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S2E3-Stephanie Sarazin: Navigating Ambiguous Grief

Stephanie Sarazin Ambiguous Grief writer


Stephanie Sarazin: Navigating Ambiguous Grief

Stephanie Sarazin: Navigating Ambiguous Grief

Stephanie Sarazin is a writer, researcher, and experiential expert in ambiguous grief. In Season 2, Episode 3, Stephanie shares how she navigated ambiguous grief during the sudden and unexpected ending of her marriage. 

We share some personal stories of love and loss, explore how she guides others in navigating ambiguous grief, and unpack her new book: Soulbroken: A Guidebook For Your Journey Through Ambiguous Grief

Connect with Stephanie
Book: Soulbroken: A Guidebook For Your Journey Through Ambiguous Grief
LinkedIn: stephaniesarazin
Instagram: @stephing_thru

Connect with Abigail
Join the Facebook group: Heart Space Healing for Spiritual Seekers
Learn about the Spiritual Healing Mentorship
Instagram @yourmindbodyfree
TikTok @yourmindbodyfree

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Full Show Transcript

00:00:01 – 00:06:50

Speaker 2: Hello and welcome to the mind-body free broadcast. I am your host, Abigail Moss. I’m a shaman. I am here to awaken the healer. Do not simply teach you, but to bring you home to your own divinity, nature and spirit, so that you may remember the depth of your own being, power and purpose and embody your original medicine. In all that you do, this work is not for the faint of heart but for the driven seeker. We’ll not quit until they find what calls them. This is for those who are ready to step into their power, even though it fucking terrifies them. This is for the medicine, women, the light workers and the wearied souls who’ve lived to countless lifetime. This is a path to mend your deepest of wounds, to remember the innocence of your nature. This is a way of embodiment, integrity and awakening. It is a portal back to your soul and a bridge between worlds. This is where we reclaim our magic, our birthright and our true being, a magic that was hidden for centuries by religion, madness and fear. It is a power that stirs in our wombs and a knowing whispered by our ancestors. It is a song sung by the universe, it is our birthright, our divinity and our. We are here to remember it, embody it and return it to the world from which it was hidden. This is a season to reclaim your magic. All right, so before we get started with the show today, I just wanted to make a quick announcement. So my medicine within mentorship program is now open for registration. This is a four-month healing mentorship where we are going to go really deep together and you’re going to learn how to heal yourself. You’re going to learn how to become free of familial ancestor and past life drama, how to become free of energetic attachments, of other people’s projections, of societal conditioning, of all of these things that cause pain in the mind-body and spirit, that cause us to forget who we actually are, that caused us to play small and not go after what we want and create abundance and fulfilment in our life. The mentorship is a place to find yourself, to heal, to finally feel at home in your mind-body and spirit and find your peace. This is a connected, loving and sole nourishing community. The people in these classes become friends, lifelong friends and bond in such beautiful ways because we go through such a deep transformation together and there is such a safe and sacred space that is held by me, by my spirit, guides by a beautiful energy, and it often surprises me the depth of healing and transformation and unexpected gifts that come from each class. So if you are feeling called to something more, to show up in your power, to step into what you are meant to be doing in your life, to find your peace and heel and let go the past, let go of what’s been weighing on your heart and on your body and mind than the mentorship might be for you, you can learn more at mind-body free dot com slash mentorship. You can schedule a free discovery call with me and see if this is right for you. So without further ado I i’m really excited for you guys to get a chance to hear Stephanie Sarazin. She helps people heal ambiguous grief, the kind of grief where someone didn’t just die, which you know, society gets that everyone’s kind and gives gifts and everything but grief where it’s if you’re going through a divorce or you know, any kind of end to a relationship. This is the kind of grief that she’s really great at navigating in her own life. She’s done a lot of this in her work herself and she helps others with it. So we go deep. We talk about a lot of really personal stories. It is very beautiful and at times emotional and I can’t wait to let you listen. So here we go. All right, I am here today with the lovely Stephanie Sarazen. We were just chatting and I was like we have to record now, because I love this conversation than I want everyone else to get to be part of it. So Stephanie is a writer, researcher, an experiential expert in ambiguous grief. Her work began with her own experience of midlife drama, which worked an ambitious journey spiritually and around the world to understand, name and heal the grief she found within her. Her efforts revealed a first of its kind definition for ambiguous grief, or by grief, is onset by the loss of a loved one who is still living and wherein the experience of hope presents the stage of the graving process. I love that. Stephanie’s work brings new resources to reframe disruptive, activating events as a gateway to discovering your highest self. I’ve definitely found that to be the case. In turn, champing ambiguous grief is a nuance, natural and navigable. Stephani is the founder of Rise Uprooted, an online resource center for those navigating ambiguous grief, a grief educator and Ted Surer in her community. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and earned a master of public policy from the University of Chicago. In addition to being the proud mom of three, she is an avid reader, recreational runner and aspiring camper firing camper. I love them. She lives in North Carolina, where she is training to trick Mount Everest Base Camp. Amazing. Her book, Soul broken, one word, a guide for your journey through ambiguous Grief, is published by Balance, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing, and was released in October 2022. It is currently available for order at Barnes Noble, Amazon and your favourite independent bookseller, and we’ll get into her book and unpack all of this in a minute here. But first I want to say: welcome, Stephanie. Thank you so much for being here.


