Ep.29 - Grief, Gratitude, & Life After Loss | Monica Welty — Grief has a lot in common with gravity; it's an unavoidable force of life that can knock us to our knees in an instant. Monica Welty knows all about that. In 2013, she tragically lost her newborn son, Harvey; this episode releases on what would've been his ninth birthday. Since then, Monica has been bravely sharing her story and providing others a space to be witnessed in their own experiences of loss. In this episode, she explains why she chooses to grieve such an intimate loss with public transparency and talks about why there are some losses we never fully recover from. Candice & Monica discuss how grief paradoxically requires we come to terms with deep existential truths while also finding ways to reconnect to everyday aliveness. They wonder at the way we ‘do math’ in order to make meaning out of our losses, and how & when this is helpful. Monica gets uber-honest about the shameful thoughts she had just following the loss of her son, and Candice shares how her current spiritual practice is all about believing in nothing and learning to relax into the mystery of life. The episode wraps with an unscripted moment where Candice shares a story of loss that she’s never before shared publicly.

Monica Welty dedicates herself to helping people feel better. After studying psychology and human development in college, she now works in Portland, OR as a massage therapist and health coach. She writes about the complex experience of grief and loss after the death of her son in 2013 in the hopes that, from her honest expression, others will feel less alone. She is mom to Harvey, who would be 9, and his sister and step-sister, both 12.

You can read her unedited blog at www.HarveyTheHero.com, hear more of her story on The Risk! Podcast, and join her & Candice for this year’s literary reading in honor of Harvey on May 5th, 2022 on Zoom.

Harvey's Reading - Thursday, May 5th @ 7pm PST
Meeting ID: 832 4893 5491
Passcode: 505026

Ep.29 - Grief, Gratitude, & Life After Loss | Monica Welty

Candice Schutter: 0:07
Hello, and thank you for joining me for another episode of The Deeper Pulse. I'm Candice Schutter. This might be one of my favorite episodes to date, because my guest and I go deeper than ever. This conversation with a new old friend, it cracked my heart wide open, y'all. So let's jump right in. Monica Welty and I have been frequenting many of the same circles for nearly two decades, but it's only in the last few years that we've become friends. Just in time to have this conversation and share it with you. Monica and I are both writers and storytellers, deep feelers and tenacious truth seekers. Life's unexpected twists and gut punching turns have required both of us to do deep dive work. The kind of work that paves the way for dialogues, like the one you are about to hear. I am so honored to have her here with us, especially today. Toward the beginning of this conversation, Monica shares a very intimate story of loss. And the honest dialogue that results, is dedicated to her son, Harvey, who would have been nine years old on the day of this episode's release. Listen in, and I think you will come to agree that Monica is the kind of human that you want in your corner when you have a difficult truth to share with the world. I ought to know because she opened me right up. So wide, in fact, that toward the end of our chat, I share my own never before told story of loss. It is my sincere pleasure to share this conversation with you.
Monica Welty: 2:05
All right. We did it.
Candice Schutter: 2:06
This is life.
Monica Welty: 2:07
This is life.
Candice Schutter: 2:08
This is what it is. This is what it does. Oh my goodness.
Monica Welty: 2:12
It's amazing we can even do this.
Candice Schutter: 2:13
You're very right about that. I remember being a little kid, on the Jetsons. Remember they had the video phones? And I thought, wow, like the year 3000, maybe. So yes, it is amazing that we can do this. Even when technology smacks us sideways over and over again.
Monica Welty: 2:30
Yeah, totally.
Candice Schutter: 2:32
Thank you for agreeing to do this.
Monica Welty: 2:35
Yeah, I'm so happy to and honored to.
Candice Schutter: 2:39
Yay. Well, apparently the universe, whatever you call it, forces that be really want us to know each other.
Monica Welty: 2:48
Yes. It's true. It's like concentric circles. I think of for the last 20 years we've been moving in. So.
Candice Schutter: 2:56
Yes. Yes. It's so interesting. Like, for the listeners out there, we have interest in so many of the same things, which has led us to a lot of the same communities. And we were walking alongside each other without even realizing it for many years. Doing many of the same practices and drawn to similar movement modalities, both teaching.
Monica Welty: 3:20
So it was movement then a different community. I was living in San Francisco and you were working with the same woman and then we ended up in the same writing workshop back in Portland.
Candice Schutter: 3:32
Monica Welty: 3:33
Oh, and then I met you. I didn't meet you. I was coming to a yoga class. This is what it was... at 24 hour fitness and your class was ending. And I was like, I know that lady. That's what it was.
Candice Schutter: 3:44
Was this before or after the workshop?
Monica Welty: 3:46
Before, yeah, before. So then at the workshop I was just like, hello, I'm going to introduce or reintroduce myself to you.
Candice Schutter: 3:54
Yeah. This is ridiculous. We need to know each other, clearly.
Monica Welty: 3:58
Well, and then we became Facebook friends, and then you started the podcast in the pandemic. And so I started listening to that, you know, the first season, and it just really had a very big impact on me. And it, you know, in that time of, like, I mean, we're still in a time of uncertainty, but it was really uncertain back then and last, all that years ago, last year. And it really helped me to...
Candice Schutter: 4:24
It does feel like a lifetime ago.
Monica Welty: 4:26
It does when I think about listening to that, and I was like writing in my little journal and looking up the PDFs and, um, yeah. And it was just so, it was such a gift to me. It really helped me figure out a lot of stuff that I needed to figure out when everything was uncertain and everything was changing. So, yeah. And so then I love your storytelling so much, your writer voice and then the way that you just weave that in with your coaching and now interviewing on your podcast. And so I was doing this annual reading for my son and I thought, who do I want to be in it, and you popped into my brain? And I thought, I don't think she's gonna want to do it, but I'll just ask.
Candice Schutter: 5:07
Monica Welty: 5:09
Oh yeah, totally.
Candice Schutter: 5:10
Wow. It just goes to show, like.
Monica Welty: 5:12
Yeah, if you don't ask, you know? Yeah. And so then you.
Candice Schutter: 5:15
Exactly. If you don't ask, you don't know that she would be thrilled.
Monica Welty: 5:21
Totally, totally. Yeah. It could be better than you expected. Yeah. And then you were like, oh, I thought you were writing about the podcast.
Candice Schutter: 5:28
Yeah, well that was so funny, yet again, we just keep getting sort of led toward each other. And I didn't know that you were a loyal listener of the podcast. And so that was just a delight to me. And an encouragement for where I was that particular day when you shared that with me. I sort of needed to hear that there were people out there listening, who I don't know are listening. The world of social media can be so misleading. We think, there were two likes, that means only two people care, you know, which is so not accurate. And I know that, and then I have these moments where I'm already in my imposter syndrome, self doubt place. And, I just can go a little bit further down that rabbit hole of what's the point of it all. And, you know, as an artist and a writer, what that's like. And,
Monica Welty: 6:12
And a human.
