Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Life, Death & The Space Between

Jul 28, 2022




“Every time a critical person in our life is no longer physically present, we have to reimagine who we are.” – Michele Neff Hernandez




Episode Summary:


Have you had to recreate your life after losing a loved one? Have you known someone who is grieving, who seemed lost at sea, and you haven’t known how to help?


Today we talk with Michele Neff Hernandez. Michelle is the author of “Different After You:  Rediscovering Yourself and Healing after Grief and Trauma” and a 2021 CNN hero, a gifted speaker and committed advocate for the widowed and bereaved. Her creation of Camp Widow and soaring spirits has brought her international acclaim.

Michelle regularly speaks to first responders, hospital workers, religious congregations, and diverse community organizations. She lives in Southern California.

 Listen in to hear how to find support for your own grieving process, and how to help loved ones in theirs.


Topics We Discuss:


  • [2:40] Michele’s tragic story of how she losing her 40-year-old husband to a bicycling accident when she was just 35, and parent to a blended family of six kids.


  • [4:25] How Michele’s non profit support groups emerged, advocating for widowed people.


  • [9:00] How widows respond differently depending on how their person passed. Grief during COVID.


  • [11:22] “Grief brain” happens. Whether a loved one’s death is sudden or expected over a long time.


  • [14:14] The uniqueness of each person’s grief process.


  • [15:20]  Secondary losses beyond the death. Michele’s example is holding her husband’s grandchild 8 years after his sudden death.


  • [16:20] How people resist being changed by grief. But change by grief is inevitable.


  • [17:40] Being surprised by the loss of the sense of self that comes with grief.


  • [21:28] How those of us who are not widowed can support those who are in grief. Get to know the new person who will emerge after their loss. Show up without an expectation of timeline.


  • [23:20] The “fishbowl” effect, especially when someone is widowed young. People backing away when they don’t know what to say, or conversely, feedback from someone who doesn’t know you well at all.


  • [29:16] Michele’s key to moving forward after her tragic loss: integration.  The “broken vase” concept – always feeling the loss of your person.


  • [34:46] How to avoid guilt and regret when moving forward through grief.


  • [37:55] What Michele thinks happens after a loved one dies, including the opportunity for ongoing connection, and allowing them to continue to influence your life.






Soaring Spirits International support community can be found here.


Follow Michele and find out more about her book on her website.






If you’re enjoying the podcast and finding value in guest interviews, ghost stories, and the content I share, please consider supporting the show by becoming a Patreon member for as little as $5 a month at


As a member you’ll get more say in the content we cover and exclusive access to behind-the-scenes goodness!


Stay Connected with Dr. Amy Robbins: