top of page
  • kristin7325

From Nurse to Positive Change & Grief Specialist, Shelley F. Knight

Transcript from The Second Chapter podcast, featuring Shelley F. Knight

Kristin 00:00

Hi, Shelley! thanks for joining me today.

Shelley 00:02

Thank you so much for having me.

Kristin 00:04

I'm really excited to chat with you about the various stages of your career that that, interestingly takes a very not positive in many people's minds topic and turns it around to a very positive thing. But as I said in the intro, you started out in nursing. So I'd love to hear a little bit about kind of how you got into that, and what kind of nursing you did.

Shelley 00:22

So once upon a time, back in my teenage years, which is a decades ago, now decades, I did nursery nursing. So that's looking after children, and I loved it at the time, and I still have children now got four of our own, but I wanted a little bit more. So I went into adult nursing and I loved it. I was mature student that went travelling first, they kind of get all their travel bugs out of the way.

Kristin 00:43

I don't know if you can actually get Trump out of the way. Personally, I think they're gonna stop me my entire life.

Shelley 00:48

But no, I think the four children's put an entry as well. It's just like too much hard work. Okay. I went into nursing, but I'll be honest, I didn't have to do nursing or criminology.

Kristin 01:00

I can't skip that. That's, that's really interesting. So in my mind, two very different things. Yeah. Why was there a split between those two things,

Shelley 01:07

I find the human mind fascinating, absolutely fascinating. And I'm sure for all the years that I live, I'll never truly understand it. So I want you to study it and learn about why people do what they do. But then I also love the body and the mind connection, I was really drawn to nursing. And in the end, the universe chose nursing because criminology was fully booked.

Kristin 01:27

I do feel like I feel like I've spoken with a lot of people that have this big choice to make, you know, career wise, and it tends to kind of work itself out somehow. And obviously, this said you loved it. So this turned out to be the right choice for you.

Shelley 01:39

Yeah, I absolutely love nursing, and I nurse for like many years, and I was never like the conventional nurse. I was always a little bit kooky, and a little bit outspoken. I absolutely loved it. But I think I definitely loved the patients more than you know, the night shifts, the shift patterns, the pay and things like that. It was always the patients and their story that that made it for me.

Kristin 01:59

So eventually, you went into chemotherapy nursing. Tell me a bit about that. You're obviously dealing with very, very ill people.

Shelley 02:06

Yeah, so I started my nursing career in acute medicine. So it's not quite as crazy as accident, an emergency or er, they sort of go through x an emergency, then they come to you. And it's acute medicine. So it's a sudden onset of illness. So I found that far more traumatic than chemotherapy. So it'd be people coming in with heart attacks, alcohol addiction, unknown causes, you're trying to fix a medication and things like that. And a lot of the time it would be cancer patients or people with cancer yet to become patients and they'd often die really suddenly. And then so that's the heart attack. So a sudden death happened a lot. And it was New Year's Day in 2005 when I was working, where my mum phoned the ward and said, David started which is my beautiful stepfather. So I had my own sudden death whilst dealing with certain death. And really, like I'd lost grandparents, pets and aunts and uncles and things along the way. But my stepdad was the most amazing man. And it hit me really hard once I was at work. And my mom was really bad at Breaking Bad news. Just like David said to words, I was like, Really? You're a counsellor. And you come up with two words.

Kristin 03:08

I always feel like yeah, it's the people that you expect to be the best at when it comes down to the real life situations. It's like, you probably could have said that a little better. But okay,

Shelley 03:18

yeah, here's the news. Carry on with the shift, which I didn't. I went home and bawled my eyes out, went into shock managed to drive home and things like that, whilst it was okay, kind of numb and crazy, isn't it initially when someone dies, but actually I kind of carried on I think it's very English thing to do sort of, you know, carry on and chin up, and things like that. So after a few months, the grief really hit me, it's still just 16 years on if I'm honest. It really hit me, but it was kind of, you know, I talk a lot about the universe, like universities, my university place, but I hadn't been happy in medicine for a while. And I'd kind of wanted to go to chemotherapy on haematology and oncology for many years, really, since my mom had cancer herself. I kinda want to pay something back. But I had this really strange curiosity because I'm quite strange. If I'm honest, I had a strange curiosity that what is it like if you have time to say goodbye because my dad died suddenly? And it's like, what is it like if you have those months to say goodbye to put everything in order, you know, to tell those stories, so had nowhere else to go emotionally, really. So I applied for this job in haematology and oncology. And best thing I ever did at the time, absolutely loved it. It became like a healing journey for me. I have learned that actually, I wouldn't say anything different that I didn't say to my dad, I'd seen him at Christmas. He knew I loved him. We had an extra long hug, which makes me think he already knew he was dying. But it was a real healing place for me. And I kind of felt like I'd gone home. I don't feel awkward around death or dying, you know, and I absolutely loved it. So I stayed there for many years and I went to another hospital, they went to the private sector. I just love the life experience and probably what I do now, like through my book, and through my podcast, I love to hear people talk about their life experience or their positive changes after a life changing event. So it's probably a One of the small stepping stones way back then it's interesting, you talk about the difference in having time and not having time to process

Kristin 05:07

the idea of grief. Just thinking about chemotherapy, obviously, people know that they're in a really bad place. They have cancer there. But but it's somebody who's trying to go through treatment with the hope of getting better. But I imagine that you saw a lot of people that weren't going to get better necessarily, or that the chemotherapy didn't work. So death was definitely really nearby, I guess. Yeah,


I think the thing in life is, none of us really think we're gonna die. We all think it's a bit of a fairy tale we live happily ever after. But we're all going to die. And people are in absolute denial about that, which I find kind of fascinating, if that's the right word, but when you have a life changing diagnosis, whether it's like, I don't know me, cancer, whatever your diagnosis is, it becomes real. You know, there's almost like a given expiry date, you know, what the trajectory is, or when you're going to die, or how long you're going to live. And there's kind of collateral beauty with that, you know, like, we might fear death, we don't talk about death, we don't think we die. But when you're actually told you're gonna die, or your life is limited. Now, it's a real wake up call a real awakening. And I don't know, I just love something about that. I guess people start to truly live when they know they're dying, which is slightly oxymoron. I know when I say it aloud, that we never think we're going to die, always hope we're not going to die. But we will, you know, we are going to die. And it's like, like, when I went there, my dad died suddenly, like I said, and I want to be what was it like when you know, you've got more time to say goodbye. And it's kind of like that for the people that diagnosis really, like, how am I going to live my life now I'm going to die. I don't know about you. But I'm certainly guilty of say, like, when I've got that level of qualification, or in five years time, when I've got this in the bank, when I've had that many children, I do it then. And we always procrastinate as if tomorrow is a given. And I had many life lessons working at the end of life. And I just think it's a real privilege, you know, a real wake up call to live while we're alive.

Kristin 06:50

Yeah, I remember something that used to frustrate me about my ex husband was, you know, he was so busy with career which he loved. But it was always let's do that when we retire. And to me, it's, you know, when we retire, you know, a lot of times, it was something I wanted to do physically, let's go hike this mountain or do this. And it was like when we retire could never happen. It could happen in a way that we don't expect, like, who knows what happens physically to our bodies. And it really frustrated me. And it was funny, because I recently spent time with my brother. And it was just after my father passing. And he said something about the whole COVID thing, which I thought was really insightful. He said, I keep being so frustrated and saying when this is all over, and when I get back to my life, and he had this realisation, that this is life, we might be living from home, we might not be going to places we expect to go, we might not be hugging the people we want to, but we're living this is all part of it. I absolutely agree with you that you don't think about the fact that you're going to die at least until someone very close to you dies. But with COVID I think it's kind of really forced us to think a little bit more about what is life because it's what we're doing every day.

Shelley 07:56

I think COVID has been kind of what I've seen from my nursing days that nothing is a given like live while you're here. We've lost the young, the old the healthy, we've lost so many people that you never would have thought so I'm hoping there's been like a, I don't know spiritual waking or people have woken up and I hate this COVID thing. You know that people say this many people, this many speakers, you think of their people's loved ones. We're not just figures, you know, it's a real pain to what we've all gone through. But I'd hoped somewhere in there would feel a little bit more inspired to live if we've survived the craziness of the last year.

Kristin 08:26

So if I have my dates correctly, you were nursing about 17 years. So what happened that you decided, I mean, you mentioned your stepfather dying, but obviously that was much sooner than or much earlier than when you decided to make the leap out of nursing or to write your book.


It's not really a happy story, but it's my life story. So I asked my stepdad I want to say lost sounds I went to the supermarket and lost him down a shopping aisle- I didn't lose my dad, he died and then it just more loss and death in my life. Really, I started to have really bad fertility issues. I had like a miscarriage and then our eldest miscarriage, then our daughter, and then many consecutive losses. And it's something people don't know about me because when they look at me and think I've got four children, I think I'm not kept in fertile or something. But I've had an awful journey where I've lost far more births than I have take home babies. So I took a career break from nursing initially, when I kept miscarrying after our second child just I thought, this is controversial, so I should display my thought. I thought maybe it's working with chemotherapy, it's such a toxic agent lifestyle or toxic maybe it's affecting my fertility. So I took a career break from nursing to try and you know, have a successful pregnancy, but it wasn't the chemotherapy was me and I just kept miscarrying and miscarry and miscarry and so we complete our family. That sounds really simple. It's far longer than that, but we completed our family and it was during my last pregnancy, which is horrific. I don't put anyone off anyone's trying for a child.

Kristin 09:50

I really appreciate you talking about this because I feel like I don't think that I realised how common miscarriage was until I swell until I had a lot of friends trying to get pregnant. And suddenly it was someone who couldn't have a baby, someone who had, you know, one of my friends, I was with her during one of her miscarriages, and she had several after that, and I don't know, it made me realise how even now, it's not being talked about enough. So I really appreciate when people do talk about it. And, you know, obviously, it's a person's choice, but I think there's still sort of a shame or guilt that's associated with it. It's so unfair to women who've experienced it. I really, I think it's a really important subject to discuss.


I think we tend to forget that everyone has a battle going on. So people say well, you wouldn't know what you because you got four children. It's just like, you know, if you double that and added some, that's the level of miscarriages I've had. So we should talk about it. You know, we do blame each other. I mean, I've got a blood disorder named in the end, which is causing it so yes, there's a lot of blame and shame and you know, body image and that, you know, it's a convoluted thing, really, and it was during my last pregnancy, I was 40, which is considered old here. I was 40. But having had so many miscarriages, I was gonna have one last go to my parents, they started off with triplets. And it was just horrific pregnancy. And I didn't realise I was pregnant because I just kept bleeding and bleeding off what's happening periods, and in the end was scanned, and there was only one child left and it was still a horrible pregnancy. And I was on like eight different medications scanned really regularly. And then we got to the 20 week scan, and I still hate 20 week scans now. Like when we go through life, you still have like a body memory, one emotional memory site. And even now, when friends net announced they're having the 20 week scan, is it a girl or a boy, I get so angry, if I'm on his crutches thinking, is it healthy would be a start because that's my journey. I think there's a certain thing they teach you in nursing. And it says that when you're talking to a patient, like Breaking Bad news, and that you've got to make sure that your face matches the words. It's not perfect didn't do this. She absolutely failed at this and she was scanning away kind of gurning like her was sort of, you know, carrying on and she was pummeling my bumps so much it her and I said to my husband, there's something wrong. He's like, you're just being paranoid, because that's me losses. And I was like, I know the body language, there's something wrong. And basically, our daughter had a really rare condition and that the odds of one in 80,000 of making it so I was told to Terminator at 20 weeks, and I was just like, I can't, I've lost so many naturally, there's a high chance we're gonna lose her naturally, if she's not meant to survive. I'm going to go for it. And but a bit of a kooky kid. And for years, about three years, I'd seen that I had a dark haired daughter to come. And that's all I had. That's all I had, Kristin, I just had this vision of a dark haired daughter to come. And I just went with it. So I've got a second opinion. And they were citing more of a glimmer of hope that wasn't the termination option that we've been given. But it was really hard. I mean, I'm laughing about it now instead of a second opinion. But it was what I call a semi cola moment. I thought why am I story here? Or do I find the strength to carry on I mean, I'm sure people out there like, you know, people have attempted suicide and the here you know, the survivors will understand this is like, it doesn't matter who you have around you, I have the most gorgeous sexy husband ridicu kids, you know, were abandoned in many ways. In that moment, I had this ticking time bomb of a bump, and it just seemed too much. So I'm really open. You know, I've never had depression in my life, which is slightly, almost contradictory. I've never had depression or anything. But in that moment, in that pregnancy, it just felt too much and I did consider into my life story. However, there is a happy ending. She has six very ones about to tune out. She's six and she's amazing stellar Angel. But from that when I made the decision to carry forward, I thought I can't carry on with my current mindset on me. I've got up level. And so I tried every piece of kooky poo, I could try. I was gonna say sh it, but every kind of kooky thing I could, because I thought the medical people don't believe me. So I'm going to go down the spiritual, and I went all out ideas, meditation, laughter, yoga, calling on miracles, psychic surgery, reiki, healing anything and everything. I tried, along with the original vision that I had this dark haired daughter to come. And she made it. I mean, she's amazing. And because I've made it through that pregnancy and everything, I thought, hang on a minute, there's something in this. So that's how- 10 minutes later- that's how I come to write my book, Positive Changes, a Self Kick Book. We all get stuck in life, we all experience loss. And it doesn't have to be like loss of a pregnancy or loss of a loved one. It can be like loss of purpose, confidence, dreams, finances, health, you know, we all have what I call mini deaths. We all experienced death and loss. Someone needs to say Hang on, try this. Try that my book is like 300 pages of anything. So one will say like, slow down. What is it you want in life? One will say stop being lazy. Choose one thing to do today, because there's no one way you know, it's life. You just got to try things each and every day and carry on.

Kristin 14:41

Yeah, I love that. You call it the Self Kick Book because I feel like the word self held together kind of has this connotation. But the idea that Yeah, just this little these little things that give you a little kick. So how did you come up with that name?

Shelley 14:56

Yeah, well, I kind of googled, you have to Google most things in life. Don't use sort of book titles. All health ailments anything, though I googled it. And as always I positive thinking and positive mindset. And there was just like 1000s of them. And I don't want people to just think it - I want them take action. So it's like plastic changes. And I just thought, I've got slightly warped humour, if I'm honest, I don't think I'm really that helpful, but I will kick you in the right direction. And it is a kick, it's got that extra something. So when I'm on Twitter or Facebook, and people say, well, what's your book about why self kick is like, because I'm not here to help you. I'm here to kick you, you need to take the action.

Kristin 15:30

I think it's interesting, too, because, well, recently, I feel like the words "toxic positivity" have come together. And I feel like we're both really positive people, people who have said, you know, a little quote, or a little kick in the right direction can be really helpful. But obviously, you mentioned before, that you've never been depressed. And there's a difference between someone who is clinically depressed, and that little self kick is not going to help and somebody who can take those small steps, is that something you've thought about belonging, your positivity journey? Yeah,


There's a chapter in Positive Change, a Self Kick Book, it's probably quite a few chapters in there. And it's if you've only ever known negative, or only ever known trauma or childhood issues that you've not overcome, you're going to need more than a book. And if I say like today, you're going to do 10 positive things. I don't mean that book is not going to resonate with you. You're so where you're at the idea of the book is there's like 300 different little tools and stories and quotes. Find what works for you because it's unrealistic. I mean, like, yes, I think everyone wants to make a positive change or good 90% want to make a positive change. But it's a different starting point for everyone. But if you are clinically depressed, I'm sort of like, write a love letter to your body. How do you feel today, you'd be like, EFF off surely everyone wants a self help book. Some people want talking therapy. Some people want medication, I'm just a little bit different. We all have meditation, the medication, but you know, always find your own path. And if that's not positive changes, if it is a doctor, then always follow that.

