Reid Peterson | Discovering a Legacy with Grief

 

SHOW NOTES SUMMARY:

Reid is the creator of the Grief Refuge app and supports grievers through publishing daily audio messages that soothe and comfort people pained by grief.

Grief is something Reid grew up knowing well. As a young adult, his biological father, who struggled with alcohol abuse, died by suicide. Fortunately, his stepfather came into his life as a child and was a positive influence.

However, grief would strike hard when his stepfather passed away after a long, eight-year battle with cancer. And, Reid would learn, for the first time, the difference between grief and mourning.

By the time his stepfather had passed away, he had also experienced the loss of friends due to cancer and suicide. However, it was the loss of his stepfather that would be the loss that would shape him to become a helper of grievers and strive to be the best husband he could be.

We often underestimate our impact and influence on other people’s lives. And, as a society, we don’t make a point to articulate to others what they mean to us or the positive influence and impact they have.

Grief cracks us open, but usually after losing someone we love. What if we challenged ourselves to be cracked open by the love we are given here and now? Then, reflect that back to those who give it by sharing, vulnerably, what that love means to us while the other person can hear it.

Let this episode inspire you to share how much the people (and the love and positive influence they have) in your life mean to you.

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Victoria Volk 0:00
Thank you for tuning in to this week’s episode. This is your host Victoria Volk of the Unleashed heart. And today, my guest is Reed Peterson. He is the creator of the grief refuge app. He achieved his master’s degree in transpersonal psychology and is certified in deep death and grief studies by the Center for loss and life transition. Read supports Grievers through publishing daily audio messages that soothe and comfort people pained by grief. Thank you so much for being here.

Reid Peterson 0:32
Victoria. Thank you, I always look forward to meaningful conversations about important topics that aren’t spoken enough. So it’s a privilege to be here. And thank you for the work that you do.

Victoria Volk 0:44
Likewise, well, let’s start with grief refuge and how it came to be.

Reid Peterson 0:50
Okay. Well, it starts with thinking about two father figures in my life. And that’s my biological father. And my stepfather. And both of them were very, very active in raising me. My stepfather came into my life when I was three. And so if anything, he was more around to be a father figure than my dad, but my biological father, but the story goes in 2006, my biological father, he ended his life by suicide. And at that time, I went through a process of surprising grief experience where I actually felt a lot of relief. And I was kind of joyed in the experience that my dad’s suffering has ended. My dad was an alcoholic. And he also struggled and suffered through post traumatic stress. And so a lot of my waking memories of my father have to do with like, difficulty. Not feeling like he could express his emotions, me wondering who this stranger was that I called dad. And so I just said, 28 years old, when he died, I kind of had this reaction of like, you SOB you finally did it. And, and just felt sad that I was never going to see him again, but also felt tremendous relief that his suffering had ended. So then fast forward 10 years, I lost my stepfather to cancer. He battled multiple myeloma for eight years. True soldier never complained once throughout the years of, of the tumultuous challenge, to stay alive and try to thrive. And when he died in the spring of 2016, I said to myself, well, Warren is my stepfather’s name, I’m sure gonna miss Warren. But I’ve, I’ve grieved the loss of my dad before. And so I’m good. I kind of know how this process unfolds. But Victoria, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Because I was completely overwhelmed with what felt like tremendous loneliness that I really had a difficult time articulating. And it got to a point where I found myself really isolated. And I said, I gotta get some support from my community members. And so I joined a support group through one of the local hospice organizations. And then I even sought a counselor to process some of my grief. And both were great positive experiences. But at the same time, I recognize that because loneliness had impacted me so deeply, I felt like there was this huge gap in between each session with a grief counselor, or in between, in between each group meeting that happened. So I remember asking myself a lot. What do I do in the in between. And what I remember doing was just kind of like roaming up and down the beaches of where I live, or kind of looking down and it’s hiking up a path into one of the one of the foothills where I live I live in Santa Barbara, so I’m blessed to have the ocean and mountains but and so that I really think that that planted a seed. And then maybe about three years later, after Warren died, I started realizing like I feel a calling growing inside of me to to be more of a support person in the field of grief and grief support. And I just thought of, I kept remembering that question of what about the in between what what happens in the in the day to day when when somebody doesn’t have the space or you know, the support network to communicate with others. And that’s, that’s kind of where the idea for a mobile application started sprouting, and kind of just grew from there.

Victoria Volk 5:25
It’s one thing to lose one father, but then to lose two, right. And that’s an influential variant for launch influential relationship in someone’s life. I had a similar experience, my dad passed away when I was a child, I had a stepfather, and he passed away in my early 20s. And there was no completeness with that relationship. There wasn’t a goodbye, there wasn’t my mom and him and divorced already at that time. And so I relate to that part of your story. And so what was that in between looking like for you? And how was it different with your biological father? And then your stepfather? What? Did you notice anything? I mean, I know you said it seemed, or it seemed heavier, right after your stepfather. But what were you feeling? And what were the things that were happening in your life? And how did they differ?

Reid Peterson 6:21
Well, if I think more about my biological father, as I mentioned, I felt relief. And so looking back, I would attribute that to experiencing like, some joy, you know, joy, that the suffering, my perceived, so bad suffering had ended. And I remember, maybe eight months later, I started to recognize feelings of guilt. Oh, you know, that wasn’t probably such a good thing to feel all those feelings. I remember at my father’s memorial, my siblings, my sister, my brother, and I, we all try facilitated his funeral slash Memorial. And my mom approached me and my mom, my mom, and my dad had such a hard relationship that was kind of like, you know, very passionate and lustful in the hinder youth. But then, like, true hatred for one another, post having three kids together, and my mom said to me, Wow, you really feel you really feel relieved don’t to, you know, she kind of saw the look on the expression on my face. And I, for me, it was at the time, it was like, as somebody who tried my best to understand my dad, because my dad was a very complicated man, very private, very emotional, but so guarded, that he wouldn’t allow himself to express his emotions. I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulder. And so I said to my mom, yeah, I have really do feel this way, this is authentic for me. And she said, Okay, and then, so, but then, like I said, even months later, so I started to realize, like, hey, wait a minute, maybe what that wasn’t okay. And that was probably more of my type of personality, you know, some of the way my thoughts, you know, factor into my life and how I live my life accordingly. And probably caught up with some kind of paradigm or some limiting belief that like it wasn’t permissible to feel that way. And so I remember acknowledging some of my own guilt, for doing that, and going through a period of like, almost like interpersonal reframing, because I didn’t see constantly and after my dad died, I didn’t really go get support outside of myself, I just more connected with family members, you know, to talk about the loss of our father. And so, within my own experience, I had to do a little bit of reframing and understand like, Well, hey, wait a minute. You said it was authentic weed, so you have to be okay with it actually being authentic. So, that was very different from when Warren died. So when when Warren died, I actually felt more of a longing for him. More of the, like I said earlier, the loneliness and just really feeling deeply saddened by the loss of Warren. And so it didn’t feel was much like about like this inner processing, it felt like these true raw emotions that I didn’t, you know, I couldn’t really relate to even though like, Warren was my mom’s soulmate. They were like, bonded so deeply, for 33 years. And so, I mean, I was really concerned when Warren died, I was like, What is my mom gonna do, but then it just, it just hit me by surprise, because I was like, you know, Warren was such a rock, and so easy to talk to so easy going and like, he just had like, great qualities and a person, you know, like, he’s one of those special people that you truly are going to miss when he can no longer spend time with them anymore. And, and I thought I was, I thought I was okay, you know, I’ve always perceived myself as like grounded, easygoing, myself, and just kind of like, really responsive to what the universe throws at me. And I just was so blown away by like,

Reid Peterson 11:14
How deep of a loss that I felt how much I truly missed him. And actually, you know, his, his 60th Birthday would have happened just a couple days ago at the time of this recording. And he has like, man, do I miss this guy, you know, as communicate with my mom. And she was talking about like, some of the family members getting together to honor him, I think they visited his grave site. And I’m at a distance I’m at a physical distance, so I can’t really hang out with them. And I was just like, gosh, you know, I miss him so much, is just like, so cool to talk to as an adult. So

Victoria Volk 12:07
How would you say that grief was manifesting, though, let’s go a little bit deeper. How was it manifesting for you differently between those two losses?

