Encountering Grief: Jeanette White

Dan and Rachael continue a conversation about grief on the podcast, this week engaging Jeanette White, Interim Senior Director of The Allender Center. Jeanette, a dear friend and colleague of our hosts, graduated from The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology with an MA in Christian Studies in 2007 and has been an essential member of The Allender Center since its founding in 2011. As you listen to their conversation, you’ll hear them discuss in more depth Jeanette’s story and the two sides of grief—one that is messy and hard, and the other that opens your heart and eyes to the realities that we cannot engage without walking through the valley of the shadow of death. As we are in a season of collective loss, trauma, and grief, it is our hope that grief would move us to a deeper understanding of the suffering of others and ways we can come alongside and be a catalyst for care.

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Episode Transcript

Dan: For many, the topic of grief and loss will cause you to just go, I’m not gonna listen to this podcast. And you know, in an era like this, where there is so much loss, so much grief, there is a sense of: we get it. Yet I’m going to introduce you to one of our dear dear friends and colleagues who will talk about the two sides of grief, one side that is so messy and hard and the other side that opens your heart and your eyes to realities that in some sense, we cannot engage without walking through the valley of the shadow of death. So, you know, it isn’t a matter of saying to you, you know, don’t have children nearby as you’re listening to this podcast, but your heart needs comfort. And I believe that’s what you’re going to encounter. And so to have Jeanette white and Jeanette, Such a delight to have you with us. She is the Director of Offerings and Administration and actually has about 14 other titles and other jobs at the center. Let me just remind the audience that we’ve talked about. Some of the issues that you have encountered in infertility,  miscarriages and death. And just the gift of being able to have you back on after a significant period of deep wrestling. Um, guide us as to where you want to go with regard to the notion of these two sides of grief and loss.

Jeanette: Thank you, Dan, thank you, Rachel. It’s really good to be with you and yeah, I think as I was thinking about this topic and just acknowledging first, like we’re in such a profound season as a culture of many different forms of trauma and loss and grief and how those are all kind of commingled. And I think that how any of us get through really, any kind of experience of grief and loss, there’s just this really kind of raw, lasting kind of painful impact that is just there on our inner life, our emotions and our mindset that shapes us and changes us and we carry with us to a certain degree over time. And there’s also this way that grief and heartache just it does, it moves us toward a deeper understanding of the suffering of others in the world, Dan as you shared as we started, it’s just an attunement that I think can be a catalyst for care as we become kind of as a byproduct, people who can come alongside others in their suffering in ways that we couldn’t before when we’ve been through elements of just deep loss. So I think for me, wanting to talk about these two sides of grief that I’ve found to be true for myself, and I think others will relate to some of this, it’s, you know, take what feels like it connects and release the rest. But I think that at its heart, grief itself is basically the process of carrying and adjusting to the experience of loss. And grief is inevitably bound up with trauma, because loss is so often a trauma in and of itself and grief and trauma, it’s just messy business for our bodies and our hearts and our minds to wade through. So, I think that’s kind of how I come into today, I wanted to just talk about. Yeah, I think what I would consider like that first side of grief and that’s not that hard, takes just that really raw underbelly of grief and loss. It’s like gritty, we don’t talk about it, not pleasant places where, you know, I just think again, your mindset, your inner thought life, just wanting to really honestly name some of those places where we get triggered, you know, and we’ll talk about these later. But I think places of hopelessness and guilt and blame and envy, hypervigilance and fear. It’s just they’re so common and they’re just ripple effects of what we have faced.

D: Well, even the reality of those words, hopelessness and guilt and blame and then knowing that you can’t help but engage the hypervigilance, and you feeling envy for others who are not going through this, sometimes bizarre, other people feeling envious that you’re actually in this drama and somehow mature. I mean, it’s crazy making.