Candice Schutter: 6:12
So when I heard from you... and a human, exactly. So when I heard from you, it was really touching. And of course, I wanted to be a part of Harvey's reading. We're going to share with the listeners what that is. It's something that we'll talk about in a second, like how I've long admired this project of yours. And, it was so interesting that you reached out to me because when you said, oh, I thought you're writing about the podcast. I had been thinking, oh, Monica would be such a great person to have on the podcast because of the way that she is such an example of courageous self-expression, where we take these bittersweet experiences we have and turn them into something. Weave them into something of value for ourselves first and foremost. And then we share them with the world and the project that you do every year to honor your son is such a great example of that. So I was already thinking of reaching out to you. So it was just this cool experience when you wrote to me as like, wow. end of reminder for both of us, how much we're touching people without even realizing it. We were both having an impact on one another, even though we weren't sharing that. And what a great reminder to me to say, let people know that. Let people know that they're touching your life.
Monica Welty: 7:29
Yeah. And it's interesting because we have so much connectivity now, but I don't find myself doing that. Or like even like sharing this podcast had this big impact on me, and I don't think I shared it on social media. Right. Maybe one time or, you know.
Candice Schutter: 7:45
Sure. Yeah, yeah. It's a reminder for all of us. Yeah. It could be also a little bit of an introvert thing. Sometimes they like keeping things to myself. It's like, it's actually not going to dilute its power if you share it with other people, Candice. It's going to be just as potent. But I do that too. I sort of, voyeuristically, hover around certain people on social media and I never click a button or comment or let them know. And so, yeah, just this whole experience that we've recently had is just such a great reminder of all the things that are happening, invisibly that we don't see. And we're so programmed to look for evidence because of this digital format that we're engaging in. And it's not real, it's not accurate. I should say. It's not an accurate representation of what's happening and how we are impacting each other with our expressions. So.
Monica Welty: 8:33
Yeah. And that we just put it out there, right. That like that's the other reminder. Is you just put it out there, you do your work, you know, you do make your expression and you put it out there and that's all you can, that's what you can do. Cause who knows? Like, and I was thinking when you were talking, like when we only had books and we didn't have social media and they would just get letters in the mail. Like, thanks for writing your book.
Candice Schutter: 8:59
Remember those?
Monica Welty: 8:59
Almost like, no feedback, right?
Candice Schutter: 9:02
That's true. And there's a positive and a negative to that, right? In some ways, because people can give us immediate feedback, we come to expect it, even though that's not human nature to run around, shouting from the rooftops everything that we love and everything that's touching us, especially if it's touching us in a deep, meaningful way. We usually don't talk about it. We usually don't share that. So back in the day, if somebody wrote a letter, they went to all the effort of buying stationary, and in some cases dipping a quill into ink, dragging it across the page, going into the post office. I think, oddly enough, the convenience of communication now has made us lazy. And we don't put forth the effort as much. So may this be an invitation and reminder to me to put forth that effort and let people know how they're touching my life. Like you. Being here. Such a great example. I'm not remembering exactly. It must have been on the heels of that writing workshop we did together that we began following each other on Facebook. I'm guessing.
Monica Welty: 10:07
It was 2016, I believe. Yeah.
Candice Schutter: 10:11
Oh, okay. 2016. We began following each other and I witnessed this annual, I want to call it an event, but that doesn't even quite capture it. Uh, this, I would call it a creative and therapeutic outlet that you've created for yourself and others. I want you to tell us a little bit about. And I just want to say that, for me, as somebody who hasn't seen a lot of models in life and in the world, for people who are navigating grief with not just grace, but with honesty and transparency, it's been so refreshing witnessing you and seeing how that magic that happens when we get really personal, how it becomes so universal. Like the more detail we offer and the braver we are with those details, the more it connects, even if people don't share our specific story, it connects to that subterranean, that deeper pulse, that people feel seen, even if their story of grief is very, very different. And I feel that you are a really beautiful example of that expression. Yourself as a storyteller and a writer, and also in creating space for other people to have that experience. So will you share a little bit about what it is you do each year and who Harvey is. Tell us.
Monica Welty: 11:33
Yeah. So, I guess I'll start with Harvey and then we'll have more context.
Candice Schutter: 11:37
Yes, please.
Monica Welty: 11:37
So I had a little boy, Harvey, in 2013. And, he was born one day and then he passed away the next day. I had an undetected uterine rupture. So, there wasn't any real clue that anything was wrong or anything. Generally there is, but it wasn't, it wasn't detected. So, he didn't survive. And so that's the worst thing. Um, is that loss.
Candice Schutter: 12:08
Like, the worst.
Monica Welty: 12:09
The worst thing. Yeah. And, and then I ended up having to have a surgery to repair my uterus, because it didn't heal correctly, and I lost my fertility. So that was the second blow. And then the third blow was the end of my marriage, which, was mostly related to infidelity. And a long period of infidelity that I discovered only after Harvey. So all of that happened in a year. Um.
Candice Schutter: 12:40
Oh gosh.
Monica Welty: 12:42
Yeah, and it has been an interesting moment for me because I been thinking about, oh, I have to like tell this story again. And my focus now nine years later, eight years since the marriage ended, but is Harvey and his, like that the, that the loss of my son and the grief and who I've become and who I'm becoming because of that, is what's remained. Like I had to think about when was the surgery? And when did I first learn about the girlfriend? And like, you know, all this stuff. And it was like, wow, like I have recovered and like healed a lot. I don't yearn to have another child like I did. I don't, you know, like I don't, I don't mourn that relationship. And so it's just like another testament to how powerful this particular loss for, for me has been. And more like proof and evidence to myself that like this isn't really something that... we don't get over everything. We don't get over everything. And so, yeah, so I have always, to your point that you were saying earlier, I really appreciate what you said because my whole goal in my writing and on Facebook, even before we were friends, I was very, I did incredibly public grieving. And I was very honest, and I started a blog and I was posting just like as much as I could. And the reason for that was first of all, every day that I could write was just a little bit better. Right. There was just like a little room. Like I had all of this inside of me, around his death and I could just put it outside just a little bit. And it was just a little better. So it definitely helped me, but what happened was myself and some of my family members and friends, when they found out about Harvey, we got tons of messages from family friends for decades, from strangers, from people in my life at that time, like, who had lost children. Who had struggled with infertility, who had miscarried, who right. All of these things. And we didn't know. Not one person did I know. And I thought, oh my God, these, like, I feel like I'm dying and I'm doing this publicly. And I have friends and family and I have all this support around me. I cannot imagine having this alone, inside myself. And so part of my writing was to put it out there. It'd be like this, this is the real experience, my real experience, a real experience of deep and profound grief, in particular around pregnancy and infant loss, you know? And so, so that's kind of what got it started. And then I just got such great feedback from people who just like, you're saying have this, like, it's not their story. Sometimes it's a spouse or a friend, or right. Like it's just that there are these universal experiences in humans who are grieving. And so I just wanted people to feel less alone. You know, I just thought if you're not comfortable sharing, then maybe if you read what I'm writing, then that will give you that sense of connection, you know, that you, that you need. And so, yeah, so I started in that same vein, I started every year I needed something to do. I was very into ritual after he died. And that was, the thing about the grief that I experienced was that it was incredibly chaotic. I could not find any sense of linearity or structure or predictability in how I felt. And so I had an altar for him that I often changed over. And I did a six month birthday, like ritual and a year, you know? And so I started to kind of craft mileposts for myself, right? Like, well, it's not going to happen, you know, on the inside, I'll do it on the outside. And then through writing, I got connected with a lot of other people who were grieving. And so, I started this every year, on his or near his birthday and anniversary, reading. It was inspired by a reading called Grief Rites, which I don't think they're doing any more, but only just since the pandemic, I think. But I invite anybody who wants, any like skill level, right. Or any experience level, like I've had published authors and I've had people who've never read in front of anyone ever before. And aren't even really writers, but have had a profound grief experience. So it's a really beautiful space where people get to express their grief, however they do. And it's so, so powerful. It's once a year and it's, you know, used to be in person and now we're doing it online. We're doing it online again this year. And so it's usually four or five people, and then it's often, like a true story, you know, creative nonfiction, but sometimes there's poetry or, things like that. So, yeah. So, the coolest thing about it is that I remember the first, I dunno, second year, maybe or third year. And I thought to myself, oh my God, I can't wait. It was like on his birthday or on his anniversary that year. And I remember, I thought, oh my God, I can't wait. And then I thought, oh, I can't wait for the anniversary of my son's death. How messed up is that? And then my next thought was like, good job, Monica, like way to take care.
