In this episode Blair Kaplan Venables and Alana Kaplan dive into what triggers their grief and some of their triggers may surprise you.

Trigger Warning: The Resilience Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult. The listener’s discretion is advised.

About the Guest:

Alana Kaplan is a compassionate mental health professional based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She’s a child and family therapist at a Winnipeg-based community agency, and a yoga teacher. Fueled by advocacy, Alana is known for standing up and speaking out for others. Passionate about de-stigmatizing and normalizing mental health, Alana brings her experience to The Resilience Project team, navigating the role one’s mental health plays into telling their story.

Engaging in self-care and growth is what keeps her going and her love for reading, travel, and personal relationships helps foster that. When she’s not working, Alana can often be found on walks, at the yoga studio, or playing with any animal that she comes across.

Transcript
Blair Kaplan Venables:

trigger warning, the Resilience Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult, the listeners discretion is advised.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Hello friends, welcome to radical resilience, a weekly show where I Blair Kaplan Venables have inspirational conversations with people who have survived life's most challenging times. We all have the ability to be resilient and bounce forward from a difficult experience. And these conversations prove just that get ready to dive into these life changing moments while strengthening your resilience muscle and getting raw and real.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Welcome back to a another episode of radical resilience. It's me, Blair Kaplan Venables, and I'm here with my sister. Hi, Alana.

Alana Kaplan:

Hello, hello.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Alana Kaplan, the woman the myth, the legend. She is back from popular demand. But also you know what? I love what Alanna comes on this podcast because not only is she my sister, but she also co wrote the radical Resilience Project book with me. It is a project I started that she came on board. It became a family affair. And yeah, I love when she's on this podcast. So here we are. We were talking about like, what should we talk about? Because there's so many things. And I had a crazy dream last night and woke up this morning thinking about it. And I'll talk about that in a second. But that gave me the idea of what we can talk about. And that idea that topic is grief triggers, grief triggers. Alana, what is a grief trigger.

Alana Kaplan:

I think it's what it sounds like, in that you. You're going about your day doing whatever it is something happens and you're triggered and a wave of grief appears it could be something little, it could be something big. But really everyone is prone to it. When we were discussing what we should talk about and grief triggers, I told Blair I would make a list. And it's pretty random. And we'll we'll go through it. But things as big as world events trigger me things as little as food trigger me. So

Blair Kaplan Venables:reach out who've lost parents:Alana Kaplan:

Yeah, interesting.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

I want to know about you because you know, like you had so when mum passed away, I was having dreams where she was coming to hang out and you were having dreams that she was like dying and waking up and not like real like Not realizing that she died.

Alana Kaplan:

Yeah. And now it's the opposite. Now I'm having dreams where she's, I mean, she's not coming to hang out. She's just in the dream and alive. And I find that triggering too, because then I have to wake up and remember that she's not alive. So it's interesting that you're now experiencing that part of it, and I'm experiencing the other part of it.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Keep it last night Atlanta, you'd really like this. So the dream last night, I can't even put it into words because that's a dream. But part of it was because mom died. You came to live with me and I had this like, huge penthouse. Like, penthouse apartment. And I was just like, Are you staying with me? Are you living with me? Because I need to rent this room out. You're like I'm living with you. So in my dream, although mum died, Alanna, you came to live with me in this like penthouse apartment. Where? Where was it? I have no idea. I think it was Vancouver. Like I think it was like Vancouver near Stanley Park. But like, in its own weird way. But yeah, I mean, so in, you know, in my dreams when she's my mom Mom is dying or has just died or having to relive packing up Waterloo, we are Waterloo home or Taylor, even our home before Waterloo. I find that extremely traumatic, like extremely traumatic. So I wake up and I usually work out and I have a bath and then a journal about it. And I try and write it and like maybe if I write it or like get out of my system, but anyways, that's something I'm working on. But in my like, wake awake life. I don't find I find when I have something that that reminds me of mom or dad, or my or zeta or anyone that's passed by to receive Andy, Heather, where you said a lot of people die. You know, I feel like comfort. I feel comfort. But when I'm watching TV, and there's like a mother daughter relationship or a daughter, father daughter relationship and like their clothes or like even on social media, when like I see like the Kardashians and Kris Jenner posting and like, I get like, I get sad. Like, I'll never have that mom became a momager. My mom, our mom became a momager. She came with me to a speaking engagement than the world shut down. But I was so excited to have her come to that event, and have her come be it more like working engagements for me and helped me with that. But I'll never have that. So that's like, that's kind of what does it for me is when I see it on social media. But that's that's the big one for me is the dreams and the social media and the TV.

