Grief, Loss, COVID-19, and How To Find Acceptance In The Unacceptable with Marsha Matthews | EU 839 min read

April 27, 2020

What are some ways we can deal with grief? Why do we feel so many contradicting feelings after a loss? How can we learn to accept what is happening around us? In this podcast episode, Veronica speaks to Marsha Mathews about grief, loss, COVID-19, and how to find acceptance in the unacceptable. Meet Marsha Matthews […]

how to set boundaries with parents & in-laws
how to stop fighting with your husband
How to Deal with an Emotionally Unavailable Husband
Now Trending:
I'm veronica!

I am a licensed marriage and family therapist, marriage coach, course creator, retreat host, mother of 3, married for 23 years and host of the Empowered and Unapologetic podcast. 


Reconnect with Your Partner

tell me more

On-demand two hour workshop and workbook to bring your stale relationship back to life!

What are some ways we can deal with grief? Why do we feel so many contradicting feelings after a loss? How can we learn to accept what is happening around us?

In this podcast episode, Veronica speaks to Marsha Mathews about grief, loss, COVID-19, and how to find acceptance in the unacceptable.

Meet Marsha Matthews

Marsha Mathews


Marsha Mathews is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has worked in the field of psychotherapy for 28 years. She is the manager/director of the Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center in Murrieta California and also has her private practice in Murrieta.

She specializes in working with adults, couples, adolescents, and has expertise in the field of addictions, self-injurious behavior, couples, family work, and grief.

Visit Marsha’s private practiceLoma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center or connect with her at marsha.mathews1@verizon.net

In This Podcast


  • Origin of Marsha’s Expertise
  • Grief, Loss of Relationships and the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Refraining from Losing Ourselves While Dealing With a Global Pandemic
  • Radical Acceptance
  • Living the Life You Want to Live
  • Advice for The Stressed & Disconnected

Origin of Marsha’s Expertise

Marsha has an extensive amount of personal experience when it comes to grief & loss. After the deaths of many loved ones and the difficult endings of relationships, Marsha has learned that on the one hand there is great sadness but on the other hand, there is an embracing and appreciation of life.

Grief, Loss of Relationships and the COVID-19 Pandemic

We’re experiencing loss at a heightened level and we all know somebody who either currently has it or may have recently died from it.

Grief is very misunderstood and often neglected, especially in US culture. We experience a loss and are often unprepared for how to deal with it. There are so many conflicting feelings e.g. After the break-up of a relationship, you might feel some relief but at the same time, very sad, walking through the stages of grief at the same time. Grief can come from the loss of many different things: death, relationships ending, loss of a job, loss of income, and, especially during this time, loss of the world as we know it. This coupled with the uncertainty of the future and not having the ability to control the outcome, really adds to a feeling of loss.

Refraining from Losing Ourselves While Dealing With a Global Pandemic

It is normal to wallow through the stages of grief:

  • Shock & Disbelief
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression/Deep Sadness
  • Acceptance

We do get lost, part of our reality is gone for a while, but it’s important to not try to avoid the pain. Globally, everyone is experiencing a loss of trust in the world and a healing process is absolutely necessary. In today’s world, there are so many contradicting feelings and it’s important to try to look at the glass as half full to get through it.

Radical Acceptance

Allow yourself to feel the emotions. You need to find something acceptable in the unacceptable.  It is unacceptable that these things are happening, that people are dying at such a high rate, that people are getting sick. It’s unacceptable that we have to stay at home, that we’re losing jobs and losing income. Things are happening globally that are really frightening and unpredictable. At the same time, we need to eventually find that place of radical acceptance. We don’t like it, we don’t get it, we wish it wasn’t happening and we absolutely have no control in this situation. We have to reach a place of “This is the way it is, this is my new reality, I’m going to move on with my life as it is.”

Living the Life You Want to Live

I need to find the time where I can just be, rather than be doing.

Marsha is embracing current relationships and appreciating every moment.

Advice for the Stressed & Disconnected

Take time! Look at the beauty around you and take time for yourself. If we take the time to slow ourselves down long enough, we’re going to be able to see this, rather than seeing the negativity of all of the situations that surround us. We need to appreciate everything that we have.

Useful links:

Meet Veronica Cisneros

Veronica Cisneros | Empowered And Unapologetic Podcast

I’m a licensed therapist and women walk into my office every day stressed and disconnected. As a mom of three daughters, I want my girls to know who they are and feel confident about their future. I can’t think of a better way to help other women than by demonstrating an empowered and unapologetic life.

So I started  Empowered and Unapologetic to be a safe space for women to be vulnerable and change their lives for the better before she ever needs to see a therapist.

Whether you listen to the podcast, join the free Facebook communityjoin the VIP community, or attend our annual retreat,  you’re in the right place. Let’s do this together!

Thanks for listening!

Did you enjoy this podcast? Feel free to share this podcast on social media! You can also leave a review of the Empowered and Unapologetic Podcast on iTunes and subscribe!

Empowered and Unapologetic is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Beta Male Revolution, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Podcast Transcription

Empowered and Unapologetic is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast
Network, a family of podcasts that changed the world. To hear other podcasts like, the Bomb Mom podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Imperfect Thriving, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Have you ever thought, how did I manage to lose myself? Being a mom is so hard, especially when we’re feeling stressed and disconnected. We exhaust ourselves trying to create this perfect life for our family. You deserve to enjoy your marriage and your kids, without the stress perfectionism brings. I am going to teach you how to identify who you are, outside of all of the roles you play.

Hi, I’m Veronica Cisneros. I’m a wife, mother of three and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I am on a mission to teach women, just like you, how to become empowered and unapologetic. Welcome to our girl gang.

Hey ladies, welcome to Empowered and Unapologetic. I’m your host, Veronica Cisneros. Today’s guest is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has worked in the field of psychotherapy for 28 years. She is the manager and director of the Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center in Murrieta, California, and also has her own private practice in Murrieta. She specializes in working with adults, couples, adolescents, and has expertise in the fields of addictions, self-injurious behavior, couples, family work and grief. So please help me by welcoming Marsha Mathews. Hey, Marsha.

Hi, Veronica. It’s so good to hear you and hear your voice.

Isn’t this crazy? Doing it. So, Marsha and I worked together at the BMC and I have to say she was so easy to talk to. I have such a high level of respect for you. Not because you were my former boss, but because you take a great deal of pride in what you do. And I absolutely admire that.

Thank you, Veronica. And I likewise admire you and in fact you were there for… regarding this topic, you were there for… during a time of serious grief and loss that I was experiencing due to the death of a loved one, but I’ve always appreciated you and I think we have a great relationship.

Absolutely. So, in today’s episode, I would love for you to educate us on grief and loss. How do we help those in need, especially right now that we’re all in quarantine? And so, I’d like to first start off with, can you tell us about yourself? Can you tell us your story and how you became an expert?

Well, often we become experts when we have our own life experiences, don’t we?

Yeah. Absolutely.

So yeah, my personal losses include, and this is just with deaths, death of my husband and father to my daughter, that was about 30 years ago. He was a doctor; he died of an overdose. More recently, about eight years ago, death of a partner, of a life partner, to cancer. Death of my parents – that was about 15 years ago. Last month, my sister died, she was residing with me – she died of cancer. And these deaths were all different in some ways and very similar in other ways. Overall, each experience brought those overwhelming feelings of sadness and sort of this existential awareness of death, and the fact that we all have an expiration date; we don’t live forever. And also, there’s this contradictory awareness of life coming to an end, and also, at the same time, the need to embrace life as it is present, you know. We talk about those dialectics and that’s somewhat of a dialectic that we, on one hand, there’s the sadness of the loss, and on the other hand, there is also the embracing of life. And so also, I think if you want to include all my other losses, I mean, there’s a lot of relationship endings that I’ve experienced, and all of those things are a part of loss.

I’m so glad you mentioned that because I think the lines get blurred a bit when dealing with grief and loss. We are also going to discuss the loss of relationships and what that’s like and it’s not necessarily… you don’t necessarily just experience grief from death, it’s also from the loss of a very, very significant individual that was in your life for a good amount of time. So, I’m glad you said that.

