The Unofficial Version of Mitch Carmody

Mitch-Carmody-

The first time I met Mitch Carmody was at a MEET AND GREET for those who had all “Friended” The Compassionate Friends / USA on Facebook.  We were all attending the annual National Conference in Arlington, 2010.   It was my first time at a TCF Conference…and my very first bereavement event at a National level.  I was a bit unnerved in this room filled with about 60 people with whom I shared the distinction of paying the highest dues ever to become part of an organization: The Death Of Our Child.

I remember, very well, seeing this “hippie appearing guy”, colorful bandana wrapped around his head, psychedelic sneakers, all bright colors and vibrancy, in stark comparison to my very somber and dull “just a year past my daughter’s death” demeanor and matching attire. He smiled a lot, but was genuine.  There was no masking behind his eyes.  I was intrigued.

As we did the “go around”, introducing ourselves and our children who no one could see, but who never leave us, I didn’t hear his name.  I was still very foggy, groggy, pretty newly bereaved.  I couldn’t say, then, that I was “glad to be at the conference”, because the word “GLAD”, among so many others, had died from my vocabulary, the same night that my daughter took her final earth breath….Being THERE was GOOD FOR ME; even necessary, as it turned out, to Begin my Survival, but experiencing “happy” emotion was, still, beyond my reach.

What I do remember about this “hippie-like guy” was him saying that it was Wonderful (how could a bereaved parent experience, “Wonderful”? I remember thinking) that we all had Facebook to find each other, to communicate with each other, to support each other, without ever having to leave home.  When his son had died, some twenty-two years before, there was an aloneness, a separateness, a struggle within the pain, without the instant support and caring of others who understood.  He spoke of how blessed we were to have THIS; to have each other.  He exuded warmth and sincerity.  And even though I knew from my own mom’s experience of continuing to live 64 years after the death of her first born, that we DO GO ON, I was amazed that here was this man; this FATHER, attending a TCF Conference, walking, talking, and even smiling and laughing, two decades after burying his only son.

I liked this guy, immediately.

But then, I have always been a sucker for facial hair and a person who isn’t afraid to stand out from the crowd.  Shades of him reminded me of The-Me-I-Used-To-Be ~ Alive, Colorful, Vibrant.

I was surprised the next day when I walked into a workshop

WHISPERS OF LOVE  ~ SIGNS OF OUR CHILDREN

To find this bereaved dad, whose name was listed in the program as Mitch Carmody, Kelly’s Dad, as The Presenter.   The workshop was held in the largest auditorium space and was overflowing.

I felt the connection between us grew, as I listened to him speak about SPIRIT SIGNS, something that I not only deeply believed in, but had experienced, greatly, first hand.  At the end of the workshop, Mitch was surrounded by dozens of people wishing to meet him, talk to him, share their experiences, and I was no exception.  He patiently made time for everyone.  He seemed not only intrigued  by a couple of the stories that I shared, but exhilarated by hearing them…..
my personal relationship with Mitch Carmody had begun!

There are some people in life whom I feel we are destined to meet; who maybe on some little understood spiritual level, have been placed in our path at exactly the right and needed time.   Mitch is one of those individuals for me.   Knowing him, being with him, is like a loving embrace for the soul.  At that first conference for me, Mitch was present when I received an touching spirit sign from Robyn.  I know that every time he sees a robin, now, he is connected to me and to My Girl.

It was BECAUSE of Mitch, through Mitch, that I met his “Bother From Another Mother”, Alan Pedersen…and while that is ANOTHER story, it is a Connected Story.  Had I not “accidentally and coincidentally” walked into a workshop where Mitch was doing interpretive sign to music in a SONGS OF SORROW workshop, my life could very easily be in a much darker place now.  Alan and Mitch, together, opened a lighter window in my heart that had darkened.

I can pinpoint about 5 people, other than my unbelievable rock of a husband, and my son, who not only helped me to keep walking, talking and taking Baby Steps at the beginning of My Grief over Robyn, but who influenced me in depths of Intentional Survival-ship that I did not even understand at the time.   Mtch is at the top of that list.♥

Mitch and Bettie frame

ProActively Grieving Helps Heart and Mind !

