Updated: Oct 14, 2021
Hope is one of those words we love to throw around. But what does it really mean to have hope in the face of a tragedy like the loss of a child? Candice DeLeeuw (@candice_deleeuw), author of Hope (Amidst the Stories I Told Myself), and founder of Hope In Healing Hearts is here to share her powerful story of loss, bravery, and helping other grieving moms heal.
1:30 - It's okay to break, just don't stay broken
4:00 - Surfing the seas of grief
5:00 - Hearts
9:00 - How to help a grieving friend
13:30 - 2020, the year of missing time
17:30 - How to homeschool like a boss
19:00 - The type A guide to handling uncertainty
25:40 - What hope is
Adrienne MacIain 0:02
Hi, everyone, welcome to the That's Aloud Podcast. I am your hostess Dr. Adrienne MacIain. And today we're here with Candice DeLeeuw. Please introduce yourself.
Candice DeLeeuw 0:13
Hi, thanks for having me. I'm excited. I know I just told you a minute ago before we started recording that I've been binge listening to your podcast and I love it. I've loved your guests. I am... where do I begin? I'm a mom of 4: 3 living children and one in heaven. I am a wife of almost, I think we're going on 17 years, but I don't really know, it kind of all fades/flows. I'm a homeschool Mom, this will be my second year homeschooling. I'm an author, a blogger, a guest on podcasts sometimes. And I speak, I've been speaking at women's events for the last few years. It's been a lot of fun. And I'm actually a teacher too, not just for my kids, but I work for a community college, and I teach high school students online and yeah, so, a lot of things.
Adrienne MacIain 1:04
Awesome. We're all a lot of things and that's a good thing. What would you say is the story that the world isn't getting?
Okay. So I knew this question was coming. I know I wrote down three answers because let me tell you, first of all, I'm--are you familiar with the Enneagram?
Candice DeLeeuw 1:24
Okay, I'm a one. So everything has to be planned. I have serious issues with not having things planned. So I'm one, and it was important to me to write down three things so I just wanted to say first of all, because so much of my story revolves around child loss and grief, that grief can certainly break you, but grief does not have to leave you broken. And just knowing that although it's okay to get broken, to break, but not to stay there, and you can have hope and you can have happiness again. So that's my second one: hope never hurts, and it never hurts to always like you know, look for the next thing and have some hope and it's a choice it's a daily choice whether or not you're going to stay in bed or whether you're going to get up and experience the day. And so there's always hope. And then my third one is you won't get it all done, so I just put that out there: you will not get it all done. And I think there's a lot of moms out there that need to hear that because you live so much of your day to day thinking "I need to get this done this done and this done and this done," and if you're a list person like me, there's going to be things that are going to go on to the next day and that's okay, it's okay to not get it all done. So those are my three things.
Adrienne MacIain 2:50
Those are such great things you know, let's start with grief because hey, you know Eat That Frog. My boss used to say this to me, like you know, the toughest thing on your to do list, that's the frog and like, you just got to eat the frog first thing. Get it out of the way.
Candice DeLeeuw 3:06
I've never heard that before. I, I'm... Where did he get that from?
Adrienne MacIain 3:12
I wonder you know, like, where did that even come from? But that's my thing now so Eat That Frog. First thing in the morning, just eat the frog.
Candice DeLeeuw 3:19
Like a frog in a throat?
Adrienne MacIain 3:20
I don't know!
Candice DeLeeuw 3:23
That's just gonna bother me now. I'm gonna need to know where it came from. I told you I'm a one. I need to know things.
Adrienne MacIain 3:30
It sounds like a southern expression to me.
Candice DeLeeuw 3:31
I mean, maybe but I live in the south and I've never heard it.
Adrienne MacIain 3:37
Maybe he just made it up. I couldn't tell ya. [NOTE: Turns out this comes from a Mark Twain quote: “If the first thing you do in the morning is to eat the frog, then you can continue your day with the satisfaction of knowing that this is probably the worst thing that will happen to you all day."]
Candice DeLeeuw 3:38
I don't know. Okay, so what do you want to know about grief?
Adrienne MacIain 3:45
So let's talk about it. Because I feel like grief is something that we're not very good at, in this culture.
Candice DeLeeuw 3:48
Adrienne MacIain 3:49
Ya think? Yeah. And I think grief works differently than a lot of people think that it does.
Candice DeLeeuw 3:58
Adrienne MacIain 4:00
What I found is that grief, it's kind of like, it's kind of like being in the ocean, right? Like, at first, maybe the waves are coming so fast. And it's like, you feel like you're gonna drown and it's really overwhelming and scary. But then after a while, like they start to come a little bit... you know, you get some breathing room between, and you can kind of get your head above water for a minute before you get like submerged again, right? And over time, like the waves are still coming.
Candice DeLeeuw 4:27
Yes, they never go away.
Adrienne MacIain 4:28
They never go away. But like you can kind of get on top of them and surf on them a little bit.
Candice DeLeeuw 4:34
Learn how to ride them.
Adrienne MacIain 4:35
Learn how to ride them. And they get farther, you know, smaller and farther between.
Candice DeLeeuw 4:41
Right. I completely agree with your analogy. I actually wrote a book about child loss, and I talk about water throughout the entire book. And waves is so important to me, actually, I tattooed a wave on my arm and it helps me to remind me to stay focused and to look above the waves. And I just have my focus point. And I think grief is so tricky because no one really wants to talk about it. And when you're living through it, you know, specifically for child loss, I think well for any loss, but you know, when you hear about someone has passed away, you reach out to them, you want to, like, help them, you bring food to them, you visit them all these wonderful and great things. But then the funeral occurs, and then it's like, slowly people start going on because they have closure, right? They got their closure at the funeral. And although I think you also to get some closure, it's still not the same for whoever it is that's like, the most connected to that loss. It's not like the funerals happen, and I'm able to move on. It's a constant thing, and yet people disappear. And so I think over time, too, people don't want to talk about it anymore. They they teeter on: am I going to... is it gonna hurt you if I bring bring him up? Is it going to, you know, are you having a great day, and by me bringing up, whoever it is, his name, whoever it is you're grieving, if I bring up their name, are you going to then lose it? Right? And the answer to that is yes, maybe, yes, maybe I might lose it. But always, it's better to know that you remember, than to feel like you don't want to talk about it at all. So for me, with child loss, that's my biggest fear, is that people won't remember, that he'll be forgotten. And you don't ever want your children to be forgotten. You want them to be remembered. And so when--for me, it's hearts. My son was born with a congenital heart defect. It was undiagnosed before he was born. So about 18 hours after birth, he started turning gray. They didn't know why. It's kind of a big mess, I have talked about in my book, they actually blamed me, they thought I had done something to him. Yeah, it's crazy. It's a crazy story. But the hospital was really small. And they called a bigger hospital, Duke Medical Center. And they came, they airlifted him to the hospital, found out it was a heart condition. He was missing an entire Chamber of his heart. And his aorta was extremely small. So he was unable to pump oxygenated blood to his body. And he was not going to be able to live like that. So what they had to do was give him a course--like now's the time I can't remember the name of it--they gave him a medication to keep the hole in the heart open until we could have open heart surgery. So when he was six days old, he had open heart surgery. And that's a whole process in itself, right? And that was a whole traumatic thing because we were unaware and we were very young, I think we were 24. We were young. And we had we would celebrated our one year anniversary at the hospital. And so like that's just crazy. We were so young and we were so naive and had no idea what was going on. But--
Adrienne MacIain 8:16
Was this your first child?
Candice DeLeeuw 8:17
It was our first child. Although I'm grateful now that it was our first because I was torn about not being home with the dog. I can't even imagine how I would have felt if I had another child at home. And it was two and a half hours from where we lived. So my husband I were living separate a lot of that time because he was still working so that we would have a home to bring our son home to, so it was a lot of back and forth and I ended up moving into the Ronald McDonald house. Which is an amazing thing if you ever see the little charity, Ronald McDonald House thing, you know, you're like, what is this thing? It's for families just like me who live far away from the hospital. And that's the only way we can stay because you can't afford hotels night after night after night. So anyway, um, I don't even know where I was going...
Adrienne MacIain 9:07
So you were in this hospital?
