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Grief Liz Gauffreau Podcast TTT Poetry Remembering Season 4 Sonia Elwood Storytelling

Season 4 Episode 22: Elizabeth Gauffreau and Sonia Elwood on Grief Songs – A Family Remembers

Wilderness Tanka

snowy wilderness
cold winter sun, soaring trees
a small lone figure
for a time she stood fearless
my protector, my mother

Elizabeth Gauffreau from her book of poetry, Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance

Welcome to Tea. Toast. & Trivia.

Thank you for listening in.

I am your host, Rebecca Budd and I am looking forward to sharing this moment with you.

I am delighted that my dear friend, writer and poet, Elizabeth Gauffreau and I have come together to discuss her book of poetry, Grief Songs: Poems of Love and Remembrance.  I am equally thrilled that her daughter, Sonia Elwood, has joined the conversation to share insights gained from her creative journey.

Sonia is an avid reader who enjoys various types of writing as long as it is compelling and either provides an escape or invokes an emotional response. In her 18 years of experience as a training specialist, Sonia presents new materials and information in a way that tells a story to help learners understand new concepts.

We are bringing together New Hampshire, California, and British Columbia to consider how storyteller through poetic words, offers a way to express grief and celebrate memories of loved ones who have gone on before us.

I invite you to put the kettle on and add to this conversation on Tea Toast and Trivia.

Thank you for joining Liz, Sonia, and me on Tea Toast & Trivia. Grief is a deeply personal experience, yet it is an experience all of us have in common.  Perhaps Winnie the Pooh says it best: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Thank you, Liz, and Sonia, for sharing your profound thoughts on how grieving is a way to honour those who have gone before. And for the reminder that celebrating the love we have received will sustain us and give courage to live with joy and expectation as we move forward in our timeline.

Listeners you can meet up with Liz on her website lizgauffreau.com, on Amazon and Goodreads. You are only an internet click away from a place where stories dwell.

Liz Gauffreau’s Book Reviews

Until next time, keep safe and be well.

Elizabeth Gauffreau & Sonia Elwood on Grief Songs – A Family Remembers Tea. Toast. & Trivia.

By Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

68 replies on “Season 4 Episode 22: Elizabeth Gauffreau and Sonia Elwood on Grief Songs – A Family Remembers”

This is wonderful. I love hearing Liz talking about Eliot’s Objective Correlative. And Prufrock. And such a pleasure to hear mother and daughter discussing with you. This is a podcast on a blog–love it!

Liked by 3 people

Thank you for listening and letting us know your thoughts, Luanne! The conversation was so special because Rebecca brought out thoughts Sonia and I had never expressed to each other before. Sonia and I continued the conversation after we finished recording the podcast. I will be forever grateful to Rebecca for this.

Liked by 3 people

A fascinating interview. I liked how Liz discussed Eliot and brought in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”. Grief is so unique to each individual and its manifestations are unpredictable.

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I agree wholeheartedly, Tim! We will all experience grief, but it seems that grief has variations, some subtle and others with more strength. I was honoured to have Liz and Sonia explore grieving and accepting within the context of poetry. Thank you for listening in and for your insightful comments.

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This interview was terrific. It’s enlightening to see how two generations accept the same grieving situation from different positions. Sonia made an excellent point about how humans can be judgmental about how someone grieves even though we understand that everyone grieves in different ways.

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I am delighted that you listened in, Pete. I agree wholeheartedly that grieving is like a variation of a theme of music. So many notes that come with different timing, dynamics and strength. I am honoured and Sonia and Liz joined me on TTT to discuss this profound topic. Your comments are very much appreciated.

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Oh, Liz… “if we could find the perfect words”! How right you are but in your poetry, you have! What a beautiful conversation and how lovely to hear mother and daughter. Thank you Rebecca for this unique conversation. Being an admirer of Liz’s poetry, this was a real treat.

Liked by 4 people

Many, many thanks for listening in and for your heartwarming comments. I share your admiration of Liz’s poetry. I was beyond thrilled that Sonia and Liz shared their insights on grief, remembrance, love and acceptance. Sending hugs!!!!

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There wasn’t a single line of conversation that didn’t resonate with me. I went to my copy of Grief Songs to rediscover ON THE PORCH in which you, Liz, adeptly convey a time you don’t remember. Looking at photographs, hearing them described by others, and the sensory experiences we actually do remember become the object correlatives of memory, even before they are committed in writing. We can recall certain sensations, since they are repeated throughout our childhood, but not a specific moment. For orphans/foster children, some photos and words can form precious, new ‘memories.’ “snowsuit swish” just floored me. So Liz, you really did find the right words to tell a story with a depth even you could not have anticipated. Thank you. 🙂

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Thank you, Mary Jo, for adding depth and breadth to this conversation. I am honoured that Liz and Sonia shared their insights and wisdom on TTT. When I look at my dad’s photos of times long past, and view great-grandparents never known, I hear the whispers of history. Their stories are lost to me, but their DNA is embedded in me. It is a reminder that we carry their stories simply by living. Sending many hugs along with my gratitude.

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I really like how you express this thought, Rebecca: “Their stories are lost to me, but their DNA is embedded in me. It is a reminder that we carry their stories simply by living.” Since I’ll never be able to tell all those stories (both the unknown and the known), it’s comforting to think that I carry them nonetheless by virtue of being alive.

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I feel privileged to have listened to this profound and ultimately uplifting conversation. The expression of the mother-daughter bond between Liz and Sonia was truly heart-warming, and I’m smiling with tears pricking my eyes as I reflect on the discussion and remember Liz’s wonderful book. The closing remarks about how technology brings the past into the present reminds me of how lucky we are to have access to each others’ stories at the click of a key. Now, today more than ever, I believe we all need to learn from one another and appreciate those who have gone before us. Thanks for bringing us together, Rebecca.

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Thank you Chris for listening in and for your insightful comments. I am honoured that Liz and Sonia shared their thoughts on the grieving process that allows us to celebrate even in the midst of deep sorrow. Your support and encouragement of this conversations are very much appreciated. I am delighted that we connected.

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Thank you Rebecca, Liz, and Sonia

Rebecca, you know I am a fan of poetry, and I love learning more about the poet’s motivation and the decision to use free verse or a specific format.

I can relate to: “Taking comfort in little moments” very much. It’s why I love stories.

I love the poems Sonia and Liz chose to read. I love hearing poets read their work. Then I know the meaning is perfect.

I also agree with those closing words. The ability for more people to share their stories is amazing and important.

Liked by 4 people

Thank you for listening in to this inspiring conversation, Dan. I share your love of storytelling and how we are encouraged when we encounter one. Your “Thursday Doors” series is a brilliant example of how people across the world features doors as an entryway to a story. I especially appreciated your final words: “The ability for more people to share their stories is amazing and important.” Liz’s collection of poetry in Grief Songs allowed me to explore my story through photos. One day I would love to enter the word of poetry.

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I am heading over to visit Colleen Chesebro. A few months ago you told me that I should explore poetry and Colleen had excellent ideas. But I must confess I feel that I will be jumping into the unknown.

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I loved Liz’s book. It was so personal and yet relatable to my own experiences. Her reasons for choosing the tanka as the form to express her feelings was so interesting. It’s a wonderful form, perfectly suited to capturing the emotion of the moment through pointed imagery. How interesting that her later experience of loss was different because she’d found a form to express her feelings.

Excellent discussion of grief too. I enjoyed getting both Liz’s and Sonia’s perspectives. As a retired grief counselor, I support all of their reflections on the process and what acceptance might look like. We all grieve differently and should honor and respect those differences. I also enjoyed the discussion of the role of storytelling and imagery (photos) in grief. A wonderful discussion between the three of you. Thank you!

Liked by 4 people

I am delighted that you listened in and joined the conversation. Liz and Sonia’s conversation inspired me to explore the idea of grief, loss, acceptance, and remembering. These concepts are intertwined – sometimes I feel them come together. For me, time is a factor in the grieving process as it acts as a catalyst for introducing new thought. This is something that I am reflecting upon in the coming weeks. I love our conversations, Diana. Thank you so much for connecting.

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Time is a big factor, Rebecca. My specialty was in working with grieving children and families. In my education about death and dying, I learned that grief is recurrent, it comes in waves are we grow and prepare for the next level of acceptance and understanding. This is most visible with children, but even for adults, our insights only appear when we’re ready for them, and that can take decades. It’s a powerful – and universal – experience that I think we need to talk about more. Thanks for doing so!

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Thank you to Liz, Sonya and Rebecca for this really worthwhile podcast. It is so good to hear from those with education, experience and caring hearts on a subject not often discussed–and words coming from a mother-daughter relationship! ! The grieving process is not usually or easily discussed. I am late in commenting on this very valuable podcast and have read the many useful and wise comments, I would like to add to the comment about communicating the subject of grief to children. There is no doubt that children experience grief in a deeper way than we do even as adults. We need to think of ways to communicate our love and care in their times of sadness! !