Shelley 16:12

So the book came first. As far as this next step in your life.


Yes, the book came out. Laughing find out how it came about. It came about from the Daisy journey, my daughter's journey, and it's loads of tools and it's tools that didn't work for me it just because they're hilarious, sort of when I tried to do laughter yoga, but I was heavily pregnant and repeat myself.

Kristin 17:10

laughter yoga,


laughter yoga or laughter therapy? You have to force laugh because the brain whether you laugh, like genuinely or artificially, the brain doesn't know. It just picks up like you're laughing. So you create false laughter and as a healing benefit,

Kristin 17:25

that's interesting because I coach triathlon. So in triathlon, one of the things that helps relax your whole entire body is if you smile, I mean, this is an interesting one specifically, but tip to runners smile, and it actually does relax your whole body. Obviously, the same kind of the same kind of thing happens, you know, your face muscles from smiling, it does make you more relaxed, it makes you more happy laughter real or fake can actually do something to your body. That's really interesting.

Shelley 17:51

Yeah, it related the same hormones, the feel good hormones and things like that, because your brain can't differentiate between the two. So yeah, soon as false laughter workshop and I was heavily pregnant and nearly wet myself. So I'm, you know, I'm kind of thinking probably my fault has got nothing to hide. Really, if I tell people nearly wet myself. Good luck with your attempt, you know? So yeah, the book came out with all of the lovely incontinence net within it. And that was November 2018. And this is where the change started to happen. Not the metaphors change. It's not the story. changing my career,


the change

Kristin 18:22

started to happen. Let me clarify which change? Yeah, yeah, we do have to clarify that on this show.


Yeah, it's when I set my age about, you know, late 40s. Not that change that came later. Yeah, so it's November 2018. And I've returned to gnosis. I took a career break nursing, and I returned, and then I remember why I left I'd come a lot calmer, I'd learnt a lot more life lessons. I've been a lot more spiritual when I'd come back. And it's like, well, people are really judgmental, you know, they really criticise and we often see people in jobs. And I described that as the people who got one of those faces that says, I'm only here to pay the mortgage, they're looking at the patients and their colleagues if they possibly hate them, but you know, they've got to pay the bills. And this then he never qualified. And there was loads of people with the faces that I'm only here to pay the mortgage, lots of judgement. People say, Well, you know, you nurse for so many years before you should remember this. And it's like, I've taken like a 10 year career break I can't remember my children's names most days due to baby brain, do you know what I mean? And it was really judgmental, and soul destroying. So I went on to agency nursing, so I could just dip in and out get my strength. But then this may God had for decades was that I've always wanted a spiritual career. I don't know what that really looks like. But it sounds lovely, doesn't it?

Kristin 19:32

You mentioned spirituality a couple times. And I feel like that's a scary word. To me. I think it's a scary word to a lot of people because as someone who grew up I don't wanna say I grew up religious, but I guess I did kind of grew up religious because I got really involved in my church because I wanted to sing in the Children's Choir, and then kind of walked away from religion. And obviously religion and spirituality are two different things. But I would love to hear a little bit more about the spirituality side of it as well or what led you to want to have a spiritual career.

Shelley 19:58

I'm not religious. I kind of grew up in a Christian household But yeah, I don't class myself as religious at all. I'm what I say like, I mean to spirituality. And for me religion is like a dictated kind of way of life or dictated belief. Whereas for me, I think like, maybe in a nutshell you could say like religion kind of from my experience growing up a Christian was religion is about behaving in this life, otherwise you go to hell, whereas to me, spirituality is what I embrace kind of be like, already been to hell a bag. You know, I don't believe in how I think life is challenging, and it's quite hellish. So I embrace spirituality. And for me, you know, I don't wear tie dye clothes, or do burn a lot of incense, though, for me, it's a daily practice. So I wake up in the morning, and before I get out of bed, I just sort of give gratitude for five things, five things I'm grateful for and why. And it could be like my loving husband next to me, because he didn't snore last night. It could be like, Yeah, sometimes it's just because he's with me, it's really supportive. But if he doesn't snore, that's a bonus, you know, and it's just like, thank you for my good night's sleep. cuz I've had really bad insomnia, I haven't slept for like 12 months, and I'm just starting to sleep again. So like, think about restful night's sleep, you know, the shelter of the home or things like that. So like, buy things I'm grateful for why. And then I get up, I do breath work. And then I do yoga. And then I do a tarot card reading for a little bit of insight of know what's ahead for today. So to me, it's like a daily routine. But for me, it's spiritual. It just keeps me from never hitting rock bottom, it always just keeps me there. And it's just like a sense of peace. So when I sort of go from my working day, we have the children, the dog, the fish, the husband, the business, you can lose that inner peace throughout the day. And I just come in here and I ground myself while I look at my dollar I've created and it's just, you know, often say it's spiritual, it's just my shitty world, it's my way of life. Just always find in sight to come back to every night I meditate. So it's just part of my day, I start on a positive, and then I end on a positive, but then if, you know, put it in the fan in between, um, all right,

Kristin 21:56

I took you on that tangent because you're you're mentioning what is a spiritual career? And what did that look like for you?