00:06:50 – 00:06:58

Speaker 1: Oh, thanks for having me, Abigail. It’s so nice to chat with you and thank you for the important work you’re doing and bringing these conversations to us all.


00:06:59 – 00:07:27

Speaker 2: Thank you, yeah, thank you for the important work you’re doing in ambiguous grief. I have to say like i’ve someone, I am someone who felt a lot of grief in my life and I think for me it’s a lot of past life stuff, but when I go into like my shadows, it’s always grief that I find there. But I’ve also found that to be a portal to healing and really discovering who I am. So I love. Could you tell me a little bit about how you got into this work and what does that look like for you?


00:07:29 – 00:11:09

Speaker 1: Yes, and first I have to say, you know you’ve just used my language, which so I just feel so connected already. Grief is a portal for us, if we allow it to be, and you know it is a portal to our greatest and highest selves. If we’re willing to do the work with, you know that isn’t anything I could have understood, much less articulated before I had the experience myself, and it was for me six years ago, over six years ago, my marriage of over 20 years, almost 20 years sorry, ended abruptly and it was devastating for me. It was a marriage I loved and was something that just shifted me cataclysmically. It was just something that shifted the floor from under me and I did not know what was in my future. I was questioning my past and it was just a distorted, funhouse experience kind of thing where nothing was as it seemed in my mind, and I was really struggling to reconcile my own understanding of my life and to find myself in that position in my early forties and with three children who also never did see trouble or issue or problem in the home. It was just a devastating shock to all of us and in that grief, in that that time of just darkness and confusion, I really started. I started to look for others who could talk to me about a similar experience and I couldn’t find anybody. Abigail, it was. You know. Yes, there there’s plenty about divorce. You know you can find resources in any bookstore, online or you know about divorce. You can find resources about of a loved one, but to a physical death. But I was looking for somebody to help me understand how to grieve. I felt like a widow, as I imagined a widow would feel, but I didn’t have any societal norms to enact, didn’t have support or validation from those in my community, not because they’re awful people. You know just when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one who’s still living, you know others don’t know what to do either. So my process, this grieving process, was ambiguous for me and I couldn’t find anybody to talk about it. So I started writing just as a way to help myself, process and understand and find some peace, and in doing that I had a couple of articles published online and then I started hearing from others saying: yes, me too. This is what happened to me and I haven’t told anybody and I’m grieving and I and, as these you know, communications were coming in. I came to understand that you know we don’t have the tools. We don’t do grief really great in our society, as it is a grief that we know is inevitable. Right, you know, we’re we’re all going to die our physical death and our loved ones will die a physical death. And if we outlive them, then we will be grieving the loss of them at some point and.


00:10:55 – 00:10:56

Speaker 2: No.


00:11:10 – 00:13:30

Speaker 1: You know, we have kind of a basic structure for how to, what, to do when that happens right. We’ve got a lot of room for growth there, in my opinion, but so if we don’t do that inevitable grief really well, then it makes sense that we wouldn’t do other kind of nuance griefs well either, and so, not having this grieving process and not knowing how to grieve, I found that so many people like me were isolating. If shame and embarrassment are a part of their loss, then they’re likely isolating and grieving alone. And so I started to research formally what happens in this process and what activates this grieving process. And partnered with a terrific therapist who had treated me for therapy and we were no longer working together in that capacity, and I had shared with her kind of a hypothesis I had about how this, what’s happening here and and we’ve decided to partner together to investigate more thoroughly, and we found that you know a discovery of a secret, a divorce, incarceration, indoctrination to gang or cult dementia, alzheimer’s addiction. These are some of the activating events that occur that can trigger the ambiguous grief experience. Where gosh, that’s you know, that’s my mom who has cognitive decline, you know dementia doesn’t know my name, but she’s and I’m grieving the mother she once was and the relationship she once had, but she’s no longer. We are no longer in relationship as we once were, and so how do we acknowledge our own experience as grief? And how can others support us through that? And you know what helps to soothe us, what helps to heal, and that became my work from there, really trying to uncover, understand and help others.