Candice Schutter: 17:56
Yeah, good job.
Monica Welty: 17:57
Way to take care of yourself. Right? Like, I mean, that is,
Candice Schutter: 18:00
Monica Welty: 18:02
Like, ritual makes us feel better. Like I did it, you know? And it is often, yeah, it is often for me that the time leading up that the days are actually not bad. But it's often the time leading up and the time after, or one of those that's really more of the intensity, but. Yeah.
Candice Schutter: 18:21
Yeah. Yeah. Well, it's, it's that... I feel like it's going to come up in every podcast now, ever since this book Bittersweet came out, by Susan Cain. I just talked about it in the last podcast. It's so important. It's such an important piece of work. I mean, I feel like what you just described in terms of Harvey's reading and the feelings that you have around it is such a great example of bittersweet. And how that, it can be both. Like, it can be both like deeply, profoundly painful and provide you with a sense of, of incredible joy and liberation. Like the same thing. Both things can be happening. Yeah.
Monica Welty: 19:00
And what a depth that brings to my experience, right. Like I was just thinking about some of the readings in the past, and I think God, there I am surrounded by people who love me and who like know my son in a way, you know, through me or through this experience. And just how to be held at this it's yeah. It's the sense of community. It's a sense of connection. It's a deep sense of anguish and loss. It's a sense of gratitude. I mean, there's just so many things. And I remember early on, in the first year or so feeling like I can't wait to just feel one feeling again, at a time. Like, right. Because it was like, I have a living child who's older and she would do something. She was like, you know, three, four. And she would do something that was delightful or new. And I would be so happy and I would be so proud and then like before I could take a breath, I would feel this, you know, and Harvey's never going to do that. And all I feel is his absence and something is missing here. And then I would be angry because why did this happen to me? And right, and just like, from one little thing that she had done, right. And that just happened over and over again. And the thing is, is that now I realize, nine years later, like, actually, it's pretty rare that I feel one feeling at a time, you know. That, that experience put this microscope onto my experience of human emotions and that like, there's often three or four things happening at the same time. And that's again that like, yeah, that book Bittersweet is like, I've never felt so seen in my life. Like I just was like, I'm not, I've always thought I was like an alien, but this is a whole book.
Candice Schutter: 20:55
Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Well, and it's because there's just so many things that we've been taught not to speak of and not to share and to hold hostage. That's the only way that's how I've always experienced it is like I'm holding a part of myself hostage. That word hostage might sound extreme to some people. But for me, I feel like I'm a bittersweet person by nature. For me, it feels like that. It's not, it's never been something that I could transcend. Meditate my way out of. Dance my way out of. Write my way out of. Fall in love my way out of. Travel my way out of. I've, I've tried all the things. Drink my way out of.
Monica Welty: 21:35
Yeah. Eat.
Candice Schutter: 21:37
Eat my way out of. Some of those things I still try from time to time. But it's never worked and I've found that surrounding myself with people who are willing to admit the fullness of their humanity. And I just, even when I think about it, like my shoulders just relax. Like, I've spent so much of my life in this posture of verticality. And I still teach and feel comforted by certain traditions that helped me to stay vertical because I do think we need to be able to walk vertically on this earth and not completely succumb to gravity. And yet gravity exists and we don't talk about it. We don't talk about death. We don't talk about loss. We don't talk about, like, we're beginning to talk about trauma, but even that's become sort of like trauma porn or it's become this thing that we need to fix. Like, and here are all the ways to fix it. And here's, here's 10 memes. Swipe right, and you'll figure out how to get to the other side of it. And one of the things that you and I talked about in our brief convo to prepare for this was sharing this. I don't want to speak for you. I'll speak for myself. Having this feeling of. Trauma. Isn't just this, oh, shucks, like trauma happened. Like that something went wrong. And yes, there are traumas that 100% should not happen. And then there are traumas, like what you've experienced with Harvey and traumas that we've all experienced in our lives. And sure we can name a few, the trauma of death of a loved one. It can not be avoided. There are traumas that are a part of life, and they're not the broken bits that we need to figure out how to clean up and get over. They're part, we were talking about trauma as truth, and that this tendency we have to pathologize things that are a normal part of the human experience. And why we're so drawn to each other's work. Is this like, can we just normalize our humanity? Can it just be what it is? And can we just love each other through it? And not even through it, because we're never going to get to the other end of the tunnel. Can we love each other as we are in this experience of humaning and not label everything that we find discomforting as trauma. I think this is something that's happening a lot lately. Like, that's uncomfortable to me, so it's trauma. And it's like, trauma is, I don't want to get into a whole thing about what trauma is and what trauma isn't, but that word is being so overused now. And I'm sure that I've been guilty of it myself. But what I really kind of where I wanted to go with you as we were talking, is it just felt like this strong resonance around like, wait a second. What if it's not trauma? What if it's just the truth? These kinds of experiences.
Monica Welty: 24:29
And that's, I mean, in the example, in my story of like, I was traumatized by a lot of these things. And especially since they happen so quickly, right. And so I did EMDR, which is a trauma therapy. I've done some at like, I mean, listen, all of them. And so whatever I could take. So, and then, these things such as a divorce and the loss of fertility, and I'm not trying to minimize that at all. But those are things that I have been able to move through and have less of a charge to. And, the loss of my son while I don't cry every day anymore. I think of him every single day. The impact of his loss is daily. And the EMDR, I, for example, I can tell you this time I walked into my therapist and I was just, I was just not okay. And I was, I had killed my child. I could have made other decisions, you know, like this, like I just was beside myself. And we did EMDR for 20 minutes and that's a therapy for trauma that helps you rewire your brain. And so at the end of that, I was overwhelmed by the sense of gratitude that he had been there. That he even came here and it was just this incredible, um, you know, I'm still had to work with it, but in that moment I had this really major shift. And so that affected my brain, right. That helped me heal. The trauma helped me forgive myself. Helped me to make some meaning and some sense out of what happened, but the truth of trauma is that I will never not know what it's like to have lost a child. That experience will never leave me. And that is right. Like, so, I mean, I don't know what the difference is between those two things, but there is difference, you know.
Candice Schutter: 26:31
I find, and of course, you'll get this as somebody who seeks to convey the unimaginable through words. Any attempt to explain this with clarity we're going to fail at because it exists in sort of that nebulous mystery space that. You know, I was talking with my therapist yesterday about the fact that I find it really interesting that I'm living here in Cornville, Arizona, which is 20 minutes outside of Sedona. And I'm beginning to meet people and make friends and connections, which is great. And because of where I live, the sort of spiritual sensibility of the people around me is very etheric, and my experience of it is that there's an ungroundedness to it. And it's sort of underscoring the importance to me of like why I started this podcast and what the process of sharing those first episodes was about for me. It was like, I was trying to land in my body again, after years of chasing ways out of my human experience. Of, of the learning and doing all the things that I was taught were going to help me to transcend so much. And there was some really helpful stuff in there. I did all these things that did serve me and build me and grow me in a lot of ways, and they also really disconnected me from what I call the deeper self and from the honesty of my experience. And so I'm living in this culture where I'm meeting these amazing people. I feel resonance around them. And then every now and then they say things and I'm like, what? Like, I don't even know. I can't relate to what it is that you believe and are reaching for. And I feel this sort of etheric lifting out and I understand where it's coming from because I've reached for those things. But what I was saying to my therapist is I said, you know, I really have come to this place where I feel like I'm, I believe so few things now, I believe in so few things now. I'm not really interested in dogma. I cringe a lot around even dogma in, like, yogic circles or wherever. Like, I don't believe in much anymore. And I feel more spiritually connected than I've ever felt, because I've finally learned how to relax around the fact that I don't know a fucking thing. And the mystery is my safe place. It's this weird paradox of like, instead of the answers, which I was always grabbing onto and trying to hold as tight, like white knuckle. And then they would just seep through my fingers and I'd be left with nothing over and over again. And it's like, now it's like, I'm just, I have no fucking idea. When people say it's this or it's that, and this is why this is my toe hurts because of, you know, I'm out of alignment here. I'm like, I,
Monica Welty: 29:26
Could be.
Candice Schutter: 29:27
Could be like, I don't know. And I am so much happier. Happier? Yeah, like happier. I'm at peace, I guess. It's a better way of saying it, realizing that I don't know, and that things are going to be stripped away from me and that I can't control the outcome and that no matter how my vibes are, life is going to happen. You know? And I know we were in some of those circles together at certain point in time, even though we didn't know it. So I wonder, I'm curious because I have a story of loss that I've never actually shared publicly. And I thought about sharing it with you today because I feel really safe doing that with you. I want to share that, but before I do, I want to say that when it happened, it was like, my experience was sort of like God is dead. It was like this experience of everything that I ever believed just went, came crashing to the ground. And I'm wondering, based on what I shared about being in this place where people are holding tight to explanations of things, whether they're grounded or etheric, we humans really are uncomfortable in ambiguity and the unknown. And so I have a tremendous amount of respect for and empathy for folks who are really holding tightly to their beliefs. I get it. And then when something happens in your life, like a loss that you said, I will never not have experienced that loss. I understand what you're saying. And for me, that threshold, when I crossed over it, I couldn't go back to believing in all that other stuff. So what are your thoughts around all that?
Monica Welty: 31:04
I mean, one thing that it brings up for me is I mean, stupid shit that people say. That is, right, that is like, I was just thinking this morning when I was thinking about this podcast and, it would be so easy for people who believe that everything happens for a reason and that things happen to us so that we learn lessons and it'd be so easy for someone to hear me now and say, see, look at how she has a rich emotional life now that she didn't have before. She's stronger, right? Like and, yeah, this is such a place of tension for me, because that is true. I have made decisions and have had resources and privilege that have allowed me to make the meaning out of what happened to me so that I could survive. I remember walking around and being like, oh, everyone here on this earth thinks that everything's going to be okay. They're not thinking, they're not thinking that like the anvil isn't going to fall on them. What's next? Right. And I thought, oh my God, I have to get back to that. That is a complete illusion, but if I don't get back to it, I'm going to not survive this. Like that's what I have to get to is back to being able to walk down the street and not wait for some car to plow into the window and kill my kid because that happens. Right. And so, I think part of it is when people say you could, you could have another baby. Well, it turns out I couldn't, and also babies aren't goldfish, right. They're human beings.
Candice Schutter: 32:40
Right. Exactly.
Monica Welty: 32:41
And so many people say that kind of thing. And what that does is it comforts the person saying it. Well, everything happens for a reason, comforts the person saying it. This person has to deal with that because there's some greater plan for them. I don't have to deal with that cause that's not in my plan. Right.
Candice Schutter: 33:02
Because I need it to not be in my plan. So I need, I need to believe that.
Monica Welty: 33:05
It's a distancing. It's a way to move away from somebody in the guise of you know, it could be a spiritual thing, right. That like, oh, everything happens for a reason as a way to like bring us closer, but it's in this guise of divinity or universality or some kind of larger force that unites us all when it's the exact opposite, you know. It's a small violence.
Candice Schutter: 33:32
Monica Welty: 33:32
Yeah, kind of a micro aggression. Because here's the thing is that I didn't need that to happen, to become the person that I am becoming. Also, I am significantly more broken than I was before. Right. Perhaps I'm stronger in a lot of ways, perhaps I have more empathy. Like, I enjoy my life a lot more for example. I'm not really afraid of dying in the way after holding a baby who died that removed a sense of fear around death in a very profound way. I receive all of these benefits and also fuck those benefits because for the rest of my life my son is dead.
Candice Schutter: 34:11
Monica Welty: 34:11
Candice Schutter: 34:11
Right. It's really about peeling back those layers and like, what is this thing that I'm saying and doing and service to really? That I'm offering? Like, what is it really in service to? And what is the impact it's going to have, regardless of my intention, there's that. But also like, what's the deal with our attachment to math? Like, why does the equation have to equal out in some way? That's really the thing that I'm most fascinated by. And I think, I don't have the answer, but I think the reason we math it out, did this subtraction, is the sum on the other side of the equal sign greater than it was when she started, it's gotta be, or it's gotta be at least equal. It can't be less than. And the truth is is that sometimes it is less than. But it's not because there's no fucking math for any of this. It's not math. It's not logic. And I think the reason why we do that is because we're so afraid of admitting the fact that one, there is no math, but also we all lose in the end, in the sense of our mortality. Right? So it's like, some philosophers will argue that that's what the rat race is all about too, is like, I need to win and I need a surplus and I need to be validated as much as I possibly can before I die, because I'm going to die because we all die. And wouldn't it be great if there was a building with my name on it when I died, because then maybe the math would work out. But eventually that building is going to crumble fall and turn to dust. And you're still gonna be on that side of the equation where you have been annihilated and you are insignificant, in that way. Now, you know, we could get spiritual about it, but I think we don't... I don't think, I know that we don't know how that works. And there are going to be people who get pissed off that I say that, but we don't know how that works. And so since we don't, we can't figure that into our math. So the truth is, is that we are going to all die, and we're all going to lose people that we love. And as tragic as it is, this is again, why the bittersweet recognition is so critical because it's not about walking around, we're all going to die, what's the point, you know. No, I'm certainly not that way. It's about living as fully as we can and having a sense of gratitude for the fact, like you said that Harvey was in your life at all, and that he'll always be in your life now. Even though he was only in your arms for one day. That bitter and that sweet is never going to be reconciled and it's not supposed to be.