Right. And I think grief overall is very misunderstood. It’s often very neglected as well, especially in our culture in the United States. I know that from very early on, what I learned is how to acquire things. And in people, everybody in our culture gets awarded and acknowledged for doing a good job, buying that new home, getting the raise, getting the nice car, and that’s applauded in our culture. And yet when we experience a loss, we’re often really unprepared with how to deal with it, and often have a lot of conflicting feelings. Like in the breakup of a relationship, you might feel relieved in some ways and at the same time, very saddened and walking through the stages of grief at the same time. So, those feelings of deep sadness and at the same time feeling a contradictory emotional experience can happen a lot in grief. And that’s, you know, something that I think not all of us are really prepared for. There’s all sorts of grief and loss that can happen. And there’s not only the breakup of relationships, but loss of jobs. And I think you’d mentioned earlier the current situation that we’re in with a pandemic, there’s significant loss happening right now throughout the globe.

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Yeah. I mean, there’s currently loss of loved ones to death from the virus, loss of jobs, loss of income, overall loss of the world as we know it, which is a really, really heavy experience for a lot of people. And this is also coupled with the uncertainty of the future and ability to control the outcome, which just adds I think, to that feeling of loss. Most people in the front lines in the healthcare industry, and I work at a hospital, they’re watching patients die in front of them, and are also dealing with the loss of normalcy, and I think that’s something that we’re all dealing with currently: the loss of normalcy, the loss of routine life. And it’s just something that I think everybody throughout the world is experiencing. There’s almost a sense that the world is crying right now.

Beautifully said, yes. Yes.


I love that you said that we’re experiencing loss at a heightened level. And we all know somebody that either currently has it or may have recently died from it. I just received news that one of our really good friends that, when we lived in New York, they took us on, they took us in his family, and he has just lost his mother due to the virus and I have a couple of my clients who are currently struggling with not being able to attend to their family members’ needs because they’re quarantined. I have friends – same thing. So, it’s all of us experiencing this at this time. And so, one question I wanted to ask is, how do we refrain from losing our self when our partner or friend is ill? And how common is this? Because I don’t think people are aware of how common… we lose ourselves in trying to go ahead and meet the needs of others.

Absolutely. I so agree with that. And, and there is… a part of the normal grief process is walking through some of the stages, like Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has the five stages of grief which are initially shock and disbelief, where you’re almost numb to the experience, and then anger and feeling angry that this person has left or that they died, and then the bargaining where you say, well, if I would have just done this, maybe this person wouldn’t have died, or if I would have made that phone call, maybe they wouldn’t have taken their life or, you know, you think of all these reasons. Or even in the matter of relationship breakups, it’s like, if I just would have said this, done this differently, then maybe the relationship wouldn’t have ended. And then the depression, the real deep sadness that we experience, and eventually getting to a place of acceptance, and the stages don’t go in [unclear], but in this process, we are somewhat lost in the process. We’re experiencing all these different emotions. And everybody’s process is a little bit different. And so, the idea of getting lost in the grief process means to me, partly, that we will be somewhat lost. Part of our reality will be gone for a while. And it’s also important at the same time to not try to avoid the pain by staying away from relationships that can hurt me now, or to lose trust in the world. And I think that’s something that probably everybody is experiencing globally right now, is a loss of trust. And so… but this healing process is absolutely necessary to take place.

And I think, you know, one of the things that we can do in today’s world is to focus on that contradictory feeling we might also have and that there’s this newfound experience and family relationships, a feeling of relief of being able to stay at home rather than being involved in the day to day, anxiety-producing work life, and just recuperation. And if we can remember to focus on trying to look at where the glass is half full, it can help to get us through that a little bit better. And as far as the actual loss or the death of a loved one, I think it’s unavoidable; we will be feeling that sense of disconnect at times. We’ll feel this shroud. I know that for myself, I think one of the losses in my life with the loss of my husband, my daughter’s father, several years ago, it was a sudden unexpected death to an overdose. And for months, I felt this shroud, it was almost like there was this huge shroud that just encompassed me, you know, and I felt really unable to break free. I was almost stuck in this place of despair, depression, sadness. It was really difficult for me to break out of that. And eventually I did and eventually, of course, I realized that it was traumatic for me. I had been in this crisis state, and for me, I had entered a trauma response to his death, because it was sudden, unexpected. Other relation… like with my loved one that I lost to cancer about eight years ago, it was a little different. We walked through a seven-month period where I was watching his decline and we were able to embrace every moment. The sadness of each event was the same in terms of having to go through a grief process, but one was a little different in that it wasn’t quite as traumatic for me. I went through a lot of pain and painful moments and sad moments and just tearful moments. But the traumatic death of my husband was… I think it was more extreme for me, and I think I was less prepared to be able to let go with that. Yeah.

Yes. I appreciate that you said that. You know, I was less prepared. I think what most people are going to hear right now is, okay, wait a minute, she’s telling me to have the, you know, think about the glass half full, how am I going to think about that when all of this is happening, and I’m overwhelmed, and I have kids, and I’m doing all of these things. There’s no possible way I can think of the glass is half full. That’s a simple fix. And I also appreciate you tying in being able to go through that process. So those months that you and your partner were going through it, and I remember him being diagnosed. I remember the doctor appointments. I remember the back and forth with given all of this information. One thing that I admire though, is throughout the entire process you allowed yourself to feel the emotions. And this is why being able to go ahead and see it as the glass half full is a bit easier, because if you allow yourself to feel it in those moments versus what everybody else does, which is brush it under the rug, pretend like it’s not happening, distract yourself with 50,000 tasks, that’s going to get you nowhere. But if you’re actually able to feel it and respond to it in that moment with your partner, with your family, you’re going to be at a better state than if you ignore it. Can you speak to that, the people that actually ignore it?

Absolutely. And I thank you, Veronica, for being there for me when I was dealing, you know, about eight years ago with the loss of my partner to cancer. And every day I did come into work, and I processed it with people. And I was a little bit… I mean, we’re never prepared for the actual end of someone’s life, but at least I had people to talk with about it along the way. And when the final moment came, where he made his transition, I was, like I said, a little bit more prepared. But I think one of the things that we have a problem with, especially in this culture, once again, is that idea that at some point, I’m going to be getting over a loss or I’m going to get complete with a loss, and we use those expressions a lot. And yet, I don’t know that we always do. I mean, I think for the most part, we get to a place where the memories and sadness and also the memories of those sacred map moments that we’ve shared with someone will still be there for us and we’ll carry this with us. And it’ll be less burdensome, but you can move to a place of having a deep appreciation for having known someone that you lost. So it’s kind of more of the state of acceptance where it’s a radical acceptance; we talk about radical acceptance, finding something acceptable in the unacceptable, and although it’s unacceptable that I’ve lost this person, I find acceptance in that, and again, practicing radical acceptance in what’s happening in our world today with this pandemic, it’s finding acceptance in the unacceptable. This is unacceptable that things are happening, that people are dying at such a high rate. It’s unacceptable that people are getting sick and we’re having to stay in our homes, that we’re losing jobs, losing income, things are happening globally. That is really frightening and again, unpredictable. And at the same time, I think finding that place eventually, of acceptance, radical acceptance, and that is like, I don’t like it. I don’t get it. I wish it weren’t happening and I absolutely have no control in this situation. So, I have to just reach a place of, this is the way it is, this is my new reality. I’m going to move on with my life as it is, and things will change. Yeah, things won’t be the same. But I’m going to just find, and embrace, what’s happening.


And embrace that I’m doing everything possible to make this a healthy world for everyone else by staying home, by maybe not being able to go to my job, by maybe having had to let go of a loved one, you know, and things like that. But it’s a long road towards acceptance. I think that with acceptance, I know that with all of my losses, I’ve had to find the sadness first; I’ve had to find the lack of forgiveness in myself and other people for leaving me. And it’s been a long… it’s a long road to finding that place where I can actually say yeah, I get it. I embrace what it is. I don’t like it. But I find acceptance in the way things are today.

Bingo. I’m so glad you covered radical acceptance. I was hoping and praying you would do it and the fact that you did, I was like, yes, yes. Radical acceptance is a coping skill that we educate our clients on, on how to go ahead and accept something that we cannot change, we don’t have the power to change. So, I’m so glad you said that. I have a VIP membership group and one of the ladies in that group, I let them know that you were going to be on and they’re super excited. So, I have some questions from them. Following what you just said about acceptance, Louise asked, how do you know if you are on the road to acceptance when those totally sudden bouts of complete sorrow still hit out of nowhere?

