Ep. *100* Finding Meaning in Grief, Pain, and Loss- a letter from my brother Joe

Listen here:

In this episode, I will cover:

  • A reflection of the past 100 episodes
  • How I found a breakthrough in grieving the loss of my brother
  • Discover what a healthy healing process looks like
  • Dive deep into what it means ‘to chose’

Additional Resources:

COURSE: The Healing Vault

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BOOK: 21 Days of Healing

21 Days of Healing was created out of my own desire to go beyond food and heal on a deeper emotional and spiritual level. I curated the most loved content based on hundreds of live students experience in the course, and created this self guided workbook to help you navigate chronic illness, release emotional inflammation, and find the medicine woman within.

FREE QUIZ: Inner Healer Archetype Quiz

Inside of all of us resides our inner healer. The part of you that always knows the answer. The part of you that is aligned with wellness. Too often, we block that voice out and let our head take over. Take this quiz to discover your inner healer archetype and how you can cultivate more self-healing.

Episode transcript:

Hello everyone and welcome to episode 100!!!

A reflection of the past 100 episodes

Crazy to think that just last year the podcast started and gosh, a lot has shifted in my life, so much has changed in my business and the way I show up in this, the way I serve. But ultimately, the topics of conversation over here at the Healing Uncensored podcast haven’t shifted too much, but I wanted to take this episode, episode 100 to share something really important to me with you. And I had thought about episode 100 because it was on the horizon for a while now. And we’re over 100,000 downloads and the podcast is consistently in the top 200 on iTunes. And it just feels like a really amazing platform to be able to share the things that are most passionate for me. But when I was thinking about episode 100, I thought it would be maybe a reflection of the past hundred episodes, a recap of where I am in my life, or in my business.

How I found a breakthrough in grieving the loss of my brother

And I wasn’t exactly sure what form it might take, but when I started to think about it more and more, I realized that this is exactly what I need to talk about today. And it was not what I thought I was going to talk about. So as many of you probably have already seen and know, from my social media accounts over at the Empowered Empath, and you all probably already know from listening to the podcast as well, that I lost my brother Jordan over four years ago now, to suicide. This is something I’ve openly talked about. This is something that is close to my heart and has also helped me to get where I am today. It has inspired this business. It has inspired so much growth and transformation in my life, even in the deep grief, and the deep heartbreak, and in that insurmountable loss. There was a cracking open that, again, I’ve described all of you before, of breaking down and crumbling, but ultimately using that as an opportunity to rebuild. To rebuild so much about myself and my life, and to really look at my emotions I had buried for so long, right in the eye, because in grief, and in that breakdown, there is an opportunity for breakthrough.

That crack is where the light comes in and I was able to take that deep loss, and grief, and pain, and be able to mold it into something that I felt was productive for this world. That was ultimately where I was supposed to be and serve, serve my purpose, my mission on this planet in this lifetime as a coach, as a healer, as someone who shares her message and speaks her truth and is very honest, transparent, and vulnerable with all of you. But what I did not realize, was that, that wouldn’t be the last. That, that would not be the last brother I lost? So that wouldn’t be the last heartbreak I experienced. And it was naive of me to think that maybe it was, but just because we’ve experienced or been through one hard thing in life doesn’t mean that there aren’t going to be other things.

And I do believe that that hard thing and getting through that, being able to process and integrate the learnings of that, has made me stronger and more capable of being able to deal with the hard things now in my life. But I never thought that I’d have to do this all over again. And that’s exactly what happened.

So I haven’t actually even spoken to you guys since I got married. I got married three weeks ago. I married my now husband, Andrew, who you guys have heard on the podcast a couple times. A couple of shout outs, a couple of stories, but also a couple of interviews with him. And we had a beautiful, incredible wedding day. But just one week later, my brother Joe, also a younger brother, so there’s four of us in the family. It’s me and then Jordan, then Joe, and then I have a younger sister named Anna as well.

And Joe was at the wedding and we had a really wonderful time. But just a week later on Saturday, October 19th, I got a call from my sister and learned that Joe had also died. And again, this is something that I never wanted to have to experience again. It’s something that I felt like our family had had enough of, that we didn’t need more, that we didn’t deserve this, that it wasn’t fucking fair. And when my sister told me what happened, I responded similar to the way I did when Jordan died, which was disbelief and a lot of shouting, no, no, this can’t be right. And then immediately wanting answers, answers that we’ll probably never have in relation to Joe’s death. And at the same time, my mind just wanted all the answers. I wanted to know why; I wanted to know how; I wanted to know when; I wanted to know all of the details.