Candice DeLeeuw 9:09
Yes. Oh, well, okay. So hearts. I was telling you about hearts. So the thing that my family finds and friends find are hearts. It started the day he died. We removed him from life support. He went through a lot of trauma, cardiac arrest, just a lot of series of events, and by week seven, it was very clear that it was just not, he was not going to heal, he needed a new heart. He needed new lungs. And he was just so little. And in order to do that another newborn would have to die. And that's hard, you know, and that's a hard thing to think about. And he just had suffered so much already. The team, we were very adamant that we wanted to prolong life, but not to prolong death. And we were very clear with the staff, please help us to see where that line is because it's very difficult to see when your child is so sick. So once we got to that point, they were very clear with us. And so we were able to make that decision. Not that that was easy, signing the DNR papers and doing all those things were extremely difficult. But we are faith-- we do believe in God. And I am not even kidding you when I tell you the prayers that I prayed, and the answers that I got that were, I mean, right in my face, answers that we were doing the right thing. So I have a lot of peace in that, even though it was a really difficult decision. But the day he died, my parents were in Florida. And my dad found a rock that was in the shape of a heart. And it was the day he died. And since then, every year, my dad has found a Heart Shaped Rock, same time of year. And other people find hearts. And they will say, look at this heart I just found, you know, in nature or wherever. And they'll take a picture, and they'll send it to me. So hearts are our thing. And when we, you know, and it's such a precious gift when I get that from somebody because I'm like, not only did, not only are you thinking about him, but you're remembering him and you're remembering who he was, and his story. And most of the people didn't even know him, they just know of our story. And so to be able to share something like that is amazing. My good friend lost her daughter a little over a year ago. And the day she died, a ladybug landed on me. And her name is Leila. And so I said, Look, it's a Leila bug. And the crazy thing is she actually died the same day as our son. It's been years later, but the same day, so we share that anniversary together. And so whenever a Ladybug lands on me, I always take a picture, send it to her and say it's Leila bug. It's just, it's important for people to feel like the person they lost is still a part of us. Because for us, that person is still a part of us. So to know from someone else that they, too, believe that, it's... it's amazing. And you can help someone so greatly just by sharing their name, sharing stories about them that they might not even know or have heard, that's just, it's an amazing blessing, laughing with them, crying with them. All those things are great.
Adrienne MacIain 12:25
Such good advice. It's really, it can be very hard to know how to interact with someone who's grieving. Definitely. And so it's it's really lovely to hear from someone who's been there. That yes, we do want to talk about it. And yes, we do want to hear the name of our lost loved one.
Candice DeLeeuw 12:46
Yes. And I'm not going to speak for everybody who has loss, because yeah, there may be someone who does not want to. But for the majority of the people that I know from losing a child, especially, they really want to talk about who they lost, and to share their story because it's a part of them.
Adrienne MacIain 13:07
Yeah. Let's talk a little bit about 2020.
Candice DeLeeuw 13:13
Adrienne MacIain 13:16
So speaking of grieving, and changing, and losing things that you thought would always be there, right? There were some big big shifts that happened, of course, during the pandemic. What was that like for you?
Candice DeLeeuw 13:30
So 2020 really hit us in a way that we had never imagined before. We started a new business in 2020, called Hope In Healing Hearts. And we launched two books, and then a third one in May of 2021. And we never thought we'd do that during a pandemic. You know, I mean, I have all these, like speaking engagements lined up and all these things, and I really had to shift and do things online and re... redo everything in order to make those things still happen. And the biggest shift we did was we decided to homeschool. And that was something, I mean, when friends of mine would tell me they were homeschooling, I thought they had two heads, and probably five heads, because that is crazy. Why would you set, you know, why would you homeschool your kids when you live in a district that has great schools? Because ours has great schools. But it shifted things for me. And originally we had said we're just gonna do it for one year. We allowed our kids to make that decision. They did not want to do virtual school. So you know, they didn't want to do virtual school in our district was starting off virtual. And so we said, well, we're committing for a whole year. It's too much money to not commit for the year. We committed for the year, and we did it, and it was really great. And so the end of the year came around and we tested, and they did really well. And then I was like, what are we going to do. Do we keep doing this? Do they go back to school? And again, we let them really make that decision. And they decided they wanted to homeschool again. But I will tell you that homeschooling while working, trying to run a brand new business, trying to launch a couple books, trying to still, you know, promote and do speaking engagements and things like that, it was really hard. Really hard. And I lost a lot of-- I gained time with my family that I would not have had, I mean, eight hours a day is when they're gone, it's crazy, right? A homeschool thing really doesn't take eight hours a day. So that's good. But they're still around eight hours a day with questions and, you know, all the things. So I gained a lot of time and memories, and that I can't get back in there growing up so fast. And I'm so thankful for that. But I also lost a lot of time, like I lost a lot of personal time, because they were gone for eight hours a day. And I couldn't get other things done. And so it really shifted. When I do things, a little less sleep to get a little more done. That sort of thing. But that was my biggest shift, was trying to find the time. And that's why I learned this year, you cannot get it all done. It's just not gonna happen. And you've got to like learn, you got to figure out for yourself: what's the most important thing to me? I listened to a lot of podcasts. And I don't know if you're on clubhouse.
