How does a teenager process their grief at the age of 15? Just ask Selina. In this episode, kiddow (aka kid of a widow), Selina Hente shares her journey through teenage life, the loss of her father, and the end of her sports after a traumatic brain injury. How she’s learned to process what she now faces as a 22 year old and helpful advice for grieving parents who want to know how to support their kids.
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What you’ll learn from this Episode:
- The struggles some teens face and how Selina navigated them.
- Understanding how grief impacts teens.
- Finding hope and healing through therapy.
- Advice Selina gives for those facing a similar loss.
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Now What Episode 4Erin Hente:
Welcome to episode four of the now what podcast. 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's your guide, post certified life coach and widowed mom, Aaron hanting. Hey there, and thanks for listening to another episode of the podcast. If you're tuning in for the first time, I am your host to the podcast, Aaron Henty on this very special kiddo episode today. I am so excited to be interviewing my oldest child Selena, welcome to the show. Selena.Selina Hente:
Hi. Thank you for having me.Erin Hente:
I am so glad you agreed to be here today. So why don't you tell everyone a little bit about you and where you're at now, and just something you'd like them to know.Selina Hente:
My name is Selena. I am 22 years old. I'm currently going to school for personal training and nutrition. The main thing I'm really just focusing on right now is just getting through school. SoErin Hente:
what are some of your most favorite things to do?Selina Hente:
Well, I love to travel. But that's not like an everyday thing. I'm excited to go to Mexico again. So yeah, I honestly I just love the ocean. So anytime we go on trips, it's amazing. So I feel like I'm supposed to be by the ocean. So whenever we go to those places, I feel completely at peace and happy. That is my happy place. Other than that, one thing I do is work out. Not just because I'm going to school for that, but just because it's a good positive outlet for me. I've learned over the years and I kinda used to develop more healthy coping skills. It helps me stay structured. And it helps me feel better about myself mentally and physically. I work out as a form of expression for myself, instead of just doing it for a reward. If that makes sense,Erin Hente:
I am pausing because I'm trying to imagine what that would look like for me. Selena and her younger sister Lila have been going to the gym quite regularly and I'm excited to see them go.Selina Hente:
I've been taking her so that we can start building a closer bond because she's getting older. And it's weird to think like she's in high school now because I was just in high school. And yeah, time's going by really quick. So I keep trying to find things that I can do with Lila and do with Austin individually, but also together. So last week, we went sledding when you weren't feeling good. And that was really fun. And Milo's now like she's like, Oh, I hope it snows because I want to go sledding again. Like you know what, I kind of do too. So I don't even like the snow.Erin Hente:
Before we jump into the heavy stuff. Today, you're gonna be a personal trainer. And this has been a long journey for you since you lost your dad and I know you really want to help other people. What do you want to help them with most once you become a personal trainer? Who you help? Who are you helping? Are you people out there.Selina Hente:
Um, I just want to help people feel better about who they are as a person and feeling confident in their own skin. Because, for me, I started feeling the pressure of feeling like I had to look a certain way or act a certain way like when I was super young. And so it kind of affected me growing up in school with always feeling the need to have to be a certain type of way. But what I've learned is that while at least for right now, I definitely feel a lot better about myself than I ever have. Just because of how I feel mentally and physically. Not necessarily just like how I look but like how I feel. And the different types of thoughts I've been working on the past few years has definitely started helping me because I tend to let negativity, overrule my life and negative thoughts affect how I feel and how I treat other people. So I've been Working really hard lately on trying to not let those thoughts and emotions like affect how I treat other people?Erin Hente:
Oh, that's good. Okay, so let's go back to the pressure. You mentioned a minute ago, the pressure that you felt when you were younger? Where do you feel like that pressure came from?Selina Hente:
I've always wanted to be the best at whatever I do. I've always been competitive, no matter, literally, whatever it is. But I always noticed, especially with other girls, I was very aware of like, my body and I just at a young age, I started comparing myself to others about just the way I looked, or how I didn't look or what was how you should look. And all all of the things that come along with being in school.Erin Hente:
Yeah, those comparisons. So when you start comparing yourself to others, what were some of those thoughts that maybe even creep back in today, when you're getting on social media and seeing the world out there looking like perfection, when we all know everyone's a disaster, right. SoSelina Hente:
I immediately get judgmental towards myself more so than them. Because this world we live in nowadays has this ideal of a perfect complexion, or perfect body image, or perfect, whatever it may be. And all of these people following along, jumping on to it, or like, this is the idea of this perfect person and what you're supposed to look like or how you're supposed to dress, or how you're supposed to act or how you're supposed to talk or, or whatever it may be. And so for me, I had to actually delete all my social media, except for Facebook, just because every time I was getting on to social media, I was immediately going like, oh, this girl has this and millions of people love it. So this must be like, how I should start doing things so that I can get people to like me. But I think that I don't really care about all the attention from people and what is going to draw people to like me, I think more. So I'm just trying to retrain my brain on how to not immediately compare someone else's body to my body, because everybody was made that the way that they were and the way that they're supposed to be made. And so I've been trying to figure out how to embrace myself, because, like, I mean, you can't change the way you were made, and you can't fight genetics, but you can do a lot of things to make yourself feel better about who you are. And so that's one thing I've really been working on that's been really, really challenging. Like, I'm in lots of therapy, different types of therapy, just to help the way that I think about things and how I used to think about things and how I can fix them, and incorrect those thoughts. So I don't continue to bash on myself when I feel that someone else looks better than I do, or whatever. Sure, maybe.Erin Hente:
So this is interesting. We're gonna go back in time for just a moment because you haven't always sought out therapy. And so let's take a journey in time. That to 15 year old Selena, when your dadSelina Hente:
passed away at that point in my life was already tricky, because right before that, I had got my first concussion in soccer, that was really bad, which led to me not being able to play the rest of the season. So I was already dealing with losing a passion. And everything I had been training for, for a very long time. So I didn't know how to deal with myself. And I think right before he passed away was when I started like dabbling into drinking and I tried smoking for the first time. I think it was more so because I had so much free time. And I immediately just like lost myself because if I didn't have sports, I didn't know what I wanted to do. And so I started hanging out with the wrong people here and they're like occasion, and then I'm like, so when he did pass away, that was honestly the worst day of my life. Probably yeah, definitely still is the worst day of my life.Erin Hente:
Love was most helpful to you in those moments followingSelina Hente:
the support system that I had, because immediately following after the news, I completely broke down and felt like I was dying, just because everything I ever knew was just gone. And life slapped me in the face. And I had to wake up like, he's not just gonna come back later, this is really happening, this is something you really have to go through. And I think that was really hard for me to understand the concept of he actually is never going to be able to come back physically. And so I just felt like, distraught for weeks after that, and I felt completely lost. I still don't really know how to deal with it, except for therapy.Erin Hente:
Yeah, when you look back now, what would you say to your 15 year old self? Who is going through intense grief?Selina Hente:
Good question. It's not going to be easy, but it will be okay. Eventually.Erin Hente:
I love the advice you just gave yourself. When you say it's a it'll get better over time? How did you know that it was getting better over time.Selina Hente:
It's not necessarily it just gets better and you feel better, and it doesn't affect you. It's more so like, instead of coping in bad ways, or unhealthy ways that are just destructive for your body, you learn how to embrace the little things more in life, and just enjoy the time. And the people you have right here right now. Because a lot of the time like, I used to just be in my own world. And then kind of after everything happened, I realized how absorbed I was into social media and friends and sports and everything else. And then after everything happened, when he passed away, I was like, oh my god, I could have been spending all this time on other things, rather than just sitting in my room isolating and being a teenager, because obviously you don't know when people are gonna pass away. I feel that was hard for me was like, okay, I can never make up the time that I had. But I learned how to not use that against myself and make me feel even worse, because you're just a kid. Yeah.Erin Hente:
And that's okay. I think until we experience these things in life, we sort of live with this veil that is covering our eyes, and then we go through it, and then it's lifted. And you're like, wow, I could have done a lot of things differently. Welcome to being a full grown adult. But you know, I do also believe that everything kind of happens exactly the way it needs to in order for you to be the person you are today. I should have done this sooner in episode, but what do you remember about being 15 and that period of your life leading up to when your dadSelina Hente:
died when I was 15 years old, I wasn't anticipating my dad dying going into my sophomore year of high school. So it changed everything completely for me, but right prior to him passing away was when I had my concussion and soccer and so I kind of had to stop all my sports due to my head injury. But what I remember is that even when I couldn't play we had already paid for our trip to Florida for my soccer team. And so even though I wasn't playing you guys mutually decided between yourselves which one of you was going to come with me and it ended up being held and it was nice having him there even though I wasn't able to play because I always really enjoyed when he came to my games because obviously I enjoyed when you came and supported me all the time. But it even though I couldn't play he was still there which meant a lot to me. I can't remember if this is like one day in or two days when the layout in Florida but I had ended up tripping and falling and getting into a car door before us after a soccer game. And he wasn't at the game, but I just remember calling him immediately. As soon as I hit my head and I was crying really bad and I'm just like I need you like because I realized like I hit my head but I didn't realize I hit it that hard and then as soon as like I sat down It was in excruciating pain. And I felt like I needed to go to the hospital. Luckily, a girl on my team, one of her moms was a nurse. So she had like a whole kit pack of medicine and like stuff that she could use to kind of like, help me. So we got back to the hotel, and he met me in the lobby, and they walked me up to the room. And then he stayed with me until I fell asleep. I don't know, I just remember him taking care of me be grateful for for that trip. I'm grateful. Because I was able to go to the beach one day with alone, I'm not with my team or anything. And we were there for like, literally five or 10 minutes. And we're sitting there on the beach, and he took a picture of me, wood. And then out of nowhere, it looks like it's about to start pouring. And then in a second, it started like, seriously down pouring really bad. And we had to legitimately like sprint all the way because it was raining that hard. But it was just, you know, it was funny, because we were there to relax and enjoy ourselves. And then we literally got five minutes and it started down for him. But it was just that idea that we got to go do something by ourselves like that, because I never got to go on a necessarily like a trip like that. With him alone. I feel like going on the beach. That was like a special moment because I love the ocean. And it was really nice. Just being able to have that time.Erin Hente:
I know there's going to be people watching the episode, and they want to know how they can support their kids. And with this episode, I want you to be able to share some of the things that have been most helpful for you. So tell me about a time where you felt supported by others on your journey, who have experienced lossSelina Hente:
after everything had happened, I feel like we all were kind of in this chaotic, like messy depressive state where we just didn't know what to do or how to act or what to say. But I feel like when we got the opportunity to go to this grief camp, I was not on board with it at all, I thought it was really stupid, I did not think that I would like it at all. And that it was just not for me. But once we got there, it honestly really started to open things up for me to understand there are a lot of people who are going through similar things as me and that they understand. And that it's normal to feel the way that we feel. But one thing I like about that campus because it was more more of a family bonding experiment in a way more so than when being around people your age, who understand. So that's what I liked about it. I honestly think that that helped us I don't know girl a little bit closer together. As a family during that point in time. Just think the we we did a lot of circles. And like we had to share a lot of things like we didn't want to share. And some of it was really heavy stuff. And the fact like we all sat like in a circle like adults, children, whatever. And really, like explained what happened, it was just so crazy that there's so many people experiencing the same trauma, but having each other to get through it was what, you know, I've always wanted to be able to like grow closer through what happened. Because, you know, even when dad was here, the only thing he ever really wanted was for everyone to get along. And I'm the same way. But it's easier said than done. So it's a lot of the time, I'm just like, quick to argue and get upset. And I don't really know how to deal with my emotions. But I feel that the more we do things together as a family and the more that we really we do talk about things like we do start to get closer. So I feel like that's something though that just takes a lot of time. For sure.Erin Hente:
And Lisa long way to go, right? Like this is a journey. It's not a sprint. I wish we could snap our fingers and make it all happen. Who's been a significant person for you in your life that has supported you throughout your journey.Selina Hente:
Well really it's just like you and grandma and Austin and Lila because no matter like what I've done or how I've acted or what I've cause to you guys or other people like, you've never disowned me or shut me out or not accepted me, you've always just tried to, like, be there and help in the best ways you can even if I didn't want it, and I'd say that has really helped me feel loved and supported. Because I feel like if I didn't have you pushing me to be better, and you making me go to treatment, when I needed it and doing certain things I didn't want to do, like I wouldn't have opened up to getting better. And I wouldn't have heard some of the things I needed to hear by the providers I've worked with in the past, in order to like, put myself where I am now, I think it took a lot at stake is taken a lot of like, hours of therapy, and a lot of crying and a lot of trauma work to really feel okay with where I am right now. And I feel like that wouldn't have been possible without you, because I wouldn't have made myself do those things. And so now that like I'm older, it's It feels weird not to go to therapy. And it feels like weird not to do certain things. So I started implementing that back into my life where I do go to therapy regularly, and I am in groups, and I am doing things like I kind of used to have to do, but now I decided to do them on my own. Because I know that it's benefiting me in ways that I can't even explain, it just takes time. And so I'm trying to do all the all the things you tried to make me do but by myself now so that I can just set myself up. So I'm not 20 years older than I am now still trying to process through certain things and not know how to.Erin Hente:
