Julie Cluff is a speaker, author, international grief coach and the owner of Build a Life After Loss, where she helps those who are grieving to rebuild their life after loss. She hosts the Build a Life After Loss podcast, and she is the author of the book Miracles in the Darkness, in which she shares her experiences with grief, including the death of her two youngest children in a car accident on Mother’s Day in 2007, and the journey back to hope and healing. Julie currently serves as the Relief Society Activity Coordinator and has previously served as a Stake and Ward Primary Counselor, Young Women’s president, Relief Society Counselor, and Stake Public Affairs Director. Julie and her husband Ron have 6 children and 10 grandchildren.

Highlights

3:55 – Julie’s Background

  • Felt compelled to support others who experience loss and grief after significant personal losses: brother died by suicide, divorce, and two children died in an automobile accident

5:20 – Recounting automobile accident

  • Our lives were changed forever
  • We have had things we have had to overcome because of the accident
  • Healing from our Savior is available

10:20 – How she processed and moved forward post-loss

  • It is a long process and not an overnight experience
  • Painful experiences and discomfort led to healing (the weight and heaviness of the darkness began lifting)
  • Healing happened when the timing was right for her to appreciate what the Savior did for her
  • Everyone’s healing doesn’t come in the same way or instantaneously
  • She was given a unique and miraculous experience so that she could testify of healing and where it comes from
  • Ultimate healing comes from the Savior

15:45 – The difference between grieving and healing

  • Grief is the path to healing, it is part of the solution not the problem
  • Grief is the pain we experience that tells us we have experienced an emotional injury and we need to take care of it

19:05 – The process of grief and healing

  • Emotional pain is painful for those around us, we want everyone to be okay
  • Trust the process of grief and healing and do not rush it

21:15 – Getting trapped in the grief cycle

  • Going online to find support can contribute to getting stuck in our grief and pain
  • Richard G. Scott – It is crucial that we be active participants in our healing
  • Most of us know very little about grief and the process or effort required to heal
  • We grieve and then we pile on shame and guilt as we don’t know what to do
  • As a leader, the challenge is to honour their grief path and the pain they’re experiencing

25:55 – We’re not responsible for someone’s healing but we can be there to support

  • Support looks like accepting the pain
  • Sympathy = more pain
  • Empathy = that must be so hard
  • Instead of telling the person what they need, ask them how you can support them in their healing process

27:50 – Show up and answer their questions

  • Our presence says I love you and I care about you
  • No need to fear saying the wrong thing, we don’t have to have the right words

35:10 – Avoid overreacting to their emotions and concerns

  • Everyone’s reaction to grief is unique and different and we should not judge or dictate their healing
  • Whey they ask questions, that’s when we get to answer their questions rather than asserting information

41:05 – Don’t be overwhelmed trying to say the right thing

  • The overwhelm comes from thinking that somehow we can make it better or that there is the perfect thing to say (and there isn’t)
  • Just show up and it will become more comfortable the more willing you are to sit with the discomfort

46:10 – Set up a support structure

  • Coordinator efforts to address both the emotional needs and the physical needs

50:45 – Being sensitive to the ongoing impact of grief

  • The emergency situation vs. the ongoing impact of grief and loss
  • The ongoing impact is where the spiritual support is most needed
  • Stay engaged so they have someone to go to answer their questions, especially when they’re struggling to feel the Spirit

55:00 – Remember to prioritize a long-term plan to support those who are grieving so they don’t feel abandoned (even if being pushed away)
1:00:45 – Be aware that attending church may be triggering

  • Because church is spiritual it is also emotional = increased vulnerability
  • Show up with compassion, encouragement, and move at their pace while celebrating that they are attending

1:11:20 – Use our mouth to comfort with compassion
1:12:00 – After creating and implementing an emergency plan, discuss and review what worked and what didn’t in order to improve
1:12:40 – Contact information and resources for Julie
1:13:35 – How has your grief leadership made you a better follower of Jesus Christ?

Links

buildalifeafterloss.com
Miracles in the Darkness, by Julie Cluff
How a Leader Can Best Support Those Who Are Grieving
Solidarity Over Service | An Interview with Jana Spangler
Leading During a Time of Grief
Mourn With Those That Mourn
Helping Families Through Miscarriage or Stillbirth
Mourning With Those Who Mourn: A Sacred Opportunity
Life and Death Matters- Preparing for and Comforting Those Affected by Death
When Tragedy Strikes the Bishop’s Family | An Interview with Jim Hastings
11 Funeral Tips for Bishops & Leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
A Busy Bishop’s Funeral Checklist
Read the TRANSCRIPT of this podcast.

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