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Mandy Capehart

Tested Advice from a Grief Coach

Rewriting the script about loss and healing takes intention and practice

Woman surfacing in a pool.
Woman surfacing in a pool.
Photo by Erik Dungan on Unsplash

Thought distortions, blame games, and external influences are all ways we inadvertently deepen our wounds in grief. While we would never intentionally make our feelings heavier, sometimes we may need a reminder to revisit the script we read each day.


I am insanely interested in all of the things!

Photo by author

Hi, new friends!

It’s an honor that you would make time to read my story.

My job title has changed a number of times, but the undercurrent of learning never stops.


Advice from a Rebel Leader

Never agree out of guilt again

Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

Boundaries are crucial in every relationship, including the relationship with have with ourselves. When what you think impedes what you want, your boundaries are broken, toxic, and uncomfortably secure around the comfort zone of another. Have you ever said yes to an event, volunteer role, creative task, or project out of an obligation? Do others know exactly how to apply shame as pressure to commit? Today is the day we learn how to “hear” between the lines of another’s pitch and enforce our boundaries while preserving the relationship.


Ask a Grief Coach

Answer: It’s not. Hard stop.

Ask a Grief Coach is an online column to address commonly received questions in private work with my clients. All names are kept anonymous, and the questions are shared with permission. As you read, keep the context of your own story in mind. No answers found here will apply directly to your circumstance because your grief is unique to you. However, the hope is that you will find tools and tips of support, whether you are the griever or the supporter.

Dear Mandy,
I live across the country from the majority of my family, and normally it’s not a big deal. We see one another occasionally but we’re just not that close. But recently, my aunt passed away unexpectedly. She and I were extremely close, despite conflict within the family itself, and I am heartsick and angry at the complicated responses within my family to her death.


Answer: It’s your story to tell.

Ask a Grief Coach is an online column to address commonly received questions in private work with my clients. All names are kept anonymous, and the questions are shared with permission. As you read, keep the context of your own story in mind. No answers found here will apply directly to your circumstance because your grief is unique to you. However, the hope is that you will find tools and tips of support, whether you are the griever or the supporter.

Dear Mandy,
My family is suffering a loss that we didn’t see coming. Not that foreknowledge matters, but the way I’m handling the loss seems to be quite different (outwardly) than the rest of my family. And as you might guess, I’m catching a lot of flack and criticism for it. It’s like no one wants to believe I might feel differently about this death than they do, and I’m so frustrated. I can’t articulate how I’m feeling because I just feel attacked and defensive. …


Advice from a Rebel Leader

Three game-changing tips to win in every conversation

This morning, I was drinking coffee (black) and holding a sleepy, pajama-clad first grader on my lap. She noticed a stack of coaching notes and one caught her attention. “Mom! We learn about facts and opinions in my class! Can I do this one with you?”


Ask a Grief Coach

Answer: Embrace and retrain.

Ask a Grief Coach is an online column to address commonly received questions in private work with my clients. All names are kept anonymous, and the questions are shared with permission. As you read, keep the context of your own story in mind. No answers found here will apply directly to your circumstance because your grief is unique to you. However, the hope is that you will find tools and tips of support, whether you are the griever or the supporter.

Dear Mandy,
I know grief is full of painful emotions and I know that eventually, I will feel them less and less. It’s just that most of the time, I’m feeling more calm and in control. But certain things will trigger me and I lose all the composure and feel like I’m back at day one. It’s happening almost weekly. How can I avoid having these total meltdowns as often as I am?

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

Dear Empty,
It can be so exhausting to feel like your grief and emotional upheaval is cycling so frequently. Some cycling in grief is completely…


A poem for the empty chair

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

There is an empty chair at my table
one I hoped you would fill
instead your ghost arrived
without pretense
and sat quietly
watching


Practical, easy tips to feel better quickly

Are you hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired? Thirsty? Overwhelmed by uncertainty? Struggling to make sense of a loss? Whatever the unknown source of this anxiety may be, let’s look at a practical way to manage ourselves when anxiety settles in.


Advice from a Rebel Leader

Invite yourself to the table with intention

How do we get to a place where we stop asking for friends and start befriending ourselves? To love our stories with honesty, integrity, and a willingness to be seen? Your story is not mine; your relationship to yourself is and should be wholly different. But I would like to share why I finally decided to befriend myself (without the parenting admonition of a self-administered Golden Rule).

Photo by John Fornander on Unsplash

Despite a capacity for empathy, I realized I am not inherently a relational person. I truly enjoy others, and love learning what makes them move. But in all my years trying to build…

Mandy Capehart

Writing about grief, beliefs, & psych/mindfulness. Editor of Ask a Grief Coach. Happily Tweeting & doing other “Very Good Things.” I apologize in advance.

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