Maintaining a Relationship with Your Loved One After Loss

Curious how your relationship with your loved one will continue after loss? It obviously looks much different, but it most certainly hasn’t ended. 

Creating meaningful connections between you and your person will help cushion this transition of your relationship with them. 

How do you stay connected? In today’s episode, guest host, Korinn S Hawkins, shares her story about a gift her husband left behind, different ways relationships can look and feel like after loss, as well as how to maintain them.  

If you are enjoying the podcast and you know others that would benefit from the Now What? Podcast, please take a few minutes to rate and review the episode in Apple Podcasts (or anywhere you are listening to the show today). Click here to learn how to enter for your chance to win one of five $50 Amazon gift cards that I will be giving away in celebration of the Now What? Podcast launch! Winners for the Giveaway will be notified via email the first week of March 2022.

What you’ll learn from this Episode:

  • Becoming aware of our loved one’s absence and presence in our lives.
  • Different ways relationships can look and feel like after loss. 
  • How to maintain those relationships.
  • Guidance for reconnecting to find forgiveness and healing.

Featured on the Show: NOTE : Links are all updated



Welcome to the now what podcast episode two. How to maintain a relationship with your loved one after loss. You're listening to the now what podcast a podcast for women healing from loss that will provide you with practical ways to overcome challenges you are facing as you navigate the aftermath of loss. If you're ready to get unstuck and move forward with confidence on your journey, then this is the podcast for you. It is possible to start loving the life you're living after loss. And here is your guide, post certified life coach and widowed mom, Aaron Henty.


Hey there and welcome back to another episode of the podcast. As much as I know you'd love to hear from me in every single episode. I'm so excited to be introducing a special guests on the show today. If it wasn't for this individual's encouragement a couple months ago, this podcast may have never kicked off. So stick around long enough and you may just be able to catch our guest hosting on future episodes. On today's episode, we'll be diving into what maintaining a relationship with your loved one after loss means for you, because our connection with their loved one hasn't ended when they leave this earth. It is only just begun. So without further ado, welcome to the podcast author, founder of moms in meditation and fellow widowed mom, Corinne s. Hawkins. I feel so official. Thanks for being here today, Corinne.


Oh, thanks, Erin. It's great to join you.


I am so glad you're here. I just have to say Corinne that I've truly enjoyed getting to know you. And I really admire you so much. And after you shared your story with me, what, six months ago, I'm just in awe of how early on really, truly you were in your grief journey, and found the healing from different modalities throughout your journey. Let's just get real here for a moment, though, because while some of us, I think we can make grief look quote unquote, easy. I know you've got a long history with grief. So can you just take a few moments here to share with the audience a little bit about your own personal journey through grief? Since this is your first appearance on the podcast?


Absolutely. Erin, so my husband, Cory, he passed away about 20 months ago, in April of 2020. And that was devastating. Prior to that, though, yes, you are correct. I am not new to the grief journey. My mom passed away when I was 21. And 2001. She was 52. And I had long battle with cancer. That also was devastating. But the relationships were different. It's just been interesting to see how losing a parent is different from losing a spouse. One of the things that I can credit to my mom, is that she helped me to lay the foundation of understanding what an ongoing connection could be, which really benefited me in entering into this new journey as a wife still.


Let's talk about mom for just a moment. I know that's not why we're here today. But I think we can glean so much from our previous experiences and things that we've been through in life. What was that like for you like younger version of Corinne, as you navigated your journey through the grief and loss of your mom?


Well, I was 21 I had Corey, we were in a relationship. So I had somebody I had him there to cry on his shoulder for him to hold me. So I had that support that I needed in a companion, which cushioned the blow. But being a young woman losing your mom becoming motherless at any age is hard, but just really starting my journey into adulthood. And really not even being launched into the world yet. It was it was very challenging. I do have a great family and one of the things that I noticed was as Time moved on, we became closer those bonds got stronger.


What would you say you would attribute to that closeness that you developed with your family over time?


Staying connected.


