As the Founder and CEO of Dawn Jarvis, Ltd. and a bereaved sibling, enjoy this fantastic conversation where Dawn shares her wisdom and experience speaking about healthcare, diversity, inclusion, sibling bereavement and what it takes to get moving again! Dawn is an international speaker, executive coach, author, founder of The Diverse Nurse Network and creator of The Dawn Jarvis Show podcast. Her passion is to help executives, organizations, and individuals implement strategies and best practices to transform strategy into action and get people moving!
0:00 Welcome and introduction to Dawn.
5:23 The challenges moving up in the professional world
9:59 Why we don't access healthcare
17:47 The gaps in healthcare and support
22:23 Why we don't prepare for death
25:40 The death of Dawn's sister
30:13 Bereaved siblings responsibility
40:56 Maladaptive coping mechanisms in grief and rebuilding.
49:21 The legacy of our losses
56:42 Dawn’s resources.
58:49 Wrap up.
59:47 End. Music.
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Vonne Solis 0:00
Welcome to another episode of Grief Talk. Everything you want to know about grief and more. I'm your host, Vonne Solis. As an author, life transformation coach, online instructor and bereaved mom since 2005, I'll be bringing you great content that is informative, inspiring and practical. Whether you have suffered a loss or other adversity, stay tuned and tapped in as I cover a variety of topics to help you get where you want to go on your journey to heal and grow.
Dawn Jarvis 0:32
Today's guest is Dawn Jarvis, known as the diverse nurse, founder and CEO of Dawn Jarvis Limited. She is a diversity and inclusion strategist, international speaker, executive coach, author, founder of the diverse nurse network, and creator of the Dawn Jarvis Show podcast. Dawn helps executives, organizations and individuals implement strategies and best practices to transform strategy into action.
Vonne Solis 1:03
Welcome, Dawn, I am so excited to have you to the show.
Dawn Jarvis 1:07
Hi Vonne. It's fantastic to be here. Thank you for having me on. I'm really pleased to be here.
Vonne Solis 1:12
Great. So you and I could talk about so many different things. And Dawn and I, for my audience, listeners and viewers, met last year in the business world. And I immediately clicked with Dawn, and she has a wealth of experience, some of which we're definitely going to be excuse me touching on today.
Vonne Solis 1:36
But not only in her in her professional world, which is in healthcare in the in the English system, British system, and she'll correct my language I'm sure as we go along, Dawn also has some fantastic, you know, I wouldn't say fantastic let let me put it rephrase this - in-depth experience with bereavement. So the conversation I want to have with you, Dawn, to help the audience, because my goal with this Grief Talk podcast is obviously to try and get more voices than just my own, you know, talking about topics that we might not even think about as related to grief. And then my job is to sort of spin that and see, you know, from my experience, nearly 17 years as a bereaved parent, how I can use that information to help myself and my my audience, obviously, in the mainstream world.
Vonne Solis 2:35
So here we go. And with you, I wanted to start with something. I did a little digging on you.
Dawn Jarvis 2:42
Vonne Solis 2:42
Nah, I'm just kidding a bit. But I did find and I'm going to actually read this a little bit as a quote, because I can't always remember things. But in your LinkedIn profile, you describe yourself as someone who is really passionate about engaging your community about their health care, and educating them about health inequalities, and helping aspiring healthcare professionals move into senior leadership positions while remaining true to themselves and their values.
Dawn Jarvis 3:16
Vonne Solis 3:17
And and, and that's just so wonderful. And beyond that, so a lot of I wanted to start that off as the context for our discussion because I'm going to be moving a little bit into, I know you're a specialist in diversity, and inclusion, and I know a little bit about what you've done. I've seen you speak a little bit online. And your world, which you can discuss in whatever terms you want to discuss your world related to diversity and inclusion does cross some lines with my world living as a bereaved parent.
Vonne Solis 3:57
And so I'm always looking for these, you know, these sort of segues into well, that's how I feel, even though what I live with is not necessarily visible, and, but very painful. And you know, there are many, many limitations that bereaved people, especially coming from extremely difficult bereavement live with, that makes them feel like they're not part of the mainstream either. And so it's within that context I kind of wanted to ask you.
Vonne Solis 4:33
I was gonna this was gonna be my second question, but I'll bring it up. Now, I know you that you started out, saying that you were a very frustrated Junior nurse, and you've worked your way up to senior executive levels in leadership. And so I was just wondering if we could start off with you sharing some of your wisdom, your experience, and some general tools that you've used over the years for yourself and or, and currently help other people with to move themselves selves out of a position of feeling either invisible, you know. Not equal or severely limited and impacted by those limitations. And we can circle back to these kinds of, you know, sort of topics, but I just wanted to know, if you could sort of start off with an introduction about yourself in that context.
Dawn Jarvis 5:23
Okay. And a really, really interesting topic. And I've seen your writings and, you know, obviously, heard you speak and I think, and how you talk about grief, and I think grief permeates all sorts of situations, really. And I suppose, from the context of my upbringing, so my name is Dawn and my parents Jamaican. They emigrated to the United Kingdom in the 60s. Met in England and married in England and had a family that where I lived was a place where there's not many black people. And I sort of grew up being the only sort of black girl in my class, you know. One of two people and I actually went to high school in a very large school. And I suppose in terms of feeling not seen or not understood that that was, that was that was quite, that was quite difficult.
Dawn Jarvis 6:27
My dad worked in an engineering factory, sort of semi-skilled profession, and was very frustrated. You know was treated quite badly, you know, and, you know that was very aware of his experiences.
Dawn Jarvis 6:41
My experiences in school was sort of not feeling that you know, sort of, like, you know, European standards of beauty, and desirability in sort of all sorts of ways and low expectations, I think educationally. And I ran away. I suppose not, not in a sort of, like, you know, a traditional sense. But I got away and started my nursing career in London, which the capital of the United Kingdom.
Dawn Jarvis 7:10
I thought things would be better and they were in a way, because there, there were more, there were more people around. But, you know, we're not when I say my bios are frustrated Junior nurse, I think it was just frustrated in that things are hard. It's hard to be heard. It's hard to prove yourself. You're almost starting on the back foot. And that could be for racism, it could be class reasons, it could be for lots and lots of things. But I have lots of privileges. I'm educated. I was born in England, You know, I'm better off than a lot of people. And, you know, I was able to work my way up. But it was hard work and it was tiring. And the loss around that is around sort of like loss of identity. Like knowing sort of, like, you know, I am. I would be termed as a black British woman. But, you know, when I was growing up, I felt very Jamaican because I grew up in a very Jamaican family, and sort of like, in a sort of very European English environment. I didn't know where I was.
Dawn Jarvis 8:10
And I think to sort of talk about sort of helping other people that might feel the same frustrations, I think how I do that, we're talking about tools and techniques, is thinking about thinking about what strengths you what you are bringing to the party. What you can bring to the party. And now being very clear about expectations, your goals, your visions, where you're going, but also being being clear that if there are blocks, you know, what are the ways out? And what are the alternatives? And to, and I think the most important thing is to find some solace and community in teams and sort of, like an education. Your family to, to ameliorate what can be a very stressful situation.
Dawn Jarvis 8:59
And, you know, I share with you the loss of a very close family member. My sister died of breast cancer when she was 26 years old. And, and that was very shocking. And it was shocking for me because I was working in the health profession when that happened. And you know, and I'm used to helping and I'm used to solving problems. And I couldn't solve this particular problem. And that happened 18, nearly 19 years ago, and we're still as a family still dealing with that loss and the stress and actually, it's with me all the time.
Dawn Jarvis 9:35
And sort of and, you know, so I feel quite empathetic and attuned to people's loss. And whether that's up with the identity of their profession. I recently left the health service and that was a that was the grim period too, you know. Started in a different in a different profession. So, yeah, you know, there's lots that lots to talk about. I'm sure we can sit and discuss lots.
Vonne Solis 9:59
Yeah, there' so much to unpack there. And you know, I, one of the I felt very close to you when I first met you. Dawn and I met over an online business business course actually. And you can always sort of tell you can feel like when you're feeling left out and this, my audience, please listen. When you're feeling isolated and left out, whether it is as a visible minority. Whether it is something that you're living with that other people can't see. A mental health issue. Grief, certainly, grief certainly causes a lot of those types of things. I myself, I will be honest, live with post-traumatic stress disorder. I have been living with it now for 17 years since my daughter's death. People can't see it. When you look great and, and there's expectations for you to act a certain way, it's a lot of pressure.
Vonne Solis 11:00
So everything that you've just talked about Dawn, obviously, briefly encapsulated, you know, it isn't too different from living with limitations. Living with a disorder. Living with such an unbearable loss. And it it is in the context, and you and I immediately I think, connected when I found out you had a bereaved mom. And I'm like, oh, oh. And then as a sibling, I'm like, Oh, wow, like, what was that like for you?
Vonne Solis 11:34
And so basically, I wanted to kind of relate your frustrations that you talk about in terms of the hardships. You don't feel heard. Always feeling like you have to prove yourself. The fatigue. The loss of identity. Really, really important things. You can relate those to, you know, your struggle in moving up professionally. But I can guarantee you all of those things have hit me as a bereaved parent, for sure. And I think proving yourself is one of the biggest things that we are faced with having to do. Related to grief, I'm not 100% entirely sure what it is, but I did want to ask you, we can go circle back to any of those things, too, but I did want to ask you as a health care professional first, and understanding these struggles, I'm talking in the general health care system, I know some of your work involves wanting minorities, visible minorities, and perhaps others not to be afraid to seek healthcare support.
Vonne Solis 12:53
And when we don't feel understood we stay away from doctors. Right? We stay away from therapists or we get mad at them and so on. So living from both sides of the fence, what would you offer to anyone listening to this podcast or watching this podcast, you know, what sort of advice based on your own wisdom, your personal experience, your professional experience, what can they do to try and get support? To find the tools if they need them from a medical professional? Help medical professionals really understand what they're going through? Because because in a lot of cases, people won't reach out for help because they don't know what they're going through. So I know I'm trying to unpack a lot there, but if you want to speak to any of that, in your professional/personal capacity, it'd be awesome.
Dawn Jarvis 13:46
First of all, I would say that there's some responsibility for healthcare providers to have some empathy with what service users are, are going through. I have a philosophy that if you have to touch healthcare services that's a crisis. You know, regardless of you know how major or minor that will be. Actually going to hospital, going to see a doctor to access any healthcare services is a pretty big thing. And a thing that causes great anxiety, and, you know, thoughts about mortality, all sorts of things.
