Living With Your Child’s Addiction Podcast EP89 Transcript How To Find Peace And Possibility Beyond The Pain With Author Barb Klein Part 2 of 2

This transcript has not been formatted or edited other than to add names.

00:00

Heather

Okay, we’re back to continue our conversation with Barb Klein from episode 88. And I want to start this episode off by reading a paragraph from her book, 111 invitations step into the full richness of life. Because I think this paragraph embodies how I see Barb living her life.

00:27

In 111 invitations, you will see moments of despair and moments of great joy. Sometimes I am standing in the middle of both, and sometimes I am all in one or the other. Life is full and rich because of its contrast and contradiction. I am only now learning to embrace all of life in its entirety. To do so allows me to live life fully and wholeheartedly, which is how

00:57

I see you living your life. And I heard you read a poem before that I also felt like was just embodied an example of how you were able to stay in such a beautiful relationship with Nate and also take care of yourself at the same time. So could you share that with us, please?

Barb

Sure, Ken. Yeah, this one is called The Battle Within.

01:26

It has not been published yet. And I will say it was written on a day when my son had been released from the hospital and was texting me frantically trying to, I felt pressure made to help him get things figured out. And I just went into a place of collapse almost. And I knew I couldn’t talk to him right then. I couldn’t talk to them. I couldn’t deal with them. So I had to text him and say, listen, I’m not available to talk. I trust that you’ll figure things out. Here’s some places you can call. I’ll let you know when I am.

01:54

And one of the things that I do to help me get through these times is to write. So this is the poem that I wrote that morning. And this was from January of 2020. It’s called The Battle Within. Sometimes, often, I don’t trust myself. I don’t trust my resolve because when I soften and open my heart, open the door and let you in, even a crack, it’s more than I can bear. I see your pain. I see you lost when I look in your eyes. I hear the fear and despair in your voice.

02:23

I see the wounds and scars on your skin, and I feel it all. And when I feel it all, it threatens to swallow me whole. I don’t trust myself to not abandon myself, and it becomes too painful for both of us. So I must hold you at arm’s length or farther. I must armor up my heart a bit or a lot. I don’t trust myself to hold my boundaries. I need time and space to find my own ground within. It is within me.

02:51

but I need to be alone to find it. You confuse me with the mixed up feelings you stir. Love, pain, fear, grief, hope. Maybe my heart is not big enough or strong enough to hold them all. Until I can trust myself to be here for myself, I cannot let you in again. Every time I do, it hurts. It threatens to break me. It disturbs my peace. It disrupts my strength. You disrupt my strength.

03:20

for I fear I will love you more than I love myself. It is too easy to lose myself in you again and again and again. It is not healthy for either of us, for any of us when I lose myself. And so my son, I must step away and let each one of us find our way today. I wrap you in love and I pray that God envelops us both and keeps us safe and warm one moment at a time. This is how I begin to trust myself again.

03:50

I begin with a pause, with a breath, with allowing myself not to have to respond.

Heather

That just really hits my heart, because it just, it really, it’s like giving a voice to my experience. And I was also thinking this time, listening to you read it, how it’s still the same. Even though they’re not here on this earth, it would still…

04:17

easy to lose ourselves to them. And it’s something that I remember thinking initially, like, that I had to be really careful with. Like, I could create this place in my mind and live there with her. Or I could live in reality and continue learning to live even more for myself than I already had. And I think one of the hardest things is the how. Like, we love the things we hear in ITC, craft, all that.

04:46

But then, like, I’d love to have you explain some of how you are finding your way now since you lost Nate, but just also, I think we talked about how it’s similar to what you were doing before anyway.

Barb

Yeah, thank you. And it hits my heart to hear that again, too. And what I like about the poem, it’s even in there in my despair and my panic in that moment, it’s clear that, like, this is just for now.