View pdf Flyer- OK for Reprinting

Turning Loss Into Legacy
Greetings My Compassionate Families

If you have ever felt overwhelming grief and wondered
HOW
IF
WHY
YOU WOULD WANT TO MAKE IT THROUGH TO EVEN  ONE MORE DAY
Then Attending
A DAY WITH MITCH AND ALAN
is a Gentle Gift to Give Yourself

The Event is being hosted by our TCF East Of The River CT Chapter
16 February 2013
Baymont Inn and Suites
20 Taylor Street  Manchester, CT

There is a cut off day of early bird-registration by midnight February 5
to receive special fees
Full and Partial Scholarships are available

Bettie Mitch Alan

I KNOW Mitch and Alan.
They have become my friends and Mitch is actually a member of our Advisory Board ~ the only non-Connecticut person who we invited to our Board.

Each of these men are amazing in their separate workshops, but together, their energy is so strong, so powerful, so profoundly deep that you will be promised a day that will impact you in ways that you can not yet imagine.

Their friendship forged through the loss of their children, Kelly and Ashley.

Mitch is also a bereaved sibling, having experienced the death of his twin sister who left the earth in a horrific car accident.

Mitch and Alan live what they bring to their guests in the gathering.

You can trust these dads.
They “get” deep loss.
They live it…..
AND they CAN HELP YOU.

This event is NOT  only for those who have lost a child, grandchild or sibling, but for anyone dealing with grief and loss in life.

Bring yourself.
Bring a Friend.
But GO.

Do This for yourself.

PROActive Grieving:  A Day with Mitch and Alan is a combination of Alan’s powerful music and Mitch’s incredible art wrapped around love, laughter, healing and provocative dialogue.

Sending hugs to all,

~Bettie-Jeanne,

Forever RobyApril’s Mom

ProActive Grieving~a Gift to Give Yourself ~ A DAY WITH MITCH AND ALAN

At first the word PROActive scared me.
Would being Proactive in Grief mean pushing aside the deep emotion
after the death of my beloved daughter;
to pretend to myself and the world that it never happened?

Would Being Proactive in Grief mean not allowing the sadness
that is I know is completely appropriate
when my first born is encased in a pendant around my neck;
an  urn upon a table,
instead of sitting next to me, holding my hand?

Robbie collage baby
I was not ready to give up the pain of Robyn’s loss…
and when I first heard the words
PROACTIVE GRIEVING
I was afraid that such a workshop was going to “push” me to disconnect from her…
to no longer feel what is natural to experience after the death of my RobynApril.

But then I attended my first
PROActive Grieving
A Day With Mitch and Alan
workshops.

It wasn’t about Forgetting
or learning techniques and tools to Push Away Grief.
It was about Learning Tools To Take Love and Memories
and rebuild A Life using them as a Foundation,
As Glue;
As What Could Help to Hold Me Together,
Instead Of Tear Me Apart.

Bereaved Dads and Grief Specialists,
Mitch Carmody and Alan Pedersen
have reached inside their own souls,
after having been turning inside out after the deaths of their own beloved children,
and not only found a way TO SURVIVE, but a way to
Turn the Loss Into Legacy….
To build on the love of their children
and become
Intentional Survivors of Living
instead of Collateral victims of their deaths.

I know that this is what Robbie wants for me…
and I know that she is behind me reaching this in my own Ready Time.
Being part of my first
Day With Mitch and Alan
allowed me to store what I needed
and prepare, taking the baby steps that I was ready for,
to begin a return to living,
not only in Robbie’s honor,
but in my own.

If you have ever felt overwhelming grief and wondered
HOW
IF
WHY
YOU WOULD WANT TO
MAKE IT THROUGH TO EVEN  ONE MORE DAY
Then Give yourself A Gentle Gift.

Join our TCF East Of The River CT Chapter
February 16, 2013
as we host

A DAY WITH MITCH AND ALAN

Find Love
Within Yourself
Within Your Loved One
Within Life, Again.  ♥

What Is PROActive Grieving ~ A Day With Mitch And Alan

Kelly's DadRobynApril's Mom Ashley's Dad Not Just For As Long As They  Lived, But For As Long As We Do

Kelly’s Dad
RobynApril’s Mom
Ashley’s Dad
Not Just For As Long As They Lived,
But For As Long As We Do