Reid Peterson 12:18
Well, I guess I would need to ask for clarification on that, because I feel like I have been addressing that, like that. To me, I would respond by saying the same thing. The manifestation would be the feelings of like joy, then relief, then guilt, and then also the sadness. So where are you heading with this, Victoria?

Victoria Volk 12:37
Okay. So, Grief Recovery, we talk about STERBS, short term energy relieving behaviors, things that we resort to in order to feel better, for a short period of time, because we don’t really want to feel what we’re feeling. Even in less than loving relationships or complicated relationships, we can resort to things to help us feel better, whether it be exercise, or alcohol, or shopping, or gambling, or Facebook, or, you know, these behaviors that we resort to, to fill a void. Right? And because you didn’t, what I heard was that and correct me if I’m wrong, but if your dad was a type of person who didn’t express himself, but although you did have Warren as a young child, so I guess, I guess I should start here. Who do you think influenced your capacity to grieve in a healthy way more, a lot like your father, the presence of your father in your life or your stepfather?

Reid Peterson 13:41
Well, I know truthfully, both influence influenced my way to process grief. I’m very grateful to have both experiences. Now, if I think of myself, in social context to others, like in social relationship, I would say Warren, like the loss of Warren helped teach me how to grieve in a social context, because I ended up going to a grief counselor and I ended up going to a grief support group, through the local hospice. And what I was witnessing from other people in the groups was an expression of sadness and longing for their loved one that they wanted, that they lost and that they wanted to be with. And so that I could identify with now, what I experienced when my dad died, I wasn’t able to identify with or relate to from other people because similar to me, I kept it a little bit more private. Now my mom who knows me very well, she was able to see something in that in that authentic expression. My anybody else outside of my family. There wasn’t really much conversation about it, or about grieving or the loss of my dad. Uh, so that was more of a much private matter. So I feel like, I feel like I learned from my dad grieving because I define grieving as internal thoughts and internal feelings. And then from my stepdad, Warren, I learned mourning the outward expression of grief. So it kind of feels like I’ve got the best of will, it’s hard to say the best because grief is painful. I got great lessons, and both losses of my dad and my stepdad.

Victoria Volk 15:34
Well, that’s a great example of, I think, and how you described it just that morning versus that kind of the complexity of that. All the feelings of that other loss of your of your father, would you say that is what grief taught you?

Reid Peterson 15:49
No, because, okay, for me. I can probably think of dozens of things grief has taught me, but at the same time, Victoria, I believe that grief will always keep teaching me. You know, it’s been 16 years since my dad died. And I’m like, wow, there’s still a journey that I can embark on with grieving my dad’s death, because I had such a, such a strong perception of what I label as like negative experiences in his life. But But now, you know, as I grow, and I’m mature, and I evolve, I find myself remembering things about my dad that helped me understand a little bit more of parts of his personality that I didn’t pay attention to when he was still living. And so grief is still teaching me. So it’s a complicated answer to what sounds like a simple question. But I think that grief is grief is going to be with me for the rest of my life. Most people say that it will soften. I believe that too. But at the same time, I’m like, there will be moments where Alan wolfelt, my teacher, he refers to him as grief bursts, you know, these things will come up a wave of grief will hit hard. I don’t know if it’s because of listening to a song or something. But I’ll remember, I actually just went through a really difficult process. Not too long ago, where Warren, my stepfather, he had an identity of being a Harley rider, you know, always had a beard, you know, kind of looked like a gruff guy, but I mean, just a big teddy bear. And mandate, he loved this Harley. And my mom also loved being on the back of his Harley too. So a big part of their life together, you know, when, when they needed to escape from their kids, they went on Harley rides, and things like that. And no one were in died, I actually inherited his Harley. And for about four years, I did my best to continue to honor like his legacy or honor, and respect him in what he meant to me. So when I’d ride that Harley, I felt like I was connecting with the essence of Warren, Warren spirit. And man, did that feel good. But then I realized, like, Okay, I don’t feel safe riding this bike, because I don’t really identify as a big motorcycle rider that much. At the same time, I’m almost getting clipped here and there, because people are texting while they’re driving. And it’s scary. And, you know, no, no offense to any California residents listening to this, but there’s some crazy California drivers just don’t look where they’re going. And so I’m like, Okay, now I’m crushing my safety. Like, I want to continue to live, you know, I want to increase my chances to live as long as possible. So long story short, I talked to my mom about you know, what to do next with a bike. Is there any other family member, any other family member who would like to? I can pass it on to? And unfortunately, the answer was no. And so it got to a point where we made an agreement where it was permissible and okay, to let it go. And I ended up selling it to someone who is very passionate about writing. So I’m really excited that you know, this, this guy’s just going to take great care of it and really enjoy his time with it, because that’s what Warren love. So it’s kind of like this resemblance of like, well, can we honor those wishes, if you will, at least the wishes that we think they would be but Victoria, it was really hard because arguably, that motorcycle was like a family heirloom. And so when it was like go like there was there was some difficulty in saying like, again, you know, I must have a guilty personality type, because that was like, oh, you know, can I feel okay to have let this go? Because right now I don’t I feel kind of guilty that it just didn’t work out for me to continue to write it. But, you know, it went through some process of,

