Diane D. Rodriguez, Grief Educator, Bereavement Coach & Consultant, Writer & Speaker.
I’ve spent the last 40 plus years becoming a grief expert. I have been surrounded by death, dying and bereavement all of my life. My first death experience was at the age of 4.
I thought I knew everything there was to know about grief UNTIL my son died.
After encountering individuals who all said the wrong things, lectured me about all that I should be grateful for or those who were so uncomfortable with the subject and their own grief; I realized that my grief was being overlooked, minimized and neglected. I realized there had to be a better way!
I have always had a tender heart for the dying and the grieving. It’s no secret that I am passionate about serving others. Combine those two characteristics and the knowledge about what healthy grieving looks like and my decision was easy; it was time that I went back to school to obtain the credentials behind my expertise.
I wanted to put my gifts and talents to better use. I knew that volunteering in the field on my spare time was just not good enough. I was determined that my son’s life and death would not be in vain, much less ignored or forgotten. I took my pain to passion and made a bold decision to make a career change. I often tell people I went from analyzing numbers to analyzing the matters of the heart, mind, body and soul as they relate to grief.
I often wonder what would have happened to me had I not had that one professional validate my hurt unconditionally. Martha Jo Atkins, saved me from my grief. Would I still be here, would I be a fragment or a near figment of who I used to be without her help, guidance and compassion? I don’t know. I’d like to think that I would have figured it out but man that would have been so much harder. In that moment in life everything was already so hard. What I know for sure is that I desperately felt my way through the darkness and she was the beacon that shed light in my storm. In the grief pathways she was the guide I needed to explore which way to go.
I knew then, that if one person could do that for me, I could do the same for someone else and that person would do the same for another. That is what I call the butterfly effect. For me, as my Sergio used to say, “the power of one” is what to drives me.
The butterfly is what reminds me of that daily. Her birth is encapsulated in an egg barely visible to the naked eye. She starts out as the lowly lonely creature who drags her self from place to place, intentionally heading into darkness, busting through her skin and transforming every aspect of her formal life with a new DNA. In the transformation she earns her wings and is able to transcend her formal life.
And so that is what I do.
I listen to the grief stories that many avoid.
I help the lonely reconnect in life.
I call the deceased by their name and when most people refer to them in the past tense, I’m the weirdo who still talks about them in the present tense.
I talk about the things that sound irrational and say the things out loud that no wants to say.
I educate the grief illiterate and provide sensitivity training to those who have never experienced grief; so that they can be supportive to those in bereavement.
I challenge the grief avoidant and I coach those who want to be supportive in companioning grief but are afraid of creating more hurt or doing it wrong.
I teach individuals compassion and empathy.
I am a grief educator, a bereavement coach, a bereavement consultant, a speaker, and a writer. Most of all I'm a witness to the physiological transformations we all make from a caterpillar into a butterfly because in grief we are all changed forever.
I do all of this because I was you.
I have helped many smile again and experience joy despite their grief.
Life will never be the same but that doesn't mean that it can't be good.
You, me, us; together we can live life changed. We can do that through meaningful living in everyday grieving.
If you are ready to be guided to heal your matters of your heart, mind, body and soul as you mindfully recover in grief or if you are curious what mindful grieving looks like then click below and schedule your free 20 minute phone consultation to see what the next best step for you in your grief pathway can be.