic kind of tension in the car. And it was very clear to me as we were driving that something was really wrong with him. And it ended up, um, coming to a breaking point with Shawn having a breakdown and kind of driving off the road and running away and threatening to kill me, although I know he wasn't gonna kill me. But he said, I'm gonna have to kill you in front of our son. And this is so atypical of the normal Shawn. But and so I knew that something was really, really wrong. And if we had to been at home, I would have taken him to the hospital. But we're in another country. I don't know. He threw the keys to the car away in the parking lot of this, like auto body shop like enemy was kind of 1/2 up on the sidewalk. So I decided after that, like as we and then what? Then we have to continue driving. Um, and I was driving and I knew that things couldn't go on this way, that Sean was either going to have to face his mental illness and get some treatment and and get well, I hoped, or I was going to have to leave him for my own well being and that of our sun. And so and again. I think they're I told two people in the family, but most people don't know this at all, but yes, so it wasn't a surprise to me when I found out. Like so. It was a surprise what Shawn's behaviors were, but it wasn't a surprise to me that he wasn't well. And then, from where I was in terms of picking up the pieces, I had started to mentally prepare that I would be on my own. This incident with the breakdown happened in July, and Sean died in November. So I was just waiting until Christmas time, when he would be home for two weeks to have the conversation. To say it basically would have been an ultimatum like and I hope that he would agree to get help and meant the family and and you know, it's possible that we could have worked through all of this stuff because I do know that his behaviors were symptomatic of of the only said he had.
Yeah, I I actually, right now, I'm gonna fast forward to today to just say it's been remarkable to watch you in the process of writing this memoir, discovering more and more things both both not awesome and really moving and touching as you've gone that you have healed your relationship with him to a large degree, post his death through your process of navigating his death. So what's that been like for you? Like when you said you were journaling? What compelled you to actually decide to write a memoir about this?
Uh, okay, So I've always journal in times of distress, So I don't keep a daily journal. I don't write every day, but when things really hard, I've always kind of tried to get it out by putting it onto paper. And so I was doing that anyway, And then I decided to try and write another book like a different It would have been a memoir tube of about a different time in my life that Onley Sean was really a witness to. And so with his death. I'm like if I don't write this incident down, it will be gone like nobody else really knows about it. And so I started trying to write a different book, but I couldn't even I said, down to the desk and it wouldn't come. And what started to come was my own story, this story. And so it just wouldn't leave me alone. Like I was part. I knew that it was part of my own healing the writing of it, and so I felt compelled to to write it. And then I started taking writing classes because it was important to me that it wasn't like my journalists ranting like, If you get you get me, it's like I don't want this to be a rant and I don't want it to be like I wanted to make it into, like, a real book to kind of do justice to, um, to Shawn's life and to our love story, because over the course of doing this like I realize that our love story was still true. Um, yeah, so
yeah, What? Just what's most challenged you in writing this memoir and how to navigate it, the hardest thing.
Okay, there's the hardest Things are wine having to turn over every stone and re re examine it. And so it is difficult to do that. And it's also that has been where the healing magic has happened. So I wouldn't change any of that or wish any moment of that away, even though it's hard. And then the other parts are like, I think anyone who's tried to write anything or make anything just self doubt about like, Why am I doing this? Who cares? Is this like there are lots of other books and stories in the world like, Why am I trying to add to that? Um and am I good enough like a mighty good enough writer? Two do justice to this story. So those are the things that have been hard, and it feels like it's taking forever like I've been working on it. I've been working hard on it since 2017 and I'm still not done. So yeah, the feeling. Yeah, it's 2020 now, so it feels like like the never ending project. But I'm not going to stop because along the way, I've had so many amazing and surprising bits of encouragement and support from people. And also, I believe, from Sean. So, yeah,
what's a belief you've changed through this? That's radically shifted your
world. Okay, well, I would say that I would have been agnostic before They so, like, So what happens when we die? That's a big question, right? That everybody grapples with at one point or another. And and I don't know, like I don't I still don't know now, but through this experience, I would say that I have evidence for myself that it's not over when we die. Like what I went, I believe now is that, um there is the possibility of, like, a reciprocal, nurturing relationship between this world and the world of the people who have died because some of the things that have happened have felt like Shawn very directly helping me and helping my son and then things that I have done in this world kind of tidying up shots, the mess that he left behind, I feel like have
been healing for him. So what's an example of ah, way that you felt Sean was helping you and dash?
