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Sept. 26, 2022

Episode 66: Do You Know About Heaven's Bell? with Sherrie Barch

In this episode, DJ talks with a Forbes ranked CEO, mother and author, Sherrie Barch, about experiencing the loss of a loved one and the terminology to use with smaller children about death and the grieving process. Listen in as they discuss the different vantage points for each family member when someone dies and how her book “Heaven's Bell” was written to help with difficult but healthy conversation starters so everyone can move forward in love, memory and compassion.

Sherrie Barch is the CEO of two Forbes’ ranked top executive search firms and a leadership consulting company. As a mom, she describes herself as a part-time pancreas for her two youngest sons who were both diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes within the same year. Sherrie’s passion for storytelling and making room for serious and “heavy” conversations was a strong motivation for her to write her children’s book Heaven’s Bell based on a story of the same name she penned several years prior. One of her goals for Heaven’s Bell is to create and inspire a safe space for families to have a conversation about death and dying in a natural and productive way.

• [5:11] “As parents, we're kind of being forced to maybe create some space for difficult conversations.”
• [8:13] “My family kind of shielded us from death. So they didn't take us to the funeral because it was so sad…” 
• [14:00] “ And it's not about covering up death and dying or making it a less serious topic. That's not it. Because where the conversation goes, is to be able to create some of those healthy conversations.”
• [18:01] “When a family is experiencing a death, everybody in the family also has a different vantage point, whether you're a sister or a parent, or younger sister, older brother…”

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Sherrie Barch


DJ Stutz  0:13  
We think you should know that Imperfect Heroes podcast is a production of Little Hearts Academy USA.

You're listening to Episode 66 of Imperfect Heroes, Insights Into Parenting, the perfect podcast for imperfect parents looking to find joy in their experience of raising children in an imperfect world. And I'm your host DJ Stutz, Sherrie Barch, CEO of to Forbes ranked top executive search firms, and a leadership consulting company. She's an expert in the areas of leadership, team development, and diversity. And there's so much more that she does. But among those things, is that she is also an author. Sherry is married with three sons, her two youngest sons were both diagnosed with type one diabetes within the same year. So that was a big deal. And for the last 11 years, she has become relentless about creating open and honest communication with her family about this chronic and life threatening condition. So through this, Sherry's passion for storytelling, and making room for serious and heavy conversations, was a strong motivation for her to write her children's book, Heaven's Bell, which is based on a short story of the same name that she penned several years prior. And it's about a couple of 11 year old kids who have to manage through the illness and death of a friend. And one of her goals for heaven's Bell is to create and inspire a safe place for families to have a conversation about death, and dying in a natural and productive way. There's so much to learn. So let's get started.

You know, if you enjoy this episode, I would love for you to let our guests know. So just scroll down to the bottom of our podcast page if you're listening on Apple podcasts, and just click on that fifth star. And by adding just a few short words about the episode, you will let my guests know what you think about her message. And it really does help our podcast to grow. So taking time to give the podcast that five star rating. And a review helps to expand the podcast and makes it easier to find. And we are then able to help more families. So earlier this year, in Episode 23, I interviewed one of my nieces, Clarissa Nelson, about raising a disabled child, and how that impacts the rest of the family. And at the time, Clarissa was expecting a baby that would be delivered just a week after the conversation. And we talked about how her older children had to pick up some of the responsibilities with the younger children so that she and her husband could meet the significant needs of their daughter who was severely disabled with cerebral palsy. Well, this July, we surprisingly said our final goodbye to my sweet grand niece, and her family is left to manage the loss. And this is where a large family can be really helpful. But that doesn't make the pain go away. And I was in the middle of all of this when I heard about Sherrie Barch and her book, and I just had to connect with her. So let's listen in. 

Welcome, friends, I'm so glad that you have chosen to spend this part of your day with us. I am joined today with Sherrie Barch. She is an author and a businesswoman. And we're talking today just about grief and loss. And so Sherrie, why don't you just share a little bit about yourself?

Sherrie Barch  4:28  
Well, thank you. I'm so happy to be here, DJ, I am a first time author. And I call this book my COVID passion project. It really is more around difficult conversations. And I think I've spent a lot of my degrees of a bachelor's and master's degree in communication. I think even just as a business woman, there is a lot of difficult conversations that you have to have. And with COVID I just know that one difficult conversation that we have when Whether you're running a business or you're running a family is about death, and I just to media and COVID. And some of the tragedies that as parents, we're kind of being forced to maybe create some space for difficult conversations. And that's really what the story is trying to do. So first time author, but I love to communicate and storyteller. So my hope is that this is a helpful tool,

DJ Stutz  5:31  
Right? And what's the name of your book.

Sherrie Barch  5:34  
So the name of the book is Heavens Bell. And it's a story that is geared more towards eight to 12 year olds, although I've had many adults say it really isn't a children's book. And I've had individuals like you that are trained in that early childhood development that have said that you could take pieces of the book. And instead of reading it as a short story that you can use a summation of the concept and talk to children that are a lot younger than eight years old.

DJ Stutz  6:04  
Yeah. And this really comes, it's part of the human experience is having to deal with death. I was fortunate in that I was about 11 or so I think, with the first death that really affected me. Maybe I was a little younger. But it was a great uncle, my uncle Ike, and I just adored him. He was so much fun. And he was a Korea, the Korean War veteran, had lost his leg in the war. And he goofed around about it, though, he would joke around his Lake actually had a safe in it. Yeah, so it's dash money in it. And then we thought it was cool to open this save, which now I think that's kind of disgusting. But wait, we didn't have money in there for us. And he was just a lot of fun. And, in fact, I kept expecting him to jump out of the casket and say surprise, because that was just uncle like. And then the next one, I was 13, when I lost my pops. And that was really devastating for me. But we have children who are having loss way younger. And it doesn't have to be a COVID thing. We have kids who are losing friends, to other illnesses, to cancer, to accidents, to all kinds of horrible things. And so what are some of the things that you talk about that can really help us as those we try to process all of this?

Sherrie Barch  7:54  
Well, when I first when I first told the story of Heaven's Bell, I told it to a first grader. And again, this is a story that I had in my brain growing up, because when I was growing up, I had losses around those same ages as you DJ. But what happened is, instead, my family kind of shielded us from death. So they didn't take us to the funeral because it was so sad by an uncle and some small cousins that died tragically, and because I think the family was having such a difficult time with it. They wanted to shield us. And so for me, I think it's a generational thing. It could be a spiritual thing, right can be religious, depending on the formality or what you're exposed to her. I think the next death I had wasn't until I was in college. You know, I don't have a big family either. So it just, it's just interesting. So when I told this first grader, the story of Heavens Bell, she had lost her dad, her dad had died. And she was having some nightmares. And so I just gave her a physical bell. And I said, I want you to hang this bell on your bed post or somewhere in your room, I just want you to know that when you look at that bell, there's actually a bell in heaven that rings to let your dad know that you're thinking about him. And so just keep his memory alive. Talk to him process what you're feeling. It's okay to talk about it to anyone around you. It's okay. You're not going to make people sad. And then I said, and right now your dad's in heaven with your grandma. And there might be other people that he's never even met. And there's other people out there keeping him safe. And so what ended up happening is, and again, that's an abbreviated version of the Heaven's Bell story that's in the book, right. And what happened is the mom told me that her nightmare stopped. So I realized it was an it was a conversation starter. And she said she started to talk about Dad and ask questions and want to know about death in general. And I think To me, it's a conversation starter. And then you can take the conversation where you believe is best fit for your family, for your beliefs for what you're comfortable talking about, and to utilize tools, such as the ones that you develop, or these kinds of podcasts where maybe they're helping you understand what kind of terminology to use, what kind of language to use. So I'm just hoping it's another way to be able to start that conversation. Yeah.

DJ Stutz  10:31  
And I think that's really the most important part is the conversation between the parent and the child. Not necessarily the story. But that story can really help a parent, even though it's written for a younger reader, but help a parent come up with, what are some things that we can do to help our child process it to help them so that they don't feel quite so lost? And it's a conversation starter? Because the conversation is the most important piece, don't you think? Yes,

Sherrie Barch  11:07  
I agree. And sometimes as parents, we think we have to have all the answers, we have to know where the conversation is gonna go. And really, it's more just about opening up the opportunity to communicate, because we all grieve differently. Kids are incredibly perceptive. And so if they say something, and the feedback that they receive, verbally or non verbally is sadness, or frustration, they're not going to continue to do that. So us as parents understanding or caregivers or guardians to understand that it's okay to grieve in front of our children, it's okay to grieve in society, even though I think we all have a hard time with it harder writing this book, I'm not good at death and dying. You know, I don't sometimes have the courage to be able to show up in a way that's meaningful and through stories, and through the opportunity to just be curious and ask questions. It's helped me do better show up and be curious.