00:13:31 – 00:15:08

Speaker 2: That’s beautiful. Thank you for doing this work and I’ve been nodding my head this whole time you’re talking. I couldn’t agree more. Yeah, and I feel like grief is something that I don’t think we really understand how to navigate and I think it’s because it can be such a deep emotion. I think it’s natural that we tend to protect ourselves from that and society. We kind of. We don’t want to go there a lot of the time, but it is something that if we don’t feel it, it’s not going to go anywhere and it’s going to hang out on our body and possibly cause disease and illness and depression. But I love that you speak to. Grieving is not just when somebody dies, it’s any kind of loss and I’ve been through big changes in my identity and I’ve had to take time to grieve who was to grieve, not being that person anymore, and that enables me to then move forward. I used to do wedding photography as an example and I’ve seen it. I think it was a muslim wedding and this really beautiful ceremony at the end, where the bride is saying good-bye to all of her family because she’s going to go and live with her husband. And that’s like a right of passage and there’s just so many tears and it’s so emotional and so intense. But it’s beautiful because they’re all feeling this together and it’s this right of passage that frees them all, to them move into this next chapter. So much lighter because they let themselves go there and they did it as community, which I think is such a beautiful example. You mentioned that was something that you were needing. It makes such a big difference when we have that.


00:15:09 – 00:19:29

Speaker 1: It does, and grief needs to be witnessed. When we can witness and stand and witness of one another’s grief, that griever is validated. That person is validated not in not in a way that or is happy for their loss, but their grief is validated because it is love and we don’t grieve for hearts of ourselves that we are glad we outgrew. We don’t grieve for arborist when they move to another store right. We don’t grieve things that aren’t full of love. We grieve what we love, and so when we’re saying good by to parts of ourselves and acknowledging and aware that we are saying goodbye to ourselves as a, as a woman and stepping into our role as a woman and a wife, it’s okay to feel that and they can go together. Grief can be held with love and in my opinion should be, and if we could teach that and share that, I think that would help it be more acceptable or people feel more accepting of it when it comes to visit them. But you know I love that you brought up this, this wedding experience, because that’s a ritual that is so important and we’ve lost our rituals in so many ways, or we replaced our rituals. You know in ways that might not be our best, you know, helping us to our greatest and higher selves, and instead of reflecting in solitude, we’re turning on streaming service, binging right and that ritual replacing the reflection and solitude ritual. You know maybe not in our our best and greatest and highest good in the long run. But those rituals, like weddings and funerals, are so important and you know something I realized as I was trying to understand this. My grieving experience was that we are so good in our culture, were so good about celebrating, beginning and for for any of your listeners, you know, just take a look at social media feeds today and think about it in your awareness over the coming weeks and and take note, we are quick to celebrate our beginnings, whether it’s an engagement or a gender reveal or a new business, you know, with big scissors in the bow, toasts and birthdays and baby showers, and those are all beautiful, wonderful celebrations. Yes, let’s celebrate that, of course, and we ritualize it right. We have ceremonies and rituals within those ceremonies that we invite our loved ones to be part of and to witness, to celebrate with us. And how amazing because we’re energizing one another in such a positive, vibrational way. And yet we all know that miscarriages and divorce and businesses fail and go under. That baby we were so excited about, is now struggling with addiction and has run away. And we don’t post about that right. We don’t post about our endings the way that we post about our beginnings and there’s a lot of reasons. I’m sure why and it’s probably highly individual as to why people don’t feel comfortable doing that or why we don’t do it or we don’t want to be perceived or we don’t wan to be talked about or for all of those reasons. But I think the more that we can find rituals and ceremonies that help our grief, our ending, find witnesses, you know who can just hold that space for us and understand their grief. You know they don’t have have the same experience, but just to understand that we’re grieving and that that can really help. That would just gosh, that would just be great, wouldn’t it? It would help us all move forward and maybe be more open to understanding grief differently, maybe even welcoming.


00:19:30 – 00:20:04

Speaker 2: Yet when I think about society, where that is normal, I get tears like one well up in my eyes, because that feels so healing for all of us. And I feel like that’s so what we need, because whether we know it or not, we’re all grieving. Our ecosystem is changing massively. Our world is changing massively. We have changed so much that, whether we’ve processed it or not, I truly believe that we are all in a grieving process and if we could come together in this time of change, imagine how powerful that would be. Be so powerful.


00:20:05 – 00:20:24

Speaker 1: Oh, I feel I mean, as you say, that i’m just tingling and it just because, yes, yes, you’re yes, that’s it, and yet it also feels like such a completely parallel universe that we’re not. I mean we’re not living in it, that’s for sure, but yet, to your point, you know it’s almost on a cellular level.


00:20:25 – 00:20:25

Speaker 2: Yes.


00:20:26 – 00:21:56

Speaker 1: Our humanity or connectedness is feeling this, you know, and the pandemic helped to really bring it into focus in all of the ways that we are grieving. People were grieving the loss of their identity when the pandemic happened and it was work from home, or people were losing their positions when a part of our identity is no longer as it once was. You know that too can trigger ambiguous grief. It’s not that the person you know the relationship doesn’t necessarily have to die or suffer horrible break, it could also be a part of our identity. That is changing. And to your point, you know when you said that part of me was no longer, and what I’ve learned is that losing a job that we’ve loved, that helped us before we’re facing with an identity or our role as a parent. When children launch and and leave the nest, parents can experience this ambiguous grieving process, because that happens, and that is kind of a gal. Right is raising your child to adulthood and and then being able to be self-supporting adult right. But yet if our identity is tied so inextricably to our role as a mother, and now we have no one to mother in the way we once did, it’s a grieving process and many don’t know that there’s a name for it or a way to work through.


00:21:57 – 00:22:24

Speaker 2: Yeah, exactly a way to work through it. How? How do we navigate these things? I feel like we’re just we’re not taught that. I’ve spoken with many women who are who are going through that, like my kid isn’t college, they’re not calling every day the way that I’d love for them to. I don’t know what are they going to come back like? What’s going to happen? It’s like this is normal. You know, I’m pretty sure this is normal, but I can’t tell them how to navigate that. I haven’t been through, but I know so many have. Wouldn’t it be great if we talked about this kind of thing more?


00:22:25 – 00:26:19

Speaker 1: Yeah, I think so too, and you know something that helped me was once I understood how healing ceremony can be, and this came because I travelled to Costa Rica and sat in Iasca ceremonies and and found healing on many levels, but in kind of coming back and integrating, I understood how important the ceremony itself was to me and how that was something missing from my ending. And so, in lieu of a funeral, you know, had my beloved died a physical death, I would have called people immediately and notified. I would have held. I would have started the funeral planning. You know all of the things that we would do, but I did none of that. I didn’t know what to do. I was, I was feeling shame and embarrassment. I didn’t notify my family for three months and never had the public witnessing right. So coming back from from Costrica, I decided to hold my own ceremony and I call this Abigail. I know it’s kind of cheeky, but I call it a funeral. It is a funeral without death in the physical form, but my my relationship died, my marriage died, I no longer had a husband, I was no longer a wife, that part of my identity was gone and it had always been so crystal clear and the future was secure and clear in that part of my identity. And then suddenly it wasn’t and so I invited only two witnesses. My 22 dear friends who were more like family and who knew my marriage, had witnessed it up close for all the years and were first to my side the news of the divorce and and it was beautiful and it was healing and selected music. I chose the location. It costs nothing. Anybody can create their own funeral and really all you need is an intention and a witness. And the witness part is really important because it does so much for your heart and soul to have that grief and that love witnessed. And at the very end of my ceremony, as we were kind of getting up to go and this was just a lake lakeside nearby, you knowe were getting up to go and I received them as a widow might receive a line of people offering their condolences and each of them hugged me and spoke kindly. They spoke so kindly about my loss and to be seen, is such a gift for another person to not try to solve your problem, not try to say what a jerk that person was, who hurt you or who did whatever behavior. You know whether it’s a spouse or a child or an estrangement of any kind. We often go to kind of bashing that person as a way to show that we’re a supporter right of our, our loved one who’s been hurt, and that isn’t helpful. It really isn’t helpful in any form, and so you know, to to have the ceremony and, at the very end, to be able to receive their love was just a transformational healing point in my experience, and I encourage others to consider it for themselves too, if they struggling with letting go or if they’re struggling with a loss that has an ambiguous grieving process.


00:26:20 – 00:26:35

Speaker 2: That’s beautiful, love that there’s a lot of things I love about that. One is that you gave yourself the permission to create a ceremony. I feel like in the world where we’re needing more of them, like we just need to give ourselves permission to do one. That feels I mean.


00:26:35 – 00:26:50

Speaker 1: Body created the tradition or the the ceremony of a birthday candle and a cake and the song, all the originals that we know were created at point by somebody. So why don’t we have agency to do that? Get on it!


00:26:51 – 00:26:59

Speaker 2: It literally everything is made up. We too can make stuff up.


00:27:00 – 00:27:12

Speaker 1: Everything is made up and you two can create absolutely. Don’t tell us that that should be like adulating 11, right made!


00:27:09 – 00:27:12

Speaker 2: It made me.


00:27:13 – 00:27:15

Speaker 1: This is official, but somebody may be.