Reid Peterson 20:16
Again, some of my own internal reframing and saying, Hey, Reed, you did the best you could you, you just have to be okay with that. And you have to understand that like, you know that that was a part of Warren’s life that was part of Warren’s identity, and you did your best to see if it could be a part of yours. And you learned that didn’t. And so, you know, time to time to make some choices and some decisions that will help you know, me continue to, to live life moving forward. And so I feel like that ties into what grief has taught me and what grief has continued to teach me too. But I think that there is a lot of hard decisions that everyone faces to throughout their grief process. It’s not just about it’s not just about like, acknowledging the feelings and working through them, I think includes so many life decisions that really impact identity moving forward to.

Victoria Volk 21:15
I think, grief, often, I mean, we start to ask ourselves big, deep questions when we go through a devastating loss. And were there any that came up for you, personally, like personal deep questions that you find yourself asking yourself after Warren passed away?

Reid Peterson 21:38
I appreciate that question. It’s really insightful. Hey, the thing that comes up to me is, like, what kind of legacy am I going to be able to leave in my life, because at the time of Warren’s death, you know, for me, a funeral experience can be so meaningful, because I feel like if I’m not involved in being a part of it, when I observe and be a participant in the funeral, like I really get to understand the person who died kind of their values in life and how they made for lack of a better term, how they made a difference in the lives of others. And so reflecting on Warren’s death, and thinking about it as like, Warren was just a really special family oriented man, we had like, mazing stories of like building a family cabin together. And like, Warren was so gifted, like, as a handyman, like, you know, our the house that I grew up in was like born and my mom’s like, remodel project for like, 35 years, they’re always finding something new to work on and add on to or update of, it’s just like, how do you guys keep coming up with new ideas? Like, your home isn’t, like 10,000 square feet, it’s just a simple Rambler. Like, where do you come up with more things to do? But the I’m sure would and, and so like, when Warren died, I was like, will read like, this is a pivotal moment for you. Because when he died, I was I think, 39. I was like, whoo, what do I look at my life now? And how do I want to be remembered? Or how do I want to what kind of legacy do I want to leave? And so that really opened my eyes to and I felt like, you know, forgive me to sound cliche in saying that, you know, when when there’s a loss, if there’s any gift, in like a grief experience, or having, you know, somebody, losing someone in order to learn something about yourself. That might have been one of the gifts that weren’t gave to me, through our relationship in his passing was like, okay, read, you know, pay attention to that, because very transparently, I’m not a father in this lifetime. And I won’t be and, and it’s like, well, what do I want to do? Because I don’t fully identify as like somebody who’s, like, completely married to the work that I do either. And so it really it really created some space for me to reflect on that and come up with ideas and a vision going forward.

Victoria Volk 24:29
And what is that, if you don’t mind sharing?