Yeah, so to me, it's, I can't say it's not a nine to five, because nursing was never a nine to five. But it's when you're working for yourself and not for someone else. Because I think that maybe I've just taken the wrong career choices or the wrong job choices, because I've often about the is never going to go very far when I'm limited to doing the jobs for other people. And I didn't want that I wanted something for me. And for me, you know, that whole kind of cliche, like you do a job you love, you never have to work another day in your life, I wanted that I wanted to do something, I love something that lit my soul up something that I could manage the hours of. So when I started to write the book about the daisy journey, ironically, it doesn't even mention, you know, the background of Daisy, it just says that life changing events led to this but but when I was writing it, and some of the tools in it, or what if more, you know, it's about doing the meditation and do the laughter, yoga and taking time out things like that. And I want that it was saying earlier that we shouldn't be putting off like a more gentle way of life until we've got 5000 in the bank, or you know, I'm a CEO, on my own business, sort of that grade of nursing, it should never be that, you know, you always have to light yourself up every day, really. And so when I was writing the book, I was like, I want more of this, I want to do more writing more doodling more inspiring others, you know, because you're helping others in nursing, but I wanted to help people help themselves almost. So went into this agency nursing, which allowed me the time to have both I could like write a bit meditate, be with a kid quite a bit more bit. net, a little dollop of nursing. And after the book came out, there was almost like a shift in me, I think. So I resigned from nursing the following year in November 2019. But my friend Lucy always says that once a nurse always a nurse. And there's an element of truth to that, because what I'm gonna say haunted people, what I've carried for my nursing, it isn't just the patients, it's the families left behind. And I witness time and time again that when the patient dies, the family that we made their way of life dies, and people just becoming stuck in grief and stuck in the past and the shelf CUDA widows and don't know how to move forward. And so it was from there, that whilst I wasn't nursing, I want to use my nursing knowledge in my grief knowledge from my journey. And there's just to make a difference. So I set up at DEF cafe here in North Hampton in UK, and I got so much slack for IT people going Oh my God, you're so mccobb and I was in it for you people do anything to make money. And it's like, no, it's a nonprofit community. In fact, I make no money. I'm out of money, but it's what I'm passionate about. So I hire a room in a local tapas bar with a really lovely energy and we just meet they're like, well, not the moment cuz we're in lockdown, but yeah, coming soon. So meeting this type of spot, and we just talked about death grief, you know, that's on the agenda. So it's acceptable, because otherwise I just find that April my own vibe and stepdad. People be like, I know she was like 16 years ago, and it's like, it doesn't stop him being a dad doesn't stop me missing his humour or his belly laugh, you know, always gentleness. And so I wanted to create a space where people could talk without judging Most people can talk even if it's 30 years, three months, whatever. And what I've found is there's so much laughter even if we're laughing about that awful thing. People say when you've lost someone, right? They've gone to a better place or, you know, just if you don't believe in a better place, what do you just want them in this place in front of you in your arms? Because I had horrible things said to me, like when I did when I was miscarrying. People say like, Oh, you know, ops not meant to be God has better plans. Oh, just try again. So you know, there's laughter while we share our stories of grief and loss, and friends, you know, friendships that develop from that, and it's amazing. I just think we should talk about fear of death, grief loss, loved ones, miscarriages, you know, we shouldn't Well, we should just talk more than we do in this world, but certainly about grief and loss.

Kristin 25:46

Because I have recently, well, obviously, they say lost my dad. But now I can't say it because like you said, like I took him. I can't find him. But yeah, since my dad died recently, I obviously have a very fresh perspective of my own grief and sort of the grief of my family. And I'm one of six kids and now several grandchildren that he had. And because there were six of us, we I noticed, of course, how we all had our own forms of grief. Each and every one of us of course, I've had a different experience about our lives with our dad, of course, and then how we've kind of coped with his death, there was a lot of laughter because when we all get together, we always have some ridiculous story. And there were plenty to tell you about my dad. But you know, I mean, for me, I feel like because of COVID times, and because I travelled to the states and ended up getting COVID my grief was cut a little bit short. So I feel like I definitely I'm still processing all of this. But seeing my one sister, she's she actually is probably very similar to me in the fact that she got there, she immediately wanted to start cleaning out his apartment and doing this and doing that she was a my grief is channelling through this energy of getting things done by one brother, who had never thought of as particularly emotional, could barely speak. It was just interesting, even obviously, knowing them quite well, how differently they all and we all were processing the grief.

