Skip to main content
Kickass Couples Podcast

From Grief to Growth: Navigating the Path to Healing – Ep 95 SPECIAL – Feat. Susan Buchweitz & Jon Page

By March 22, 2023No Comments



grief, susan, people, loss, grieving, jon, therapist, person, life, work, relationship, feel, helping, deal, couples, face, process, question, share, families


Susan Buchweitz, Jon Page, Matthew Hoffman, Kimberly Hoffman


Matthew Hoffman  00:09

Welcome back to the Kickass Couples Podcast. We are excited today to be doing a panel discussion on how to deal with loss and grieving in your relationship. We have a fantastic panel with us today and I’m going to introduce them both like to first welcome Susan Buchweitz and I will tell you a bit about her. She is not only a skilled therapist for children of all ages, but also a compassionate leader who supervises clinicians, conducts workshops for staff and champions the school’s mission to promote a nurturing and accepting environment. Recently, Susan has expanded her therapeutic focus to include helping both children and adults cope with grief and loss. Her experience of losing her spouse after a long and challenging illness has given her a unique perspective and deep empathy for those struggling with similar challenges. Her warmth, insight and genuine care for all people make her an exceptional leader and role model. She’s a graduate of the Columbia University School of Social Work, where she earned her Master of Science degree. She has also attended the Hunter College School of Social Work and completed her post master’s program and advanced clinical social work, earning her board certified diplomat in clinical social work back in 1989. Susan brings together her formal knowledge and personal experiences with her genuine care and empathy for all people. Susan, welcome. We’re so glad to have you with us today. 


Susan Buchweitz  04:11

Thank you so much. I’m very happy to be here.


Matthew Hoffman  04:14

 Looking forward to speaking more with you. We also want to welcome Jon Page. Jon has over 20 years of experience in the mental health field. He is highly recommended as an Elite KCN Relationship Coach who can help clients overcome patterns and roadblocks to living in a healthy and dynamic way. Jon’s counseling approach is based on the belief that we should serve each other and seek to understand and meet the needs of our partners. He believes that a healthy relationship is one that is nurtured and cared for rather than one that is seen as greener on the other side. Jon is a value and faith driven counselor who specializes in working with couples and families but also has experience in counseling abused and neglected foster children. Working as a foster parent, and helping traumatized families find reconciliation and restoration. He’s an experienced therapist and founder of the nonprofit delta center for transformation, which aims to help individuals, couples and families achieve their full potential. As a certified child custody evaluator, Jon has also recommended resource for the family court system specializing in high conflict situations. He helps clients develop communication skills to work through almost any situation, and is committed to helping them reach their highest potential. Jon currently resides in Tampa, Florida, with his wife and two children, and looks forward to helping clients navigate life’s challenges, and cultivate a healthy and dynamic relationship. Welcome, Jon.


Jon Page  05:49

Thank you for having me. It’s great to be here.


Matthew Hoffman  05:52

We’re glad to have you with us today. 


Kimberly Hoffman  05:55

Welcome both of you. And I want to start us off by diving sort of right into the fact that in life, we are all going to experience some sort of trauma, or grief. And it could be the loss of a loved one, it could be the loss of a job, a pet, it could be the loss of a friend, it could be a home even. And so while we are all going to experience those type of things, the question remains, how are we going to work through that challenge? And how are we going to learn from that challenge and grow from that challenge? Also, sort of what is the most healthy way to go through this grieving process? Right. And so those are the questions that, that we we really want to see if we can find some answers to and Susan, I know that you recently experienced a traumatic loss for yourself, and that you lost your husband, your partner of 30 years. And I’m just curious, tell me a little bit about that. And what was that experience like for you?


Susan Buchweitz  07:10

 Even though my husband was sick for 10 years, it was still absolutely devastating. And it is 100% life changing, because I’ve compared it to, you’re on a locomotive, and you know what’s gonna crash, and you can’t stop that crash, you have to just in a sense, go literally go with the flow. And even though you intellectually know, and it’s even more so as a therapist, because there’s, I’ve noticed that I’ve worked a lot with children and families who have endured horrible traumatic grief and sudden losses. But this is really different. So even when you know what’s going to happen, you’re never really prepared until it does to go through the processes that anybody who has experienced grief, you really have to go through those steps.