00:27:15 – 00:28:08

Speaker 2: I love that and I love that you speak to the importance of the witness. I found that too, like there is so much power in having a witness and I’ve found that sometimes I am my own witness. But when there is another witness there that is so beautiful and it’s so validating and so connecting, like that’s such a place of intimacy, like those are good friends that you have who are willing to be there and, like you said, not you know, bach this person or try to pull you out of the grief and into anger instead just to be there with you and to witness you there like it takes courage for you to go to that place in front of another and it takes courage for them to witness you in that place, because that is real authenticity inside that vulnerability and that’s a place that very few of us go. Very often it’s a beautiful thing to get to share with somebody.


00:28:09 – 00:29:14

Speaker 1: I think so too, and and what’s another surprise from that experience for me, realizing that this was healing for my witnesses too. You know, if this is, if this is somebody who you’re inviting, who knew your relationship, that you’re grieving, they might be grieving too. They probably are. You know, and when we go to a funeral, you know for a physical death, we might not be the closest person to the individual who has passed on, but we might have had a relationship with them too and are grieving right. And so a ceremony and ritual isn’t just for the closest person, it’s for it’s for everybody. And and even if we go as a sign of solidarity or because we think it’s good etiquette or well, I need to show up because that’s my neighbour, even though I didn’t know their mother kind of thing. It teaches us how to grieve right and and and shows us by model what grieving looks like for others.


00:29:15 – 00:30:06

Speaker 2: Exactly, we’re always teaching each other. You know how to do things. That’s okay, and you spoke too, touched on the feeling of shame with that, and our printing ground says shame is something we all have, and the less we talk about it, the more of it we have. And it’s like these ceremonies and speaking about it, it gives it gives a place for this experience, it gives it a place where it belongs and it makes it okay because we are all going through this kind of stuff. But when we don’t talk about it, there’s this feeling of have I done something wrong? It is this my fault, there’s nowhere for this, there’s no war for me to feel this. There’s no way this belongs in society or in my life, and that’s where the shame comes in. That’s where it gets stuck, but it’s like it feels like you’re giving it a place where it belongs and it can be felt and it can move the way it needs to move and be honored.


00:30:05 – 00:31:48

Speaker 1: Honora, absolutely, and and what is to be what is to feel shameful about love? You know if you’re grieving, you know I don’t say this. I want to say this, but I don’t say this as I greet people in their grief. Don’t say this right away, but well done, well done, because that means you opened your heart to love and you let it in and you love, and it is equal and opposite. It’s Newton’s third third law right. It is the equal and opposite reaction. We grieve proportionate to our love, and love doesn’t leave us, and neither does grief. But we learn to carry it differently when we can talk about it and burned Brown has taught me so much as well about about shame and embarrassment, and something she says too, as you’ve probably heard, is that shame cannot survive with empathy and if we don’t address it right, shame will grow and fester and it will eventually come out sideways somehow. But if we douse that shame with empathy, then it stops growing and to your point, ceremony gives us the opportunity to give empathy to the person feeling shame so that they’re they’re not in judgment, that they are seen. And again, if we’re scrolling through our streaming services and not sitting in other forms of ritual, how do we do that? How do we show up for others with with that real, true, authentic empathy?


00:31:49 – 00:33:33

Speaker 2: Absolutely, it’s beautiful and I feel like this is the kind of thing that really has the power to heal the world. You know it’s it’s such a broad thing to say, but I feel like I can, so many of us. I think the whole world kind of needs. This right now reminds me. My dad passed away two years ago and getting to witness. I didn’t see him come into the world, obviously, but the little circle of his soul leaving this world. Just how much that cracked my heart open, and I would have tried lots and lots with that. It was just such a huge feeling of love and it felt like it was just breaking open of my heart so that it could be a witness and so that it could hold the greater depth of love that I had for this being, and it’s such a profound, incredible, huge thing, the grief is. It feels like the iceberg of the love that’s underneath it and it’s just it’s just it’s just going right into the heart and I feel like that’s the place where I like to live. Try to live, but we get so much armouring and so many things to protect ourselves from feeling this. What you mention in the beginning, it’s a portal and we let ourselves dive into that portal. I really believe that at the other end of it, what we find is so much love and that’s what needs to come through, I think, to bring healing to the grief, into the pain. And if I don’t stay in my heart in those places, if I get into my head, scuse me into my ego. That’s where, like the, you know, the anger, the thoughts every just feels like. But that’s not what I want to be. But when I get into my heart, that’s where i’m like: okay, this is, this, is this place that I meant to be right now.


00:33:33 – 00:35:26

Speaker 1: And it’s not easy for me anyway to quickly pull myself out of my head and into my heart. But I have gotten much better at being aware that I’m there right. So I think, even just having getting to a point where you build awareness, to say, oh gosh, oh gosh, I’m I’m thinking about this. I’m not feeling this right and that’s not where I want to be. You know, as it relates to grief, and ego, and grief is the invoice that we get from love right. It is time to pay up right and and and when I started thinking about it this way I realized the you’re a loving relationship with somebody, your dad. Thank you for sharing about your dad and that they pass on or the relationship breaks and there’s an ambiguous screening process. Whatever the case is, wherever that loss occurs, only one of us pays it right. It’s like one of us gets stuck with the cab you know you’ve throughout the course of your relationship, you’ve been building and building and building the relationship in millions of moments together. Right and then when that relationship is no longer as it once was in your case, it’s it’s a physical passing on. So you’re you’ve got the tab to pay, Abigail and and it’s very rare that both people pass at the same time. You know we’re in the same finite space and and they don’t really have to grieve it. But it feels super unfair and like you’re kind of getting stiffed here. But that’s in my head right and when I can drop into my heart, it’s such an honor. It’s really such an honor to to pay this invoice because it’s the other side of love and it’s a beautiful.


00:35:27 – 00:35:53

Speaker 2: It is beautiful and I feel like you mentioned earlier the importance of having a witness. I feel like when it’s like we get, when we’re paying the tab, we’re kind of. We’re being the witness for them, whether it’s if it’s death, they’re soul leaving this world or if it’s the end of a relationship. We’re holding space and being a witness for that and I know that some day, some one I’m going to, some one else be paying my tab.


00:35:55 – 00:36:18

Speaker 1: I’ll get to pay that tabor. We’re lucky if we’re lucky, because that means somebody loved us totally. What else do we want? Right, and you know it’s if we can kind of shift the conversation from, you know, getting stuck with the tab to it’s my honor, my honor to grieve this love right, then I think we can shift our.


00:36:19 – 00:37:47

Speaker 2: Absolutely, it’s beautiful and I feel like that. Healing can happen any time we choose to acknowledge it, you know, to to bring awareness and to bring ceremony to these, shifting to this loss. Like I had, my mom had a still stillborn baby before I was born and my family never spoke of it. There was never a funeral. I don’t know what happened with the ashes, and so I came into this world with a family where there was this pain that I didn’t understand because it was never spoken about, acknowledged they did. My mom did know how to heal that pain. She didn’t have support for it and it wasn’t until a couple of years ago I was talking with my therapist and it came up and she had said: oh, the family system is off because I have an older sister like you, are the third daughter. You had a sister who came before you and even as I say, that I get emotional because to me it’s such a soul, visual body feeling to acknowledge that like oh you’re right, I’m not the second daughter, I am the third daughter. She came before me and like just speaking about that, just just so much healing to me, to like the energy of my family as I feel I belong in it and that healing can happen any time, even if they weren’t ready to deal with it. Then I can feel that in me now, and it’s such a powerful thing.


00:37:47 – 00:37:50

Speaker 1: Well, what a gift for your sister!


00:37:50 – 00:38:03

Speaker 2: You know her name is Deirdre and just acknowledging her and like, connected with her spirit and just feels like she was witnessed. You know she was here, she, she still has a place in this family. What a gift!


00:38:04 – 00:38:29

Speaker 1: Oh, thank you for sharing that that’s so beautiful. God bless our, our mothers and the generations before who didn’t have the language or the understanding or the support, or just any of it, to to feel anything more than they did, which was so little right. So thank you for bringing bringing language to that and keeping dry here.


00:38:31 – 00:38:43

Speaker 2: Thank you for being a witness to that. This is just. Thank you for doing this work. You know this is still powerful, just such beautiful work. It’s such hard work, the language of love. Real.


00:38:43 – 00:40:29

Speaker 1: Thank you so appreciate that. Truly, yeah, and there are so many different modalities for healing and, to your point, so many ways we can find it. And what worked for me, what’s working for me, what didn’t work for me doesn’t doesn’t isn’t the blueprint for anybody else right. We each have to find our own way and I think we find it in tiny increments, not always giant steps. So that can happen too, with gifts of just downloads and knowing and certain understandings which I’ve been able to experience. But you know, for the large part, letting go and and healing is work, that it just goes on in perpetuity right, and that’s okay and we can find it in little ways. And I think even if we are willing to be willing to heal, then we are healing right. We can. We can walk, just a baby, step forward on that path by saying you know what I’m I’m pretty mad right now. I don’t want to deal with this right now or I don’t know. I don’t want to talk about it now, but I’m i’m willing to later, you know, even to have that dialogue with yourself, a good place to start. So for anybody listening it’s not. It’s not a herculean effort that you decide to undergo and then is done in a linear way. You know in three to six months time, by this and that formula right, which is what I started out looking for. I’m laughing. I’m laughing with others, not at others who might be nodding along right, and it’s that’s not how it’s done, and thank goodness it’s not how it’s done, because it’s different for all of us. It’s unique to each of us and it’s our, our own work here to do nobody else about.