Shelley 26:59

I don't know if it's the right word. But grief fascinates me. It's why I'm so passionate, because we do all grieve so differently. And there's so many different groups that you know, we could lose a friend or sibling or a partner. But it was interesting what you're saying that how you grieve differently because generally two main types or you get a blend, and that's like the instrumental griever or the intuitive. So the instrumental ones are typically the males and they start fixing practical things in their life, you know, your sister was clearing out, you know, the apartment, and that's a very male way of doing it where we can't fix the death. We can't fix life, but we can, you know, sort out this cupboard and repair the car. And that's the instrumental Grievers. Whereas women tend to be the intuitive Grievers where they're very much about this is how I feel. And they will talk and talk and talk and talk. They do very well talking therapies, you know, because they just talk it out. And it is the nostalgia. And

Kristin 27:48

that leads me to something that I was wondering as well about the grief cafe or the death cafe, good grief, I love the name of do you get people that maybe are more resistant to grieve or to talk about their feelings or to talk about death,


I think the people I have for the most courageous souls I honestly do, because they come into the building or upstairs in the mezzanine. And for me, and we'll zoom calls through lockdown and stuff like that. But there's something about the physical action of driving somewhere you don't know, stepping into a building and then going through and up, you know, so to me, they're really courageous. And I think to even get to that stage, where you're entering the building takes a certain type of person, I'm aware there will be 1000s of people out there in local villages who are grieving a need to talk about it, but they won't come. So those who do come are very intuitive, they're willing to talk, you know, you don't just sit there and absorb more people's grief, it is a conversational community around that. So we don't really get the instrumental ones, you know, because they're not, there's nothing to do apart from physically come into the building. These are the talkers. And it's really diverse. It's like people have lost sight sisters, or brothers or partners or parent, but there's a commonality between them all, that whatever your belief experience to date is, is how you grieve. And that's why I often talk about many deaths, because whilst when we go through grief, like when my stepdad died when your dad died, that is, you know, one of the most painful times and we won't believe it at the time, but we've gone through things now, like I said earlier that many deaths where we've had a loss, so we've lost a job or you know, like a pets died or lost a dream or finances or health, and all those little exposures help us prepare for grief. And you know, when we're there, people start to see patterns in it, you know, that sort of I actually when I went through, this is how I fell, and this is how I got over it. And so we're always learning, we're always processing grief, but we're not always aware. And I think we give a lot of our power away as well, which is why I wrote the second book, because I'm a great believer that everything we need is within us. I know that sounds really hippie, but I think we've gathered by now that I am a very hippie person. But I do believe that I was talking therapies, you know, do work for the intuitive Grievers. We are really powerful beings and we often you know, lose that especially when we're sort of keeping grief alive. hashtags on my social medias always "like you've got this". And I truly believe that we have.

Kristin 30:04

So you mentioned the second book. But before we get to that there's been a podcast and a YouTube channel and all kinds of... Where did you make this leap from? Okay, I've written this self kick book, too, I need to take it to a podcast,


This come from our teenage son. So he used to absolutely love reading. And then he started secondary school. And little thing, he was given a book of his choice, it got damaged. And he took it so badly that he went on to hate reading, because, you know, we think it's the big traumas in life, actually, little things upset us along the way. So he will speak about my book one day, because I won't read that now. Cuz I don't like reading it goes, you know, you should do something different. I make it into a podcast. And it was as simple as that. And I thought there's real value in that, that not everyone's a reader, but everyone needs to create a positive change. So it started out last March, just before lockdown. So nobody was can you please? Yeah, I'm not sure the university had my back on that occasion. But last March was the podcast. And I just started out as a solo show, just me sitting there with my book, just sharing some of the key pain points I observed in life and nursing and things like that. So it's sort of like Who am I, the search for happiness, self love speaking your truth. But as I started to do the weekly episodes, people started reaching out saying, I love your book, Love your podcast, but could I share how I create a positive change using my tools? So it's not only I come on, I've done six shows to do six guest shows and then flip back? Well, we've just recorded Episode Number 50 of the guest shows, it's just taken off. And every week, there's a new guest who comes on and shares how they fly. It had life changing events, and creative positive changes. And it's been really diverse. First one was a fascinating American doctor who went on to be a stay at home mom, some of us had a positive divorce, people have overcome eating disorders, drug addiction, alcohol, heroin, near death experiences, Tokophobia, which we even know existed. That's a fear of pregnancy, birth life as a funeral director, you know, how they've overcome their own grief. And it's been absolutely amazing. I mean, I've loved it. And it's only been about eight months old. And it won two awards, which I find amazing. You know, like in life when you go through and you always think, or maybe don't think maybe it's how my parents brought me up. You know, you have to work hard for things in life. And I've been having a blast with the podcast I you know, especially during lockdown to speaking to people every week. Yes, please. And I want to reward I didn't work hard at all. I just had a really lovely conversation. And I have cried, I've laughing left speechless. You know, the human spirit will always fascinate me,

Kristin 32:40

it goes back to what he said, do what you love every day and feel like you never work a day in your life or whatever the quote is, it's true. If you're loving what you're doing, and you're speaking to people that obviously they're really inspirational people or like you said, you kind of get the full gamut of emotions. So


yeah, and it's beautiful. And like from the solo shows, I did speak your truth. And I'm really passionate about people speaking their truth. And always like clarify, it doesn't mean that your words are right. But they are valid. And so I'm always getting people to come on and share their stories. So there was a joint episode where an amazing, fascinating woman Vanessa came on. And she shared her journey through overcoming drug addiction. And then the following week, her daughter came on to share her experience of what it was like growing up with parents who are addicts, and watch her mom go through coming clean. And so two different stories, one story, one life story, but you may from two different perspectives. one's not right, one's not wrong. It's just people speaking their truth. And it's just what we should do. It's one of the regrets of the dying is always, you know, live your life, speak your truth, don't die with the words still inside you. So the fact that I can encourage and inspire people to do that, and they're not easy stories to tell. But the fact is, you know, that whole trust me, I'm a nurse thing. You know, it's been life changing. For me, it's just I had the most beautiful people in my life. You know, the courageous people that walk into the death cafe, the courageous people sharing, you know, sharing their stories. I'm truly blessed. So

Kristin 34:04

you now have a YouTube channel as well. And I think you mentioned to me that it was not everybody is a reader. Okay, not everybody's a podcast listener. So the next step was to go on to YouTube.

Shelley 34:14



I listen to certain podcasts, every now and then, you know, it is sort of drawn in, but it's not my go to but then because there's such emotive stories. I mean, I recorded this weekend and there's an amazing lady coming on who actually made me cry on air and I've cried on air before the lady with the Taka phobia because that was about fertility. And obviously, it was my own stuff. And because I'm crying laughing snotting anything else that comes if I'm honest, there's something I don't know in lightning when you watch it. You know, when you watch someone's face on YouTube, you don't know it kind of resonates with you more and you can see the genuine story. So you know, people say don't show on YouTube, just little snippets. And I'm like, if this helps someone, I am sharing the hell out of it. So I I do do the whole episodes of positivity. hellscape podcasts are my Shelly f night YouTube channel. Because it's another way of reaching people. There's the book, there's the podcast, there's the YouTube, but if it stops one person from getting to that semi colon point that I had, where you think, what's it all about what other who's gonna miss me whatever you're thinking, you matter. And if I can get that message to someone from doing you know, YouTube, even if my lockdown roots I'll forgo that, you know, that saves the life.

Kristin 35:24

That's just another example of when you're talking about something that's really, it's really difficult, but you can find a way to bring a bit of positivity in here. Thanks. It's really important that I share this to the world, lockdown roots and all


he gets that point where sometimes your desires have to be greater than your fears. When I started to get feedback, you know about people saying, like, Can I come on and share my story kind of thing. That was the first point for me, I think it's not selling my book, cuz these tools aren't in my book, you know, but if it's a tool that helps someone, Bring it on, and then you know, the podcast was one way of doing it. I was really awkward. I mean, listen to the first episode, I literally sound like a broom handle up my bum. I just sound like oh my god, you know, my friend says, Oh, I love the content, but your sound like you shite yourself. And then I sort of get feedback like, thank you so much. I've shared this with my dad who's really struggling since my mum died. Thank you so much for this. I mean, feeling suicidal, but now I'm going to try this. And it's moments like that we just think forget the roots. Forget the frown lines, you're saving lives, you're changing lives, you're making a difference, because we don't know we're making a difference, do we? That's not what we get up in the morning. We think we're insignificant, but actually we're not. I think if we can all use our words and speak our truth to help people we should do it. You know, look down roots, frown lines that I'll bring it on. And I've got all those.

Kristin 36:46

I'm with you.



Kristin 36:53

So tell me what is the topic of the next book? When does it come out.

Shelley 36:57

So it is positive, but it's about group it's called Good grief, the A to Zed approach of modern day grief healing, and it's not humorous, like the first book, good grief is practical. The guidebooks for your grief journey, whether that is as we're saying earlier, like loss of health, finances, loved one, and it draws on 30 years in health care, that's not all nursing. I feel like pharmaceutical science, what worked in Doctor surgeries, a lot of nursing in there as well like the end of life. So it starts at the beginning of our life sight. You know, we're born into this life into a name, who we didn't choose in a family, I believe we did choose and a body we chose and things like that. And it goes all through the journey of being born right through to death, and then the tools to get through your grief. And so I'd observed for years, as I said earlier, why sad, the death cafe that when people die, people become stuck. So I've tried to do a real blend of the clinical and the spiritual art go through how death and grief has changed over the years. Because you know, back in the day, we used to have dying loved ones at home around us. And you know, we'd sort of like tent and there wasn't fear around death. It was always an honour, and a really, in this last century that we've seen hospices and hospitals, and we've given our loved ones to like clinical setting. And there's been like medical advancements and things like that so we can prolong death almost. So having like a clinical death rather than an actual death has been so much change. And with that we grieve differently. So I talk about the different types of grief because when I was a nurse, there was three types really. But now there's like 17 different types of grief. Because I say people are living longer. With conditions, you've got an anticipatory grief where you know, it's going to happen, but not yet. So you start grieving, but they're still physically here, there's 17 different types of grief, probably more often locked down and COVID as well, I should imagine, as I talk about the different types of grief, what you can expect the signs and symptoms. But then at the end of the book, there's a grief voice box. And it's how you how to communicate with someone as they're dying, or when they've got a diagnosis and they're dying, like the things to say or the things to do rather than the things that we know from earlier, you shouldn't say or do. And then it's also the main part of the book is the grief toolbox and that is everything and it is the A to Zed, I started to get a for acupressure and it goes right through to Zed for sleep. And it's all the ancient tools so like you know, essential oils, your chakras you go go your movement, sound healing foods you can have and then there's less woowoo stuff. Like rearranging the home, you know, breaking up your routine scheduling, all sort of tools that that are within it, and it's for you if you're grieving or experiencing loss or if your support and so on and fear you're not getting it right. It's like a companion. And it's something I'm really passionate about because we're obviously got grief death cafe, but I just want people to move on because as I said, everyone experiences loss and grief on some level, which means everyone's at risk of getting stuck in life. And I don't want that for them. I don't think they want it from the cells really deep down inside.