Perfect transition Corinne I love that. So yes, staying connected and as we continue throughout this episode, today we're going to be diving into the connection and the relationship We continue with our husbands after a loss, and it can look very different for different people. Let's go ahead and dive right in here. Now that we've gotten to know a little bit more about you, I know there are some, there was a specific topic, primarily like this connection that we can maintain and form with our loved ones. And when our loved one is gone, quote, unquote, what we focus on in their absence can truly determine the outcome of release of our relationship with them. Honestly, I feel like for me, I can either become consumed by the gaping presence of Andy's absence in my life and others that I have lost. And that's totally understandable. Or I can choose, as you and I both know, over time, to form an even deeper connection with our loved one. And the relationship we choose to have with them as we move forward. So Corinne, I talked about this topic all day. But I wanted you to share what you'd specifically like to focus on during our time together today.


I love that you mentioned two different focuses of having an awareness of the gaping hole, and also having an awareness of a continued presence. There's room for both. And both are important. So I'm very honored to be able to share today, a couple things that have been just really profound. And letting me know that Corey is still around, we had a fabulous relationship, we were partners like in sync, we were opposites, but we got each other and we're just such a great team. So as you know, the shock of losing your other half is just completely unravels you in so many ways that I can put into words, you know, and one of the things that immediately started happening, or that I started to think about in the moments are the days and the hours after him passing. Was that, where does this leave us? What is our relationship now? What am I to him? Am I still has curl? Does he still look at me the same way? We don't know what it's like to be dead. We don't know, like how our perception shifts, like if we totally, you know, get, like, don't see people in the same way. So that was like a big concern for me. I never had any doubt in us in our marriage and our relationship we'd been together for 22 years, we would have been married for 16, two children, we were solid. But in his death that just shattered at all. I questioned, what are we? How are we still together? How do we do this? Who am I to you? Who am I to Corey? That really was hard. And it was the first week of just so many emotions. But that was a constant, one of just feeling so unsettled. And so I grew up in Michigan, I live in Wisconsin, I have a couple of really great best friends from high school, that they were kind enough to just step in, and let me know their presence was there. And they sent me a gift of a piece of framed word art. And they told me it was coming. So to watch out for it. So on the day that I got it, brought it in and open up the package, and I'm reading what it says, and it says I choose you. And I'll keep choosing you over and over and over. without pause in a heartbeat. I'll keep choosing you. And as I was reading that, I was sad, like I am no and thinking why would they send this. Like why this is something is some like something that you would give to somebody who had just gotten married, and are just sharing their journey together. And here my love was he had just passed like I just didn't understand like, why, why they would send this to me. And then I actually noticed the return slip in the box. And I looked at it. And on the receipt it said framed Word Art, the Lord's Prayer and I was like wait a minute. This is not the Lord's Prayer. So I took a picture send it to my friends said thank you so much for your gift. This is what I got. But Did you mean to send me Me the Lord's Prayer. And they both replied, Oh my gosh, you know, that's not what we sent. Yes. It's supposed to be the Lord's Prayer and just, I even get chills now talking about it. It's just that in that moment when it was confirmed that it wasn't them sending it, I knew that was Cory in the way that he could be present. And the way that things could be orchestrated to show me like, stop doubting, you're still my girl. I still love you. We're still in this together.


Yeah, I choose you over and over and over again. Oh, my goodness. Okay. Just so everybody knows it's okay. For my guest to cry on the podcast. We are, we are getting real. And I'm so choked up, right. I told you not to share this with me until the episode because I was like, I knew I wanted to. I wanted to feel it in this moment. And yeah, I'm, there is no doubt in my mind that that didn't come from him. So share more. share more with us.


Yes. So that was like a light switch. Like from that moment on, I had no doubt I knew there had been other things that had happened, you know, within that week that I knew he was around. But I needed that solid confirmation, like, how do you see me now? And the state that you were in? Am I still your girl? Are we still a pair? And yes, like, and we still are, you know, and that sounds maybe kind of weird to say, but that's where I am, I'm still in a relationship with my husband. And it looks different. And I wish that it didn't have to, but it's, you know, your husband is an important person. And that doesn't change with death. And so having a continued relationship is so important.