And at the same time I knew that my sister didn’t have all of them. She was in shock, she was traumatized and I still had this like yearning to know, and to understand more details of his death. And I think for our brains to be able to comprehend it, to be able to really understand and like see it, this is real and that this was happening all over again. I didn’t stay on the phone with my sister long. I hung up the phone and I tried to call a lot of my other family members, but they were all, I think, also in shock and trying to get over to my mom’s house, which is where my brother died, as quickly as possible. So no one was answering and I just, I found myself in this moment of deep, deep pain of anger, mixed with disbelief, mixed with the heartache. And I let out, I was home alone in our house. Andrew was at work and I just let out this, like, I don’t know how else to describe it other than it’s like primal scream of pain. And it felt so good to be able to do that, and to not have anyone around, to just be able to express my deep heartache. And to start to be able to acknowledge that this was happening again. Joe also committed suicide, but in a different way. Because we, again, we’re never probably going to have all the answers and we don’t even have the toxicology report back. But our belief is that it was an accidental overdose. And again, don’t take my word for that, we don’t know. And that, that’s a hard part of death, a hard part of suicide is not fully knowing, not understanding.

So my husband, of a week, and I, jumped on a plane as fast as we could to be back home to be with the family. And we spent a week at home, and we were with family and we had a service. And my mom, his sister and I, many of Joe’s friends, many of his girlfriends, many of his friend’s parents even spoke at the service. And I knew and I had experienced in the death of Jordan that, that service, that that coming together of, you know, probably at least 200 people and being able to remember both of my brothers was so healing in itself. To hear stories of him from other people, to be able to say what I wanted to say about him and I, and our relationship in my memories.

Discover what a healthy healing process looks like

That’s part of the healing process. It’s part of, for me, this again honoring and celebration of his life. And the 26 years that he was in his body. And at the same time knowing that he was going through a daily torment and that he also wanted to escape this physical body. And I do believe that.  I was interviewed on a couple podcasts earlier this week that I’ll share with you guys once they’re published, but on one of those podcasts I was being interviewed and we were talking about this. And because it’s important for me, it’s important for me to be able to talk about this, not to rush my healing, not to give all the details, because there’s a lot of things I’m leaving out that I’m not ready to share yet. But it’s at the same time important for me to be able to talk about my brothers.

And that’s one of the ROS desires I have, as their sister, is to be able to talk about them. So that their memory doesn’t get lost. So that I can remember them and so that I can share their light with the world. And so in these celebrations, there’s this mix of heartbreak, of laughter, of this celebration of who they were. And at the same time, it’s like you wish you could bring them back. And at the same time, I believe in what I was answering on that podcast interview earlier this week was, I believe that we do to choose unconsciously when to arrive here in this life in our mother’s womb, by the parents that we have and also when to exit. When our time is up, not consciously, let’s get that clear, right? You’re not choosing to maybe be born into a family that has dysfunction or to leave at a young age consciously. But I do believe that more on an unconscious spiritual level that we do choose. This idea was first presented to me today by an energy healer that I met right after Jordan died and she said, Sarah, Jordan chose to leave. And that might be seen more obvious because it was suicide. But I think that our souls have this like contract with this lifetime that we aren’t totally conscious of.

Dive deep into what it means ‘to chose’

And, so as the older sister of Jordan and Joe, I have to also honor that. I have to be okay with their contract being up. And their choice to no longer be here. And to, especially, well both of them really, to be out of pain, the mental, physical and emotional pain that they were experiencing in their body on this earth. And that’s not easy. That’s something that’s very hard to come to terms with, because of course, selfishly I just want my brothers back. I want to be able to laugh with them again. I want to be able to hug them again. I want them to be there as I build a family. I would have wanted them to be uncles, but it’s not about me. it’s not about all those things that I want, or I wish, or I desired. And instead it’s about their choice. Their contract of went to leave this life. And so I’ve been trying to honor that, and know, that Joe is out of the daily torment and the pain that he was experiencing.

So, like I said, we had this beautiful service and my mom read something from Joe’s journal (of course at first, when you read someone’s journal, you know, it’s a very personal thing, but it’s something and there is like that thought of should I be reading this?) And I have to say that it’s been one of the most healing things though for me, with Jordan and Joe and I’m so, so glad both of them kept some journals, for us to be able to read afterwards. Because it gives you this insight into their life, and their mind. Almost as if to get to know them better in their death, their inner thoughts. And not to invade their privacy, or their secrets, or anything like that. And that’s really not what these journals were. For Joe, they were journals He kept on the National Outdoor Leadership school or Knowles trip, both to in the United States and Wyoming. And I believe Wyoming and gosh, I can’t remember the other state he was in, I think Nevada, and then in New Zealand.

And so we were reading a few of these trips that he was on and the thoughts that were going through his mind and how he was sober on these trips and his mind was getting clearer. And there’s this passage in one of his journals that it just feels like there is a deeper mission behind this writing. And that’s what this episode is today. It’s me sharing about my brothers, especially about Joe. And it’s letting Joe’s voice be heard through this platform. This passage that we found in his journal is called, ‘The declaration of interdependence’. And I believe it’s something that he was charged or assigned to do on one of these trips.

But as I read through it, it just felt like there was a message in here, that needed to be shared beyond just his mind and his personal journal and instead, with the world. If nothing else, as a reminder to all of us. And maybe an inspiration or a challenge to all of us to live our lives a little bit differently.

Joe’s declaration of interdependence

So here we go. This is from Joe, Joe Small, ‘The declaration of interdependence’.

“The way I see it. The way in which humans interact with the world must change. We have stopped thinking about what we are, and where we came from. We have stopped worrying about the air we breathe, and the water we drink. All that seems to be focused on is what we can do now to make better for ourselves. Instead of this more selfish mindset, one could be adopted to not only make the future better for us, but for everyone.

If it was not for the generation before us, we would not know how to walk, talk, or eat. Without guidance and teachings from our elders, we would be lost. I believe it is our duty as a species to live in a way that affects the world around us in a positive way. So when generations that follow begin their journeys of life, a solid foundation of fruitful life has been laid, and they have a starting point to move, nowhere but further in the right direction. Personally, I am playing a large role in this world. From an outside perspective, it might not seem so. Maybe because of my young age and lack of noteworthy accomplishments, but from my point of view, I play a large role. I have enabled a great sense of success and happiness in my parents because of my willingness to get the most out of life.

When they see me happy, they get happy. I had been a large influence of my young cousin who needed a place to live, which ended up being under my roof. I’ve inspired peers to open their eyes and think about the world differently. I have made people laugh in times where their lives were dark and scary. I have talked people out of ending their lives by reminding them of the beauty in the world. I have done most things, I know how to do in order to make the world a better place and can still continue to do it more. I can respect the earth by practicing small ethics like trash, and recycling, efficiency. I can educate youth on the importance of outdoor ethics and our responsibility as a caretaker for our mother, mother nature. I can constantly remind myself and others of our role as humans to make the world a better place for us, for everyone, and the wellbeing of life in action. What we do in life echoes through eternity. So we might as well, make that echo a beautiful tone.”

So I hope we can all let these words echo into our souls today. That you can sense the vibration of these thoughts that my brother put onto the page. And that maybe we’re inspired to treat the world a little better, to love each other harder, to be better, and to consider what is a legacy that you want to leave behind? How will you leave this world a better place?

Thank you so much for listening today. For being an ear to all of the thoughts that are surfacing in my mind right now. And for continuously tuning into all of the seasons and flavors of the Healing Uncensored podcast. I appreciate you all so much. And the outpouring of love and messages, cards, gifts, flowers. Oh my gosh, has been so amazing. And I’m reminded of the amazingness of the people, the love, the connection of this community that I have in my life, and that I’m so, so lucky and so, so grateful to have.

So I thank all of you. Whether it was a heart on an Instagram post, a message, sending a card, reaching out, or sending an email, I just, I thank you. Thank you so, so much. Now more than ever, I feel inspired to connect on a deeper level, to prioritize connection in my life, to have a community, to lean into, lean on, reach out to and also to serve. So thank you.

I hope you guys have a beautiful rest of your day. If this conversation today is one that sparked any questions, any thoughts, anything that you just might be rolling around in your mind, I’d love to hear it. I would love to connect with you, to understand and know you, your pain, your curiosity that you experience in this life. Because we’re not alone. And I know that I am not the only person that has experienced loss, that has experienced heartbreak. So if that’s you, and you want to share at any point, please know that I’m here for you. I love you all so much. I’ll talk to you next time.

Thank you again for tuning in to today’s episode, which is in a different tone obviously, than how I normally show up, but one that I felt was very important, and a powerful message to share from my brother. And I’m excited in some ways to see what this does crack open within me, but also give myself the time to breathe and to feel integrative and mourn.

I just want to let you guys know that in the celebration of episode 100, I also had this intuitive nudge to give back. And so everyone who submits a review for the podcast on iTunes; and takes a screenshot of that review; and then either DMs me on any of the social media channels I hang out on; or simply send that via email; to sarah@autoimmunetribe.com, will get a free promo code to get the Healing Vault. One of my online self-guided courses for free. That’s $111 value. So I’ve already given away a couple of thousand dollars worth of Healing Belts this week, and I just want to extend that offer to all of you on this episode.

And moving forward, if you just leave a review, an honest, honest review on your feedback of the show, again, screenshot it, shoot me an email, or send me a DM. You’ll get the promotion code and free access to the Healing Vault. And you know, it’s interesting that this intuitive nudge came up because there’s so many tools within the Healing Vault. There’s over 10 hours of content in there.

There’s all sorts of short resources you can tap into and, and practice on your own. And really develop your skills as your own greatest healer, as a self-healer. And a lot of those tools are ones that I think that my brother could have used. So, I want them to be available and accessible for free, to all of you who may be struggling in some way in your life. So just asking for a simple review in exchange for that, so that there is an energetic exchange of some kind. And then I would love, love to gift you this course. So again, sarah@autoimmunetribe.com

And thank you again for doing it.


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November 27, 2019


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