Adrienne MacIain 16:34
I'm not because I don't have an iPhone. But I love Lunch Club, which is kind of similar.
Candice DeLeeuw 16:40
Okay. Okay, so I listened to a lot of people on Clubhouse, and they talked about their business and all these things. And I just realized, like, my business is important to me. And I love our mission behind the business. It's not making any money for me, because I actually donate it all. But I love the mission behind it. But I'm also to the point where I know that that's going to be a long term thing. Whereas this season with my kids is short term. So really learning to prioritize and figuring out what where does my focus need to be. And I can do a little bit here and there on these things. But my big focus is my kids. And I know that's not the same for everybody. And that's okay. But it's not all gonna get done.
Adrienne MacIain 17:27
Let's talk a little bit about the nuts and bolts of: how do you homeschool? Did you use a particular curriculum? Like what what was your process.
Candice DeLeeuw 17:37
So because I am a teacher at heart, I have a degree in Education, I kind of knew how to schedule, and I know curriculum, and I know that sort of thing. Now obviously homeschool curriculum is a little bit different than what I was doing. So thankfully, I have friends who homeschool. And I was able to find out what works for them, and then just try those. But I did find, because I'm a History major, I did find that with History, I just made my own stuff. So I used curriculum as a guide. And then I created all my own PowerPoints and all my own projects. And that's what I'm working on now, this summer, is history for all of next year, so I don't have to do it during the day. Like when school starts, it's already planned out. But I'm a one, I already told you I'm an enneagram one, I need things done a certain way. And if the book is just not giving me all the detail, I'm going to go find all the detail and I'm going to add it and create things for my kids that are more enjoyable. But having kids... So my kids are, well, last year they were first, fifth, and seventh grade. And then I also homeschooled my nephews in Michigan through zoom, who were in second and fourth grade. So I homeschool Zoomed with them just for science and social studies. And their parents did the Math and English but that's a big age group. So that was a little challenging, but it's fun and exciting. And we figured it out. So not everything works.
Adrienne MacIain 19:14
So you have brought up a couple of times that you're a one and you're a planner. Yeah, the I imagine that it must have hit you especially hard to have that kind of uncertainty injected into your life, that suddenly... So I wonder, you know, I think it's probably helped you build up some resilience, having having a massive amount of uncertainty injected into your life. What advice do you have for other planners out there in dealing with uncertainty?
Candice DeLeeuw 19:51
You know, it's funny, I never thought about that. But it's funny that the two years that I've had the biggest uncertainty was when my son was born, the heart defect, I mean, that really rocked our world, there was zero planning, it was literally living day by day. You had, I mean, I had no idea what life was going to be like in the PICU. And so there's that. And then the book that I launched this year, and the business, it's all based around him, and finding hope, and it happened with COVID like, those happened at the same time. And that's really quite amazing that it was yet another year of uncertainty at the same time. So I would say from for someone who is a planner, it really forces you to erase and take a new look. And when you can't say-- I'm so, I color code everything. I'm really ridiculously sad. Oh man, If you only knew. So it was it was really sad to me to have a planner that was empty. To me, that was sad, because our kids are involved in so many things, and constantly running from here to there, and all these things. And to suddenly have a blank planner was life shattering for me. But it is that's
Adrienne MacIain 21:22
So funny that you say that because I just did this thing called the Imaginarium. Which was this kind of creativity workshop that we did. And we were all supposed to bring something that we wanted to, you know, let go of, right? So a physical sort of representation of something we wanted to let go. And one of the gals brought who's also a super planner brought her empty, completely empty, 2020 planner. She was like, I do not want this, like I don't want this around me: get me out of my life!