Rachael: I love that you use this language of the raw underbelly, because we’re talking about, you know, messy emotional spaces that are also so deeply connected to our bodies and there’s something about that language of like the raw underbelly– this heartache and rawness and messiness is so bodily too, and I just appreciate you, kind of like you said, we don’t talk about a lot of these spaces and especially in our culture here in the United States around how we grieve and have been taught to grieve. It’s very like, ok, you can take a week off but then you need to come back and be super functional.

J: It’ll be good to just need more around those as we talk and I think, you know, with the other side, just again to kind of frame where I want us to kind of go today is not this thing that puts on a bow of what we’ve been through or tries to make this like deep meaning about it, but it’s just the reality that like, heartache, it just inevitably tunes us to others in a different kind of way and there’s an opportunity and just again, kind of that natural byproduct of being able to offer connection and care to others in the midst of what we have suffered. And I just think those show up in places, you know, around empathy and sensitivity and hospitality and moves into places of calling for some of us too. So I just, those are kind of the two realms to dive into today and you know, I imagine it would be helpful for me to share a bit of just where I’m coming from. The two things I wanted to highlight: the first is, I suffered a really painful and traumatic loss of my dad in 2017. And it was such a shocking experience that sometimes I honestly still find my head shaking in disbelief. Like I just, I can’t believe this is real. And you know, he had experienced a gallbladder attack and it was just this extreme and like lasting abdominal discomfort in the aftermath. And um, it was Christmas time. So our family had all gotten together and he was, you know, feeling a little bit better. But we all knew he was heading in to get a scan and likely to figure out like, hey, you know, let’s get you set up for a gallbladder removal. And discovered a couple of weeks after Christmas after we’d all headed back home to our families and um, but they discovered a large mass that was actually the problem and realized it was really advanced cancer, and later found out it was pancreatic cancer. And so his decline was so rapid that he wasn’t even able to start chemotherapy. And we, we lost him literally like, I think it was barely two weeks after his cancer diagnosis. And I think that when, you know, I’ve reflected on this so many times, I’m like, I feel like when you get a cancer diagnosis, you’re like, well there’s some time, right? Like whether it’s six months or five years or total remission, there’s something. Um, and so I think the fact that I just had never heard of someone dying from cancer so quickly, just that the shock of all of it, I simply couldn’t prepare myself or come to grips with what we were like facing even when we started discussing hospice care a few days later, you know, and are a few days before he died really. And you know, I was with him. I had come down to be with him and my mom for the final 12 days of his life and was alongside my family as we were just all just racing for options, right? You’re just incredibly just stressful, distressing, hope against hope. And so I think even just kind of naming all of that, just knowing as many have experienced this year, just what it’s like to lose someone very quickly after a diagnosis where you think like, how could this possibly be? You’re fighting so hard for options and alternatives and you’re just feeling helpless. Just kind of in shock that things have happened this way. So that’s one story that is just, it’s not a story, it’s my life, right? Like it’s this deep place that I’m having to carry and carrying into the midst of this, this moment in our, our world and our culture too. But you know, the other, the other piece and Dan, as you shared, we’ve talked about this on a podcast series several years ago, but another realm of my life that has just been great heartache and loss is my struggle with infertility and miscarriage. And in our most recent chapter in this realm, I just think that, you know, sometimes loss comes as like a final blow. You know, it’s like something you’ve been able to weather for a long time, but you just you hit that, that thing that happens and it just knocks you down and you don’t know if you are able to get back up and I think for me and my husband, you know, I have been through four first trimester miscarriages before finally turning to fertility treatments and being able to have our son back in 2015. He just turned six. He’s just such a gift. And you know, that’s when we’ve done that podcast series, we were kind of like a happier place, right? I was like, yay, we kind of made it through and then when my son was barely a year old and you guys know this story, you’ve been with me through all of this, but I found out I was pregnant with twins and it was a total surprise which we then lost during the first trimester. And it just was a very physically traumatic miscarriage. It was three or four months before my body had actually fully recovered from that. So it’s like we started that grief process all over again, right? We’ve been through all the losses. We’ve had our son and then we had this surprise that opened up our hearts again And it took me probably like three years to really heal in some ways from that emotionally. And that was back in 2019 and you know, I felt like my heart had just finally been like okay, like I’m settled. We are a family of three. This is lovely. I am well. We are ready to move forward. And just that feeling of feeling peace all of a sudden, surprise, we found out we were pregnant once again. And you know this news. I mean just so many layers of the kind of cruelty of it. But it came literally a couple days after our son’s fourth birthday party. We’ve been cleaning out the house, moving stuff around from all his new gifts. And I was like, you know what babe? Like I am ready to move forward. Let’s get all this baby stuff out of our house that we’ve been holding on to. You know just out of that. Like just in case a miracle came along and literally a couple days later is when I found out I was pregnant. And so you start making all this meaning out of it, right? Like oh gosh, this is going to be our just redemptive experience. But we were also just terrified because of all I’d suffered up to that point. So I think I name that because it’s like all that past trauma came raging back. And I think that’s so common right when you’ve been through something in the past, whether it’s related or not to what you’re going through in that moment. Um, all of the past just comes up and it’s there and it’s flooding your experience that you’re in right now. So I think, you know, I was just in this state of fear and just really like terror for like 10 weeks while we went through that first trimester. And once we started reaching that like, 14, 15, 16 week mark started to really feel like we could trust this, like, this was real, This really was this, like, redemptive, beautiful experience that we were going to have and um, We had, you know, told our four year old son he was going to be a big brother. We had been anticipating just imagining our life with our new baby coming, and then we got this horrible news at 16 weeks, five days that the baby had died. So yeah, speaking of like the final blow for us, that was just so it just was it. All that we’ve been through over just that full decade of now losing our seventh child miscarriage. I just was a– I don’t know, just a sobbing shell of a mess for many months and certainly I’m still recovering in some ways, right? It’s it’s barely two years since we had that experience. But I think I share all of this just because we’re in a time when we have many in our world suffering repeated, profound losses on many levels. And it’s really hitting people like waves, right? And it’s just this is a time in our history that has certainly triggered fresh and ongoing processes for me and some new awareness is of these past losses that I just named.

D: Even hearing this, Jeanette, having the privilege of walking through those years with you. And those experiences like I feel I feel again the nausea and the tears as well as just the rage. Of this is too much too much for my dear friend to encounter. And in the middle of that, just that question and so important to return that people sometimes think that they resolve past losses and yet you’ve made it so clear that when you go through something new, it’s not just the new, it’s also it resounds, it repeats something of the losses that happened before. I don’t know how you can even be talking without having in some sense the return of grief and loss. The complexity of the mess that you put words to. That’s part of the courage of actually even coming on, is to name what you have gone through is even part of what your body has to be suffering now. What has your heart done in the midst of having to go through not just the current, but as well, the multiple losses before?

J: Yeah, I mean certainly it’s like you can, I can feel my heart pounding and like more, it’s like I’m giving you guys like this flyover, right? And there’s just all– like the grit I think of loss, and what we hold internally, and those stories and those images and the layers and just tender moments and there’s hundreds of them right in the midst of loss. I think those are just all there. I feel aware of how much is not being said right about just the reality of both of those significant realms of loss around my dad and our miscarriages.

R: And I think something that you named as well, Jeanette is just that, even the loss of this current moment that a lot of people are experiencing, and just wave after wave after wave of loss that’s also compounding with past losses that impacts us. And you’ve named these both sides of like– and I think something I want to like, nuance is, I’m not convinced every person who experiences loss actually lets their grief transform them into a capacity for deeper empathy. I think you and I could both name, we actually know a lot of people who can teach about grief and loss but have refused to enter with more integrity, some of their own heartache. And there’s no judgment of that. Like, that is each and every person’s own journey and own capacity and own, kind of a, I think faith journey with God. But we all know that people who cannot tolerate when we are in seasons of loss and suffering, we feel them move away, we feel them minimize harm, we feel them offer really ridiculous, like pithy sayings that are somehow supposed to bring comfort, and I’m always want to be like, does that work? Does that actually work for you in your own life? And so I think I just want to name for our listeners: your profound heart of integrity to allow the horror you have experienced to be redeemed, not in a way that puts a bow on it, as you’ve you’ve said, but in a way that opens your own capacity to journey with others in the places of horror and insurmountable loss. And I appreciate your integrity to name: That’s not all that’s there. There is also that other side of the triggering the re-bringing back up of envy and pain and hypervigilance and just the messiness of it all. And that those things are so bound up together.

