Shapes Of Grief

Ep. 26 Annemarie Brophy, Psychotherapist, on the disenfranchised grief of parenting a critically ill child

An episode of Shapes Of Grief

By Liz Gleeson, MSc Bereavement
Shapes of Grief is brought to you by Liz Gleeson, an Irish grief therapist. Liz hosts conversations with people about their experience of loss and grief in their lives. Through the recounting of our grief stories, integration can begin to happen, both for the teller and the listener. Everyone has a story of loss and everyone's story offers hope and inspiration to other grievers. Sharing these stories with each other can go a long way in normalising this human experience. Please do become a Patron on for as little as $5 per month, help keep us going!
More places to listen
Shapes of Grief is brought to you by Liz Gleeson, an Irish grief therapist. Liz hosts conversations with people about their experience of loss and grief in their lives. Through the recounting of our grief stories, integration can begin to happen, both for the teller and the listener. Everyone has a story of loss and everyone's story offers hope and inspiration to other grievers. Sharing these stories with each other can go a long way in normalising this human experience. Please do become a Patron on for as little as $5 per month, help keep us going!

More places to listen

Ep. 33 Helen Culhane on Supporting Children at Times of Grief
When Helen was 5, her baby brother Martin died in a cot death. She remembers his little white coffin being put into the neighbours car, her other brother, who was four at the time, remembers that car registration number to this day, over fifty years later. Decades later, Helen went on to found the Children’s Grief Centre in Limerick, supporting children who are grieving. In this conversation, Helen and Liz discuss children’ grief and draw on their experience as counsellors to discuss some of the important themes that can come up for children who are grieving and offer some really practical suggestions on how to best support grieving children, whether their loss be through bereavement or parental separation. For more information on children's grief, see, the website of the Irish Childhood Bereavement Network. The Children's Grief Centre in Limerick can be contacted here See their video here And for people in the USA, The Dougy Centre for grieving children can be contacted here and in the UK, The article by Daniel McConnell that Helen refers to can be read here
November 18, 2019
Ep. 32 Dr Merran Cooper on widowhood, becoming a Doctor at 56 and changing how we die
At just 23 years of age, Australian Palliative care doctor Merran Cooper became a widow when Mark, her childhood sweetheart and husband, died of leukaemia. Forced to move out of her home while still shell-shocked at her husband’s death, it would be three more decades until Merran followed her heart and studied medicine, becoming a palliative doctor to help change the broken system on how we approach dying and grief. In this moving account of loss and a complete rebuilding of the self, Merran introduces us to her newly developed Electronic End of Life Plan - she is passionate about opening up better conversations about death and dying and helping people to take responsibility for how their end of life could be. To watch Merran’s beautiful 12 minute film on dying, see Password is TLCSTC and is kindly offered for free to Shapes Of Grief listeners. #grief #bereavementoverload #palliativecare #endoflife #dying #death #endoflifeplan #hospice #thinkahead #griefpodcast #bestgriefpodcast
November 11, 2019
Ep. 31 Roy Remer of Zen Caregiving Project on dying & death in the Zen Tradition
It was wonderful to speak to Roy Remer, Executive Director of the Zen Caregiving Project (formerly Zen Hospice Project), talk about what brought him to be drawn to work with people at the end of their life and what he has learnt from accompanying hundreds of people through the dying process. Roy shares some great wisdom with Liz about how we might approach accompanying our dying loved ones and what really matters. As always, this is a rich and educational conversation.  #zenhospice #agooddeath #dying #death #grief #presence #caregiving #hospice #palliative #bereavement #royremer #
November 4, 2019
Ep. 30 Dr. Kathryn Mannix and Liz on 'Dying is Everybody's Business', Compassion & Self-Care for Caring Professionals
I was delighted to be joined by Dr. Kathryn Mannix for another episode of Shapes Of Grief. In this episode, we discuss the #ihfforum 2019 'Dying is Everybody's Business', at which Kathryn was keynote speaker. We take a look at what it takes to be an effective caring professional, how to avoid burnout and, when someone is dying, how do we know when "enough is enough".  People who care for other people may find this episode particularly useful, so please do share it! We mention the Irish Hospice Foundation's 'Think Ahead' programme, details of which can be found here and the gift of Organ Donation
October 26, 2019
Ep. 29 Ger Murphy, Psychotherapist & Poet, on Grief & Death and Climate Grief
When Ger was 9 years old, he found his father dead at home. Unable to process his grief, it would be shut inside for many years until Ger found his way, as a young adult, into a caring profession and gradually began to address his own inner landscape and wounding. His early experience of his father's sudden death and unexpressed grief caught up with him eventually and he developed stomach issues which lead him to discover Somatic Psychotherapy, opening a door into working psychotherapeutically with others. Ger talks to me about his personal experience of grief, how it unfolded in layers over the years and how a spiritual perspective can be a great resource for us in times of overwhelm. We talked about ways that we can manage the collective grief we feel about climate change and the environmental legacy we are leaving our children. Such a rich conversation with Ger Murphy on a range of grief perspectives and a little poetry woven throughout.  Ger's website is One of the poems that Ger shares with us in the podcast features in this video put together by justmultimedia and can be seen here In the conversation, Ger mentions the work of and
October 20, 2019
Ep. 28 Gretta Manners on recovering from Acquired Brain Injury
Eight years ago, Gretta Manners had a full time career in teaching and was a busy (and exhausted) mother of three young children; Hazel, 4, Maria, 2 and Tadhg, 6 months. She began to feel unwell and eventually went to the Emergency Dept. of her local hospital to find out what was wrong with her. It would be almost a year before Gretta got home again. What followed was months in hospital due to a rapid onset brain injury of unknown cause. Gretta lost her ability to talk, to walk, to determine the difference between her conscious and sleeping mind. She was plagued with a ‘ticker tape’ of nightmares and felt like she had ‘gone mad’. An encounter with a trial drug, along with a dedicated consultant (Prof. Tubridy), meant that Gretta’s deteriorating condition was thankfully stopped in its tracks and she would be able to start to slowly rebuild the broken brain connections, needing to learn to walk and talk all over again. The dedication of her family who didn’t leave her side during all of those institutionalised months and a consultant who really cared, meant that Gretta was given the best possible chance at life again, against all the odds. Whilst Gretta defied many of the medical opinions in that she learnt to walk again, manages to run a couple of laps of the running track, can walk and drive and do day to day activities, she did not make a full recovery. Her balance remains a challenge and she often has difficulty with her short-term memory. She gets easily overwhelmed by a lot of conversation and sometimes it’s just too difficult for her to process what is going on in a busy room. In this conversation, we hope to highlight the losses that can be associated with acquired brain injury and hopefully make people more aware of this invisible condition that is often accompanied by invisible struggle. What comes across utmost in this conversation is how compassionate medical care and a dedicated circle of family and friends can really make a difference to a person’s outcome. Acquired Brain Injury Ireland are available to provide support to individuals and families affected by Acquired Brain Injury. Here is a link to their website
October 14, 2019
Ep. 27 Declan Hammond on Parental Loss, a father's perspective
Thirteen years ago, Declan Hammond received a phonecall that is every parent's worst nightmare; his son had been involved in a mining accident abroad and was killed instantly.  Declan was spiralled into what felt like an alternative reality, his life would never be the same again. In this brutally honest account of his grief, Declan describes how, for a number of years, he felt mad with grief. It was in the company of other bereaved parents where he found understanding, as many of his former friends fell away, unable to tolerate his grief. Declan speaks about how his grief transformed him over the years and how he has now made meaning from his loss. Declan recorded this short video for another podcast, it's well worth a listen to For more on Declan’s work, see #grief #parentalbereavement #loss #accident #bereavement #griefpodcast #bestgriefpodcast
October 6, 2019
Ep. 26 Annemarie Brophy, Psychotherapist, on the disenfranchised grief of parenting a critically ill child
For many of us, we take it for granted that our text will read something like “a beautiful baby girl was born at 5.55am, 8.2lbs, mother and baby doing great”, but for Annemarie McCarthy and her husband, the reality was far from this. The 20 week scan showed anomalies that would render the rest of Annemarie’s pregnancy a constant source of stress and worry. When baby Ruth took her first breaths alone, her parents hoped that the worst was over and, once reparative surgery would be completed, they would take Ruth home and get on with their lives. Little did they know that their epic journey to keep their baby alive was just beginning. Ruth’s complications were a lot more than they and the medical team first realised, resulting in numerous surgeries, interventions and four years on  a life-support machine.  By the time Ruth was well enough to shed her reliance on the various machines that kept her alive for the first few years of her life, her mother Annemarie describes herself as ‘an empty shell’. Trying to keep her daughter alive for five years had taken it’s toll on Annemarie and after her second child was born, she realised that she was in dire need of therapeutic intervention to help her to rebuild herself after the years of stress and trauma that her family had been through. In this honest and open conversation, Annemarie gives us an insight into the disenfranchised grief of having a sick child and how that experience would change everything about her life in the weeks, months and years that followed. It is truly such a privilege to bear witness to these stories. #nicu #childrenshospital #disenfranchisedgrief #hiddenloss #livinginhospital #separation #divorce
September 29, 2019
Ep. 25 Aisling Fitzgibbon and her search for meaning and purpose in her own life and in her mother's death
Aisling Fitzgibbon and her mother Martha were inseparable. As well as mother and daughter, they were best friends and soul mates. Following a few years of depression in her early twenties, Aisling went on a journey of finding meaning and purpose in her life, accompanied every step of the way by her beloved mother Martha. When Martha suddenly became critically ill, all of Aisling's spiritual learnings were put to the test and she had to dig deep to be able to come to terms with her mother's impending death. Aisling takes us through that journey and talks about how she accompanied her mother in her dying process and how finding meaning in her mother's death helped her to cope with the enormous grief she experienced. Listen to Aisling and be inspired! 'Fairytale' - a song by Richie Ros, which Martha listened to as she was dying #grief #bereavement #seizures #dying 
September 21, 2019
Ep. 24 Siobhan Overson on being orphaned at 2yrs old and a life-long grief for the parents & brother she doesn't remember
When Siobhan was two years old, both her parents, her older brother who was seven and her aunt all died in a drowning tragedy on Carlingford Lough. Siobhan, her  eleven month-old brother Terry and a nine-year-old sister Orla, were separated from each other and taken in by two sets of grandparents and were raised in a society that didn’t condone mourning or talk of grief.  Siobhan tells us about how she created an imaginary life for herself as a child and how this loss coloured her life experience and influenced her life choices. Decades later, Siobhan still feels anxious whenever she has to wait for someone and how she finds solace in the company of family and friends. She finds healing in the work she does with grieving children who come to the Rainbows programme which Siobhan facilitates and offers advice to anyone supporting a grieving child. #rainbows #grief #carlingfordlough #drowning #grief #bereavement BBC coverage of the commemoration
September 2, 2019
Ep. 23 Siobhan Daffy on bereavement overload; when it seems like everyone is dying
In 2000, a bus carrying 7 young tourists in Bolivia crashed into a ravine killing all of the 9 passengers on board; the driver had fallen asleep. Among them were two young Irish sisters. In this episode, Musician and Poet Siobhan Daffy, talks about the sudden death of her best friend, the importance of getting the girls home to Ireland and how community and poetry supported her in coming to terms with her bereavement. Two years later, Siobhan’s little brother Donnacha died suddenly, leaving a bereft family. They were barely coming to terms with their grief when their father also died.  Siobhan speaks about the magnitude of love and loss that hit her family and how they coped together, somehow finding a way to grieve, to find the courage to move forward with their enormous grief and to take heart in the love and life that still remained for them. The accident was widely covered in the Irish press at the time #grief #bereavement #suddendeath #accident #loss #poetry #bereavementoverload To access Siobhan’s work, please see the links bellow
August 24, 2019
Ep. 22 Bebhinn Ramsey on her search for a 'cure' for grief and how a spiritual path helped her to navigate her loss
Author of "Love's last gift" Bebhinn Ramsey recounts the sudden death of her husband Alistair while on holidays in San Francisco, leaving her widowed at 31 with a baby and a toddler. At the age of thirty-one Bébhinn had lost her soulmate, the father of her two young sons, but also her faith in life.Bebhinn tells of how the weight of her grief made her feel like a 'cornered rat' and how she went on a search for the cure for grief. That search lead her to The Work of Byron Katie, which provided her with a map that worked for her and helped her to navigate her grief by taking a spiritual approach to her experience. A heart-warming story from a beautiful woman. Bebhinn's ebook can be bought on Amazon at In Love's Last Gift, this inspirational and thought-provoking memoir, we journey with Bébhinn as she searches for answers and a sense of meaning to her husband's untimely death. From walking the Camino de Santiago with her two young sons in the weeks following Alastair's death, to spiritual retreats and self-reflection, we discover how Bébhinn eventually finds peace, happiness and acceptance by opening her mind and her heart. Love's Last Gift is a beautifully-written and ultimately uplifting memoir of hope, courage and eternal love. In 2008, Bébhinn Ramsay set up ARCH, the Alastair Ramsay Charitable Trust, and moved to Florianópolis, Brazil to oversee Child Health Florianópolis, a child-focussed charity. All royalties from Love's Last Gift go directly to ARCH. #grief #bebhinnramsey #sepsis #suddendeath #byronkatie #thework #griefspirituality #bereavement #widow #loveafterloss
August 7, 2019
Ep. 21 Helen Lambe on accompanying her husband through cancer and untimely widowhood
Helen Lamb, owner and founder of the Dublin Wellness Centre, takes us on an intimate journey through her experience of grief following the death of her beloved husband when their baby boy was just months old. Listeners who have accompanied loved ones through cancer will resonate deeply with some of the experiences that Helen shares. She talks about the acute loneliness of grief and the importance of friends who ‘get’ exactly what you’re going through. Helen describes how grief changed her and how she approached loving again after losing ‘the love of her life’.  For more information on the Dublin Wellness Centre, click here Helen refers to her friendship with author Bebhinn Ramsey. To read Bebhinn’s book "Love’s last gift”, buy the kindle edition here Bebhinn is our guest on the Shapes Of Grief podcast next week, episode 22. 
July 29, 2019
Ep. 20 Cath Monaghan on sibling bereavement
Catherine Monaghan talks to Liz about life after the sudden death of her brother, what the grief of losing a sibling was like for her and how Tony’s death affected every part of her life. To read Cath’s article in the Irish Times, click here
July 9, 2019
Ep. 19 Beatrice Caffrey on multiple miscarriage and the death of her baby son Joshua
For those of you who listened to last week's episode with Justin Caffrey, this is your opportunity to now listen to Beatrice Caffrey's perspective on the life and death of their beloved baby son Joshua. Having endured three miscarriages, Beatrice and Justin were delighted that this pregnancy was going well. When Beatrice was 25 weeks pregnant, they took a much-needed holiday to the south of Spain, when Beatrice was woken by her waters breaking, 15 weeks early.  Several days later in hospital, Joshua was born and immediately needed the care of the neonatal unit where he was not expected to live through the night. But Joshua was a little fighter and lived for almost a year, most of that spent in the intensive care unit. Beatrice takes us through that really difficult twelve months where their whole life was put on pause and Joshua's intense care regime was central to their lives. She takes us through the tasks of caring for a very ill baby, the days leading up to Joshua's death and how she took to the Wicklow hills to walk with her grief.  #grief #loss #bereavement #multiplemiscarriage #born25weeks #neonatal #justincaffrey #babyloss
July 2, 2019
Ep. 18 Justin Caffrey on how the death of his baby son forced him to reconstruct himself to survive his grief
From high-flying banker to kangaroo parenting, Justin Caffrey takes us through a searingly honest account of his experience when his second son Joshua was born fifteen weeks early and life as they knew it stopped for the rest of the family. Forced to live in the south of Spain near the NICU unit where their son battled for survival, their son’s ongoing dance between life and death would change Justin’s perspective on almost everything in his life. After Joshua’s death, just short of his first birthday, Justin’s suppressed grief would eventually scream to be addressed, forcing Justin into a whole new way of being in the world. He generously shares with listeners what this journey was like for him, the abyss of grief that he faced, along with suicidal ideation and eventual acceptance of his grief and the rebuilding of family and career after trauma. Justin describes being surrounded by friends and family at a barbecue yet feeling totally alone and desolate. It is a poignant reminder to all of us to not forget our grieving loved ones, even though the outside can appear ‘normal’.  In the following episode of Shapes Of Grief, we shall talk to Beatrice Caffrey, mother of Joshua and married to Justin, for her maternal perspective of multiple miscarriage and the death of her beloved baby Joshua. 
June 25, 2019
Ep. 17 Dr. Ciara Kelly on the deaths of her parents & her journey with grief
From twenty years in general practice to a full-blown transition to journalist and broadcaster, Dr. Ciara Kelly takes us through her experience of grief following the very sudden death of her father several years ago and then the more recent and prolonged death of her mother just under two years ago. Ciara speaks candidly with Liz about the different experiences, what surprised her about their deaths and how the experience of deep grief changed her as a doctor and as a person. We also hear about her first experience as a doctor, having to break the news to a young mother that she was going to die and how her own bereavements have changed her as a person. The first 11 minutes, Ciara chats about her transition from GP to broadcaster. The conversation then turns to grief and Ciara’s very personal experience of loss. Ciara and Liz both reference some of the articles that Ciara has written on her parents’ deaths, links can be found below. You’ll need to login or register for free access.
June 19, 2019
Ep. 16 Treacy O'Connor, Interfaith Minister, on continuous bonds and how grief is woven throughout our lives in every change we make
More like a conversation between friends, Liz and Interfaith minister Treacy O’Connor talk about a variety of topics related to loss, personal growth, separation, as well as the dance between spirituality and the corporate world. Treacy discusses how her relationship with her father became deeper through the continuous bonds she forged with him after his death. She takes us through her personal journey from a young, searching woman to corporate life and eventually to the role of interfaith minister. We talk about the spiritual aspect of growth, as well as spiritual bypassing, childbirth, the grief of relationship breakdown and self-rediscovery.   For more on Treacy's work, see #Treacyoconnor #interfaithminister #continuousbonds #death #loss #bereavement #separation #spiritualbypassing 
June 3, 2019
Ep. 15 Kevin Toolis on 'My Father's Wake' - what we can learn from the Irish about Love, Life and Death
Kevin Toolis is a BAFTA winning film maker and writer of the acclaimed death guide My Father’s Wake: How the Irish Teach Us to Live, Love and Die.  Toolis has reported on famines, wars and plagues all over the world for The New York Times and The Guardian. As a documentary maker he has filmed in the middle east and directed the Emmy-nominated Cult of the Suicide Bomber television history series. He is also producer/director of a compelling new stage work Wonders of the Wake that revives the lost art of Irish keening and celebrates the ancient rite of the Irish Wake.   In this episode, Kevin talks to Liz about what compelled him to write this book about his father's death and what it taught Kevin about  life. It will take the reader on a sometimes uncomfortable journey towards mortality, but ultimately is an invitation to wake up to our finite lives and live them. Buy 'My Father’s Wake' Liz refers to the Think Ahead programme run by the Irish Hospice Foundation, details can be found here. Kevin speaks out against euthanasia in this episode. For another perspective, Liz recommends the documentary 'How to die in Oregon', available to rent on Amazon Prime for $3.99. #death #dying #irishwake #kevintoolis #myfatherswake #mortality #dying process #grief #shapesofgrief #thinkahead #irishhospicefoundation #howtodieinoregon
May 27, 2019
Ep. 14 Donna Schuurman of the Dougy Centre on Children's Grief, a professional perspective
Donna tells us about the work of the Dougy centre in Portland Oregon and gives us some insight into what support children may need to help them through times of grief. The Dougy centre have some really useful resources for supporting grieving children and adolescents, which can be found here We also mention the Irish Childhood Bereavement Network who are a great resource for childhood bereavement in Ireland, details can be found here #childrensgrief #grief #loss #childhoodbereavement #griefsupportforchildren #dougycentre #childhoodbereaement #shapesofgrief #griefpodcast
May 20, 2019
Ep. 13 Edy Nathan, Psychotherapist & Author, on cumulative grief, overcoming agoraphobia & sexual abuse
Psychotherapist and author Edy Nathan joins me on Shapes Of Grief this week to talk about the grief she endured through sexual abuse and bullying at a young age, which lead to the debilitating condition of agoraphobia. Edy’s experience would later shape her career choice, leading her to study the creative arts therapies, sex therapy and grief support. In this conversation, Edy takes us through her early experiences, how they shaped her and how she eventually came to integrate her grief and become a support for other people also experiencing cumulative grief and trauma.  Edy is offering listeners of Shapes Of Grief a free grief mediation download from her website, when you mention Shapes Of Grief. Her book ‘It’s Grief’ can be purchased on her  website, which can be found here In the conversation, I mention an article that I wrote about Ritual, Symbol & Metaphor which can be found on my blog here #grief #loss #agoraphobia #edynathan #sexualabuse #dramatherapy #bereavement #therapy #shapesofgrief #griefpodcast #lizgleeson #bereavementtherapist #grieftherapist #cumulativegrief
May 13, 2019
Ep. 12 Dr Kathryn Mannix demystifying the dying process & how to prepare for a good death
This week I speak to Dr Kathryn Mannix, palliative care pioneer, about the dying process. Like birth, there are certain stages of death which Kathryn hopes to demystify in her book ‘With the End in Mind’. Kathryn does a wonderful job in normalising this process which we all face and looks at how we can take the fear out of this natural and inevitable stage of life. Kathryn oozes compassion and humanity, offering ways in which we can approach this often-feared topic in a whole new light. We discuss ways in which we can support our loved ones who are facing death and also how we can make our own deaths easier for our loved ones.  Kathryn’s wisdom goes a long way in normalising death and dying, this really is a must-listen for all of us! Dr Kathryn Mannix will be the keynote speaker at the Forum 2019 “Dying is everyone’s business” in Dublin Castle on Thursday 24th October, tickets can be bought here #shapesofgrief #griefpodcast #bereavement #dying #death #whathappenswhenwedie #gooddeath #drkathrynmannix #palliativecare #withtheendinnind #forum2019 #irishhospicefoundation #stagesofdeath #grief #loss 
May 8, 2019
Ep. 11 Hayley Manning, Advocate, on Miscarriage, Turner's Syndrome & living with Loss & Hope
In this conversation with Liz, Hayley speaks about the multiple miscarriages that she experienced, the devastating decision that herself and husband Charlie had to make when they found out that their baby had Turner's Syndrome and how, after four miscarriages and a medical termination, she continues to try to find the balance between loss and hope.  Miscarriage remains a taboo subject and if often a source of deep loneliness and grief for those who experience it. Because it is a subject avoided by many, the signs and symptoms of miscarriage often cause unnecessary additional distress and can be a deeply shocking and confusing time for the parents' experiencing this loss.   I am aware that Hayley has a living child and that some listeners do not have a living child; I  wish to acknowledge this possible trigger of pain. Hayley's candid and heartfelt approach to the subject provides a much-needed insight into what it means to endure multiple pregnancy losses and also a glimpse of the devastation parents' face when medical termination is an option they must consider. Hayley, who has significantly resourced herself through these experiences by accessing support and attending ongoing counselling, shares with us the variety of organisations where she found some support and comfort, she generously shares them with us here today: A few links that might be useful for your listeners: (UK based) Miscarriage Association: They have lots of really good leaflets about all different types of miscarriages, complications, feelings, future decisions Turners Syndrome Society: ARC (they support parents through antenatal testing and with the decisions about continuing with the pregnancy or not): They have a “friend” service, I spoke to a women who also had a Turner’s baby, it was really helpful. SANDS Helpful resources Book: Miscarriage – What every women needs to know by Professor Lesley Regan Hayley's details: My blog link:  Twitter:  . Instagram: Facebook: #miscarriage #turnerssyndrome #top #medicaltermination #termination #multiplemiscarriage #grief #loss #bereavement #bereavementoverload #sands #turnerssyndromesociety #miscarriageassociation 
May 6, 2019
Ep. 10 Dr Helen Greally on grief following diagnosis & grief theories
Dr Helen Greally is a psycho-oncologist with Cancer Care West. Helen has over forty years experience working with people through grief and loss, following diagnosis. Her PhD focused on spousal bereavement and she has collected a host of grief experiences from people of all ages throughout the country. In this episode of Shapes Of Grief, Helen talks about the shock that can come following a difficult diagnosis, theories of grief and why the 5 stages is usually not that useful, as well as some of the ways in which she works with grief, trauma and forging continuous bonds with our deceased loved ones. Helen provides us with a wealth of wisdom and empathy, it is a total privilege to have had Helen as a guest on Shapes Of Grief. #grief #bereavement #cancer #diagnosis #helengreally #cancersupport #continuousbonds #grieftheories #shapesofgrief #griefpodcast
April 29, 2019
Ep. 9 Jane Harris, psychotherapist, on parental bereavement & the powerful documentary A Love That Never Dies
In 2011, Jane Harris and Jimmy Edmonds got the knock at the door that no parent ever wants; their 22 year old son Joshua had been killed in a road accident while travelling in Vietnam. From that moment on, their life changed fundamentally, forever. Jane, a psychotherapist & filmmaker and Jimmy, also a filmmaker, embarked on a voyage of active grief during the following years, using their creative backgrounds to explore the new territory of parental bereavement. This lead them on a road trip throughout the U.S., an homage to Joshua who died travelling, to meet other bereaved parents and to try to de-stigmatise the conversations around parental loss. Their documentary “A Love That Never Dies” is a product of their grief journey and a testament to their enduring love for Joshua. It is a ‘much watch’ for anyone who seeks to better understand grief, in any shape.  The documentary sold-out to a packed audience in Dublin last week, hosted by the Irish Hospice Foundation. Following the screening, Jane and Jimmy stayed with me for several days in Greystones where we talked love, grief, creativity and sea-swimming. They met with Justin and Beatrice, a local couple who had coincidentally also lost a beloved son Joshua in 2011 and who shares Jimmy’s passion for sea-swimming as an antidote to grief.  We also had breakfast with Ruth Fitzmaurice, author of “I Found My Tribe”, a former guest on Shapes Of Grief, where stories of books, documentaries, death and tattoos were shared;  an immediate bond found through grief and creativity. Episode 9 of Shapes Of Grief is a beautiful conversation I had with Jane where she shares much of her grief experience, how losing Josh changed her and the many ways their family adapted to their loss. Jane and Jimmy’s work has profoundly touched me and I know that it will continue to support and inspire those who find it.  Watch ‘A Love That Never Dies’ here
April 9, 2019
Ep. 8 Gary Andrews on Love, Widowhood & The Doodle Diaries
When Gary’s wife Joy died suddenly in 2017 from sepsis, he turned to his daily practice of doodling to express his grief and help him to process the reality of widowhood and parenting two young, bereft children. The series of heartfelt illustrations soon caught the attention of the public and quickly became a viral sensation.  Liz had the pleasure of speaking with Gary for the Shapes Of Grief podcast and what ensued was a heartwarming conversation about love, parenthood, surrendering to grief & finding hope for the future. Don’t miss this one!  For more resources, please see, follow us on facebook, twitter and instagram. Support us on Patreon! #garyscribbler #thedoodlediaries #grief #loss #bereavement #sepsis #widow #widowhood #griefpodcast #bereavement #grieftherapy #griefsupport #hospice #shapesofgrief
March 29, 2019
Ep. 7 Dr. Robert Neimeyer on Meaning Making after loss
Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology, at the University of Memphis, where he also maintains an active clinical practice. Bob is an international speaker on grief and loss, bringing a great wisdom to the field. In this episode of Shapes Of Grief, Bob talks to Liz about how his father's suicide when he was 12 was to shape his later choices.  He talks about why meaning making is important throughout life, not just in grief and has some fascinating perspectives on grief and how we might navigate it. We discuss how to help those who are grieving as well as looking at how to identify what our needs are in grief, how we might go about getting those needs met and how we might maintain a continuous bond with our deceased loved ones.  The sound quality is hampered at times, due to Liz being on a steep learning-curve of podcast editing and some builders who were hard at work in the background of this interview; please excuse this, we hope you agree that the content of the interview more than makes up for the poor sound quality at times.  For details of trainings offered by the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition, please see Cruse Masterclass with Robert Neimeyer, Belfast, July 2019 #loss #grief #bereavement #crusebereavement #robertneimeyer #griefpodcast #shapesofgrief #hospice #griefeducation #meaningmaking #suicide #spirituality #continuousbonds
March 20, 2019
Ep. 6 Madeleine Grant, Nurse & therapist, on bereavement overload, prolonged grief & how grief can make you sick
In this episode, Madeleine talks to Liz about three successive family bereavements and how her inability to grieve resulted in significant illness and a near-death experience. Madeleine went on to complete a Masters in Bereavement Studies at the Irish Hospice Foundation in an attempt to better understand and heal her own unresolved losses. Madeleine's story will no doubt resonate deeply with many people who have experienced grief in their lives, particularly those of us who have, for some reason, shut away our grief and not felt safe to express it.  This is an important conversation about bereavement and unresolved grief that will hopefully inspire people in the knowing that it really is never too late to talk about grief and find healing and integration. #loss #grief #bereavement #prolongedgrief #complicatedgrief #bereavementoverload #griefinthebody #ulcerativecolitis #neardeathexperience #mscbereavementstudies #irishhospicefoundation
March 11, 2019
Ep. 5 Dr Susan Delaney on the essence of grief, prolonged Grief, resilience and hope
Shapes of Grief had a lovely conversation with Dr. Susan Delaney of the Irish Hospice Foundation. Susan is the bereavement services manager there and has been instrumental in bringing awareness to Prolonged Grief (formerly complicated grief) to Ireland. In this conversation, Susan paints a very clear picture of what grief can look like, what can be involved when we go through grief and how sometimes, when our grief fails to integrate, we can go on to develop prolonged grief. Susan also talks about childhood bereavement and how children must be included in the grieving process.  If you want a 'Grief 101', this is the podcast to listen to!  #prolongedgrief #complicatedgrief #drsusandelaney #grief #loss #bereavement #childrenandloss
March 4, 2019
Ep. 4 Ruth Fitzmaurice, author of 'I Found My Tribe', on living with ongoing loss
Ruth Fitzmaurice's life changed when her husband Simon was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. In this candid conversation, Ruth shares how, as a mother of five, she coped with Simon's long illness and eventual death through writing and daily immersion in the cold, Irish sea. Ruth speaks with exquisite honesty and generosity about her inner journey living with ongoing loss and how she is finding meaning in life again. Apologies for the poor sound on the podcast, but the content is oh-so worth a listen! #grief #loss #ruthfitzmaurice #simonfitzmaurice #ifoundmytribe #shapesofgrief #widow #lifeafterloss
February 26, 2019
Ep. 3 Deirdre Ahern, Mindfulness teacher, on pet loss
Deirdre takes us through a beautiful story of how her little dog Charlie came into her life, the connection they made and how his presence enhanced her life. Deirdre tells an important message of how our pets become our family, particularly if we are single in the world and how their death can have a truly devastating impact. She describes how her spiritual practice helped her to cope with the loss.  #petloss #grief #bereavement #whenadogdies #shapesofgrief #griefpodcast
February 11, 2019
Ep. 2 Emily McCullough, Art Therapist, on prolonged, disenfranchised grief
Art therapist Emily McCullough talks about the sudden, ambiguous death of her brother when she was sixteen, followed by her father's death a few years later. The suppressed grief, both personal and in the family, would take its toll for many years. Emily talks about how her grief has impacted her adult life, her relationships and her ongoing fear of loss. We talk about how her prolonged grief still manifests and how she managed to begin the process of healing, many years later.  #shapesofgrief #griefinthebody #grief #loss #prolonged grief #complicated grief #ambiguousloss #bereavement overload #grieftherapy #griefcounselling 
January 31, 2019
Ep. 1 Jack Gleeson talks about grief following the suicide of his best friend
Friends for over four decades, when Jack Gleeson's best friend died by suicide, the loss for Jack was huge. In this interview, Jack talks about friendship, love and loss. Twitter: Ofshapes Instagram: Shapesofgrief Facebook: shapesofgrief
January 20, 2019
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