So let's talk about that for just a moment. You've come a long way, and you've done a lot of work. Even if you feel like you may have been resistant to it in the beginning. I've heard you say things that you've learned along the way, and actually started doing them. But tell me what was the pivotal moment that everything just clicked into place, and you wanted it for yourself?Selina Hente:
Well, I mean, it kind of comes down to how I feel about myself when I'm alone. And I just really want to feel whole and love myself, which I feel like I've always struggled with and I've never really accepted myself, in order for myself to be happy, I feel like there's certain things that I have to do for myself, even if I don't really want to necessarily do them that will over time just helped me in ways like I don't even know. And I, I've always done things better when I'm doing them for myself, I think not other people because it's like, when you want it for yourself, I found the very persistent person, I'm very determined person. So whenever I want something done, I want it done. And I try to find every way to get it done. Just like if I wanted to go out with my friends when I was younger, I would literally try every other way to be able to do that in order. So I could do that. And so now I kind of just like retrained my brain and like positive ways to do that for myself. Because no one can make me like you can't you can't make me like pass my test for school. Like I have to want to do that. I have to want to like want something better for myself. And like we've talked about that before. And it's not that I don't I sometimes I feel very stuck. But But I do know that I want to keep progressing. And the only way to keep progressing is to keep doing things to to make me better. And one of those things is just staying on top of what I want. Because I want to be successful and I want to be happy and I want to be in a good place. And I don't want to struggle and I don't want to feel depressed and I don't want the all these other things. And knowing that it's like okay, well now I know that what are things I can do in my life that are slowly going to change and stop that behavior and those thoughts or whatever it is in order to have what you want.Erin Hente:
If there's one thing that you want kids to know, to help them through their journey through grief, what would you want them to know Selena?Selina Hente:
That they're not alone and in it It's okay to tell people how you really feel because it's okay to not be okay. And if you hide and say you're okay, like, you're just going to keep it in, and it's just going to come out in all the wrong ways. And I think I've seen that working through things as they come has been more beneficial to me than ever lately. Because as I experienced, like trauma or a problem, I'm trying to do the things I need to do in order to help me because I know that it will help of just because of like prior experience, but it's not easy, and it sucks. And I honestly just take it, hour by hour, minute by minute, because every minute you could feel different. But I think one thing is not trying to cover up how you feel and just be honest with yourself more so than other people because you can tell people you're okay. But like, if you look in the mirror and you tell yourself, you're okay, but you're like crying and you're not okay, like, obviously, there's something that's going on, that you need, you need to like figure it out, but it's not for other people, it's for yourself, because if you're trying to put on this idea that everything is okay, but you're really hurting on the inside, you're, you're always just going, you're gonna hurt until you you don't want to hurt anymore. And I think that's the point like I'm at, like, I just I have no energy to hurt anymore. Obviously, you're gonna go through things no matter what in life. But every time there's a new thing, I'm learning how to deal with it and more healthy ways. Instead of going back and using the bad coping mechanisms that I did in the past, if I work on it now in the moment, then it will help me in the future. So that's kind of like what I've been doing. And yeah, that's a long spiel. So I think that's important. Yeah, sorry. Good. No, I was just saying like, yeah, like, just, it's, it's not for anybody else. It's just it's for yourself, and it sucks and it hurts. And there's a lot of tears and a lot of pain and a lot of like, a lot of shitty stuff to get to all the all the good things, but turning to the people who love you the most is honestly going to be the most helpful thing because pushing them away is only going to make you feel more empty on the inside.Erin Hente:
Thank you so much for sharing so much for being here today. I know that wasn't easy to share. And just to recap, for a moment, Selena had mentioned a few things, you're not alone. It's okay to not be okay. And to take things one moment at a time, until allow yourself to feel you need to feel so you can continue to get to the good stuff in life. For those of you that would like to learn more about our journey, what we've been up to here in our hente house, please visit www dot Eron hindi.com. If you haven't done so already, please subscribe to the podcast today. So you can catch future episodes with my kids and some of the other special guests that we have where we navigate now what in the aftermath of loss. So thank you so much for taking time out of your busy lives to show up for yourself today. It is such an honor to be on this journey with you and 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 it 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 Aaron hinting.com 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.