00:40:29 – 00:40:49

Speaker 2: Yeah, thank you for saying that it does look different for all of us and it isn’t linear, and I don’t think there’s any wrong way to grieve. But I think, like you said, the most important thing is like the willingness to keep you know, to keep going when, however, that looks at the moment, if it’s not right now, okay, but agreeing to do that when when you’re ready.


00:40:49 – 00:42:25

Speaker 1: And when you really want, you know when you get to a place where you’re desperate to feel better, whether you’re you’re depressed and you don’t know why or you’re grieving loss, and you do know why. You know you’re just sick of feeling down and angry or hurt, or just follow your intuition. Follow that part of you that tells you what soothes your soul, what you need get, and we can’t do that if we’re just inundated with noise and noise pollution right. So just being able to get quiet in meditation or prayer, get quiet and deep breathing, even for a minute, to tune into what does soothe us, whether it’s a cup of tea, you know something hot bath we can do for ourselves in our own home or plant medicine in the jungle, whatever it is that is tapping you that is calling you, trust yourself to tune in and intrust yourself, to get curious about it. And I think that we know our souls know what we need for healing, but again we get. We override it with you know, our intellect and what we know, and it’s all made up right. We’re here, somebody made up that. This is how it goes and this is what you need and this is appropriate and not appropriate and frowned on and not frowned on. So get quiet and see what you need and trust it and you’ll find your your own unique blueprint to healing.


00:42:27 – 00:43:01

Speaker 2: That’s beautiful. There’s a song they said: I’d rather feel pain than nothing at all, and that’s like getting into the heart might not feel good for a while it might hurt. But when you get into that space then you also open up to more joy, more connection, more sense of self, more sense of beauty in the world around you and, like I don’t know you mentioned, you went and did, was in the jungle. That was a huge part of my healing path: to get into the heart, get into the spirit so it can look so many different ways. But absolutely tell me about. Tell me about your book.


00:43:02 – 00:47:12

Speaker 1: So it is and so so broken was, you know, the result of my healing experience, and it is the book, the guide book I was looking for all those years ago when I was feeling so lost and alone and not knowing what to do in lieu of physical death and yet feeling so much grief. I certainly share some of my story, but I share the stories. Each chapter shares, shares the story of another individual who I’ve worked with, who’s experienced ambiguous grief from a different activating event, whether it’s estrangement. You know a daughter who no longer will see her father and he’s not quite sure why, in his grief, experienced others, and you know, aging parents are talked about as well incarceration. You know I spoke to several women who were experiencing the incarceration of their husbands, one of whom not the one in the book, who’s amazing and and has a terrific way forward, but another woman who said her husband had been incarcerated for three years and she had not told anyone she was just buying time and the pandemic really helped kind of move. Keep keep her cover right because of the shame and embarrassment. And so each chapter is a different persons story and each chapter includes different modalities for healing. You know that I learned or I’ve learned from others, and you know my hope is that the book can, you know, just be a touchstone for others who do feel so lost and alone and open their their eyes, different things. I couldn’t even pronounce Iasca when first learned about Costa Rica and knew that I had to go to this place. And if we can stay open to all things, all modalities, we we’ll find a way through our healing. And for me, on the very first night of ceremony with the medicine, with the plant, medicine had an incredible experience. I would have called it awful before that because there was so much purging, but it was really the plant medicine worked just as as we know she does, and I cried. I wailed through most of the ceremony, which lasts for hours, right and towards the end, toward the very end. I had a life changing experience and I do not use that term lightly at all. I had a life changing experience with an incredible embrace from God source source, energy, spirit, the universe. However, whoever that is to you, and a very clear, distinct, crisp voice that said to me from me: you are not heart broken, you are soul broken. Come back tomorrow and I did, and you know, in the book I define soul broken. You know much like being heartbroken, but to be soul broken is to be filled with anguish. That is onset by the loss of our love and the loss of ourselves, our relationship, and it’s often void of validation. And when we are in that space of being soul broken, we are disconnected from ourselves and from one another and from the universe, spirit source, energy, God, and in order to plug-in and connect again, we we have to, we have to heal, and the good news is that it’s possible, it’s possible, and it starts with just being willing to be being willing.


00:47:13 – 00:47:46

Speaker 2: Oh, that’s so beautiful. I thank you for saying, too, that it’s possible. I feel like that’s one of the stories that comes into the mind. When you’re really in that deep place. Where you’re really going into those depths is like you’re going to be here forever. This is no solution, you’re never going. Other people might be able to heal, but not you, and that’s one of the one of those. When you can break through that, believe exactly when you open your mind. Free your mind from that. Then all the possibilities open to you, because of course it’s possible, everything is possible.


