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Breathing Wind

Aug 16, 2021

Cheryl Jones prepared for 10 years for her first wife’s passing. She did this in a way that was true to her and true to how they chose to live. This prepared her to be able to support others. In this episode, Sarah talks with Cheryl about her caregiving journey, her different experiences with loss after her wife died and how her children dealt with the loss. 

Cheryl Jones is a grief counselor, educator and the host of Good Grief, a podcast about transformation after loss. She is also the author of a novel, An Ocean Between Them. Cheryl’s work is informed by the ten years of her first wife’s life limiting illness. Expected to live six months to a year, she lived with cancer for almost a decade. In the losses Cheryl has experienced since then she has been grateful for what she learned about facing loss and finding greater meaning in her life as a result. Cheryl lives in Oakland with her second wife and is grateful for three children, 3 grandchildren and the wonder of living.

In this 40-minute episode, Cheryl and Sarah talk about:

  • 2:03: Caregiving for her first wife for 10 years, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma
  • 4:30: “You can’t be prepared for grief, but you can prepare.”
  • 5:52: Role of community in Cheryl’s caregiving experience
  • 9:53: How finding a coordinator to manage help from the community was crucial
  • 11:00: They made lists for delineating the type of help people could provide
  • 14:19: The role of anticipatory grief in their relationship
  • 17:30: The support Cheryl sought spiritually and emotionally to prepare for loss
  • 25:38: How being present during her partner’s death helped her help her parents when they needed caregiving at the end of their lives
  • 29:39: How her daughters dealt with the loss of her first wife and how they prepared them with honesty about death
  • 35:32: “You can have a sense of direction in these areas, by looking at people who have been where you are, and gotten to a different place. But that doesn't mean you can make yourself get to a different place. It has to unfold in its own time and its own way.”

This episode is part of a Breathing Wind miniseries titled Caregiving Journey, hosted by Breathing Wind founder and host, Sarah Davis. The Caregiving Journey miniseries explores: 

  • How stories of other caregivers can help us feel less alone
  • Ambiguous grief and caregiving at end of life
  • The shifting roles of the caregiver
  • How and why to seek self-care
  • Joy in the caregiving journey

To find out more about this episode and subscribe to the newsletter, visit the show notes.

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