In this week’s episodes, Taraji and Tracie discuss grief and loss after unexpected death. On Monday’s episode, rapper Asian Doll spoke about the loss of her ex-boyfriend King Von, and Obasi Jackson, shared how he is handling the unexpected death of his brother, rapper Pop Smoke.
On today’s episode therapist Sierra Hillsman walks Tracie and Taraji through the stages of grief and importance of forgiveness, and Taraji shares her own raw and emotional experience with handling the sudden death of her son’s father.
- Title: Shock Grief and How to Cope
- Description: Taraji suffers an emotional breakdown while sharing her story of working through the grief of suddenly losing her son’s father. Therapist Sierra Hillsman helps with tools on how to work through the grief of losing someone suddenly.
Some highlights from the episode include:
- 1:00 Therapist Sierra Hillsman on the five stages of grief:
- Tracie: “What is the hardest thing to deal with when you’ve lost someone suddenly?”
- Therapist Sierra Hillsman: “I think first would be conceptualizing the loss within itself. Usually with the stages of grief people deal with the first stage which is denial or shock, and so trying to figure out is this even real, did this even happen; and then after also cycling through the other stages like anger and bargaining. The bargaining stage looks like ‘If I would’ve done this they would still be here.’ Depression. Then entering into acceptance.”
- Tracie: “Is it the same, these five stages when we’re talking about sudden loss?”
- Therapist Sierra Hillsman: “Yes, sudden loss vs anticipatory grief where you can prepare for it. Yes, you can still feel the same level of impact with both.”
- 1:55 Therapist Sierra Hillsman on the importance of forgiveness work:
- Tracie: “Are there any sort of tools you can share?”
- Therapist Sierra Hillsman: “Forgiveness work. Forgiving the individual because sometimes you may not have had the opportunity to have that closure. They die before I can even say my last words to you… Maybe if you may feel as though you’re at fault, so giving that forgiveness to yourself.”
- 2:25 Taraji on the struggles she had telling her son about the murder of his father:
- Taraji: “My son’s father was suddenly taken, murdered, when he was nine and I didn’t know how to tell him that. I couldn’t tell him he was murdered. So, I told him he died in an accident. Later on in life he found out and he came back to me and was like, ‘Why didn’t you tell me my daddy was murdered?’ And so, then we had to get therapy. So, if you have to break the news to a child, what advice would you tell them?”
- Therapist Sierra Hillsman: “I would definitely say use age-appropriate language explaining sometimes there are situations where people do evil things to other people. In this situation, somebody killed your father.”
- Taraji: “I didn’t have the balls. I didn’t. It wouldn’t come out. I hid it. ‘Cause I read the actual… it was in the paper. And I didn’t know how to tell him. He was stabbed to death; it was the worst way you could die. And I just didn’t have the words. I didn’t know how to tell a nine-year-old… that there was so much hate in the world that someone would do that. I tried to show him the happy side of life. I grew up in the hood and I wanted to keep that from him. I just didn’t have the words, and we suffered later for it.”
- 4:02 Taraji on her guilt as a parent:
- Taraji: “I have so much guilt because I wish I would have known what I know now because I would’ve handled things differently. Maybe we wouldn’t have struggled so much. That’s why I go so hard for mental health because we don’t know and we think when our kids are acting out, we go ‘Oh they’re just being a teenager’ but most times there’s really something wrong, but because we don’t know we don’t talk about it. I don’t want us to not know, to not save our children. That is the guilt I have as a parent. We all have those things as a parent where I could’ve done this better and that haunts me.”
- Therapist Sierra Hillsman: “It’s important for you to not blame yourself for something that you did not have at that time.”
- Taraji: “I know that now. I know that. I’m not as hard on myself but I still carry that. I’m good some days and then some days if my son is struggling with something I go, ‘It’s your fault.’ If you didn’t …that’s just the guilt a parent carries. It’s not that I consider myself a bad parent, you know… I’m a Virgo too. That’s still a struggle for me and that’s something I’m constantly talking to my therapist about… Children don’t come with manuals, humans don’t and relationships dont. So, you just learn as you go and you try to do the best you can. But every parent feels like that.”
- 7:04 Taraji reflects on their conversations with Asian Doll and Obasi:
- Taraji: “I’m just proud of these babies – Asian Doll and Obasi’s for their vulnerability. You know what’s something I found interesting? Within Asian Doll’s grief she found she had to cut some people off. When you’re healing you hear different… and you’ll see that grief hits. I don’t care what color you are; I don’t care how much money you have. Grief is very real. Rage – I still have rage I’m dealing with.”
NEXT WEEK, Taraji and Tracie will speak with Amaurie Johnson and Jay Pharoah about the toll that police brutality takes on mental health.