Ep 50 - The unavoidable journey of grief, with Lou Pennisi
Lou Pennisi is a certified grief educator who trained under world renowned grief expert David Kessler. She is also an illustrator and artist and has a business called Totally Innocent. Lou initially undertook David’s course to help with her own personal grief from a tumultuous 5 year period, where she experienced a lot of loss but soon discovered a desire to help others in grief. Her career has altered since then as she continues to discuss grief and help others on the journey, whilst also healing herself.
Whilst in the depths of grief, Lou created an Instagram page where she shared her art and her writing explaining her ongoing grief journey. It was created purely so she had a place to pour her heart out, but it resonated with others and has grown into a beautiful supportive community for grievers.
Lou believes that grief and trauma come in all forms and need to be witnessed. Grief has no timeline and is not linear, and the more grief literate we can become, the better this world will be. Her goal is to create safe spaces for those grieving, and education for those who want to support someone grieving.
Listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts,Spotify, Google Podcast and more.
Broadcast: February 24, 2023
Here is a snippet of our conversation…
Letting go of the need to ‘fix’ another’s grief.
There's so much grief in people's trauma, so I feel like we are getting better, but I feel like we still have so far to go. I mean, the things people send me that the way that people still will talk to people who are grieving. We have this natural thing to just try and fix people. Mm-hmm. and fix situations. So, you know, all those placards that people say like, oh, they wouldn't want you to be sad. Oh, at least they're in a better place. All those things, they're so painful for people who are grieving, and I think that's where we are still not getting it right. You know, like I feel. until you experience grief. It's hard to comprehend what, what it feels like that, that knowing, because it's not, you're not just grieving that person that you've lost, you're also grieving what you thought your future was often...”
The importance of sitting with grief
And I think if you can sit in your grief and it's a process to learn to be able to sit and just let it come, because that's what happens. You get these grief waves that just hit you out of nowhere. You can be having a perfect day driving in your car and a song comes on and all of a sudden, you're just a mess, It just, you just fall apart. Initially I would push that away and be like, why am I doing this? Like, but over time I learnt to just go, right, here we go. It's coming. And the more you get used to that, the, the faster the grief waves pass as well. And it just, it's sort of a learning process of letting it come through you. So, I feel like you can live a really happy, healthy life, but also be grieving. Mm. You know, I mean even, yeah. I still have days where I just want my mom, you know? It's just that never is going to leave you because your love never dies. And grief really is just your love that now has nowhere to go.
The process of grief is unique for everyone.
It's so different for everyone and that's why there's really no answers in grief. This is the thing. It really depends on the person, and I think it's about tuning into that person and just allowing them to feel whatever it is they're feeling and acknowledge it...
Life can feel very different after loss.
I definitely take in the small moments more. I'm more grateful. Grief has taught me so much more about empathy. I think I've lost a lot of my judgment. I'm a much more empathetic and kinder person because I understand grief more, and in all areas of my life too, I just think it's made me a nicer person. And I think people who've suffered a lot of loss have a bigger worldview, I guess because they've experienced that level of pain. And you know what, I wouldn't wish it on anyone but I'm also grateful that I've experienced it too, because I've grown way more through all my losses than I have my joys in life...