05:13

This isn’t forever that I’m pushing you away. And I think that’s part of what I learned was to dance with boundaries and not have them hard and set as much as we would like that because we would love for somebody to just tell, tell me what the boundary is and then I’ll just hold that. But that’s not how life is. And people are complex and moments are complex and you have to be able to tune into yourself with, okay, what’s true for me now? What do I have available? What can I give? What can I do?

05:42

give, what do I need to do? Do I need to go curl up in the ball today? This is all still the way I’m living life now. And I think what really did help over the years, because it’s hard to pinpoint, it’s hard to remember what it was before I knew, right? But I understand the wanting to know where was the shift. And I think there were a couple. One that hit me early on, we were about five years into the journey. And I was in at the first women’s retreat and this one woman said to me,

06:11

oh, well, you’re only as happy as your unhappiest child. And I was like, oh, no. Oh, hell no. They know that is never going to be my reality. And I want to wipe that belief off the face of the earth because it is so well accepted. It’s just like, we can all just go, oh, yeah. I know what you mean, right? So that kind of fueled a fire within me. And the other thing I learned on that retreat was from René Trudeau was this idea of I will not abandon myself. And what does that look like?

06:40

How do I not abandon myself? And is it an either or? If I’m taking a stand for me, does that mean I’m abandoning my son? Well, no. And actually, what I’ve learned over the years is true self-care and true self-compassion are so critical for everything else. And it’s counterintuitive, right? Because when we’re in the middle of the chaos or the crises with our kids, we can’t imagine, well, let me just step back and take care of me.

07:08

But honestly, without being able to pause and reground and find some way to honor what this body, mind, heart, and spirit needs, there’s no way I can show up for anybody else. This is just not gonna happen. So I think that part had to come even before the mindfulness practices, which then came, which did open me up to, okay, acceptance of the reality that’s here. I was in a workshop with Tara Brock, who’s a meditation teacher, and she just said, are you at war with reality? Like, yes.

07:38

Of course I am because nobody wants this reality. But at the same time, she got me thinking. And so it’s like, okay, well, being at war with reality really only adds to the struggle and the suffering because that’s what it’s all like, but it shouldn’t be this way. And I can’t believe this is happening. And we’ve been more and more and more out of control with all those stories instead of just going, okay, this is what’s here. And that’s what I’m finding even today is like, okay, this is the life that I have. It is not.

08:08

the life I would like to have. It is not the way I had wished things would go, but it’s the way it is. So how do I get through the truth of what’s here? I’m not going to make it worse too often. I mean, every now and then, of course, I’m still going to go into that place, right? I’ll go to the dark place, though. I can’t believe this happened. But the idea of cultivating a heart that holds it all, which I alluded to in that poem, that’s another Buddhist teaching that I had really taken to heart because that is what allows for the truth, that despair and joy.

08:38

are both here. They do coexist. We don’t even have to work to make room for them because they’re here. Love and fear can coexist. You can love this person. Anger and love can coexist. So it’s just opening your mind and your heart to that, knowing that when we accept what’s true and what’s real, and we can show up one moment at a time to face that, that’s all we have to do. And the thing is, we all

09:06

delude ourselves to think that we know the future. The only thing that we know for sure is what’s already happened and what’s right here right now. I don’t care how much evidence there is to show that as long as they continue down this path, this is how it’s going to end or it’s going to be this. You don’t know. So this is where the possibility comes in. And I do always keep my heart open to possibility. Even now. Obviously, there’s no more hope for my son’s life, but he lives on.

09:36

He lives on through me and your daughter lives on through you. How can we still make a difference in the world because they were here? How can we let ourselves be touched by the fact that we had this deep love and this deep relationship? I’ve forever changed for having given birth to this child and been with him for 29 years. Nothing can take that away, ever, ever, ever. So it’s all informed by the truth of what’s really happened. How do I show up and how do I find joy, gratitude, even now?

