Her Dad Commited Suicide, What Do I Say? – Shyla Lee #3

How does a child cope with the loss of a parent when she is forbidden from grieving? And how does that manifest itself in that child’s adult life? Join us as we kick off our series on Grief and Loss with our guest Shyla Lee, a 46 yr old wife, mom, and teacher in the Metro Nashville, TN area as she shares the gut wrenching impossible business of healing from her dad’s suicide.

How does a child cope with the loss of a parent when she is forbidden from grieving?
And how does that manifest itself in that child’s adult life?
Join us as we kick off our series on Grief and Loss with our guest Shyla Lee, a 46 yr old wife, mom, and teacher in the Metro Nashville, TN area as she shares the gut wrenching impossible business of healing from her dad’s suicide. As she was unable to grieve the loss of her dad as a child, she shows us that grief unprocessed has real consequences.
About Shyla: She loves teaching, running, cooking, and reading and S could happily eat tacos every day of her life.  Her favorite weather is snow, and U2 makes her feel alive.  Her & her husband David have been married 26 years and have four sons, ages 21, 19, 16, and 11 – along with a beautiful daughter in law as of 10/27/18!  Life is an adventure in their home of Nashville, TN.
SHOW NOTES
  • Shyla’s childhood without her dad, living as if he never existed
  • How not processing her grief disconnected her from feeling emotions
  • How therapy helped her acknowledge her dad’s disappearance later in life
  •  How others responded to her story
What felt supportive:
  • they said very little, like they had no idea how to respond
  • they validated with statements like,  “I really just can’t wrap my head around how that happen.” “I have a hard time imagining a kid that young being put in a circumstance like that”
  • expressions of “This just blows my mind and I don’t know what to do with this.”
  • it felt like they were joining me in a place, standing beside me because they didn’t have any answers
  • some didn’t say anything, but the tenor and body language gave the sense that people were entering in it with her
What Shyla wishes we knew:
  • sometimes we have pain and vacancy deeply embedded in us that it’s going to take very directed and purposeful effort to even to get to the point to choose to even process our grief
  • living integrated and as your whole self is a very important thing
Advice to women of whom grief has found them later in life
  • You’ll go into deep default mode (auto-pilot) – this may not be the first time this has come up, but it may be that you are finally noticing it
  • It takes time to process all the pain; give yourself grace to deal with as little or as much as you can at the time
Grief is not an event to get over, it takes time. It’s a lifelong process.
Grief is like an onion with many layers.
As a community, how can we be supportive to someone going through this grief
  • #1 – if people talked about him in her presence – “Is it okay if I talk about your dad for a little bit?”
  • Focus just on the fact that they died not on the method of their death
In the Christian Community, we struggle with this issue because some of us believe the deceased will go to hell. “When I would hear people so easily say, well if a person commits suicide then there is no salvation for that person.”
The method of how someone died has nothing to do with standing alongside in their grief. Whether they died in a car accident or hanged themself.
What isn’t helpful
  • Stay away from placing blame or guilt – find another way to handle this on your own, but do not share this with the grieving person (Silk Ring Theory)
        “You’re putting guilt that you are intend for the dead person onto the people that are still here grieving.”
  • Try not to pull away from relationship with the grieving person

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I’d love to get your feedback about this episode! Tell me what you loved, what you want more of, or give me a show idea. OR maybe there’s something we didn’t cover today that you wish we knew about this topic. Shoot me an email with either a recorded message from your phone recorder (hint, I might just play your voice on the next episode) or write me a quick note and send it to my email: kathleen@whatshewishesyouknew.

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