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Yahdav & Hanlon 20th Newsletter: The Non-Linear Journey of Serving Grievers

grief support non-linear journey our words Oct 11, 2022
Ilana and Kim stand in front of a green sign that says

Reflections of the Last 2 Years as Yahdav & Hanlon (And a special gift when you read to the end!)

By: Ilana Yahdav & Kim Hanlon

It’s funny the way that the world works. Sometimes there are missed meetings that were meant to happen and didn’t but still found other ways to happen in the end. That is the story of how Yahdav & Hanlon was born. Both Kim and Ilana attended the Grief Recovery Conference in 2018 but didn’t actually meet there. Luckily, there was another specialist (thank you, Tracie!) who was corralling all the Bay Area specialists to create a support/camaraderie group so we were still given the chance to meet. Months after the conference we finally did, and a friendship was born.

At first, we shared ideas and support. Once Covid hit, we started brainstorming how to support the grievers through the additional types of grief that Covid introduced. We started co-leading programs and ideating together. It then dawned on us how aligned we were in every way - the visions we had for our businesses, as well as the ways we wanted to show up as moms and entrepreneurs. (Ilana was not quite a mom at the start of the partnership but had her first child right around when Y&H was officially finalized). 

Grief work is hard for all. Being an entrepreneur can be hard and lonely. The combination of both is challenging, but that much more so by the nature of the work we do. So, by deciding to merge companies, it was not only a fiscally beneficial decision but an emotional, morale-inducing, all-around awesome decision. It gave us both more confidence to try new things and step out of our comfort zones. It has helped us both fully embrace our gifts and passion as grief specialists and educators. It also gives us a sounding board to work through ideas of how to better serve grievers and is built-in support for each other. We are constantly reminding each other and supporting each other to use our own tools.

We can’t fully support anyone if we are still ruminating in our own grief. It is not optional in our line of work, but imperative that we are consistently doing our own grief work. 

People often ask us how we got into this line of work to begin with and how it doesn’t bring us down. The truth is, we both know firsthand how grief can feel like it’s destroying your very existence - the death of Ilana’s dad and the death of Kim’s brother were both the main catalysts - and we wanted to take our experiences to help others. Ilana’s dad and Kim’s brother, both of blessed memory, fuel our passion to serve other grievers.

There are some things that cannot be taught in schools - the true pain of loss - is one of them.

We were in unique positions to take our life lessons coupled with formal training and certifications and marry both to create the unique Yahdav & Hanlon approach. We combine our joint training and experiences to create offerings that meet each and every griever where THEY ARE, whether it’s before a loss, a few days after a loss, or decades after. All grief is valid. There is NO statute of limitation on grief. It is never too early or too late to start working through your grief in the way that works for you. 

On November 1, 2020, Yahdav & Hanlon was officially born. While our core values and passion remain the same, our trajectory has changed as we grow and expand our reach and offerings to make them as inclusive and accessible for all (which we know is a continuous and non-linear process).

We started off primarily working 1:1 with clients teaching the Grief Recovery Method, running virtual Grief support circles, giving talks across multiple types of organizations, and doing one-off corporate workshops. One of our earliest workshops - officially as Yahdav & Hanlon - happened to be the same day Ilana went into early labor with her first daughter and Ilana stubbornly insisted on still being there. We will never forget that date! 

Some other huge highlights include:

  • In November of 2021, we published our digital copy of our Grief & Gratitude workbook that we are so proud of! 
  • Consulting for a film, Last Chance Charlene, produced by BraveMaker Films, and creating a companion guide to help people process the different types of grief and strong emotions that the film elicits. The film will be streaming soon and we will share the details once we have them! 
    • We were able to speak on multiple panels at the various screenings and help educate about grief. 
  • Laying the foundation and building multiple partnerships with organizations that are doing incredible work in the overall Death/Dying/Grieving Space and are aligned with our values. 
    • It has been a pleasure to meet with so many incredible people doing powerful, important, and innovative work that truly complements ours. 
  • Creating a Grief in the Workplace certification course specifically for WELCOA members.
  • Giving multiple workshops and talks across a wide variety of organizations  
  • Starting our newsletter and blog!!
  • Presenting together in person for the first time at the WELCOA Summit in Chicago
  • And so much more.....

We had toyed with the idea of starting a newsletter and blog, and for a myriad of reasons (okay, excuses really) didn’t for the longest time. This was until we bought new software to revamp our website that included all the necessary technology to start our blog and newsletter. So, having really run out of excuses, in the second week of January 2022 we published our first newsletter/blog. We committed to publishing a new blog/sending our newsletter every other Wednesday. And we have!

Our goal with each newsletter is to not only share our newest blog but to share an actionable tool that can be used right away. We want each and every newsletter that we send to always provide actionable value as well as share ways to seek support and utilize any new offerings that we have. We know how inundated email inboxes could be (Ilana’s inbox is a prime embarrassing example of that) and are truly appreciative of everyone who welcomes our newsletter into their inbox. 

We are ecstatic to share that this is our TWENTIETH blog and newsletter. We are proud of how far we have come and so excited about where we are going. 

Some of the exciting things in the works:

  • We are getting our workbook published!!!!!!
    • We are working hard on expanding/updating the digital version and getting it ready for print. (Thank you to all who gave us feedback on our digital version!! It truly helps us serve more grievers, better.) We can’t wait and will share as soon as we have an exact date. 
  • We are releasing our Grief & Gratitude online course!!!
    • This provides a deeper dive and more support around each tool outlined in our Grief & Gratitude workbook. We will share when we have an exact date.

Also, we are awaiting the arrival of our newest board member, Baby Yahdav #2 coming December/January(ish)! 

The past couple of years have been full of huge changes - both personal (like babies!) and professional. We, like you, have navigated the pandemic, Covid, new babies, limited child care, rampant hate, political turmoil, and uncertainty. In addition, the pandemic brought the need to pivot to offering more online services as well as being flexible to meet the bandwidths of people and companies also dealing with pandemic burnout. If we cared about work/life balance pre-pandemic, the past few years have highlighted the necessity of doing what one can to prevent burnout. It can be a privilege to have such balance, and we hope to learn and then share more ways for all of us, regardless of privilege, to fit self-care into busy and demanding times.  

Our time as Yahdav & Hanlon has taught us a lot- about business, partnership, online courses, and also about our true passions and how we want to work. We light up when in creation mode, and both love teaching. We each also value working hard while also making time for our personal lives, from our families to our health. Again, we value self-care because we have lived the saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”

The topic of “walking the talk” came up just the other day with a colleague friend, and as we raise these little humans, we are extra devoted to using our own tools to build wellness into our lives as well as our work. 

It is pretty incredible to have the opportunity to do work we love that inspires us to be our best selves as well. While self-care can often be easier said than done, our Grief and Gratitude Workbook and Course keep this front and center as we build tools for others to navigate difficult times. 

True story, sometimes we have to remind ourselves that our own tools will help us when we work to balance projects with growing families with PTA responsibilities and with some socializing sprinkled in as well. Tool 2 of our workbook- taking our Emotional Inventory- is a perfect one for this. (Want to learn more? Download your own copy of the Emotional Inventory Guide, or for a deeper dive, purchase a copy of our Grief & Gratitude Workbook.

The following are examples from our Emotional Inventory as we move forward:

  • We are excited to see our books in stores (the little girls inside us who first dreamed of this are also thrilled and so proud) and to have our course evolve. 
  • We are forging partnerships with others who serve grievers and/or offer end-of-life services, so we can best refer our community to an array of options. 
  • We feel emboldened to do what we feel works and feels true and authentic to us in how we want to serve. 
  • We are ready to take all we have soaked up from business coaches, mentors, and colleagues and embrace that which feels aligned, and release what either feels not for us or not for us…yet.

It has been an amazing, and very non-linear journey bringing us here together as grief specialists, as friends, and as business partners. We appreciate everyone who has helped shape this journey by offering support, insights, friendship, and love along the way. While we love the work we do supporting grievers and sharing tools, it is a lot of work being our own bosses, marketers, social media managers, accountants, website designers, human resource managers… and… you get the idea. 

This next year (how is 2022 so close to being done??) we will be first and foremost welcoming baby Yahdav, and also helping grievers find our course and workbook while also continuing to offer 1:1 grief support and corporate workshops. And, of course, still sharing our newsletter!

You can find more about our services here, and our other grief resources here. (During the end of 2022 and the first few months of 2023, we will have a much-limited capacity as the "Yahdav" of Yahdav & Hanlon will be on maternity leave!) Please know we are still here to support you! 

If our work has touched you, please share it with others. Invite them to our newsletter, or share a relevant blog post. Perhaps you know someone who struggles around the holidays, and could use some tools from our workbook or upcoming course? We appreciate you helping us reach even more people. Grief is hard, and it helps to know that one is not alone and there are options for support. 

Toxic positivity or always looking for the silver lining in every situation is not what we preach all the time, however, while we both wish we still had Ilana’s dad and Kim’s brother with us, we are so truly grateful for the work that their deaths have motivated us to do. We have both grown personally and professionally in ways that we likely would not have otherwise. In their honor and through our grief, we learned how to sit and hold some of the most challenging emotions and be with people in their darkest hours. We learned how to sit with people until they are ready to crawl - or stand on their own- and start to see the light again. We are sending so much love to all who are grieving (which is everyone).

We want to celebrate our 20th newsletter by offering 20% off our workbook and course.*

Thank you for being on this non-linear journey with us.

 *Use code GRATITUDE20 at checkout for the workbook. This code is valid for 20 days until Nov 1 - don’t miss it! 

The course is waitlisted at this time - Sign up for the waitlist by Nov. 1 and also receive the 20% discount when the course goes live. Being on the waitlist does not bind you to buy the course when it does go live - it means that you will get the discount should you choose to purchase the course then. Once released, we will email everyone on the waitlist with a new code.

The waitlist will remain open after November 1 but there will no longer be the 20% discount.





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