Alana Kaplan:

Interesting. For me, it's literally anything and everything. How

Blair Kaplan Venables:

about go through your list, go through your list.

Alana Kaplan:

So this is in no particular order. The first degree of trigger was the queen dying, and not because I'm particularly sad about it or experiencing the grief, just because she lived to 96. And both of our parents didn't make it out of their 60s. So part of me is like, why? Like I can I can understand why her family is grieving her. And like I guess like she's momentous in some ways. I mean, there's a lot to be said about the Queen and I'm not going to go into it right now. But I got triggered, not even in a sad way in a more like anger, it's not fair way. Because she was 96 she exceeded her life like 96 years old. I think it's fantastic that she was able to live that long and fantastic for her family. But seeing people like who've never even really met her or really impacted by her in any way, like putting these tributes online triggered me. So I was the first one. And I was pretty open about it on social media. So if you follow me there, Atlanta cap you would have seen that. Okay, you get pretty random so one of them was the dreams. I'm not going to go through that again because we just talked about it. This one is pretty random. And I think I was having a gravy week last week. But on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. The ladies were bullying satin. And for some reason that just made me really really sad. And then that made me miss mom and I have no idea what the correlation is like I understand Lisa lost her mom again leaves her when his mom lived until her 90s had a great life. Of course it's sad for Lisa So maybe there was that but I was just like when they started to bully sudden I was like crying. So that was a bit random. The change of seasons especially The summer to fall, not because I'm like sad summer is ending I'm usually ready for fall. But usually it's like the mark of something new. It's kind of like the New Year, the Jewish holidays. The Jewish New Year tend to be at the beginning of fall. So I just got really Griffey around that time I noticed it last year let's

Blair Kaplan Venables:

because you spend a lot I think we have because Rosh HaShana, and this time of year like it's very big in our family. Like this is kind of like our version of Christmas, Passover and Rosh Hashanah. And usually you would come in and spend it with mom and it's important holiday for you.

Alana Kaplan:

Yeah, yeah, really. Exactly. And so then another one. I mean, actually last year on Rosh Hashanah was when our dad went to Riverview. I remember listening to a service at my uncle's because I flew in and got a call from her and being like, okay Riverview called, do you want to come and bring your dad there. So I think there's like a double meaning there. Okay, now it's getting really random, just want to. So every time I buy something, not only groceries, but if I like buy like new clothes or something more than I would have spent on something, I would seek out that validation from my mum. And with the change of seasons, I tend to buy things. And so I've been feeling sad every time I click Confirm payment.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

I feel it tick tock coming on.

Alana Kaplan:

So that one that one's been pretty, pretty present. When I don't feel well, which I think is a common, a common one that probably a lot of people can relate to just that like I mean, I wish I had my mom to text telling her I had a headache. Even if I was in a different city. It just felt better telling her salmon, like the food because so her mom had a cup. Our mom wasn't like the biggest cook like she had a few things in her repertoire. It was a certain type of chicken like a chili chicken soup. She loved making soups, and then salmon. And last weekend I got these like pre made salmon things that all I had to do is put in the oven. And I got really sad while eating it because it made me miss mom. The Saturday paper. So I recently started getting the Winnipeg Free Press on Saturdays. Essentially, because I had this whole someone tried to like steal my account information and add a new bank card. And then payments didn't go through. And so then they called me and I was like, oh, maybe I'll just get the Saturday instead of just the online subscription, which I had. And so when I look at my tables on Saturdays, just like Blair, I don't know if you remember Saturday's the kitchen or the dining room table. It was like papers and flyers and notes on the flyers and all of that. So yeah,

Blair Kaplan Venables:

she would like take apart the paper and like sometimes she would like rip out the horoscope and open up the comics

Alana Kaplan:

said in the comments, guys. So anytime. Yeah. So every Saturday when I'm like reading the paper, I'm thinking a lot about mom. And then the last one are like Facebook boomers. So what I mean by that is, mom, so I didn't really have mom on Facebook until like the day before she died. Yeah, until the day before she died because she was always the type of person to be like, Oh, why do you post that? What's that about? And it was just a lot. But she would always talk about these like, community Facebook groups. And right now the community I live in, is experiencing lots of like break ins in people's garages. And remember, I remember mom, once talking about a group it was like smash windows club of blank. I'm not going to say what neighborhood I live in.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Did you join it?

