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A Riveting Story of Overcoming Grief, Trauma, & Loss with Purpose, Joy, & Fulfillment

Today’s episode will captivate you and deliver great insight, perspective, gratitude, and inspiration. It’s the story of my friend Susan Hannifin-MacNab. She shares how she wrote a book on healing to help her overcome the tragic death of her surfer/professor/bagpiper husband Brent and how she was suddenly thrust into being a single-Mom of her then 5-year old child.

This conversation goes deep and is full of courage, wisdom, faith, and value. I believe it will inspire you to live your best life and reinforce not taking a single day for granted. Specifically, Susan and I discuss:

  • Susan’s “perfect” life in the suburbs to suddenly widowed with a five-year-old.
  • How fitness saved Susan and how she was able to rebuild her life and restore her faith eventually.
  • What would Jacob say to his father now if he could talk to him?
  • Her book is called “A2Z Healing Toolbox: A Practical Guide for Navigating Grief and Trauma with Intention” and some of the 26 different tools in the book.
  • Resilience: Are we born with it, or is it learned?
  • Post Traumatic Growth – The five areas of growth: O.A.S.I.S.

1:40 – Meet my friend Susan Hannifin-MacNab.

4:17 – The perfect life in the suburbs to a widowed and raising a 5-year-old son.
Husband went out for a drive and never returned.

9:20 – The knock on the door that nobody wants.
Devastation and not being able to get out of bed. It took 8 years to rebuild. I had to survive this for my son.

14:48 – The gym, fitness, and athletics help get me back.
Meeting a young widow Robin, who became my mentor, friend, and soul-sister!

18:49 – I felt robbed!
Angry at God, Brent, and the world.

20:00 – A pad of paper and a pen changed my anger to hope.
Your children are only as strong as the parent who is there.

24:18 – If Jacob could talk to his dad, what would he say to him?
What would Brent say to Jacob?

27:25 – Her book called “A to Z Healing Toolbox: A Practical Guide for Navigating Grief and Trauma with Intention.” 
26 tools that help people heal from profound loss: Touch, Exercise, Prayer. 

36:25 – Resilience – are you born with it, or is it learned?
Gratitude jar. Getting through anger. Pictoral journaling.

43:17 – Post Traumatic Growth – O.A.S.I.S.
O. Opportunity
A. Appreciation
S. Strength
I. Interpersonal Relationships
S. Spirituality

48:14 – We need other people to heal…find others who understand the path.
Isolation is real; there is no timeline to get help.

52:48 – How can the community continue to help?
Keep showing up! I’m still here.

55:20 – What does IMPACT mean to you?
Reaching out and helping others.

56:10 – If Brent was here right now what would he say?
Brent sends me song slams!

About Susan Hannifin-MacNab:

Susan Hannifin-MacNab, MSW, PPSC is a social worker, educator, and author who holds a Master’s in Social Work, a Bachelors in Education, and credentials as a teacher and school social worker. After the sudden death of her surfer-professor-bagpiper husband when their son was 5 years old, Susan founded A2Z Healing Toolbox®, a heart-based business that assists the bereaved in healing with intention. She facilitates conference workshops, professional development training, psycho-educational healing retreats, and keynote speaking presentations internationally. Susan’s five-time award-winning book, A to Z Healing Toolbox: A Practical Guide for Navigating Grief and Trauma with Intention, is used by mental health practitioners and bereaved communities worldwide. Susan also serves as the Programs and Education Manager for Soaring Spirits International. a non-profit organization that provides programming, conferences, support and hope to the global widowed community.

Follow Susan and get her book today:

A2Z Healing Toolbox –

Soaring Spirits International –

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