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I am so glad that you mentioned children, Frances. When I was 7 years old, a classmate died from, what I now know was, cancer. The principal came to our class and, together with our teacher, delivered this tragic news. The principal and teacher spent a long time with us as we processed the knowledge that we would no longer be able to see our friend again. I will always remember the kindness and respect that was shown by the adults that day. It has stayed with me all these years. So yes, I agree wholeheartedly that children need the compassionate guidance of adults as they experience loss. I believe that the principal and the teacher gave me the foundation upon which to understand grief.

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Losing a friend to cancer must be so hard for young children. Apart from the pain of loss, a death at that age goes against the natural order of things, which children still haven’t fully grasped.

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How well said, Liz! I am grateful that a principal and teacher cared deeply for their students. I am reminded by Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem: Childhood is the Kingdom Where Nobody Dies:

“Childhood is not from birth to a certain age and at a certain age
The child is grown, and puts away childish things.
Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies…”

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This was a deeply moving encounter! We all must face losing our loved ones, but we celebrate their lives and their legacy. Living our best lives, sharing the little everyday moments with those we love is so very important. Listening to this conversation, so many truths emerged. Our loved ones live within our hearts long after they are gone. By telling their stories, we keep the memories alive. We also allow the generations that follow to learn about the beloveds that preceded them. Since I recently lost my mother, this podcast was so very helpful; grief has many stages, and we must be patient with ourselves as we journey through it.

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I am delighted that you listened in and for your heartfelt comments, Linda. I agree – there are many stages of grief that accompany our journey, long after a loved one’s passing. Perhaps it is a reminder to live, to acknowledge that time is precious, that remembering is healing. There fleeting and poignant memories of my father that come at unexpected moments to take me back to the time we spent together. I especially appreciated your words, “our loved ones live within our hearts long after they are gone. By telling their stories, we keep the memories alive.”

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A brilliant, moving, and deep three-way conversation. Fascinating to hear about your family’s dynamics across three generations, Liz and Sonia — something that also makes us reflect on our own family dynamics across the generations. And, yes, grief is universal yet comes out differently in all of us. Thank you, Rebecca, for bringing us another memorable podcast.

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Thank you for listening in Dave and for your support and encouragement of this amazing conversations. I agree on the family dynamics. I found myself looking back on my experiences with loss and grieving. Grief Songs is a wonderful poetry collection. Liz’s first tanka sets the stage for what is to come:

“clearing out the house
entering forbidden rooms
hidden photographs
baby picture never seen
her pride in me now showing.”

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As one who is also living through grief, I was tuned right into this wonderful discussion with Liz and her daughter. I appreciated touching on the subject of anticipatory grief – knowing a loved one’s time is nearing. Grief changes us for sure, and the more we loved. the more we will grieve. I will get to Liz’s book. And i have been busy writing my own stories of grief. Also, I’d like to add that the stages of grief don’t always fall in any sort of order. Each person’s grief is individual to the love they shared with that lost person. It’s been just over a year for me since I lost the love of my life and am still far from acceptance. Thanks for this wonderful discussion Rebecca. Liz and Sonia. ❤

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My dear friend, Debby, many thanks for listening in and for adding depth and meaning to this conversation. I agree – stages of grief cannot be simplified into an orderly system. Grieving is complex and leaves us forever changed by the experience of loss. I am looking forward to reading your thoughts and stories of grief. Sending many hugs your way.

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Thank you for listening, Debby. I’m glad the conversation resonated with you. I think you’re right about the stages of grief. Somehow, “acceptance” seems wrong in the context of grief. For me, the stages seem to be incapcitated and able to function.

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HI Rebecca and Liz, I visited and listed to this podcast on Friday, but I see my comment did not post. The power went off as I posted so when I didn’t see a response I knew it didn’t post. Anyhow, I thought this was a beautiful discussion between you, Liz, and her daughter, Sonia, and a lovely walk down memory late about Liz’s late mother. It was intriguing to hear Sonia talk about how she interpreted the poetry her mom wrote about her grandmother. Thank you for sharing.

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Thank you for listening in and for your heartwarming comments, Robbie. Grief Songs is a wonderful, enlightening and clarifying experience. I especially appreciated.Sonia’s idea of how acceptance evolves and strengthens us. I am honoured that Liz and Sonia shared their experiences.

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Hi Rebecca, I recall you writing similar words about acceptance on my post about seeking patience. You cannot gain patience without first reaching a state of acceptance. This is not something I am good at. I am always seeking to change the world.

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