This Club Suuucks

This Club Suuucks

Welcome to This Club Suuucks: Grief Support for Parents After the Lasagnas Are Long Gone. These episodes are recorded from the weekly #ChildLossChat on Twitter Spaces hosted by Melissa Monroe, aided and abetted by co-host Alexandria Szeman. Melissa has supported hundreds of bereaved folks through her work as a doctor and teacher of acupuncture. Her understanding of grief became more personal after her two-year-old daughter Alice died in her sleep of unknown causes* just eleven days after her second birthday in 2013. No one wants to be in the bereaved parents club, but here we are. After Alice died, Melissa found immense healing in many forms including EMDR therapy, writing, and – in Alice’s memory—helping others deal with grief and trauma. In addition to starting her blog “Mothering in Memoriam,” Melissa founded the Agastock concert to benefit the Southern California Counseling Center’s Trauma and Resiliency Training Program so that more therapists could be trained in EMDR and other trauma modalities. In 2018, this incredible sliding-scale Center was able to open a second location in the underserved Watts community, where they dedicated a room to Alice’s memory. She also developed grief and trauma continuing education courses for acupuncturists at She continues to treat patients in her Los Angeles clinic and has recently completed a memoir about her path to healing after Alice’s death. Dr. Alexandria Szeman is the award-winning author of New York Times Book Review’s Notable Book and Top 100 Books of the Year, The Kommandant’s Mistress, which also won the Kafka prize “for the best book of prose fiction by an American woman.” She won the Elliston Poetry Prize for excerpts from two of her books: Where Lightning Strikes: Poems on the Holocaust, and Love in the Time of Dinosaurs. She is a childhood sexual abuse survivor and advocate, and she frequently writes about migraine. She co-hosts #ChildLossChat, #SexAbuseChat, and #BookMarketingChat. This Club Suuucks aims to destigmatize grief and trauma through open discussion around issues facing the bereaved. Whether you are bereaved, want to support the bereaved, or realize that learning to cope with grief and trauma in all its forms leads to a more meaningful life, we will be holding space for you after the lasagnas are long gone. For more information on Melissa’s work, visit *Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) is a category of death assigned when no cause of death can be identified after a thorough autopsy and death investigation. Though relatively rare, SUDC is the fifth leading cause of death in toddlers.


June 2, 2023 31 mins
May 24, 2023 Prolonged Anticipatory Grief with Karen DeBonis, Author of the memoir “Growth."

Anticipatory grief can occur for days, months, or even years before an impending loss and is experienced by many people whose loved ones suffer from chronic and/or degenerative diseases. Today’s guest Karen DeBonis, author of “Growth: A Mother, Her Son, and the Brain Tumor They Survived” spoke with us about her journey…which, gratefully, has...
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Dec 22, 2022 Grief Following Suicide with Norine Vander Hooven, LCSW

Loved ones of those who died by suicide have a uniquely difficult grief journey. Todays guest Norine Vander Hooven, LCSW, is a counselor in Westlake Village, CA, an EMDR Approved Consultant, the Former Chair of Youth Suicide Prevention Committee for the American Association of Suicidology. Today we discuss how we can support ourselves and others following death of ...
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DEC 15, 2022 Crisis in Faith During Grief with Stephanie Herrman, M.Theology

Tragedy, grief and trauma can lead us to question even our deepest held beliefs, often resulting in additional guilt and shame. Stephanie Herrman, M. Theology – and long-time bodyworker and Pilates teacher – joins us today to provide a non-judgmental space to discuss what we can do for ourselves when we find ourselves questioning everything we thought we k...
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Dec 8, 202 Kelly Farley, Author of “Grieving Dads” | Grief in Dads

We individually grieve differently, plus we individually grieve different deaths differently… and grieve differently moment to moment. Therefore, expecting two family members to grieve the same way at the same time forever and ever, is not a fair expectation. And there are gender differences as well! I’m a woman and can give my personal experience as a grieving mom,...
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Nov 17, 2022 | Grief Support for Families Who Lost Children, Jody Pupecki of The Compassionate Friends

The death of a child is a devastating event not only for the parents of the child, but their siblings, grandparents, and other family members as well. Founded over 50 years ago, The Compassionate Friends now has over 520 grief group chapters for families in the US and is present in 30 other countries. TCF provides bereavement suppo...
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Nov 10, 2022 | Adoption Grief and Compounded Losses with Candace Cahill, Author of “Goodbye, Again.”

Candace Cahill lost her son. Twice. Once, after she was strong-armed into relinquishing him to adoption. The second time, after he died in his sleep not long after they finally met for the first time. Candace’s story will break your heart and put it back together. We discuss her unique periods of grief, adoption, compounded losses, c...
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November 21, 2022 94 mins
It’s always vital to take care of ourselves, but especially important—and challenging—during times of grief. Life Coach Graciela Moore discusses some easy ways we can nurture ourselves at our most vulnerable times. So many great questions, practical solutions, and beautiful shares in this episode.

For more about Graciela’s work, you can go here:
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Oct 27, 2022 | End of Life Support and Death Doulas with Sharon Pollock
Western society barely provides us enough time to plan a funeral, much less get affairs in order, grieve, or spend time with the dying. When it comes to saying goodbye, Sharon can assist you in multiple ways. Whether it’s keeping vigil with the dying, providing assistance with bureaucratic tasks and paperwork, supporting the family with meals or errands, or pla...
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October 6, 2022 | Sudden Unexplained and Unexpected Deaths with Amanda Brindle, LSW from the SUDC Foundation

Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) is relatively unknown though it is the 5th leading classification of death in toddlers. SUDC is the sudden death of a child 1-18 years old that remains unexplained after a thorough autopsy and death investigation. Most of these children die in their sleep with no warning. Approxima...
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October 6, 2022 | Stillbirth and Birth Trauma with Dana Nassau, MFT

Approximately 21,000 babies are stillborn in the US every year, often for unknown reasons. Suffering the death of a child you never got to know while your body is recovering from childbirth and very much preparing for a child who is no longer here is a unique loss and one that is often diminished. Former doula and current MFT Dana Nassau joins us today to discuss th...
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September 29, 2022 | Losing Your Only Child with Sheila Gibbons

The death of a child is devastating in every instance, but what if they are your only child? There were some truly beautiful moments of sharing and healing in this week’s episode with Sheila Gibbons. Sheila recounts the best advice she was given: “People will tell you to live for your other children or your spouse (if you don’t have other children), but YOUR life has va...
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September 15, 2022 Shari Wolf | Natural Funerals

Wherein I learn that a burial plot alone can cost $20-$40,000 in Los Angeles. "I thought I couldn't afford to live, but now I can't afford to die either!"

These are the things you want to know BEFORE $h*t hits the fan. Is it more fun to talk about sports/fashion/music etc? Sure. But knowing your options before shit hits the fan makes a MAJOR difference.

We used “natural” or “green” fu...
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September 19, 2022 63 mins
September 8, 2022 Susan Lynch | Shane and Grief

Shame is common with – and often complicates – grief. It also thrives in secrecy, leading to isolation, thus exacerbating the shame. Today’s guest Susan Lynch, author of “Life After Kevin: A Mother’s Search for Peace and the Golden Retrievers that Lead the Way,” speaks with us about “bad ways to die,” overcoming the fear that others will judge us and our children who died “in a bad wa...
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September 19, 2022 68 mins
September 1, 2022 KARE Farm | Grief Retreat

From Melissa's blog, “If anyone needs a retreat, it’s the parent of a SUDC kid, but 0/10 parents want to be in a position to go to a SUDC Retreat. The word “Retreat” seems too insignificant to counter the SUDC part of the title… If I could retreat from the death of my child that would be stellar, but unfortunately, death seems to be permanent. I guess the word “Retreat” just seemed like a...
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August 25, 2022 Norine Vander Hooven, LCSW | Traumatic Grief

One might experience “traumatic grief” after a sudden, violent and/or unexplained death, or after losing one’s support system. Folks with traumatic grief often suffer from PTSD as well as complicated grief, making it more challenging to heal. Norine Vander Hooven, LCSW, is a counselor and consultant in Westlake Village, CA, an EMDR Approved Consultant, the Former Chair of ...
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September 18, 2022 59 mins
August 18, 2022 Myrah Tee | Miscarriage

One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, yet the grief around these losses are often overlooked or invalidated. Today’s brave guest Myrah Tee has suffered four miscarriages, including one which occurred in the second trimester. Through writing and art, Myrah has become an advocate for those suffering miscarriages and a true beacon of positivity and light. We discuss the unique grief which r...
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August 11, 2022 Heather Hammond | Parenting After Child Loss

How do you parent surviving children after the death of a child? Unfortunately, there is no clear answer. Model, blogger and fellow Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) parent Heather Hammond and I discuss the unique parenting challenges bereaved parents face and how we have worked to face those challenges. We explore how to authentically honor our deceased child w...
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August 4, 2022 Maurine Neiman, PhD | What to Do on the “Dates”

After losing a loved one, certain days of the year can become more of a challenge than a joy. For bereaved parents, the child’s birthday and death anniversary can be especially difficult to navigate. Today’s guest, Maurine Neiman, is an evolutionary biologist and fellow Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) parent. From our own experiences—as well as ideas from fe...
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July 20, 2022 Donna Jennings, PhD | Sexuality in Times of Grief

Today we are joined by the wonderful Donna Jennings, aka Dr. J, a sex educator, author and editor. We discuss the neurophysiology of grief and the effects of sex and intimacy upon those neurophysiological changes. Topics addressed include how to assess your true needs and the meaning behind those needs, how to best communicate those needs, and how to negotiate differin...
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July 14, 2022 Melissa M. Monroe PhD, L.Ac | Supporting Grief with Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Before I was a mother, I was a Pilates and yoga teacher as well as a doctor of Eastern medicine. While I always treated bereaved patients, my understanding of grief deepened after the sudden, unexplained death of my two-year-old Alice. I discuss how my traumatic grief experience lead me to develop new protocols for grief a...
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