"Grief cracks us open to explore places in our hearts that we didn’t know we needed to look at. It makes you more resilient, stronger - it prepares you for the next step.” - Erin Garay
Erin Garay, is a speaker, Minister of Consolation, reiki master, author of Angel Birthdays and Healing Grief 2 Minutes at a Time and most importantly, a mom who wanted something different for her grieving children. Erin uses her unique combination of healing training to help our Facebook community members heal through small tangible activities. Each week, she recommend a simple, doable way to heal their grief.
"We must take action to heal. Even the smallest step begins to heal us."
In her own words:
"After my mom passed away 8 years ago, I couldn’t find the right life-giving positive message I wanted to share with my grieving children. So, I decided I needed to bring that message to life through my children’s book entitled, Angel Birthdays. Angel Birthdaysrepositions the way we heal from the loss of a loved one and allows us to celebrate a life well-lived. We need simple, tangible ways to heal. Angel Birthdays provides those simple activities to heal as a family and as an individual. It heals the child in all of us.”
What does grief mean to you? Why do you think we feel grief?
"Grief is a life catalyst. I believe we change in ways we never knew possible, or expected, as a result of our grief. Ultimately, we find ourselves in a more resilient and stronger place, more prepared for whatever is supposed to come next in our life. We take on the strength of what we’ve overcome and survived and use that very strength to help, give back and serve others. We help others the most in the space where we have been hurt the most. "
"All of our pain has purpose. Pain makes us stronger, more resilient, more appreciative, more grateful, more alive.”
Why a birthday party? What is it that you think makes an Angel Birthday special?
"An Angel Birthday party gives families a chance to celebrate a life well-lived. It gives families, children and the child in all of us tangible ways to begin to heal our hearts after losing a loved one. Choosing the colors of the balloons, the flavor of the cake, the type of frosting and the items to place in the memory box all give individuals a feeling of control over something during a time that often feels very out of control.
Angel Birthdays has given us all a phrase to use with our children and everyone around us. The phrase Angel Birthdays is Facebook friendly and is easier for people to process. It makes grief a little more approachable and a little less daunting.
Angel Birthdays provides a unique launching point to open up the conversation on grief. This repositioning is a welcomed start to bringing grief into the light and helping people to feel that they no longer have to hide this life experience that we all encounter."
What does grieving mean to you? Do you think we ever fully grieve?
I believe we grieve through every life change. We certainly grieve the death of a loved one, but we also grieve the life we had before we were wounded by the ending of a relationship, baffled by a changing friendship, exhausted from caring for aging relatives or disappointed by a diagnosed illness. Once we recognize that what we are feeling is grief in these moments, we can begin to be kinder to ourselves, a little gentler, and give ourselves the space, time and energy we need to heal. Angel Birthdays has provided a ritual for this healing that allows us to heal as a group while also healing individually.
"We must love ourselves enough to heal. Heal ourselves enough to thrive. We never fully grieve, we change so much, we find a new way, a new you."