And it can look, feel or sound different for every single person. So I say that, because I've heard from many widows, they expect their experience to be the same as someone else's. And I've personally felt connected through dreams with my own husband in our relationship now. Like, I've had pretty interesting dreams. tell you I'm like, What in the world is this? Trying to tell me here? And actually, I've had multiple people who I'm not close with, reach out to me, and share experiences where Andy came to them in their dreams to give me a message. Yes. Because he knew I wouldn't listen. I'm stubborn. I'm like, Yeah, this wasn't for me. I'm like, I don't know. But that is only one way. And sometimes people see physical signs that their loved one is close by. And I think that's beautiful. Whether it's a cardinal in the tree definitely comes and visits me when I'm having my hardest days. One time, I was starting the grill for the first time going outside to cook for my kids. I was having such a hard day. And I'm standing there at the grill and all sudden I hear a bird fly up in the trees and I look up and sure enough, my husband's favorite baseball team was the Cardinals. So the fact that he is showing up as a cardinal on a regular basis is no joke. And he's it sat there I say he, I'm sure it was him. It sat there, though, for what at least 20 minutes, the whole time I was grilling, I kind of bounced around on different branches. But it never left me it just watched and observed. And at one point, I just looked up at this burden. I was like, Why are you stalking me right now? Like, what do you what do you want from me? What am I supposed to hear right now. I also felt the comfort of just knowing that he was by me. So I think we need to pay attention. We were going to talk about self awareness a little bit today. But I truly believe that we need to pay attention to like how our loved ones are communicating with us just as much as how we choose to communicate with them. Right?


Absolutely. Yeah. And I can I can say that. Yes, there's like, four different ways that we receive communication by just being human. We receive it physically, as you said, with different signs, Cardinal showing up. That's amazing. And we receive it emotionally. Sometimes we might just have that overwhelming sense of peace or calm that we can't access that level on our own. And don't doubt when stuff like that happens, like trust that that's your loved one, and a spiritual embrace that peace and calm that can just overtake you. Also, mentally, we can have thoughts that pop up in our head, we can have moments where we might hear what they might say in a situation or imagine it. And spiritually, we're always connected. And you can trust this in your heart that love does go on, in those many multi dimensions of how we can receive communication and connection. And it's the hardest, what is going to know, for you, Aaron, I love how you tact about kind of flipping into your head, like landed on your heart and you knew, but then flipping into your head and questioning is this, you know, like, what is going on here. But it's really the heart that knows the intelligence of the heart, is what you can take comfort in, when your mind comes in. And doubts, like, you know that that's a normal part of being human. But don't let it take away from you the experience that your heart knows that you're having,


yes, I love that. Don't let it take away from the experience that your heart knows it's happening. And that is something that I share with other women on a regular basis. Like widows in my my group tap into what you know, to be true like for yourself for you. Just because someone else doubts just because someone else experiences something differently. Just because someone else may say you should or shouldn't be doing things in a certain way. When we start to overthink, and I know this for myself, because I do it all the time. But I have to kind of go back through a mental process to reconnect with myself, right? And just be like, okay, hand on the heart, take a deep breath. What do I know here? What do we choose to believe, like in whatever we choose to believe that as we step forward on this journey is valid. And it's important. And often times we don't share our experiences and what we're going through, because we fear what other people may think, or say, just know that this is a safe place with Corrine and I here to be able to share your stories. Tell us what's coming up for you. And let us know how you are maintaining a connection with your loved one, I'm going to drop a link in the show notes below. And send us your story. I would love to hear from you. And if you'd be interested in the future and coming on and sharing that story. I'll be reviewing those on a regular basis, and may choose you to come on and join us for an episode. But let's go back here for just a moment because I don't want to leave anybody hanging, right? What if someone says, I just don't know how or what to do in order to create that relationship with my loved one? Because let's be honest, not everyone had a good relationship, or may have had a complicated relationship with their spouse before they passed. So what advice if any, would you give to those listening and how they can truly reconnect and form the relationship that they've always they've ultimately desired between them? And their late husband? Hmm,