Kimberly Hoffman  08:02

And so what were some of those steps? How did you grieve that loss? And how long did it really take you to feel like you were back on solid ground?


Susan Buchweitz  08:11

The irony was my husband died, literally as COVID was exploding. And one of the elements that I think compounded my own grief, is that if you think about all the ways that we handle grief, a lot of it has to do with the emotional support you get from friends and family and colleagues, and people that you know, who are naturally empathetic, but here we were, I was isolated in my house. And the one thing that was really the hardest was not having hugs, because again, a hug when you’re grieving is just so natural to a person in being able to experience it. So in a way I was really forced to endure going through grief and loss by myself. Because being on the phone or being on a zoom, it’s really not the same thing as having that direct person to person conflict. So in a way you go through it faster and more harshly. But it does actually strengthen you in some ways in the long run. But it was a hard process.


Kimberly Hoffman  09:19

 Sure. I mean personal touch means so much to many of us and not being able to receive that personal touch as in a hug. I can only imagine how challenging that was for you. I would love to hear how you grew from that experience though. You said that you know that you had that even though you went through it sort of quickly and harshly, you did grow from it. Tell me a little bit about how you grew and in what ways?


Susan Buchweitz  09:54

In a funny way because it had really merged with COVID and everybody was grieving. And everybody was forced to contend with grief and loss, I think on so many different levels as individuals, as human beings, as a society, as a culture. And in a way, there was such unity in that. So in a weird way, it actually expanded my heart, till sometimes it felt like love was truly overflowing. It’s kind of hard to explain, but I bet that’s a piece that I’ve thought about quite a bit. That just expanding with love, it absolutely changed me as a therapist, because, you know, as Jon knows, when you’re a therapist, and you’re trained, you’re you’re trained that you have to keep the distance between yourself and your clients. But that really went out the window during COVID. Because we were all in this together. And having that connection, even with families that I saw, really more it was the parents of children that I see and that I’ve worked with for many years, we were all in the same boat of grief and loss in so many different ways. And that was absolutely a major way in which I was completely transformed. My essence was still there, but my knowledge, my persona, as a therapist really, really changed dramatically. And I think it was for the better because it may have been so much more humanistic in nature.


Kimberly Hoffman  11:26

So, applying that personal experience of your own to your work has been a huge growing opportunity for you.


Susan Buchweitz  11:34

 100%. And profoundly so.


Matthew Hoffman  11:38

Sure, and Susan, I can only imagine, you know, facing personal tragedy and loss is difficult on its own. And we all handle that in different ways. But how were you able to turn that tragedy? It sounds like you’re just sharing with Kim about how you grew in your practice. And as a clinician in the work that you were doing? What are some of the other learning lessons or opportunities that you’re able to take the tragedy and turn it into something good for you and other people?


Susan Buchweitz  12:08

That I can answer because in the beginning, I said I had such a driving need to just do good. So the way I did good, I mean, my husband had been sick for 10 years. And so our house was kind of like a mini hospital setting. And I had so much medical equipment, I was literally driven to just give everything away, people would offer me money, I didn’t want money I wanted to give away, I had hospital beds, I had all kinds of medical equipment, and it was truly a driving need. And that actually helped me cope, because I felt driven to do good to pay it forward. And when people wanted to give me money, which I didn’t accept, they said, just continue to do good because it makes the world a better place. That was really for me basically the first stage of my grieving.


Matthew Hoffman  12:58

Sure,  that’s a beautiful example. Jon, we’ve heard and talked a lot with other people maybe and that you really have to appropriately grieve, you know, and losses when you have them, they have to be confronted. What’s the healthy or proper way to go through a grieving process? So when you work with couples or somebody who are dealing with grieving and loss, what would you say, you know, is there a textbook response? Or is there something? What are the things that we should be aware of? If we’re facing that to make sure that we’re really kind of going through it in the best way that we can? 


Jon Page  13:31

Yeah, sure. Well, you might ask 100 different therapists, and you’ll get 100 different answers to that question. Grief is something that we’re all familiar with, on different levels. But I think that overall, we don’t have adequate skills to process and deal with grief. As far as how to help couples, where more often than not one person is the one bearing the primary grief, I think the correct answer is you have to get to know the needs of that individual person. So how one person processes and deals with grief could be very different than how another person does. And as a matter of fact, how you deal with grief now might be different than how you’ll deal with it five or 10 years from now, that can change too. So it’s not an easy answer. But I do think there are some basic things that somebody can do that will help the process. The first one is simple, but not easy. And that’s how we can all think of a time in our lives. When somebody was there for us. We were going through something difficult, and they were there for us and comforted us and helped us through a difficult time. I’m going to ask just even right now, maybe you’re a child, maybe you were a young adult, maybe it was recent. And you went through something very difficult. And you had a loved one or a friend who was very supportive, and maybe you don’t remember what they said but you can remember how they made you feel? Well, the person grieving that you’re in a relationship with, they need you to be that person for them. So, try to be that person that is present but not overbearing, that is fully receptive to the needs of the one who is grieving. That is the answer. So, for somebody grieving, they might, they might benefit from a grief group, there are lots of grief groups. For some people, they’re not ready to talk about it. So they’d rather be alone and read a book and work through grief by reading about grief. I think that you need to allow enough room for people to explore what works for them. And I think Susan touched on this, the simple things matter the most, if you’re able to give them a hug, be present, do good in the world, and for others. But don’t try to be too direct in their life. That’s not what people need when they’re grieving. They don’t, they don’t need you to say things like, you know, when the loss of somebody, well, they’re in a better place. Now, that’s one of the worst things you can say to somebody who just lost somebody.


Matthew Hoffman  16:08

That’s great. Susan, would you have anything to add to that when you think about the idea of appropriately grieving or your advice to someone that is facing something? What are some of the things they should think about? In addition to what we’ve heard from Jon?


Susan Buchweitz  16:23

I think, Jon, what you said is 100% true that everybody agrees very, very differently. And there is no right or wrong way. Because it’s so incredibly individual. I have told people often and I 100% know this for myself, that grief is like standing by the ocean, that sometimes you’ll have waves that will come and they’ll just tickle your toes and they feel good. And then other times a wave can come and just knock you down completely. And we don’t always know when that’s going to happen. But again, that’s part of that individual nature of grief, because a lot of it depends on your own personality, your own family relationships, how much grief you’ve experienced, and who was it who passed away that you are grieving? So there is no right or wrong way? And that I agree wholeheartedly with.


Matthew Hoffman  17:17

Sure, well, that’s, that’s helpful. I appreciate that. Do you all think I’m curious, you know, we hear a lot about preparation, and being ready, you know, being proactive instead of reactive. I would love to hear from each of you. Maybe Jon, you can go first? Is it possible to be proactive about how we deal with these losses or prepare in advance a game plan? Or is it really just responding in the moment? Is it something that we can prepare for so it’s easier in your mind? 


Jon Page  17:51

That’s a great question. Thank you for asking, we can absolutely prepare for it. And I think that no matter how significant the grief loss, tragedy or pain, I think having healthy communication and connection will help to ease that process, and will help prime any relationship for the potential of being stronger on the other side of it. Couples who don’t naturally have good communication or connection habits will have a much harder time through grief and loss in this. This isn’t just for couples, this would be any relational dynamic. So I think right now, even if couples aren’t going through a specific grief and loss, Well, number one, you will at some point, and more than one more likely than not. But you can prepare yourself for it by practicing open, intimate, raw communication about how each other is doing in the relationship about your feelings about your wants, desires and dreams. Fostering that will definitely help prepare you to handle whatever waves of life come at you.


Matthew Hoffman  18:57

So what I hear you saying is developing your connection. So the stronger your connection is, with your partner with your spouse through that communication. That’s the strength that’s going to show up when you face a challenge. Because if you’re not grounded and connected, and that bond isn’t strong, it’s going to break when it’s tested. 