That’s a great question. And I think that as we’re on that path towards acceptance, we’re going to have bouts with uncertainty and return of sadness. And I don’t think the sadness is necessarily reflective of the fact that I haven’t embraced and found acceptance in what is. I think that even if you look at what’s happening in the world today with the pandemic, I think that we can find acceptance and try to embrace the world as it is today, and the things that we’re going to have to be doing at this point, and at the same time feel a sense of sadness and loss at times. I don’t think it takes away from being on that path towards acceptance. And as long as I’m still continue… as long as I’m not trying to write a new script that everyone’s gonna follow; as long as I’m okay with whatever I can deal with moment to moment, and be mindfully present in each given moment, then maybe I have reached a better place of acceptance. When I find myself still trying to control my environment, still trying to control all the players in my life, that might be where I’ve moved away from acceptance. And I might fall off the path. If there is a path, a road towards acceptance, I might step off the path sometimes; I might find myself, again, always going off the path and walking through the weeds for a while and then finding myself back on the path again. And that’s kind of a natural part I think also, of the process, so…

Absolutely. So, there’s… I love that you said it, you know, I’m on the path, I might be off the path, I might be now in the woods and all of a sudden I’m in the city and then I go back to the woods. It’s not designed to be this linear perfect line. It’s more, it’s life, we’re human. So, things are going to fade in and out. There are going to be times where we’re completely overwhelmed and where we have a handle on things. I love that you give that example.

Yeah, it’s so true. And there’s no timeline. I think all of us want a timeline. Oh, how long is it going to take? How long is it going to take for me to find acceptance in what’s going on in the world today? How long is it going to take for me to get over the death of a loved one? How long is it going to take me to get over this divorce? And I see that a lot and yet, I know from my personal experience that there is no timeline and it is each situation. I have to experience whatever I have to experience. Whether it’s overwhelming emotional feelings of sadness, the awareness of death, the fact that we don’t live forever; all these things are just a part of my timeline and sometimes experiencing irrational guilt, those things are things like, people don’t like to hear it, like, I feel responsible for his death or whatever, I feel… And yet it’s sometimes just a part of my grieving process. It’s like, we have to embrace whatever we’re feeling because it’s real for us. I know for myself, I felt total irrational guilt at times, like, I was somehow responsible for another person’s life. And although it was irrational and crazy, I had to just embrace that I was feeling that at the time, and then move on.

There’s a lot of experience, feelings, emotions, and pain that we experience, and I think a lot of us want to move away from pain. And it’s like if I have a breakup of a relationship, and I’ve had this feeling, being in a relationship and it painfully ended and having the idea, if I stay outta relationships and stay away from people that can hurt me, then I can avoid pain. And pain is not optional in this lifetime. If we are human, and we’re living this life, we are going to be experiencing pain. I think the thing that might be optional is suffering. And so, when I find myself in a place of suffering, that’s when I maybe need to seek some help or do something to help me get through it. And I think in answer to your question too, there’s always this opportunity for us to look… especially if you’re uncertain if your grieving process is not normal, then it’s important to seek outside help, ask someone that’s a professional, get some help, get a neutral party to walk through the situation with you, because it’s going to be different for everybody. And some of us are going to be having that shroud covering us, like I said about myself – that sense of this dark shroud covering me for a long time. And it’s our own personal experience. And it’s unique to each of us.

Absolutely, absolutely. Gosh, I’m so glad you’re covering so much. Every question that I have for you, it’s like, I’m crossing it off, and crossing it off because you’re covering all of it, which is so great. This is so great. Another question one of our members asked was how to… and in this one, it’s like codependency. This is where I first met you, but I’m gonna ask you, how do you ensure others who were impacted by the loss are taken care of while you focus on taking care of yourself? And so one thing I noticed from some of our members is they’re very, very quick to take care of others and distract themselves and find some form of validation in it, and very rarely do they take care of themselves. And so how would you answer that? If she was right in front of you, what would you say to her?

