Grief has been on the forefront of our minds and hearts lately as we watch those around us endure the devastation of the last several years. It’s an unfortunate constant in life and it seems like the best way we can support our listeners is to dive in deeper and learn what we can. What is grief? How does it manifest? What can we do to help ourselves through it? What can we do to support loved ones experiencing it?
To answer these questions (and more!), Krystal invites Erika M. Schreck to join the conversation. She’s a grief intuitive coach and dear friend with over 20 years of experience helping others move forward after the unimagninable.
To listen to this episode, go here: https://60393c6c411987-31064509.castos.com/player/1007714
Think meditation is hard? Do me a favor, take a slow deep breath in and now breathe out. Congratulations, you just meditated. Hi, I’m Krystal Jakosky, and this is Breathe In, Breathe Out: a Weekly Mindfulness and Meditation podcast for anyone ready to own their own shit and find a little peace while doing it.
Krystal Jakosky: Hello and welcome back to Breathe In, Breathe Out. I’m Krystal. And as always, I am absolutely delighted that you’re here. The snow is coming down outside, and it is such a beautiful winter Wonderland. I love it. It’s serene, it’s beautiful. It’s peaceful. And it brings hope and joy to my heart. I just kind of, really enjoy it. I can’t express that enough.
I’ve had a few of my listeners and friends and clients and colleagues talk to me about grief lately, and they really want to know tips and tricks and how to, how to work with it and how to deal with it and move forward. And so I thought that the best way to do that is to invite my dear friend Erika Schreck to be here on our podcast because she is a grief intuitive coach. So Erika Schreck, she loves helping you create more ease in your life and teaching you how to use tools and practices to experience more calm health on all levels and joy.Read More
Ericka Schreck: Hi. I’m so glad to be here. Thank you.
Krystal Jakosky: I love it. I’m so grateful you’re here because I love this topic and I love just the vast amount of knowledge and wisdom that you have. The whole subject of this podcast is, really, I want to help people with grief and you are a grief intuitive coach. So tell me what that is and tell me how you were brought to that. How were you inspired to be an intuitive grief coach?
Ericka Schreck: So I was initially trained, I got the training through Sue Frederick, who is a lovely teacher, lovely being. And she brought this idea of a form to follow, not necessarily to substitute therapy. I really want to be clear about that. There is a time for that as well on, there are a lot of ways to heal and get support grief, intuitive coaching comes from the perspective of getting grief support and having someone like me as a facilitator, who is also reaching into you can call the other side, the bigger realms and spirit basically to bring in messages from the deceased loved one, as well as paying attention to different spiritual practices and rituals. That can also be really helpful. I also would say that grief, intuitive coaching is about listening. It’s about listening a lot and trusting in the moment, trusting in the guidance that I receive in a moment, for example, because of course I have a certain approach that I often take, and also though trust where a session needs to go.
And so every session will, sometimes people do more than one with me, but in specially the first session is about listening to someone’s grief story, validating that and providing some actual practical tools to help lessen the grief a bit. And to answer your other question, how did I get here? Oh my goodness. Well, it is interesting. I’ve experienced a lot of loss since I was a very young girl and I want to be clear as I talk about this too, that grief, I believe can be from actual losing someone through death. It can also be endings. It can be loss in other ways. I mean, one of the first major forms of grief that I had was when my parents were getting divorced when I was four and my father sobbing and actually telling me that he wasn’t going to live with us anymore.
And I just remember that very distinctly, some extra things too, before I was 21, I lost five people, family and friends to drunk driving accidents. And one of them, you know, really was a defining one for me, The day before second grade, my stepfather also almost died, but his best friend was killed. And that was a drunk driving motorcycle accident. So that was very shaping. I had a very close aunt who died at 32 and I was maybe around 12. And just along the way, there were these tasks. And then another significant post was when my father died, when I was 24, suddenly of a heart attack. And he was 48. Not only was that a lot and unexpected, I also was solely responsible for his entire estate. And I was in grad school with three jobs. And so I had a whole other side of grief and loss to manage all of those details, right.
That no one gives you the, oh, here’s how you do this. There was no book. And he also didn’t have a will. So there was that whole side of it recently. I feel like, again, grief has been coming up as I know it’s coming up in different ways for people. I’m in my third consecutive year where I’ve lost a dear friend. So last year, my dear friend, Gina died from ALS the year before my dear friend Aparna died. She was one of my closest friends. We wrote letters for more than 20 years. She was 47 unexpected and a year almost to that day, my friend Matthew died of a brain tumor. So there’s just, grief has been a huge part of my life. And my dog Harley also was huge. You know, I think there’s a whole thing with animals and I, anyone listening to want to just say that I respect the loss of an animal, just as much of a human, I think it’s because it’s such a caregiving role as well.
That it’s, it’s huge, huge for people. So all of these reasons, I think have given me a lot of seasoned experience and also comfort. Someone described me as this and it’s really stuck with me too, after all of the things I just shared. And there’s more but someone said, Ericka, here like that, firefighter running back into the burning building and that’s how you manage grief. I said, yeah, because I’m not afraid I will happily sit with you. We don’t need to say anything. I love supporting people in different ways. But what I’ll just say for now is I’m really comfortable with it. I’m comfortable with people being in that state. And I’ve learned so much, so many different things that are healthier ways to manage grief and how you also can heal.
Krystal Jakosky: That is so simultaneously heartbreaking and yet knowing you and who you are inspiring. There are some of us who have gone through grief and it just beats us down. It takes so much out of us that we are unable to fully move forward. I don’t want to say move on. Cause that’s not where we’re at. Grief is not something that you move on from, but moving forward becomes such a challenge. Not only have you worked on moving forward, grief has not necessarily defined you and who you are and how you approach life. Instead, you’ve taken it and said, yeah, that happened. I want to honor that person and the opportunity that I’ve had to be with them and I’m going to keep moving forward. Not only that, I’m going to help other people. So I’m very grateful for you. And I’m very just to have gone through what you’ve gone through and be who you are is inspiring.
Ericka Schreck: Thank you. Yeah. And I think I’d even frame it as, and Sue Frederick says this too, is to use my pain as my fuel. In other words, that it has defined me in the way that I do not take life for granted. I am very comfortable with death. I’m very comfortable with my own death. I’m ready. You know, whenever that is because I realized that the next moment is not promised. Tomorrow’s not promised as we say in a cliche way, but I really believe that. And I’m here to love. I’m here to do all I can for as long as I’m on the planet. I mean, I think that’s what’s really inspired me from all of the loss. I feel like I have this little secret that I wish more people knew. I don’t wish people to go through all of the loss to get there. But what I do want to say is the importance of recognizing the gift of life and how we are just taking it for granted, you know, putting joy off.
Krystal Jakosky: Amen to that. Right. I agree. I absolutely agree. This moment right here right now is such a gift and making peace with that. I am a huge end of life advocate. I am constantly encouraging the people around me to do your planning. I want to know what do you want done with your body? How do you want to be buried? What are we, how do I support you? Who do you want notified? I would like to know so that I can help honor you, but not only that, having somebody plan and prepare means that when the time comes for me to support them because they have passed on, I can mourn and experience that better because I’m not stressed out about how do I honor them and what do I have to do? And who do I need to call? Where do I need to be?
Because they made that effort. And because we were able to have that conversation because the conversations don’t come up as easily. It’s this, I want to shy away from that. That’s too morbid. So I have a couple of girlfriends who, their husbands, all, Nope, we’re not going to talk about it, but they’ll talk about it with me and they’ll say, Hey, I just want to tell you and thank you for having this conversation because it lets them work through, what do I really want? I want to go back just a little bit because you started to touch on it. And I really wanted to embrace this for a minute. Grief takes so many different forms. It is not just loss of life. Yes. It’s loss of a loved one, whether that’s human or pet, it’s also the loss of a job or most recently, so many people have lost their homes in fires and natural disasters.
Ericka Schreck: We experience grief on so many different levels. And if people can honor that and respect that and see that acknowledge it, then it changes it around. Because I think sometimes we’re like, well, I can’t grieve for a really long time because that wasn’t loss of life. It was still a loss. The defining thing of grief is a loss of something, right? No matter what that is, it can just be a relationship. You had a breakup you need to grieve. You know? So I am all about breaking myths. I am all about saying what works for you. Not for everybody else around you. I don’t care what works for you. If you are grieving, no matter what you are grieving, recognize that I acknowledge that and allow the fact that your heart is broken in some way, shape or form. And then later we’re going to give you a few tips on how to work with that because grief is grief in its Meredith Forms, everything you’ve just said. Yes, yes and yes. And we are patterned beings. So if it is the loss of a job, a home through a fire, a pet, a loved one who’s died, a loved one who has Alzheimer’s all of those. The deep sadness typically is from, we are used to a certain relationship with that home, with the pet, with the human and that used to, and being a pattern being is when it’s gone. What, you know, it’s sometimes is even if we know it’s coming, or if it’s sudden, whatever it might be, it’s the gap. It’s the, where do I put all of this? Right? It’s like, we hear about the quote, grief is just love with no place to go, right? We need a place to put it and we can create those places. And at first, that’s why it’s helpful to come up with different channels. It doesn’t happen instantly, but that’s essentially one of the helpers.
Krystal Jakosky: Yeah, yeah. Unexpected transition. And then how can you work with that? What can you do to make that different? So we’ve talked about lots of different types of grief. And Erika has a few tips on how you can deal with grief because you’re not getting over it. Like I said, it’s not something to get over with. You live with it, you move forward with it. So, Erika, what are your tips? What’s your advice on how to deal with it, work with it so that you can continue functioning in life while still honoring the fact that you’ve had this unexpected transition, change, and need to grieve.
Ericka Schreck: So many things. And I would probably put it into a few specific things for now. One is simply to start with though. So this, these were golden words from the funeral director, from when my dad died. Here I was, I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. And I was overwhelmed and I was in charge of it all. My dad was three times divorced. So that’s why there was nobody to help. And so he pulled me aside, this funeral director, and he said this, and it gives me chills to this day. Erika, a lot of people are going to come up to you and say, they know exactly what you’re going through. They don’t, and this is your journey. Oh my gosh. So I want everyone to hear that first, because even if you’ve had a similar loss, it is just never exactly the same.
And I just cringe at those words personally. So even if someone has said that too, I know that it often comes from a good intention, but just really know within yourself to take that truth in this is your journey. And it’s therefore going to be your own unique journey. Second thing I would say is honor your body. There are days where I didn’t know how to get out of bed because the first thing I did was walk my dog. You know? So when my dog Harley died, for example, I didn’t know what to do with myself. It was the weirdest thing. I’m a very motivated, positive person for a lot of people who know me and eventually what I needed to do. And this is related to, you know, a bigger piece of all. This is where the replacement is really important. So for example, you never replaced the being, you’ve lost the home.
You’ve lost. No, it’s about replacing the connection, the actions. So instead of getting up to go walk the dog and believe me, I tried doing that, walking around the block with the collar in my hand, sobbing the whole way I did that, but I needed to just tell myself, okay, I’m going to get up. I tell myself this before I got out of bed and say, I’m in a light, a stick of incense, and I’m going to say something positive. It’s a new day. And then I’m going to go make myself a tea of lemon, water and ginger. And, you know, I just had to start that way. Yeah. Okay. So it’s replacing the things. If you visited your grandmother every Sunday, find someone else to visit or figure out what that thing is that is going to still be in your heart and an expression of love for you.
It’s those little things. So that’s another piece of it, right? Finding ways and containers for the love. I love it. Little steps, little steps, little steps. Hey guys, you hear that? Right? Right. Little steps. I’m all about it too, sister. You know, so even when my friend Aparna died, we wrote letters for 20 some years. I mean, so guess what I did when she died, I got 50 postcards and I’ve made a list and I’m still sending, I’m sending those postcards in her honor. Right. So I don’t have her to write anymore, but I’m writing her sister. It’s an act of love. Right. So that can be helpful. So, which leads me to my big three, after all these years of doing grief support and going through my own grief honor, remember and praise the honoring is how do you wish to honor your deceased loved one, your lost home, your lost job, that last part of your life honoring it is very personal.
I’m not a big drinker, but I drink a beer on my dad’s birthday. Okay. He’s been gone 22 years. And, you know, honoring someone is very personal, but find a way to honor. You know, sometimes even with these recent times, people are even grieving the fact that they can’t have a traditional funeral or whatever, but we can always honor someone we love or a loss, something, whatever it is, the remembering is really interesting because a lot of people are afraid. Oh, don’t, don’t bring up that person who just died. Right. Don’t bring up the pet. Guess what is amazing when someone asks, how are you doing? Or, you know, tell me your favorite memory, you know, or something. Yeah. It’s amazing. You know, the remembering is telling a story partly with honoring, but remembering to, as I always say to people toast that person or toast that animal at dinner when you’re gathering or make mention of it, right.
Remembering can also be something very personal for you. Praise is just to what were the good things were. I mean, I had a very complicated relationship with my dad and you know, other people that it’s not like, we’re perfect people. If you find one, let me know, you know, but the praising comes from, what did I learn from this being animal human home. And just by praising raises the vibration, raises your energy, right? So those three approaches and, you know, I have more, I could say, but even just for now to take that in and to know, as you were saying, Krystal earlier, too, we don’t get over grief. We learn to carry it differently. Yeah. And that’s really the key to all of this.
Krystal Jakosky: You mentioned a couple of things and I just have to share it because you drink a beer to your dad, right. You’re not a big drinker, but that’s what you do. My husband’s grandfather, grandparents had a four o’clock scotch every day and his grandma’s birthday just passed. And he said, I’m having a four o’clock scotch. And I was like, that is great. It was a beautiful way for him to honor her and the loss and the relationship. They passed away five weeks from each other. So like picking one of their birthdays and then having a five o’clock scotch was just a beautiful tribute. I absolutely loved that. You know, sometimes people, they exit our lives, not because they’ve passed on, but because they’ve moved on as in, maybe it’s an employee that’s moved on in that kind of thing. And you might honor and remembering praise or showing gratitude, recognizing the things that they don’t do anymore, that you miss that you know, and that can be your pet that used to nuzzle you when you came home.
Ericka Schreck: When not there’s so much, the bottom line is that it’s okay. You’re okay. And there are going to be times you may cry every single day. You may be emotional and have a challenge every single day. And that’s okay. You are exactly where you need to be in that moment. Embrace it, honor it. And then how do you want to, what do you want to do next? Exactly. Do you want to have a cup of tea and light some incense? Can you replace that? I love finding an intentional something else. You know, when we try to change a habit, when we try to shift things, you’re taking away something that you always did, which leaves a void. It just leaves that void. And you have to fill that void. It’s the same thing with grief. You have a void, you have an emptiness. What can you do that would help you to change that? So visiting somebody else when you used to visit grandma fantastic tips, I hope you’re really listening. I hope you apply them because that’s really wonderful. That’s like a gift.
It helps shift the energy greatly. It really does when you have an intentional act and it’s not always about the doing, but when you’re thinking in that sense, it just really helps you grow through it and with it. And again, take that person’s beautiful essence with you and still keep it alive. I know that there’s a beautiful thing and I’m getting chills again because it’s so lovely that in some cultures you died twice and maybe you’ve heard this once when you actually leave your physical body. And the second time when the last person speaks to your name, the significance of DIA de Los Muertos, that’s become such a tradition for me. And again, ceremony and ritual in that way too is so that’s part of the honor. Remember and praise for me. I mean, I build altars a lot and just highly recommend holding a little space for a being however long you see fit or different times of the year.
It’s a place to put it. Grief is cumulative. And so that’s why every loss it’s not meant to weigh you down further and further. It does, however, sometimes trigger. Like I remember going to the first funeral after my dad died and I was really struggling because all I could think about was that’s what a lot of us do we go to funerals or things. And we think about the losses we’ve had or something recent. So honor that in yourself as well. And because grief is cumulative, it does become also, it can feel heavy and it can also be this beautiful source of wisdom and this collection of spirit team, if you want to call it that, or, you know, just this support that you have, I think it’s really important to draw from it in a positive way, whenever you can, and really seeing the value and the lessons that we do really take from loss and death and you know, all of these forms.
But I just really want people to be gentle with themselves. If someone could have told me that more with my first few experiences and even now, we all need the reminder that whatever kind of loss, whatever kind of grieving you’re experiencing, be extra gentle, be extra kind. And I love to just sincerely wish everyone extra love and ease in your heart because this is where it likes to land. And I love that we’re doing this interview in February and heart month. Because it really is heart health on all levels, physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional. I know.
Krystal Jakosky: I absolutely agree. And while you were talking, this other thing just came in that I really want to share. How are you doing is a very challenging question to answer for somebody who is going through a very big transition and change and grief. And so I actually started asking a completely different question. I started saying, Hey, on a scale of one to 10, where are you at? And then they give me an answer. And I say, okay, before this, what did you usually operate at? And they’ll give me an answer. So if they usually operate it at an eight and today they’re at a five, six, they’re doing okay and people can handle numbers a lot easier than they can answer a how are you doing well, let me tell you, I just lost my loved one, or I just lost this. Or I just lost that.
I don’t want to rehash any of that anymore. And yet I can give you a number. Okay. I like that. Is there anything I can do differently? So if you know someone who has experienced loss, or if you yourself have experienced loss and somebody asks you that question, feel free to turn it around on them and say, you know, on a scale of one to 10, this is where I’m at. Because it makes it, they don’t have to rehash anything. It lets you know where they’re at. And it’s an easier understanding. So I encourage you to connect in different ways, find ways that you can help and support that don’t necessarily require additional stuff. My cousin and I go out for custard and she’s Kurds on emotional days. So I encourage you, whether it’s you yourself, going through these transitions and you need a little extra support, please reach out, please seek the support that you need.
You do not have to go through it alone. And I pray that you just reach out whatever that looks, whether it’s professional or with a friend or I don’t care how I just want you to reach out because that’s huge. And if you are watching somebody else go through it, don’t ask what can I do? Just do something. Just do something. Whether that’s sending a letter or taking some groceries or going out to lunch or whatever it is, find something instead of what can I do? Just do it. Be there, support Erika. You’re fabulous.
I love that you’re here and this has been wonderful. I encourage you guys to follow Erika. She is at turtle healing, energy.com as her website. And she’s also on Facebook at turtle healing energy. And if you’d like to she’s on YouTube at Erika Schreck. Now that’s spelled E R I K A S C H R E C K. So Erika Schreck. You’re absolutely fantastic. I really appreciate you being here and talking about grief with me and giving just another tool that people can use to help move forward in these times that we are experiencing. Thank you so much Krystal for having me. Thank you.
I hope this moment of self-care and healing brought you some hope and peace. I’m @krystaljakosky on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube and I hope you check us out and follow along for more content coming soon. I look forward to being with you again here on Breathe In, Breathe Out. Until next time, take care.