00:47:46 – 00:47:56

Speaker 1: Point number two: they don’t tell us in adult right is just your thoughts. It doesn’t mean they’re true right.


00:48:00 – 00:48:23

Speaker 2: That’s made up, that’s true, not necessarily right, right, that’s so free. I love the work of Byron Katie, where she will, she challenged, teaches you how to challenge your beliefs, called the work her system, a man. That’s another way of just portal going into the soul. So, yeah, I found that really helpful when I’m in those thoughts that are not.


00:48:23 – 00:48:25

Speaker 1: And it’s not easy, but it’s worth.


00:48:26 – 00:49:08

Speaker 2: Exactly what you call it: the work and all of the stuff. It’s not easy, but this is the. This is the pressure, it’s the fire that forges us. This is what causes our soul to come back into wholeness. Is the evolution of our soul in shamanic, worked like soul broken, resonate with that? Because it is when we go through these dramas. It’s like fracturing of the soul and bringing it back together. It means coming out of numbness and into feeling, and that it’s probably pretty uncomfortable for a while. But the other side of that is the reunion with yourself, with Spirit is God, and that is really what I believe. Being here is all about it for me anyway.


00:49:09 – 00:49:16

Speaker 1: Yes, and you know, I learned this from you, Abigail, I heard you say it: it isn’t pretty, but it’s beautiful.


00:49:17 – 00:49:25

Speaker 2: I like that. I don’t member saying that, but I like that. Thank you. I’m goin t agree with that.


00:49:25 – 00:49:32

Speaker 1: Very wise, very wise of you, it isn’t pretty. Others may need to look away. We may need to look away.


00:49:26 – 00:49:26

Speaker 2: Very.


00:49:33 – 00:49:50

Speaker 1: But the net of it is a beautiful unfolding and reunion with self, and if that is what we are all here to do and to learn, got to be willing to be willing to start and and you will be yeah.


00:49:51 – 00:49:55

Speaker 2: Where can people find you stuff?


00:49:55 – 00:51:13

Speaker 1: I have a website, my name: stephanie, sarazin, dotcom. I’m a certified grief educator and grief recovery specialist, so I work one on one with individuals going through grief. I don’t like to call myself a coach. I’m more of a guide helping people and small groups, facilitating small groups to better understand. If you’re not somebody going through grief but you’re somebody who works with. A lot of people, can work with organizations to introduce grief in a way that maybe hasn’t been introduced before and just start talking, getting people talking about grief in different, in a different language, in a different light. So we’re not so afraid of it really and also i’m on social media, not a ton but Ingram. I’m staffing underscore through, and my book is so broken, a guidebook to your journey through ambiguous grief and for anybody who’s listening I hope it finds you and you find it when needed and the title of the book. Here, as is so broken, I just want to point out the path that you see behind the artwork. I think the artist did just such a beautiful job and really speaking the language and understanding that it is a journey and one well worth taking. So I do hope the book find.


00:51:14 – 00:51:42

Speaker 2: Thank you for doing this work and I feel like I think we kind of touched on it in the conversation that addressing grief differently is a systemic thing within our whole society, and I love that you’re working with people individually as well, as you know, coming into organizations to shift our perspective and relationship with it there too. So thank you for doing this work. I’m going to put all the links in the show notes as well and she’s been such a treat. I feel I talk to you all day, I just love your energy and I love what you do and your message.


00:51:43 – 00:51:57

Speaker 1: Thank you. Keep keep recording, keep interviewing. Your guests are terrific and and always get me thinking. So i’m honoured and delighted to be sitting on the other side of the microphone with you today. Abigale. Thank you so much.


00:51:58 – 00:53:29

Speaker 2: We thank you for listening. I hope you enjoy that episode with as much as I did. I love the work that she’s doing, an ambiguous grief, and you can check out the links in the show notes if you’d like to work with her or check out her book sounds really powerful. And one more announcement in case you haven’t heard. I have a free facebook group where I’m sharing a ton of education and value all around, coming home to your mind-body and spirit and becoming a healer to yourself. So if you’d like to be a part of the magic, you can check out the link in the show notes to join the Heart Space Facebook group for spiritual seekers. Thank you so much for listening. If you love this episode, please share it with anyone you think would benefit from it. To review it really helps to get these messages out there. And if I don’t talk with you before, the holidays, have an amazing Honoka Christmas, all of the beautiful tide celebrations I always find this time of year so very special and we’re moving into our winter solstice, the darkest day of the year and the time for being deep within ourselves and planting new seeds for what’s to come. So what’s to come for you? I wonder, sending you my love until next.