The loss of a loved one is something that most of us face at one time or another. In her new podcast, Back to Living: There’s Life After Loss, Chery Stevens shares ways in which she and her guests have been able to navigate life after loss.
This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, having lost my brother recently, and I am so proud of the Cheryl for bringing this topic to the mainstream so we can gain support from others that have experienced similar experiences.
Yong: [00:00:01] Hello everyone and welcome back. I am so glad you are tuning in live, watching the replay, or listening over on the podcast because the topic of today’s conversation is one that we all deal with at some point in our lives. We often don’t talk about it.
[00:00:21] Our guest today is Cheryl Stevens and she is a recent graduate of our Podcast In a Weekend Class and her podcast, Back to Living: There’s life after loss, has already started to change people’s lives and get people talking about a subject which, sometimes in our society, feels a little bit taboo. This idea of loss.
[00:00:51] Now before we bring Cheryl onto the show, if this is your first time tuning in, I want to say welcome. If you are a returning viewer or listener, I’m so glad you made it back to us. My name is Yong Pratt. For the past 17 years, I have been a performing arts studio owner and now I’ve pivoted into a new season of life where I am the Chief Dreamer and the Podcaster, right here at Our Young Creators. Here at we love to help people harness the power of technology and use technology to put more goodness out into the world by learning to become a creator and not just a consumer.
Yong: [00:01:44] Cheryl, I am so very proud of you, firstly, for going through this class and putting a podcast together that is so heartfelt and so vulnerable and a topic that so many people need to be talking about and hearing about today.
Cheryl: [00:02:07] Well thank you for having me. And yes. Over the last two and a half years I have learned my way of healing is talking about it. At first I didn’t want to. Those that I’ve heard my story or go back and listen to the podcast know that are holed up in my house for nearly a year. Didn’t want to go anywhere didn’t want to see anybody really didn’t want to talk about it. I had lost my husband after nearly 41 years of marriage and that was my life and I really didn’t know what to do. And after I got up and got out of the house got a job, actually two, I would tell my story. Every time I did it I just felt a little bit better because it seemed like every time I did, I remembered something good along with the grief that was there. So it’s nice to be able to share with everyone and let everyone know that everyone grieves differently. Even my two children grieve differently when they lost their dad than I did. It’s just a very personal thing you go through and people will try to tell you, well do this and do that, and you’ve got to listen to your own heart and do what’s best for you. I have tried counseling. Many, many people have told me well you just need a grief counseling grief you, just need grief counseling. And I tell everyone that when I did that I would come home and not want to get out of bed the next day. So I know, after four or five weeks of doing that, it just wasn’t for me it was pushing me backwards and forwards. So I stopped going to that, got out and got a part time job helping other people. I work at a nonprofit helping women and children and starting my own business so I could actually get out and meet people and do parties (it’s a makeup company) so it’s get out and do parties and meet people and play with makeup and just have fun. Do events which I’ve done. So I have two part-time jobs and now the podcast. Yes, but the podcast comes from a heart because I’ve and I know not everyone’s going to go through what I go through and it’s going to be different, but just talking about it can help get those feelings out so you can process them.
Yong: [00:04:55] You said something really important, too, you what I want to just point this out that you said everyone grieves differently so everyone needs something a little bit different. And that’s what I love so much about your podcast because you’re sharing how your your life has changed and how you’ve been navigating life after loss. And you’re also bringing on yes and they’re sharing the ways that they coped with loss, and I think that’s a really important thing because you know there’s the textbook magical, here’s to all the stages of grief, and you go them and everyone has their own process, but really none of us are that by the book. Everyone has their own way. I know after I lost my brother about a year and a half ago, you know, again the way that I grieved his loss versus the way that parents did, we were all in a different place with that and you know it would have been awesome to have your podcast at the time to listen to other people’s stories, too, because it’s sometimes difficult, I find, to talk to your family about it because it’s too, it’s almost too raw, too vulnerable at that point, so having you in my earbuds listening to how you’ve been able to overcome this in your life and listening to how your guests did it differently, would have really been a benefit to me because, like you, I found myself not wanting to go anywhere, you know locking myself in my house. For me I turned to technology, because there was no one to deal with. It was pretty cut and dry. I could just go in and make something happen. And so for, you know, about four or five weeks that’s kind of where I was too. And so I think just finding the commonality between people who go through a loss, knowing first of all, that there are other people who have walked this walk. Of course the circumstances have not been the same, however there are commonalities. And knowing that there is now a community in your podcast that you’re creating in the world, that people really can now tap into, gaining strength from, learn from, and then apply those lessons in their own lives to help them start to live after loss as well.
Cheryl: [00:07:16] Right. And one thing you said I wouldn’t go back to is how you dealt with loss within your own family. As a mother where my two grown children would come, you want just automatically to protect them, so you know, you talk to them a little differently. You don’t let them know the full true feelings. You kind of hide things because you know it’s going to hurt them possibly. So it is nice to have somewhere to go where you can let those feelings be spoken and know that it’s OK. Your children will get through it. It took me a long time to be able to speak a little more openly with them. That was their dad and they loved their dad. So, my loss was a husband, there’s was a father. So and my grandchildren, you know, it was our grandfather, so it was different for all of us but yet that person is still gone. But I did find myself not really wanting to discuss some of the deep down issues that I was having. So I’m hoping this will help others know that it is okay to talk about that and if you don’t want to talk to your family or someone else, this is a safe place to come on and do it. I’ve been there. I’ve not been through everything. I know what I’ve been through and I can tell you, yeah, I did that and that’s normal. Or you know just listen. Yeah just listen.
Yong: [00:09:02] I think what you said about having a safe space is really, really key because when people go through a loss, they’re at their most vulnerable. Sometimes they feel like they’re opening up and if they’re opening up to the wrong people, the wrong audience, it’s not being perceived in the way that they want it to be perceived.
Cheryl: [00:09:23] Right.
Yong: [00:09:23] So being able to be surrounded by people who’ve gone through similar circumstances, it’s definitely such a blessing for them. And I want to commend you for turning your grief into something that is now a positive thing where you’ve moved past that now and you recognize that other people need help, to talk about some of these really sensitive issues. They need a place to come and, again have a community that’s outside of their family if they need that, to be able to just feel embraced and feel loved and feel accepted and all of their emotions are completely right for them at that moment.
Cheryl: [00:10:08] Right. And you know one thing I do convey to everyone that I speak to or on my podcast, if I’m not interviewing someone, is that the grief and you know this will in some form or fashion always be there. You’ll always miss that person. But it changes over time. At first, it’s the loss itself and now what am I going to do and you know all of that. And then the further you get down the road, I still have times where I want to tell my husband something and you go, yeah, he’s not here. But then, it seems like God has really worked amazing in this because then I’ll start remembering things, that I hadn’t remembered in a long time about it. The fun things. How my husband was just a big kid. Always loved playing with the kids, our kids and the kids in the neighborhood and just the little stories he would tell in all of that. So those are now starting to come back. And I did have a friend and she posted it, so I know it’s OK to say this. She told me that one day I would see in color again. And that is so true. It is. You start to see things a little brighter and am able to hold on to the good things and, you know, even though the grief is there you deal with it differently. It feels a little differently, but you’re able to see the brightness of it all and what they brought to you.
Yong: [00:11:52] And I think that’s so, so special to get to that point again where, like your friend said, you’re seeing in full color. You’re seeing those good memories and you’re not so enveloped in the darker side of things but you start, to use your word, to navigate what your life looks like and starting to remember and being triggered to remember those happy memories as you move along through this path and going on your journey.
Yong: [00:12:20] I would love to know why you chose podcasting to share this message and this story with the world?
Cheryl: [00:12:30] I believe the podcast is, everyone’s on the go these days. Everybody’s always busy on the go. A podcast is something you could take with you wherever you go – the gym, in the car, wherever. And even last night, someone told me I listened to a podcast on my trip to and from work, 45 minutes each way every day. So, I think it’s just the biggest or one of the easiest ways to connect with people at where they are, wherever they are. You know like I said, moving, our home or I plug my earphones in while I’m at work. You know listen while I’m typing away. It’s easy to, like I said, connect with people. It’s an easy medium to to reach out and even if you don’t want to be interviewed, which I would love to interview anyone that you know that would like to talk to me, come on and look let’s talk and give some hope to other people that are out there just listening can give you hope or can bring you whatever you need at that time. So I think the podcast is just, to me, it’s just the natural next step that makes sense.
Yong: [00:14:05] Absolutely and you’re so right about the portability of podcasts. I’m getting ready to go on a trip tomorrow. One of the first things I will do is make sure I have a ton of episodes of your podcast and all my favorite ones downloaded to my phone so when I’m on the plane, or I don’t have Wi-Fi, I can still have access to the lessons that I need to learn that day, to the messages of hope that your podcast sends. I know they’re right there and I think that is really the most powerful thing about podcasting is that it really can go everywhere and because everyone has a device these days, you know, this device is on their person almost all day long. So being able to tap into the inclination to grab our phones and listen or watch or consume information. If we are consuming things like your podcast that can help people walk through their grief or know that there is life after loss or if you something to be comical that is there, too. Anything that we all need in our lives is available on podcast form. And it’s, you know prepackaged, it’s nice and tidy and we can just take it to go and I just love that and I appreciate you for recognizing that this was such a good medium for your message because I truly believe that it’s something that we need to be talking more openly about and not shutting the doors and hiding and having the curtains drawn and not dealing with these emotions. But now to have a safe space I think is so so important.
Cheryl: [00:15:53] Thank you. And I have to thank you for this podcast as well. Teaching me how to do this because I wouldn’t be here without you. So thank you very much. But, yes, something just popped into my mind when you were saying that this image of times in the past when you lost someone, I can just see women in black for a year or two years, whatever it was. And they held up in their houses and didn’t really entertain or go out anywhere. And that’s just if that’s what you need to do that’s fine. But I don’t, I mean we don’t live in Black anymore we just seem to hide. And there’s everybody probably will do a time you said you did the same thing. But how to get out of that space is what I hope to help people with – how to get out of that time that you just want to hide and you know you’re hiding and you don’t know what the next step needs to be.
Yong: [00:17:00] Right. And that’s a totally normal thing for most people. I think we all want to avoid people around us and sort of be in our own space to deal with our own emotions. But at the same time if we stay there for too long, that can be really detrimental too because then it becomes a cycle of grief that never ends. At some point we need to move out of that cycle and start seeing things in color again and finding people like you and your guests on your podcast on, OK this is what they went through and I experienced that too and having that relate-ability factor particularly for this issue which can be a little more tough than some, I think is really key as well.
Cheryl: [00:17:42] Yes. That’s one thing that took me a little while to recognize – that wanting to do a podcast and not really knowing exactly why but living through something that was tough and coming out on the other side and making something out of that.
Yong: [00:18:04] Yes.
Cheryl: [00:18:07] I know that’s sometimes hard to see. I didn’t two and a half years ago I would have laughed everyone out of the room if they told me I’d be doing this. But I’m here and I’m enjoying it. I hope I can help someone even one person that’s going to be such a blessing to be able to help at least one person know that it’s OK to feel like this. And maybe she can you know maybe I can tell them what I did to help get out of that hole and maybe get their mind going about what I need to do to take that next step.
Yong: [00:18:47] So good. How often are you going to be releasing new episodes?
Cheryl: [00:18:53] Every Thursday.
Yong: [00:18:54] Every Thursday. Fantastic. And if you were to think of one person or maybe there’s more than one person, who did you create this podcast for specifically?
Cheryl: [00:19:07] It will relate back to my situation. Mainly widows. I got married when I was 19. I moved from home into with my husband. I had never lived alone. So I lost my husband when I was 60. So 60 years I had never lived alone and I had to learn all of that again. You know I knew how to do the checking account and take care of the house things like that, but actually living here by myself and it was just very strange for you when they go out to eat with someone and you have to go OK I’m going out and I’ll be back later is just a different. It’s just different. And I didn’t know anyone that had been through that situation. Got married so early and that had been married for that long. Had never lived on their own before. I hadn’t met anyone like that before so that’s who I really want to reach. The dog is barking.
[00:20:17] She’s just excited that we’re chatting this morning perhaps. Now if there is someone listening and maybe they’re going through the loss of someone and they really feel compelled to reach out to you, where can they find you online?
Cheryl: [00:20:36] On Facebook. It is Champagne Beauty by Cheryl. The same with Instagram. Easy to remember my e-mail is the same thing email@example.com You can also message me on Facebook or Instagram. And champagne, how I came up with that, is for a different story we’ll get into in my podcast one of these days when I get there about how I chose that name. But it’s just I want to love a Champagne Life. So getting there was a journey and that’s why I hope to share.
Yong: [00:21:12] I look forward to hearing that episode because when I first saw your name, I, of course, wondered where that name came from. Everybody has a story of how a name came to being so I definitely look forward to that. And so for those of you watching live, catching the replay, let us know you are here by saying hello in the comments below. Definitely reach out to Cheryl if you need to chat with her and talk about maybe the journey that you’re on. Cheryl when we are finished, if you could come back and put the links into your pages that would be amazing so people can connect with you directly. If you’re listening over on the podcast, definitely you can head back over to our website, ouryoungcreators.com and you can find this video interview as well as the audio interview with Cheryl today. So Cheryl, I just want to say to you congratulations for making this podcast a reality because I truly believe that this is something that so many people are going to benefit from. And even before we hopped on Live today, you had mentioned how something in your local community, people were already positively reacting. And they wanted to connect you with other people who needed you already. And this is just the beginning of your journey, my friend. So I’m excited for those people who have the opportunity to meet with you, to listen to you, to learn from you and your guests and congratulations for making this all happen!
Cheryl: [00:22:54] Thank you very much and thank you again for showing me how to do this. I’m excited and I look forward to talking to anyone that would like to talk to me.
Yong: [00:23:06] Absolutely. Cheryl thank you so much for being here and for everyone tuning in, I just see that Cyndilu just hopped on. Hello Cindilu, I’m so glad you are here. I want to thank you all for taking the time today to spend some time chatting with us and talking about a subject that definitely needs to be talked about more and that is a subject of loss. So my name is Yong Pratt, Chief Dreamer right here in OYC and I’ve just had an amazing interview with Cheryl Stevens of the new podcast, Back to Living: There’s life after loss. Thank you, everyone. Catch you next time.
Cheryl: [00:23:51] Bye.