10:06

even on the really shitty days, what are those things that keep us going? And I think for us, it’s spontaneity. My husband and I thankfully are both pretty spontaneous and live music and music just speaks to our souls. And so it’s like, oh, there’s a show five hours away and we can get there, let’s do it. Because I think the other thing that I’ve noticed is after losing Nate, I have no tolerance for petty.

10:36

stuff anymore. I mean, the clarity on what really matters in life is so crystal clear that it just informs how I want to show up and where I’m going to put my energy and my time and what matters and what doesn’t.

Heather

Yeah. And I’m thinking about like, sometimes it’s hard to do things like when you know, you never know when a grief wave is going to come or when you’re going to cry. But doing them anyway.

11:02

and learning how many things you can do even when you’re really struggling. And I think that because a lot of times I’ll hear parents say like they’re afraid to go on vacation or afraid to even go an hour or two away because something might happen or they might get they might end up like getting really upset or something and end up living in this like prison.

11:32

that’s not good for anybody. So when you think you talk about like, you just went to a concert recently, right? And like, how do you deal with knowing that, okay, in the middle of this concert, I might get a huge wave of grief and need to cry for 20 minutes.

Barb

Oh, well. I mean, that’s the other big thing is just being real about it. And let’s open that, let’s open the reality of grief. Let’s open that it’s okay to cry someplace. Let’s choose.

12:02

life anyway. And I will say, the year of our 30th anniversary, Nate ended up in the hospital in critical condition. He was in jail at the time, so there was nothing we could do. We could not visit him, we could not talk to him, we could not get any information from the doctor. But a week before we were slated to go to Hawaii for our 30th anniversary trip, my son is in critical condition in the hospital. And I really grappled with, do we go? And it was a whole lot of this.

12:31

Journey has interrupted our life so many times already. Nothing I can do. I can stay home in Rochester and wring my hands, or I can be in Maui and wring my hands. And I can get on a plane and be back the minute I need to. You know, and honestly, we decided to go. We fully expected to get a call when we landed in Denver for our connection. We might have to jump on a flight and turn around, or Maui, you know, whatever. But I am so glad that we did not interrupt our own possibility for joy.

13:01

and love and connection and fun, because that’s the other thing. It’s like cultivating your relationships are so important. This is one thread of my life. And I’ve said this for a long time, you know, it’s like one thread in the tapestry of your life. Yes, it’s a big ugly one. It might take up the whole color scheme, but it’s not the only piece of who I am. And so I

13:26

have been determined to not be defined by the struggle with substance use disorder and all that it entailed. And I feel the same way now with the grief. Like this isn’t the only, I’m not only a bereaved mother, I am that and I am also a wife, a friend, a person who enjoys traveling. There’s got to be room for all of me and to let go of the guilt that I think people could even have that now, even after a child dies.

13:54

There are times, I’ll admit, I look at myself and I’m like, this feels very surreal. Like, I don’t think I’m pretending. I think I’m actually okay in this moment, but is it really okay that we’re doing this? Shouldn’t we be a certain way because our kid died and we shouldn’t be out in the world having fun? So, still have that inner narrative that pops in every now and then to say, if is it okay? But it was on that trip that I think my husband was the one who was smart enough to say, you know, look, there is love for him.

14:24

And there’s love for me and there’s love for us. And we just don’t do anybody any good by shutting down our own life. There’s some quote I posted the other day about the greatest gift you can give your kids is to live. And I wish I could get it right because I don’t know what it is right now. But I stand by that. And Nate didn’t want me to not live my life. He didn’t want us to not live our lives. I think that’s a burden that we put on our kids. And I remember when he was in…

14:53

incarcerated and I was in a group for moms of kids who were incarcerated. And again, there was just this common belief of like, well, if my child is in prison, I’m in prison too. And I’m like, no, you’re actually not. You don’t have to be. You can be, you’re affected by it, of course, because you love this person so much, but that doesn’t have to be your reality. You’re still free. You’re still out here in the world. What can you do while they’re in there? How can you, I mean, we built our relationship. We did so much healing while he was in.

15:21

I had some of the best conversations ever. And I didn’t listen to all the advice that says, don’t give him any money, don’t put money on the phone. Don’t, you know, like, no, no, I’m gonna mother him in the way that I can while he’s there. I’m gonna love him the way I can. I’m gonna talk to him, I’m gonna write letters. I’m gonna go visit him every chance I get. Would I rather not be going into a prison on Thanksgiving morning or Christmas day? Yes, but if that’s where he was, that’s where I went. Like I just went on a side tangent there, but.

Heather

No, that’s true though.

15:51

Because what you said about like people telling you not to put money on his books or take his calls or whatever. And I’m like, they’re already getting punished enough. Like we don’t have to add to it. And like you said, you created this beautiful opportunity to connect with him. You’re never gonna, you’ll never regret that.

Barb

No.

Heather

And another thing you said, which I grabbed your book again, because I had this underlined in there. I got, I had to get my highlighter out as soon as I started reading.

16:21

But you said no single story defines my entire existence. Each storyline is part of my whole truth and reality. No one story holds more weight than any other unless I allow it to. But it does seem like our brains do want to tell us this one thing should hold a lot of weight all the time.

Barb

And as you said, there are grief waves and there are moments where it does. I mean, I woke up yesterday morning and I was having a very sad wave.

16:50

I have my son’s picture as my screensaver on my phone. I see it every day. Most of the times I look at it, I’m like, yep, here we are, buddy, we got this. And for whatever reason, the night before, I just looked at it and was like, why did you have to die? You’re really gone, like physically forever. So that’s, I know that’s gonna hit me with like a gut punch over and over and over again, but in between, and we were away with friends, and you know, I, so like you said, I might cry in front of these people. Well, I did.

17:20

She looked at me and said, how are you doing? And I’m like, not so great. And not everybody can hold it. So you don’t share it with everybody. But I have been very careful about the community I have curated, I think. And I’m doing what I can to educate the people who don’t know about how to be with someone who’s grieving. So that the people that I’m around, I know I can talk about Nate. I know we can talk about how I’m feeling. It’s organic. They don’t have to ask me to tell them stories about him.

17:50

It’s not the elephant in the room. I think that’s the worst thing is when you’re in a place where everybody knows that this thing has happened and nobody’s saying anything about it. That just feels weird to me.

Heather

Yeah, I think that this journey definitely teaches us to how important it is to talk about what’s actually happening. Like I can’t live like, that was my preferred way of living before where I just ignored everything that was unpleasant.

18:17

But now it’s like, I have to talk about it. And I have to, like you said, be around people that I can talk about it with. And like, if I’m getting ready to go somewhere and I’m worried about like the thing about crying or something comes up, well, I just tell the people I’m going with, hey, sometimes I still cry at some point every day, this might happen, it’s okay. And just set the tone so that they know and they don’t feel awkward. And then I don’t have to worry about it anymore, but like then I can just go be me.

Barb

Yeah.

18:47

And be really honest about when you hit, I mean, for me at least, I know there’s a feeling of like, oh, I just hit my wall. I cannot people any longer. See ya. And that’s all I’ll say. I’m like, yep, just hit my wall, I gotta leave. So I think it comes back to that ground of true self care though, where I’ve learned over the years to really listen to my body, to honor my heart. What do you need? And let it be okay and not.

19:11

try not to judge it, which I still do sometimes, like, why am I so tired? Why am I sad? There’s no reason. And my husband’s like, well, kind of this one big reason. I’m like, it’s true. OK.

Heather

Well, and you mentioned another time I heard you say that you’re only consistent with your daily practices because they work, not because of discipline. And that is so true. So can you talk a little bit more about that?

Barb

Yeah.

19:37

Absolutely, I am not a person who’s like, oh, because I said I was going to do this, I’m going to do it every day. I will be doomed to failure immediately the minute I say that. But I started writing morning pages nine years ago, over nine years ago, when I was at a workshop with Julia Cameron. And it’s initially created to break through creative blocks. It’s just first thing in the morning, you get up and you write three notebook sized pages of stream of consciousness thinking.

20:06

which the first time I did it was like, holy shit, that is a lot of writing. Even though I’ve journaled and written all my life, there’s just something about that that was very long. But you do it before you meditate, you do it before anything else so that you’re just getting what’s at the top of your mind first thing in the morning. And it’s amazing to me. All I did was sleep, but look at all the things that are coming through. So it’s kind of like a clearing, not clearing your mind so much as just dumping out whatever’s there.

20:33

And, you know, Julie will say, well, you don’t ever share them with anybody. And I think she says that mainly to give people permission to not edit themselves and to feel free to write whatever, burn it, tear it up. If you don’t, if you’re worried about that kind of stuff, I don’t. Oftentimes my blogs or my newsletters come out of my morning pages because it’s kind of like, this is what’s alive for me. And I think it helps me to get to know myself better. It’s kind of strange to think about that, but as I write, and I have a friend who loves me to read to her. So.

21:01

oftentimes I will read her my morning pages every day. And then it was like, oh, I wrote this just fine, but when I read it out loud, it chokes me up. So I’m getting in touch with my own heart and my own truth and my own wisdom. I think that’s the other beautiful thing with journaling is like, quiets out all of the outside voices and it connects us to this being that has such wisdom. The other big daily practice for me and anybody who’s on Facebook with me knows this is my daily gratitude.

21:28

And beauty, I do two things. I look for beauty every single day and I will put up pictures if I have them from the day. And I think for me, it’s just that reminder of like, yeah, even in the darkest time, there is still beauty. The sun still sets, comes up every day, there’s still birds. And the same with gratitude, just like taking a moment to pause and reflect on what am I grateful for this day. That practice I’ve been doing for, I think 12 years, gratitude.

21:58

And it just, what I say is it changes my experience of life because it doesn’t change the reality of things that are happening outside of my control globally or personally or for anybody else. But it brings me back to this place of noticing what I appreciate. And then when you do that, you start looking for more of that. And so your brain really does shift from this, oh yeah, oh, this misery loves company mentality that’s very easy to get into, especially these days. But finding the beauty and the gratitude.

22:28

makes a huge difference. Those are the two consistent ones. I mean, I meditate also, but I don’t even meditate every single day. I think I have done it enough that I have enough of a practice that it is part of who I am and how I am in the world. It has taught me to lean towards life, to turn towards the pain instead of away from it. So I definitely think that informs things, but it’s not necessarily a formal practice every single day. But it is a way of being just being more mindful in the world.

22:56

slowing down, taking the pauses. This week, I led a retreat in July, and one of the things that was so clear was we just wanted it to be spacious and slow and gentle. And after that, I’m like, I don’t ever wanna rush again. Ever wanna cram things in, I don’t wanna be too tight with my schedule, I don’t wanna do too much, I just, why? It’s, it does not serve me. So I’m conscious of that, and I had to find my way into that by going, well, what’s the opposite of relaxed look like?

23:25

It’s just knowing what relaxed feels like. I don’t know anybody who’s relaxed truly in the world for the most part. But if I think about, oh, when I’m getting stressed out, when I’m hurrying, when I’m scurrying, when I’m scrambling, when I’m late, that’s not relaxed. So let’s do the opposite of that.

Heather

Yeah, and it takes spending that time with yourself to even identify that hurrying is a problem, like that’s something that you don’t actually like.

Barb

Correct.

23:52

Heather

That was one of my things too. When I wasn’t in tune with myself at all, I was always late for everything. I was always in a hurry, but that was just what I was used to. And then when I got in tune with myself, I was like, oh, this doesn’t feel good. I don’t like this. Maybe I should prepare ahead of time and leave a little earlier.

Barb

Right, but to get in tune with yourself, I mean, I think that takes conscious effort initially, especially if you have lived in a life of chaos.

24:20

to choose to remember that you have choice, that you can choose to step back, get quiet, get to know who is this person besides the mother of this child that’s struggling. What are the other parts of me and what do I need? What do I like? A lot of women don’t even know that. I didn’t know that. I’m only so-and-so’s mother. That’s all I know about me. I don’t know anything about me as a woman anymore. So that’s part of the process is really deciding.

24:47

If one woman who comes to my retreats and did some self-care work with me, and she will say, I require this. And I love it. Because I’m like, oh, that is taking a solid stand for yourself. This isn’t like, yeah, it’s the icing on the cake. I’ll do it if I can after everything else is taken care of. Like, this has to actually be the foundation of the cake. Because without it, the wall’s solid. I’m so grateful that I’ve learned that over the years, because I do think a lot of what has sustained me through this time.

25:16

would have been a lot harder to learn under this circumstance, if not impossible. And support is a bit, let’s not pretend I’m doing any of this on my own without tons and tons of support of all kinds. And even towards the end of Nate’s life, I believe you and I had talked maybe two days before he died and I had just hired you to be our family recovery coach because I knew, even though I knew all this stuff and I had the training, I still needed somebody else to walk through this with me. So

25:46

In the grief journey, it’s the same thing. It’s finding the friends and the professionals and the body workers who can help carry me through.

Heather

To me, I feel the same way that this is how everything I’m grateful one, like you said, that I learned all these things. And not that I’m not continuing to learn, but that I had such a great foundation and had done so much work on myself before. Because I’m keenly aware that I would not want to be doing that work right now.

26:15

I’m so grateful that I had the skills to support myself and have my own back and know that just to even almost like companion myself of like, okay, these are the things that are going to be hard for you. This is what you need to focus on. And then the realization of like, oh my gosh, the same things that helped me before are helping me now. And it’s never wasted time. I’m grateful that I took, I spent a lot of time on it for several years now. I don’t.

26:44

I don’t spend as much time on it, but it is a part of my life and it is critical and important to me. And when I don’t get to, like when I was going through my surgeries for breast cancer and there was times I just couldn’t, like I couldn’t wait to get back to it. Because like you said, it’s not because I feel like I have to or it’s a discipline, it’s because I love it. And I love how it makes me feel. And I love that the life that it helps me live. Just by…

27:14

You know, people like think it’s a lot, but it really isn’t when you find things to do that you absolutely love.

Barb

Yeah, and it doesn’t have to be a lot. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to be time consuming because those I know are two of the first things that stop people from even considering this idea of self-care. And it’s certainly been overused, over-marketed, turned into a materialistic thing, but it can be as simple as, I need to get outside every day and put my feet on the ground. I need to take two minutes to breathe.

27:44

Honestly, 10 slow breaths is about a minute. That’s a meditation. You don’t have to sit for 20 minutes in the right clothes, in the right place, in the right position. You can make it as simple as it needs to be to work in your life. But like you said, it feels good. So getting to know, and that might be an exploration in the beginning of curiosity. I don’t even know what’s gonna make me feel good. I can’t imagine anything making me feel good because I feel so bad right now.

28:10

So you just start to play around and you’re like, oh, well that actually did feel kind of good. I’m gonna do that again. And just be playful with it. Don’t be so, we can be so serious about everything.

Heather

Yeah, yeah. And I did not know what made me feel good. I was so out of touch with myself. I had never been in touch with myself. Never really taken the time to get to know myself. And that’s another part of this that’s so beautiful and doing this work and taking the time to be curious and explore was like.

28:38

I had no idea that I didn’t really know myself until I started to get to know myself.

Barb

I understand.

Heather

So I want to make sure that you get to share about, you mentioned this earlier, about how people say you can’t have a happier life. I can’t remember exactly the wording, but if your child’s struggling, your life is not going to be any happier than that. And I know that’s something that you’re like, I’m never going to live my life that way. So.

29:07

Share a little bit more about your beliefs about that.

Barb

Yeah, you’re only as happy as your unhappiest child. That is the common refrain. Again, just so readily accepted and put into a meme and shared around and spread like poison, I think. I think a couple things about it. I think it ties you unfairly to your child. It ties your child unfairly to you. That they now have to be a certain way in order for you to be happy. And.

29:36

I’m sure that’s not what anybody means. And I know people just mean well when they say they’re trying to be empathetic. But at the same time, it’s almost negating the fact that we are two separate individuals. And that was, that’s one of the things that has definitely helped me is coming to terms with the reality that, okay, he has got his own life path to live and it is not mine and I have mine. And yes, they are very connected. They affect one another, but I’m not dependent on him.

30:06

And there’s a part in my opening, I’m not gonna try to find it now, but it talks about that too, where it just says, going down with him only makes both of us drown. And I think that’s the truth. Like there’s nothing noble about it. And I remember hearing Wayne Dyer say, if there was enough suffering I could take on that would take your suffering away, I would do it in a heartbeat. And I would say the same thing, but I don’t think it served either one of us for me to be suffering. And I mean, I even…

30:34

In January, I called him and I was having one of those moments of like sobbing because I wish I had done things different. He was in the hospital. I’m like, wish I had known what I knew now because maybe you wouldn’t have had this eating dessert and you wouldn’t be in the hospital and blah, blah, blah. I was just laying it on him heavy. I finally said, okay, I’m sorry, maybe that’s a lot. And he’s like, yeah, could I just go get my lunch? Like, sure. But he texted me back within a few minutes and he was like, Mom.

31:00

what is wrong with you? Like you need to stop. I mean, he’s I won’t say what he said because it was said as only Nate could say, which was exactly what I needed to hear. But it had this element of just slapped me upside the head, like get over yourself. You’re the best mom I ever could have asked for. And those are his words. I’m not claiming it. Stop beating yourself up. It’s not doing any good. You’re on vacation. Enjoy that.

Heather

Yeah. I don’t even remember what my

31:29

What are my thoughts about this idea? We talked about this beforehand that sometimes your brain is just like, not going to give you the answer. No, I asked you about how your life can’t be, you, I can’t even remember the phrase again, happier than your unhappiest child. Is that it? So you’re working on another book. You want to tell us a little bit about that? And do you know when that book will be out? He still is like, I don’t.

31:58

Barb

It is unknown. Yeah, the book’s been in process for a couple of years now. It actually came out at a writing and meditation retreat, which was the kind of the perfect place to be in the space to write this book because it was all about opening my heart with compassion to this journey. And so it’s called One Moment of Time. And I think that will, that’s the working title. I hope it stands because I really feel like that’s the premise of everything. That’s how, that’s how we get through this. And I’ve written it to be a companion for families who are

32:27

going through any of these struggles we’ve talked about. Whether it’s an eating disorder, substance use, it doesn’t matter, it’s just, you’re in a challenging place. How can this help you? And it has, the first section is going to be about self-care and what true self-care is, not the bubble bath, pedicure, which nothing wrong with it, but we’re going deeper than that. We’re going into like, how are you really honoring yourself? I don’t think there’s any book out there in this arena that really…

32:54

places a strong enough emphasis on that. So that felt like that had to be really foundational part of it. There’s a section on clarity, which to me means understanding addiction differently than you have before, understanding recovery, studying the invitation to change and just grasping this idea that behaviors that you think are insane actually make sense to the person. That’s the only one I’m gonna throw out for now, but educating yourself, understanding.

33:20

it differently, also getting to know yourself, like we were just talking about. Who am I? What are my values? What does matter to me? What do I need to be doing to give myself the energy I need to be in this journey and stay in it? There’s a section on compassion because I feel like it’s really important to bring compassion to yourself, to the journey itself, and to the person that you love. It changes everything. It softens it in a way that isn’t possible when we’re in the blaming, shaming, yelling mode.

33:49

compassion is just so critical. So it will talk about my meditation practice that helped me to develop this way of being. And also, there’s a section on create, which speaks to what we’ve just been talking about, that you still get to create the life you want to live, no matter what’s happening with your child, whether your child lives or dies. I’ve said this for years, and I felt like I never quite knew if it was true. I was like, there are people sitting in the room here who experience this loss. Does this really speak to them? And

34:18

So I feel good to be able to say, I do know now it’s possible. I can’t guarantee it outcome for anybody else who’s reading the book, but I know it’s possible because of my own experience. And then I was a couple years into writing the book when I had to take a pause in February because of the crises we were in. And then after he died, obviously, I just put it aside. I did just sign up with my book coach again so that I can get back to it much more seriously starting in September. And-

34:46

I feel like there will be at least a short section in this book on continue, which will because if somebody’s reading it and their child dies, they can jump to that section. But continue is grounded in all of the other four sections that come before it. So kind of very excited about it. I definitely want to get it out. It feels important and I guess more than ever in some ways, just because I really do not want a family to have to go through this loss without having had a chance.

35:16

to have a better relationship while they could without giving families a chance to find recovery and a better way to be while it’s going on.

Heather

That’s so important. One, that opportunity to heal and reconnect. I’m so, so grateful for that. And then from the part of when you do, I had a hard time finding anything that was comforting.

35:44

to me as far as loss and grief. I did, I think I found like one book that I really, really liked and I felt like, okay, after I read that, I’m like, I felt validated. And that felt really good to me and it helped me to move forward. So I think what you’re saying about it being important is true because it’s hard. Like something that was just so comforting to me in the beginning was talking to other mothers who would experience what I’ve experienced. And then especially…

36:14

other mothers who were making it through it and were living a life of more than their struggle because you know you hear that all the time as soon as you lose your child people they don’t mean to say things like they that but you hear things like your life is over basically there’s no hope for you. I don’t say those words but that’s what I what I was hearing.

36:40

And then to see somebody like you living a happy purposeful life while also holding your grief. And I think that book would be so just helpful in so many ways. So is there anything else that you want to share before we close this episode?

Barb

Sure. Should we read one more poem? Yes. Love that. Kind of goes along with the theme of this conversation, so thanks. This one is called The Angels Want.

37:09

This is from 111 invitations. The angels want us to belly laugh till it hurts, exploding in silent reverie with tears streaming down our cheeks. The angels want us to embrace all that is the richness of human experience, the fullness of life, the depth and breadth of emotion, longing and yearning. The angels want us to remember who we are, why we are here, and that love is our fuel.

37:34

Angels want us to dance and sing with wild abandon, letting go of the cares of the world, arms reaching wide, face uplifted to the heavens, heart open. Angels want us to love with all our heart, even though love always hurts, to take the risk to glean the gold. The angels want us to remember what it is that makes our soul sing, to play with our exquisite unique heart song, to laugh, to cry, to cheer.

38:04

and bathe in unimaginable grief, allowing the emotions to wash over and through us, cleansing, refreshing, and rebirthing as they flow. The angels want us to live while we are here.

Heather

That’s so beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. It’s so true. We just need to live while we’re here.

Barb

That’s what we can do.

Heather

Yeah. And it’s just more obvious to me than ever, like after losing Helanna.

38:31

It can just all be over so quickly. So just enjoy every moment and every small thing. And there are no guarantees, like we talked about at some point in one of these two conversations. And so we might as well just really, I love that poem, just really live. And I, well, before I thank you, is there anything else that you want to share before we? I thank you so much for giving me two hours of your time,

39:00

These are two beautiful episodes, and I think that it’s just going to be so helpful. So thank you so much for being here.

Barb

Thank you for the opportunity to have the conversation.

Heather

And again, I’m going to put all of Barb’s information in the show notes. So make sure you check there to go to her website and to look for her book, 111 Invitations.