Caregiver Grief and Loss

Sage Aging Podcast Episode 59

Is This Grief or am I Just in a Bad Mood?

Caregiver grief and loss can take a great toll on the physical and mental wellbeing of a person. defines grief as “keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow.” Caregiver grief and loss often manifest in ways that are mistaken for other things and what might look like a bad attitude, anger, or indifference could actually be unrecognized grief. We generally associate grief with death but a loss of any kind, including the loss of life as you once knew it, can trigger a reaction.

In this episode, we explore identifying caregiver grief and loss and what you can do about it. Nearly one in five American adults carries the title of caregiver, so this is a conversation everyone can benefit from. Click the player above to listen to the conversation or scroll to the bottom of the page for the transcript.

My Guest For This Episode

My guest for this episode is Lisa Michelle Zega of LegitYou. I invited her to join me for a conversation about grief because I relate to her unique perspective about it. Maybe you will too. I promise this conversation will make you think and it may even give you an “aha moment” or two.

What We Covered

Unrecognized Grief and Loss

As mentioned, we typically associate caregiver grief and loss with death but many other life events can trigger them as well. Think of the life changes that come along with being a family caregiver. Work stress/unemployment, change of residence, strained relationships, personal health issues, and other changes can lead to feelings of loss and grief.

A caregiver may sometimes feel a loss in the relationship with their loved one. The parent they relied on their whole life now relies on them. The role reversal can be devastating for both the caregiver and the care recipient.

Even beautiful, wanted life events can manifest in loss and grief because of the changes they bring. Events such as marriage, a new baby, an empty nest, and retirement, may trigger loss and grief.

Harvesting Growth From Grief

“Our grief is not here to destroy us, but actually to root us and strengthen and grow us in such a way that our pain actually becomes purposeful in the compost of our own life.” So all of the “stuff” we fill ourselves with over a lifetime; the grief, loss, and stress we experience, are the foundation of our growth. I think we all know that, really, but acknowledging and embracing it is a different story!

Strategies to Deal With Grief

So now that we have identified our grief and loss, what do we do about it? To begin with, here are a few things you can do to alleviate your feelings of grief and loss:

  • Acknowledge your feelings – good and bad – and don’t beat yourself up for having them.
  • Know your triggers and try to find ways to minimize or prevent them.
  • Have a plan of action for yourself for whn you are triggered. What can you do to calm yourself and/or remove yourself from the situation?
  • Be kind to yourself. Having emotional reactions to life situations is normal and nothing to be ashamed of.
  • Create a support system. Ideally, family and friends can step in to help. Otherwise, consider hiring help in the areas you need it.

If the situation is overwhelming to you, seek the help of a trained professional.

Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode

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Sage Aging podcast Episode 59

Caregiver Grief & Loss


[00:00:00] Liz Craven: I am so excited because our time together has been months in the making. This conversation is one that we certainly need to have and so many people need to hear. I honestly can’t think of anyone that wouldn’t benefit from this conversation. So, thank you so much for being here to chat with us today Welcome.

[00:00:22] lisa-michelle-zega-: Thank you for having Me I’m excited to have this conversation.

[00:00:27] Liz Craven: Me too. it’s funny. Last night I was gathering with some friends. We have a weekly girl’s night; we get together and have a glass of wine and play cards. And two of my girlfriends that I was chatting with are very actively caring for aging parents right now. And we started to talk about this topic as I was thinking about our conversation today and it just really struck me how important this conversation is for so many people because you and I had discussed before, how sometimes we don’t really identify what we’re feeling as grief. And I want to get into that deeper, but first I do want to know just a little bit more about you and I want to share a little bit about you with our listeners.

So let’s start with a little bit about Lisa Michelle.

[00:01:16] lisa-michelle-zega-: So, my name is Lisa Michelle. I am 51 years old. I live outside of Los Angeles, California. I raised and homeschooled three boys, two of which are finishing a master’s program and one finishing his bachelor’s. I ended a marriage to a pastor after 23 years of marriage. I later became engaged, and my fiancé died suddenly in a motorcycle accident. I have since remarried and made the transition into being a stepmom, which I never thought would be part of my story and essentially inherited two amazing bonus kids as a result. My father passed away in 2020. That was my adopted dad. I never met my biological father and when my mom and I get together, we joke because That’s really the extent of our big old family.