D: The fact is then, that maturity in so many ways, it’s not being done with grief, but allowing grief to return when there is new work to be done. And that Jeanette you have clearly been willing to do new work with regard to not only what’s happening, you know, in the, in the present, but also from the past. And again, I don’t want to move quickly from that because it sounds like that’s resolved. But I also know that you’ve talked well about the two sides, that there has been something in this process that has been life changing for you. And I just want to make sure that you’ve got plenty of time to put words to that.

J: Yeah, thank you. I’d love to talk a little bit more. I just, I feel, I feel like our listeners and you know, you guys know me. I’m like, I am not, I’m not gonna sugarcoat how I’m feeling. And just again, just like that, that pain that’s there and just name it. Because sometimes I think people just need to hear like, oh, someone else feels that way too. Someone else has experienced that. Maybe I don’t need to bury that for myself. Because I think part of that part of the grief process is to be honest, where these places that we can say, oh, this is not an attractive place to be, but it’s there. And so I think I’d love to just talk, It sounds weird. “I’d love to talk about like this raw underbelly of grief”, but I think that just naming, I think wanting to hear from you guys to places where you’ve found this in your own life. But to talk a little bit about like yeah, the hopelessness and the guilt and the envy and those places that are there with us and it’s not necessarily a season, it’s some of what we carry with us. I think forever.

R: It’s interesting when you say that the thing that comes to mind for me, which I think is where you and I are very different. The raw underbelly, [laughs] I can think back to significant seasons of profound horror and loss in my life. One that comes to mind is when a dear dear dear friend was, I would say, a victim of suicide. A close family friend, and it was my first real tangible experience of just the tragedy and horror of death that is just not meant to be. And I still remember to this day in the wake of that season and when it comes back, because again, like you said that grief doesn’t go away, it doesn’t get resolved, you carry it with you. But I remember being so angry at everyone. Like I knew a way that actually I the raw underbelly of grief, I know this for myself, how when I have just kind of a raw rage that it’s so intricately connected to like deep, deep wells of grief, so I would be in like a coffee shop and someone’s petty– excuse my language– but petty-ass, “You didn’t make this right!” and I would just be like, “You can go f— yourself!”, you know, like there is so much more like I think when you are in these places where the fragility of life feels so clear and you’re encountering people who are obviously not in that place because they have all kinds of margin to be upset about the most asinine things, like just like that’s I think how the envy would manifest was just this kind of rage against people’s like stupidity. Again, obviously I was coming from a place of just profound heartache, but I just couldn’t reconcile, I couldn’t reconcile that and I see that a lot in this current cultural moment and I know that’s played out for me in so many different, like just that rage and envy and just, I cannot be like this almost, I would say like disgust with people. And I’m seeing that play out in our world today, just I’m so aware when I’m encountering people who just feel like they have no margin and you just feel that desperate rage, I’m like, what, what have, what has your heart and body and life known of profound loss in this season that it is almost intolerable to be around people going on as if complaining about a latte is like your biggest problem in the world.