Well, yeah, and I think it’s a wonderful quality to be the type of person that can be caring, and concerned for others and feel responsibility for others, because there’s a lot of people in this world that don’t feel any of that at all. And so, it’s a wonderful quality. I think the key is when we become over responsible for other people and under responsible for ourselves, that’s when it becomes dangerous. You know, as far as checking in on people, and we need those interdependent relationships, those healthy interdependent relationships, where I don’t… I will be concerned with what’s going on with you, but I won’t take it on and have it be my burden to where I’m weighed down and I can’t take care of myself. And that’s, you know, that old example that they use a lot is that when you’re in a plane, and they demonstrate putting your mask on if there’s a crisis in the airplane, that you’d put yours on first, then put the mask on for your child. Because if we’re not taking care of ourselves, we really can’t be helpful to somebody else. If I don’t take care of me first, I’m not going to be able to help somebody else. So, we have to make sure that we’re in a good place and that we’re okay. You know, before we extend ourselves, but extending ourselves is a good thing. I mean, I think having that ability to care for other people is a wonderful quality and it’s just when we lose ourselves in the other person, when we lose ourselves in another person’s problems and forget about us, it’s… it can be a dangerous thing for us, because we’ll suddenly feel overwhelmed and feel like, I can’t take anymore, you know. That’s what often happens.

Yeah, I actually recorded… My first episode was, ‘Girl, put your bra on first’ because moms were so quick to attend to everyone; very rarely do we tend to our own needs. And we do this most of the time without a bra on because it’s first thing in the morning when we do this mad dash to our kids. So yeah.

That’s a great analogy. Put your bra on first.

Put your bra on first, girlfriend.


Next question. When do you know if it’s time to start getting out there and meeting people again?

So, following the breakup of a relationship, there’s a healing process that takes place and I think the important thing is to… And it’s going to be different for other for everyone. For myself, I always had a tendency after a breakup to want to fix pretty quickly after a breakup, and that’s not what I would recommend to other people. But what I do recommend is that you take the time to heal, and so that you’re not just grabbing the first person that comes along with a pulse, in terms of a breakup.

When it comes to the end of a relationship because our partner dies, that’s… I think it’s going to be a little bit of a longer process. I think it’s important for us to make sure that we have healed, that we have worked through a lot of our emotions and that we’re not… Because I think, throughout our life, anytime we enter a new relationship, we’re bringing all of our suitcases full of baggage from past relationships and past life experiences. It’s just a normal, natural thing that we do. However, if we’re still in that healing process, and our wounds haven’t entirely healed, it’s probably not a good idea to get into something just yet. You know, you can have friendships and that’s fine, go have coffee, and maybe avoid those relationships that could just take me away from my own personal healing process. Because I think that’s something that absolutely needs to happen. You know, each of us has, as I said, we have our own timelines, we have our own need to heal. And, again, if you try to induce a new injury over an already unhealed wound, it’s just going to complicate matters. So, for your own sanity and safety, just make sure you’re in the right place, that you’re in it for the right reasons. You’re not just out randomly seeking anybody that comes along because you feel needy, but that you really feel healed and ready for that new relationship.

Yeah, I think also it’s important to add that when you do enter a new relationship too soon, now you’re taking on stress that you might not be ready for. With you still attempting to recover and even accept what is already… what’s happened, you taking on a new relationship and being with a new partner? Well, now you have this whole set, of other things, other things that might come up with regards to, is this person even… am I even, you know, is this even a compatible relationship? Is this healthy? And you might not have the strength, or the voice, to assert yourself and set some healthy boundaries. So, I’m glad you hit on that.

Absolutely. And I think too often, if it’s a breakup of a relationship, and if it’s something that took us by surprise, I think there’s a lot of us that might experience distrust. Distrust in the world, distrust in people, distrust in future relationships; it can really complicate future relationships. And it can create a lot of trust issues with the next relationship. So jumping into a new relationship when you totally haven’t resolved some of your trust issues from the past one, it’s probably gonna… you’re probably gonna have a lot of defenses and you’re not going to be able to be fully available. And I think with any new relationship, you want to be able to be available. You want to be fully available to the relationship. There’s definitely a period of time where the healing needs to take place. However, the element of risk is always going to be present when you’re putting your heart out, and it’s a risk worth taking. And it’s a risk worth taking when you feel like you have been to that place of healing, where you’re not still thinking obsessively about the past relationship, when you’re not still obsessively worrying about what you’ve done wrong in the past relationship, when you’ve truly reached a place of acceptance in what’s happened in the breakup. And that’s a good measure to take is, have I really reached acceptance in the past relationship? Am I okay with the way things are? And if I am, then maybe I’m ready for the next one.

