On this episode of A Life Designed, I am so grateful to be joined by Pat Day-McCray. She is a Certified Grief Coach and specializes in helping moms who are dealing with grief after the death of their chronically ill child.
Pat has experienced death many times up-close and personal in her life, but it was the death of her young daughter that impacted her the most.
Tune in to hear Pat's inspirational story and how she turned her grief into her purpose so she can once again thrive in life.
You will find Pat's website HERE.
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If you need inspiration in your marriage, I have a free gift for you that I am so excited about -- a video about how to cultivate healthy communication in marriage. I hope you'll check it out!
Welcome to A Life Designed.
My name is Tina Haisman. I teach busy moms how to get everything done and still have time and energy for themselves. My passion is for helping women create more heart-to-heart connection with their husband and children so they can feel deeply fulfilled in those most important relationships.
The topic of today’s podcast is Healing from Grief with Pat Day-McCray
But before we get started I want to let you know I have created a free Communication in Marriage MasterClass for you. This class is for you if you have ever felt like you can’t get through to your husband. If you feel like your husband never listens to you. If you lose your cool during difficult conversations. If you’re tired of fighting with your husband.
In just 30 minutes, this class will help you lay the foundation for healthy communication in marriage and teach you how to handle difficult conversations so you can feel more connected and like you’re on the same team as your husband. Visit the link in the show notes to access it.
Also, I have a FREE private group on Facebook where you can come to get inspiration for your life. It’s called A Life Designed. It’s actually a happy place on facebook. I hope you’ll join us!
Now let’s Dive IN and talk about Healing from Grief with Pat Day-McCray
Today, I am so excited to be joined by a guest. Her name is Pat Day-McCray.
She is a Certified Grief Coach and specializes in helping Moms who are dealing with grief after the death of their chronically ill child.
She is a"Parental Advisor," to those dealing with child-related issues involving life circumstances and trauma;
She is Founder and CEO of an online bookstore called MIRACLE, which is short for “Medically Inspired Reading About Challenging Life Experiences. She will tell you more about that,
And finally, she holds a patent for “Therapeutic Dolls,” which are used to explain before and after surgical procedures to children. And you will hear more about that, too.
Pat is also a mother of three children here on earth and one in heaven.
That’s quite an interesting bio, and I bet you’re wondering how Pat was inspired to become and do all of this in her lifetime.
And so let’s welcome her.
Hi Pat! Welcome!
I am happy to have you hear. I was so moved and inspired by you the first time I met you. So, I’m happy to be able to share you with the listeners of this podcast.
You are a grief coach. You have experienced death on several occasions in your life. Would you like to share those experiences with us?
experienced death on several occasions. At the age of seventeen, my first personal experience was when a drunken driver struck our family vehicle during a road trip; I witnessed the death of my two younger brothers, who were unable to escape the flaming vehicle. Years later, after enjoying a wonderful Father’s Day church service with my Dad, the next day, I found him unresponsive in his home due to a heart attack. However, the death that ultimately changed my life was when my daughter Alicia died; I allowed her death to take me to a dark, lonely, and silent place of grief.
Tell us more about Alicia’s story.
My daughter, Alicia, was born beautiful, happy, and healthy. At the age of 1-1/2, she underwent exploratory surgery; over 90% of her intestines were identified as gangrenous and had to be removed, requiring Alicia to wear a colostomy bag. The physician told me, “For the rest of Alicia’s life, she would have to be fed intravenously.”
Although I learned to care for my now chronically ill daughter, the mental battle of not feeding her naturally was emotionally distressing to me. I purposefully avoided the scent of food flowing throughout my home and secretly ate to avoid Alicia seeing me intake foods. I converted to a food junkie and survived by eating chocolate chip cookies, cakes and drinking Pepsi’s throughout the day. Months later, Alicia’s bowel was reconnected, which permitted her to attempt eating again. When she was given food, her interest and desire to eat had faded, and she found only pleasure in playing with her food by sprinkling salt and other condiments onto her plate. Life for us took on a new normal!
Periodically, Alicia’s broviac catheter would clog; she would then have to undergo surgery to replace it. One morning as Alicia laid in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) recuperating after surgery, she went into cardiac arrest. An EEG confirmed she had lapsed into a coma; she remained comatose for the remaining ten months of her life. She died just four months before her fourth birthday due to complications related to Short Bowel Syndrome.
What was it like after Alicia passed away?
The level of grief I felt after Alicia’s death was somehow different from my sibling's and father’s death. Perhaps it was the void of feeling that the child I was blessed to conceive was now gone. Or, perhaps it was the feeling of being alone and lonely after the death of my only child. At times, I pondered whether I was living in a dream; I could not believe Alicia was gone forever. I felt pain, but I could not touch it. I believed no one quite understood the depth of loneliness, pain, and sorrow I was experiencing after the death of Alicia... my firstborn and my only child.
How did you manage to heal?
I spent years hiding my grief and pretending I was fine; I eventually choose to confront the grief that was absorbing my power to make decisions about my future. Grief, along with the emotional baggage of anger, resentment, and unforgiveness, was prohibiting me from moving forward with my life. Confronting my emotions and my pain and being honest with myself was the best thing ever.
What are any thoughts or attitudes that helped you?
Alicia's life gave me joy; however, it was in her death that I discovered my life purpose!
Since Alicia’s death, I have developed a passion for serving others, experiencing a journey similar to what I shared with my daughter. The life and death of Alicia not only motivated me to become a certified grief coach, but it is also what inspired me to create MIRACLE and the therapy dolls.
Thank you. How people can get in touch with you if they want to learn more.
www.apathwayfrom grief.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much for sharing your story today. For inspiring us. And for showing us how we can turn grief into a purpose and once again thrive in life.
Thank you to everyone else! See you next week!