Okay, Well, in order to answer that, I should give some context that, um so that in the first part of my story, all of these terrible things and discoveries happen. And I'm a really low and awful place. And then things start to happen that are outside of my belief system and that I have no way of explaining. So one of the first things that happened was Sean had to be. He had to have an autopsy done, and then his cremated remains took a long time to come to me. So I had already begun to discover his secrets before his cremated remains arrived to me in Calgary. And at that time when I received them, I was very angry with him, and I didn't even want him in the house. And so I took the urn and the remains into the garage, and that's where I was keeping them. And then I had to open the box for a reason. Somebody wanted some of John's ashes, and there's a dog take on the bag of ashes. Basically, it's an identification tag. And so when I put everything back together, I folded the bag. I put the day I take on top. I put the lid on the urn. There were four screws that I had to drill or screw in, and it was in the garage. And then a few days went by and I found the dog tag in our son dashes bedroom next to his bed under ah white board, where he had written I miss you, Dad. And when I found them, when I found the dog take, I was really upset because in my mind it meant that Dash had been snooping around in the garage and I was still finding like things. And I was afraid there might be drugs out there. And it it felt very alarming to me that he had been snooping around because there was just, just like a minefield. And so I was trying to gently reprimand him for having gone into the like, Where did you get this? And he's like, What is it? And I'm like, Did you go into the garage like, how did you do it? And and he had never can I see it and like he had never seen it before, and I have no way of understanding how that got there. Um, except that many, many months later. Ah, I was in a sort of grief support workshop and somebody was talking about people finding queens and that it's really common that, um, people will find dimes or coins in places that they are pennies like pennies from heaven. That expression actually comes from how common a phenomenon this is. And so then I was like, Well, a dog take this kind of coin, So it anyway. So that's one example of something that happened that showed me that there might be some kind of communication going on, but because I was still so mad at Shawn, I rejected it at the time. And then my electricity started going wonky in my house. But many, many, many things had to happen before I started to kind of believe in the phenomenon, Uh, are things as they were happening as I started to believe that Sean and I might be communicating somehow. Then things started happened that supported me, supported my idea that that he wants me to write his story, and that I started finding things and more clues that added to the story that almost in a sense, gave him his own voice in the story and so that I feel in some ways, like were jointly telling the story. Um, that's about that's about the extent of my answer. Yeah,
well, that's so cool, because it's like you're starting to come across pieces of information about him. Initially in the first year of grieving, you're coming across pieces of information about him that are painful discoveries for you, hidden secrets that are shocking and disturbing for you. And then, as you continue the process of writing this book, you start to come across hints and clues and things about him that are actually filling in beautiful blanks in the story of your relationship to
guess. Yes, absolutely. And the biggest thing that I still find astonishing is in order for me to kind of tumble onto the biggest, most upsetting secrets. I had to guess the password to Shawn's iPod, and I still to this day, I don't know how, except that he was reading a book about the Norman invasion, and I knew that it happened in 10 66 and that 10 66 was the past skirt, and I look like I got it. Unlike the second try, and so even that like when I know when I'm calmly down the road breaking it down, I'm like, Did I guess it? Or did 10 66 as I thought, flashed into my head from somewhere else. Like, I don't know who knows where thoughts come from, but it has occurred to me that it's a very, very unlikely to be able to for me to even remember like Norman Invasion 10 66. I'm not. I'm not well versed in all forms of history, so So I don't know. It's a mystery.
Well, what I What I find we tend to do in situations like that is that we do try and rationalize them or find the logic and, well, how you know, obviously, I would have come up with. He's reading this book the day, and it's like we want to kill the the mystery. We want to kill the magic of it by figuring out how it possibly could have mathematically happened instead of just like I have. No, How did I know his password of all the things in all of his life that he could have chosen for a password? That was it. Yes, and especially
because, like early on in our relationship. He gave me all his passwords and it was all fine. But because, like by this stage, he was changing the password all the time. You know, he was actively hiding a lot of things for me. And so it's just it's a mystery. I don't claim to know. I don't claim to know any of this, like how it works or what. All I can know is what my own experiences and somehow I guess, the password. And somehow that opened up, Ah, whole bunch of information for me to spend many once delving into. And it also, I feel like open up this line of communication between Shawn and I bet you know, continues in a different form now.