Absolutely. Absolutely. What do you say to someone who has suffered a loss through death? You know, I know a lot of people… I remember when my dad had passed away, so many people had come up to me and said, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for your loss. And I remember some of my friends who had lost their parents. That was one thing that they were completely irritated by, whenever somebody said, dude, I’m sorry. And it’s like, well, what are you sorry for? And then when it was said to me, it was like, oh, okay, now I understand. It wasn’t necessarily irritative, it just kind of threw me off. So, what should people say or not say to those who have lost a loved one?

Oh, that is such a… that’s really good because again, it goes back to our culture being so ill-prepared. To speak with anybody about a loss. I think one of the things that we do – one of the big mistakes we make – is in… this I can relate to my own personal experiences, oh, you shouldn’t feel that way, or don’t beat yourself up about that. When I’m going through the bargaining stage of my own loss, I’m saying things like, maybe if I would have just done this things would have turned out differently, or maybe I should have stayed home more because I didn’t realize he was going to die so soon, and all these things. But that’s kind of… to just validate wherever somebody is at; that’s one of the best things you can do as a friend, as a family member, as a support for somebody, is to say, wow, I get it. You’re feeling a lot of pain right now. Or, wow, I get it, you’re feeling a lot of guilt about everything, even though I don’t agree with you about your area of guilt, I understand that that’s where you’re at right now. And I get it. So just to be able to validate someone for where they’re at is important. We try to talk people out of what their experience is because we’re so uncomfortable with death. We’re so uncomfortable with loss. Some of the crazy things that people say to each other are like, oh, you’ll get over it soon, or, you know, it’s gonna take about another month or so and then you’ll be okay. Or, just, all these things, that…

Yeah, they’re better off. They’re in a better place. Right?

Exactly. They’re in a better place now. You’re really better off with the breakup of that relationship. He’s, you know, or yeah, that person’s in a great place. They’re not suffering. I mean, all these things are maybe true, but what people really want is, I think, just validation for what their current experience is. And validation, as you know, Veronica, means just saying, I get it, this is your experience. I validate that this is your experience right now. If there’s anything I can do, let me know. And I get it that you’re really sad right now. Or you’ve got some real difficult feelings that you’re dealing with right now. It’s the best thing we can do.

Absolutely, absolutely. So final two questions that I ask every guest. What are you personally doing right now to live the life you want to live?

Wow, that’s quite a big question. Well, for one thing, I’m retiring and there was… for me, that was a huge loss. Loss of a lifetime of working. And suddenly… I used to kind of see it as I was standing at the edge of a cliff that I was going to be falling off of, and I realized I have to change that visual. So now I kind of see it as, in the very near future, I’m going to be entering this big, huge meadow of all these wonderful new options for my life, with retiring at my main job at the hospital, and I’m going to be entering this new world of just doing private practice, doing different things that I want to be doing, finishing my book and all. And so, I’m seeing it as just a new experience and a new and wonderful experience. And that’s one way that I think I’m finding acceptance in my current state of life and, just the whole idea of being able to plan for, you know, whenever this pandemic is over, the travel I want to do and all that. And just embracing the moments and really embracing my relationships. My current relationships are so important. My daughter, my husband; he was actually my first husband, when I was 18, and we’re back together again. So, spending those sacred moments that we get to spend together are so important. And enjoying and appreciating each moment is so important. I preach that to other people but for me, I need to also do that myself. I need to find that time where I can just be, rather than be doing. So, those are my goals.

Beautiful, beautiful. I’m gonna be a part of that retirement ceremony. I gotta be there.

Okay. It might be a virtual ceremony.

Hey, I’ll take it. I will take it. I will host it if I have to. And when you write that book, you gotta be back on this show.

Oh, I will. I will definitely do that.

All right, last question. What advice would you give to the mom who feels stressed and disconnected? And imagine her again, just standing right in front of you – what advice would you give to her?

The mom who feels stressed and disconnected because of what’s going on today or…?