Alana Kaplan:

I did enjoy. Oh, it was the same neighborhood. And so because of what's been going on in our neighborhood recently there's been a lot more activity and just seeing the way that the older generation uses Facebook It reminds me a lot of mom and the way she explained how she used Facebook. So those are the things that have been triggering me in the past two weeks, like Will it trigger me in the next two weeks? Maybe we'll have something else. Very likely. Yeah. But triggers aren't I don't think are always a bad thing. No, a bad thing at all.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

I could just say true sometimes triggers a memory sometimes it's like profound sadness. Yeah, it can't stop crying. And then sometimes it's like, it just like triggers a memory and you feel like, Oh, I miss my dad or my mom.

Alana Kaplan:

Yeah, like the Facebook boomers. It's like, I'm sad, but it's more like I miss I miss mom. And I wish I would have like, seen if she would write what she would write in that group.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Can I tell you Okay, so, mom, and I watched Grace and Frankie Simon, like, like, parallel play. Like, I'd watch it in BC and she'd watch it. And I have one episode left. And it's like the last one they're not making anymore and like I haven't watched yet. And I think like, it's probably going to be sad, but like, also sad because it was a show we watched together. So I'm saving it. I don't know when I'm saving it for but the other thing I have. So we Shane and I camp, and we have like little property. And we have some that comes to mow the lawn. And it's a two acre property. So they sit on a riding lawnmower. And they I guess it usually happens when we're not there. But we were there this weekend. And okay, so that's what we did. But sidebar, our dad had an electric scooter that like his roommate called a motorcycle. Every so often our dad like he was like very eccentric. Like randomly if he didn't know like what to say. He'd be like Georgia steel fast. I can go on my scooter. And then he'd like scoot away really fast. A lot. Did you remember that? After mom died? He like was scooting around really fast?

Alana Kaplan:

I don't know. We met him outside because it was COVID. And yeah,

Blair Kaplan Venables:

he's so he scooted reuse, he was scooting really fast. But this so this person came on the ride riding lawnmower. And they were going so fast in circles around the property because they were mowing, like from the outside to the inside. I literally was having flashbacks to dad and I felt like it triggered me like it made me really miss him because this lady was motoring like and it was a similar like jolty motion of the electric scooter. And high speed and so like stuff like that, like randomly like for me there's nothing consistent.

Alana Kaplan:

Yeah, with you're actually making me remember another one. So I was reading this book called this time tomorrow. And it's a novel and and Blair, I sent you that picture. Yeah, the page. And so essentially, within this book, in one iteration of it, the main character has a dad named Leonard who's in the hospital. Leonard is our dad's name. And he's in this excerpt In this excerpt he was talking about the Philippines. And our dad had a fascination with the Philippines

Blair Kaplan Venables:

and like potentially, like 10 or 15 Girlfriends there.

Alana Kaplan:

Yeah. And like would talk off and about wanting to go to the Philippines relocate there. So when I read that book, I thought I read that excerpt and put it down. And it took me about a week to get back to that book, because it was too real for me. Yeah.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

And like, you know, Dad died. Like it's September. Dad died in February. And like, we haven't even started dealing with his affairs yet, because we're still dealing with our mom's affairs. And like, as soon as we start dealing with all that, it just like, opens this whole can of grief. Maybe that's what those dreams are coming. It's like, okay, you need to deal with this. And maybe the death dreams will stop. So like, like, there's like real life stuff that happens that like is in your control that you have to deal with when someone dies trigger. There's a stuff that you can't control, like randomly reading a page in a book about a man named Leonard in the hospital, who has a fascination with the Philippines, you know, and dreams and stuff like that. But you I think with grief triggers, you never know when they're going to come. You never know when they're going to come. You can't prepare for them. I mean, you could prepare when you think something might trigger you. But I mean, before we wrap up the line, like what is your like, because you're a social worker. And I'm wondering, like, if you have advice on like, when when someone feels triggered? What should they do?

Alana Kaplan:

i Oh, that's like I don't, it's hard because I'm in it right now. What I've been doing is just I let myself be triggered. I don't think suppressing the feeling is gonna make the situation any better. If you're a hasn't really happened to me where I'm in a place where I'm in public or at work and I'm extremely triggered. But if you are, I would say go take space and let yourself feel your feelings. I feel like I say that every time I'm on here and

Blair Kaplan Venables:

but like Yeah, feel your feelings. cuz like if you need to cry cry maybe it's a laugh. I think what's really helped me Alanna, I don't know, like, I don't think you're journaling as much as I am but really writing it out and like, just journaling, like writing it out helps me process it and understand it.

Alana Kaplan:

But yeah, that's definitely something that would be helpful, but also talking about it out loud. Again, I've said this before, I think people get really uncomfortable when it comes to grief and talking about the person who passed away or died. And I think having like if memories come up, if you like, feeling comfortable to share them. So like I did today with the Saturday paper or the smashed Windows club, Facebook group.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Oh my gosh. And like, you know, Alanna, and I often like show Matt message me something and and then randomly, you know, we think your mom and she messages me and I do the same to her and I think it's okay to reach out. You don't need to keep it to yourself, like you know, find some of that you're comfortable with maybe you journal. There are also like grief therapists and counselors and grief support groups or there's organizations out there to support you like you don't have to go through all of this alone. You know, we're not taught really how to navigate this. And Alanna and I experienced like compound grief. And like I had a bit of like a late a couple extra layers of grief in there. With like, even the miscarriage but I think like, you know, life is full of these ups and downs, and that there are things you can do to help make those low points less hard. You know, you're listening to this podcast for a reason. You may be submitted your story to the global Resilience Project book for a reason, or you read the book or you found us online or you stumbled upon this podcast. I don't know what your reasons are. But like you don't have to go through hard stuff alone. You don't have to grieve alone. You don't have to navigate the hard stuff in life alone. You're not alone. And you know, maybe it's mean Alanna are just gonna help you through it. Who knows, but um, you know, just wrapping up this this episode, Alanna, do you have a you have something to say? Okay,

Alana Kaplan:

well, it's just interesting, because I think we're approaching or have approached the three year anniversary of me joining the global Resilience Project.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

What was the date and time? It was

Alana Kaplan:

I think, end of August. But we went, we went on that little adventure to camp and we're going back there and the end of next week and it's wild to think how different our lives are now. Yeah, where that first time we went.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

So Lana's talking it used to be called dovetail. But now it's called Camp tailwind, and it's for women entrepreneurs. So three years ago, Alana and I went there representing the global Resilience Project at the time, it was called I Am resilient. And I was speaking and I just came back from, I just came back from launching a product in Germany and had a concussion because I was in a car accident, because my grandfather died and I was on the way home from the funeral anyways, and shortly after this weekend, at summer camp, my husband had a heart attack and quadruple bypass surgery. So it is interesting, because we're going back together, I'm speaking again, I'm leading a workshop about how to strengthen your resilience muscle. If you're listening to this, and you're interested in coming to camp talent, please reach out to me, Blair at Blair kaplan.ca. I have a discount code. But you can hang out with me in Atlanta, they're live and I'm sure we're gonna have a lot of like great ideas for this podcast, because we're driving there together. We're spending the weekend together and we're driving back and I love that we're gonna get to do that again. And that yes, our life has changed so much. So many people have died. So many. So we've both moved to different cities. Our careers are completely different, like things are different. The book is out. Back then it was just an idea. I was like I'm working on this. So you know, I think it's really cool because it also feels like it was just yesterday even though it was three years ago and you know, originally the global Resilience Project started because our father was you know, diagnosed with terminal illness and we launched the project shortly before going to dovetail so you know, who would have thought this interesting turn of events would have led us down this path but here we are radical resilience. Blair Kaplan Venables with Alana Kaplan Alana. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us and me. I can't wait to have you on here more

Alana Kaplan:

Yeah, im excited to be on more

Blair Kaplan Venables:

A final final words

Alana Kaplan:

you know, there's no such thing as a silly grief trigger.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Yeah, there's no such thing as a silly grief trigger a man. Thanks for everyone for tuning in to another episode of radical resilience. We're out every Friday, there's a new episode dropping in your ears. So come listen and know that you are not alone. You are resilient.

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