Name: Anne-Marie Lockmyer
Book Title: When Their World Stops: The Essential Guide to TRULY Helping Anyone in Grief
Your book’s Amazon purchase link:
What is your book about?
Have a grieving friend and don’t know what to say or do? No more fear, or walking on eggshells. This book will equip the reader to: understand what they are experiencing and feeling, say the right things and avoid saying the wrong things, be supportive with appropriate actions and gifts, encourage them during the holidays, write a lovely message in a sympathy card, and so much more. Tips are general as well as specific to the loss. Included is a special reminder list for the first year of grief. This simple-to-read, practical book will give you all you need to take the awkwardness out of grief.
What inspired you to write your book?
The sudden death of my husband 4 years ago. After he died, I observed and experienced how inadequately equipped people were to help or understand those of us who are grieving. They were fearful and awkward.
Can you describe your writing process?
I first thought it should be a guide, since I didn’t think there would be a lot of content. I started taking notes and writing lists as they came to mind. I interviewed people who had lost loved ones of all kinds (baby, child, spouse, parent, sibling) and in all sorts of ways (sudden death, illness, suicide, accident, murder, miscarriage, long-term illness, etc). I took all the notes, lists, and interviews and went away for a week by myself. I thought, wrote, and edited and then thought, wrote, and edited again and again, attempting to make it crisp and concise. I then worked with an editor to assure that the writing was professional, appropriate, and exactly how I wanted it.
How did you come to do what you’re doing today?
Because of my understanding of the grieving experience and the book, people naturally reached out to me for help as the one who is grieving or the one who cares about a person grieving. I seem to be able to connect with grieving people and reassure them that they are not crazy and the feelings they are having are normal—even when everyone around them says they should be over it by now. I can help walk them through decisions and give words and understanding to their feelings.
Those who care about a grieving person come to me for understanding and guidance on how to walk through this with their loved one or what family or friends can do to help. They learn that this journey doesn’t last for a few months, but a long, long time. They have no idea as to what to do, so I can even help them get a game plan for an entire year or more.
I wanted to take my understanding of grief and loss to another level, so I became a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist. Experiencing the grief recovery method allowed me, after 4 years, to finally recover and experience healing in my own grief. I received more enlightenment from that program than 4 years of therapy. It completely changed me and finally got me “unstuck” from my grief. People easily get stuck in their loss.
I now offer 8-week grief recovery method classes, as well as private, individual 7-week grief recovery sessions. I want people to experience the same healing I have had. We have been told many myths about how to handle grief. Grief recovery does not just deal with grief from a death, but grief from a loss of any kind—divorce, financial, business, etc.
I also have the opportunity to speak and educate on grief—to churches, funeral homes/mortuaries, business owners and human resources (as grief is very costly for businesses), professionals who serve or work with widowed clients, grief support groups, end-of-life classes, and more.
Can you describe a typical day in your life?
It depends on what day it is. There is never a typical day. Usually, I work a day or two a week at my other job as director for an entrepreneur and business academy at a local private high school. I love that job and can do much of it from home. It allows me to share my business skills and knowledge with the young minds of today. They walk with me through my own small business experience.
The majority of my time currently is focused on gearing up and putting everything in place to really market my book. It has had a great response, good reviews, and won an award, but I haven’t had a chance to really get it out there. So now I am gearing up my sites, networking, working with groups and organizations for bulk purchases, partnering with them, or providing educating opportunities to assist them.
I am learning new things every day as this business grows. This is a new language to me, so I am often figuring things out as I go, which can be quite time-consuming, and at times, frustrating. I spend a lot of time daily on the phone and computer communicating with people who want my help. Depending on the day, I may have a group class or some individual sessions via Skype, phone, or in person.
You can be sure that every day, there will be at least a few minutes where I stop for a nice cup of tea!
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
Giving people in pain some hope and encouragement.
Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?
Probably Joseph in the Bible. He was thrown into a pit by his brothers and left to die, thrown in jail for no reason and accused unjustly, yet those are exactly the situations that led him to be able to save Egypt when the terrible famine came. He used continual events of adversity and which seemed unbelievably bad to touch others and help them. These are situations he wouldn’t have chosen, just like I wouldn’t have chosen my circumstances. But they happened. They were awful. I thought my life was over, but I went on and I decided to try to use my pain to give hope and encouragement to others. While it is not on the scale of saving a civilization from starving, I hope that I can give hope to as many people as possible who are hurting. That is why my company is called Comfort for the Hurting. If I hadn’t been in the situation of losing my husband, there is no way I could understand what I do now. I had to go through it. It’s rather like the “bloom where you are planted” mentality.
Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you?
That not only is grief my cause, but mental illness is as well, as I have an adult son who has struggled with mental illness since he was 16. That’s another area of pain I now understand. I have been humbled beyond belief.
That most of the times I looked happy and smiled in the first couple of years after my husband’s death, my heart was broken, I was barely surviving, and I wanted to die. I tell people that “Just because someone is smiling doesn’t mean they are okay.” People who have experienced great loss can be Academy-Award-winning actors!
On a lighter note, I have a new love in my life and it isn’t a man. It’s a city—Paris! It soothes my soul to be there. I cannot explain it but it refreshes me; I am excited when I know I will be going and I cherish every moment there. It’s probably a lot less complicated than a man!
What’s next for you?
Discovering more opportunities to help others, I hope. I have some great grief products designed but not in production yet, so I hope to get that moving. I will be doing research and in-depth interviews with grieving people and grief organizations to learn more about how we can help and what else a person should know about them. I am open to anything! Every day is a new day and who knows what it holds.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Pain is real. But so is HOPE!
Thank you for letting me share.