Dawn Jarvis 14:29
And you know, I was hmm a children's nurse for the majority of my career although I'm trained as an adult nurse as well. And we had a philosophy of, you know, holistic care. Looking at the whole family. So not just looking at illness in a reductionist way, in sort of like a disease, but looking at how that impacts on the family. And that helps that philosophy definitely helps and is something sometimes it's something that's missing. So I'd say first of all, I want to say that healthcare providers in the medical profession have some responsibility around that. So it's not all on the service users.
Dawn Jarvis 15:07
I think, for me, and the way that I help people, particularly now I'm out of the health service, you know, one of the things I can do is when you're going through a crisis in the or you are impacting on health services are impacting on you and your life or your family, it's really important that you don't necessarily take that responsibility on. That you need someone to help you to do that. Because if you're ill, even if you having a baby. I remember when I had my daughter, not no, my son, my first child, and I was quite shocked at how little control I was in. And I needed an advocate to be the person that advocated for me, and I just needed to concentrate and having the baby.
Dawn Jarvis 15:50
So I think it's important to get support. So to get someone to listen to the conversations that you might not be able to process at that time. To write things down, um, if you can or get someone else to write them down. And also to go prepared, I think, unless it's an emergency situation where that's not possible. But if possible to read up as much about whatever you're going in for as possible. You know, write things down because you will forget because a high stress situation. And then have someone go with you if possible, if you want to, depending on how private it is. But then being really clear.
Dawn Jarvis 16:32
So you know that I know there's been a lot of training. I've seen it actually in action for my own personal health issues that doctors and nurses sort of. Like it's really important to check understanding when when people access health care because it's a, it's a lot of information. It's a lot of information for me, and I'm a healthcare person. So it's really really important that you understand what's happening and the implications of what's happening. How that's going to fit into your life.
Dawn Jarvis 16:58
And, but I would also say, think about, you know, what health means for you. What's important to you. What healthy is for you because that's going to affect how you manage your health and your wellbeing. And whether that's in crisis, or just generally. I'm a great, you know, healthcare should shouldn't be about just crisis. It should be about know how you manage your health from birth to death, actually. And I think that's really, really important. So we should be having conversations with children. With young people around their health, you know, through throughout their life course. And that's sort of like a public health model.
Vonne Solis 17:34
Yeah, and I'm gonna say here, so I live in Canada, and very much like your national health system in UK. I believe yours is government funded, right?
Dawn Jarvis 17:45
Yeah. Funded through taxation. Yeah.
Vonne Solis 17:47
Okay. And so, the Canadian one is too and while there might be a few private services, the the general motto is that healthcare for all. And you know, we everybody has access, and so on. So the, that doesn't mean that everybody accesses healthcare, of course, because there are these these problems. And bringing this back to the bereavement world, or, you know, the world where you feel different, or the world where you're struggling and you really, really don't know what's wrong, education for the healthcare professionals is so important. And I definitely know in the grief world, and I'm so curious to know if it's the same in the UK, there is a lot there are a lot of gaps for information that's printed on the pamphlets that's handed out kind of by rote from the doctors telling you go here, go here, go here. Maybe three places I don't know, but not a lot. I mean, there are more resources. But the gaps that there are such as talking about trauma in grief, PTSD in grief, what grievers actually really need. The reality and lots of suicide stuff. My daughter died by suicide. So it's a whole other ballgame.
Vonne Solis 19:04
But in terms of two questions. Do you think that in the UK, I know you're out of it, but you were in it a long time, and this is not bashing any system. This is trying to educate, bring awareness. Because I have brought awareness to medical professionals who treated me and it really changed their perspective. In fact, they wanted to talk to me about what I was experiencing and going through. But do you believe there's a gap in resources? And I'm just going to focus for the moment on support for grief. For really tough bereavement, or do you think that the resources are current, up to date. The professionals are out there, you know, wanting to learn. Learning from the community who has the problems. What's going on in the UK?
Dawn Jarvis 19:54
I think best practice is that you should have a holistic approach. And that includes how you manage end of life. And the reality is there's a lack of resources to do something. So on one hand, we know the best things to do. And in an ideal world, you would do them. You would you would you'd do them. And I think this has been compounded by the worldwide pandemic. And there is a, it's the NHS, and probably all healthcare systems are really good at managing crisis and managing illness. And, and the, you know, the NHS are the best in the world at doing that, actually, You know, I would say that. But you know, but they're not so good at being holistic and looking beyond. So it's very, a medical model is about solving a problem. And death is the end of the problem, if you know, I mean. They, you know, they've done everything they can do. And there's an impact that goes wider than that. But if you are a job in nurse, I was I was, you know, death is the end of your part of it, really. And that is, you know, and that isn't helpful for the people who have to manage it. But that's the reality if it's a purely transactional relationship.
