Nov. 18, 2021

💙Grief In Life and Leadership, from 💥Widowhood to Workaholism to Wellbeing 🦢

💙Grief In Life and Leadership, from 💥Widowhood to Workaholism to Wellbeing 🦢

Dedication to: November 16 Children’s 💙Grief Awareness Day. Wear blue in honor of all grieving children.

Below I share some of my journeys through 💙Grief and other courageous leaders who share their 💙Grief journey in this blog.

Awakening to Reality:

🤔 How do you manage sudden, unexpected, or looming choice points? 

💙Grief is that intangible thing that you have no real understanding of until you walk through the darkness of despair and desperate not knowing of what to do. Until you have this experience you are more like a rubber necking motorist gawking at the incomprehensible chaos and destruction unfolding in front of your eyes.

I am sharing my life and leadership experiences and touch points on my journey from 💥Widowhood ⚙️Workaholism to Wellbeing 🦢. From this place of experienced 💔grief I’ve been by guided these words expressed by Elie Wiesel (he/him) a Romanian-born American writer, professor, political activist, Nobel laureate, and Holocaust survivor.

Whoever survives a test,

whatever it may be,

must tell the story.

That is his or her duty.”

(Elie Wiesel 1928-2016)

The first strategic career choice I made was guided by core value around family. I became a director and entrepreneur in partnership with my husband. Together we managed our business interests, raised children, and were global explorers. We focused on balancing a happy home and business interests that supported our life style. 

My youngest son was born early January and the year was brimming with bright beginnings. What I did not know was that the year would end with dying dreams. The life lesson ahead taught me that things could be changing dramatically over the course of one year in ways that you could not see. The were some harbingers of the depth of changes to come with three major world events that happen during this annus horribilis:

🚀 The explosion on the space shuttle Challenger STS-51L seventy-three seconds after take-off tragically took the lives of the crew including school teacher Christa McAuliffe. This really struck a nerve with me as a young mother.

💥 The emergency shutdown of the Boston Edison’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant and  ☢️ the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Both occurring within days that April.  My environmental activist was most alarmed.

Then much closer to home suddenly I found myself walking the last mile with my husband resulting in finding myself widowed at 27, surrounded by my own and my young children’s 💔grief.

☮️This led to my understanding that we need to change the conversation around grief? 

The Gift 🎁 my husband left was that TODAY is the GIFT and we can live each day, one at a time appreciating our 🎁PRESENT.

It took about 2 years for the brain fog and overwhelming 💙grief to ease enough for me start to walk through the world in wonder again with my children. 

Awakening to Reality:

Life and leadership goes on. But what about for the children in our life?

November 16 Children’s 💙Grief Awareness Day.  A day to wear blue in honor of all grieving children.

For my young children the death of their father 💔was their first experience of grief.  For other children, experiences can include family members suffering from addictions, through long-term illness or loss of quality of life.

For myself, it has taken decades for the fragmented and splintered pieces of grief to work their way out of my body. I have come to understand that I am a work in progress.

🤔 Is it okay to not be coping in your organization? 

Truly people, there is no timetable for one and all.   

Widowhood had a profound impact on my life.  By no means was it or will it be the only impactful Grief event I have experienced and/or will continue to process.

Throughout the journey of grief, at times the enduring grief was relieved by workaholism. It has taken dedication to self-witnessing, growing through grief to gain the wisdom, grace, and courage to continue on a conscious journey into Wellbeing 🦢 in both my life and leadership. 

Leadership speaks.

On the leadership front, balancing work and wellbeing is another call to action. Another significant event and trigger for me was my experience of 911 🌇2001.  Twenty years on I believe it is important to touch on remembering and learning from leadership touch points on the time passed.  Joe Rego courageously shares his story and learningful moments of 911 🌇2001- ⏳2021 and being widowed seven years later on September 11th!

Deb Boelkes, at the height of her career, had a similar experience to me. She shares how she navigated the collision of life and leadership in her sphere of Business World Rising when her husband was diagnosed with stage 4 Breast Cancer.

Direct Link Inspiring Tomorrow’s Best✨Ever Leaders:

https://bit.ly/3CNQ4AU Timestamp [00:27:02.79 - 00:32:22.68]

Lest We Forget

Do you know  the leading trailblazers, way-showers, vivid visionaries who’ve gone before us?

One example for me was Fred Reiss the Grandfather of the Captive Industry that fueling the foundation of Bermuda’s entire insurance industry.   

🤔 Where do you get the wisdom, grace, and courage to continue?

💙Grief and our conversations keep memories alive. At some point, for the willing, growth. Do not compare your grief to others.  Each life is symbolized by its footprints in your memories. Offering you the freedom to create your footpath in the digital sands of time and space to remember those who’ve traveled before you freeing you, your family, your organizations to become all they wish to.

The Gift 🎁 my husband and business partner left with me was that TODAY is the 🎁PRESENT.

Resources:

Books

📚 The Guided Heart (2017) Victoria Volk

📚 Book: Raven Transcending (2021) by Terri Kozlowski

📚 Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief (1994) Martha Whitmore Hickman

On my Podcast Life & Leadership: A Conscious Journey there are a number of episodes touching on how to heal your divided self:

Leadership

Remembrances & Leadership Touch Points of 9/11 🌇2001⏳2021 https://bit.ly/3zjq3qv

Memorializing Fred Reiss Grandfather of the Bermuda Captive Industry https://bit.ly/3FV9rd4

Life Grief

Helping hurting 💛hearts feel better with Victoria Volk 🙏👣👣🙏https://bit.ly/30zP8Sg

Addictions

Embrace Family Recovery with Margaret Swift Thompson  🙏👣👣🙏 https://bit.ly/3oB53s0

Professional 🦢 Swans From Fear to Freedom 🙏👣👣🙏 https://bit.ly/30F1s4j

Childhood Trauma

E030 Raven Transcending with Terri Kozlowski https://bit.ly/32fkMFT

Parenting

Present Parenting in Novel Times with David Foster https://bit.ly/3co5HmW

Victoria Volk’s Podcast: https://www.theunleashedheart.com/grieving-voices-podcast/