Elephants in the Room Part 1: Grief on Your Terms with Sal & Im - Jen Hatmaker

Elephants in the Room Part 1: Grief on Your Terms with Sal & Im

Episode 01

Hey community, it’s a new year and it’s time to get uncomfortable. We have all spent the last few weeks relaxing and indulging and prepping for what we hope is a good year. If your families or friend groups are anything like ours, maybe some hard topics popped up over the holidays. That aunt that can’t help talking about politics, or maybe passive-aggressive grandma’s racist comments caused a stir. Instead of stuffing our faces full of another dinner roll and changing the topic, we’ve decided to embrace these topics head on—yes, we’re tackling those Elephants in the Room for a whole series. And for our first topic in the series we’re dealing with something that’s difficult when it’s happening and sometimes awkward for those around it–plus it affects every single one of us who has been on the planet for any significant amount of time. It’s grief. And you may say, “well grief is not something we should shy away from,” yet many of us do–or we don’t recognize that we are grieving, or we don’t know how to walk with or give space to someone who is grieving (or even carve out that care and space for ourselves). We have some good guides in this conversation; Sal and Im are the delightful hosts of The Good Mourning podcast, a show that talks about ways to work through grief and accept the changes grief brings into someone’s life. Brought together by the early deaths of their mothers in close proximity, Sal and Im began to examine how they both looked at grief and came away with all kinds of real life examples of how we tend to defer grief and push it down, how we shame ourselves for grieving too much or too long, and how we try to structure our grief to play out  in a linear way (when grief is just gonna do what it’s gonna do). They encourage us that it is possible to live fully while grieving, giving ourselves space and grace as individuals to let it run its needed course in our very own timing. 

Episode Transcript

Hey, everybody, Jen Hatmaker here, your host of the For the Love Podcast. Welcome to the show. Oh, man. Right now, you guys, we are in a series called For the Love of the Elephant in the Room. Golly, we really workshopped this title a thousand times, because what we really wanted to do was hold open some space for conversations that are so, so, so important, but we collectively and chronically have resistance to them because they’re hard, because they’re complicated, maybe because they’re polarizing, maybe because they’ve got a shame spiral baked into it, which is why we’re all over the place.

But we really brainstormed the various ways in which something really important was happening in our lives and we were either unable or unwilling to steer into that curve. And so today, we’re talking about one of those elephants, which is grief. And of course, as always, I’m super frank and open with you. As you know, 2020, 2021 were just  grief-filled years for me. I was grieving the life I thought I was going to have until I was dead. I was grieving the life I thought my kids were going to have. We just trudged and slogged through so many months of mess. And I just want to tell you that we came out on the other side ready to live.

And if I have learned anything, gosh, I’ve learned so much. I’ve got a million things to say about that. But one thing that I’ve learned is that life is here, you guys. And this is it. And it comes with the good parts and it comes with the bad parts, and yet this is still it. This is still our one life to live. I’m so personally thrilled to welcome life back for me, for my family.

But one thing I’d like to acknowledge today with my incredible guests, you’re going to be so charmed, is I want to acknowledge the peace that grieving actually brought me. I needed that. I needed it. I needed to grieve. It was required for me to be where I am today. We needed that time to cry and to hurt and to mourn without anybody, including ourselves, hustling us through it. Without saying, “okay, that’s enough,” or without saying, “Jen, you’re the only adult in the house. You’ve got to be stronger than this. You got to keep the wheels on.” The grief process brought us through.

So I know that grief is not the standard topic that we like to bring up at family picnic. Hello? What’d you think this series was? But the stigma and the confusion around grief has got to go, because honestly, every single one of us has grieved, or are currently grieving. And if you haven’t, just live longer. This is ubiquitous to every single one of us. So this matters.

So with that being said, who better to walk us through this process? I know that these girls are going to be new to most of you, and I’m so excited to be the introducer. I am bringing to you today the hosts of The Good Mourning Podcast, which is M-O-U-R-N-I-N-G. Hello. So clever. You know I love a play on words. The Good Mourning Podcast, Sal and Im.

So Sal and Im, they’re the delightful duo that are taking their podcast and Instagram account over in the hopes to provide comfort and resources and a soft place to land for people who have experienced loss and grief, and then be a helpful resource to move forward. Both Sal and Im unexpectedly lost their moms in their early 30s. And so they joined this horrible club that nobody ever wants to be a part of. But once you’re in it, you’re in it.

And so they needed help. They needed resources that approached grief in a relatable way, especially for young people, when we have this idea that we’re not really going to experience true suffering maybe until we’re a little older. And so they were trying to find a place where their young, early 30 grief of losing their moms could land. And they met each other in a group, which they’ll talk about. And through that experience, Good Mourning was born.

They’re absolutely charming. Their aim is to take the unnecessary doom and gloom out of grief and replace it with what’s true and real. And they share their own stories. They interview other people’s stories. They approach this hard conversation head on with unfiltered honesty, but also with humor. And I appreciate that and them, because humor is one of the things that gave me little pockets of relief and joy and possibility when I was in the throes of my own. 

I know I’ve been saying this lately, but I mean it every single time. If you’re interested in ever watching one of these interviews instead of just listening to it, we video and upload every single podcast interview over on my YouTube channel. And these girls are darling. And so you may want to pop over there and watch this one. Otherwise, you can listen to this just in your ears.

This is such a useful conversation. If you have suffered or grieved in any way, you’re going to be happy that you’re here today. I think you’re going to feel loved, you’re going to feel seen, you’re going to feel resourced. I know for me, I felt relieved. You don’t get grief wrong. Grief is hard because it’s hard, right? Not because we’re doing it wrong.

And so I love wrapping this conversation with two incredible people like this, and this is a good one. So please enjoy my conversation with the wonderfully insightful Sal and Im.


Books & Resources Mentioned in This Episode:


Motherless Daughters – Online Support, Healing Retreats & Online Courses

Stay Connected with Jen Hatmaker:



Thanks for listening to the For the Love Podcast!

XO – Team Jen

connect with sal & im:


  • Get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/forthelove.
  • mecourse-2 Let’s start learning together. Register now at mecourse.org using code FORTHELOVE to save $10.
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