Jon Page  19:19

That’s 100% True. And I would like to add to that, that when we go through grief and loss or any significant tragedy or challenge, it tends to amplify what’s already there. So if a couple is struggling with communication in connection, more likely than not unless they’re deliberately working on improving it at that time of their life, it will be worse if they already have excellent connection and communication, they can fall back on that strength and they will be better on the other side. Now, that’s not to say that if you don’t have good communication that your relationship is doomed, it’s not but you need to be aware that you need to work on it now, or it’s going to be worse on the other side.


Kimberly Hoffman  19:59

Sure, because having a strong relationship so that when those hard times hit and they’re going to hit, we all know that that’s life, that curveballs are going to come, that we’re ready for it, that our straw, our relationship is strong and intact enough that it can withstand it.


Matthew Hoffman  20:14

 Susan, would you have anything to add to that about the idea of preparation or being ready to face those things when they arrive, as opposed to just responding to them when they are thrown at you in life?


Susan Buchweitz  20:26

I think the preparation part is extremely important. And it also, I guess, depends on the circumstances. So for example, my husband was sick for 10 years, he had had a stroke. And he had, he was disabled, although his brain was not affected in the sense that he was able to communicate, he was still the person that he was, his body doesn’t work as well. But he was not able to be independent fully after that point. So I was working full time, but he needed aids during the day. So in a way, we always lived with that knowledge that things could happen at any time. Because historically, when a person has had one stroke, you’re significantly more likely to have another one. But that piece kind of fades in the background. But it does make you closer and closer with your spouse. And then two and a half years before he actually passed, he had had, he had a very rare condition. So when you have blockage, they give you medication, but then the medication makes him hemorrhage. So at that point in 2018, we really knew that something horrible could happen at any time. And it was at that point, when he was really significantly impaired, I had made the decision to bring him home, I wanted him to be home, I wanted him to be happy in his house. So that was the kind of preparation and once I made that commitment, I never regretted it for one moment of my life. And my husband, he was happy he still had a life until the very last 10 days. And that planning. Well. First of all, for myself, it was the only way I survived, because I had to run my house as if it was a mini hospital. And it was actually the blending of the skills that I had as a therapist in terms of process recordings. Okay, so we had medical notes, literally, everything was organized, but that planning, at least for me, was essential to my actual survival.


Susan Buchweitz  22:38

And I know I am happy in the sense that my husband, he did die peacefully, and he died with my hand on his heart. And I will never, ever, ever regret that. And in a way, it goes back to a question that you asked earlier. For myself, what I’ve often thought is that that was the greatest intimacy that a person could ever have in a marriage. First of all, being the physical caretaker, making them feel comfortable. And not it just brought us so much closer as a couple. And in the end, the end was not really sad. The end, there was something really beautiful and profoundly connected, because that was the kind of relationship that we had, that he took his last breath was my hand on his heart, telling him how much I loved him. And just, it was profoundly powerful. And it was life changing for me.


Kimberly Hoffman  23:42

Susan, what about the people who get stuck in the grieving process? And they just stay in that pitfall? And they’re unable to come out? What kind of advice would you have for those people?


Susan Buchweitz  23:58

I think in situations like that, I think really, people who care about that person encourage them to seek counseling, because grief can be a very heavy, heavy, heavy burden. It can be a very lonely, lonely burden. And people feel that no one would understand them or that there is that sense of isolation because there are so many different vicissitudes of the grief process. And I think sometimes people don’t want to burden people who they know love them and share that element of grief which John you must know from your work. And that’s why sometimes having professional counseling can be extraordinarily helpful. Because you don’t have to worry about the other person’s feelings. You can really be honest about what you yourself are going through.


Kimberly Hoffman  25:34

Do you have anything to add to that, Jon? 


Jon Page  25:40

Yes, I agree 100%. With what Susan is saying, I think very often people do get stuck on the hamster wheel of grief, and they can’t get out. And more often than not, in my experience, the reason why is because they haven’t fully felt that they were heard. And maybe people didn’t understand the depth of their hurt. But if the person doesn’t feel that they’ve been understood or heard, they will stay stuck, whatever they’re going through. And I also agree with what Susan said about professional help. People are often resistant to process and share what they’re going through with those around them. For multiple reasons. One of them might be that if they’re sharing a close and personal loss with people who are also touched by that loss or aware of it, it could be too sensitive to share with that person, it can actually be very helpful to share with a neutral person, like a therapist, as opposed to somebody who was involved in the loss. And the other thing and Susan mentioned this as well, is they don’t want to be a burden to people in their family, they already know that they’re grieving and going through a lot. On top of that, they don’t want to dump on people that are close and push them even further away. So that’s how, you know a therapist can really help them to work through those things. So if you see somebody who is stuck on that hamster wheel of grief, first of all, you have to be very loving and make sure that you connect with them first, if you have a close enough relationship where they trust, you would be helpful to nudge them towards a professional therapist to process.


Kimberly Hoffman  27:17

 Sure. So professional therapists, it could even be maybe grief group counseling. And then there’s just that need for them not feeling like they have been heard is what I hear you saying.


Jon Page  27:32

 Yes, yes, it’s still in there. And they need to work through it. But they have not had the right situation to work through it yet.


Matthew Hoffman  27:41

So I was listening to a topic that I’ve heard a lot lately. I listened to a podcast today, actually. And the comment was made that we really can’t enjoy life, unless we embrace death, or we and I don’t mean welcome death or invite it. But I mean, deal with it. Because we can’t live unless we take the sting away and really get around that idea of death. So if we want to fully live, we have to understand the other side of that coin as well and live every day and be intentional. So do you think that we should? And this is a question for both of you. And Susan, maybe you could answer it first. Do you think we should be having conversations with our partners about how we would best respond if one of us pre deceases? The other? Probably, it’s likely that’s going to happen? We’re not going to both move on to the next experience at the same time. But is there a practical or emotional process to having that discussion with somebody before it happens? Is that possible?


Susan Buchweitz  28:39

I absolutely think so. And for an example, one thing, my husband and I had both, we were both United, we had actually made a pledge to each other that we would never, ever put the other person in a facility ever be it? You know, just we wouldn’t do a nursing home assisted living, that would be something that we both had very, very strong feelings about in terms of parents that just having that conversation is very, very, very, very important. So that you know what it is that your wishes are.


Matthew Hoffman  29:15

 Sure. Jon, what would you add to that? What kind of a conversation can you have with or should you have with your partner? About one of you leaving the other.


Jon Page  29:26

Yeah, I think for most of us, we tend to avoid conversations like that. We don’t like to think about death. But I like what you said that awareness of the brevity of life, it can enhance the depth to which we experience joy in the present. And I think that’s so true. The older we get, the more that we face health challenges are other things in life that remind us that life is fragile. I mean for a lot of us that makes us appreciate what we have and who we have in life. So if you apply that same principle to your relationship and you go ahead and you have that conversation that most of us avoid? Which is, hey, you know, how are you going to be if and when I die, and if I die first or if you die first, facing that conversation, and having it with your loved ones, can enhance that relationship and can actually provide more depth. And, you know, I wonder I haven’t been in Susan’s circumstances, but, you know, 10 years of her husband being sick, not knowing when he would pass is difficult as that is, it really sounds like it also added a lot of depth and richness to their love for each other at the same time.


Kimberly Hoffman  30:35

 So let me ask you, what do you think most people think and this question is for both of you? What do you think most people get wrong? When it comes to grief?


Jon Page  30:48

I’ll say so many things.


Matthew Hoffman  30:52

Not just one.