Dawn Jarvis 21:21
If you look at it holistically, and there are services around that and I was a maternity services commissioner and a children's nurse, and in children's intensive care, so I saw a lot of death and a lot of impact on wider family members of mothers and fathers. And, you know, with outcomes that were not expected. And, you know, there were services provided. And I think, you know, what I would say is that people cope with death, particularly if it's unexpected, in very different ways. I think, even when I was growing up in the 70s, there was more death about. If, you know, so you know, people, I used to go to people's funerals, of you know, grandmother's of people, you know, I remember a child. I knew two children who died of heart disease one, and one died of cancer when I was a child and I went to those people's funerals.
Dawn Jarvis 22:23
I think we don't talk about death in sort of, like in sort of the Northern Hemisphere. I think some of the cultures have a more accepting nature about about death as it's part of their circle of life kind of thing. And, but I think in sort of Eurocentric communities, it's not really out there. So people aren't prepared for it. And so I'd say, yes, there's a lack of resources. I would say people know the best practice, but if they're prioritizing where they're going to spend money in a tax-funded system, they're not necessarily going to target it on that. Particularly in a sort of, like worldwide emergency. So there's a lot of work to do. And some of the answers are around as I said before, how do we educate people about you know, this possibility. How do we, because in a system, such as one I work in, and, you know, it is the system. You know, some of some of those things that impact on mental health and impact on, you know employment. They impact on you know, other children, relationships, that has an economic cost, actually. Which the health service that I worked in is designed to prevent. So there is a cost benefit to actually doing something around that through education and, and other things. I think that's the way forward. But however, at the minute, and has been for years and probably will continue until we all become really enlightened
Vonne Solis 23:52
Dawn Jarvis 23:52
people have other priorities.
Vonne Solis 23:55
Yeah. So I was going to ask you, it's just so much there. And I'm going to be putting a link to your website and all the resources that you offer to help people in, in in various capacities, because, you know, you do offer quite a lot. So I don't really want to go down the path. I mean, I mean, I would, but I don't really want to take up a lot of time talking about necessarily what's missing in all the countries that you know, in the Western Hemisphere that probably have lack of support. based on what I'm seeing, to deal with sudden loss. To deal with really, really difficult death. I really love what you said. I can't remember the exact term that you said, but in the medical world, the it's it's to solve a problem. And and death is ultimately the final solution if it can't really be solved.
Vonne Solis 24:42
And but so I so getting back to a lot of what I do and I'm interested in is is healing and personal growth coming from you know, really devastating loss. Any loss or anything else that has really presented us with, you know, such severe challenges we feel like, yeah, there's no hope. You know, I'm never gonna get out of this. So I've been in this in this, in this, you know, sort of stream of work for decades. But the death, the suicide of my daughter changed it, when I ended up really getting diving much, much deeper into a pain I had never felt before, and have had to learn to, you know, live with. Manage. Find ways to heal from. And, you know, so a lot of that, you know, what I offer is kind of within that, that, you know, arena, if you will.
Vonne Solis 25:40
So one thing I want to go back to it a little bit because I'm I'm all about the tools. I'm all about the perspectives and learning and listening, and what did they do? What did they do? How did they do it? And so I would ask you, was there a defining moment for you, moments, where in your early frustrations, you know, from your early frustrations, and knowing this is not the way I want to live. This is not the way you know, where I want to be stuck in my life. And I, I'm going to going to wager that you would agree with me, a lot of people get stuck in their lives. And your work and my work, while it's different, is to help people get unstuck. So was there a defining moment? Is there a defining philosophy you live by that helped free you from any limiting thoughts, behaviors, you know, actions that you were taking that you could help other people with that are down at that bottom? You know?
Dawn Jarvis 26:43
Yeah, that's a really interesting question. And it does relate back to the death of my sister actually, which happened when I was, I think I was 36 years old. And the finality of it actually taught me a lesson that life is short, and you don't know when it's going to end. And that you have to embrace every opportunity and do what you're gonna do, you know. Whatever you want to do, you need to do it. Because you know, that you haven't got infinite time to do it. And, you know, I was, you know, as a fairly young woman, when my, when my sister passed. And but it's, you know, I know, I to be honest, I'm quite a driven person. And, you know, but it taught me I think, we were looking for her driving license, we couldn't find it. It was just, I wanted to ask her, where is it, and the fact that I couldn't, really sort of demonstrated to me that death is final. And, and, you know, in this life anyway, like, you can't do anything about it. And you can't, you know, you can't those things that unsaid unfinished, you can't do anything about it.
Dawn Jarvis 27:56
So the reason I say that is because what has been something that's sort of been alongside me since my sister's death is, is living the life that she would have wanted to live. Been inspired by it. And when things happen, because things happen. You know, life's not easy is to think, okay, you know, so what can I do positively around this? You know, what, what do I want to do? How can I do it? And what if there's an obstacle, what are the ways around? What are the ways around it? Because I don't want it to stop me necessarily.
Dawn Jarvis 28:37
Now, that might sound magical and lovely. However, it you know, it doesn't stop the fact that, you know, my sister's death impacted on my mental health. It makes coping with some things quite difficult. It's definitely had an impact on my relationships, and, you know, on my family generally. So, but underneath that is that it's quite important to me to have a life well lived with no regrets. And that knowing that things could end tomorrow, I guess, is, is something that's always at the back of always at the back of my mind. And that, you know, when things happen that aren't ideal and I think about what my responsibility is for it. What I can control because there's some things you can't control. And you know, you need to be at peace with that. And, you know, and but you but the things that you can control, what can you do about it?
