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Preparing For The Unexpected: How To Deal With Grief – Whitney Hansen


Life is unpredictable. 

Sometimes, unexpected things happen, both good and bad. 

We don’t like to think about the bad, much less highly tragic events, such as a death of a loved one. 

Yet, it is inevitable, and we need to prepare for the unexpected. 

In today’s episode, I interview my friend Kristie St-Germain, creator of the Widowed Mom podcast and a master-certified life coach who personally helped me in my life. We will discuss the following:

  • Grief – how Kristie learned to deal with an unexpected loss in her life
  • What is the philosophy of the Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory 
  • How to support people who are going through loss and grief
  • Thought downloads and the Self-Coaching Model
  • Tips for couples in preparation for an unexpected death
  • Wealth purgatory
  • How to identify a good coach for you  

Grief 

Kristie St-Germain knows all too well what it means to lose a loved one.

She was on a trip with her husband – each driving their cars – when she got a flat tire on the interstate.

So she pulled over to the side, and her husband parked right behind her.

While he was retrieving the tire out of her car’s trunk, an intoxicated driver drove full force behind her husband’s car, hence crushing her husband in between both vehicles. 

“Life fully ripped out from underneath me in a flash… I was really worried that the best days were behind me.” 

Kristie St-Germain

Around the same time this tragedy happened, a life coaching program had launched. She says that by divine timing, she decided to dive in full force.

“It gave me tools, strategies, and tactics. I wanted to take action.”

Kristie St-Germain

After learning and applying strategies to her own life, she decided to quit her career and become a full-time life coach to share powerful tools with others. 

Post Traumatic Growth Inventory 

PTGI was coined in the mid-’90s by Tedeschi and Calhoun.

Their research showed that people who experienced trauma or tragedy could use it as leverage to grow and bounce forward rather than over time, bouncing back to “normal.”

They concluded that one could use these events to find deeper satisfaction in life and relationships. 

How To Support People Going Through Loss and Grief

“I think a good guiding principle is don’t be afraid to talk to the person about their loss – even if it doesn’t come out exactly the way that you intended it. I think sometimes we walk around on eggshells with people who’ve had a loss because we’re thinking, “well, maybe they won’t be thinking about it, and I’m going to bring it up, and that’s going to make it worse.” It’s usually the opposite – they’re very much thinking about it – it is first and foremost in their mind, so it’s quite validating when someone comes along and wants to talk about your person.”

“As much as we want people to feel better, I always encourage people to remind themselves that feelings aren’t problems. As long as we feel like emotions are problems, we feel the need to fix them. That’s when we start to minimize the loss with statements like, “At least you were young, at least you’re going to meet someone else, or at least they’re not suffering anymore.”” 

“All these minimizing statements start with “at least,” and as well-intentioned as they are, they don’t help. Your job is to be there and allow a space where they can feel these emotions.”

Kristie S.

Thought Downloads and The Self-Coaching Model

A thought download is where you start jotting down all of your thoughts on paper. It doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative, big or small; jot them all down.

Then, you take these thoughts and process them using the Self-Coaching Model, created by a life coach named Brooke Castillo.

It explains that all humans go through this process: life circumstances cause thoughts, thoughts cause feelings, feelings cause actions, and actions cause results.

Thus, when you insert one of your thoughts into this model, you can figure out how each correlates to one another, and therefore, are more mindful of what you think of and what you do. 

Kristie recommends people do these exercises because it’s helped her personally. 

Tips For Couples In Preparation For An Unexpected Death

The following are things couples should discuss with one another before the unexpected happens:

  • Ensure you have either a trusted system that stores passwords or a plan to allow either partner to access any other’s information. That way, when one passes away, their information is not lost.
  • Make sure to have your beneficiaries updated.
  • Figure out your money mindset together
  • Have a conversation about what will happen if one gets an illness

Wealth Purgatory

Kristie describes wealth purgatory as the lump sum of money (e.g., life insurance) that supposedly helps people feel safe and secure after their loved one passes away but instead brings feelings of resentment, anger, and fear.

That is something to understand that grieving people experience.

How To Identify A Good Life Coach For You

“I think this is why I’m such a big podcast fan. I met my life coach by listening to her podcast first. You get to know the person, and then you figure out whether you like that person.”

Kristie S.

She suggests getting to know your coach person first before hiring. 

If you would like to listen to this week’s episode, click below.

In Conclusion

Grief is something many of us are not aware of how to manage, much less how to support someone who is going through it. Kristie St-Germain went through it herself and thus, has experience and knowledge on how to help those who are going through it. She expresses that according to studies, traumas and tragic events can help us deepen our understandings of life and relationships. We can help others who are going through this by providing a safe space where they are allowed to feel what they feel. She suggests jotting down thoughts and applying them to the Self-Coaching model. Kristie also advises couples to ask hard financial questions before anything happens. She says to those who are supporting others to be aware of the wealth purgatory. Lastly, if you or someone you know is looking for a life coach to deal with grief, it’s good to get a feel for them first. One way she did this personally was through podcast listening.

This was a challenging topic, and if any of this resonated with you, feel free to shoot me an email or reach out to me on IG to share your experience.

Until next time.

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