Monica Welty: 36:42
And I think that some of the math is that, with our mythology, we're not allowed to e nd our lives both beautiful and tragic, right? Like we're not like this person... like the piece that I'm going to read at Harvey's reading this year is about this homeless woman that I saw carrying a baby doll, like as if it was a real baby. So in my imagination, and in this writing, I imagine this woman has lost her baby and is now not mentally stable, homeless, walking around a park, carrying a baby. Right. No one is going to tell her story. Because like what you're saying, her math didn't work out. But who knows what is happening inside her? Who knows? And what is success? What is healing? What is, right? Like, it's so... and along the way... so many things have, and this is kind of the theme this year for Harvey's reading, because I often am thinking about something as the anniversary comes up and that's been these secondary losses. And thinking about nine years later, what has changed for me? How am I not the same person? And how is this continuing to impact me? My career is nowhere near what I would want my career to be. My writing is not where I, you know, I think of like, without this happening to me, what would I have done? What would I have contributed to the world? And again, it can never be known because that's what happened. And so what I have to do is to accept myself. I don't, for example, communicate with my friends and family in the way that I used to. Five years in, I finally was like, oh, wait, that's not coming back. I'm not going to be able to communicate as consistently or constantly as I used to. I need quiet now. That has not changed in nine years, you know? What I could do is suffer through that and lament that my relationships have changed that my career is not what I want it to be that X, Y, and Z, or I can say that actually, Monica, this is who you are now.
Candice Schutter: 38:49
Monica Welty: 38:49
Right? And that's okay. You had this horrible shit happen to you, and with your incredible amount of resources and privilege and community and support, maybe you couldn't get to where some other people have gotten, but you're where you are. And that's the math, right? That's what we need to be doing is, like constantly forgiving ourselves and constantly allowing ourselves to be like, I don't know, broken is the word that comes. But, but yeah, to be part of us is not together the way it was. Messy, chaotic, you know. And then other parts I've never had so much empathy, especially for people who are grieving in my day job as a body worker. And I support people every day, so much better, so much better because of my experience of loss. Like I wouldn't be that person for them, you know? And so that's not a big building, right, with my name on it, you know, but that's something that goes into that equation.
Candice Schutter: 39:55
It definitely does. Yeah. I mean, that's, I think what's so maddening and why we're always doing math is that we can't actually math it out. Not just because the math doesn't matter as much as we think it does in the end, but also because it's not possible. Like, we started at the beginning of this podcast saying, we're impacting people's lives we don't even know we're impacting. So how can you do math? And then, practically speaking, you know, so glad you brought in this aspect of privilege of like, there's certain parts of our equation that we are just fortunate to have through no exercise of will of our own, that other people don't have. And, did we manifest it? I call bullshit on that. Like, there are certain things that, we were born into a certain degree of privilege and other people don't have that. Or we, through our choices maybe some of them conscious, maybe some of them just pure stroke of luck, we ended up in situations where we have access to certain kinds of community. And I think when it comes to the math, instead of looking at it as like this higher math that is destined or not, why can't we be a part of the math? Like, creating opportunities that you're creating. Giving people, voice who don't have a voice. All the social justice work that's being done of h ow do we even out the equation on the ground? Let's get our heads out of the cloud and like even out the equation on the ground. And I think sometimes what we've suffered through is a way that we develop a certain fire in our belly about where we want to lend ourselves to the math on the ground and say, Hey, like, this isn't working. And how can I contribute in that way? Not to vanquish our pain, but to be together in it and to carry it more gracefully together. It's really about like holding all things as equal. It's not either, or right. So we've got this, the math's not gonna work out necessarily that things don't always happen for a reason. All of that is in question. And yet, we can make meaning from the messes that happen in our life.
Monica Welty: 41:50
And I think I have to.
Candice Schutter: 41:52
Yes, yes. Have to, right.
Monica Welty: 41:55
Yeah. You have to make meaning. That's another thing that I learned, I was like, oh, we're meaning making machines. I have to make a story that I can live with here. Right. I can't live with, I killed my kid, because I didn't know my uterus ruptured. I can't survive like that. And this is something I think in our conversation that keeps coming up for me is that my roommate from college, she once said to me, everything is true, but not at the same time. And I just was like.
Candice Schutter: 42:21
Yes. Well said.
Monica Welty: 42:21
That is so exactly true. There's so much that like, yeah, maybe everything does happen for a reason. Maybe it is you know, beautiful only, or I don't know. I guess what I'm trying to say is that like, so much of what we've been touching on is that we need to be communicating the complexity of our experience, which will pull us away from the desire for things to be true and right. Because so many things are true. So many things are true. I could have made different decisions that might've saved my kid. That is true. I didn't make different decisions. I did what I knew at the time was best. Also true, right? And now I have to come to terms with that so that I can be a good mother to my living child. So there's this complexity that we need to be talking about. And so I'm getting back to a little bit of that bittersweetness, right. Like when we were talking about that, I was like, God, I just remember so vividly being a child and having all of this stuff inside me, more emotions than one at a time. And then looking around and being like, am I the only one?
Candice Schutter: 43:38
Monica Welty: 43:38
Why is no one talking about how many things I'm experiencing at this moment? Like, it looks like they're just having one, you know. Which maybe we don't know how to express it. I don't, you know. So yeah, I think that so much of what we're talking about is this need to be sharing and learning more about our own internal experiences, and our own emotional landscapes and then sharing them with each other.
Candice Schutter: 44:10
Yeah. Yeah. I think a lot of what's happening, what happens for us is that we can't see and bear witness to what we can't see and bear witness to internally. And so that complexity is out of reach if we haven't reckoned with that complexity within us. It's very much like we can do our best to sympathize with somebody who's experienced the death of a loved one. And if we haven't experienced that, and we've never had to reckon with that pool of energy inside and all those conflicting emotions, then there's only so much that we can offer. We haven't been forced to make meaning out of as many messes, then it's going to be more challenging for us to be supportive toward others in doing that and to even just see and recognize, to empathize. I mean, it's, what we experienced so much in challenging white supremacy or gender norms and all that stuff of like, you've got the majority of people who aren't able to relate. Maybe not even the majority, but the group in power who's making the decisions and the choices who aren't able to relate. And they haven't reckoned with the emotions of those who are being marginalized. And so there's this real ineptitude and inability to be of support. And I think this is why storytelling is so important because you don't have to live through something to find that empathy. If you get close enough to the story and somebody's able to show you that complexity, not through some sort of psychoanalysis, but through just the sharing of it. This is what happened to me. This is how it feels. This is what it's like. And again, as we talked about that detail will connect to something in us that can relate, even if we can't relate to that specific story.
Monica Welty: 45:50
Candice Schutter: 45:50
And that's so key.
Monica Welty: 45:51
So key. And cause I was thinking as a bodyworker, one thing that I realized after going back to work after my son died was I would have people come in who've had a cancer diagnosis, for example. And they are telling me, and I understand what they're saying, right? I have never had myself a cancer diagnosis. I don't understand, but I can completely empathize. I can relate to their emotional experience because I've had an event in my life that has triggered a similar experience inside myself. And I would argue that the people in power have had experiences that have triggered similar feelings.
Candice Schutter: 46:33
Monica Welty: 46:33
That they would be able to, if we were able to really feel and learn about our own emotions, we would be able to say, oh, I'm not a Black woman so I don't know what that's like. But I have experienced a similar set of emotions. I don't know if that's a fair, a fair comparison. But I feel like I see that I feel mad about that sometimes in the news, because I'm like you white politician, no, you would have felt a similar thing of injustice. You have felt injustice. Yes. Right. And it's like, it's not the same injustice, but you've felt it. And your inability, our inability to generalize that to other people's experience, I think really has to do with like, and I'm no expert. I just want to say that, too. But this trouble of like, learning about this complex experience that we have.
Candice Schutter: 47:27
Yeah. And that reactivity that we have externally is really all about how we're responding internally. The shutting down. The I'm not going to listen to that. That's ridiculous. Let me give you an intellectual argument to suppress that in you. It's just how we treat others is so much about how we're treating our insides. And what made me think of when you said you being able to relate to the client who has the cancer diagnosis and how these really seemingly different situations, like where that empathy comes from. And I think there's something about having experienced anguish of some kind, having experienced a tragedy where in one moment, everything changed. I think about the story that I wanted to tell. I think about when I lost my stepbrother. And the part of the story that I've never told publicly is that my stepbrother and I met when we were young adults, when I reunited with my father when I was 17. And even as I'm getting ready to tell the story, I feel the tremor within like the first time we share something publicly, when we get to a point where it's it's, the moment is ripe. Like for me, There's just such a specific quality in my body, this feeling that I'm having. So my stepbrother and I met when we were young adults. It was kind of a few years into my reunion with my dad, that we even spent any time together. And I won't go through the details, but we ended up both at my sister's wedding. His sister, my step-sister. And essentially, we fell in love at this wedding. And it was obviously a great shock to us. It was a very immediate and deep connection that we had. We agreed from the very beginning, if this doesn't work, we have to love each other no matter what. And we have to be able to shift back into this other type of relationship because our whole entire family is dependent on it. Like, we can't have drama here. It's not, not an option. And so we still decided to move forward and we told the family and their shock was because I was new age girl living on the west coast, you know, going to law of attraction workshops, and he was Georgia, Christian, loafers. You know. Like, I mean, so, so incredibly different and a very devout Christian man. But the place we connected on was that we were both really hungry spiritually, and we could converse about it in a way that was not antagonistic. It was just this really beautiful thing, because we were on two ends of the spectrum that was the same spectrum. And we could just have these conversations about it. So we developed this really deep bond. We had a relationship. We were long distance for a long time, and I ended up moving to Oregon, and it didn't work out for us to stay together. The relationship, in that way, lasted for about six months, and then we did transition it. We successfully transitioned it. I had a love for him that I'd never experienced. I'd never had that kind of connection before. And in some ways it was always kind of unrequited for me. And all these years go by, I go to his wedding. I'm partnered at the time. My partner stayed home, I can't remember the reasons, but I went to the wedding alone. And at the wedding, I'm happy for him, I'm genuinely... talk about bittersweet. I'm genuinely thrilled for him. And then I'm in the bathroom crying uncontrollably and I can't figure out why. And that was like the nature of our relationship. And because he was so devout and so devoted, like he was a very devoted person to whatever he was devoted to. He kind of cut me out of his life. Like he wouldn't communicate with me if his wife wasn't present. Because he knew our bond was so strong that he was just like, she's my sister. And like, when I was around, it was wonderful, but there was no communication outside of this. So I sort of lost even the friendship that we had. So all of this happens. A year and a half after he gets married, I'm at home in Portland, I get the call. He was missing for two days. He had died suddenly. And that moment changed my entire life. And it's a whole other podcast to talk about what all of that represented and why and how that was such a pivotal turning point in my life. And, but until you've had that moment, where there's just this news that you get, and in an instant, your legs don't work anymore. And you're just in a puddle on the ground. And then you have to reckon with the grief on the other side of that, that never goes away. Okay, so here I am, 12 years later, right there, right there. And I wasn't sure if I wanted to share that story, and then you told me something about your family.
Monica Welty: 52:33
Yeah, so my mom met her step sibling also as adults. Their parents got married and they were adults. They were also about that same age as you two were. And then they had a feeling, they had a feeling. And then they went their separate ways. My mom married my dad. Had me. 25 years, 30 years later, they reunited and are married. And it's because it's so interesting because you are step siblings by a piece of paper.
Candice Schutter: 53:09
Right, right.
Monica Welty: 53:11
Like, you're grown people who have never had any kind of sibling experience together, not one.
Candice Schutter: 53:18
Monica Welty: 53:19
Not one. So, you know, it's such a,
Candice Schutter: 53:23
yeah, it's it is funny, like the social stigma around things and like the part of why. Well, for many years, to be honest, part of why I held the story close was in respect of his wife and her grieving process. And I thought it's not appropriate for me to share, it just for me, it felt inappropriate for me to share that. Because he was in a very loving relationship with a woman I love. She's amazing. And in recent years, she's since met someone else and is remarried and is a step-mom and it just brings tears to my eyes, makes me so happy that she's found that again. And now I feel like it's okay to share that backstory. So that's part of it. And though, another reason was the fear of the stigma. And I, I want to name that because I think a lot of times we don't share our grief and our stories because people will be like, well, that's not appropriate. Or what were you thinking? Like people sometimes get attached to one detail and that's all they hear. They stop listening because they are on some sort of moral high ground with it. And yet when we carry it around inside of us, again, it's that, this is a part of my story and myself that I've held hostage. And I haven't let her speak and say, I loved this man so much. And even though it wasn't meant for us to be together in that way, he dramatically changed my life. And the loss of him is something that I may never get over.
Monica Welty: 54:45
Candice Schutter: 54:46
All of that to say, that you being able to relate to somebody with a cancer diagnosis, it's like, you know what it's like to receive news that changes everything. That in that moment, time stands still and everything you ever thought you knew just comes crashing to the ground.
Monica Welty: 55:08
And then there's the aftermath. Like we talk about like, it was this moment, my son died, right? But then there's nine years. There's 12 years of what you, what that has been like. Right? Like I was like, oh my God, I had this rupture in my uterus. And I had to go to doctor appointment after, I mean, I can't even tell you how many doctors, right? I was postpartum. Like, your body doesn't know your baby died. Milk came in. All of it, you know, and I had to go to doctor's appointment after doctor's appointment and, oh you're postpartum congratulation. I mean, it was just hell, right? Just hell. And again, in like the storytelling and the, because this is another sort of bittersweet thing I think is that I want to say all of the details when I'm ready. Right? Or when, you know, like, what you're saying is because they fester inside there.
Candice Schutter: 56:05
A hundred percent.
Monica Welty: 56:06
They just fester inside there and, and that was part of the writing too. Was that like so many things that you're not supposed to... So I'll tell you, uh, uh... so one time I was walking to work, I think this might be in my book. I don't know, but it's a shameful thing. So I haven't said it, right. And so that's what you're saying, the stigma and that there's shame. What other people are going to think about me, that they're going to stop listening... is like, what keeps it inside and hurts us, you know. So I'm walking down the street to work. I don't know what point this was at in terms of that year of loss, but there's a lady at a brunch place and she has her baby. And she's like up and moving around in their dancing. I think my marriage must've ended because she was with her husband, I was so I was just like, fuck you guys, right. They're just having brunch. They have their baby, their family. They're just happy Saturday morning. I wanted to punch the baby. I had this urge to hurt the baby. And I, of course I didn't. And I, you know, I mean, for myself, I, I didn't do that, but that is a truth. That is a feeling that I had inside myself because of my own deep pain, my own loss of exactly what I was seeing there. It made me want to physically hurt a child, right. And that is the kind of thing that if I hadn't talked with other people. If I hadn't been in my support group. If I hadn't written and heard from other people that like, I would think something is really wrong with me. I have a pathology because I want to harm a stranger's infant. Not to say that that's normal, but it's within this spectrum. It's within this experience, you know. Had I acted on it, that would be,
Candice Schutter: 57:55
That would be a whole different thing.
Monica Welty: 57:56
That would be different. But to feel like what is wrong with me? What kind of, you know, maniac, violent person thinks that way? And I'm not that person. And yet I have that thought, you know?
Candice Schutter: 58:09
Yeah. Well, and that's it that festering shame does this thing where it focuses its attention on, I can't reveal this thing because of those who will judge me. I think the freedom comes from being able to shift our focus to, I have to share this thing because of the people who it will free. And that was what was so interesting when I told you, oh, like I could tell this story, but there's a piece of it I haven't told yet. And then you said, oh my mom, blah, blah, blah. And it was like, your mother freed me, through you, telling me, Hey, you know, like let's normalize all the abnormal things in the world. Because there's pathology, which is like way over on the spectrum. And I think we go way overboard with pathologizing, all kinds of things that are abnormal. Like a lot of atypical neurology, for example, has like disorder attached to it, the word disorder. We need to stop with all that because as soon as we call it a disorder, other people who are, who are manifesting those symptoms, quote unquote, or who are just wired that way, aren't going to speak out because they don't want to be disordered. Right? So it's like, what if it's about sharing and normalizing all of these things. Like sometimes you can't help who you fall in love with. Sometimes grief is so strong that it wants to, in our imagination, manifest as violence cause we don't know what else to do with the energy. Like, this is normal. And when we share those things, we liberate not only the truth in ourselves, but we liberate all the people who are carrying that around, who just want to know they're not crazy. You know, this really makes me think of one of the early podcasts. I think it was in the humility series where I was talking about how this existential anxiety that I've had all my life... The whole COVID season has really been such a relief to me. And you and I talked about this when we spoke and I know that we have this in common, this feeling of like, I'm conditioned for this time. This whole living in the unknown, realizing that death is around every corner, contemplating mortality and doom scenarios. Like I've been doing this since I, shortly after I could walk. And now other people are feeling all these things that I've felt for so many years. For me, I felt less anxiety when we shifted into quarantine. Can you relate to that at all?
Monica Welty: 1:00:37
Yeah, similar in that it was like a couple of weeks in, and I felt like, okay, I got this now. And like the whole world, it seemed was freaking out still. And I was like, oh right. I had a baby on Saturday, and then he died on Sunday. We were going about our lives on Friday and then literally everything shut down besides essential stuff the next day. Like not everyone has had the experience of that shift like that, right? And there was a validation that I felt that was like, yeah, everybody see. It's real. It can happen. It can just change in one moment. See, it's terrible.
Candice Schutter: 1:01:20
Yeah. It's terrible. And it's also, you know, I think for me it was just looking around and sort of, and this might sound a little dark, but like, I couldn't help but be amused, how many people were like, what?! I was just like, welcome to life. Like what planet have you been living on?
Monica Welty: 1:01:41
And also a little bit of like, ha, now, you know, right? Oh look, everything happens for a reason.
Candice Schutter: 1:01:49
Oh right. Yeah. Let's see if you can make meaning out of this mess using your thought terminating cliches. See if that works. And in some ways they keep us sane. Like the other day when I was driving in traffic and I missed my exit by a couple miles and I had to keep going and I could have freaked out, but I just said "it is what it is." And then I calmed down and I kept driving. In that instance, great. But somebody suffers a big loss, so it is what it is like.
Monica Welty: 1:02:13
Yeah, totally.
Candice Schutter: 1:02:15
There's a time and a place.
Monica Welty: 1:02:16
Not always helpful.
Candice Schutter: 1:02:18
Right. When the complexity is at play, not so much, always helpful. And yet I guess, in some ways when the pandemic hit, like that was kind of my, it is what it is, but not in the sense of I'm not gonna put any effort around it or I don't care about the fact that people are losing their loved ones or anything. Like, I definitely wore a mask. But it is what it is in the sense of like, life is going to life. It's going to do its thing and I don't get a say in it. I don't get to choose all the things. I'm not in control.
Monica Welty: 1:02:53
And then there's some relief around that time too, because like I had all those thoughts that are not very nice, but also it was now everybody gets it more too. Now we're a little bit more on the same page. Now hopefully we'll start to understand a little bit better that that can happen. Right.
Candice Schutter: 1:03:11
I definitely feel that, yeah.
Monica Welty: 1:03:12
And then, how do we grapple with that? How do we get to everything's going to be okay. Eventually, somehow things are going to be okay. Many things. Right? But there's all this space in between.
Candice Schutter: 1:03:26
Monica Welty: 1:03:26
Like, even your driving. You didn't just one day be like, oh, you know what? I'm not going to be mad about that anymore. That I miss my exit. It is what it is, Candice, right. You did whatever worked.
Candice Schutter: 1:03:38
Hell no. Oh my God. So many tantrums.
Monica Welty: 1:03:42
So that's why that works. It is what it is, because you've already done all the work that's shown you, it is what it is. I missed my exit.
Candice Schutter: 1:03:50
Right. I've tried all the other things to make it not what it is. And none of them worked. I've been through it and they don't work, so I might as well just surrender. Yeah. And we're all at a different place on that path. And there's still so many things ask my partner that I try to control. Mostly him. So many things that I try to control still. It's like, we're always a work in progress in that regard.
Monica Welty: 1:04:18
Well, and along the same lines of the paradox, it's like, you could make a plan, but who knows what's going to happen when you walk out your front door. We also know, people with anxiety, like myself, I'll say as well, is that we need a plan, helps us to know what's going to happen next. Right. And so it's, again, this feeling of like, it's all true, just not at the same time, you know. We can't plan and we have to.
Candice Schutter: 1:04:45
Yeah. I really love that. It's all true at the same time. It's beautifully put. Yeah. Thank you so much for being who you are. It's so refreshing and nourishing for me to talk with you.
Monica Welty: 1:04:59
Oh, thank you. Yeah, I appreciate that. Cause I, that's sort of my life mission, so it's always good to hear that, reflected back.
Candice Schutter: 1:05:07
Mission accomplished.
Monica Welty: 1:05:08
Mission accomplished, done. Also, I mean, I appreciate so much of what you're doing in your work and what you're putting out into the world. And I just want to also just, you know, thank you for sharing something that you've never shared before. It's a big deal. It's a really big deal. And like, it could be my presence, but it's mostly what you've done to get there.
Candice Schutter: 1:05:33
I will own the work that I've done to get to the point where I can share it. And I want to say to you, and to Harvey that while there will never be a good reason ever for the loss and for him not being here with us, that he is in some way here with us. The path that you've been walking over these years in terms of giving people like me courage to share what's true and what's real and the pain and... Who knows otherwise, how long I, we would carry it around inside. There's always that individualistic, very Western idea of like doing it on our own. And like, I've worked so hard to make this happen. And also, yes, I could share the story no matter what, with anyone and sharing it with you is so much more easy and grace-filled, and just, I just feel wrapped in love. And I could force it out no matter what, but to just feel this spacious, welcoming space of, Hey, I get it. What I adore about you and how you have embodied your loss in such a way that you express it in everything you do is that that's just a beautiful thing to witness. And also it just gives me so much permission to not try to overcome things that happen to me and create in spite of things that happen, but to really see the beauty in bringing it all, just bringing all of it forward and that you invited me to be a part of the Harvey reading is so meaningful to me and I do not hold it lightly. And I'm really asking myself how I can be as brave as I can be in showing up to it. And I think that's what sort of was the precursor to me, sharing that story with you was that I thought, oh, I could tell that story. I could finally put it on paper and share it. And then you being you, I was like, I'm going to do it now. I'm gonna just try it on now, and I think I'll actually be able to write it now that I've spoken it.
Monica Welty: 1:07:46
Yes. Omigosh, yes.
Candice Schutter: 1:07:49
Yeah. So thank you for that. And to all the listeners out there, I hope that some of you will join us. Is it on Harvey's birthday that this episode is going to release? Is that
Monica Welty: 1:08:00
Yeah, the 27th. And so thank you for that. I mean, cause we had to do the reading is on May 5th, which is actually the anniversary of his funeral. But my friends at Coffee Grief are hosting and they just do it every first Thursday of the month. And so, this is just an extra bonus, awesomeness for this ninth birthday, because I get to spend this time talking about him with you and, and then it'll be like just a beautiful present on that day for me. So I really, it's just perfect. I really appreciate it.
Candice Schutter: 1:08:32
Yeah, of course. And we're all going to be sending you extra love as we're listening, you know. We're sharing this on his day, and so listeners out there, send Monica, some extra loves and Harvey, some extra love. And I'll put the link to, to you, how to find you, anyone who might want to reach out to you for any reason in the show notes, as well as a link to the event.
Monica Welty: 1:08:56
Yeah. So May 5th at 7:00 PM pacific on Zoom. Yeah. And Candice will be there. And I'll be there and three other writers.
Candice Schutter: 1:09:05
Yeah. It's going to be really amazing. I'm so honored and excited about it.
Monica Welty: 1:09:10
It is always... it's sad and it's funny. And I feel so connected to other people. It's like the one day a year. So I really, sometimes people are kind of afraid to listen to grief stories for an hour, but there's so much more than that. So I really want to encourage if anyone feels, you know, inclined to come, but are kind of worried about it being too much. I always find the humanity that I leave with it as much more powerful than the, than the hard stuff. So yeah.
Candice Schutter: 1:09:40
Good for you for saying that. And we need spaces where we can experience that. And I think that that's true more often than it's not, it's just that we don't experience enough of those spaces to know.
Monica Welty: 1:09:51
Yeah. Oh, that's such a good point. Yeah, because it's another thing that's hard to communicate.
Candice Schutter: 1:09:57
Yeah. Anyone who's been in that in a space of group healing where there's that real, where the bittersweet is held, it's like tremendous breakthroughs happen there, yeah. And great revelation and exposure, and also tremendous joy. But that deep and abiding joy. So I'll leave this with this final thought. I remember hearing in Brene Brown's research. And she was talking about people who experienced deep grief and how sometimes folks who are around them are afraid to like, let's say, somebody's talking with you about their son who's about to turn nine years old. Okay? So they might be afraid to talk to you about their son. Who's nine years old and talk about how he's playing baseball and he's like a math whiz and all this stuff. And, the research has actually shown that people who've experienced tremendous loss. They want to know that you're grateful for the fact that you have the privilege of having a nine-year-old boy. And they want you to celebrate that nine-year-old boy from a place of gratitude. And that as much as it might not seem intuitive, like gratitude is sort of the antidote to grief. Celebrating that isn't about shoving it in someone's face it's about saying, I know how valuable this is. I feel what you lost.
Monica Welty: 1:11:18
Candice Schutter: 1:11:20
Monica Welty: 1:11:21
Yeah. Because you have an absence and I have a presence of a nine-year-old boy. Yeah.
Candice Schutter: 1:11:29
Monica Welty: 1:11:30
Candice Schutter: 1:11:31
I just have fallen in love with you, Missy.
Monica Welty: 1:11:34
Same. We're old new friends.
Candice Schutter: 1:11:37
We are old new friends. I love you. And I'm so happy you did this with me. Thank you.
Monica Welty: 1:11:43
Thank you, Candice. It's amazing. Such an important opportunity and I really appreciate it.
Candice Schutter: 1:11:57
Happy birthday, Harvey. Thank you for being here with all of us. And I'd like to thank your mama, Monica for her massive heart and her presence, which is expansive and inviting like the hug of an earth goddess. I am so deeply honored that she agreed to share this special day and your story with all of us. If you'd like to join Monica, myself, and three other storytellers, as we honor Harvey for his annual reading on May 5th, you can find details in the show notes. And if you'd like to reach out to Monica directly, you can find her contact information there as well. I'd like to wrap up this episode with an excerpt from a poem by Rumi. It's called Love Dogs. 'The grief you cry out from draws you toward union, you're pure sadness that wants help is the secret cup. Listen to the moan of a dog for its master, that whining is the connection. There are love dogs no one knows the names of. Give your life to be one of them." Thank you for tuning in. And remember, grief will knock you to your knees from time to time. But when we honor the siren song of the soul. When we share our wins and our losses, our shameful fears and our unspoken longings. That is how we find our way back to ourselves and home to one another. I love you. And I'll see you next time. Keep on moving toward what moves you. Ciao.

© The Deeper Pulse, Candice Schutter