Dawn Jarvis 29:34
So, you know, others family members, I've got a family member who has some mental health problems, and a long term condition. And, you know, while I understand that, and I do understand it, I really do understand it, you have to work in your power and do what you can do about it. Because if it's limiting you, you have to think what what can I do. Now I'm not negating, you know, the terribleness of depression or anything like that. But, you know, even if it's a small thing, do that. It's small steps. And you know, that's what kept me going.
Vonne Solis 30:13
Yeah, I, I'm with you on that. And I did want to ask you, only if you want to talk about it a little bit, because it kind of helps me and other bereaved m]oms out there. As a daughter, and watching your mom lose your sister, do you have any wisdom and anything you want to share with other siblings that are dealing with that? I think there's quite a secrecy and silence around that, and I really, one of my passions is to try and also help siblings of I mean, survivors, like, well, siblings of sibling death, understand it wasn't their fault.
Vonne Solis 30:56
I think there's a tremendous need for surviving children, especially if it's an only child, like I have, to feel responsible for the happiness of their parent who becomes such a changed individual. And, you know, it really rocks the family. So obviously not speaking as a bereaved parent, because you can't, but you, is there anything you want to just help, while I've got you here, siblings and children of a bereaved parent, and just some words of advice that would go along the lines of guilt, regret, it's not their fault. And maybe they're trying to do too much for their parent. Like how best could they support their mom or dad?
Dawn Jarvis 31:41
But then such an interesting question and I really like that you've, you've asked it. And I'll try and answer the best as I can. I think there's definitely survivor guilt. And it's difficult to watch the devastation of your mother. And being a mother, myself, I have this fear of losing my own children. Probably a hyper-vigilant about their, about their health and survival. And, you know, I remember when my son was born, I got the fear. I called it the fear about your, about your children. And, you know, I took more notice of the news and the way the world was going. So you know, there's empathy.
Dawn Jarvis 32:25
With my mother, and as I said, I was a children's nurse who worked within sort of a highly traumatic speciality. And, to see the impact on mothers and fathers of the death of the child is, is something that stays stays with you. And to have that personally, you know, that that I know as a professional and also as a daughter, that that will never leave her. And it will impact on her life for the rest for the rest of the rest of her life.
Dawn Jarvis 32:56
And it has been difficult sometimes because her, you know, my mother has an access to, you know, the mental mental health help that she could have done. She has a strong faith system that is very, very helpful to her. But you know, it's there are some things that in my medical model of opinion could have helped more. Sometimes that's frustrating to watch. And I think my advice would be see everything in the lens of a hurt person. And that you can't do anything that's going to make that less, apart from listen and have empathy for it. But like you said, you can't totally understand that and to try not to take what can be personal, what feels personal, personally.
Dawn Jarvis 33:49
Having said that, and it's not, while that could be the reason for behaviours and stuff like that, it's not necessarily an excuse for it. So not to you know if there's any adverse behaviour that has an impact on the relationship, not to take that on. And I'll say that, quite frankly, that part of the journey has been not taking that on is to you know, we all have our own grief story. And while that you know any, it's all understandable. It's not your responsibility to solve it.
Dawn Jarvis 34:28
And I think as a nurse and as a daughter and as the eldest daughter, I have felt responsible for my mother's happiness. And I'm not responsible for my mother's happiness. My moth she's responsible for her own happiness. And me have resolving that in my mind has led to me being at peace with her.
Vonne Solis 34:47
So that's so important for me to hear and so for you parents out there that may be watching and hopefully are listening or watching this, this is this is so important, because I have rarely rarely been able to talk to adult siblings who have survived a siblings death. And only then on a very personal level, and all of them said it tore their family apart. And as adults, and looking back, that they lived and some of these happened when they were children, and many of them, well, when I say many, all of them felt responsible. Let's say, I've talked to a handful of people, if I Oh, that happened, you know, nobody talked about it. And also it depends on the era in which this happened.
Vonne Solis 35:39
But I've largely and and when they were children, a lot of this was happening, say in the 50s, maybe the 60s, and you know, they just never really talked about it in their family. And did feel responsible and didn't think they were enough for their it's their bereaved parent. Their living parent. And so this is something I have been very, very conscious of, in all in almost the entire time I have been bereaved, because my son who was 13 when my daughter died, the very first thing he said to me, is, I bet you wish it had been me. And he said that twice. And one of the reasons and I had read books from medical professionals and here's where voices are just so important, Dawn is because there's not a lot of material in out there in in books and in support material and say, well, that's okay, that's normal for them to say that. It's normal to feel like this.
Vonne Solis 36:40
And, and it is to a point, but then they've got to understand age-dependent that their mom or dad doesn't really feel this way. And they have to learn about their own grief themself. And so I know, because my daughter's death was a suicide, there was zero support for our son. Zero. And he never got the support. And in your UK system, I don't know if they have wonderful support. They do have support for sibling death. Survivors, in hospitals when it's related to an illness and a death that occurred in the hospital, and then they provide support to the the families and surviving siblings. But in in things like traumatic suicide and that they they don't in Canada. And I don't know if they do in the UK. Actually, can you speak to that really quickly?
Dawn Jarvis 37:33
I think it's the same. I think, having worked in hospitals, where children died of illnesses, that, you know, there would be some psychological support for the families, and potentially the siblings sort of built into the service provision. However, you know, not all deaths happen like that. And it's a very hospital-centric service and you know, these things come out later. So I don't think that's something that's that sort of that's thought about and that, and I think it can happen, and there are services that do that do do that. But I think it depends on the education and the support given to the families in the first place about whether that will be accessed or even or even offered.
Dawn Jarvis 38:23
And I think parents who have other children, that they're grieving themselves, and that goes back to that you need an advocate to sort of like think these things and think, oh, would that be a good idea? When my sister died her daughter was seven. And there was help offered, and but it wasn't taken up. And you know, that, you know, that is about the sort of health beliefs of, you know, our parents. Of, you know, and so, sometimes these services are available, but you know, the way you know, people's beliefs about health, including how you live and how you die, and what you do around that, can impact on services that are taken up. And so that's what this goes, I suppose I'm going to keep always gonna keep going back to that, I think we need to have these discussions.
Vonne Solis 39:13
Dawn Jarvis 39:15
From a very, very, very young age, because I would say that in my life, people I know whose mothers died when they were young, you know, that has impacted on them. You know, my sister died and my niece's mother died when she was young. And that there are ramifications in her late 20s now, but you know, those ramifications are still
Vonne Solis 39:38
Dawn Jarvis 39:38
are still there. And, you know, perhaps with support when she was seven, you know, maybe things would be would be difficult, but, you know, we have a system of consent, and, you know, we trust the parents to make the right decisions. So, you know, we, you know, it's it's very, very difficult and, you know, all any of us can do is make the decisions that we feel right at the time.
Vonne Solis 40:03
Yeah, for sure. And so again, I'm not going to linger on this topic, because the idea for this podcast, and all the episodes are to bring about awareness, and if people want to explore ideas, explore coaching, explore books, you know, further help, obviously, the work that you do, the work that I do, is available through other other resources. This is just like an awareness. Let's talk and what's really happening.
Vonne Solis 40:33
I agree with you 100%. I once heard actually, very soon after my daughter died, was that the two worst deaths were losing a child or a young child losing their parent. One of their parents. And do you agree with that? Is that what they sort of say? And, yeah, and it, and it leaves just such a such horrible stuff.
Vonne Solis 40:56
On a positive note, though, not to stay in in the trenches, but we do have to have these difficult conversations because it's real life. And getting back to what we were talking about sort of earlier, and inclusion, in whatever way you feel left out, you know, of the mainstream, and I'd wager that a lot of us feel left out of the mainstream. And my interpretation of that is, you just can't function at the same level. The same speed. The same motivation as, you know, as sort of people who haven't been touched by stuff. And, you know, I was an A plus personality to Dawn. And when my daughter died, like, that was no longer the case. And I don't know, if you found that. You mentioned you were A plus personality. So did you find that the case that that you weren't A plus anymore? Or were you still able to function at the same, you know, speed with the same motivation? Or did you sort of have to rebuild yourself to be part of this mainstream?
Dawn Jarvis 42:05
So really, really interesting question. And it's about sort of probably maladaptive coping mechanisms. So my maladaptive coping mechanism was to work really, really hard, and to be a perfectionist, and be busy. And it wasn't until I stopped being busy that I actually dealt with the impact of everything that was going on. So I was avoiding actually dealing with things by being busy and getting promoted, and, you know, being good at my job, and other things and things like that. And was sort of not dealing with the matter in hand. Which was quite a traumatic thing. So,
Vonne Solis 42:43
And I just want to say that that's so important, what you're just saying, because a lot of people who suffer a traumatic loss, that's their go-to. I won't say a lot. I'll just say people may as a go-to, do exactly what you did. Some are forced to do it. And but if you're left on your own with your thoughts, I mean, how scary is that, right? So I just want to circle back a little bit. I can't be an A plus personality. So there's two, two little things that kind of want to, you know, in tandem talk to you about here briefly. One is, so did your sister's death, and you you know, like you said you were in your 30s at the time, did it, if she hadn't have passed away, would you have made different decisions in your life about anything? And yeah? And
Dawn Jarvis 43:38
One hundred percent. Yeah.
Dawn Jarvis 43:40
What, what made what made you slow down? Can you answer those two things?
Dawn Jarvis 43:45
So, if my, this sounds awful,
Vonne Solis 43:55
Dawn Jarvis 43:57
If my, well, maybe I would have got divorced, but it would have been later. One of the consequences of my sister dying is that I decided to divorce my husband because I wasn't very happy. And maybe, and also, I pursued a career in management. And maybe I wouldn't have done that if my sister hadn't died because I needed to earn money so I could survive without my husband. So so those things went in tandem. I may never have embraced my mental health or allowed myself to be mentally ill. So I want to, you know, so to acknowledge my depression. I don't think I would have done that. If because it was, I suppose the way we were brought up, it didn't exist. And that, you know, that wasn't something for our community, really. So. I don't think I would have done that. I think
Vonne Solis 44:52
I just want to jump in on that point and I won't I won't let you forget my other question, which is what made you slow down. I want to stop for one quick second. And when we're talking about our mental health, I'm very, very public with living with PTSD. And, and there's some stuff I could actually say. And I'll just briefly, I'll just briefly sort of condense what I need to say.
Vonne Solis 45:19
There are money issues that can happen after a traumatic loss. Any kind of shift. Anything that presents trauma in your life. Any kind of loss. Job, divorce, child loss, what you know, another type of loss, whatever it is, that presents trauma for you. And trauma doesn't mean PTSD. You and I both know that. So for for the viewers and listeners, be aware. When when we talk, when I talk about trauma, it doesn't mean you have post-traumatic stress disorder. It just means there's a trauma that has happened and we react differently to it.
Vonne Solis 45:54
At any rate, I wasn't diagnosed until 2014. And it was the cause of so many problems in my relationship. My extended family life, my personal life. I mean, I kept myself afloat and I did rely on my A plus personality. Just because I relied on it doesn't mean I could actually function the same, but mentally it was there. So going out and having to finally go on a disability, because I did have to return to work, and I did have to work several years as a matter of fact, and commute and have a part-time business and write my first book. And all of this was sort of happening around, you know, 2007, right through to 2015. And it wasn't until I actually stopped, one could call it burnout. For me, it was just I stopped. I couldn't do any more. I couldn't get out of bed. I went on a disability. And I went on to do a disability basically for PTSD, and heightened anxiety. And I'm not sure how the insurance company really treated it because I was like so afraid to ask. Like, can you believe that? I was like, what's the nature of my disability again?
Vonne Solis 47:12
But I did have to educate employers. I had to educate myself. And you know, and I owned it. I literally owned it, because it was such a relief to finally have an answer for so many things that had been going on in my life that I couldn't explain. And, you know, I talk about this at length in in two of my books. But, so for you saying and I just want to stop and pause for just a quick second. For both you and I owning our mental health. I don't personally call it mental illness because of the stigma, but I understand that sure, in my case I have a disorder. But I'd like to, I like to think that almost everybody has some kind of mental health challenge. So I like to refer to it as my mental wellness. And because I am doing something about it. Yes, I have a disorder but I don't want that to define me. I want the help for it. I want it to be understood. And I want to be free enough to talk about it because it is the direct result of me not being able to function in the mainstream like we talked about earlier, the same as I used to, or the same as very often the competitive world asks of us, if not demands of us.
Vonne Solis 48:31
So those are two key points, I just want to get across you know, to anyone listening, if they feel like they're struggling and don't know what the heck is going on. I also want to, you know, point out that I also thought I lived with depression, and I'm not sure I live with depression or sorrow. And that's another discussion I've started having a little bit lately, because sometimes I just think sorrow and sadness might feel the same, because, but I'm talking only about me. And so for other people, it is quite normal to feel just really bad for a really long time when something really, really awful happens to us. The point is just not to stay there. And so, you and I both do work in that and getting people moving and getting people unstuck in various in various ways.
Vonne Solis 49:21
So thank you for saying that it opened that your sister's death opened you up to really look at your mental health. Probably opened you up to look at a whole bunch of things. But really, it sounds to me, like you are claiming you for who you were Dawn. Which is so important and empowering because isn't the work you now do really based on empowering other people?
Dawn Jarvis 49:45
Yeah, and I think, I think that's so important that you could do what you can. So you see, or I see, you know, injustices. Things that aren't right. People aren't accessing healthcare. It's not there. And also having done the jobs I've done, I can see why it's not there. And, and, and the inequality of that. And, you know, I have lots of discussions with people about oh, it's all so terrible. And yes, it is. Yeah, it's terrible. And, and some people protest. Some people, you know, are angry, vocally or quiet. And I choose to try and change things through my work and using what I what I suppose in the management times, I would call my personal power. My personal power and influence to talk about these things. To suggest change. To be a thought-leader, I guess. And, you know, make people think about things in a different way. And that's what I see my duty to be. I think, that is the legacy of my sister's death, really, is that, you know, you've got one life. We are where we are, and you can only do what you can do. But you can do that with intention and positivity and help.
Dawn Jarvis 51:10
You know, to recognize where people are coming from. And, you know, what is your knowledge? What is your responsibility? What is your civic duty? What is your personal duty? What's your duty to your friends? And then I've re-examined friendships, relationships, you know, marriages. All sorts of things about so, you know, what is the positive intent here? What is, you know, what is happening? And, you know, sometimes those things have been sadness, and they have been things that I've had to let go. And there's been grief about that, definitely. But, and that is hard. And, but ultimately, and it's taken ages. And it's taken ages, like, as I said, my sister died in 2003. So, you know, 19 years without (her sister), and I would say, it's only in the last couple of years, you know, so, you know.
Dawn Jarvis 52:10
You know, you talk about when I slowed down. I slowed down when I literally couldn't get out of bed anymore. So, you know, I had to. There was no choice. And I and, you know, that's what I always coach and mentor people about. You know, if you don't do this, it's your body will do it. You know, so you know, that, you know, that will happen. And, you know, the best thing you can do is pre to prepare for that eventuality. And, you know, people have responsibilities. I was a single parent. I had to, I had to get up and do.
Dawn Jarvis 52:39
I think when it changed for me is acknowledging that, you know, I was in pain and that I needed to rest. And, you know, I was lucky enough to have a job where I had sickness benefits and could do that. But you know, if even if I hadn't had that job, it would have happened. I would have, you know, I would have been a position where I can get off the sofa.
Vonne Solis 52:55
We're so similar that way, right? And, you know, I just want to say, Isn't it weird? When you, you know, I was pushing myself so hard. And I'm going to say you were too, and I have a soft spot. I just want to say to you and all again, the audience, that I just have a soft spot for anybody who's lost a sibling. I get it. And I love you guys so much. And I always feel so honored to be able to speak with you, especially when you talk about your your feelings. And it's just so valuable what you're sharing for, because so many people don't talk. And and I know we're going to wrap this up very, very soon here.
Vonne Solis 53:39
But I do want to just say we have very similar things we've taken away from our losses. And I'm sure that other people can too, if they look for it. It does start with responsibility. You do have to want that change. You do have to not want to be where you currently are to have more. This is very, very huge. But it takes time. And what I see in you Dawn is compassion and empathy, and such a caring soul. And an understanding that anybody that were to come to you and does come to you for your help in any number of areas that you work in, would be very, very blessed, because of this approach. Gentle approach that you have. And and and not to mention the decades of experience you had in the system of healthcare where it. Because I'm a firm believer that a balance of both, okay, over here we have the science, we have the policies, we have the structure, we have the system, but over here, we have the compassion, the empathy, the personal experience of going through real trauma. And that puts a whole new spin on everything in in order to help people. And that's kind of the gap I think that's missing largely in, in traditional healthcare. Certainly here.
Vonne Solis 55:05
People try, and I respect every single person that tries to help. But there's still that little gap, where unless you've gone through something, a lot of times it's still treatment by rote, you know. This is what we tell you. This is what you do. You heal or you don't and we move on. And so we won't dwell on that right now. But that sort of, for me has been my experience. And so a lot of what I've had to do is take the knowledge, you know, tweak it for the grief world, and my own experience and go, Yes, but we need to think about this. And we need to think about that. And that's where I see the connection between what we both do, Dawn.
Vonne Solis 55:45
So I do want to wrap this up, but it's been so refreshing and wonderful to have you here. Do you want to just speak a little bit about the work that you're doing right now, and, and how people can reach you? I'm going to put a link anyways. But if you want to speak about it, your book. I know you have a book, and just what the focus is for you on the current work that you're doing.
Dawn Jarvis 56:06
Okay, thank you so much Vonne and I want, I want to say that you're an inspiration. And I really love that you were talking about you know, how you manage your own mental health. And, and I have seen this. I have seen that you've been you just you say that you're, you know, you're tired or whatever. And you say it out loud, and everybody respects it. And it's the definitely, definitely the thing to do. It's not the normal thing to do. And it's sort of but it's so refreshing to see. And I, I really recommend it. Just be you know, just state your intention. You know, articulate your expectations and say what you're going to do. I love it. So thank you, no, thank you. You have taught me, you have taught me that.
Dawn Jarvis 56:42
So I'll talk about my business. So I've got, there's three parts of my business, actually. So there's, so I am a diversity and inclusion strategist. I work with organizations around, you know, they people think about diversity and inclusion, you know. It's the moral thing to do it. So it makes business sense. And people write, you know, lovely documents about what they're going to do and their mission statement, and however. So I'm all about, so what does that mean in reality. So my tagline is transforming strategy into act action. And so I work with organizations around that.
Dawn Jarvis 57:18
And I'm a creator. I have a podcast and I have a YouTube channel, and I've written a book called Nurture Your Network. And the reason I wrote that book is I found both when I was working in the NHS, and also in starting my business and getting clients and it's about making those relationships. Sort of seeing, walking in other people's shoes. Making the connections. And you know, I have found that to be very positive. That's how I met Vonne. And, you know, we know, we know, we work together in doing collaborations like this.
Dawn Jarvis 57:50
And then the third part of my business is around personal development. And, you know, I talked about, you know, the death of my sister gave me the impetus to do what I wanted to do, and that was to be in a senior level in the National Health Service in England, but also to have my own business. So it's, I firmly believe that you should do what you want to do, you know, because life is short. And I like to help people to do that. To set goals and a mission. And I also have a focus of helping people who might want to start their own business, you know, and how they will do that successfully. So that is a bit about me. You can contact me on my website, which is dawnjarvis.com very easily. And I'm on all the lovely, all the usual social media. So as Dawn Jarvis. So you should be able to find me.
Vonne Solis 58:36
Yes. And I'm, as I said, I'm going to have that link down there. And I did go to your site, and I saw it very, very informative. And I see you have a ton of social media links that people can follow you and connect with you.
Vonne Solis 58:49
And I'm just so honored to have had this time, Dawn to speak with you. I know we speak regularly in other settings. But this has just been so so special for me to have you certainly as part of my launch series in this podcast as an early guest, and and contributing to the conversation in the way that you did today. So thank you. I look absolutely forward to when we meet again. Talk again. And who knows, maybe we'll have an opportunity to collaborate down the road in some joint venture. Who knows. We will just let it let it unfold. But know that I have great respect for you and admiration for everything that you're sharing because every voice counts, right?
Dawn Jarvis 59:44
Definitely. And it was my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me on the show.
Vonne Solis 59:47
Perfect. Talk soon, Dawn. Thanks again.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai