38: How to find joy after suffering. Kate Merrick on the loss of a child, grief, faith & presence
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Today’s beautiful soul mamma believes in the “in between moments that make up our lives” and the power of being present enough to really live them. Kate Merrick is a mama who has had to face what she calls “hello love” and “goodbye love” straight in the eye. It is the “good bye love” that rocked her and her family’s world in 2013 just when she thought everything was normal and “business as usual”.
I know Kate from one of our favorite local surf spots, and her energy, authenticity, humility and natural beauty are magnetic. It’s hard to imagine her going through something as unimaginable as she did only a few years ago. In 2013 Kate and her family said goodbye to her 8 year-old daughter Daisy Love who lost her battle from cancer after a three painful years of fighting.
The incredible thing about Kate, who has a multitude of layers to her story including a passion for living off of the grid, health & the power of presence is that she inspires others through the transparency of sharing her own painful journey through grief. Kate explains that on the other side of grief there is a light & you can continue a joyful life even after something so awful occurs. Even if you feel you have lost your faith, humor or hope.
A few years ago Kate amazingly went on to write her book “Still She Laughs: To Find Joy in the Depths of Suffering”, which is not only beautifully written and raw, but also inspires others going through deep loss to move forward with their lives with grace and hope. Kate has also gone on to write about presence and the power of detaching from technology through her latest book: “Here, Now”. After speaking to her in our pre-interview chat, you can truly feel how passionate she is about the subject & how it applies to parenting.
If you’ve met Kate and her larger than life, husband Britt, you can see why people from all walks of life gravitate to them and their church in Carpinteria California. In addition to being a writer, she also has an eighteen year old son and a toddler and will be speaking to us about the nuances of such an age gap. Today, she is going to share about her passion for present parenting, her faith, her family, and why she chose to homeschool. This mama literally lives from the heart in everything she does as you will hear in the episode.
[10:23] Kate talks about being married to Britt for 21 years and how “real life”, death, hardship, and poverty, for example, have made them actually closer. She stresses the significance of how they always stayed on the same team.
[13:51] Even in the depths of their suffering when their daughter was sick with cancer, Kate and her husband were able to lift each other up when each of them felt down.
[16:32] Statistics show that over 90 percent of couples divorce or breakup after a hardship like the loss of a child.
[21:27] Grief is a really intimate process. Kate says not everyone walks to talk about it to others. Honor everyone’s process.
[31:31] The moment she realized she didn’t want to be on social media anymore.
[34:48] All of our days are numbered. Why not spend it doing what we love?
[38:50] Kate tries to look at specifically what’s right in FRONT of her.
[40:30] Going “off the grid” has helped Kate really feel joy for life and realize that the little things DO matter.
“All of our days are numbered, death was staring us right in the face, so how do I want to spend my time? Do I want to spend it online? Do I want to spend it crafting a reputation for myself?”
“If you get a little girl in your life and she dies eight years later, you want to make sure you spend those eight years well.”
“It’s too distracting to have this (social media) here all the time. And so what if we just cut it off?”
“You could sit and watch someone live their life on your phone or you could live your life, so what are you going to choose?”
“That’s one of the hardest things about parenting-holding your ground. Don’t be afraid of your kids mamas! You know more than they do!”