The Science and Soul of Living Well

Containers for grief: Ritual, writing, nature, art & meaningful connection

March 12, 2021

In this week's episode, I had the deep honor of speaking with Rona Fernandez, a 2nd generation Filipino-American, about her grief journey and the death of her beloved daughter Naima. She highlighted ways that various "containers" can support our grief process (e.g., space, time, nature, ritual, writing, art, sharing memories, social media, meaningful support and connection). She also offered some specific examples of ways in which we can explore and cultivate our own containers, especially when existing structures are not in place or do not resonate with us. Rona reads an excerpt from her powerful writing, "The Ritual," and shares how holding space for grief is important for both individual and collective healing. We also talk about ways we can fully support one another in grief rather than bypassing or adding to the burden of each other's grief, including being mindful of "grief dumping" without permission, and finding ways to repair when we misattune or unintentionally hurt people who are grieving. Rona is an incredible light in the world whose work, writing, compassionate advocacy, and unbounded love for her daughter, Naima, continues to promote healing not just for bereaved parents, but for us all.

To connect more with Dr. Foynes:

  1. Check out the free 4-part video series on building resilience: https://melissafoynes.com/free-series

  2. 1:1 Coaching Program: https://melissafoynes.com/1-1-program

  3. Follow @drfoynes on Instagram.

More about Rona: Rona Fernandez (https://ronafernandez.com/) is a writer, dancer, fundraiser, activist, wife and #stillmother (a mother with no living children) who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her writing has appeared in publications such as The RumpusThe Colored LensDevilfish Review and the Grassroots Fundraising Journal, as well as the groundbreaking anthology What God is Honored Here: An Anthology on Miscarriage and Infant Loss, the first collection of writings by Native women and women of color on this topic. Rona is an alumna of the VONA/Voices workshop for writers of color, the Macondo Writers Workshop and the Tin House novel workshops. She is currently at work on a climate fiction novel set in the near future in California. You can find her on Twitter (https://twitter.com/ronagirl) and Medium(https://medium.com/@ronafernandez).

References & Additional Resources

  1. What God is Honored Here (https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/what-god-is-honored-here)

  2. At a Loss: Finding Your Way After Miscarriage, Stillbirth of Infant Death by Donna Rothert, PhD. She also has a blog (http://seeingthestrals.com/).

  3. Rona's web site (https://ronafernandez.com/) which includes her blog and some pieces about grief and baby loss

  4. Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss (https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tear-soup-pat-schwiebert/1101968561)

  5. Still Mothers web site (http://www.stillmothers.com/) and Facebook page. There are several Still Mothers (https://www.facebook.com/wearestillmothers/) support groups on Facebook that are only open to mothers with no living children.

Please note that the information provided in this episode does not constitute professional advice or therapy, mental health services, or health care services, and is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional advice or services. If you are struggling with a mental health crisis or need immediate assistance, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App