Reid Peterson 24:32
Well, part of it is the work that I do. So I am a husband, though and these days, and American culture, a lot of times, relationships if, if their struggle and strife, the answer is to end it. And so I know that I have found a partner that who’s very special and so part of my vision in my life is to be like the best husband that I can possibly be to my wife. And so I’m very committed to that. And very, very grateful for the type of relationship we have and look forward to all the growth opportunities in our lifetime together, whether that’s three more years, 30 more years, or somewhere in the in between, I don’t know. But that comes to mind. And then also, I’ve come to understand that there is a healer inside of me. And so I know that I’ve found my calling, with grief refuge, and integrating modern technology to help support people who, you know, find their grief experience to be very privatized, and personalized. But also, my hope in my vision, Victoria is that sometime in the future, I’m I’m aiming for 10 years or sooner that there is a grief refuge retreat center, somewhere in the pacific northwest of the United States. And then groups of, you know, people grieving, perhaps grieving a similar type of loss, they can come and experience what feels that authentic to them, with their peers, if they know them, or at least strangers who can identify with the type of loss metrics that they’re experiencing?

Victoria Volk 26:30
It sounds very beautiful. I picture it in my mind. Thank you. I had some ideas come to me, I’ll share them after we’re done recording, just some insights that I had when you were talking in the work that you are doing currently. Do you see a lot of men being drawn to what you’re doing right now?

Reid Peterson 26:51
Appreciate the question. And I wish the answer were Yes. But truthfully, when the app is downloaded, and people register on it, I think that 90% or higher, are female. Wow, there’s still I think in our culture, there’s still some work to be done. To help men understand that using their voice, in their grief process is okay, too. I know that traditionally and kind of gender, gender stereotypically men are more doers than talkers. But I firmly believe as a man who identifies as being a doer, Doer to like, for example, a big part of healing in my grieving process involves hiking. Well, that’s an activity that I would label doing. I also think that there can be, you know, vocal communication with doing too. So I once had this idea for the future retreat center of, for men, maybe there’s always a project that could be worked on, you know, and I’m like, Part of that’s honoring Warren. And I’m like, Oh, if you know, it doesn’t have to be men. Of course, it can be anybody who wants to, quote unquote, do or build as part of their grief experience. And so that just came to mind as like a really fun idea. And it really is community oriented. And I think that any agreement person who finds themselves contributing to make something to help be of support to someone else, even if they never meet them, that’s got to be a good feeling.

Victoria Volk 28:33
Do you feel like I mean, what so often happens with Grievers is we find purpose in our pain. And not everybody has to start a business or create something big, bigger than themselves, or what have you. But it can be as small as bringing another Griever into your network and into your community and supporting them. Because we’re all at different places, right? You know, if you, you can get a lot of insight from someone who’s five steps ahead in their grief, not saying there’s like a ladder or there’s a linear path, but the further out that you get. That’s a lot of introspection and reflection time in between. And that’s why I’m saying, I totally agree with you that you grow with your grief. It it changes and it evolves you over time and you grow with it. I can say that as a child Griever YouTube, like, you know, because I imagine that change in relationship at age three, where your father was your biological father was in your life, but was he present? Like, was he really there? Because that’s that changes the influence too. Right? So was he really an act is sorry, if I missed it. What was the active presence in your life? I think you said that actually.

Reid Peterson 29:54
He was yeah he lived five miles away and you know through the delay Go situation with their divorce. He had visitation rights and things like that. So yeah. And but he was also an alcoholic. So was he really present? Right, yet to be together? still yet to be determined?

Victoria Volk 30:17
So often those cycles to repeat and and maybe perhaps to the gift of Warren is that do you feel like he kind of steered you in a different path of one that you may maybe could have taken? Had he not been in your life?

Reid Peterson 30:31
Absolutely, yeah. I deeply respect and deep, deeply respect, Warren’s commitment as a family oriented man, because my biological father wasn’t. And so having that influence, it helped me understand, although that, you know, my wife and I are not going to be parents in this lifetime. Like, we still hold a lot of family values, you know, we’re very actively involved in our siblings lives, and, you know, still, our nuclear families, you know, are still really actively involved in, you know, thank goodness for, you know, FaceTime in technology these days, because we don’t live near any of our family members. But yeah, I give a lot of credit to Warren, and in helping be me helping to be a positive influence in my life in regards to that matter.

Victoria Volk 31:24
I just want to say for anyone listening to if you have the capacity to be that for somebody else, you don’t have to be blood, right? I mean, he just showed you that you can be there for someone who, and have a profound impact on them, like Warren did for you. And they can be your neighbor. They could be the cashier at the grocery store. It could be your postmaster like so I think I just wanted I don’t know why I just felt like sharing that, that if you’re listening to this, and you have the capacity to be a light for someone like Warren was for you follow those nudges? What has what gives you the most hope? I mean, it kind of described it a little bit. But do you want to go a little further on what gives you the most hope for the future?

Reid Peterson 32:14
Well, it’s a great question. If I sit will reflect on it, I think it kind of have two answers personally and professionally, what gives me the most hope is, you know, feeling loved and cared for by my wife. In a personal perspective, I think that oftentimes, even in the work that I do, loneliness is a feeling that is almost a little bit too friendly at times. And so a lot of people have said in Reed’s life, like, Oh, are you depressed? And I’m like, Well, no, it’s just kind of like, a sense of feeling lonely or sense of feeling isolated. And I attribute that to part of it to being a highly sensitive person, I identify with being highly sensitive. And so, you know, for me, feeling that love and being open and receptive to it. I think that that’s one of the challenging things that men for whatever reason, stereotypically, again, I apologize for the hanging of people who don’t identify with the stereotype, but can name it as far as if it’s a vulnerability thing or what but like, sometimes men have a difficult time just accepting and or embracing Warm regards and warm feelings and feelings of love and care towards them. So in my personal life, that gives me tremendous hope. I’m blessed in that regard. Professionally, I think that when, for me, it’s a felt sense, like, because I do facilitate some online groups, and then we’ve got grief refuge app built, when I get positive feedback in any regard, like, I can sometimes see or sense like almost this shift in someone where they are now recognizing that for whatever reason, they’re feeling a little bit more of their own hope. And when I recognize that, or when it feels like a true experience for me, that’s when I recognize me feeling more hopeful, too.

Victoria Volk 34:32
I love that. What is the tip that you would give? Well, let me ask this first. So between the two losses of your biological father in your stepfather, did you have any loss in between?

Reid Peterson 34:44
Yeah, unfortunately lost a lot of friends to suicide and a lot of friends to cancer.

Victoria Volk 34:51
Because grief is cumulative, and it’s cumulatively negative. That’s why I wanted to ask that because by the time you had had the loss of Warren You’d been around the block a few times of grief? And has it ever struck you the similarity then of those losses with suicide and with cancer? And have you found that have you? Is there an element of your app that you’ve incorporated those types of losses into it? Like suicide, particularly, which can be very challenging for people?

Reid Peterson 35:27
No, not yet I, I’ve really tried to focus the app as far as the content shared on the app to be more like kind of like, the psychology of grief management, like in the thoughts and the specific emotions, rather than focusing on type of loss type of loss matters. I don’t discredit it at all. But when I looked at, kind of like all the resources available to people that are grieving, I recognize that so many of them, in fact, a majority or more are focused on type of loss, and says, like, oh, maybe grief refuge can be more unique, and focusing on more just emotional states and your thinking patterns.

Victoria Volk 36:14
Going deeper into that, then having an understanding of that type of loss, losing someone to suicide, and the premise of grief refuge. And what you described was was the in between, right? And what I know about grief is that people who are struggling with suicidal ideation, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that 100% of them have grief or trauma in their life, or both. And so of someone who is having suicidal thoughts, or is feeling really depressive, and is starting to go down that downward spiral, that rabbit hole of having those thoughts, and they come across your app, it is an opportunity, right? Because there is that in between there to have having a grief or trauma event happen to then ending your own life. I don’t know if that’s occurred to you? I don’t know. I just that just came to my mind is that there’s an in between for for those people as well. Is it his grief? What I know about grief that it is grief? People are experiencing?

Reid Peterson 37:24
Yeah, I actually haven’t thought of it that way. But it makes some great sense. And I think that’s really wise of you to say that Victoria.

Victoria Volk 37:32
Well, and I asked you because has it when you think about your biological father and and him taking his own life and how it brought you relief. But have you ever reflected on the grief that he had in his life in between?

Reid Peterson 37:49
Yeah, I’ve spent post his lot, you know, posts his death, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on his grief. And, you know, he had a rough, rough life himself. He was physically abused by his dad and stuff like that, learn to drink from his dad too. But I can easily assume and with confidence, say my dad had a lot of grief in his life, he did actually tell me some stories about what happened in Vietnam and some of the things he did. And he, I’m very lucky that he trusted me to say that because I know a lot of veterans do not share stories with anybody. And so, so I did learn that there were many things my dad did in Vietnam that he regretted for the rest of his life. And he even went as far as to tell me that he felt haunted by ghosts of the lives of people he took. And so a lot of trauma, and a lot of grief in his life. And, and so that’s part of my process. You know, when I spend time thinking about my dad now is like, bringing that into a lot of the thoughts of like, Well, my dad was really carrying a lot. And so it kind of makes sense that he was emotionally distant from myself, my sister, my brother, and just couldn’t really be an emotionally supportive father.

Victoria Volk 39:26
I’m glad the conversation went here because I feel like anger is such a deeply rooted emotion and in the experience of your father not being around or being an alcoholic, or you know, it’s really easy to just think about your own pain, and be stuck in your own anger. But I think what this conversation is bringing to light is that, first of all, we all have struggles. And secondly, none of us come with a manual with our parents and or as parents, or children don’t come with manuals. And thirdly, I think it helps to bring some compassion to the pain, not only your own pain, but to the pain of the person who was struggling, who maybe wasn’t capable, who didn’t have the tools and the knowledge and, and have, how to grieve emulated for them. And so this is how cycles continue. And that’s why I was asking you how your grief was manifesting, but you had Warren, then that one decision of your mom to bring Warren into your life changed your life, the trajectory of your life, most likely. And so, so many of our lives, the unfolding of our lives comes down to choice. And my father was in Vietnam, he slept with a knife underneath his mattress, and died at the age of 44 of colon cancer. I know he has had grief. And so I just feel like I think it helps to soothe our grief. If we can look at the person were grieving, or the even less than loving relationship, maybe with just a little bit compassion.

Reid Peterson 41:13
I agree, Victoria.

Victoria Volk 41:16
Is there anything else you would like to share?

Reid Peterson 41:20
Well, you mentioned the thing about choices. And what’s interesting is, sometimes when I go into the story of war, specifically, the loss of Warren, I sometimes say I’ve grieved the loss of two physical deaths of fathers, but also for different types of relationships. And so with my dad, it was the relationship I had, I grieve that, but also the longing for something more emotionally supportive. And then with Warren, I aggrieved the relation type of relationship we had, but as an adult, I look back and I realize, wow, Warren was such a special person, and such an important person in my life, that should I had the opportunity, or I had the opportunity to make choices to open up to him more. And so it’s not regret, I don’t identify as regret, but it’s almost like, Oh, if I were to go back and do it over again, like, I would have, I would have shared more with Warren, about my life. And so I also agreed that too, and, and it’s, it’s really, it’s bittersweet, honestly, for me, because I, I so appreciate what Warren and I had in our relationship together. But at the same time, I’m like, oh, okay, that’s, that’s the thing where, like, there could have been some, just great, great experiences, like even more so than what we already experienced. Had I been had I made the choice to be a little bit more open with him.

Victoria Volk 42:59
That’s good. And I think I, I mean, really, Grief can keep us stuck in our, our shell, right. And, like you said, you’re a highly sensitive person identify the same and so when you think of a turtle, how it just tucks into its shell, or a dog puts its tail between its legs, it’s, you know, grief is very heavy, if you can feel very heavy. And then if you’re highly sensitive, and then just the heaviness of the world, right, it’s really easy to isolate yourself, and but we lose a lot of connection in doing that. And so, I think grief also has a way to crack US Open too, so sure does. So where can people reach you if they’d like to learn more about you your work and the grief refuge app and you have a podcast as well?

Reid Peterson 43:46
That’s true. Yeah. Well, we’re all branded under grief refuge. So the simplest thing to do is just visit grief. refuge.com and go from there.

Victoria Volk 43:55
Okay, I will put the link to the show in the show notes for that. Thank you so much for being my guest and for the work that you’re bringing to the world. And I appreciate you.

Reid Peterson 44:08
Thank you so much, Victoria. Again, I’m grateful for a meaningful conversation.

Victoria Volk 44:13
And remember, when you unleash your hearts, you unleash your life. Much love.

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