J: Yeah. You really do find it’s like a bit of an alternate universe. That’s what I always say. I feel like when people are in trauma, when I have found that I’ve been embedded deeply in it is you feel like this whole world is happening around you and you’re like, “What!? Don’t you see, like what is wrong with you!?” Kind of those things and then you have your own inner mental life going on around. Like, as you’re talking about envy, I just was thinking about, for me just the reality of like, oh my gosh, you know, when, when you see people who have what you no longer do or what you’ve never been able to have because of, of loss or just never having what you desired. It’s s just brutal. Like, like these things relating back to some of my losses. It’s like seeing older couples that are like, my parent’s age who get to like, Be like 80 years old together, you know, or grandfathers with their grandkids and you know, my dad was only able to be a grandfather for 21 months, you know? And it’s just so painful. It brings it up. And then there’s just like these spikes of jealousy and envy that can creep in when seeing people out with, like, two or more kids, right? Like, it’s just especially brothers because we were expecting a little boy and you know, it’s just, it’s just hard. It sucks. I can’t seem to stop those flashes as they arrive. And I think like I just keep bringing that kindness back to myself and my heart because I know that it’s just hitting on something really tender. I don’t actually dislike these people, but I am very jealous that they get to have this thing and you know, to me it looks like they have this perfect life and obviously they don’t, we all have struggles, but I think just, you know, bearing witness to their lives is something I’ll never get to have or no longer have. It just brings up pain and it’s real and it’s not something to eradicate but acknowledge. I think that’s a place that I’ve just been like, “okay woman, your envy is deep”. And that’s just true. The realms of guilt and blame I think are so big to where we can each have our own spinouts in that, right? Like I think you can have guilt and blame are just two things that can really come up to. You’ve got guilt and self-blame. That internal place and then you’ve got more of that outer like outward centered blame.  And I know for me I felt more of like that internal guilt and self-blame. It’s just that like kind of that could’ve should’ve would’ve dance where especially with like our pregnancies, it’s like oh if only I had you know, maybe not eating this or not been so stressed or you know like all the things when there’s no answer, like we’ve had all the tests, you know, all the pathology reports, nothing comes back to give you any resolve. All that’s left to do is turn against yourself in some ways like what did I do? How did I cause something like this? I think those are just such painful places and, and then of course, like the hypervigilance and fear that comes after loss to of like, it’s going to happen to someone else I know, or any time you hear about someone else’s similar, you know, illness or disease or something like you almost feel like you’re going to catch it. Like, if I talk about this, if it happened to them, it’s going to happen to me. So, I just, I think about some of those places, I don’t know if there’s other stuff that comes to mind for you guys around just kind of that raw stuff that’s inside.

D: And your own sense of– I’ve seen you ferociously care for me and others in the middle of their own heartache. So the reality that the raw doesn’t ever really end, there is a cyclical movement, but your heart has a level of engagement with reality, with others, that I know you would name as something that you would never have wanted to go through to gain, but you have gained and I’d love for you to put words to that.

J: Yeah. You know, I think that yeah, it kind of comes around like that other side of grief, right? And I think what it kind of comes down to is like, who will you become as you move about in your life with the suffering you faced by your side? And again, I’m not talking about that bow. I’m not talking about striving for resilience or championing that as a goal because I think for people who have suffered deeply or repeatedly, whether it’s through systems that oppress and harm, global pandemics that wipe away livelihoods and families, or just the many blows that we face as humans who just simply must face the inevitability of death and illness impacting our lives over time– So what I’m more talking about, yeah, some of those, those byproducts of suffering that oddly become a gift to the world and the people in our lives because of what we’ve been through, and how it changes us and our capacity to come alongside others and bring care and support. So I think for me it is. It’s around just empathy and hospitality and calling. Because I would say that, you know, deepened empathy and understanding of another suffering is a natural impact of what I’ve been through, and I think that that happens for many others too. And you know, I’ve had friends after, they’ve unfortunately suffered losses as I have through miscarriage or the death of a parent come to me after they’ve been in their own pain and almost like apologize like I’m so sorry, I just didn’t reach out to you more when you went through this before, I had no idea how it felt. And that’s so true, right? Like you just don’t know until you unfortunately know. And I think that there’s a unique way that we can care for each other and feel connected to each other when we’ve had similar experiences that have brought heartache. And this is so understandable, it’s kind of like we suddenly connect through affinity suffering, if you will. I just made that term up [laughs], but when you’ve been through some the same sort of thing, it just naturally makes it easier to come alongside someone. But I also think there’s more here. I think that empathy can grow outside of affinity suffering, and that there are some universal realities and feelings around loss that we can tap into from our own stories in order to connect and offer care to others. And I think this is as simple as locating yourself. I kind of like putting on the cloak of pain that someone is in and that’s another way of saying like, you know, putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, but just to identify and find acknowledgement within your body towards someone’s pain, even if you can’t directly relate to it, because it’s not your particular story, but you’re digging into that knowing, and that empathy that’s within you, and it’s going to move you towards something that brings life to someone. You know, you can’t necessarily change their situation or make things better. It’s not the point. But you can say “I am with you” by just showing up in a kind way, you know, educating yourself or beginning to gain understanding in order to bring more care and presence. So I think that that’s an area that I’ve just found myself in this past year as others have been suffering different kinds of things to put myself there. And I think that hospitality is so tied to that, it’s that– hospitality is like the hands and feet of empathy, right? It’s what you do, what you do with that felt empathy. And you know, trauma experts say that when someone experiences something traumatic, it’s things like having that experience acknowledged, feeling heard, that really lighten that emotional burden, and make that more possible. And I think that we need deep hospitality in our world right now for those who are in some form of grief or loss.

D: Well, it’s so imperative that we name and not stop naming in terms of we know the season where you lost your father is not going to ever be an easy season and the losses of the miscarriages, particularly the last. Those are moments that we were meant to hold, those who know and love you in a part of your world, to hold in a way in which I think many would say, “oh, but it’s only going to bring back more grief”. And the answer is no, it joins the grief. It doesn’t, it’s already being brought back. You can’t escape it, but it’s meant to be joined and the word hospitality here, I think for many people will be weird. Like, what? Hospitality is having somebody over for a dinner, but you’re expanding it into the realm of what I think it means when you use it as hospice. hospitality. It’s a place of rest. It’s a place where we can find rest if we join one another.

R: And there is, there is, I think, I mean I love how you’re naming and it is that sense of, it’s not like God is bringing the suffering just to make us more empathetic. It is the promise of the Gospel to bring beauty out of ashes. And I think one of those beautiful things is a deeper capacity for a more radical form of hospitality that actually we’re meant to embody, like the suffering messiah, the one who suffers with us, the groaning God who is present with us, even in the forsake goodness, even in the hopelessness, even in the raw underbelly. And I just want to name: you have been a friend, even in places where I would say I am suffering loss. That if I were to compare my loss to your loss, which you’ve never asked me to do. Like, I think about a time I was dating and it was a significant relationship because it was the first dating relationship in the wake of, of a sexual assault that took a lot of work, but it ended not awesomely, and I remember you getting in your car at like 11 PM, as a mom and a wife and you know, we’re like old enough that coming over to a friend’s house at 11 PM is like, well past our bedtime and you brought me Mcdonald’s. And you spent the night on my couch, and you just let me wallow and rage and retell the story. I think probably on loop like 14 times, trying to make sense of the absurdity of this moment. But you, you met me in my heartache with a kind of hospitality I will never forget and has deeply shaped me. And I think that that’s what I would want people to hear. We’re not talking about you uprooting your life– and sometimes it is uprooting your life and going to live with someone until they are well. But a lot of times it’s just showing up without like demand or expectation and just being with someone and making space for them and being present with them and I will never forget that cheeseburger, like it’s a weird thing to say, I think that cheeseburger and your presence and knowing you would come be with me in a moment like that, that so many people would just be like, “yeah, it’s a part of life, get over it, move on”. But you knew something of my heart and you embodied a kind of hospitality to me that actually made space for my grief to be, tended to instead of becoming like a rock around my neck that feels like it’s dragging me under. And that’s the kind of hospitality we’re talking about.

J: Yeah, I remember that so vividly, coming over and being with you. And there’s been times you’ve offered that back to me as well, I’ll never forget when you came over to my house every week, like every Wednesday after my dad died for months, you would come over and just be with me while I ate and fed my kiddo and put him to bed and you would do our dishes and then you would slip out like, as I was putting our son down and like, that was like the hands and feet of God and was so, so precious. I just– and it doesn’t have to be that big, right? I think that’s what you guys were naming. It’s that acknowledgment that can be in the smallest and biggest of ways for people that’s so important. I’d love to talk about one more realm, you know, the other side of this, that it doesn’t happen for everyone. There’s no like, oh, this needs to be suddenly, your pain turns into your calling. But it is odd, I think, how it’s happened for me. And I think, you know, I really stumbled into something that came about, a type of care that I now offer. That really came about directly because of the losses I’ve suffered. And you know, when I lost my dad, I was with him in his final moments and that experience was not the peaceful drifting off that I think we often imagine or others may have experienced when someone dies. And so even like 8 to 9 months later, I would find myself a few nights a week having just these images of his final moments start to flash in my mind and they would build and build and the whole scene would come alive and it was like I was just suddenly on a roller coaster with how fast– like heart pounding, you know, all those pieces and I would just feel overwhelmed and just filled with so much anguish and just have to ride that wave right until I could go to sleep. And I had heard about this technique and had been learning a bit about it to work through disturbing memories, which I’m now trained in to offer to others, but I was able to experience it firsthand back then, and it literally took me one session to reprocess that memory reduce that emotional charge that was coming up when I thought about it. And I have not had a single nighttime incident like that since. And you know, of course, heartache, there’s so much still, so much heartache and losing my dad. That’s a lifelong journey, but I was just floored by how much I needed that. And how helpful that was. So this is one of those moments where you’re like, because of this horrible experience I’ve gone through, I’m now getting trained. What I did is I went and I got trained in how to offer this to others and you know, started doing it with friends, and now I’ve started that this professional practice and I think it’s just fascinating to watch what happens with this training and just how it helps people work through their own trauma and heartache. And I just feel so privileged to get to do that now, and if I had not been through these pieces in my life that have just been so gutting, like I just, I wouldn’t be in this place where I would feel called to bring this kind of care. So I think I just named that because it just, it’s, it just is so odd to me, I think to see how life works and where it takes you and the stories of if this hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be here if this has happened. You know, those pieces. So that’s been a rich outcome

D: Well and Jeanette, you, you have been, we talked about this many actually years ago, kind of the Allender Center’s dealer for essential oils. So you got us thinking about the power of smell, of the olfactory presence and memory and so the training that you’re talking about, just put a few words to what that was and what it has offered.

J: Yeah, you know, it’s a really fascinating therapeutic technique that uses a really intriguing combination. It’s neuroscience principles blended with aromatherapy. And it just reveals and brings so much clarity to stories and themes in our lives that just link to places that we’re feeling bound and stuck. And it’s also just really powerful to release emotional residue and triggering memories from traumatic experiences. So it’s been pretty phenomenal to get to work with people in the realms of grief, harm and loss. And just to do that untangling work together with this technique. And I would just say that one of the themes I see play out so often when I’m working with clients around loss and harm is this the range of emotions are there. And they’re so linked to, like, our inner thought life and our stories and then it’s like all these through this process, all these connections start coming together for them. It helps them find release from the grip of all of it. And these just I find these new, like a sense of centeredness and it’s just it’s I feel like I’m witnessing a thousand-pound weight being lifted from their mind and spirit, it’s just so relieving and healing. So I think it’s just beautiful to watch it unfold, be part of their journey and to get to be part of their story as they’re finding their way.

D: Our desire is to help our audience hold two things. One is: there’s a certain reality that grief cannot be escaped and on the other hand, there are consequences of trauma and grief and loss that don’t need to be suffered. And certainly this is one that will come back to bring you back on the podcast to talk a bit more about. But just to end well to say you’re in process. But you know, there are realities that we can engage that allow our heart to have not only greater freedom but a greater sense of the calling, and you have found not only in loss something of your own envy and war, but also something of your own calling and purpose. So thank you, Jeanette.

J: Thank you so much. Wonderful to be with you.