Now More Than Ever This Is The Time To Unwind Your Mind So You Can Think Clearly About Your Future And What You Want For Your Life. The Miracle Is You Can Enjoy the Journey of Discovery

Quite simply, miracles can happen.

If you like the way this sounds, then you should sign up for the free Unwind Your Mind Virtual Retreat.

My friend Melissa Lyons has brought together 20 panelists, along with myself, for this complimentary interview series on how to calm racing thoughts, unclutter your mind and create space for more happiness and joy in your life.  We will be sharing effective ideas and strategies that have been tested and proven successful in our own lives and practices. 

You can get access to it all by clicking here.

If you are anything like me, then freedom means a lot to you.

The freedom that comes with peace of mind.

The freedom that comes having clarity about what you want and don’t want in your life.

The freedom that comes when you cease to overthink, over obsess and over analyze events of the past or uncertainties of the future. 

That’s what pressing pause, unwinding your mind and being crystal clear about what you want in your life can do for you.

It can help you stop overcomplicating things and allow you to witness, for yourself, that you already are more than enough. Yes you! It’s true!

I am excited for the Unwind Your Mind Virtual Retreat. It’s 14 straight days of people just like you and me. People who have lived through chaos, overwhelm, and in some cases, tragedy, and have chosen to press pause long enough to get clear about how they want to live the rest of their lives.

It’s free, but you have to save your seat to get access. Claim your ticket to the online event here.

With peace and love,

Holly C. Barker

PS Take a moment and pop by the Unwind Your Mind Retreat welcome page. You will get all of the details, including a list of the speakers and topics. Each speaker is offering a gift for you. 

Check it out here!

Leadership in times of crisis and uncertainty.

A piece I wrote for

Leadership is a tightrope to walk at this time in history. As a leader in any profession or industry, one must look out and look up to God as to the way forward given that the answers to many of the questions and decisions we are faced with are nebulous. No person on this planet has lived through a pandemic coupled with the political and religious upheaval we are facing, a situation that feels very Biblical in nature and worldwide in scope. With the internet, we can see and communicate with people all over the world in real-time. Nostradamus predicted this would be the age of the antichrist and from the inside of our quarantined lives looking out into the world at large from our television sets and smartphones, we can see that the world is going through massive change — on the precipice of both enlightenment and disaster.

Most do not recognize that we’re at such a critical tipping point because the changes we are experiencing have been spurred by grief over the loss of our lives as we knew them — and for many, the loss of loved ones. Normalcy is now non-existent. A New Normal is in the making, being molded and formed from each and every decision made, from the individual level all the way up to national and global levels. No person can claim to have not been affected by this monumental worldwide event. even if a person’s world has not changed much, the world around them has.

Grief is a life-altering, mind-blowing, game-changing experience; it hits and shakes a person at the very core of their being. I experienced this personally, and as I worked with a team to build out an international grief support organization, I saw how similar the circumstances and impact were for others going through the exact same experience. These series of individual experiences are now amplified out into the human experience and we are seeing from a societal perspective how grief affects humanity as a whole. Without knowing it, everyone is now awakened to the experience of grief even if they do not yet recognize it as so.

These times will make or break a person in a leadership position because true trailblazing is necessary to guide your family, community, organization, or business through the transition to the New Normal. Every human being is unique. We come to the table with different views and different values, and the striking differences in opinion are leading to complete breakdowns in relationships among families, co-workers, communities, and even nations. This was the reason I used the tight rope analogy earlier.

If you’re a leader in an organization, now is the time to define your organization’s culture and how you will keep the peace within the turbulence of stressful emotions and ensure the forward movement of your mission. In this time of strife, gas-lighting, and angst, a polarization is happening, and ideologies are becoming clear grounds for the breakdown of relationships both in a personal and public way. The very platforms that host humanity’s communications are taking sides and redefining their objectives, leaving millions of people disenfranchised and others believing in storyline narratives. Trust is truly broken in many ways.

How does a leader navigate through such circumstances — ones that threaten our very existence on this planet? You stake your claim. You decide what you believe, and you build around those principles, while still maintaining an openness to others. A new definition of life is upon us because collectively we are no longer naive. What you know and understand has changed. This is normal in the grief process. To deny this is the new reality is to get pulled down in the undertow in waters of grief and chaos. This is the time to Let Go and Let God or the Divine help you see the way forward because the path forward is a maze. Go back to the core principles and morals of your faith system and work from there, even if it seems impossible.