Candice DeLeeuw 21:53
I agree. I will bring my empty planner too! I want to plan things again. Give me all the things! That's amazing. Yes, but I think in terms of advice for someone, I would just say, when you're in those moments, you literally can only take it day by day. Don't try to focus on tomorrow, don't try to focus on the next day. But really hone in on what I need today. And I always say, and this is good for grief, too, when you're kind of hit with one of those big waves, triggered, and these moments too, when you have something so unexpected, I always say to focus on your five senses. Because those are things that like, can really bring you back. So what do I smell right now? What can I hear right now? What can I taste right now? What can I touch right now? And what do I feel right now. Because when you can, when you're able to use your five senses in that way it grounds you again. And sometimes when you feel so lost and so out of control, all you need is to be re-grounded. And so if you can focus on something that's really in front of your face, and you can't ignore, you can be grounded again and planning, and not being able to plan, I needed to be grounded many times. And so I would say focus on your five senses, five senses and think about only today.
Adrienne MacIain 23:16
Yeah, I always like to use the analogy of it's like you're driving at night, right? And you can only see as far as the headlights will allow you to see. And sometimes you can turn on your high beams for a little while for you know, sort of long longer term planning thinking ahead a little bit. But for the most part, you kind of want to have, you know, just your headlights and just focus on what's ahead. You can also think about you know, there's like long term goals, which are sort of like the, you know, the street lamps. It's like, okay, I can see that one ahead. So I know I have to go in that direction. Right? But just don't worry too much about what's between here and there. There's a road, okay? It'll be, you're gonna get there. You're gonna get there.
Candice DeLeeuw 23:58
Yes, yeah, I love that.
Adrienne MacIain 24:00
You just have to trust.
Candice DeLeeuw 24:02
Trust is so hard. It's so hard, right?
Adrienne MacIain 24:06
So hard to trust. Faith is just like, it's so hard, but it's so rewarding.
Candice DeLeeuw 24:12
Yes, it is.
Adrienne MacIain 24:16
Yeah. That's one of the things that I think was a huge lesson for me in 2020. I came into it, you know, wanting to, you know, go big, and then I was like, okay, apparently the word for this year is going to be surrender. So went into it, you know, thinking about clarity, like 2020 vision, you know?
Candice DeLeeuw 24:36
Before, a lot of people did!
Adrienne MacIain 24:37
Things became quite clear. We saw a lot of stuff that we did not want to see. But there it was. Yeah, and so, you know, surrender became so important to me just, just surrendering the outcome of things, doing the uncomfortable work without knowing what the payoff was going to be.
Candice DeLeeuw 24:57
Yes, yeah. Yes!
Adrienne MacIain 25:02
And just continually giving it back to the universe saying, you know better than I do,
Candice DeLeeuw 25:07
Right? I don't know.
Adrienne MacIain 25:09
But I get it. You know, you had better plans. So right. Yeah. And my, my kind of continual prayer for that year was just: lead me to the greatest good. Just lead me to the greatest good. I don't know what that is, but you do. So just whatever it is, I'm here, use me. Send me in the right direction. And it did not steer me wrong. It did not steer me wrong.
So you talk about hope. Hope, of course, is so important. But what is it, exactly? And how can we access it in times when it really feels like: Why? Why bother?
Candice DeLeeuw 25:57
Yeah, there's a lot of times it feels like that. Yeah, I think, um, and when I look back at the time in the hospital with my son, and, you know, there was one time and in particular, I was all alone. family had left and my husband was working. And he had to be taken to an emergency surgery. At this time, his kidneys had stopped functioning, and he needed dialysis. And so he was taken to an emergency surgery. And I remember feeling like I had lost all hope. This was the first time that it really hit me that he might not come home. And that it was just potentially over, you know, and it, I don't know, if I was just, I don't know, I don't know, if I was just delusional up to this point. I'm still dealing with postpartum stuff. I mean, there's a lot going on, obviously. And I have a C section. So you know, there's a lot. And I just, when you're in a hospital day in, day out, you learn a lot about the hallways people don't use and things like that, because in ICU, they shut down two different hours a day, every 12 hours to rotate the nurses, so you're not allowed to be in there. So I remember when he went off to surgery, I ran down this hallway that I knew no one ever was. And I just fell to the ground. And I just gave it all up. And just really prayed and cried a lot. And I asked God to heal my son. I said, just heal him. But I also said, but I want your will, not my own. And for me, it was giving up this desire to have this baby that I have wanted my whole life. I wanted a baby my whole life. I'm giving up this desire for something that was beyond what I understood. And the answer was: no. And it's hard to explain how I heard that answer. But it was 100% clear as day. No, but you're going to be okay. And I felt this piece in me that I had never felt before. And every time I get to a roadblock where I feel like, especially when launching this book, because I waited 10 years to write this book. I had felt called a couple years after he passed to write a book because I just couldn't find books that I was looking for, I couldn't find the book that I needed. And so all of a sudden it was like: you're supposed to write that book. And I'm like, I'm not writing that book. It's not happening! I'm not doing it. I mean someone, there's got to be someone else you know, naw, it's not me. And so I literally ran from that for 10 years. I just could not do it. And a series of things happened and eventually I just sat down, I wrote it, I wrote it in three months. But you know, even writing it was extremely difficult, going back through all those emotions and digging back into how I felt during those times. And I mean it put me back to bed sometimes, the grief was so overwhelming. And because I had shoved, oh, I'd just shoved those feelings down deep, you know?