And it’s a family reunion and, uh, one incredible gift with my father’s stuff. My stepmom, who is an amazing woman, welcomed me into her family. And so, I said that about my mom and I, and then I, I was immediately struck with, oh, and now I have like this host of aunts and uncles, and even at great grandma because of Dahlia’s mom and yeah. So that’s, that’s a little bit about me.

[00:02:59] Liz Craven: That’s a lot about you, boy, gave us the abbreviated version. Isn’t that what they call the reader’s digest version, but what a wonderful life. And honestly, it’s almost as if you’ve lived multiple lifetimes within your life in all of these different, chapters, I guess we could call them.

 hearing all of that makes me understand how you came to the place that you are now, because you are someone who is such a help and such a comfort and such an inspiration for other people. And I can see where you’re drawing all of that from.


Harvesting Growth From Grief

[00:03:35] lisa-michelle-zega-: I think that’s one of the things I love most about harvesting, I would say from our grief is that we find that our grief is not here to destroy us, but actually to root us and strengthen and grow us in such a way that our pain actually becomes purposeful in the compost of our own life.

Like we actually end up growing in this rich nutrient soil when we accept ourself and our suffering, and we end up being a resource of life to others. Right. And it’s not by escaping our suffering. It’s being with it in such a way that it’s integrated into us, and we grow. I don’t know.

Like we, we heal, and we actually grow in appreciation for the gifts we received, even when we would have never asked for any particular suffering that was bestowed upon us.

[00:04:35] Liz Craven: That makes a lot of sense. It’s in the challenges that we grow, if everything were comfortable and if everything were perfect, those character-building moments wouldn’t be there. And I think all of us have those things in our life that we look back on and go, holy cow, I would never want to go through that again, but. The silver lining is there. I kids probably get tired of me saying that, but I think that there’s a silver lining in every single situation that we encounter. And if we can train ourselves to look for those silver linings, it makes some of the suffering and some of the horrible situations that we ultimately will face in our lives, at least a little better.

[00:05:19] lisa-michelle-zega-: Yeah, there’s something very rich to that. And I think the one mistake we make I’m hearing Brene Brown in my mind there’s a little video she’s done on the difference between empathy and sympathy. In that cartoon that they used, it’s got this part about, you know, trying to silver lining it.

And the thing is, is it’s not that are looking for the silver lining to replace excuse diminish or take away from what we actually experienced. And that does like our, our body, our very person cries out to be heard and to have those feelings witnessed and metabolized. So if we rush too quick to the silver lining, We actually end up ignoring or denying our pain in such a way that we multiply it.

It actually lasts much longer in the trying to get out, trying to get processed right? Because pain that goes unwitnessed, goes unattended. And because we are, you know, my belief system made in the image of God, these majestic, beautiful humans. That pain will come a knocking until we acknowledge that our suffering matters and in that processing in our body and our feelings, acknowledging that we did suffer, then it’s like, it does become part of the compost and we really do find nutrients and nourishment and meaning, and purpose, even.

[00:07:02] Liz Craven: I really, really love the analogy of compost.

[00:07:07] -lisa-michelle-zega-: Me too.

[00:07:08] Liz Craven: And when we think about pain and grief, isn’t it raw, it’s raw in a big way. And so, all of those raw materials just being poured into us. And we come out with this beautiful blossoming flower or tree or whatever imagery works for you, that beauty can come out of the compost of all that mess that we first dumped in there is pretty incredible.

[00:07:35 lisa-michelle-zega-: It’s amazing to me, this analogy has caused me to look up composting, recognizing that real, you know, poopoo

[00:07:48] Liz Craven: Yeah.

[00:07:49] -lisa-michelle-zega-: goes in a compost and is still used in the growing of life. Beauty.

[00:07:57] Liz Craven: Yep.

Defining and Acknowledging Grief

[00:07:58]  lisa-michelle-zega-: That, that just amazes me. And I love the way that you framed it in the raw material, and, for your listeners, I just want to define grief a little bit, cause I think it’ll give some legs to our conversation our grief is the normal response to any loss and that loss can be something we needed and never received. Grief can be something that we’ve been carrying and just didn’t know how, or we’re not ready to process it. A lot of times we associate grief specifically around death. But if we broaden our understanding of death to think of any time, something ends for something new to begin that coming to a close does bring with it, loss. And if we’re so quick to look at the benefits that are coming from it and ignoring the actual loss, like even something as simple as a move or a job change or something as profound and beautiful as a baby being born or a marriage, these are great blessings, and they bring an end of an era and depending on how emotionally charged that ending is within your body, it determines how powerful that loss is for you and what you’re getting to process

[00:09:25] Liz Craven: Absolutely. That is such a good point. And I’m so glad you brought that up. You know, we do tend to associate grief with a loss of a loved one or a loss of a pet, you know, a death, but grief does go so far beyond that there are many areas of our life that we can take grief from and not even recognize that what we’re experiencing is grief.

And I love that we are broadening the definition of that so people can really identify that’s what’s happening in their life. Because if you can’t identify your grief, then there’s no way to process through it. So, I think super, super good point. And as it relates specifically to caregivers, oh my goodness.

[00:10:13] -lisa-michelle-zega-: Oh, I like my I’m I’m bursting in thinking of your audience.

[00:10:18] Liz Craven: Yes. Go ahead. Go for it. I’m going to be quiet, and I want to hear what you have to say.

[00:10:23] -lisa-michelle-zega-: What’s happening, is the routine, as You knew it with whomever, it is that you find yourself caring for. And oftentimes this is parents, right? Depending on what’s going on with the parent you’re already grieving the loss of hopes and dreams and expectations. You’re grieving the way it was with your family.

You’re grieving what you needed from your family and didn’t get, but you don’t necessarily even know, that. And the family member that’s being cared for is also losing their independence. Their body is changing. Their mind is changing. And so essentially you end up with two grieving people.

And if the parties don’t know what’s happening, it’s like dynamite, right? It creates an opportunity for so much pain, so much frustration. And then the caretaker has so much guilt. Judgment inside and they’re beating themselves up because, you know, I should be so grateful and I don’t know how long I have and ignoring their own needs, ignoring their own pain and wanting genuinely wanting that judgment to be able to transform them into the human they want to be to support their loved one. And it just doesn’t work like that. When we ignore ourselves or actual experience, it’s almost like there’s a little one inside of us having a tantrum. Like you will listen, you will see me.

[00:11:58] Liz Craven: I’m so thankful to have some friends who are experiencing this right now. My caregiving days have passed for this point in my life anyway, and I’m grateful to be walking through this with some close friends, because you forget exactly how that feels when you’re removed from the situation.

And it is very easy for caregivers to really be very hard on themselves to say, you know, I should be grateful for the opportunity to care for my loved one. And I’m the first one to tell you, I am very thankful for my caregiving years with my loved ones, because there is a closeness and an experience that you really just can’t describe unless you’ve been through that.

But having said that it was really hard and there are parts that I’m not grateful for. And so as my friends are walking through this, making sure that they know that it’s okay for them not to be grateful for every piece of that experience and that it’s okay for them to feel angry. It’s okay for them to feel frustrated.

It’s okay for them to feel like they’ve had enough. It’s okay for them to walk away for an hour and practice some self-care. That you don’t have to be committed 24 hours a day, seven days a week to the other person. You have to commit to yourself first in order to be a good caregiver for that other person.

And it’s hard when you’re in the middle of it because you see the needs of your loved one and you want to so desperately meet every one of those needs, but it’s quite impossible to do that on your own. And it’s very easy to take on the guilt associated with not being able to do that.

[00:13:54-lisa-michelle-zega-: Absolutely. And there’s a lot of isolation that comes along with caregiving, and sometimes the most dangerous place for us humans to be is alone with our thoughts. And one of the things too, that we simply don’t understand in our society in general, is that our grief that’s unprocessed it’s cumulative.

So sometimes we don’t understand the great big reactions that are happening in our body. That sheer sense of rage. I’m not talking about expressed rage. I’m talking about the way that it shoots within you and surprises you. And sometimes what that is. Is there unattended grief living in you from things that you needed when you were little, you were the shy, private

kid and your mom always was rushing you hither and Yon, and there was no space for you to be you. And now you’re caring for her. And she makes what feels like a demand in your body. And it triggers that old wound. And you just want to wring her neck and neck. You see, you’re fragile, mom, who you love and you think you’re an evil devil.

And now you’re at this war with yourself, not recognizing how much you’re doing, how far you’re being stretched, and it doesn’t. The one doesn’t cancel each other out. We live in a, I don’t know where this came from Liz, but such a binary thinking like either I’m good or I’m bad, either I’m loving or I’m hateful either I’m generous or I’m selfish. No, we’re human. Like all those things live in us at the same time. And our pain really matters. And for us to be with others in a more effective or grounded way that feels good in our own bodies. We want to be attending to ourselves and our needs alongside of caregiving and that, to some of your listeners, I think they would want to wring my neck.

They’re like, you don’t know.

[00:16:09] Liz Craven: Yes. Oh, goodness gracious. That refrain. I made that refrain over and over, but you don’t understand, you don’t understand. But the thing is we do understand, and I can tell you from having been there and now removing myself from that. I was lucky to have a lot of people around me to give me the right messaging during that timeframe.

And I was so lucky because it did help me come back to center. And when I did get back to center and remember what the logical things were that I needed to remember and stopped acting purely on exhaustion and emotion. Things really got a lot better. It is difficult when you’re going through it, but we really do need to recognize what’s happening for ourselves and be kind enough to ourselves to take care of it.

And that goes back to identifying. Why am I feeling this way? Am I grieving the loss of a relationship? Am I grieving the loss of my freedom to be able and go as I please? Am I anxious because now I’m raising my kids and my parents at the same time, there are so many different life situations that happen, and

paying attention to what they are and making sure that we identify and re identify as things change because they change fast. That’s really important to stay in touch with ourselves and be able to continually remind ourselves that we are only human and that it’s okay to be feeling these things. We just do need to identify them and figure out some strategies.

You know, that’s an individual thing for everybody, but figure some strategies that can help you to process through this time of life. And I also want to add that just as we, as caregivers are experiencing this kind of loss and grief. So are those that we are caring for. And gosh, it reminds me of a conversation I had with my mom.

She was in a horrible situation with her cancer. And she was feeling so bad, and I was trying to be everything for her. And we were talking one day and she reminded me that she missed being that for me because I was the daughter and I used to come to her with my emotions and with my concerns and for advice.

And that stopped when I became her caregiver. To some degree, to a large degree as her cancer progressed. Right. And she reminded me that that part of her life really didn’t have to go away if I would open that door again. What a gift, right?

[00:18:53] -lisa-michelle-zega-: Oh my, yes, that, that awakened something in my body that’s very touching. And how, present your mom was to her own needs. What it sounds like to me that your mom cultivated, and to some degree was a neutral observer within herself so that she could see herself, she could see her sadness, she could see what she wanted or craved or had lost, and she could see what part of that

could still exist. And then she brought that to the conversation with you and in doing so she gifted both herself and you and created something new in the relationship.

[00:19:34] Liz Craven: She did. And the conversations that we drew from that point on were really amazing. And that goes back to the point that I really cherish the time that I got to care for all of those that I’ve cared for along our journey, my husband and I, but especially with my mom, because when her time came, there was nothing left unsaid and we both knew how devoted our, our counterpart was.

mean, as my mom, I knew every feeling she had for me and every hope and dream she had for me. And she knew the same that I had for her. We had been able to very openly share everything after that point where before I wanted to be guarded, because I felt like I needed to be strong for her and I needed to hold her up and lift her up, which I still did, but she needed me to let that down a little bit and to be her daughter again.

[00:20:35] -lisa-michelle-zega-: And, you know, you bring up a very good point in terms of like there’s misinformation that lives in the world that so many of us have bought into around grief. One specific thing is just this myth of being strong for other people. And yet, you know, when we’re watching a movie and we’re rooting for the hero, if that person was all the way strong and we didn’t see anything that resembled us in that person, none of us would root for that hero. Right. Like one of the things that binds us together when you and I first talked, one of the things that connected us was our own sense of weakness, our own desire to grow our own desire, to be with others in this precarious process. And acknowledging that we’re actually not made to be strong for others, particularly in the realm of thinking about our grief.

I’m not talking about; do we act responsibly? Do we make the appointments? Do we get people where they are. That’s not what I mean in terms of being strong. I mean, acting like an emotional brick, an emotional wall acting as though we’re not concerned that our loved one’s health is failing or, you know, just whatever it is, allowing ourselves to be in the human experience with one another.

And when we do that, it draws people to us, but it draws us to ourselves. Like we don’t feel like we’re living multiple stories within ourselves. We experience the compost of our story being integrated with all the raw material.

Coping with Grief and Loss

[00:22:18] Liz Craven: Right. Wow. That’s really powerful. Oh my goodness. I knew this was going to be a great conversation. So, let’s take a step back now. So, we’ve each one of us identified what our grief is and we’ve identified some of these things in our lives that have been causing us to feel turmoil and feel anxious. Now, what do we do with all of that?

[00:22:44] -lisa-michelle-zega-: Well, there’s one thing I just, when you were talking about your beautiful relationship with your mom, I want to acknowledge for your listeners, that we understand that not everyone has that. And some people receiving care can be mean can be, you know, like it’s, there can be a lot of emotional pain experienced by the caregiver coming directly from the one that they are sacrificing and giving and doing all this for.

So, I want to acknowledge that so that everyone in your audience feels seen. And then with that, the idea of, okay, well, what do we do about it?

[00:23:26] Liz Craven: That is an amazing point and, I cannot even count how many caregivers I’ve spoken to who have echoed that same sentiment that you know, I’m doing all of this. I feel unloved. I feel unappreciated. I don’t know how long I can do this for. This is really harmful for my mental health. And I appreciate the fact that you made everyone seen in that way, because that is not an uncommon situation.

[00:23:57-lisa-michelle-zega-: That really draws me to speak about Liz, why I do what I do is because. I genuinely believe every time this is about to escape my mouth. I’m like, can I think of something worse that the most harmful things humans do that we do to one another comes from unprocessed pain? I don’t think there’s anything more cruel that we can do then leave our pain unprocessed because that little, quippy saying of hurting people, hurt people, I think it’s true because when we’re hurting, we can’t see other people’s pain. And so when we haven’t developed that neutral observer within us to watch and to care. You know, when we recognize there’s an adult living in us who gets to be responsible for us

now, we did not all get what we needed. There are children who need love, who didn’t get it from their parents and then fast forward, now they’re caring for the same parents and they’re still not getting the love they were craving when they were little, and it opens up a lot of old wounds.

So, for us to acknowledge. When you say, well, what can we do about it? Acknowledging that we do get to be the hero of our story. We get to see what we’re going through. We get to give ourselves the recognition, the love, the honor that we crave. You mentioned that you had a strong support system. Creating a support system for ourselves is super important.

And now there’s opportunities like caregivers are getting more recognition now than they have in times past there’s caregiving, support groups, there’s things of this nature. It’s also knowing the things that are likely to trigger or activate you. It’s not so much that you can avoid your triggers.

And I think of triggers as like little flickers of light that are giving us window to our pain that wants to be healed saying, Hey, shine, more light here because with more light comes more power, more agency to make changes. But when we know what kinds of things in a given day are likely to

really create a large emotional reaction within us, or, you know, have us gritting our teeth or clenching our fists or whatever it is to have an action plan in advance. And then let me I’m I got myself all worked up about things people can do. So on the one hand, it’s like, Beginning to become aware of the things that activate you and creating for yourself action plans that are safe, that are free, that are accessible in the moment.

Right. Um, that can be things like your breath or stepping into the sunshine or calling a friend. you know, journaling or coloring in a coloring book. Whatever gives you a sense of calm, but one of the things too is some of us don’t even know what we’re like when we’re, well. We haven’t even slowed down to say, well, what am I like when I’m feeling at my personal best? What does it feel like to be in my body? And then what are some things, activities that help me create that very experience? Do I love music? I can dance it out after a certain interaction or beforehand. Do I love to pray? What do I love that fills me up that I can do in short?

You know, when we say we don’t have any time. Often, what we’re saying is I’m emotionally overwhelmed, and I can’t see any space when we actually do the math on a calendar. We do have pockets of time. And so to be aware of. That phrase coming out of my mouth. I don’t have any time is an emotional phrase.

And when I sketch my actual calendar, where can I create for myself the rhythm that I want. So, I must stop there and then see if more emerges in terms of helps for caregivers.

[00:28:20] Liz Craven: I just want to emphasize the point about time, because I’m guilty of that even now, just balancing work and home and friends and family. I often utter that phrase. I don’t have time. I just don’t have time for that. Yes, I do. I do. And, and I did go to my calendar and start time-blocking some things, because I wanted to really discover

whether or not, that was true. And it wasn’t, and that’s humbling. That’s really humbling. And then you turn around and say, well, why am I saying no to this, that or the other? And why am I not taking the time an hour a day to spend just on me? Why am I not creating 15 minutes at the end of the day to do some meditation or something that fills me?

[00:29:13] -lisa-michelle-zega-: Sometimes Liz it’s because we’re still stuck in that child energy. We still want mommy and daddy to come rescue us and we’re living within our own body like we’re a victim of the circumstances and the unfairness and the injustice, it’s unhealed pain. Like it doesn’t make anybody bad or wrong or broken that they’re having that experience.

But if we become aware of that child and I’m even gonna say, like victim energy, living inside us, we can do that without judging or beating ourselves up or needing ourselves to be like these horrible people. And that’s what I mean about that neutral observer. Hey, if I’ve got someone living in me, that’s neutral,

I can just notice. Wow. How fascinating. Oh, I see. I still want my mom to come for me. I want someone else from out there to see how terrible life has treated me and make it better. And we’re not responsible for, you know, many things happened to us that we had no control over in our childhood, but we have this one precious heart from which flow all the issues of life.

And we’ve been given responsibility to care for our heart so that we can live in a way that feels integrated. Your listeners want to be the loving, compassionate, generous, that’s who they are and, how they self-identify. Why else are they caregiving? Right. They’re led by their values. But yet when that little kid inside who still wants somebody to notice and come take care of me,

[00:30:56] Liz Craven: Hmm.

[00:30:57] -lisa-michelle-zega-: That, that doesn’t give them a place to heal or grow or, or live in accordance with those values. So coming and checking in with that adult part of you who has choices, because sometimes we’re not taking care of ourselves because we want to add to that story that you know of how bad things are for me.

[00:31:19] Liz Craven: Oh boy. Ouch. Yeah. Yes. I mean, that’s so true. And I’ve not often heard it said out loud, but yes.

[00:31:29] -lisa-michelle-zega-: And we all have that. Like there’s no special snowflakes in your audience. Like, oh, I’m the one she found me out. How do you think know this? It. The victim lives in me. And then the villain that judges, the victim lives in me.

[00:31:45] Liz Craven: Oh boy. So, you’re all awake now, right? Everybody’s listening. Cause I know we’re all kind of squirming in our seats just a little bit going. Yep. That’s me. And I’m going to claim it. I’m going to tell you that we all have to claim that in order to change that.

Um, you know, and there’s, there’s no shame.

Let’s be honest. There’s no being human. We are human and feelings are there and we can’t always control what feelings we have. And I think our response to them is more important than the fact that we feel a certain way. It’s okay for you to feel resentment towards your loved one at times, because that’s a natural, raw human emotion.

And there are so many emotionally charged situations that you’ll confront as a caregiver, whether you’re a hands-on caregiver, a long distance caregiver, it doesn’t really matter. You’re going to confront some situations that cause you to feel a way that maybe you don’t feel proud of. And it’s okay.

Because we’re human and the fact that you acknowledge it and the fact that you are still there being that caregiver and making sure that your loved one’s best interests are taken care of you. You’re doing it. It’s okay. You’re doing a great job.

[00:33:08] -lisa-michelle-zega-: You know, we humans, we’re so quick to notice what we’re not doing or what we could have done better or what we’re doing wrong.

And we judge our feelings. We do all these things. No problem. We’re human. But if we recognize we’re doing that and that we’re adding not only to our suffering, we’re adding to the suffering of the person that we’re caregiving for the dynamic. And it’s, it’s almost like, oh, let’s just drop our shoulders and give everybody a break.

We all need love and support. And so being that for ourselves, recognizing. Hey, look at you. Look at you waking up when in the middle of the night, when you don’t want to wake up, look at you helping her get to the bathroom. Look at you. I mean, people are changing diapers. People are doing things they never imagined themselves doing and there you are doing it. So why can’t she have a break, but like be nice yourself.

Additional Resources

[00:34:06] Liz Craven: Yes, absolutely. Wow, what a great conversation. This is, I think exactly where we needed to be today. And I hope that those of you who are listening are just taking it in and accepting it all and allowing yourself to work through some of this in your own life. And if you like this type of episode, please send me some feedback.

If you want further conversations along these lines, let’s have them. I’m open to that. I think it’s a very healthy thing. So, Lisa, Michelle, tell me, do you have any favorite tools or resources or websites, books, things that you think, our listeners could benefit from and dig a little deeper into this type of topic?

[00:34:54] -lisa-michelle-zega-: Absolutely. Donald Miller just released a book called Hero on a Mission. I’m almost finished with it. He really identifies some of the things that I’ve talked about here today, as far as the victim and the villain and the hero and the. All being available within you .

One thing that I love is called the Wellness Recovery Action Plan. It was originally created by people experiencing mental health struggles that were not getting their needs met with doctors or healthcare providers and it’s a peer based, but what I love about that is it walks you through the plan like I was talking about, if know, what you’re like when you’re, well. Knowing your triggers, creating an action plan, creating a support system. There is a book by Francis Weller called The Wild Edge of Sorrow which I love in terms of helping you to recognize your grief. There is a network of support called Healing Circles Global and they actually have care giving circles.

And I think I know. I know that I, myself am a tremendous resource for people who would like to go on a journey that gives their soul time to heal. I work with people one-on-one for six months and I tend to work with midlife women and I have been astounded by what my clients experience within themselves and then create in their own lives.

So yeah, those are, those are some to name, a few.

[00:36:41] Liz Craven: Oh, my goodness. All gold. And I will make sure that in the show notes and in the accompanying blog post for this episode, we’ll include links to all of those things that Lisa Michelle just mentioned. Why don’t you tell us how our listeners would connect with you..

[00:36:59] -lisa-michelle-zega-: Well, my website is and the best way to connect with me or on Instagram, I’m @LisaMichelle.Legityou or on clubhouse. The best way though, is to have a conversation with me. And there are calendar links in my bios for all the things I just mentioned.

And that’s the best way to start is, and this is the. The people that don’t end up working with. me, but just engage a conversation end up feeling seen, heard, and witnessed in such a way where they feel a greater sense of agency over their own life choices, future just like your audience will experience today.

In some ways they’re like, oh my gosh, she gets it.

[00:37:49] Liz Craven: All of those things that she just mentioned again are going to be linked. So don’t worry if you didn’t get a chance to write all of those down, and we’re going to end this today with my very favorite question of every interview. Can you give us one piece of Sage advice to leave with our listeners?

[00:38:09-lisa-michelle-zega-: Yes. Hand on my heart.

 Seek to witness yourself as you would a precious and beloved friend. Like if you could look at yourself and intuitively know all that you’ve been through all that you’ve experienced and allow yourself to be with yourself the way you would a beloved friend in that acceptance and belonging and getting it, that will do wonders for your healing, for your sense of self and for your work in the world.

[00:38:48] Liz Craven: Oh, that’s beautiful. Thank you so much. And thank you for being here today and sharing your time with me and with our listeners. I know this will bring some light into some days, and I think, there’s nobody who won’t benefit from this conversation.

[00:39:12] -lisa-michelle-zega-: And Liz may, I would like to end my favorite way and that’s with a hug if you’re open. And if you are, you can extend your arms out and wrap in and just give a nice supportive squeeze. [00:39:27] Liz Craven: Oh, that feels so good. Thank you for that.

Liz Craven
Author: Liz Craven

Liz Craven, along with her husband Wes, owns Pro-Ad Media, publisher of Sage Aging ElderCare Guide, serving the local community for over 29 years. Liz lives in Lakeland and is very active in the local community, specifically in the area of aging. Liz serves on a number of local boards and committees including the Lakeland Vision and Age Friendly Lakeland.