Yeah. Wow. So the skeptic in me or the skeptic in the audience, like, might say with the dog tags, that Dash is a kid who's lying about poking around where he shouldn't be poking around.
Yeah, 100% kids lie, and this is an interesting thing to because I don't know if this is a typical grief response. But Dash did start lying off just shortly after Shawn's death, But the things that the lives that he was telling where things like. He'd come home on the school bus and say that one of the other kids, like, threw a banana up in the air and had taken a plastic knife from the cafeteria and sliced it into five pieces. Well, well, it was coming down. And it was just like this little game on his iPad called Fruit Ninja. Um, and so much. Oh, that's what s so it's like so but still, the lies were super fantastical and very easy to spot. And so there's that side of it where his reaction seemed very genuine and very different from, you know, as he's fabricating these other stories, there's that side of it, and then the other side is I went immediately to the garage to look at the urn and because you know a kid like if they make a peanut butter sandwich, the bread, the knife, everything's out like there's lots of evidence. So I knew that he wouldn't have, and it was all intact, and I opened it. And the only thing that was different was that the dog take wasn't in the urn, so I of course I thought. I thought, Well, he's lying And so I tried to find its I I explored those avenues to So thanks for asking because yeah, those are important pieces of lead his We're checking, you know, our sanity and what's really and and especially when you're in a context where everything in your life feels like a lie, it's very hard to know what to believe. And yeah,
well, well, I just want to add on to that that that part of tracking yes is along the way. You have to keep deciding what you're going to believe about, what's happening in your experience. So you did your checking. You did your practical, real world checking. And then from that, you made a choice. I believe him. And that leaves me with the mystery now, of how the hell did the dog tags get there? But I'm going to elect to believe he was not lying. Then I've got to open to the mystery of the dog tags being there, and that's that's what it is. You're just as you're going. You're choosing? What am I gonna believe? What am I gonna believe now about what's happening and this I love how much you just opened. You were willing to let go of your belief system. If I can't empirically prove it, it's not true. And choose to believe new things as this experience was informing your
world. Yeah, and that process took a long time. Like I just I just put it aside like, if anything that I couldn't that I didn't know what to believe about. Like, I didn't automatically think that was Sean, while I kind of did. Well, I'll tell you really the truth of us. I did. The only explanation after I ruled out all these other things is that somehow so and I was mad at Shawn, as I have expressed. So I was mad at the stock take. I was yelling, screaming, like
So why you're haunting us now?
Look like like I was like, i e So I guess I open to some alternate belief. But I also wasn't accepting of that. Like, I was, like, get out. Like, yeah, like I'm not volunteering. Two be in a relationship with you, like I want you to, you know, leave us alone. Jesus. So anyway, yeah. So that was my state of mind. then and then it took a long time for me to kind of soften into, um Well, what if it's not like, hauntingly? What? What could it be? And and then, like I said, when I heard about that coin Zahra phenomenon that is our frequently found with communication between dead and living people, Um, it was just a piece of the puzzle that was my information gathering, right? And so then, like, just gradually, I decided to trust, like, I know what happened to me. I don't know what it means. I don't like I don't know that it's Sean, for sure. But as I have soft into it, um, I've acted in response to it, as though I believed and then other things started happening. And so they almost felt like like a call in response on dso to me. I guess that's where my story fits very well into tracking. Yes, because of you know what? You were just explaining about that what you decide you believe, leads to what happens next. And and definitely that because how it's worked out between Sean and
me. Yeah. So what you're saying is so mirroring my experience of if we open to believe. Okay, there's more going on and what we can empirically prove. It's like these little glimmers start to reveal themselves, and we either discount them and carry on in the real physical world. And that's all that's riel, or we start to include them as we go. And if we keep including them as we go, then they start to be a puzzle that's being pulled together to reveal something to us. But if you don't, if you don't include them. If you're no discount, rationalize away. There's no positive you're not gonna see another reality because your dad having it. It just makes me
wonder, like, Are these things going on all around us all the time? And we are opening our discounting just based on either no contraceptive were feeling or
Yeah, okay, so you've started to become aware that there is a relationship that continues when someone has left this physical world. You're feeling still that you are in a relationship with Shawn, even though he's not here in his physical body anymore.