Just stressed and disconnected overall. Wherever you want to take it, Marsha, wherever you want to take it.
Okay. I think that disconnect that sometimes we feel because of high levels of stress, and this is true for trauma as well, there is a component of disconnect that we start to engage in. And it’s our own way of protecting ourselves at times. It’s like, I’m so overwhelmed, I’m just going to disconnect. And I’m going to disconnect from everything and everybody because it’s overwhelming to be in contact with anybody. So, although that is a part of resolving some of the issues that are associated with really high stress levels or even traumatic experiences, I need to somehow find my way back. So, if I need to slow down my life, if I need to look around and just take time to smell the roses, take time to look at… I mean, there’s actually poppies on the hills today. So, I mean, to take some time, pull over on the side of the road, just look at these beautiful orange flowers, and just take some time for self. It is so important that we do that.

We often have this baseball bat that we pound ourselves with, if we’re not busy enough, if we’re not productive enough, if we’re not doing enough, it can be really tough. And so, we just need to remember to take time for us. If I need to take a mini meditation in my own bathroom because the kids are running around, they’re all home from school, I’m feeling overwhelmed and stressed, I need to maybe just take some time for me because otherwise again, I’m not going to be able to be there for the kids. I’m not going to be able to be there for other people. So yeah, taking time for me is real important. Taking time… I almost hate the expression, to smell the roses, but you know, really taking time to just look at nature. There’s evidence of whatever your spiritual beliefs are, there’s evidence of God or presence of the universe’s power or whatever way you want to look at it. There’s… or a higher power’s presence in all nature, all situations. And if we take the time to slow ourselves down long enough, we’re going to be able to see that, rather than looking at the negativity of all the situations that surround us. So, for sure, taking the time and appreciating everything that we do have.

Absolutely. Beautifully said. I agree 100%. So how can we find you, for those that are in California, in the Murrieta area, Temecula area? How can we find you?

Well, let’s see. I think I’m listed in Google. My private practice is Google-able, but I actually have a practice in Murrieta. You can email me at marsha.mathews1@verizon.net. Or contact me through looking for my private practice information. And I welcome anybody. I’m doing virtual sessions now with my private practice, and I welcome anybody that is interested in receiving any type of help.

I’m going to tell you right now, ladies, she is absolutely amazing, amazing. She trained me, she trained me to be the therapist that I am today and I’m so very thankful and blessed that, not only was she my supervisor, not only was she my boss, she’s also a very dear friend of mine and I absolutely love and adore her. So, thank you so much, Marsha, for coming on.

Thank you, Veronica, you are your own superstar and you know that, and you have done things that are just amazing to me. So yeah, thank you for being who you are.

Absolutely. All right, ladies. See you later.

What’s up ladies, just want to let you guys know that your ratings and reviews for this podcast are greatly appreciated.

If you love this podcast, please go to iTunes right now and rate and review. Thank you, guys.

Many women lose their own identity in the shadow of being a mom and a wife. We are a community of women who support each other. We leave perfectionism behind to become empowered and unapologetic. I know you’re ready for the next steps. If you want to become empowered and unapologetic, get my free course, “Unapologetically Me,” over at empoweredandunapologetic.com/course.

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, Practice of the Practice, or the guests, are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.

+ show Comments

- Hide Comments

add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I’m Veronica, your new Boss MOM Mentor with no filter and no BS. 

I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, women’s coach, course creator, and retreat host. Married for OVER 20 years, raising three girls, and the host of the Empowered and Unapologetic podcast. 

Enough about me… 

My jam? Helping high-achieving women thrive both at home and in the hustle of work.

I've been there.

How To Deal with a Negative Husband

get it now


How To Work Through Resentment

read it

free download

 Top Resources

How To Stop Fighting with Your Husband

get it now


Setting Boundaries with Parents and In-laws

read it

free download

5 Things That Are Killing Your Marriage

In this guide, I'll share the simple strategies that help my clients go from feeling like roommates to reigniting their relationship and falling in love again.   


Free guide

5 Things Killing Your Marriage

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Marriage Coach, Course Creator, Retreat Host, Mother of 3, Married for over 20 years.

veronica cisneros

© veronica cisneros 2022




instagram >

follow along 
on Instagram: