My Why audio version of this blog available here.
If you listen to The Silent Why podcast regularly you’ll know we ask all our guests the same question at the end - What’s your Herman?
If you don’t listen regularly you’ll be wondering what on earth I’m talking about. And I’m not going to go into the full explanation here because there’s a very short blog and podcast episode on that called ‘What’s your Herman?’ which you can find here: www.thesilentwhy.com/herman.
In a very short summary, your Herman is something you want to share with the world. It’s something you’ve nurtured, dwelt on, considered and clung to and is something you want to pass on to others, something that will outlive you and bless those that come after you.
The name Herman was taken from the friendship cake (as you’ll hear in the Herman podcast episode) but it actually means soldier or army.
So far on our mission of trying to find 101 losses we’ve reached the twenties and so we’ve gathered an army of Hermans.
Every time Chris and I do a summary episode of the previous 10 losses we play all the Hermans together and it’s become known as the ‘Hermontage’. So this week when I was thinking about some words I could share with you all, I thought it might be nice to use other people’s words instead of mine and play you all the Herman’s we’ve had so far.
My hope is that at least one of these will stand out to you, bless you, encourage you, motivate you, illuminate your situation, comfort you in your loss or assist you to draw alongside others.
If you pray or meditate, take a second before you read or listen to these and prepare yourself. Ask for something to stand out that can help you today.
So, here we go, The Silent Why’s Hermontage…
It's to know that you're allowed to feel what you're feeling because how many of us have got used to the idea that we should suppress things, all this squashing down of things. Emotions don't just disappear because you squash them down. Even though it's counterintuitive, like actually allowing yourself to feel what you're feeling, naming what you're feeling. And, and being compassionate, you know, for that, it's incredibly powerful, but it's kind of the opposite of what most of us grew up learning to do.
Yes, if you've lost your arm or your leg, it's not the end of the world. Yeah. I always say from the off, there are people worse off than me. I don't live with cancer. I don't I don't live the terminal illness, I don't poverty, I don't live in a war torn country. I've got one in hot water. Got family. You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy. Life will beat you up, but you've still got dreams, right? So that's my Herman cake. Yeah.
I listen to the, to the short little episode explaining about what the what the Herman was. And you know, the first thing that came to my mind is my Herman is God. Always with me, something that is always growing something that I continually nurture, and something that it's always growing, that relationship is always growing, and it's something that I can share with everyone, and that is accessible to anyone.
Yes, what's the Herman? What are we going to share with others? Inbuilt into is a growth cycle. And how you get to that growth cycle is the story that you've got to tell it's the path you've got to walk, but to know that people can come through stronger, because the grief process is there to build a resource to explore renewal of life, life is potentially ever renewed. And that growth cycle is part of it. So to know that there is a path is what I'd like to share with you.
I just think you can die tomorrow. Don't leave anything unsaid. Don't hold grudges, or that cliche stuff. Just take some appreciation for every time you open your eyes. Try to remain thankful for what we have, because some people would kill for what we have.
If I would have to say anything, besides it being the kindness that my mom passed on to me and my daughter and to be respectful to people. We don't have to be the people that our dads were and our grandmas were, and we can start changing the story and the narrative for future grandbabies and all that, to love ourselves and to heal. That's, that's my Herman.
My Herman is the fact that everything is temporary. Even pain is temporary, even your loss is temporary, cos what you go through, yes, it is the most painful thing that you go through at that moment. And no time doesn't always heal everything, but as time goes on, you learn to process that, you know, you just got to get on with it. And what you guys do with this podcast is amazing. And I think it was help a whole lot of people, a whole new generation to understand that grieving is one thing, but learning to go above and beyond it. And to self heal is a whole different thing as well.
A couple years ago, I decided to write a children's book. And what I love about this book, is it takes the wisdom that I've learned that I didn't know at the beginning of all of this, as far as healthy grieving, and it just gives hope to people who are who who are grieving. And so to me, I guess that's my Herman. It's something that I kind of didn't want to do, and then I put it out there in the world and it took off on its own. And I just get this amazing feedback from it, that it's, you know, letting kids and grown-ups know that it's okay to be angry and it's okay to live a happy life and that the people that we love, are they come along with us. Wherever we go.
Yes, we get drawn to this question. I'm going to start with a cliché, but it is so important, which is you're not alone. To always know that you're not alone. whatever situation you're going through, there will be others that have gone through as well. And there's so much experience so much value in shared experience. That's really important to be able to help process and just to reassure you and encourage you on your journey.
My Herman would be there is life after loss. Just don't see the loss as the end of your journey. Don't see it as consuming your whole life. You can get past it, there is hope. There's there's more beyond this. It's not the end.
My Herman is in any situation, whether you look at yourself, or you look at anybody else, what's right with you, is the starting point, and what's wrong with you, or what the world sees as wrong with you, is beside the point.
My Herman? You talk about it being something you're supposed to nurture and carry with you and carry on to other people. And I think it's the fact that as much pain as we can experience through the extinction crisis, there are positive stories to tell, and solutions, and it's important to tell those.
I'm still here, I'm still alive, you know, and as long as I'm living I want to make sure that I'm not letting this ruin my life. And I don't think Quinn would want that either, he wouldn't want his loss to make my life ruined, even though it is of course, worse.
I think for me, it'd be around crying, so to recognise that, guys, it's alright to cry. It's alright to shed a tear.
My Herman? I would say just give yourself enough time to grieve a pet and not feel like you have to get over it really quickly.
What's my Herman? I want to say that as long as you have life, there is hope. That will be my Herman.
I think I would say that, you know, what happened to me really amplified, how fleeting this life is. And so finding the joy, and I know it sounds like a total cliché, but really, I think my Herman would be the joy I find in the littlest of things now.
So I think it does come back to that, like accepting that your story is unique, and that that's where your joy will be found is finding out how you've been created, that you have that specific path in life that's meant just for you.
Katie Joy Duke:
So my Herman is my memoir. My memoir was a labour of love, and it is a gift to both my daughters, to my husband, to myself, and to anybody that wants to understand what it's like for someone to go through this experience.
I think my Herman is something we touched on just a moment ago is that somehow in a miracle, miraculous way, I don't understand, the worst thing and the best thing are sometimes the same thing.
There is hope would be my passing off. And there's proof of that hope as well. So always remember, no one is ever alone, and light is greater than the darkness.
Don't ever stop learning. Learn something new every day. If it wasn't, if it was not for my quest, to learn, and for more knowledge, I would not have found myself in the cemetery.
My Herman is this, the things that you don't like in yourself, try and change. The things you do like in yourself, keep. Don't sweat the small stuff. off. And just try and be the best version of yourself while being kind and being good.
Sasha Bates: So I think my Herman is trying to 'Be More Bill' to praise encourage, motivate, and push people to be the best they can.
Doing the right thing isn't always the easy thing, there's usually a quick way to get somewhere and there's a right way, and I'd always say go the right way.
Embrace your mortality, know that you're going to die one day, really get real about it so you can start living. You know when death comes, the book closes. So how do you want your book to close? So that's my Herman.
What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others. Pericles