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One Bright Star - Life After Loss

One Bright Star - Life After Loss

By OneBrightStar
One Bright Star's Life After Loss podcast focuses on the journey that parents and families face after the death of a child or loved one. Each episode, your hosts Erica Fischer and Alicia More bring you the personal stories of families who have faced this unimaginable heartache. Other topics include: coping with guilt, processing grief, finding meaning in life, paying tribute, honoring and remembering a beloved, confronting a broken heart and further discussing the ongoing mission of One Bright Star of being a resource to families who have suffered the death of a child.
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Currently playing episode

A Funeral Director's Perspective On Death, Grieving And Loss

One Bright Star - Life After Loss

A Funeral Director's Perspective On Death, Grieving And Loss
Jonna Hruby is a funeral director with Mankato Mortuary and a board member with One Bright Star. She is often times the first person that people come into contact with after a death. In her role, Jonna shares how important it is to help people begin the grieving process and be supportive and empathetic along the way. She details how difficult it is, not only for families, but also for her personally as a funeral director. Making sure all of the details are in place according to the directions from the family is a big part of her position. Being a wife and mother, Jonna knows how overwhelming death can be for a family, and she can fully put herself in the shoes of the bereaved. She feels like her career chose her and she helps people not only during the immediate process but sometimes even years later. Please join us for our podcast outlining a different perspective on death and grieving. 
July 18, 2022
Angel Mom Shares Grief Journey To Help Others
Angel mom, Patti Ahl, returns to our podcast and continues to share her grief journey after the death of her son, Alex. Patti's ongoing mission is to take this tragedy and turn it into a positive teachable moment to help others. Her love for her son will always outweigh the grief she endures, and, even in death, Alex will always be her son. Patti's story talks about how this could happen to anyone and that this type of loss does not discriminate. Patti offers hope to others by sharing the memories and legacy of her sons life. 
May 30, 2022
Teen Grief: Supporting Our Youth In Times Of Loss
Death educator, Lynn Waterbury joins us to discuss how we can help teenagers through the grief process after losing a parent. Her three daughters lost their dad at ages 19, 17 and 15. She discusses the limited resources available to help teens navigate the grief process, especially during the pandemic. Their blended family helped her children cope with grief and Waterbury talks about, "putting it in their terms," in order to have a conversation about the loss. Join us for a compelling and informative podcast discussing teen grief. 
April 18, 2022
Suicide: An Upside Down, Out-Of-Order Tragedy
Andrea Nolan lost her sister Alicia in 2011 to suicide. Alicia left behind a two year old daughter, Azalea. Andrea describes an emotional time having lost her only sibling and seeing her parents having to cope with the loss of their first-born child. Andrea talks about the challenges of raising Azalea without her mom and being able to share Alicia's life with her.  Andrea's grief journey was compounded in 2019 after her dad took his own life. She talks about the loss and how it has affected so many people. Andrea's journey is about survival, hope and sharing the memory of the people that were so important in her life. 
January 17, 2022
The Eagle Of Mom's Eye
Tyler Kotewa was a driven young man. In his short life he wrote a book, earned a Bachelor's and Master's degree, had many friends, loved music and started a band, had a love of math, was a student teacher and had a love of the outdoors. In 2016, Tyler was diagnosed with oral cancer and nine months later, at age 25, his physical journey ended. Tyler always felt his life would be short and said he would come back as an eagle to show his presence. On this episode of One Bright Star - Life After Loss, Tyler's mom, Chantal Heetland, joins us to talk about her son's life and the ways her family copes with his loss and how they continue to share and honor his memory.
December 20, 2021
Dia de los Muertos - Day Of The Dead Celebration
One Bright Star board member, Julie Gruber, joins us to talk about the recent Mexican cultural event held at Old Town in Mankato, Minnesota called, "Dia de los Muertos - or Day of the Dead festival. It's a celebration to honor deceased loved ones and is an annual event in Hispanic culture. Gruber explains how One Bright Star got involved with the event, to learn about the tradition and offer outreach from the Mankato nonprofit. An altar or ofrenda (offering) was created at the OBS space and is intended to honor and remember lost loved ones. Every detail at the altar represents something significant and special in the remembrance of loved ones.
November 22, 2021
Memoir Of A Gravedigger's Daughter
On this episode of One Bright Star - Life After Loss, we are joined by author Rachael Hanel. She wrote the book, We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger's Daughter. From an early age Rachael spent her time in cemeteries with her dad and mom and had a much different perspective on death. She visited the graves of those unknown to her as she wondered about the lives of those names on the headstones. The reality of death became more clear as she suddenly lost her 46 year old father at the age of 15. Hanel talks about the people that helped her move through her grief process and to also find humor in an otherwise overwhelming experience. She speaks about the importance of talking about loss and to make sure to carry on the memory of a lost loved one.
November 01, 2021
Having Ackward Conversations About Loss Is Healthy. Part II of our conversation with Lynn Waterbury
Death educator, Lynn Waterbury joins us for part II of our conversation about death, hope and loss. Experiencing feelings of grief and loss don't always have to be associated with death. Waterbury talks about trying to find peace and normalizing conversations with people when discussing death and loss. Her message is also about hope and realizing that there is more beyond death in a spiritual way and people need to know that they are not alone in their grief and loss. Waterbury is also a, "death doula" in training and discusses end-of-life situations and how a doula plays a part in the final physical journey of life. 
October 18, 2021
A Death Educator Talks About Spirituality And An Infinite Soul
Lynn Waterbury is a death educator. Having had a strict religious upbringing, she has developed, over time, a much different view of spirituality which lands more in a psychic medium type realm. She believes that she picked her parents. She also believes that before we are born, our soul chooses the lessons we are going to learn in life. She talks about how life and death is not a, 'right to left, beginning to end' proposition. She contends that life is a circle and death is a transition and that our souls are meant to be infinite. Join us for an intriguing and thought-provoking podcast on life and death, grief, and coping with loss and hear a different perspective on how interactions can happen with lost loved ones. 
September 06, 2021
A Brother, A Tragedy and "The True Gift Of A Lifetime"
Brought together through adoption, Alayna and her brother Nolan were close. They shared what any brother and sister would share: family time, inside jokes, horseplay and watching each other grow. In this podcast, Alayna shares the life of her, "not so little brother," who tragically died in a motorcycle accident on August 9, 2020. She discusses Nolan's achievements and dreams, the challenges of planning a funeral during a pandemic and she honors and remembers her brother and best friend, who packed a lot of living into a short period of time, which gave her, "the true gift of a lifetime."
August 16, 2021
One Bright Star: Who We Are And What We Do
Executive Director of One Bright Star, Erica Fisher and President, Alicia More, fly solo for this podcast episode to talk more about the One Bright Star organization based in Mankato, Minnesota. They discuss the importance of all the resources that OBS offers to parents and families and talk about the upcoming Fall Memorial Service to honor and remember all those who are gone too soon. Please join us to learn more about the mission and outreach of this amazing nonprofit as it continues to grow to serve others. 
August 09, 2021
"My Love Is Greater Than Grief" ~Patti Ahl, Alex's Mom
In 2014, Patti and Barry Ahl lost their son, Alex, to an accidental fentanyl drug overdose at the age of 21. Patti pays tribute to Alex by taking her story and reaching out to teens and parents about Alex's life. She wants to take away the stigma of how we talk about addiction and emphasize that there are consequences to the choices we make. Patti also talks about coping with guilt and the strains that such a loss puts on her family and the difficulties they face. Please join us for a compelling twenty-minute podcast that all young people and families should listen to. 
August 02, 2021
Choosing Joy Through Grief - Danielle's Life-Changing Journey
Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) claims approximately 400 lives per year in children ages 1-18. In 2016, Danielle and her husband lost their 17 month-old son in the blink of the eye due to this tragic and devastating medical mystery. Danielle talks about how she was, "paralyzed by grief" and how she carries Blake's memory forward and how the experience has made her a better parent. Through this, Danielle has discovered new things about herself which has opened new doors in her life. She wants to connect with parents and families who have this shared experience and she speaks about how she can help bring joy through her grief journey and to try and normalize being able to talk openly about feelings and emotions with others.
July 26, 2021
Leaving Empty-Handed - Paige's Grief Journey
Paige and her husband were preparing for twins when they learned seven weeks into the pregnancy that one of the babies suffered vanishing twin syndrome. The pregnancy continued and they were excited to find out that the other twin was a baby boy. They learned of medical complications at 24 weeks which eventually led to a stillbirth of baby Wyatt. Paige talks of her, "wave of grief" and the emotional roller coaster they were on as they had to leave the hospital, "empty-handed." Paige talks about how her faith and marriage were tested, her emotions of anger and anxiety, and speaks of her gratitude toward the staff at Mayo Clinic in Rochester who helped her process and navigate through this difficult experience. She also talks about the community of support she and her husband have received through family and friends. 
July 19, 2021
OBS Outreach: Comfort Coffee aka Come For Coffee
Deb is the Vice President of One Bright Star and lost her 23 year old daughter, Crystal, in 2005. Deb leads an outreach program for OBS called, "Comfort Coffee" which is held at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in Mankato, Minnesota on the fourth Tuesday morning of each month. On this episode of One Bright Star - Life After Loss, she talks about the importance of this non-judgemental group that gathers to support and share each other's commonality of having lost a child. Deb is seeking to expand and is looking into starting an evening group called, "Comfort Cocktails" if there is an interest to do so. Please join this podcast and learn more about the diverse efforts of OBS to support its mission of being a resource to grieving families. 
July 12, 2021
Angel Mom: Dena's Stillborn Daughter
Dena and her husband's grief journey began on April 19, 2019 with the stillbirth of their daughter, Cassie. Dena talks about the importance of remembering and honoring her baby and her mission to help other mom's cope with their loss and raise money for causes important to her. She believes that talking about grief is healthy and doesn't want her daughter's memory to be a sad one for her or her family. 
July 05, 2021
Tracy's Story: A Son's Death and Taco Pie
Tracy, a One Bright Star board member, lost her beloved son Nick in 2017. She talks about how life stopped for her on that day and the painstaking journey to move forward that followed. She shares her story of faith, friends, hope, traditions, courage, gratitude, remembrance, inner-strength and navigating life through uncharted waters.
June 28, 2021
The Mission of One Bright Star
On this episode, One Bright Star's Executive Director, Erica Fischer and President, Alicia More, discuss who One Bright Star is here to serve and the mission of this Minnesota nonprofit. They talk about the importance of remembering and honoring a lost loved one, how they've been personally touched by the stories that families sharel and how important it is for all of us to show compassion and empathy. They also talk about the hope and courage that families show when it comes to coping and grieving the tremendous loss they have endured. Please join us on this journey to honor and remember those who have touched our lives and left us much too soon. 
June 21, 2021
Daddy's Girl: Becca Roberson shares the life and memory of Andy
One Bright Star board member, Becca Roberson, shares the story of her dad, Andy. After his diagnosis of Corticobasal degeneration, Becca talks about the life and loss her family faced and shares the memories of a man she held so dear.
June 14, 2021
The Janavaras Family Journey
On our inaugural episode, we talk with one of the founding mothers of One Bright Star, Linda Janavaras, who, in 1995, lost her fifteen year old son John to a meningitis outbreak in Mankato, Minnesota. Linda discusses John's life and her family's ongoing journey to remember, celebrate and pay tribute to her son's memory and to help others cope with the death of a child.
June 07, 2021