Q&A with Kimberly Talmey, Grief Counselor and Coach

Kimberly Talmey

On the surface, people seem strong and resilient with a pioneer spirit. Despite that, why do they sometimes need the type of services you provide?
I believe we all need support and encouragement that comes from sharing our stories and our pain, especially our losses. There is something very healing when we share these experiences in a safe space, helping us to process what we experience. We are a resilient people, especially hardy, but we still need to connect and support each other. When we can talk through our experiences, we turn our active emotions into long-term memories. Enduring COVID-19 isolation and unable to have a funeral service or to gather with friends and family and talk about our losses, we skip the process of turning active emotions (sadness, loss, grief, fears, pain, struggles, and even positive emotions that help others come out of their negative emotions) into long-term memories that help us heal. The best medicine is a conversation with a great friend over coffee who hears our heart.

You offer grief counselling. Is grief easier to deal with when you have a strong religious belief?
I don’t think grief is easy for anyone to deal with. We will all deal with 11 significant losses throughout our lifetime without adding any trauma or abuse. We are all unique individuals and have significant relationships built upon those unique connections in our relationships. The relationship of grief is directly proportional to the depth and closeness of our loss. Where there has been great love, we find great loss! Where there hasn’t been a deep connection with the loss, the grief is less. If we allow our grief to send us on a personal journey we can discover deeper meaning and purpose in our lives. I believe that grief causes us to look at the bigger picture of how our lives impact other people and what you are on earth for. And if there is a God, does He care?

I have experienced childhood crisis, loss and deep grief in my life. I was hopeless and desperate to find a way to deal with my emotional pain and suffering. I spent years struggling with my inability to grieve all that I had suffered. I couldn’t find a way to cope anymore. It was the depth of my hopelessness and torment that drove me to find my deep faith in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As this relationship grew, so did my hope of healing my pain and suffering. It wasn’t an easy journey, but what I experienced gave me meaning and purpose for my life and recovery for my family.

God brings hope. Working with my own grief, and then walking with other people in their grief stories, I have seen how much God cares for other’s pain and suffering. The hopelessness is different in grieving people when they include God in their grief journey. The people who choose to include God into their stories grieve differently. There is a deeper sense of peace that turns the hopelessness and loss into purpose and a rebuilding hope.

You offer a Grief Share program through Oliver’s Funeral home. How does the program work?
This is a video and workbook grief group to learn about grief and loss, to learn about normal grief and when it is time to get help for abnormal grief, what to expect when you’re grieving for the first year or more, how to help yourself with overwhelming demands of grief, how to handle those difficult conversations that grief can bring into family and friendships. This is done in a facilitated and supportive group. It is not intended to replace Grief Counseling but to help support others in their grief journey. We offer this program as an intimate small group experience over a 13-week period.

You register at GriefShare.org. Click on Oliver’s Funeral Home. Once I receive your registration, you will have access to the videos at home to watch each week. We meet once a week to go over the questions in the workbook and discuss anything that came up during the video or what you experienced. We offer the program twice a year – from January to March and again in the fall from September to November.

We are currently developing more resources and groups that we will be offering from Oliver’s Funeral Home. Hopefully, they will be ready to launch by this fall. We will then be offering either online versions or small groups to help deal with different types of grief and loss. We are looking forward to being able to support people in a connected community no matter what they are dealing with.

Another one of your services is Encounter Coaching. Can you explain to us what that is?
Encounter Coaching is coaching in a growth centered relationship that focuses on the heart to bring change and transformation to heal our relationships and our life circumstances. I believe that deep-lasting change occurs from the inside out. Encounter Coaching centers our desires, beliefs and emotional memories by creating personal, experiential encounters with Jesus Christ within the coaching conversation. Encounter Coaching is an experience rather than the traditional talk therapies that most of us are familiar with. In Encounter Coaching we believe the answers to most struggles are within the person. It is the process of connecting the heart and emotions to the person’s ability to solve their own problems and find peace and acceptance within themselves. The gift of unconditional, sacrificial, believing in the relationships we create, is what makes transformation possible. I believe that my most important task is helping others grow to maturity, which allows them to live their lives in a way that can help build other people up.