Jon Page  30:53

Not just one, and I’ll save a couple for Susan, hopefully, one of one of them. I touched on earlier. And I’ll say it again, it’s people who say things like, well, they’re in a better place. Another thing that people say is, you shouldn’t be over it by now. Or, you know, even Susan’s specific situation, you’re in 10 years, maybe people say things like, well, you knew what happened eventually, or hopefully they didn’t. But people think these things and sometimes they unfortunately verbalize them, things that aren’t helpful. Or, or they give you a book and say, read this book, and you’ll be better than their expectation that you should be okay, or their expectation that you should be doing certain things right now to get through the grieving process. But I have to tell you that for some people that have an immediate loss, it might take six months, a year or longer before they’re ready to face it. And you know what, that’s okay. Don’t tell them, they need to deal with it. Now you need to talk about and this is a therapist telling, you know, sometimes not talking about it is the best thing for that person. Do give them some time. Now, if years and years pass, and you see if they’re in distress and emotionally struggling, that’s when you give them the nudge to get off the hamster wheel. But give them that room. Don’t tell them how to grieve, please don’t do that. 


Kimberly Hoffman  32:17

Yeah, so watch what you say, give them space to grieve. And we’re all going to go through that process very differently.


Matthew Hoffman  32:27

Being there with what I heard you saying to Jon was not to minimize right in those comments. They’re all minimizing and saying it should be something that it isn’t. And, you know, that’s kind of you dictating what they are or are not going to do when I think about the conversation we had earlier in the beautiful demonstration that Susan shared in her own personal experience. She was there. She was there in every way possible. expressing love, care, concern, dedication, right. And you know, what a beautiful demonstration of commitment to her husband, and I’m sure he felt that and that had an impact on their relationship. Is there anything you would add Susan to that about? What do you think most people get wrong? And in dealing with grief? 


Susan Buchweitz  33:11

Oh, I have a really good one. I cannot begin to tell you how many times out of love people have offered to set me up. My answer is eww, no. And it’s actually upsetting to people who love me or close friends. But I think it’s hard for people to understand. And when people have asked me why I’ve been very honest. I’ve said we were soulmates. You know, and that’s, that’s all there is to it. And I’m not, you know, I appreciate it. But I’m not interested and people make the assumption, oh, you’ll change you know, but I know myself and I want to know that. So we can’t assume that how we feel or what we would do for ourselves shouldn’t be what somebody else should do.


Matthew Hoffman  33:59

Gotcha. Okay. So Susan, knowing what you experienced and did in the wake of your own loss. What would your advice be to yourself, as you started to face this reality? So if you could go back, right when you started this realization and had to start making those life changes from what you’ve learned in the process and the cathartic one that you’ve gone through? What kind of advice could you give to somebody to yourself, or to somebody who is just beginning to confront and face that same situation?


Susan Buchweitz  34:33

I think from what I’ve learned, and it was a learning process, is that knowledge is power because truly one of the hardest things of being a caretaker is how poorly the medical system is geared when somebody is sick at home. You don’t have a lot of service days. I’m in my circle of friends and relatives. My name was Susan the fake doctor, but it really wasn’t a joke. It was the absolute truth, because most people don’t realize, for example, that when you have somebody who’s sick and can’t physically get to a doctor, your doctor will fire you. And there’s very little help when you’re actually the one providing the homecare in terms of medical questions. So Google and WebMD. And all of those centers were my places to go to, and, but having that knowledge and really seeking it and learning for me, that was absolutely critical. So that would be one thing that I would say in that process. And really not feeling sorry for yourself, I have to say, I didn’t feel sorry for myself, and some of that, because it was my choice, I openly embraced the choice that I took. And so being able to be firm in whatever you feel is right for yourself, I think is a very important part of the question that you asked. 


Matthew Hoffman  35:54

Sure. Thank you.


Kimberly Hoffman  35:58

We have 14 pillars that we believe it takes to really have a successful relationship. And in thinking about those 14 pillars, I’m just curious,  of the 14 pillars, what are some that are really key in helping with loss and with grief? Do you want to?


Matthew Hoffman  36:20

Yeah, and we’ll go ahead and read through them just to refresh your memory a little bit. They are commitment, communication, conflict or problem resolution, trust and honesty, patience, intimacy, lasting love, selflessness, unity, servant leadership, faith and moral code, appreciation, security, and fun and humor. There are 14 pillars that we think are essential in any successful relationship. And I think Kim was saying, What do you think of those 14, which ones pop out, as being most important, are integral to really effectively deal with that grief and loss that you might be facing?


Susan Buchweitz  37:08

If I could jump in, I would say for myself, it was 100% Faith was number one. I had thought to myself a lot that faith is the bedrock. Because without that, it’s really hard for myself, it would have been very hard to navigate all the different things that I was going through. Because when you have faith, I think you end up feeling that you’re not that you’re not alone.


Matthew Hoffman  37:35

That’s great. We agree.


Jon Page  37:39

Yeah, there are several that stand out to me helping your partner, or anyone going through grief and loss. I think that patients are one of them, again, because they’re going to agree at their own pace, and you can’t force it. And that’s difficult, because the grief that we might be going through from a loss, it’s affecting those who are close to us. So they want us to get through not just for us, but for them too, so that they can have us back to who we were. And they have to learn to understand that we might never be the same person again. And that’s okay. We’re different. And that’s okay. The other one is in pressure, which pillar this would fall under maybe the servant leadership would be? Is that correct? Servant leadership? Yes? 


Matthew Hoffman  38:27

It is, you got it.


Jon Page  38:30

It would be humility. You know, as a therapist, I have to be honest, one of the most difficult issues for me to deal with is grief and loss. And that’s because it’s such a consuming, broad topic that I always feel ill equipped to deal with it in the best way. Everybody’s loss is different. Everybody takes it in a deep and personal way. And, honestly, there’s nothing you can do as a therapist, to make it go away at that moment. And as therapists we want to fix things. So I communicate to people that are going through grief and loss. I tell them, I don’t know exactly what’s going to work for you. But I’m here for you. And I think we can all say that to somebody that we care about that’s going through grief. And the last one I would say which is very important is the humor, believe it or not, and you have to be sensitive to where somebody’s at. But somebody who’s going through a loss. They don’t always want you to walk into the room moping and sad even if they are, they want you to be yourselves as much as possible. Yes, be sensitive to what they’ve lost, but be a human because they want to feel human again to give them that opportunity. Don’t be afraid to be real and even funny sometimes when it’s appropriate.


Kimberly Hoffman  39:50

Yeah, don’t feel like you have to walk around. Like you’re walking around on eggshells around that person. In other words, yeah.


Matthew Hoffman  39:57

Yeah and the somberness I love what you said, you know when you’re grieving, it’s usually difficult and sad, and it’s not very positive. So using humor to kind of break that mesmerism. And getting out of that line of thinking is a great distraction. And also a reminder that there is humor, and you can laugh, and you can be lifted outside of that circumstance and be yourself. Because you know, most, most people, you know, whether they’re funny or not, we encounter those situations where there is a lot of humor every day. And I think that, you know, it was funny when we first started KCN and we had these pillars, we used to only have 13. And then we were interviewing couples and people on the podcast, and they said, where’s the fun? 


Kimberly Hoffman  40:42

Yeah, everyone. Where’s the fun and humor?


Matthew Hoffman  40:44

Where’s playing? We like to play. Where’s that in your pillars, right? So we finally went, Gosh, we missed that. 


Kimberly Hoffman  40:49

We definitely missed that. 


Matthew Hoffman  40:50

So we added fun and humor, because the two of us I mean, having fun and humorous things together is just such a great way to bond. As you all know, you know, the, you know, the hormones are released when you laugh. You know, it feels good, right? And everybody, you know, there’s so much good. And that, so I appreciate you bringing that up? Yeah. And so we’d like to know, is there any question we didn’t ask? I know, this is a deep topic. And we’re in no way going to cover it all, in one time together. But is there any question we didn’t ask or angle we didn’t approach that either of you feel that we should talk about or dress for people to have some more substance or meat on this topic of grieving and loss?