DJ Stutz  12:09  
And I think I'm looking for the right word. I think that curiosity is natural and normal. And okay. And we've had other conversations before this. And I think I shared with you that when my father in law died, my oldest daughter, Candace, it was the day before her fourth birthday. So she has this very innocent child like, and she and her grandpa were very close. She was close to both of her grandpa's. And we arrived just on a fluke, we were on our way to a theme park to do a celebration for her birthday, the day before. And we got there 10 minutes after my father in law had passed. And so there was a lot to do, we needed to help and, and my mother in law's brother was there to help her too. But we were trying to explain to Canvas, Shiloh was just a year old. And, you know, he's just running around. But we tried to explain to Candice and her thought was that she decided that God and grandpa, were going to be best friends. And she knew this because they were going to go fishing together, God and grandpa. And that's the vision that she had. And who knows, maybe there's fishing in heaven. I know. We don't know. So we don't destroy necessarily the vision that kids have, especially if it's that positive vision, right.

Sherrie Barch  14:00  
And it's not about covering up death and dying or making it a less serious topic. That's not it. Because where the conversation goes, is to be able to create some of those healthy conversations. It's okay to cry. It's okay to grieve. It's okay to be curious. But what happens because death is conflict is a lot of times people avoid conflict. So they don't show up. They don't address it. It's easier not to make anybody upset by not talking about it. And then what happens is it gets pretty lonely and a little isolating. I think the other piece that was interesting is after writing the book, if you go online, if you go into Amazon and just look at the reviews, the reviews aren't necessarily about the story. The reviews are about what happened after the story. Like I hadn't thought about my mother in a really long time. I happened to read the book on her birthday or people talked about memories. that they hadn't thought about in a long time, making calls showing up. So it's just so what I did from that book, which came out at right in the middle of the pandemic 20, end of 2020, beginning of 2021, is I ended up deciding to continue to force conversations by releasing a journal. And the journal has prompts in it that are kid friendly. So to your point about what do you think the fishing analogy, right, so it's the same man even analogy, the fishing story. So these prompts are just places to be able to continue the memories. And I think what's happening is if we can bring up a memory, like, I remember fishing one time with pops, and he caught this really big bluegill, and you're able to say, but remember that bluegill was right after he caught the Muskie, and we were afraid the Muskie was going to eat the bluegill or whatever. We're all having the same memory. But our vantage points on that memory can create new memories, right. And that's what I was seeing in some of the readers stories is that they were reaching back out to relatives, they were having conversations that were safe, that would have been avoided for years. So my hope is that the journal crops, again, they don't even have to read the journal, you can read the journal as a parent, maybe there's some questions in there that seem very safe and, and familiar or fun, that you could use in your conversations with your kids.

DJ Stutz  16:38  
Absolutely. And I love that, when looking at the journal, there is really a lot of room to write. So it doesn't have to be just one person's memory. It can be the family and different people contributing. You can also if you have kids that are so young, they're not writing yet, but they can dictate to you and, and to it's interesting that as you talk and things come up, a child might share something that's like, Oh, I saw that question, journal. And you can jump back and either have the child right or you write down the conversation. I also like the other side, the other page that you have talks about that. So that's

Sherrie Barch  17:29  
just because sometimes people aren't writers, and writing is intimidating. You know, even though I'm an author, sometimes writing for me can be intimidating. And I have a tendency to be more with mementos, or drawing. So there's a space on each question page that says this space is to doodle draw tape, glue, write express feelings and share memories in your own way. So there might be things that are different than just words. I guess for me, I just think about, you know, when a family is experiencing a death, everybody in the family also has a different vantage point, whether you're that your sister or a parent, or younger sister, older brother, you know, there's just all different ways that I think as a family unit, this set could help. And I think I said I envisioned like the journal and the book on a tap of a casserole, or with some colored pencils, and some crayons, and some bottles of water just dropping off for the family, to be able to continue in their journey of healing, but not excluding or avoiding the fact that we're grieving. Yeah. But instead embracing it, and having the opportunity to sit let's talk, bring them or let's write, or let's

DJ Stutz  18:51  
absolutely, I love that you bring up the point that people grieve differently. And someone might need a little time to process internally. I almost said eternally, but that could be true too. But they process internally, kind of by themselves, they're just needing time to think so forcing someone to talk about it. Eventually, they're going to need to, but maybe not right away. And that's not just adults, sometimes that little guys to just this past year in my class. I had two little friends that lost pets. Yes. And one was wanting to tell me everything that happened and how it all worked. And now he has to give his puppy hugs now, you know, because the cat, it was a cat. And then another kid it was his dog And thankfully his in both cases, the parents told us let us know what was going on. So we had an idea. But it was three days later, and he wasn't really talking to me. He was talking to another friend. And they were talking about how his dog got sick get he was old, blah, blah, blah. And I just sat there and pretended I was building a block structure. Yeah, next to the two boys. Yeah,

Sherrie Barch  20:33  
just listening and making sure that that conversation is taking place. And I think I again, I think anytime we experience grief, there's an opportunity to be supportive, and just along the pet, Abell works for a pet to write, my niece's lot grandmother had died. And I did the same thing I did with a first grader, they were in third, third and fourth grade at this point, gave them both bells, told the story of Heavens fell. And then two years later, the grandma's dog ended up getting hit by a car. And they were very sad. And it was kind of double sad, because they were sad about the loss of the dog. But it also meant that they lost another piece of their grandma, right. And so it was a hard, hard loss. So I brought over a smaller bill with dog bones on a ribbon. And instead, let's attach this to Carol's bow. And they ran into their rooms and attach that little bell to their grandma's Val, because it they I knew it all went together. And then they started talking about, you know, how much grandma loved the dog and what was going on, and they were in heaven. So I think there's an art of storytelling, whether these tools prompt you or help you as a parent, I think it's okay, just to use a little bit of make believe, and a little less seriousness, and pressure just to say, let's just be open about how we're feeling.

DJ Stutz  22:02  
Right. And I think that's a really important part of the conversation is creating a space where kids feel free to express what is going on. And I think you need to be aware anyway, that sorry, I'm, I've just recently had my own loss. I'm sorry. And yeah, yeah. And so it's a little tender for me. So this conversation, yeah, it's very personal. For me right now, I had a 14 year old niece passed away just not even two weeks ago. So it's important to find a way, and maybe it's not the parents that are going to be able to talk about it right now. So my niece that passed, she was the oldest of six. And so there's all these younger kids, mom and dad are very busy trying to manage what they're doing, and taking care of the kids. But that's a huge another huge fam way, my brother has eight kids. And this is the niece who passed was his granddaughter. So I guess she's my great niece, or grand niece, I don't know, anyway, but that family just came together. And so maybe the person for them to share with isn't necessarily mom and dad, it could be grandma, grandpa, it could be a sibling, it could be an aunt or uncle. And so being aware, and I think that having access to these kinds of materials, beyond just the nuclear family. But stretching out I think can be really helpful as we really ponder how we're going to approach

Sherrie Barch  24:00  
and one of the things you just made me think of something with COVID people weren't able to get together. But in the actual book, in the back of the book, there is pages, blank pages and lined pages that say memories. And so what happened is they would pass the book, from family to family, and people would put memories of the loved one in the back of the book. So what it was then brought to, in this particular situation, it was a grandma, the grandma was able to read the story, but then also see all the different memories that the story prompted. So that's another way to do it. If you think about this large families are living in a lot of different locations, to be able to be present and tell stories and if there's younger kids, they had stickers in the book, and have little pictures in the book. I just, I just can't help but think what a treasure that would be for In the grandma, if, especially with the isolation of COVID, but also, you know, it's hard when you've got family members all over the world, or the country,

DJ Stutz  25:12  
and families aren't doing that. Now, it's not as every you grow up in a town, and you marry in that town and you raise your kids in that town, that's not happening anymore. I mean, I've got five kids, and they live in five different states. Yes, you know, and so trying to keep up with everyone can be difficult. But I love the idea of passing that journal around and letting people write their own thoughts and ideas and memories, and then sending it on to someone else.

Sherrie Barch  25:50  
And even if the if you know, the journal is not something you can, you can also do that in just the book, there's pages in the back of the book as well. So I think it's a great combination. But either or works, too, they don't necessarily need to go together. I think they're both really great tools to be able to help show that you care about somebody that you love somebody, and maybe you're not next door or even in the same state.

DJ Stutz  26:17  
Right. And I wonder, maybe you could share some of your thoughts on things that you can do to just be there and help. You've had some personal experiences. I've had some personal experiences. And so what are some things I remember when my dad died? Back in 1992. So it's been a while he was young. He's only 57. But we're all there. Yeah. We were all sitting in the kitchen to seven kids. My mom wasn't there. She was doing something else or something. But the seven of us were sitting, we're sitting on the counters, all the stuff we tell our kids not to do. And I have watched this lady walking through the front door, I had no idea who she was. But they lived in Utah, and I lived in Las Vegas. So I didn't know who I was hanging out with my parents. And she comes in, opens the refrigerator looks in and says apples, they need apples, she closed the door and walked out. Now we have a large family, my mom. In the end, when I after all the grandkids were born, I think there were 38, there's 38 grandkids, and kids are running all around. And an hour or two later are here arrives this giant box of beautiful apples, and it was perfect for the kids to just tap the kids. So I think every family might need something different. Maybe they don't need a full big box of apples. But what have you found as ways to maybe share and help and be on top of what a family really needs?

Sherrie Barch  28:14  
Right? Well, and I think I call them courageous conversations. So I think having the courage to enter into a situation a home, whether or a formal funeral, or in between the death in the funeral, or, or months after the funeral to be able to have a courageous conversation. That is about curiosity. So you don't have to show up and have all the answers. You don't have to say statements like it's going to be okay. Or it will get better. Because it's not. That's that's not your role, in my opinion. Right? Roll is about if you can start with curiosity, if you can ask questions. And those questions, like I said, I've gotten in the journal, but you know, like, it could just it could be just as easy as How are you feeling? Oh, I'm fine. Thank you. Sometimes I feel sad. Sometimes I feel like he's going to come around the corner. Do you ever feel that way? You know, so now all of a sudden, you're our participant, you're not coming and going, I know better. The other thing is just being able to say, I'm going to create a safe environment. I'm just going to be vulnerable and say, I think apples would be really good right now. Because I love apples and you don't have to refrigerate them and you guys are traveling a lot. I'd like to buy you apples if that's okay with you. They may say we're allergic to apples, or we've got two bushels of apples, but we really like oranges. You know, I mean, engage. So in courageous conversations and being curious, there's your tool. I can ask questions. I can show up. It's so many People go away and you hear it time and time again. It gets lonely. Everybody was around during the funeral and right after, but all of a sudden went, all the voices go away and all the people go away and everybody goes back to their lives. I still think about him or her or the law. So the courage to show up the courage to ask questions, I think is a really difficult thing to do. But if you can get comfortable with it, I think it's really meaningful.

DJ Stutz  30:34  
You bring it such a great point, that there's all this busyness that goes on around the funeral and burial or whatever you're doing. In in a way, that's a blessing to the family. I felt like it was a blessing test when my dad died. Because there were so many things, he died out of state and bringing him back and there was just a lot to do. So that busyness really helped us. And then everyone leaves. Or we had to go home and just go back to our regular lives. Almost like nothing happened. Yes. And I think you bring up such a great point about maybe a month after the death is a great time to offer to take the kids to the park. Yeah, we're let's go out to lunch or something. But it does kind of it drops off fiercely. It does. I've even

Sherrie Barch  31:43  
done that. I've even done the book or the story

DJ Stutz  31:46  
a year later. Wow. Yeah.

Sherrie Barch  31:48  
So on that, so sometimes on the anniversary date, or right around that time, you know, just to be able to come come back and be ready for the the experience that that family is having, I mean, everybody is going to experience the first of the first year, and that anniversary date. And so many people have said, you're one of the few people that realize it's been a year, you know, and so that's what I would send the book or I would just just show up, make a call. I'm reflecting to just being there with them in the space that they're occupying.

DJ Stutz  32:33  
I remember, it was on the 25th anniversary of my dad passing. And I just put on Facebook remembering Dad and I had his picture and whatever, I was amazed at all of the comments that I got back about how my dad had changed someone's life and how he was such a great role model for them and believed in them and, and that's just so endearing. And you bring up another good point is, maybe and you don't have to do it. But if you're, if you're remembering someone say it was a friend or a spouse or whatever, that right to them, when you think about that person and just saying, Gosh, I was just doing dishes. And I was just thinking about joey and yes, yeah, in with my son and and what that meant, or even send a picture of your child and the child that is passed to the family. But continuing just those little fights, I think, don't you?

Sherrie Barch  33:53  
I do. And I think I'll tell my personal story is at the beginning of the year, I lost my father. And I had put the book out. So all of a sudden, I had all these people that were familiar with the story and knew I was experiencing my own loss. And it was a little interesting because now all of a sudden everybody knew where my head goes and how I think about my loved ones in heaven. But what happened was, people started reaching out and using the story. I'm ringing Ray's Bell today. And this motorcycle made me think of Ray and I know I rang his bell. And I know he's up in heaven with my dad because they were best friends and you know, ringing, ringing both their bells and all of a sudden I'm thinking wow, we are helping people have a common language. So to think you've got something that simple that a four year old, five year old can say we ring grandpa's Bell today. I Want to talk about him? Or I saw a Cardinal. And I think that means that Greg wants me to ring his bell or whatever it is. And that's really what communication is all about is common language, and safety. So I agree with you, I think there's opportunities that it doesn't have to be overcomplicated to be able to start that healing or to recognize when maybe we need to have some space for grief.

DJ Stutz  35:29  
I love that. And it's so thoughtful. You could even like put together a little box. You know, grandpa gave me this whistle, or, you know, just things to help them that they can go through.

Sherrie Barch  35:45  
And at that age, it really is about being able to see it. I mean, death is a hard Oh, yeah. All of us. But to have something in again. I mean, you're right. It could be anything it could, but it's just how can they take that to not looking at that whistle and being sad, but looking at that whistle and thinking about, when's the last time you blew that whistle? And what was he doing? And what was he wearing? And why do you think he kept blowing that whistle? And, you know, I don't know, it just it's just be curious.

DJ Stutz  36:16  
I agree. So as we are moving forward, I was wondering, can you give us like some more direct information on how they can find your book? Oh, thank

Sherrie Barch  36:31  
you. Yes. So you can go to, that'll give you a little bit more information about both the journal and the book and a little bit about me, or, obviously, you can go to Amazon to buy Heaven's Bell and it's a set. So you can buy one or the other or both. And you can read some reviews there. And hopefully, that will give you an indication of whether or not it's something you might be interested in purchasing.

DJ Stutz  36:58  
I really enjoy that whole idea of this book. And I'm definitely getting it. And I want to send it on to my nieces, family, of course. But I just love the idea that it brings in the importance of remembering, we don't forget someone because they've gone we don't stop talking about them, because they're gone. But we move forward in love, in memory, in compassion. And we understand that even though we come from the same family, we may all grieve differently. And so respect the individuality of each person. And that there's grief that's going on beyond that family. So maybe it's teachers. It could be someone from church, people from church, it could be someone down the neighborhood. But there are a lot of people that can be touched. And I just really appreciate that you have this opportunity and something to help people reach out to one another.

Sherrie Barch  38:16  
Thank you. And thank you for having me on your show. I have listened to your podcast, and I love how you're just trying to help us all be better. Even though we know we're not perfect. Nope. Oh, no, thank you.

DJ Stutz  38:29  
We talk about there's only been one perfect person ever in the world if you're a believer. But he had a human mom, and I don't think even she was perfect all the time. So there's no have perfect parent. Before we go, I always ask my guests the same question. And so I'd like to ask you, how would you define a successful parent?

Sherrie Barch  39:01  
Being curious, I think a successful parent is one that knows they don't need to have all the answers. And they need to learn with their children, because they're going to approach challenges. From different vantage points. I think the way to get through it is to lean in and be curious with you read along with your children.

DJ Stutz  39:27  
That is so important. And I have some other things that are going on but part of it is instead of beating up ourself over something that we didn't handle perfectly, we can be curious about well, what made me handle it that way. And why am I feeling the way I'm feeling and asking those questions that curiosity? Cause everywhere, doesn't it? It does. It does. It does. Thank you so much. So for spending this time with us and sharing your thoughts and your book, and we're going to have all of that information down in the show notes, I don't think everyone was sitting with a paper and pen at the ready. They don't need to, it's all going to be down in the show notes. So, thank you so much for being a part of our show today.

Sherrie Barch  40:23  
Thank you so much is all Thank you.

DJ Stutz  40:30  
Okay, so let's recap. I had 10 points that I thought were really important as we were talking number one was, children deal with significant loss at all ages. It happens all the time. Number two, make sure your kids know that it's okay to be sad. Number three, help your child talk about their feelings. And remember that all feelings are valid. Number four, children are going to have questions about their loved one and about death in general, they might have questions like, am I going to die? And that can get them a little frightened. And so we need to comfort them through those questions. And those emotions. And number five is you don't have to have all the answers to those questions. It's okay to say I'm not sure and maybe work together to find out some answers. Number six is understand that everyone grieves differently. Your children will probably grieve in a different way than you grieve. And it's all okay. Now, number seven is journaling memories not only preserves those memories, but it can spur other memories that might otherwise have been forgotten. Number eight, as a friend, realize that the most meaningful outreach may be a month, a year or more later. Number nine, find traditions that bring fond memories and incorporate them into your family. And number 10. Give yourself some grace when you don't handle everything perfectly. We all are imperfect. So I mentioned that my dad died in 1992. And he died very suddenly between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when his personal plane failed and crashed. And so it might seem weird, but it works for my family. I have an airplane ornament that is on our tree every Christmas. And while that might not work for everyone, it works for us. And the key is finding the things that bring you comfort and happy memories. My dad loved flying. 

And so if you are interested in finding more about Sherrie Barch and the book, we're going to have links to the book, and to her website, it's all going to be down in the show notes. Remember, while you're there, it's not hard to just click on that fifth star and give us that review. 

So parent teacher conferences are going to be here before you know it. And I'm here to help. Have you ever left a parent teacher conference thinking? Well, that was a waste of time? Or is this your first conference, there are things that you can do to prepare, so that you are using your time wisely. And I have worked out for you. And I've cut it down to $10 from my usual 20. And when you're done with this workshop, you're going to walk into the conference with confidence and knowing what to ask and what to share. And then you will walk out of that conference thinking I'm so glad I went. The link for that is going to be in the show notes. And next week, I'm talking with Barbara Mojica. And she is the author of the children's book series, Little Miss History. And it was really cool. We were talking about how to engage our children in history and lead them to understand that they are actually making history every day. So until next time, let's find joy in parenting.

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Sherrie BarchProfile Photo

Sherrie Barch


Sherrie Barch is the CEO of two Forbes’ ranked top executive search firms and a leadership consulting company. An expert in the areas of leadership, team development, and diversity, her forward-thinking approach to work was recognized when she was chosen to participate in the ‘altMBA” program designed and led by leadership guru Seth Godin. Born and raised in Northern Illinois, Sherrie earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in Communication from Western Illinois University.

Sherrie is married with three sons. As a mom, she describes herself as a part-time pancreas for her two youngest sons who were both diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes within the same year. Playing this role for the last 11 years, she is relentless about creating open and honest communication with her family about this chronic and life-threatening condition.

Sherrie’s passion for storytelling and making room for serious and “heavy” conversations was a strong motivation for her to write her children’s book Heaven’s Bell based on a story of the same name she penned several years prior. The story focuses on 11-year-old best friends Cody and Ashley, and what happens when their once-in-a-lifetime friendship is threatened by personal tragedy. One of her goals for Heaven’s Bell is to create and inspire a safe space for families to have a conversation about death and dying in a natural and productive way.

Sherrie is currently working on her second book, a business leadership fable designed to help new college graduates navigate the “real life stuff they don’t teach you in school” about career conversations, conflicts, and challenges.

In her leisure time, she enjoys the changing seasons of the Midwest, spending time with her family and friends and live entertainment in any form including Broadway plays, school plays, comedians, magicians, and musicians.