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Thursday 9 November 2023

Best and Worst Things to Say to people in grief

Recently Oprah posted an article about dealing with people who are grieving. Here at The Glam Reaper (And Muldowney Memorials) we understand grieving to be loss of any kind - watch my TedTalk to hear my view directly. 

Loss can be the loss of a job, a partner (death/divorce), a child (death/divorce/emancipation/distance/kidnapping), a pet (death/stolen/divorce), an object that was stolen or a home that was ransacked or just simply sold. It can be a myriad of things and more so we need to be gentle with each other and with ourselves on how we deal with others who are grieving. 

Grief specialist /counselor and author David Kessler  says 

“the most visited page (on his website is the ‘Best and Worst Things to Say’ to people in grief, and it is most visited in the middle of the night….This tells me that people are up, trying to figure out the right words.”

Here are *some of the tips that are provided in the Oprah Daily article

*altered slightly, as we dont agree 100% with everything suggested in the article

  • Don’t avoid the topic.
    •  They haven’t forgotten the loss, they never will. Avoidance doesn’t help, it just ignores the elephant in the room. If it's a person or a pet - use their name. Recall memories naturally. The love is still there, that doesn't go away.
  • Don’t “bright side” the situation. 
    • I confess that sometimes I have to stop myself from being a ‘positive polly’ with friends because, like most of us when a friend is in pain, we just want to make them feel better. This can have a time and a place and there is no harm in asking when in doubt. Listening is the best tool you can be armed with as a friend, and if you listen well, you'll hear the right moment (if one comes) to help them focus on the future or the best.
  • Offer tangible support
    • "I can bring your dinners on these days, is that helpful?"
    • "Let me walk your other dogs/feed your other pets for you next week"
    • "Can I bring you to the courthouse/cemetery one of the days this week?"
  • When you go blank, just be honest. 
    • “I just don’t know what to say”
    • "I have no clue what this pain must be like but tell me, if you want. I'm here to just sit with you"
    • "I wish I had some words that would help"
  • Say nothing, just BE with the person. Physical contact can also help when permitted.

    None of this is easy or is there a perfect way to go about it. It's rough no matter what information you are armed with. There is a lot on Kesslers website I personally disagree with and he is a 'specialist' so all that tells me is reaffirming that GRIEF IS UNIQUE and completely personal and individualized. There is no right or wrong way but merely helpful information and knowledge we can arm ourselves with to help BE there for our loved ones who are going through it.

Friday 27 October 2023

The Glam Reaper Goes to Guyana!

It's time for another Glam Reaper adventure, this time to Guyana! We crossed off one more to-do from our bucket list. Yay! Join Jen as she journeys to the Land of Many Waters to explore its rich culture and history and discover beautiful destinations and meet new people. It was an eventful 11-day trip with lots of sailing and fun!

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A Quick Look at a Guyanese Funeral


Have you ever wondered how the Guyanese honor their dead? Join Jen as she takes a closer look at the unique funeral culture and traditions that shape the way people in Guyana bid farewell to their deceased.

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Wednesday 23 August 2023

Return Home: Honoring Life's Journey Beyond with Brienna Smith


In this episode of The Glam Reaper podcast, your host Jennifer sits down with Brienna Smith, the Chief Operating Officer of Return Home—a full-service green funeral home offering Terramation (human composting services). They dive into important topics that might sound unfamiliar but are essential for understanding the cycle of life.

Return Home was born with the idea of providing families with a kind, clear, and open way to take care of their loved ones after they pass away. It’s a unique and natural approach that keeps the circle of life going. 

And while the concept of Terramation may sound strange, it's also a way to let a person's body become part of the Earth again naturally. No fancy chemicals, just nature doing its thing.

Ever wondered how long it takes for a body to return to the Earth? Brienna breaks it down for us. It's not something we think about every day, but understanding the process can help us appreciate the Earth's ways.

Methane and other gases are also on the agenda. You’ve probably only heard these terms in science class, but here, they're connected to the natural process of a body returning to the Earth. Brienna explains how these gases are involved in the cycle.

Tune in to this episode to learn about these down-to-earth topics on how to embrace the end of life with openness while understanding the natural journey we all take.

- The Birth of Return Home: Providing families access to inclusive, gentle, transparent death care that continues the cycle of life
- What is human composting?
- How long does it take to return a body to Earth?
- What role do methane and other gases play in the process of terramation?

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Thursday 10 August 2023

Dying, Dining: Amber the Mortician’s Kitchen Tales


Welcome to another episode of the Glam Reaper Podcast! This time, Jennifer sits down with Amber Carvaly, who you probably know as the 'Mortician in the Kitchen'. Curious how she got that name? Tune in as Amber shares her life story and everything that led her to this special title.

But there is more to this conversation than just Amber’s story, as she and Jennifer also chat about topics that some find hard to talk about: death, dying, and yes, even food. So if you’ve ever thought of turning feelings of loss into something tasty, you’re not alone! Stream this episode and learn about Amber’s unique recipe, which is inspired by the ways we remember and honor our loved ones. And, make sure you don’t miss out on their tips on how you can make it easier to talk about difficult topics such as death and dying. 

We hope you enjoy this episode!

- Amber’s journey through life that led her to becoming the ‘Mortician in the Kitchen’
- The fascinating and oftentimes taboo topics of death, dying, and food
- Irish funerals and food
- How to bring these taboo topics to light and make them more accessible for everyone.
- Converting grief into recipes: A recipe inspired by funerals and memorial services

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Sunday 30 July 2023

Breaking Taboos on Death, Grief, and Loss: The Jennifer Stritch Interview


Welcome to another episode of The Glam Reaper Podcast! This week, your host, Jennifer, welcomes an exceptional guest who shares not only her name but also a deep interest in understanding the complexities of loss, grief, and death. Meet Jennifer Moran Stritch, a leading light in the field of grief research at the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest.

First up, Jennifer walks us through her personal journey. From her early interests and experiences to her current position as the Primary Principal Investigator of the Loss and Grief Research Group, we'll get an insightful glimpse into the path that led her to become an expert in this field.

Then, we dive into something that is often overlooked in schools—the all-important conversation surrounding loss, grief, and death. Why is it that these vital subjects don't make it to the classroom discussion often enough? Listen as Jennifer shares her perspective on this crucial issue and emphasizes the importance of breaking the silence around these ‘taboos’ in schools.

And, as we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically shifted the world's perspective on many things, including how we view death. Our two Jennifers delve into this significant shift and explore how the global health crisis has changed our collective understanding and experience of death.

Finally, we cap off this episode with a fascinating look at the evolution of how people perceive death. How have our views changed from the past to the present? What can we learn from these changes? 

Don't miss out on this intriguing discussion! Join us on this journey as we continue to demystify death and provide a safe space for these essential conversations. Whether you're a faithful follower or a new listener, this episode of The Glam Reaper Podcast is sure to provide valuable insights and foster a deeper understanding of life's ultimate inevitability—death.

- Get to know more about Jennifer Moran Stritch’s background and journey
- Why students don't talk enough about loss, grief, and death
- The importance of talking about loss, grief, and death in schools
- How COVID drastically changed the way people view death
- The evolution of people’s perspective on death: Past vs. Present

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Thursday 20 July 2023

Hope, Resilience, and Death: A Candid Conversation with Dr. Kathryn Mannix


In this heartwarming episode of The Glam Reaper Podcast, your host Jennifer Muldowney sits down with the amazing Dr. Kathryn Mannix, author of the insightful and thought-provoking book 'With The End In Mind.' Together, they delve into the profound wisdom of dying and death that the book captures.

Dr. Mannix's contributions to the realm of palliative care extend far beyond authorship. She is recognized for initiating the first Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) clinic exclusively dedicated to palliative care patients, potentially a global first. She has also created a 'CBT First Aid' training module designed to empower her fellow healthcare professionals and help them up-skill and improve patient care. 

The topic of death often invokes fear and apprehension. However, Dr. Mannix's extensive experience in caring for the dying suggests an alternative perspective, one that portrays death as less frightening and more peaceful than generally perceived. This episode highlights the reasons behind the common fear of dying and discuss potential ways to alleviate such anxieties. 

But today's discussion is not just about death and the fears that people associate with it. It’s also a conversation of hope and resilience, as Dr. Mannix also tells stories from her years in palliative care that highlight these qualities. These narratives are proof that love and hope can flourish even in the most challenging circumstances. 

Stream this episode and join us for this insightful and inspirational discussion on hope, resilience, and death.

- Dr. Mannix’s book, With the End in Mind, which reacquaints us with the universal, but deeply personal, process of dying
- Her 30-year career in palliative care and her life’s journey
- How Dr. Katherine's experience in palliative care reveals that the process of dying can be less frightening and more peaceful
- Why most people fear dying
- The beauty of human resilience: Dr. Kathryn’s stories from dark places of hope and love

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