Kristin 39:52

One of the things I've noticed that you've talked about quite a bit is the different kinds of grief and not just the kinds of grief through death, but these small deaths and these small Well, I don't want to call them small groups because I still mourn my dog that died. Oh my god, I don't know, I was the first year of college so years and years and years ago, but does it get kind of give you tools no matter what your grief or what your loss is? Or is it really around the concept of death.

Shelley 40:16

To me, grief is just the loss of anything with which we have an emotional connection. So there are really strong tools net when loved one dies, I think it's, you know, a companion for anyone really, you know, like, if a relationship breaks down, for whatever reason, that is a loss, you know, you lose your dreams, your confidence, you know, lots of losses in one thing, even like if you get diagnosed cancer, make a full recovery, you still have lost you have loss of the life before cancer, your loss of hair, sometimes you lose your sexuality, your job, your finances, everything in life has a loss connected. I wanted a book that kind of did that for people.

Kristin 40:52

So you're one of the people that I don't have to preface this by saying that I know it's cheesy, because I know you do like, whoa. But to the listeners, I know it's cheesy. But Shelley and I like it. What quote Did you bring for me today?

Shelley 41:09

I love the three words life goes on. And my beautiful stepdad used to say it. And he used to really bug the hell out of me. You know, if I say about the loss if I had a relationship breakdown, or I couldn't afford, you know, going back in the day couldn't afford to buy that Vine or single, or you know, like, washing a diet, my favourite, the Smith t shirt or something stepped out just going, Oh, well, life goes on. And then either we're not his own family died up like, yeah, life goes on and look at my brand new like, it's chilly at night life goes on on Twitter and Facebook. But it's true. I mean, he's probably looking down now go toldja life goes on. And he sounded really crass. When he used to say I'm sure some people see it flashing up on social media thinking that's a bit rude. But it's true life does go on and that's on the earthly plane. I personally believe in the afterlife. but life goes on and maybe not the way we'd hoped dreamed or wished for. But it surely does go on.

Kristin 42:02

I think accepting that a different life isn't necessarily a bad one is a really good place to start.

Shelley 42:07

The other thing he used to say, which is to really bacus and this is this is the kind of humour of my family. So I can only apologise really listeners, my daddy. So I say it'll be all right along with life goes on it just like you know, again, relationships, whatever gone wrong, guys, it'll be alright. It'll be all right. And I could be sobbing my eyes out starting on a T shirt. It'd be it'd be alright. And so when he died, we actually had it engraved in his headstone.

Kristin 42:32

We're definitely destined to have a Greek.

Shelley 42:35

I wouldn't even question it, you know? So yeah, it's got his name, right, David, and the dates and things like that. And we've got it we'll be all right in quotation marks, because it's still be saying it now because we are all right. You know, we're not where we thought we're being mom has been single ever since 16 years later, but we are all right. And it will be all right.

Kristin 42:53

My dad, I was really one of the things that was really hard for me, obviously was being in another country and not being able to get back in time. We knew that he had been kind of in and out of good health, but we didn't have a long time to kind of prepare ourselves. I guess he said, I'm ready. But this is not a sad story. Exactly. So the point of the story is that I was really struggling with not being able to make it home. And I didn't hear this personally. But he said to my brother who came to visit, my brother said we didn't know exactly was gonna die. But oh, Christina really wants to get here. And my dad just said, Kristen's a big girl. She'll be all right.

Shelley 43:31

And I love that. I

Kristin 43:31

mean, at the time, I was kind of like, that's a strange thing to comfort myself with, but I'm getting take it. And I didn't make it home to see him again before he died. But somewhere in the back of my mind, I'm going yeah, I'm a big girl. I'll be all right. Thanks, dad.

Shelley 43:47

I think that's beautiful. The fact that my stepdad said it as well just seems like a really beautiful synchronicity that was meant to say his words. I love that.

Kristin 43:54

Yeah, exactly. Well, that seems like a good point for me to say thank you very much for joining me today. You take a really dark subject and bring light to it. And I think that's a really, I hate to say that's a really amazing service, but to be able to take something so dark and just make it a little better for people. It's really amazing. So thanks for doing that. Oh, thank

Shelley 44:11

you so much. I have me I've absolutely loved it.

Kristin 44:13

Thank you. I really enjoyed speaking with you. Oh wait, I didn't ask when's the new book coming out.

Shelley 44:18

So that's out on the 24th of September with old books that's their mind body spirit publishing house here in the UK.

Kristin 44:25

Fantastic. I can't wait to read it.


people, grief, life, nursing, book, die, thought, death, started, lost, loss, pregnancy, laughter, positive, feel, bit, home, journey, miscarriages, sound, women after 35, career change after 35

13 views0 comments


bottom of page