Yes, I feel that very strongly and and I think that probably that it's possible for all of us that when the person dies, the relationship doesn't die that we can continue to be in relationship with our loved one who has died and a lot. I think a lot of people still talk to their loved one. A lot of people still, you know, act in ways and in our society doesn't like when you do that like that. It looks that people they look Oh, she's stuck in the past or she's not moving on or that sort of thing like we like to see people kind of pushed that aside. And so I think a lot of people do those things, but kind of hide it. And so I I For me, I was kind of down with the fact that we still love our people and that we can still, But I didn't know howto How do you forgive someone who has died, like, How do you fix a relationship with someone who has died like there? Is there some, like marriage counseling, like you like that kind of thing? It's like, you know, like I and and why did I even want Thio? But it was It became so clear to me through the things that were happening, that Sean was extending me in all of branch, like for my and and because one of the things that I learned was how to start listening to my intuition. Because when I look back on like my intuition was screaming at me at times that something was wrong and I did. I knew something's wrong but not wet and so trusting. My intuition was it was a big guiding principle. And so one of the things because I had felt mentioned about cleaning up like clean up this mess and clean up the mess was, in my view, part of fixing the relationship. And one of the things that Sean was hiding was pornography, addiction. And so, um, it wasn't like, I know lots of people, you know, look at our use pornography. And I'm not putting any judgment time what consenting people do or anything around that. But in addition to bipolar, Sean was also would have been clinically o c. D. Diagnosis. And so he was not just looking at pornography but also like hoarding it like, and he had computers and computers and other hard drive's full of basically downloaded and cataloging like the whole Internet of pornography. Um, not the whole Internet, but anyway, you get my drift. And a lot of the computers were in this mechanical room in my basement, and I knew they were there and overtime. I just stopped wanting to go into that room, and then I kind of started stopped wanting to go into the room next to it, which was like a kind of craft and storage supply room and then my laundry room, and I was letting clutter and things pile up because of how much I didn't want to go in the room. And then when, like when the electricity was going wonky in my house, I didn't want to call an electrician's A because I kind of knew it wasn't my electricity, but also because I didn't want to let a trades person into that room of my house. And so what I eventually did was call you because you had done the big de clutter for yourself and you came and helped me. Two deal with all of that stuff, and we took over £1100 of garbage out of my house. We took loads and loads of stuff to donation. We took loads and loads of stuff to recycling. And you took those computers back to have their hard drives wiped. And two and you got them out. And it took us three days.
Yeah, that wasn't epic three days, and I remember the computers were one of the first things we did, which was interesting. We went in to do it, and then you close the door and said, No, I'm not ready. And we just had a very brief conversation about, you know, considering being ready to start there. And we went back in, and I remember being so moved that you you looked at those computers and it's like you're looking straight at the linchpin that was holding all this stuck energy together and responsible for all the clutter that was happening to try and cover it up. And I just watched you holding those computers almost like holding your shame in your hands, I guess, and then handed it to me and saying Yes, Okay, because I was gonna take them to a computer store to be wiped clean. And I just will never forget that moment of you saying Okay, take them. I felt everything just opened up in that moment.
I also felt that and I do feel like those computers were an embodiment of my shame, of Shawn's shame, like they were done and handing them over to you like like it. It was hard and it was also so liberating and and as soon as they were gone, it was huge. It was a huge shift in my leg, in the physical space in my body, and even after we were done and dash came down, that's my son's name. He came to town and looked and he was jumping up and down in the freedom of the space like and later he told me and he was 12 years old, he said. I feel like I had an ache that I didn't know I had. And now it's God, yeah, and I just like I just wanted to cry because, well, partly, I went into mother guilt that I had let the thing that was causing pain to my child exists in her house for so long, but also the fact that he could physically feel the difference that I also physically felt and that I also somehow I could feel was free to shine. Um, it just made it. Really? Do you know what I mean? It wasn't. I knew that it wasn't just in my head or in my imagination, because you felt it. Dash felt it like it. It was a really thing in in the space and in our lives.
Yeah, well, I wanna I actually wanted It's so interesting. Want to make a correlation with what you're saying? Because you're you're reflecting your own experience that you are having a living organic relationship with a person that some people would say when they died. That was period. Stop the end of this and you can't really have a relationship with them because they're now on Lee ever where they stopped from that period before that. That's all you can relate to.
Yes, they're not
continuing. So you're both speaking to that. And we're now we're bringing in also the de cluttering. We have all this stuff and we think that it's just solid stationery stuff, but it's also organic and living and moving. And when we relate to it as that, the whole experience of your world becomes so much more organic. And we saw it with the de cluttering, particularly that one piece that you guard into relationship with courageously said Okay, if I want to be free, I've got to let this go And it responded, You let it go and the energy just opened up. And you think you could feel Sean fill the space healthy? Sean?
Yeah, yeah, Or just like. And I think like the whole the whole Sean, like Shawn's essential cell and yeah, and then it was, like a damn what? It was like a dam. And then whoosh like the damn opened up. And then there was so much more possibility And that thing that was, you know, a stagnation point for for me and for him. Um And then there's something else, as you were kind of tying it together about, like so many people, we would say, like when someone dies, that's ads like Stop there. And then there's also the belief, which I guess is kind of what would have under lied me and a lot. And I'm not meaning to step on anyone's toes, depending on their spiritual values. But I think I guess I thought if it's not the end, then you go to heaven or some eternal thing where it's like and everything's all good. It's all good. It's the glory. It's I don't think that anymore. I have shifted to think that even I'll call it our soul. That's the language that I would use. Our soul can continue to grow beyond death that it's not like they just get to some permanent perfection, that that there's some sort of continuation there, and I and for me, that's why fixing this relationship was important because it was It helped both of us. And like that is I guess it, in essence, the crux of my story. Yeah,
well, it's interesting because you're speaking to fixing the relationship. But what I'm really hearing is your continuing to be in the relationship,
yes, and but making us continuing to be in the relationship and allowing their relationship to get into a better place.
Yeah, because you're committed two continuing a healthy, ongoing relationship for both of you. Yes. I mean, what has really struck me And you said this earlier that you believe some of the choices that you've been making have been healing for Shawn. It's been so interesting for me. to witness that and see, I get I get what you're saying and I never considered that before that we are helping the continued evolution of the soul of the person we love. Bye. By healing the threads and the unresolved things that were in place when they left, Yes. And this room,
Yes, and And for me? Look, I at the beginning, I can't believe I didn't think of this. When you asked the question, What was the hardest thing? The hardest thing was like, How am I going to bring this into the open? Why in the world would I, like, expose my child to the knowledge of this open up Sean and myself to criticism from people who would judge him or us? Why why would I even talk about this? What, like why? And the answer is so clear to me now that it's for the healing because shame can't survive the light and that bringing these things to light is not only healing me, it's healing our son and debated Lee. I don't not debatable to me, but people can argue. I think it's it's healing the whole system off our family. It's healing, potentially future generations because my my son isn't living under a veil of shame and a cloud of shame. And if he ends up developing bipolar disorder, he's going to relate to it in a very different way than his dad did, because he knows that I can still love him. He knows that he is loved and he knows that. You know, there's so much more support for him and he doesn't have to hide, and he doesn't have to be stigmatized and ashamed. And so that's why I'm writing my book. It's also been the hardest thing about writing my book.
Yeah, yeah, it's It's so interesting. Kristina Prat, who I can link to in the show notes says Children can handle pretty much anything if they're told the truth. What scares Children is what when what they sense is contrary to what they're being told or what they're being shown. And so when you hat started to have some conversations with Dash about this, what did you notice?
Oh, Liz. Uh, well, first of all, that everything that I thought that I was hiding and sheltering him from I was not successful in doing that. So he already knew, and it's It's like what? That quote from Kristina Prop basically nails it. I would when I would tell him you'd be like, Oh, yeah, cause. And then he would share what the experience is like being in the car when Sean said trying to kill me and ran away like he was there and he and so we were able to talk through that. And it was during the conversation, he visibly relaxed. He opened up about what that was like for him, and then we were able to talk through and move through. And so, as I've been writing through, you know, different phases in different times, and he's growing up. And there have been opportunities for me to kind of gradually an age appropriately share these things about Sean. And so Dash knows almost everything. Like if he were to listen to this podcast, he won't be surprised by anything that's happened. So I'm not keeping secrets from him, and I'm also not trashing Shine and he, like Dash knows I love Shawn, and he knows it's OK for him to love Shawn. And so it's been he he he constantly surprises me as just a wise and amazing soul any 13. So there's also, you know, the eye rolling and Thea other things that go along with that. But it has been, I don't know, like, because one thing we haven't talked about this the single parent aspect. Like like just like being thrown into all of that And how, um I don't know, it's hard and it made me afraid. But all we can do is the best that we can. And and, uh, not having to keep these things a secret and not having to lie to my child in order to preserve some illusion. It's been the best possible thing for me as a single parent, and I think for him growing up without a dad to have a mom that he knows that he can trust and talk to.
Yeah, what wisdom would you offer someone in the process of putting together the pieces of their life after the loss of a partner?
Yeah, well, when I was gathering up the pieces, especially after finding out about some of the betrayals that I felt, it looked like I had the ingredients to make a cake out of bitterness and resentment and just feed it to myself for the rest of my life. Crumb by Crumb. And I did not want that. I did not want that for myself. And so I just had a look at the pieces and say, What else can I make from this? And so my if I could offer any wisdom to someone, it would be slowly and gently gather up the pieces and look at them and then decide what you're gonna make and it's not. You can't put yourself back together exactly the way you were before, but you can make something and you get to be in charge of what? That iss.
Yeah, you are intimate with grease through your own experience through the writing of this memoir, and you created a website called Endless Stories where people could share their stories of the loss of somebody that they loved. And so, you know, you have a lot of experience with grief. What would you say is one of the common ms about grieving for grief? Uh,
well, I know exactly what I'm going to say, and I got this bit of wisdom from Dr Alan Will felt who's agreed, expert and he differentiated between grief and mourning, and he says that grief. Everybody knows it's the pain and the hole that you feel in the loss of the person or the thing that you loved. But morning is it's what you do to move it through. So it's it's he doesn't use the words but Externalizing it. So he says, You can dance it out. You can write it out, you can garden it out, you can run it out. But if we don't mourn our losses, we will grieve for the rest of our lives. And it's like being dead while we're still alive. And so the mission in all of that is that time heals. Time is not what heals. It's morning, the heels time just dulls. If you don't mourn your loss, you will always grieve it forever. And when he he said that I knew that that was true because I've seen people whose lives never recovered from a loss and so we can heal. We can heal, and that's what I would wish for everyone. And thank you for bringing up my website. Do you mind if I quickly So So, um, that web site is actually meant to be, Ah, container for stories of memories of people that we've lost because we are, I believe, still in relationship with them. But it's hard to say there aren't that many ways of expressing it. And so it's it's open to anyone. And I would just invite anyone who wants to if they want to read other people's stories or submit their own, Uh, there's no barrier in terms of writing. I would never reject anything or anyone, and and I also don't really promote it. So it's not. It's not a big risk of vulnerability that a lot of people are going to see it. It's mostly just for you, between you and your person, anyway. And it's called Endless Stories. Got love
and I will put a link to that in the show notes as well. Thanks, Liz. Just thanks so much for coming on today. This has been a really great conversation, and I so appreciate your authenticity and your vulnerability and your willingness to share hard things.
Thanks. Thanks for having me.
Hey, thanks for joining us today. Check out the show notes for links to my coaching log tracking yes dot com and my coaching website Liz wilson dot com. I hope you'll join me for my next episode. I'm doing a bit of a riff on the Corona virus and sharing some thoughts about how we can stay grounded and clear and creative in this very uncertain time, so that we can be an effective bridge through the hard sledding to wherever it is that we're going next. If you like the show, please subscribe at apple podcasts or Spotify or wherever it is that you like to listen to podcasts. I talk to you next time and in the meantime have a great week and keeps the compass lined up with yes, well.
Jessica Waite believes in the transformative power of writing through grief.
She lives in Calgary with her son and their enormous and very cuddly rescue mutt. She’s currently working, in secret, on her first memoir: https://www.storymourning.com/a-secret-book.html
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