wow. That is a fabulous question. And I love just listening to your talk. You're so wise. Yeah. And I think it's good for me to kind of put into perspective because I, I did have a good relationship. But I get it like that. And we had our bombs as everybody does in a marriage. But to put it into perspective, what the word that came up for me when you were saying that last bit was forgiveness, if it's not, was not a good relationship. Or if there were things left, unsaid and done things discovered post death that were shocking when we seek forgiveness and we seek repair in any relationship. It has to come from having a two sided communication. That's just the nature of relationship. You give in you receive you speak and you listen, let doesn't change with that. So my number one tactic for keeping an open is to take the step to communicate and whether You've had some things left unresolved, you have some things that need forgiveness, you just really miss your person and want to hear them, you want to feel them, you want to know they're around, you taking the step to open up towards them, allows that openness and the relationship so that they can then open into you lean into you communicate back to you into a space that is open, that you will be able to receive. And as far as forgiveness goes, sometimes it's good just to gripe and say, and I've done this with Cory, you know, like, I'm pissed off at you. This is what we're dealing with, this is my hang up about your sudden death. Like, it's, these are normal things. Like, it doesn't matter how deep your love was, there is probably likely something that is unresolved. So just talk to them out loud in your mind, on paper, write it down. It's healing for you to express yourself and your grief. And then just letting it be out there. So that they too, can be a part of this process with you than just being open to listen for the reply. Whether it comes in a song and award somebody else's to and finding a lucky penny. And you know, what, whatever way.


I love that. So at the beginning, I mentioned, there's a few different things like if you're looking for how you are already communicating, or ways in which you can communicate differently, or expand on how you're already communicate whatever the case is. I want you to ask yourself, what do you hear? When you imagine your loved ones still talking to you? Because I can hear Andy's laugh. And when I say something dumb, or I do something completely ridiculous, like I can hear him laughing. So what do you hear? What do you see in the world around you I faced with my kids every day, who look an awful lot like him, which can be painful for some. But for me, it brings him so much closer to me. But I also see the unique parts of them that are different, and that are growing, and that are still moving forward after the loss of Andy which is beautiful. And then also what do you feel. And when you said, stepping into or stepping towards your loved one it in I maybe rewording it slightly differently. But I imagine what I feel even just thinking about Andy and us having this conversation, I get those goosebumps all over me. And I can feel him like wrapping his arms around me really, he would like stand behind me and snuggle up real close and whisper in my ear. And so for those of you who are kind of going through this process, really think about what you're hearing, you're seeing you're feeling and stay open. It's not always going to look the same way feel the same way. And thinking about senses in general. You know, for some of us, for me early on, I would even just put on an oversized shirt or something he'd wear regularly. And I would take in the smell, which brought him right back in to the present moment with me, which was so beautiful. So whatever way it is for you like, that's okay. But start exploring that and discovering it. So I love that we you gave them that permission to do that. Yeah,


yeah. Well, one of the things that I started doing with quarter two, so we had went on a family trip to exp before he got admitted into the hospital. And in the airport, I found a book It Was Love is patient. Love is kind of Christian marriage devotional. And I had got it for him and I to read together. Well, I think we got two weeks in. And then he went to the hospital. And that was the end of the book with him here. But what I decided to do, and his physical absence was to keep reading the book with him. I don't do it every week. I save her up when I pick it up. But I will read a chapter to him and I and then I sit with him. And I sit in that space of connection as if he were with me. And there's questions in the back that I asked them and I asked it of myself and I write down what my responses and then I asked it of him and I write down what I hear of his response what I would imagine he would say and that has really helped to open up that chain of communication, as well of having a concrete practice of when I sit and I read this book it is with Corey. We are together in the space where our hearts can be joined in the spiritual sense.


That is so beautiful. Thank you so much for joining today. I'm so glad you talked me into getting this podcast started. For those of you who want to hear more from Corinne, and about her and the work she does, you can visit That's If you haven't done so already, please subscribe to the podcast today. So you can catch all the future episodes as we navigate now what in the aftermath of loss thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedules to show up for yourself today. And on next week's episode, you'll hear one widow story and how she personally navigated life after loss and some advice she give for someone a little further behind on her journey. It is such an honor to be on this journey with you. Until next time, I'm wishing you all the best


if you've enjoyed today's podcast and want to design a life you truly love after loss, I invite you to join my becoming new coaching program. It's a program for women healing from loss where I can personally help you get unstuck and moving forward with confidence. If you're asking yourself, what do I do now? And don't wait another minute to get started and go to www dot Erynn linked in the show notes below to schedule your FREE 30 minute breakthrough session today. I look forward to uncovering what's next for you on your journey.

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