Adrienne MacIain 29:30
Candice DeLeeuw 29:31
Naw, I mean, I just shove, 'em down. They won't go anywhere. Just shove 'em down there. No, yeah, when you work, and you have to pull those things back up, it is rough. But I was better equipped this time around to deal with the grief. And you know, I there were multiple times I didn't want to publish the book, because it was too hard. It was too vulnerable. It was too scary. Because I talk about my depression, I talk about, you know, losing him, and what that was like and you know, that's really scary to put yourself out there. And that way, especially for me, I pretended that I was fine. Every day. I never told people I was not okay. You know, cuz I'm supposed to be a Christian, I'm not supposed to be, you know, this is okay. And I felt this amazing piece when I had prayed. And so how can I then be sad when I knew that that was the answer, you know? So it was just this constant tug, but every time I felt like I cannot do it, God brought me back, and would put something in in my way to say, "Oh, no, no, you're going to." One big example is our cardiothoracic surgeon wrote the foreword to the book. And I had gone to a conference and I'm sitting at the conference and I thought, okay, all these people might be able to do like this thing, the speaking, all this, but I cannot do it. I am not equipped to do this. It's not for me! Like, again, like that whole: you're not enough. Someone else, like look at them, they all totally have it together. That's not, that's not me. And so I've totally felt this way. And I had walked out of the room, and I had a text message. And I hadn't, I did not have the number saved, so I thought it was one of my students asking about a paper. So I was kind of annoyed. But it was actually the surgeon asking if I had gotten the edits from from the book. And so I told him, "You know what, I don't think I can do this. I don't think I can do this, I don't think I can put this book out there." And he said to me, "You have to publish the book. People need to hear your story." And that was exactly what I needed. I mean, there were many more times that I said, "I can't do this." But every time, there's this little glimmer of hope, someone putting something in front of you to say, "No, you can do this," or a piece, knowing that like, it doesn't feel good, but there's a piece I don't understand. I might not understand this, but there's something more. And so I think hope is just looking at whatever it is, it's right in front of you and knowing like there's no way I can survive this. There's no way. Homeschool? There's no way I can do this every day. There's just no way, and my youngest struggles with anxiety and some other issues. And so that alone, trying to do that every day, like I just thought there's no way I can do this. And yet, there's something that's placed a little bit beyond that street light, you know, a little bit beyond that says no, you can, and it's coming, and good's coming, and just get to that light, you know, don't focus on what's right here, get to that light. And that's, I think that's hope, is knowing that it might not look okay right here, in front of you, but it's gonna be okay. And you just like you said, you just have to trust.
Adrienne MacIain 33:06
Candice DeLeeuw 33:07
It's so hard to trust, though.
Adrienne MacIain 33:10
So hard. The only way out is through and you have to go through the dark. You know? That's the way. Absolutely. We talked before we started recording, we actually had started talking about telling our vulnerable stories and how scary that is. And we have a tendency as humans, I think, to kind of hide the stories that don't make us look so good. You know, we talk about the stories where we're like, yeah, I'm really proud of this. And I did this awesome thing. And I want everyone to know about that. But the stuff that just doesn't make us look so good, we're like, I'm just gonna put that back here. And yet, those are the stories I think that people need more than anything. Right? Those are the stories where we grew. Those are the stories where we transformed and where we were able to get from, you know, someplace we didn't want to be to someplace that we did want to be. And it's been a challenge for me too, of course, to tell some of these scary stories. I just finished the first draft of my next book, Release Your Masterpiece, which, the whole opening chapter is just so embarrassing. Like...
Candice DeLeeuw 34:19
Why don't you read it to us right now?
Adrienne MacIain 34:25
It'll get there. It still needs some editing and some work. But like, seriously, I tell some stories in there where I'm like, I can't believe that I am telling this story publicly. Like, what am I even thinking? But I think that tells me, that feeling tells me, yeah, and that's the story that they need to hear.
Candice DeLeeuw 34:45
Right? Well and you never know. It's what makes us real. Yeah, it's, instead of that, you know, highlight reel. You're getting to see the background story, you know, the stuff that other people don't get to see. That also is the thing that says, oh my gosh, I feel that way too. Or I've experienced that too. And I've been hiding that too. You know, and it is what makes it authentic.
Adrienne MacIain 35:12
Candice DeLeeuw 35:13
Yes, yes. Because otherwise it's just, it's just a book.
Adrienne MacIain 35:17
Yeah. When you hear a story that's like, Oh my God, that's my shame story. It's like, whew, you can let it go. You can let it go. And go: I'm not the only one. It's okay.
Candice DeLeeuw 35:31
Adrienne MacIain 35:33
So it's about that time to transition and I--whoo, the look on your face. So we talked before we started about this--
I can't hear you, I think it's the internet. No I'm just kidding.
So, you know, I love to do this little exercise. And everybody, of course, always responds differently. Some people are excited, and some people are a little scared. But I will say this, I think fear is always a good indication that that's a thing that you should try.
Candice DeLeeuw 35:59
Adrienne MacIain 36:00
You're scared because you care. So.
Candice DeLeeuw 36:03
Adrienne MacIain 36:03
So let's do this together, I'm going to have you close your eyes. And just take a nice deep breath. And this time when you breathe in, see if some colored light can come into your body. What color was the light?
Candice DeLeeuw 36:24
White and yellow and orange.
Adrienne MacIain 36:27
Nice, try it again and see if it's the same or different.
That's good. I think it's bringing you some calming energy. So that's perfect. So now I'm gonna wave my magic wand over here. And now everything that you deeply desire has come to pass, right here, right now, in this moment. And I just want you to tell me the first thing you see in this perfect ideal reality.
Candice DeLeeuw 37:00
Adrienne MacIain 37:02
What does joy look like?
Candice DeLeeuw 37:07
It just--oh my gosh, I'm gonna like start crying here.
Adrienne MacIain 37:11
It's powerful, isn't it?
Candice DeLeeuw 37:12
It is! Oh, man. It just looks like all the things that we're holding on to, is just gone. It's just all gone. There's nothing else. There's nothing holding us back. There's nothing on us. Nothing keeping us from just not experiencing life to the fullest.
Adrienne MacIain 37:43
So you're here experiencing life to the fullest. What can you hear in this space where you are experiencing life to the fullest?
Candice DeLeeuw 37:55
Waves and laughter, lots and lots of laughter.
Adrienne MacIain 38:01
I want you to feel that cool water on your feet on your skin. And I want you to feel the warmth of sand as you kind of step out of that. And look down and kind of see your footprints there as they disappear as you walk away from the water. Like you are never even there. And like that, I want you to be able to just let go of everything that came before this moment. And just be here where you can hear this laughter and you feel that coolness and that warmth on your feet. And what can you smell in this space?
Candice DeLeeuw 38:53
I just smell the ocean.
Adrienne MacIain 38:56
Yeah. You can smell the ocean. Feel a nice breeze on your skin.
Candice DeLeeuw 39:07
And the sun on my back?
Adrienne MacIain 39:09
Yeah. And then something unexpectedly delightful happens. What is it?
Candice DeLeeuw 39:21
I just keep being really overwhelmed with laughter and joy. I yeah, it's just really overpowering and overwhelming. And I don't know, I just get a sense that there's just a lot of people there.
Adrienne MacIain 39:40
These people love you very much. And they are so delighted to be with you here in this space of joy. And they are grateful to you because you brought them here. You brought them here to this joy. I want you to see just one of those people. Maybe it's someone you know, and maybe it's not. But I want you to see on their face, just how overwhelmed they are, by the joy of this moment, and the power of releasing everything that was holding them down and holding them back before now. And they just reach out their hands to you. I want you to take those hands and hold them for a moment. And just hear them saying thank you. Thank you. What's that feel like?
Candice DeLeeuw 40:49
It feels really, really overwhelming. Oh, gosh, I'm crying, it's so sweet. Oh my gosh.
Adrienne MacIain 41:00
It's powerful when we allow ourselves to feel our feelings fully, isn't it?
Candice DeLeeuw 41:07
Adrienne MacIain 41:08
Yeah. We so seldom get to do that in our lives.
Candice DeLeeuw 41:15
Adrienne MacIain 41:18
Well, thank you for doing that with me.
Candice DeLeeuw 41:20
Unnhhh. See this is why I didn't wanna do this! It was overwhelming.
Adrienne MacIain 41:33
I get overwhelmed a lot with with joy and with gratitude. And people are always amazed at like, how much I can cry from those things.
Candice DeLeeuw 41:45
When I wrote the book, I knew that I wasn't supposed to take any profit. You know, although my husband didn't agree, I knew that it was, that's not, I didn't write for me, I had to write it for my son, but that I wrote it for other moms and dads too. It's not just for moms. But and so we that's why we started this organization, Hope In Healing Hearts. And that's exactly what we do is the profit from all of our books go directly to the bank account of that organization. And we use it to partner with organizations that deal with child loss moms, and we send them books. So we provide them a year's worth of books, and they can give them to their moms and parents for free. And so just from book sales and from donations, and so I guess I just kind of felt like all these moms were there, you know, and that's, that's the whole goal is that, because... I'm gonna cry again! I just don't want parents to feel alone. And it's very lonely when you lose a child, and... oh my gosh, whooo, it's very lonely, and I just don't want anyone to feel alone. And that they're like, you feel a little bit crazy when you lose a child. And I want to talk about all those things in the book and just to give moms a voice, you know?
Adrienne MacIain 42:32
So tell us where we can find your book and your organization.
Candice DeLeeuw 43:28
Okay, so the book is available online, Amazon, also Barnes and Noble books, a million, any of the big bookstores. If you're in the Charlotte area, there's some indie book stores as well that have it on their shelves. But you can find my weekly blog post links to the book and also links to our organization. At https://candicedeleeuw.com/. Are you going to? I think, we'll...
Adrienne MacIain 43:55
I'll put it in the show notes, yeah.
Candice DeLeeuw 43:56
Okay, my last name's weird.
Adrienne MacIain 43:58
So what is the name of the book?
Candice DeLeeuw 44:02
The book's name is Hope Amidst the Stories I Told Myself: How to Find Hope in Love and Loss. And so that's the main book and then it also has a book study. And that's for anyone looking to find hope and just kind of push through personal things, not your child loss, just personal growth. There's a book study that goes with it and there's actually three videos online, that you if you want to do it as a group that kind of goes through it too. So there's that. But for specifically for child loss moms, there's a book called Forever a Mama. And I love the book, because not only are you working through your personal growth and like it's linked to the book, but it has, every chapter has a remembrance section. And there's writing prompts for the mom to write their own story about their own child, and just to have a safe place to have all those memories, because I learned once I finally wrote it all down, I was able to release the hard stuff, I no longer am carrying the difficult things. Sure, it's still there. But I don't have to carry it anymore, because it's in this book, but I can look back at it one day, I can just carry the good memories. And that's what I want to give to moms. So those are the three book options. But HopeInHealingHearts.org is our organization. And there you can find more information about the books and more information about the organization and our partnerships and that sort of thing. We're always looking for more partnerships. And we're always taking donations, you can specifically adopt a mom if you want. There's other things that you can do on there as well. So, I'm on Facebook, and my Facebook is Candace DeLeew Author. and my Instagram is @Candice_DeLeeuw.
Adrienne MacIain 45:51
So I had two miscarriages before my daughter was born, not quite the same as losing a child. But it is still a lot. And one of the things I found most amazing and helpful in that time, was speaking out and finding out how many of my friends had also had miscarriages that they never talked about. And giving them the opportunity to talk about that loss. So thank you so much for just being here today and giving other parents who've experienced loss and moms especially the opportunity to to share and to feel this with you. So thank you so much for that.
Candice DeLeeuw 46:41
Sorry for being so emotional.
Adrienne MacIain 46:43
Please don't apologize for feeling your feelings! feeling is healing. That's what we're gonna do.
Candice DeLeeuw 46:54
It's authentic. It's vulnerable.
Adrienne MacIain 46:54
Yeah, that's the good stuff.
Candice DeLeeuw 46:54
Thank you so much for having me on. I really appreciate it for allowing me the opportunity to share hope with more people.
Adrienne MacIain 47:01