Rebranding Loss and Grief: How Beginnings AND Ends Can Be Celebrated with Naila Francis (Episode #125)
Many of us have first-hand experience with grief and loss, but our guest today—a grief coach and death midwife—will give us alternatives to how we approach this rite of passage. Today’s guest, Naila Francis, shows us how we find simple sources of joy even in the depth of our losses, that help us move forward with grief, NOT move on from it.
About Our Guest:
Naila Francis is a writer, grief coach, and death midwife who helps people at many of life’s sacred thresholds including birth, marriage, death, and other transitional passages.
In her work as a Death Doula, Naila has a knack for finding order, joy and peace in the chaos of major life transitions like death. She points out that finding space for graceful celebration and even wonder in our grief is not only possible but is also a very important component of coping with loss, especially because as little as 2% unresolved grief can affect every area of our lives.
Naila says that of all the life passages we experience, birth and death are the only two we share. Yet one is celebrated, the other denied and feared. In a culture that struggles to even talk about death, dying well is not something we know how to do. But there are alternatives to how we approach this rite of passage.
And It’s ok to do it your way. There’s room for that too.
For many years, Naila has been providing non-medical guidance of the heart and support for individuals who are dying and their families. When our world feels like it is falling down on top of us, she holds a compassionate space to help people more consciously and gracefully navigate this sacred threshold.
Her work is a commitment to expanding our “grief literacy,” which is a formal way of saying that we can learn to carry our grief with greater gentleness and compassion for ourselves, so our lives aren’t defined by our pain.
In today’s interview, we talked about many supportive perspectives. Naila gives us some tools, practices, and active listening techniques to help you be your own resource, honor your loss(es), and integrate them into your new “normal.”
We also dive into how to avoid saying cliches to our friends who are suffering through a loss, and she gives us some fresh perspectives on alternatives to hanging on to too many material things from someone we lost.
Most importantly, Naila reminds us that we don’t have to be alone in our grief. There are people all over who are coming together to share the load with us and open us up to many ways to move forward. Naila herself is a founding member of Salt Trails, a Philadelphia collective making grief public and visible through community gatherings and rituals.
We hope this episode feels like a way to reconnect with an important aspect of your life and bring some positive perspectives to a frightening part of life we don’t even want to consider, until it is upon us.
- Website: www.thishallowedwilderness.com
- IG and Facebook: @thishallowedwilderness
- IG and Facebook: @salttrailsphilly
(00:00- 03:32) OPENING
- Grief is an experience on such a broad spectrum of emotions
- Tune in to what feels good in your body
- Dancing can open up something inside you
- Grieving is not the daily story of your life
- Grief manifests in our body
- Grief requires slowing down
- Grief wants to be dealt with
- Self-compassion is the key to moving with grief
- Non-finite loses
- Face-to-face with grief on a daily basis
(16:22- 19:27) BREAK
- How can 2% of unresolved grief affect your life?
- Everybody grieves differently
- The tendency to judge comes from our own discomfort with grief
- Don’t say any cliches
- Stepping out into nature
- It’s much harder to be focused in your grief when you’reengaging in wonder of nature
- Sometimes holding on to things is also a way of being stuck
- To feel the grief is to really honor the immensity of love that we had for them
- People who have their celebration of life before they’re dead
- Keeping the dignity in dead
- Theshold Choir
- It’s always sort of keeping the person with us and knowing that we don’t have to let go
- The Salt Trails
- You’re not going to be judged for expressing what you’re feeling
- Wear your grief
- Death Cafe
- “Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground.” – Oscar Wilde
- You’re going to be in a lifetime relationship with grief
- To love more of the world
- Being present with what is in front of us
- Grief education in schools
- There is nothing wrong with you if you are grieving
- Website: This Hallowed Wilderness
- IG: thishallowedwilderness
- FB:This Hallowed Wilderness
- LinkedIn: Naila Francis
(01:10:30- 01:11:12) CLOSING