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How to Cope with Grief with Jason Clawson

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By Sofia Health Staff on August, 08 2023
The Art of Dealing with Grief  with Jason Clawson

In this episode of Sofia Unfiltered, Lauren speaks with Jason Clawson, therapist and co-founder of The Hope Kit.

A Father's Journey through Grief and Parenting

At the beginning of the episode, Jason shares his story. He and his family were enjoying a good life when they received devastating news: his wife had stage four colon cancer. They were given a short timeframe of two to three years to navigate the disease. Despite undergoing treatments, the news never improved, and after nine months, Jason found himself at his wife's funeral. The aftermath was emotionally challenging as Jason faced the daunting task of being a single parent to his two boys. He put on a mask of strength and hid his emotions to fulfill the roles others expected of him. However, his 13-year-old son noticed his inner struggle, which led Jason to reflect on the toll it was taking on his family.

5 steps to help deal with grief:

  1. Acknowledge and express your emotions.
  2. Seek support from loved ones or a support group.
  3. Prioritize self-care for your physical and mental well-being.
  4. Establish new routines and rituals to provide structure.
  5. Consider seeking professional help if needed.

Which is the best way to handle your grief after a loss?

In this heartfelt conversation, Jason shares his journey of healing and the importance of vulnerability in the process. He describes how he wore a "tough guy mask" that prevented him from healing. However, he eventually reached a breaking point and decided to open up to his closest family and friends, inviting them to his home to share his struggles. Jason emphasizes that although people want to help, they often don't help knowing how or what to say, leading to a support vacuum. He emphasizes the value of reconnecting with those who care about us, as the opposite of grief and depression is connection.

To effectively manage the support he received, Jason created a support team with a designated captain who would communicate his needs and coordinate assistance. This team would take on various responsibilities, such as laundry, meals, and childcare, to alleviate his stressors. Jason also implemented a code word system where he could signal when he needed immediate help. Through this process, Jason learned that he didn't always have to be the strongest person and that accepting support allowed him to become stronger.

The conversation touches upon choosing a different "hard" by embracing vulnerability and communication, which opens up growth opportunities. They discuss the importance of clear communication in delegating roles and responsibilities within the support team. Overall, the conversation emphasizes the transformative power of vulnerability, the healing potential of connection, and the importance of reaching out for support in the healing journey.

Inviting Support into Your Life

Jason shares his experience of using the concept of a recovery team for addiction recovery and applying it to his healing process. He realized that people need permission to come and help, and by sharing his struggles and removing his mask, he allowed others to offer support in meaningful ways. Jason emphasizes the importance of inviting people into your life and allowing yourself to be vulnerable, as it paves the way for emotional sharing and ultimately leads to healing and happiness. He advises starting with a therapist or a trusted friend and gradually expanding your support team.

The discussion also touches on the societal expectation of self-reliance and the shame or guilt of asking for help. Lauren acknowledges the ever-evolving nature of personal growth and the need for constant adaptation. They reflect on the dilemma faced by those who want to help but haven't any been invited or given permission and discuss whether to wait for an invitation or ask for permission from the opposite side.

How can you support a friend who is dealing with grief?

They discuss the importance of building relationships that allow for deeper, more meaningful conversations. He recalls how, while attending church, he often wore a mask and received superficial offers of help. However, he longed for someone to sit with him and his emotions, providing consistent support and asking genuine, feeling-based questions. Jason advises being patient, consistent, and willing to ask open-ended questions that invite deeper discussions.

Lauren emphasizes the compounding effect of consistency in building trust and earning the invitation to be a supportive presence in someone's life. They discuss the significance of energetic exchanges and empathetic interactions, contrasting them with superficial courtesy. The conversation highlights the desire for someone who can listen, understand, and sit with others in their emotions, even without having all the answers. They emphasize the value of being consistent and walking alongside someone through difficult times.

Creating a New Narrative: Healing through Happiness

In the face of grief and trauma, Jason realized the need to create new, happy memories for himself and his sons. They embarked on a healing journey by cultivating a supportive team and engaging in activities that fostered connection. Through a lemonade stand and creating The Hope Kit, they found purpose in bringing joy to others. This transformation healed their wounded hearts and inspired others to make positive changes.

Jason and his sons embarked on a journey of healing and happiness after experiencing the traumatic loss of his wife to cancer. They consciously created new, positive memories and rewired their mindset to seek joy and positivity. Through activities, such as making a lemonade stand and delivering sunshine boxes to others, they found purpose in helping people and inspiring change. They also developed resources, including support cards, to assist others in navigating grief and difficult emotions. Their story highlights the power of community, mindset reprogramming, and the healing potential of connection.

Discovering Answers within Yourself

Jason and Lauren discuss the transformative power of mindset and self-discovery in overcoming grief and finding happiness. Jason shares how he found healing by shutting off the noise, engaging in mindful meditation, and asking himself essential questions. Through this process, he was able to reprogram his focus from negativity to positivity and create a bucket list of joyful experiences. He expresses gratitude for his trials, as they have led him to personal growth and the ability to help others. Lauren acknowledges the need to embrace pain and actively participate in healing, highlighting that even small steps can lead to profound change.

Finding Appreciation through Pain

In this concluding part of the conversation, Jason shares how embracing life can turn one's mess into a masterpiece. He reflects on the blessings he has experienced, including his new wife's unexpected pregnancy after being told she couldn't have children. He emphasizes the importance of hard work and facing challenges to appreciate and enjoy the great things in life. Lauren congratulates Jason and admires his resilience and willingness to give back and help others. They discuss the significance of cultivating a support system and having a positive mindset.

More from Sofia Health

Check out the full episode of the Sofia Unfiltered podcast, "The Art of Dealing with Grief with Jason Clawson," available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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