Welcome back to the Restorative Grief Podcast! I am your host, Mandy Capehart.
Today I want to talk about the cover art for this podcast. I created it one Sunday afternoon in the heat of the moment. I had an idea and needed to follow through immediately. If you know anything about me from my other work, you may know that I do not like to leave things half-finished. The moment I had the idea for the concept of this podcast was the same moment I started designing the artwork. I just couldn’t let the idea sink without testing the waters.
Don’t worry about referring back to the artwork right now. The cover art is just a white background with a very simple two line drawing of a face looking upward. Over the top of the head is a storm cloud, varying in shades of green and gray, and raining right into the mind of the person in the picture.
I wasn’t sure if this artwork would be the best way I could create an invitational feeling about my podcast. I love finding podcasts with brightly colored cover art, big bold fonts, and hopeful imagery – especially when they address heavy topics – but honestly, there is so much hope in the cover I chose.
If you’re new to my work in the grief world, I want you to know that I’m really sorry that you have a reason to be here. But, I am also very grateful to know you’re listening because that means you are finding movement in your own story of grief and healing, no matter how subtle it may seem. Grief literacy is necessary for every human, no matter what drives us to start learning about how to navigate loss.
Before my mom passed away in 2016, she purchased a bunch of t-shirts for me from a few local shops where she lived. One of them came from SeaTac, the airport in Seattle, which has a “Life is Good” storefront near the boarding gates. At the time, I remember opening the gift and thinking, “Mom! This shirt is so cheesy, I will probably never wear it. But I love the sentiment, so thank you.”
I tucked it away for years and thought little of it. Mom had a tendency to buy encouraging mantra-based gifts for us, so I have plenty of them around my home. But after she died, I found that t-shirt, tags still attached, in the back of my closet. It is dark blue, with an artistic rendering of a puddle in the middle of the shirt. And over the puddle it reads, “Some people feel the rain – others just get wet.”
Again, I know it seems cheesy. My mom was all about the cheesy, silly things in life. But I remember being so grateful the moment I uncovered this gift again – it felt like receiving it for the first time. So although I could have tucked the shirt away, saving that “new gift from Mom” feeling for another day, I made the choice to start wearing it.
The truth is, I needed the reminder. I’d been wading through the unending puddles of my loss and experiencing no relief. I wasn’t feeling any of the rain – I was just absorbing it all as it fell and starting to drown.
And that’s the thing about the rain – we can choose to feel annoyed by the sudden downpours. Or we can embrace the disruption and feel the water splashing on our faces, dampening our hair, and refreshing our barren hearts.
Learning to process our grief is similar. We have an active choice to make every time we face our losses. There are seasons where the “Great Slow Down” of denial and self-preservation coping techniques are a mercy to our wounded souls, but if we continue to internalize those emotions instead of expressing what we need, we may well feel like we’re drowning in our tears.
But what of the risk we face in releasing our tears? Sure, our faces will be swollen and red and we probably will feel congested for hours following the tear fest. But we’re also allowing the dam to break. We are literally releasing the pressure to self-preserve and allowing our hearts to experience relief.
The things we believe are helping keep us safe, like keeping a stoic approach to life, or maintaining a stiff upper lip – are actually the things preventing us from finding movement and inviting healing.
So I decided to create cover art for this podcast that exemplified who I believe each of you might be – a person willing to feel the rain, release the tears, and allow the dam to break. We are becoming the generation of grievers willing to feel our feelings, as deeply as we need to, knowing that they are just feelings – not facts. When we embrace those feelings, we are embracing our humanity. We are not perfect, nor will we ever become so. But in our willingness to feel, we just might uncover a perfectly new and wonderful bit of healing for ourselves and our stories.
If you’re still not convinced that your heart can survive an in-depth feeling or crying session, maybe take a moment to pause. Consider what tears do for the body. Science confirms that tears release dopamine and other chemicals that decrease our physical pains. Tears flush the stress hormones in our system, help to keep our eyes clean and healthy, and improve our vision. Crying can help us sleep better, enhance our moods, and signal to others that we need space or support. Tears are designed to restore us in body, mind, and spirit.
Being here, as a part of this Restorative Grief community, means you are ready to start your own journey into restoration. And allowing yourself to cry your tears is a big part of that process.
Now there are a lot of conversations to be had about shedding a tear and honestly, so many of the quotes in the world around crying are full of toxic perspectives and misunderstanding about what it means to show strength. We’ve even glorified the idea that some people just can’t cry, like Cameron Diaz’s character in one of my and my mom’s favorite movies, The Holiday.
So I want to share a quote from Sr. Mary Margaret Funk. She is a Benedictine nun and American author who said, “When the tears come, I am swimming in a hallowed stream. My heart is at work. My soul is awake.”
What she and I are both getting at is that allowing yourself to feel your feelings is like stepping onto holy ground. It is the place where you can acknowledge your humanity and limited scope of understanding, but also engage with the mystery of what may come on the other side of your tears. As much as it may sound risky, allowing yourself to cry means you will encounter hope.
Before I let you go, I want to offer this simple blessing: May you recognize the places and people who can create safety for you to fall apart. May you feel your tears on your cheeks, and know that each one is counted, precious, and full of healing.
Thank you for listening today. I hope you are feeling at least one percent more hopeful and settled in your story than when you first hit play. If that is the case, would you consider leaving a review wherever you listen to your podcasts? Your feedback would mean so much to me and help me get the word out about this work and our grief community. I want to say thank you to every one of you who has shared, promoted, or spoken with a friend about Restorative Grief. With each conversation, we are bringing more grief literacy and healing into the world. Until next time.
9 Benefits of Crying: https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-crying
Restorative Grief Project: https://www.facebook.com/groups/rests
Buy the Book, “Restorative Grief: Embracing our losses without losing ourselves: https://amzn.to/38nBnXJ
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