The Healing Force
in 100 Acts of Love
Ep. 244 with Kim Hamer
“Don’t make it about you just send them a lot of love.”
Brace yourself for this heartening conversation between Lesley and Kim Hamer as they unpack the nuances of cancer, loss, and empathy. The episode spotlights the transformative power of little acts of kindness in lifting our loved ones, the critical need for a supportive work culture, and the journey towards uncovering our own silver linings. This engaging dialogue is a resourceful guide, infusing strength and hope into the lives of individuals and communities coping with such challenging situations.
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In this episode you will learn about:
- The profound toll of cancer on individuals and their relationships.
- How your superpower can make a powerful impact for loved ones facing cancer or death.
- Creating a compassionate workplace environment for employees navigating loss.
- How Kim’s book highlights the importance of genuine empathy and simple gestures.
- How Kim became a consultant in grief management.
- Letting others find their own silver linings.
- 100 Acts of Love (website): https://www.100actsoflove.com/
- 100 Acts of Love (book): https://www.100actsoflove.com/shop
- Kim Hamer’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimthamer/
- Kim Hamer’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/100actsoflove/
- What Not to Say: https://www.100actsoflove.com/whatnottosay
Kim Hamer: I’m going to talk about a silver lining that I got from my husband’s death. I want to make it really clear to everybody that it is not your job to point out other persons silver lining. So many people were like, well, you know, you have so much going for you like they were trying to put silver linings around. One of my friends said, Kim, you know, don’t worry, you’re young, you’re beautiful, you can get married again. And I was like, Oh, well, then I don’t need to be so sad. Because you can replace my husband.
Welcome to the Be It Till You See It podcast where we talk about taking messy action, knowing that perfect is boring. I’m Lesley Logan, Pilates instructor and fitness business coach. I’ve trained thousands of people around the world and the number one thing I see stopping people from achieving anything is self doubt. My friends, action brings clarity and it’s the antidote to fear. Each week, my guests will bring Bold, Executable, Intrinsic and Targeted steps that you can use to put yourself first and Be It Till You See It. It’s a practice, not a perfect. Let’s get started.
All right, Be It babe. So today’s guest on the topic is going to be something that makes you pretty uncomfortable. And I’m hoping to make some of these topics more comfortable. Because we kind of get over it, y’all, we got to start talking about grief, we got to start understanding how to help each other. And today’s guest not only shares her story about how she lost her husband, but also what she’s doing today to make workplaces a better place when it comes to grief. And, and I, I truly hope that you take some time to listen to this. I know you might be thinking, oh my gosh, Lesley, it’s Tuesday. And I want like, all the happiness in the world. But today’s guest is actually you know, what she’s doing is she wrote a book called 100 Acts of Love. So it’s actually quite a positive talk around a subject that we all want to avoid. And she’s actually going to tell you the exact things not to say. So I promise you, you’re gonna want to stick around because I know all of us don’t want to say the wrong thing. We only want to do the things that can be helpful, and you’re gonna get a lot of helpful tips. And also, you know, someday we’re all going to be in a place where we are in grief. There’s different kinds of grief, of course, but we’re humans, we’re going to lose each other in our lives. And so being able to hear other people’s stories, I think is really important to understanding how, how every, how you’re feeling is normal. And I know when you listen to this, that it’s easy to put a lot of pressure on yourself to like, get it together and and be okay. And what I hope you hear from this is that it’s okay not to be okay. So Kim Hamer is our guest today. She’s beautiful, inside and out. And this is one of my most favorite interviews to do. So thank you, Kim, and thank you for being here to listen to this. And I can’t wait to hear what your takeaways are.
All right, Be It babe. I’m so excited to have you back with us today listening in because our guest today honestly, like, I’m so glad this woman came across my like my feed and thing of people I should interview because I definitely the topic we’re talking about today. I definitely feel like I’ve been the person who fucked up and didn’t do the thing and didn’t say the thing and didn’t help out. And everyone’s like what and Kim’s laughing. So Kim Hamer is our guest today. And she is an incredible person who is helping people actually do 100 Acts of Love and actually give steps and it’s because she went through something traumatic and people weren’t able to help out and then she saw herself in that so I’ma let her tell her own story. So Kim will you tell everyone who you are, and what brought you here today?
Kim Hamer 2:50
Sure. So what brought me here today is my husband’s death at the age of 44. He was six foot six tall about 230. So you know, good size man, not a skinny six foot six. And very healthy. We were like the typical LA couple, you know, like working out together and trying to make our way in the world with our three kids, making sure that they’re good students, eating organic food, you know, exercising. And, and that didn’t help. He was diagnosed with cancer. It was very surprising for both of us, I can’t imagine someone says when they get diagnosed with cancer, Oh, yeah, I thought that was gonna happen. It’s always surprising.
Lesley Logan 3:36
But also, like, when someone is 60 Plus, you’re like, Well, you know, It’s a numbers game, right? Like, that sounds terrible. But like, 40, you don’t go back to be diagnosed with something like that.
Kim Hamer 3:49
This is very true. And it was really surprising to us. And what I learned in that first part of the journey, you know, that day that we found out it was literally like a mother’s, you know, Hallmark movies that, you know, my husband had been having trouble breathing. And for some reason, when he said, I’m gonna call the doctor, I said to him, I want to come with you. And he right on the heels of that. He said, I want you to come with me like we knew something wasn’t right. And I don’t want to go into details of what the symptoms were because nobody needs, no one needs to be going oh my god, I can’t breathe. I might have cancer. (…) Exactly. But we were sitting in the doctor’s office and we had had he already had had an x ray and an exam and the doctor came in and we’re sitting at the exam table on one side of the exam table. The doctor came in and wove his hands together and put them on the exam table and said to my husband, I think you have cancer. And the only reason he couldn’t confirm it is because it was inside and we needed to do you need to confirm it with tests. So we kind of fell into this was very serious early on. It was stage four and had we not taken like immediate action that next week. He probably would not have lasted for the end of the month. It was really very, very well, we didn’t know. So we didn’t know it was that serious because the first doctor we were with was very kind of lackadaisical kind of like, well, we’ll get this test started. And so anyway, what happened was, I needed a lot of help. I had three, we have three young kids at this time, I was trying to make a living as trying to help my house where he was working, and I was making living as a freelance writer. And I knew right off the bat that I was in way over my head, like I was absolutely positive. But I didn’t know how people can help other than bring a meal, which is the one thing that everyone does. And that actually, sometimes I was like, no more like, Stop bringing us any more food. So through that process, what I realized was that some people knew exactly how to be helpful, and most people didn’t know. And for those who didn’t know, it was always this awkward place of like, well, what do you need, and I’m like, I don’t know, I can’t think of anything until 2am when Art’s vomiting, and I realize I’m running out of paper towel, right, or, until the morning when I go to pour cereal, I gotta pour milk into the cereal from the bowl for the kids, and there’s no milk. So there was a sense of like, there’s just this big disconnect. I was on one side of this cliff, and everyone else is on the other side of the cliff, and everybody wanted to help but there was just we needed a bridge. So it, it was, it was my husband’s job and we went into this, went into these roles without even discussing it. His job was to beat the cancer, he put blinders on, he focused on nothing but that, and it was serious enough that he couldn’t work. So he did not have anything else to think about, but making it through every single day. And then my job became everything else. And the thing about our relationship is we definitely co parented so all of a sudden, I was parenting by myself, he would come you know, he would come out of chemo for a couple days, and then they’d slam with chemo again, and he disappear. And then he come out of chemo for a couple of days, and they slam with chemo again. So it was it was a very harrowing experience. And then we got the all clear. So which is a fantastic thing, you know, you get the all clear. And I thought, which is I think what everyone else thinks is you’re gonna have a party and celebrate and you look at life brand new, and you’re gonna go do all those things you’ve been scared to do before. That is not what happened. What happened was we spent, Can I swear? …(Lesley: you can.) Okay, we spent months looking, we would get into bed and look at each other and go, What the fuck just happened? Like, like, literally like, and then we spent months wondering if we want to remain married. Because something like that really, it brings out the best in your marriage, and it brings out the worst in your marriage. So did we want to remain together? What was that about? I was pissed. Because my husband was…
Lesley Logan 7:58
I could just imagine like, I’ve just spent all this time making sure you could just focus on living. And now you’re thinking and I’m now I’m rethinking.
Kim Hamer 8:07
No, I’m rethinking, Should I’ve made that effort?
Lesley Logan 8:11
Oh my God. That’s so much emotions.
Kim Hamer 8:14
Yes. It’s a lot of emotions. You know, I was pissed. I took on the role of taking on all this stuff. But I also took on the role of being a martyr. So there was part of that play in there. I was pissed because he never thanked me. I mean, just crazy stuff, crazy, crazy stuff. We go through our lives, we decide that we do like each other. And we do want to remain married, we go into couples therapy, which is very, very helpful. On top of all this, there’s still side effects from the chemo that we’re dealing with eight months later. So I think that’s another thing that people don’t understand is the chemo doesn’t just kind of disappear out of your system. So we remain married, we’re going to make a go of it. Were kind of like getting our feet back into life and going out and helping the kids do all these other things. My husband does his first triathlon. I’ve been doing them for years, it was sort of my domain, but I was like, go for it. It was his first triathlon, we go away for Thanksgiving, and he starts to have symptoms again, but he’s not really focusing on the fact that there are symptoms. He’s just saying he doesn’t feel well. And then and then at the end of December was clear, you know, you look back at photos, you can see that he lost a lot of weight, but when you’re with them day to day, you just don’t notice. And then he, you know, we caught it, cancer came back less than two years later, it was stage four again. And then four months after that he died. So it was just sort of this whirlwind again. Of, Okay, we’re gonna jump into the roles like I knew I was familiar with this role. He was familiar with this role. After he died, of course, you know, he was 44. So very young, and our kids were 12, 9 and 7, they were also young. And there was the sort of, I again, I saw how so many people knew what to do. And so many people didn’t know what to do. How friends who we thought would step in, stepped back, and how other people who we didn’t really even know that well became our friends. So I became in and stepped in and became my friend, became my husband’s friend. And it was about that point that I started to get really resentful of people. I’m going to tell you all this is the honest truth.
Lesley Logan 10:24
That’s what we want because I think that like, like I said, at the beginning of this, y’all like, I was reading what you wrote. And I was like, oh, yeah, like, I know, like, when a friend has that kid, I’m like, Oh, I don’t have a kid. So like, should like, what do you need? Do you need toilet paper? Like, but but they need more clothes? Do you need diapers? What? Yeah, exactly. Like, Hey, how’s it going? Exactly. Exactly. I feel like, I feel like it’s I love that you’re sharing all of this, because I think I think one, then when someone in our lives is going through it, we can kind of like glean from this whole moment and learn from it. Also, like, we may be in your same shoes someday. And, gosh, we don’t want to feel like we’re alone. And like we’re the crazy person who’s like, yeah, you know, like I’m over the food.
Kim Hamer 11:08
Exactly. I will tell you this, my kids went on a lasagna strike after my husband died because people kept bringing us lasagna. And you know, there’s 100 million ways to make lasagna. So we were getting, so the kids would love one lasagna who I can never remember who bought it for us, you know, who brought it over. And then we have that one, then they have another one. And they were like this one sucks. A month into it, my oldest was like Mom, no more lasagna. We don’t want any more lasagna. So I had to tell our friends like no more lasagna, y’all because we were lasagnaed out. So back to the resentment, you know, I just began to feel really angry. I was like, you know, my husband died. And you can’t find the courage to come up and talk to me like what the hell’s wrong with you? And then as the years go on, I start to have a lot of empathy, sympathy first, and then empathy. And what I realize is, I’m really mad, which is often the case, we get really mad because they’re doing something that we have done in the past, or that we would do. And what I realized is I didn’t know what to say, I would not have known how to help me if I had been my friend,. I wouldn’t know what to say, I would have been the person who said, If you need anything, let me know. And we’ll talk about why that’s the least helpful thing later. So I wanted to, there’s a lot of books out there, if you have cancer, a ton, you know, and it’s never enough information, there can always be more, but if one in three of us is going to get a cancer, the other two need to know what to do. And that’s why I wrote my book, so that people could quickly like just open it up in a panic like, Oh my God, what do I do, and they open up and, you know, tip number 48, is stock the bathroom, like, make sure that they have, you mentioned toilet paper, make sure they have toilet paper and toothpaste and soap and clean towels and you put your number on the, on a, tape it to the bathroom cupboard door so that when they run out of those things, they don’t have to try to remember between them between that moment and getting to write into a piece of paper or getting to their phone to write it down, whatever. So I really want people to be able to take very simple actions, I think the thing that I realized, I think, the thing that I saw, the things that people did the most that were most helpful, were really simple things, you didn’t need to sign up to bring food every single Monday for 365 days. Right? It didn’t need that, you know, it was helpful for sure. But my idea of helping before my husband got sick would have been like, I need to take this whole thing on because I’m gonna make a difference. And, and you don’t need to do that. A lot of the tips in the book were from simple things that people did, and they did them once. But they were really powerful. So that’s sort of my story. And then I go into HR, I go back into HR. So I go back to work after not being, after not being in an office for over 12 years. I stumble a little bit and then I decide I need to go back into HR. And my very first job in HR was working for a president of a company whose wife had cancer and then died.
Oh my gosh, like what a divine appointment. I hate, like not wanting to go through that. But like lucky him to have someone in his world who could just look at him and like see him.
Yes, exactly. And I ended up helping the CEO, work with him because the CEO didn’t have a clue what to do. I ended up helping his team work with them. And then the back of my mind, that’s sort of where the idea came. And then last year, I just decided to go ahead and launch a consultancy. And right now my focus is on employee death. How are managers managing a grieving team? And I think I just spoke to someone yesterday who was like, oh, no, our managers are fine. And I’m like, oh, managers are not. They are scared. They are feeling a ton of pressure because they’ve got these, they’ve got these goals they have to meet. And then they’ve got a grieving team. So all of a sudden Tom, Mr. Nice Guy, Tom been around been nice the whole time, all of a sudden really mean in short and bitchy, and you know, but the manager is like, I need you to do this Tom. And now the manager is afraid to talk to Tom. But the managers feeling afraid because grief makes us feel insignificant and small and scared and afraid. So the managers feeling afraid, doesn’t want approach Tom, who’s now you know, Tom is off the charts crazy. And it’s all because of grief. Yeah. And then Tom, all of a sudden decides to leave the company a year later. And no one, no one really puts those two together that the reason Tom’s leaving, is because he wasn’t given the space and wasn’t told how the grief is going to affect his work. He feels disconnected and disenchanted. His boss is kind of being a jerk, the way Tom sees it. And they can’t recover. Because no one’s had that conversation with them about, hey, you guys are grieving. And this is what’s going on. And this is what’s happening. And let’s, let’s let’s talk about how we can work around it. So that’s, that’s my focus now.
Lesley Logan 16:05
I mean, what a journey like, gosh, thank goodness for you, and your awareness for this. Because I feel like, you know, there’s a lot of people who are out there in the world who are working for themselves. And like, there’s some beauty around that, but the most, most people are employee somewhere. And, you know, I would imagine that every owner of a company would like to say, hey, when our employees are going through something, of course, we’re there for them. But the problem is, is you’re correct. Doesn’t matter what happened to the workplace or in life, none of us are really good at grief. None of us are really aware of like, because someone dying makes us think about if that person died in our lives, and when we like, get a little obsessed about that. And then we start to freak out and then we shut down and we’re like, can’t be, we just can’t we don’t we also don’t want to make a mistake, because we don’t want to say the wrong thing. So then we say the wrong thing, which is, let me know if you need anything.
Kim Hamer 16:59
Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Lesley Logan 17:02
And we say that because we’re like, I don’t want to overstep. I don’t want to overwhelm I don’t, I don’t, I don’t want to make them cry. I don’t want to make them mad. I don’t want to like they seem to be doing well. So maybe I shouldn’t bring it up.
Kim Hamer 17:15
Yes, exactly. Exactly. I just got engaged and really want to share with her, but her husband just died. And I want to talk to her about it.
Lesley Logan 17:20
Yeah, and that makes him feel even more alone. Because of course, of course, they want to be happy as well. Maybe they won’t be as happy as they want to be. But they also don’t want to be left out of your life.
Kim Hamer 17:32
Yes, yes, you are exactly right. I think what happens is we make it about us and not about them. And I think there’s two specific reasons we do this, one because we feel out of control. We don’t know what to do. So when we’re in fear, we step back, we just kind of take a step back. The other, the other reason is because when we’re, we don’t want to touch on it. It hurts, you know, I, I became aware of how difficult the loss of my husband was for my in laws several years later, like, because it was all about my loss at that point. But all of a sudden, I mean, you know, occasionally, during the last, during the first couple of years, I would look at and think, Holy shit, they lost a son. You know, so we’re unable, we don’t want to put ourselves in those shoes, because it doesn’t feel good to think about the fact that yeah, we are all going to die. We’re all gonna die. Yeah, you know what, we don’t want to talk about it. We don’t want to discuss it. We just kind of hope and pray that today is not the day.
Lesley Logan 18:28
Yeah, I mean, it’s and like, you know, literally today, we had a call with our financial advisor, she’s like, Well, how do you guys feel about life insurance policies? And I was like, so I want to make sure that I am taking care of if he, guys, first, because I actually would need to hire a whole new him (…) like, he works with me, I’d have to hire an actual CEO, right? So I need to have money for that, and to be taken care of, because I probably won’t be able to get off the carpet for a while. So we need that. And then if I go first, he has to find a new person to take over the company. Like we need to take that like that doesn’t even cover grief. That’s just like the numbers, right? So like, and even for some people, that’s hard enough. So what I mean, you know, obviously like you have your own experience, but like what are some things that you have found like for people co workers and, you know, what are those things that people can recognize are signs of grief because I think we think they’re always gonna be crying but also could be Bob’s now short tempered, you know, like that’s grief.
Kim Hamer 19:32
Yes, yes, absolutely. First of all, please get the life insurance and double whatever you’re thinking about, we can talk offline. Just double whatever you’re thinking about. So I think the first thing is, yes, people tend to be short tempered. I always liken it to given birth and you know, you see the funny the funny outtakes when the woman’s in labor and the husband like pats her brow and she just screams at him, right? She loses her mind. Well, that actually does happen. And sometimes in birth, because our bodies, our female bodies are so focused on doing this one thing. So anything that distracts us, pisses us off, because it’s distracting us from the process. And so, when that happens, when grief happens to somebody, whether it’s a colleague or a friend or a partner, you have these blinders on, because you were just trying to figure out what your next move is your brain is, you have now lost track of the person in your life, you can’t find them anymore. Like they’re not you, you can’t fly to see them. They’re not around the corner, or they’re not in bed. So you’re not showing up for work. So your brain is trying to adjust to this, this different time, space reality. And it’s really working hard. And when it’s really working hard, it doesn’t like to be distracted. So grief can show up. Like all of a sudden, you could be talking about rainbows, and this person could burst out crying. So I think sometimes we think, Oh, no, let’s not talk about that person, because I’ll make them cry. That sometimes has nothing to do with it. It’s just sometimes, it’s just this random thought pops it and they cry. Short temperedness is a really great one, sadness, we don’t do sadness well, we’re so quick to call sadness, depression. But sometimes it’s just sad. And so you feel lethargic, you don’t want to go to work. Disinterest is another huge one that happens a lot. Is all of a sudden, that job that you loved. What’s the point? Why am I going to work? Why am I showing up? This is really dumb. Right? And that can lead to that short temperedness. Right? Because someone’s, someone who’s not as close to the person who has died is at a meeting with you. And they’re talking about this type of thing. And they’re getting mad about it. And you’re like, are you serious right now? Joe just died three weeks ago, and you’re in here yelling about this number that doesn’t make a rap of difference. So it’s, I think those are some of the things that people need to look at. Another one that people often don’t look at is the opposite, that high energy, high positivity, everything’s going to be alright. It was purpose. You know, I’m really grateful I got to know this person, she was really great. Just that kind of high energy like, that is someone who’s really working hard to protect that and that incredible anger, sadness, resentment. Another one is guilt. And guilt, of course, can’t be seen. But sometimes when we’re guilty, we turned to anger to protect it. Anger, I always consider anger as a cover emotion. Usually when you’re angry, there’s other feelings below that that are causing the anger come up. So guilt is another one I last words I exchanged with them wasn’t good, I should have been nicer, or they were doing this meeting I didn’t, you know, we can come up with all sorts of reasons we should, should have (…) and that can also drive a lot of a lot of feelings at work. So I think those are sort of the top ones when you, when you ask.
Lesley Logan 22:49
Yeah, thank you. I mean, like, it is interesting how anger can be the cover for a lot of things, I think, the fear of all of it, right? So you know, and so you wrote a book. And what was that? Was that almost like therapeutic for you? Was it helpful to kind of like organize all the things that were helpful was it for you? So when a friend or family member is in the same situation, you can go okay, I have to remember this? Like, what prompted that? because a book is a big deal. It takes a lot of time and effort. So what prompted that?
Kim Hamer 23:23
It was like a fight between me and spirit or me, whatever you want to call it, me, God, Buddha, spirit, whatever. Because there’s like, you need to write this and I was like, yeah, no. I’m not ready. No, you really need it. No, no, no, no, no, you. I’m not a writer, I kept telling myself, I’m not a writer. And I finally decided, I wrote it and 17 minutes a day, every day I would go to work at a company, I would sit down at my desk. And I would set a timer and I’d write for 17 minutes. 15 felt to clean like it didn’t feel like enough and 20 felt way too long. So 17 was what I found. And it just I would just kind of keep going and 17 minutes, 17 minutes, 17 minutes, sometimes I would end up writing for an hour. Other times, it was just all I could do to write for 17 minutes. And as it started to come out of me, that’s when I started to organize it. So I realized that the book is organized in sections, helping with a car, right? And we don’t think about that when someone’s dealing with cancer, we’re always going to food. But a car needs to run, a car needs to have gas in it, a car needs to be registered, right? All those things, a car needs to be washed, all those things around a car, then we have help around food, but it’s not the typical Hey, bring over lasagna. It’s things like put a cooler by the front door. So the person doesn’t have to answer the door every single time a meal is delivered. That’s a pretty important one. It gives the power back to the person who’s receiving the support. Whether or not they want to put out the energy to talk to you at that moment or not you personally but talk to whoever’s at the door. Yeah, I’m helping with kids because I had kids at the time and so helping, I still have children. They’re just not children. I said that once, people go, My God, did they die? And I was like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Yeah it was just the size of them.
Yes. And then work and helping from a distance. So that’s how it became to be organized. But it was, it was very scary for me. But once I started organizing, I had a vision of it. I really kind of wanted it to be sort of like a coffee table book, the kind of book that people can leave out and people go, what is this? and open it up. I really wanted it to be easy to read. Because I don’t like I mean, I’m all, I read a lot. But I hate, I’m a bullet point, underlying kind of gal, you know, and so I don’t want to read when I’m in a hurry to help my friend who’s dealing with cancer or loss or anything else. I don’t want to have to read five pages to get to that one nugget. So it’s, it really is sort of a flip open book. And you can just kind of open it up and like, oh, here give her cash. Okay, wait, it was say, give her cash and then run away? Okay, great. I’ll do that. Yeah. So these kind of really simple tips. And so that’s how it came to be. But I had friends, I, you know, took a chance. And I had friends come over a couple Sundays in a row. And they read through it with me, and they asked for clarity and area. So getting that feedback was really hard. It was not a painless process.
Lesley Logan 26:17
No. But I love that you brought people in to help you with that feedback. As you were saying that I was like, Oh my gosh, it should be on like the guest bathroom toilet. Like, just, you know what I mean? Like, because like people are always in the guest bathroom. And they if they’re, then they’re a little longer than that. They could like repaint, like a just flip it open and go, Oh, yes, you could like pass on these little nuggets, so that, you know if they ever need it. And then maybe they have it, I think I think that, especially for what the whole book is, like, the way you put it together. And those bullet points. What I love about that is it’s like we’re so not, we’re still not good at talking about grief. And so having a bullet point of I can do this. And also for the perfectionists and overachievers who are like I need it, I don’t want to, I don’t want to screw it up. It’s like, just do this one thing and you don’t have to do it every Tuesday, you could just do it this Tuesday. And like, that’s it, you know, I mean, it’s, we forget that those small acts really do mean a lot. And you don’t have to be all or nothing, I think we can really take the pressure off of ourselves to do that because, you know, the other person may not need that same thing next week. So you don’t have to sign up or the not sign up because you’ve told yourself a story is going to be for the next nine months.
Kim Hamer 27:30
Right. Exactly, exactly. And I think that is a really good point. It really is. It’s hard because we don’t feel like it’s enough, right? Our friend or colleague or employee is going through hell, and really what enough is, is if we could just take it away from them. And I think sometimes we just we don’t define what enough is in our heads. And so we keep thinking, There’s got to be something more there’s got to be something I can do or be or say. And you know it you know, the book also includes what not to say and what to say. So even if you can get to the point where you read them what not to say and then you take one thing about to say and just do that. That’s enough. We all want to be witnessed, right? That’s what, I mean, that’s what Facebook and Tik Tok and all mean, they just took what we wanted. And, you know, I used to be, I wanted to be in the school newspaper, or you know, in my hometown newspaper that was being witnessed. But now it’s taken like national stage, right? So, so we all want to be witnessed, including when we’re going through a difficult time. But that witnessing doesn’t have to be like let’s put, let’s put together a prayer circle and circle around or when there’s a full moon and, you know, howl to the wolves or something. It just has to be me. I’m so sorry, this is happening to you. Like it just, it just breaks my heart. Right? you just expressing that moment of touching in. And I think that’s what we, I think that’s what we’re most afraid of.
Lesley Logan 28:59
Yeah. I mean, my goodness, our fear keeps us from doing so many things in our own lives, let alone, let alone like being there for those when they need it. And so, okay, so I want to know how you became this consultant. How do you start? How did you start doing that? Like, was that something that you knew you could do? Is it because you’ve been an HR so you had an idea of like, how to start doing that like, because that’s, that’s like, that’s a, there’s a difference being like, Okay, I like wrote a book, okay, I have a job and now you’re like, Okay, now I’m going to talk about grief all the time with everybody all the time. You know, like that’s a big deal, and then you’re also having, then you also relive your story all the time. So I just wonder, like, what, like, what allowed you to make this decision and like, how did you go about doing it?
Kim Hamer 29:47
I think again, it was one of those tugs where there it’s hard. I mean, it’s hard. I just right before this call, I just sent out 15 LinkedIn messages, I videoed, a video them with the name, saying this’s what I do, this is how I can help. And this is also how I can help and I sent them out. And, and the title of it says, let’s talk about death, not yours, but your employee. And you get this message that says, let’s talk about death with a link, and then they get a video. And, and it’s, it’s crazy making, I literally, I mean, there are days right before this morning, I was like, this isn’t gonna work, I can’t do this, I’m only gonna have one or two clients, you know, it is, every day, it is just deciding that I’m going to make some type of step by step, some type of goal for myself, and then I add a little bit more to it to make it a stretch goal to make it uncomfortable. And then I just have to hit the ground running. As far as process. You know, I’ve been in HR for so long. So what I’ve done is taken some of really basic kind of management one on one, and interwoven that with, with what it’s like to deal with a grieving team. So it’s not like I pulled this out of thin air. You know, I’ve been, I’ve been studying and taking classes and you know, I have my PHR, which is a certificate. So I’ve been enveloped in the HR world, and it was just sort of like, oh, well, this piece would fit nicely right here and this piece goes right here, oh, that piece goes right here. And so now all of a sudden, I have a process. So it’s, I think, I think that’s it really is sort of following your gut. And I hate when people say, I just have to tell you I’m so sorry, everyone who’s listening, because you’re like what if your guts wrong? And believe me, I just have that all the time. I’m like, what if I’m doing it wrong? It really is. It’s, it’s it is trusting, it is believing so much in what I’m doing that I can’t not do it. And I’ve tried. I’ve tried to say you know what, I’m just going to do HR, I like it. It’s an exciting field, no, two days are the same. That’s where I want to go. And I try that road. And then in the back of my mind as always as okay, but write this one blog post about this thing. Oh, then you should probably do another blog post about that thing. And so it’s just, it’s always, it’s always present. And so I can’t ignore it anymore. I just can’t. And it’s scary as hell. I mean, it’s, it’s scary as hell.
Lesley Logan 32:12
Yeah. I think you anyone listening can insert whatever their goal is. Yeah. And put that there because I think like you said, like, there’s a tug. And I think like, that is a really like, it’s like, it’s an idea that just never leaves you like It’s like Hello, knock, knock, knock. You should do this. Exactly. And so I think like, you know, thank you for sharing that in a way that we can all go. Yep, been there. I was talking with a friend earlier today. And I was like, yeah, sometimes I’m like, why am I like working so hard on this thing that I’m like, so passionate about because like, I make really good money, just teaching. Just teaching, I could just teach and like, that was it, right? And then as I was saying that I was like, and I would be so bored. Cuz I clearly like this. What I’m doing stretches me in a way that like challenges me makes no two days the same. I know it’s making a bigger impact. So it’s just this really funny thing. Like it’s pretty hard. Eventually that voice gets so loud, you can’t not listen to it. So I love it. Thank you for sharing that process. You know, I think it’s really cool. What you’re doing, there’s, it’s so needed. And I, like, as you’re talking about, like three people, I hope she’ll just (…). Like, I just I don’t know why I’ve been so interested in this topic lately. Because it’s not like I’ve had any loss in my life. And a lot recently or that are close to me. But I do see how it affects, I coach a lot of Pilates instructors, a client passes away. And it’s like, that’s your, every Sunday at 9am. That was your client, like, that’s, you don’t just go and put someone else in there. It’s not like the person goes, thanks so much Less, I’m not coming anymore. Not renewing my package like that. It’s like…
Kim Hamer 33:59
But even that’s a loss. I mean, you know, you know, I just broke up with a guy. It wasn’t like, we did like five dates. And I texted him and said, Hey, I don’t think this is a fit. And then last week, I’m thinking about him. I’m like, Ah, maybe, maybe he was so sweet. He was so nice this way. And you know, like, because I realize I’m grieving, not the kind of grief that is when you’re, when your person dies, but even losing a client, someone who you like is grief. And I think that and I think you’re questioning it, your kind of curiosity about it right now really speaks to the fact that there is, there’s loss almost, especially in if when you’re an entrepreneur, there’s loss of pretty much every week
Lesley Logan 34:45
Kim Hamer 34:47
some dreams, something that you have to give up and sometimes it’s, sometimes it’s bigger and better but I also think this is what makes life amazing. And,you know, we hear people talk about the stories and about how, I think, I don’t remember, wasn’t Brene Brown, it was someone else who just talked about how to use terrible things to really make your life sweeter. And I hate to say that I want I do want to say something, I’m going to talk about a silver lining that I got from my husband’s death. I want to make it really clear to everybody that it is not your job to point out other persons silver lining. So many people were like, well, you know, you have so much going for you like they were trying to put silver linings around. One of my friends said, Kim, you know, don’t worry, you’re young, you’re beautiful, you can get married again. And I was like, Oh, well, then I don’t need to be so sad. Because you can replace my husband.
Lesley Logan 35:43
You know, you know that they don’t mean it that way. But, like, yeah, I love that. We don’t need to find other people silver lining, they get to do that in their own story.
Kim Hamer 35:55
Exactly. And, you know, the silver lining for me is, I mean, there’s been a ton of them, you know, I, I hadn’t experienced with my youngest son, I was, I applied to speak at this event. And I needed to have my application reread, like, I just knew I wasn’t quite gotten it. And my daughter does a lot of it for me. And I just called my youngest son because we’ve been working together on some writing stuff for him. And so I said, Hey, can you take a look at this? And he’s like, yeah, and took a look at it. And he said, I don’t understand this. And what about that, and, and it got, it got clear, I got clarity. And my application got accepted. And I thought, I said to him, Oh, I said to him, you know, your father would be so proud that you did this. And then I thought, Oh, if Art were here, I would have never gone to Ezra, I would have never asked my youngest son for support, right? And that we now have a bond on a different level because my husband’s dead. And there’s no trade off. I can’t say I wish my husband was alive. And I wish I didn’t have this bond. And I’m glad my husband’s dead. And I’m grateful for the bond. There’s no, there’s no either or it’s just this kind of combination. So I have this incredible bond with my children, where I ask them for support in a way that most mothers when you’re married to someone, you don’t ask your kids for support in that way. And it was so beautiful, and so sweet and so wonderful. And it’s because my husband died. So there’s this, there’s always this juxtaposition of my life. I really like my life. I really do. And I still think about my husband every single day. Not always in tears, a lot of times in laughter. But I still think about him every single day when my life is really sweet, and wonderful and open and kind and I love more openly because he died. I can’t trade that, there’s no trade off.
Lesley Logan 37:51
Oh my gosh, Kim, you’re amazing. I hope we get to connect more in the future. I just, I’m grateful that you’re doing what you’re doing. We’re gonna take a brief break everyone. And then we’re gonna find out how people can work with you and your Be It action items. All right, Kim. Well, you have been just wonderful sharing everything that you’ve learned. And I’ve learned so much from you already. Where can people find you, follow you, work with you? I know you hang out on the LinkedIn.
Kim Hamer 38:21
I do. Hang out on LinkedIn. Uncool professional platform.
Lesley Logan 38:27
I know (…) is trying to get me over there. And I
Kim Hamer 38:31
We’ll talk afterwards. Get some pluses. So yeah, so find me on LinkedIn, I’m @Kim Hamer on LinkedIn, you can just Google my name and it comes up on LinkedIn. I also spent a lot of time on Instagram @100actsoflove. So I’m also there, you can find my stories about my kids and more personal stories about my life as a widow there. So those are the two best places. If, I know, we talked about this really quick and is it okay, if I talk really quick about what’s the number one thing not to say?…(Lesley: Yeah, yes.) Okay. Because I wanted to make sure I touched on that. So the number one thing not to say, If you need anything, let me know. There are four reasons you should never say that. One, is because it doesn’t connect you we talked a lot about just sitting in the yuck with the person who is going through this horrible time and it’s really important that you just take a moment to go, Oh, you know, to say, My heart hurts or I don’t know what to say, to acknowledge what’s happening and that phrase doesn’t acknowledge it. Two, you’re gonna like this one. But Lesley, what is anything? like anything, like, did anything mean that you’re gonna go pick up my vomiting four year old toddler and the car you just cleaned? Or did anything mean you just be happy to drop off a bottle of wine? Anything is too big for anybody to get their head around. It’s just too much. The third reason it’s not helpful, now you put the pressure on the person you’re trying to help to come up with something. Right? And so their brains already like I like to say they already don’t have 52 decks, 52 cards in the deck right now, they may be down to 26 and maybe they have 47. We don’t know. But they’re not thinking straight. And so you’re now putting the extra pressure on them to figure out what anything is and figure out that one thing that you might be willing to do. And the fourth reason it’s not helpful is because y’all none of us are really good at asking for help. And now you’ve put the pressure on someone who is extremely vulnerable with their life right now, their life has ups that like the floor has become the sidewall, and they don’t know what they’re doing. And now you’re asking them in this extremely vulnerable state, to ask you to do something that you may not want to do that they just figured maybe this is the thing that you want to do and risk rejection. And nobody is going to do that. And we all think I don’t want to bother them, they’re too busy. This puts a burden on them. That’s where our heads go. So the person is, is unless they’re like your bestest friend in the whole wide world, they’re not going to come back and ask you to do something. So that’s why it’s the least helpful. Instead, be specific and offer more than once. Now, there are four other things I recommend that you don’t say. And a great way to find those four other things is to go to my website, did you like the segue there?…(Lesley: I love it. I love a good transition.) You go to my website at 100. That’s the number 100actsoflove.com. Backslash what not to say. So you’ll download, it’ll say for cancer, it applies for everything, you will learn the four other things not to say, why they’re not helpful to say, because I think that’s really important that people start to, there aren’t there’s an anatomy of an unhelpful thing to say. So people start to kind of understand, oh, when I’m in fear, I tend to say things that are less helpful. And then they’ll also find other phrases to say instead of those four bad phrases, so that’s what I wanted to share.
Lesley Logan 41:47
Oh, my goodness, okay. Well, thank you. That is, I’ll be going there, we’ll put the link in the show notes. You know, I mean, it’s just, it’s terrible that we all are and it’s 2023 when we’re recording this and like, we still don’t know these things. They’re not being taught these things in school, you know, you’ve given us so much and so honestly, if that is the bold, executable, intrinsic, target step to Be It Till You See It, I’ll take it. But if you had anything else to add to that, you know, let us know because, you’re so, you’re so informative, and it’s really easy for people to understand. So…
Kim Hamer 42:26
Thank you, I think that I have sort of three. The first one is feeling feelings, it sucks that this person who you like or care about, or really love is going through what they’re going through. And I recommend, you know, crying in a car, just put some sad music on a car, just go for a drive and have a really good cry, maybe not drive and cry at the same time. Depends how coordinated you are. Larger crying, but you know, get those feelings out of you, right? Pissed off letter to the higher power about how this isn’t fair. But whatever it is, get those feelings out of you. Because once they’re out of you, when they do a lot less damage out on paper or in the air than they do in your head. And when they’re in their head, when they’re in your head, they leak out of you, no matter how hard you try to not have them leak out of you, they will leak out of you. And the person you’re trying to help will feel them, they may be completely unable to articulate what they’re feeling but they’re going to feel them. And that’s what you don’t want to do. I think the second actionable thing is think about your, what your specific offer is, you know, we all have helping superpowers. Mine happened to be I love a clean kitchen, you need me to come in and clean your kitchen, I’m happy to do it. And I will find whatever you need from the grocery store, I will meet that truck at 5am in the morning to make sure that I get that item off that off that truck. So those happen to be two of my favorites. But there things that we’re really good at, maybe it’s Excel, maybe it’s putting together a pivot table, right at work, maybe it’s putting together a project report, maybe it’s corralling children, maybe it’s maybe it’s driving or fixing cars, or you have a really good mechanic, we all have specific things that we’re really good at. And that we like to do. And we don’t find value in them, because they’re so easy for us. But that’s your helping superpower. So offer that and offer more than once because again, the person that you’re dealing with, is not dealing with a full deck of cards. So make sure that you’re just, you know, just reminding them every now and then that you’re there. And then the last thing is, this is sort of hard, but don’t make it about yourself. If they don’t call you. It’s not because you’re an ass or they’re mad at you or whatever. It’s because I think that I guess maybe the third thing is put yourself in their shoes. Yeah, for just a moment. Right? They’re not really concerned about calling you because they’re pissed at you because you didn’t offer the right way. They got so many bigger things to deal with. That is like 1027 on their list right now. So don’t make it about you just send them a lot of love. So I think those are the three things.
Lesley Logan 44:51
Yeah, those are beautiful. And actually just like, I’m so glad I just like went through them. I can’t wait for Brad to hear this because I’m like, Oh, we’re really going to help him out with dogs. We can walk people’s dogs. And whenever I ordered chewy, I can go and figure out what their order is. And just place that thing like, you know what I mean? Like we can all find different things that we can whenever I’m going to order dog food, I can just you know, so like, there’s ways we can make it so that it’s helpful. And you don’t have to feel like you had to like, you don’t feel like you’re burdening yourself with it as well. So continue just putting more pressure on yourself and you do nothing. Yeah. Oh my gosh, thank you, Kim, for being here. Y’all…(Kim: You’re very welcome.) How are you going to use these tools in your life? How are you going to use these tips? I really hope that this is one of those episodes you can save and re listen to if you need or share with a friend who’s like oh my gosh, my friend at work went through this thing. It’s like oh, hey, listen to this because this is, here, you know, I mean, like that’s why I hope that this episode can be for you. Tag Kim Hamer, tag the Be It pod with your takeaways and until next time, Be It Till You See It.
That’s all I’ve got for this episode of the Be It Till You See It podcast. One thing that would help both myself and future listeners is for you to rate this show and leave a review. And, follow or subscribe for free wherever you listen to podcasts. Also, make sure to introduce yourself over on IG at the @be_it_pod on Instagram. I would love to know more about you. Share this episode with whoever you think needs to hear it. Help us help others to BE IT TILL YOU SEE IT. Have an awesome day!
‘Be It Till You See It’ is a production of the ‘Bloom Podcast Network’.
It’s written, filmed and recorded by your host, Lesley Logan and me, Brad Crowell.
It is produced and edited by the epic team at Disenyo.
Our theme music is by Ali at APEX Production Music. And our branding by designer and artist, Gianfranco Cioffi.
Special thanks to Melissa Solomon for creating our visuals and Ximena Velasquez for our transcriptions.
Also to Angelina Herico for adding all the content to our website. And finally to Meridith Crowell for keeping us all on point and on time.
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