Susan Buchweitz  41:39

I can share one thing that’s been kind of an interesting experience. I think having gone through what I went through helped me not to be afraid of the dying process. And what I mean by that is, since we all know that everybody’s going to die Sunday, to not be afraid as a process can really help the person who’s actually passing two paths in a way that’s peaceful, and without fear. And that was really my motto. It’s not like I went into this thinking that I had that mindset. Obviously, it was something that evolved. And as a result, a lot of it happens a lot that people would call me and ask me when they knew, let’s say their family members were dying. They would say, What do I do? What should I do? And it wasn’t just which doctor to call how I feel so helpless, people would say, how do I help. And I realized that because I wasn’t afraid to talk about death and dying, I was really able to help other people who were going through that, because the thing that I would say is that, even if their eyes aren’t open, I really believe the person you love can hear you. And I would just say to them, stroke their arms, hold their hands, tell them how much you love them. And sometimes you can communicate with the person who’s passing, even just thinking the thoughts in your head, because my belief is that they really know that you’re there because it helps the person who’s dying. And I really believe this, it really helps them not to be afraid. So that for me was sort of a byproduct, being able to help other people who were going through the process of losing somebody actively to help them have a sense of what they could do to help.


Matthew Hoffman  43:35

Sure. Overcoming that fear. That’s wonderful.


Kimberly Hoffman  43:38

That’s great advice for our listeners, too, I think because it’s going to happen to all of us. And if we can really face that, in that way. I think that we can really benefit from that. Both ways. 


Jon Page  43:51

Yeah. And Susan, you’re an amazing example of somebody who has courageously faced grief and difficulty in pain. I wish we could all be more like that. Sometimes people think well, if I give my energy towards dealing with this, or if I vocalize what’s going on with me as I work through this grief process, people can feel well, that’s selfish. That’s, you know, that’s just for me. But the reality is, it is you who step forward with your courage and deal with it. People see that and it almost gives them this unspoken permission to also grieve because everybody is grieving in their own way. So you’re a trailblazer, and you open up the door for people to express and let go of their own pain. Something that I’ve experienced personally as well is that as we go through grief, that also our grief and how we carry it affects those around us. So there’s secondary grief, there’s secondary trauma and pain that those who are close to us feel as well. So not only does that amplify the need for communication and connection as well we touched on earlier, but it also highlights the awareness that they need to have the room to grieve dealing with us grieving, if that makes sense, because now they’re dealing with somebody else. And that’s a weight they have to carry. Because, you know, we’re sad, or we’re you know, we don’t have the energy level, or we don’t want to do the same things we did before. All the people with us say that they’re gonna grieve that loss as well. And they’re allowed to do that. So let’s make sure that we stay connected, we do check-ins, and we communicate. And we’re open with each other about that.


Matthew Hoffman  45:31

 Love that. Love that. Well, you guys have been terrific with your, your openness, and you’re sharing Susan, and Jon, your personal experience, we’re so grateful to have the time and tackle this tough subject, because I think the more we identify it, talk about it, share and communicate, we can really build some strong bonds that will make us more resilient. When we do you face those challenges. And it’s not a question of, if it’s really just a question of when so if people, Susan want to connect with you, or learn more about you or find out a little bit more about what you do, how can how can people do that? What’s the best way for them to learn more about you or, or the good work that you’re doing now? 


Susan Buchweitz  46:13

People can reach me at LinkedIn, Susan Buchweitz, and I would be happy to answer anybody.


Matthew Hoffman  46:20

 Beautiful. And how about you, Jon, tell us about if people want to connect with you or your practice? Where should people look to find more about John page and the good work that you’re doing? 


Jon Page  46:29

Thank you. Yes, they can find me on Facebook, Jon, J. O N. And my last name is Page,  P A G E on Facebook, Jon Page LMFT, or my email address, which is Jon,


Matthew Hoffman  46:46

Beautiful. Well, thank you both for joining us today and giving us a lot to think about and some good things to chew on, as we all figure out the best way to navigate the grief and loss that comes along with all the sunshine and smiles that we have in our lives. So we appreciate you. We’re grateful. And thanks for taking the time today.


Kimberly Hoffman  47:06

 It was a pleasure being with both of you.


Susan Buchweitz  47:08

 Thank you so much for having us.


Jon Page  47:11

 Thank you. Thank you so much.


Matthew Hoffman  47:15

 Yeah, our pleasure. Thank you guys. We’ll talk soon.