Interview with grief recovery specialist Anne-Marie Lockmyer

Writer Anne-Marie Lockmyer is
sitting under the spotlight today. She’s sharing a bit about her self-help book
on working through grief, When Their
World Stops: The Essential Guide to Truly Helping Anyone in Grief
Lockmyer is an award-winning author, speaker, Advanced Grief Recovery and Loss
Specialist, and Founder of the Grief and Trauma Healing Network. Her work has
appeared in notable media outlets such as Rolling Stone, LA Wave, and
Billboard. She has been a featured speaker at multiple venues. She specializes
in taking others through the journey of recovery – to be free from the pain of
grief and loss. As a widow who suffered a devastating loss herself, Anne-Marie
is passionate to dispel the myths of grief and bring hope, encouragement, and
resources to those suffering from grief and those that care for them and want
to help. Her mission is to bring individuals hope in the midst of pain and
provide tools that help people experience joy in their lives once again. 
Anne-Marie. Please tell us about your current release.
Have a
grieving friend and don’t know what to say or do? No more fear, embarrassment
or walking on eggshells. This 8-time award-winning book increases your
understanding of what the grieving one is experiencing and feeling. It equips
you to say the right things and avoid saying the wrong things, be supportive
with appropriate actions and gifts, offer encouragement during the holidays,
write a lovely message in a sympathy card and so much more. Included is an
exclusive reminder list for the first year of grief as well as a cheat-sheet.
This easy to read practical guidebook is packed with all you need to increase
your confidence and take the awkwardness out of responding to someone
devastated by grief.
inspired you to write this book?
The sudden death of my husband. As I went through my
journey of grief, I realized, very early on, that people had no idea what to do
with me. They were awkward and uncomfortable and didn’t know what they should
be doing or saying. Because of that, many unintentionally hurt me at a time
when I was already in pain. I realized that I had wounded many of my friends in
the past who had suffered loss because I had no idea what they needed. I had a
lot of apologizing to do. Until you have been through it, you just don’t understand,
even though you care and want to help. I wanted to change that awkwardness into
confidence. I kept saying that someone should put together a pamphlet on how to
handle a grieving person. Well that pamphlet turned into a book. This book.
from When Their World Stops: The
Essential Guide to Truly Helping Anyone in Grief
Remember: Their World Has Stopped
your grieving friend, the world has stopped. This loss is huge. They are
probably in shock. So right now, just
come alongside and be with them. Be sad with them. This is incredibly difficult
for most of us, as we want to “fix it” and we can’t. How can you fix a broken
heart? Don’t try. The hardest thing to
do is to simply be quiet and just be there.
But don’t try to “fix it”
or make your
grieving friend feel better. You can’t!
        Let Them Grieve Their Own Way
Whatever your friend is doing as they are dealing with their
grief is NORMAL.
critical to understand: There is no “right way” to
grieve. The grieving person may even do or say strange things; that’s normal. I found myself joking about my husband’s death
at times. I’m sure some people thought my comments
were inappropriate, but it was my way of dealing with what had been handed to me.
What Not to Say Matters
DO NOT say that the loss was for the best because your grieving friend’s loved
one was suffering or that God has a purpose in the loss or that God needed the loved one in
Heaven or that it’s fortunate the loss was quick or
that at least your grieving
friend had warning of the death to
come or that the person who died lived a full life and will never hurt again or that time heals all wounds or that had
the deceased person lived they would never
been the same or that it’s “time to get on with your life” or that
“you will have
another child” or
“you will get married
again.” These platitudes don’t make your friend feel better.
please: Don’t tell your grieving
friend that you can
(even if you can). This type of statement puts the focus on you
instead of them. One of my friends,
who had lost her brother in a tragic accident, was told: “At least you didn’t have to watch him die like I did
when my dad died from cancer. Your situation was like a Band-Aid being
taken off quickly to cause less pain. I watched my dad die a little every day for months. At least
you went through it quickly.”
exciting story are you working on next?
My new understanding of grief and loss has led me to
discover that we experience grief over losses other than death. At the time of
my husband’s death, I was also dealing with an adult son who had been
struggling with mental health for 6 years and I soon realized that there was an
awful lot of grieving going on through that experience as well. I was
experiencing the loss of all the hopes and dreams I had for my son. Processing
that grief was transforming for me and our relationship so I would like to
write a book of encouragement, hope and tools to help those who love someone struggling
with mental health. To help them acknowledge and process those emotions so that
they can be better and their relationships can be better. As much as the death
of my husband devastated me, watching my son struggle daily was like watching
him die a bit each day, and that was even more painful.
did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I realized I had something to say and went to start
writing and it just flowed out. It just poured out of me.
Do you
write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other
than write and how do you find time to write?
I love writing but haven’t had much time until recently
to do more of it, except for blogs. I am an advanced certified grief and loss
specialist and also certified in critical incident stress debriefing. I work
with individuals and groups on grief and loss recovery due to over 40 different
types of losses one can experience in their lifetime. I speak to educate others
on grief and loss. I support the grieving and those that want to help them. I
consult with businesses on how to create a healthy workplace through
recognizing the impact of grief and loss on employees. I like to say I help
heal broken hearts.
would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I can add a light touch to some very heavy topics. Even
though the topics are serious, I have to add some light and humorous moments.
This is what keeps me sane in all the pain I see continually. It is not done
disrespectfully, but to give a momentary reprieve.
As a
child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A teacher
additional you want to share with the readers?
I think it is amazing that things that can destroy you
can actually be used to not only strengthen you but to encourage and strengthen
others by your new understanding and ability to relate to their pain and
experience. I wish there was an easier way.

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