Life is about our connection to each other. Do you want to be surrounded by only those who think the same as you? Then make that declarative statement and do not hide your intentions. Do you want to be open to others with differing thoughts with compassion and understanding, then build out that concept within your network of connections and declare it so. Now more than ever, it is important to be transparent about your goals, mission, and actions so that others know your intentions. Trust has been broken from a macro-human standpoint as we stand mired in a time of misinformation when lies are often told as truth for the benefit of a few and the detriment of many.

Every human that comes into this world has their heart on display for God (or the Divine being of their faith) to see, so there is no hiding intent or deeds. Those that have sewn discord, chaos, and evil will be exposed to the Light. Those whose hearts are true and live a just life will be rewarded. Each of us must decide which path through this maze we will take. Those who hold positions of leadership need to be especially thoughtful in our decisions as many are relying on you to guide them forward into this new life.

I personally have returned to reading more in-depth about the teachings of Jesus. I am re-reading his stories and the parables he taught his disciples and followers during a time of great turmoil when the Romans had invaded the Holy Land, causing much strife and warring among differing cultures. To me, it seems we are living in the time of Jesus now, and just as before, it is up to us — using our faith and moral systems as a guide and Lighthouse — to navigate these waters and find our way to safer shores.

The following passage from Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV) has been a guiding force for me during this time of crisis:

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the laws and the prophets.

This is the foundation and the rock that I am building my house on for all the rest of my days here on earth.

What is your foundation?
Where are you leading from?

– Amen

You can find my article and many others at

Holly C. Barker is the founder and president at Grief Resource Network, LLC and Grief Anonymous, an international online grief support organization and owner of the Launching Pad on Route 66 in Wilmington.

Sharing my story. We all have one.

How does one describe herself to the world at large from a spiritual perspective? Who am I and what is my purpose in this world? It seems when I stop to really consider what I have to say that it is simple to me. Yet, to many people, possibly unbelievable. Everything I am going to tell you is true. I have pictures and my life is an open book and the manifestations of the visions that are divinely given to me continually unfold in a very public way. I am a scribe, a healer, and a conduit. These spiritual gifts of mine are simple and are the same gifts to many people. Let me explain.

My first memory as a small child is a conversation I had with God. I was mad at him for being punished by my parents for trying to roll myself down the basement stairs as a 4 year old. I wasn’t trying to kill myself; it just looked like fun. But what I do know is at that moment I don’t remember my faith in God being instilled in me by my parents. I just knew my Creator was with me and I was holding him accountable. Children are born with open hearts and minds and can readily accept spiritual relationships because they are not far removed from where they came from and they have not been conditioned to believe something different. Ask any child with an “imaginary friend or a deceased relative who sits and talks with them on swings in the sunlight.” It’s real.

Flash forward to 2007. In my early 30’s, my husband was diagnosed with a very serious cancer. My whole world was built around my family. In the midst of his surgeries, scans, and cancer treatments I took one day away from caregiving to give back to myself. I had a stressful corporate pharmaceutical sales job, a big home to take care of, a beautiful 5 year old boy, and a very sick husband at home. I needed a day for me. Just one. I went to a wonderful retreat for a spa day in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, my home. I chose a massage for my treatment that day. When I came into the room, it was beautiful and peaceful and the lady asked me to get up onto the table facing up after she washed my feet. It was very unusual for these things to be done. As soon as I was on the table she touched my head. A bright, circular, luminescent, living Light appeared in my vision field. My heart opened. My life flashed before me. I saw myself writing. I saw myself hugging all my family and loved ones. I saw a vision of me writing. Writing letters. The love was the most beautiful, powerful love I have ever experienced in my life. I will never forget it. I went back every year for eight years to try and have that experience again but it was never to be. I learned through this experience the power of Enough. Once is enough and there is abundance in Enough. I slowly put the experience I had seeing Heaven and feeling the love over the years to the back of my mind. My husband told me if I spoke about it people would think I was crazy. I didn’t write letters but the urge to write never left me. Until, 2014.

In March 2014 my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer and he only lived 6 more weeks. During this time the urge to write became almost automatic. I had to write. The pain and the grief was setting in and I needed an outlet. I couldn’t listen to words I was having to say to myself, to my son, to my husband, family, and friends so writing was my way of expressing my profound grief. So I began a page for my husband’s updates on a website called We shared our short journey from his diagnosis till his death. His page is Jordon Adam Barker. We lived out our thoughts and fears and prayers to the world, to our community, and loved ones. He died in a hospice on May 9th, 2014. One and a half hours later while I was still by his side my phone pinged very loudly in the room. I picked up the phone and it was an email from Tut, an inspirational organization that sends out daily messages to followers. It was 3:30 am. Jordon died at 2:00. The message was simple. It said:

Write it down.

Write it down, Holly.

Write it down.

The need to write began to be so powerful it would stop me in my tracks, wake me up, and it was all I could do to find my computer and start typing. By then I had started a blog. I wrote out the visions I was seeing. The messages I was being given. The sadness and grief and hope and understandings that were wide open to me were written out to the best of my abilities. That first year of writing about grief saved me. It resonated with others as well and by the end of the year I had 70,000 visits to my blog.

I am a writer on grief but it has become so much more in the five years since I took up God’s purpose for me in this lifetime. I simply followed the people, places, and events that have been placed before me and used them for His plan.

In the fall of 2014 I took a spiritual healing journey to Telluride, Colorado with a dear friend. It was there that I had expressed to him that I couldn’t find a good grief support group nor anything beneficial to help me in my grieving process. He recommended that we attend an Alcoholics Anonymous open meeting to see if I could get some ideas from the program. He himself was a recovering alcoholic and had been transformed by the program. I went to a tiny stone church and attended the meeting with him. It changed everything. The healing, the sharing, and the power of transformation was amazing. I knew the grieving world needed this program. It was there with so many spiritual messages I received high up in the beautiful mountains, close to God that I knew his purpose for me. One year later I founded Grief Anonymous. I went looking for a local location to start the meetings and I created an online grief support group online with Facebook with the help of other grieving people who wanted to help me and believed in what I was trying to create. These beautiful souls are still with me today do this work. The online groups exploded in July 2016 when I founded the online groups and within 6 months we were adding hundreds of new members every day. Three years later we now have over 100,000 members and followers on our public page and in our groups. During this time I built out two websites, and, an online resource portal for our Grief Anonymous membership which is slow to start simply because of the enormous costs and manpower it’s taken to get it off the ground. God’s plan for it is soon coming. Everything has divine timing and all the groundwork has been laid.

How does my story end for you today? I met and fell in love with a man who lost his wife to cancer at the young age of 46. I moved to Chicago with my son to be with him and his two boys who lost their mother. We are a blended family of grieving people. We get each other.

Tully Garrett is his name. My new love. He took me for a date one fall afternoon down historic Route 66 in Illinois to go antiquing in 2017. We came across the most amazing yet dilapidated, old, run down restaurant called The Launching Pad with a huge 28 foot spaceman statue in the parking lot named the Gemini Giant. To my utter amazement, the location was for sale. To me, I saw my life. To Tully, I believe he saw the same: Something that was once magnificent that had then become shut down and had fallen. Such was our lives. Destroyed by cancer. We wanted to save it. I saw my location I had been looking for for my first Chapter of Grief Anonymous in the back room of the restaurant. Tully is a car guy and a memorabilia collector. A second room could be a museum for his collection. I saw a kitchen for a little restaurant I always had a vision and dream of owning. The vortex was set. My mind was made up. We had to save it and so it became. God’s plan found us. We found us. On so many levels of this life of mine has been shaped by simple, easy messages from a loving God. All we have to do is notice and believe the signs He sends our way.

Today, April 23, 2019 we have our restaurant and tourist destination open for business. My local Grief Anonymous group is going strong. Our online groups are powerful healing tools for tens of thousand of members and we have millions of people seeing our work online every year.

The visions God is showing me for the future include a real American Renaissance about to take place with Route 66 being at the heart of it all reminding us of who we are as Americans and as a human race. Grief Anonymous will continue to grow and be an active force for grieving people worldwide. And hopefully I will continue to live out my purpose he has for me in my new normal on a personal level. I have learned to live in the abundance of enough. I have learned to live in today. And I am eternally grateful for a Living God who I know exists. I know where I am going at the end of this life. I do not fear. I know where we are all going. It is beautiful beyond comprehension. Yet, do not wish for this day. Live out your life. You are here to enrich your soul with experience and knowledge to which grief will give you the glimpse of the farthest ends of each side of the emotional spectrum of life. The bandwidth of your emotional body is wider that you know. You’ll be all the wiser from it despite the scars and the pain. Everyone experiences grief unless you are the first to go. Just know we are all together here , and then connected again in Heaven. Amen.

love to all


Surviving and Thriving Through the Holidays: You Are Not Alone

For grieving people, the year of “firsts” includes your holidays without your loved one by your side.  It’s different for everyone.  To celebrate by looking back is cherished by many.  Others, still too painful yet.  Those are the ones who can only look forward so they don’t get stuck. Everyone handles the holidays different who is grieving the loss of a loved one.  Special events come into play, family meals and traditions, the sounds and smells of music and cooking.  All of it.

“How do I do this?” I remember asking myself back in 2014.  I will never forget that first holiday season after my husband died.  I will never forget the second Christmas or the third.  I started looking at time differently the first year.  I regard my life as “since Jordon died” in years.  My new life started five years ago when he passed away.  I have been building my life back again since then.  We are within two more weeks of the Christmas holiday and I am feeling the waves of new and old emotions and just trying to hang on.  The second Christmas I tried to open the containers of ornaments for the tree and all our decorations.  It was a physical monumental task to do it.  I will never forget the energy that was contained in those christmas bins.  To this day I struggle to think of getting the beautiful memories out of those boxes.  Hey, to each his own.  Mine is a struggle because Christmas was so precious to me with my family.  Now I can’t look at the stuff but I know it will get better………

During the course of these last two years I have been with my new love and we have blended our family.  He is a widower so he understands me fully.  We are trying hard every day to move forward and we are doing it.  I reached as high as I could to put that prayer and wish out there.  I wanted a new life.  One of a peaceful environment. One of happiness and a new focus.  I followed the people, places, and events that lead me to where my life is today. Seeing the Living Light in 2007 is like my North Star. I always look to the visions I see and combine the people, places, and things God puts in my path and from there we have what is today.  Grief Anonymous, the Grief Resource Network, and The Jordon Barker Foundation all housed under one fantastic little iconic diner called the Launching Pad on Route 66 in Wilmington, Illinois.  We even have a 28ft. spaceman in our parking lot called The Gemini Giant.  To me, my organizations don’t belong in office buildings or a high rise in the city.  They belong on the Mother Road of our Country in the back office of our little iconic restaurant; one that sees thousands upon thousands of visitors from all over the USA and from around the world each year.  Our work is visible to all that visit our destination on Route 66. We are going to spread the news about Grief Anonymous and our Network far and wide, year after year, month after month, and day after day.  Grieving people will find the resources and help they need.

Thats my Christmas wish.


On Becoming a Tree…

After Jordon died I spent a lot of time in nature.  My sensory mind was in overload and I needed to connect with what was real.  I noticed my immediate environment so much more and appreciated the beauty in the dying trunks of trees, the fallen leaves, the dead beetles on the ground.  I also noticed the new shoots of flowers and grasses, the bees buzzing all around me, and the singing of the birds.  Life and death were all around me in amazing glory and it all was happening harmoniously in sync right before my eyes. Seeing life and death in nature helped me understand what was untimely in my eyes as a source of an eternal answer as to Jordon’s death at the young age of 41. I was able to reconcile my grief through nature. Birth, living, dying, and death were cyclical for all things and some of it happens in a predictable way as we think it should and some of it not.  Our environment dictates.  Our human footprint dictates.  The decisions we make impact the world around us and we are all in this together.

As in nature, I have discovered there is a movement to return to true nature after death.  We as a society see funerals and memorial services as a “structured definite” in order to pay homage to those who have passed away and in some locations its even written into law.  We place them in coffins and bury them.  My husband was cremated into ashes and we keep them with us in an urn in my sanctuary. We had a very costly memorial service for him at the funeral home near the town where we lived which was not a good experience.  I now am thinking outside the ritual of what is commonplace and have decided that I want to be a tree.  I will be naturally buried under a sapling tree and continue to join the cycle of nature. Amen.

I took this picture in Telluride, Colorado of the Aspen Trees in the fall.  They are all interconnected and have “eyes” on their trunks.  I want to be an Aspen Tree so I can see and communicate and soak in the sun yet again.


Understanding the Epicenter of Loss and Learning to Forgive

I was never an easy person to be in someone’s life, that I admit.  Those who chose to hold me tight knew I was worth the trouble whether it was just by the fact of being of the same blood or by the fact that I love hard and fierce and I am loyal and protective of those who are close to me.  I have always been lacking of a filter and said what I felt was true to my heart and mind even though it sometimes created a difficult reverberating ripple effect within the circles I stayed within. I am a far cry from a perfect person.

Change is hard for many people.  It somehow comes naturally for me and has come as a blessing because without my love of change and new environments I doubt I would have been able to survive the experience of losing Jordon.   The change of his absence was immense in my life as well as for the people within our circles.  His rapid demise from cancer was earth-shattering.  Mind-blowing.  Family and friends were completely taken off guard.  In six short weeks our lives went from normal and healthy to his dying. His death was like an explosion with all of us blasted away and hanging and scratching to hold on by tree branches, jagged rocks, and vines over a cliff wondering how to climb out of this steep valley of death that was so far below us.  None of us let go somehow and we all barely climbed over that cliff, shell-shocked and changed forever by his death. We were all lucky.  Many in this experience just let go.

It was during the aftermath of the explosion from his death and all of us climbing out of the abyss that we all started relating to each other using our most primal thoughts and reactive behaviors and many of them dark in their nature. We were all acting from our gut-instincts of survival. We were suffering severely.  Our emotions were as raw as third degree burns on the skin.  Words were exchanged.  Vicious acts by family members were committed against me and my son by those closest to us which serve as a timeless reminder of widows and children without fathers over the ages and how they are treated by society to compel even the writers of the Bible to remind all of our vulnerability and to spare us from cruel human nature.  I felt like my son and I were put in stocks in an ancient town square and rotten food was thrown at us and we were mocked and stared at.  Old memories of times when things were not good within our family surfaced in their minds and they acted upon those ancient feelings towards us, completely justified in their minds as to why they were behaving the way they did.  Friends disappeared. Neighbors no longer wanted their husbands to help me out of fear that I was a now a widow and out to snatch their husbands from them.  My life was becoming a visual watery fishbowl of just me and my son.  No plants to hide behind.  No cave to dwell in.  I was totally alone in my experience with no person to relate to out on public display to judge and ridicule and pity.

In being true to my own spirit, I shared my unraveling in full view because it was more important for me to be true to myself and not mold myself into what others thought I should be.  I found a new friend early on after Jordon’s death.  Someone who God put directly into my life and gave me a source of peace and a different plane to exist on while I figured my life out and found a path to create Grief Anonymous. For this, people moved down a couple of seats not to be affiliated with me and added loads of gossip and drama fodder to my plate.  I forgive you, the ones who lived in your own home town with your intact families and who went to sleep every night with your beloved spouses.  I forgive you for you know not what you did and deep down I know you saw me as a fearful example of what you hope will never happen to you.  I understand fully. However, one of you will likely go first, so it will happen.  Use this memory for your future benefit.

I realized I had no one to help pull me to safety.  Everyone was pulling themselves out and didn’t have the reserves of strength to help me nor my son.  It seemed the only reason why some of them wanted my son around was for their own healing, not being able to see past their own pain to recognize what he needed as an 11 year old boy who was in complete shock over suddenly losing his beloved father. It didn’t matter to them.  He became a pawn to play in their pain games to ease the burdens in their own hearts.  They acted out as a means to hurt me as much as they could and they knew going after Jackson would strike me at my core.  This is the time my spirit totem of Mama Bear grew to heightened proportions I had never felt before.  I moved mountains to save his hurt soul. They did get passed me to get to him, and I think many of them have passed over their early actions to blame me for not having him in their lives at this point, yet they only have themselves to look to.  A simple apology is something he will probably never get. He will grow from this and learn and you will carry the weight of it all.

My primal instincts were on full protective alert.  There were people close to him that were hurting him out of their own instinctive need to pass off the pain they felt to another through targeting. Unbelievable but true, children are easy targets in grieving families and circles. Sometimes uncontrollable anger and rage are brothers to the emotion of grief.  People with shattered hearts in the beginning can only react to their pain.  Responsiveness to others to grief and loss come later, reactionary behavior is all a person can do in the beginning.  It’s as reflexive as burning one’s self.  Your initial reaction is a swift withdraw and a yelp or a scream.  I forgive this as I know you only reacted to your own experience of losing Jordon.  I forgive you for acting in your excruciating painful display of behavior towards me and my son soon after Jordon died.  I know what you were like as a person before and that’s why you were in my life to begin with. I will choose to lift myself out of these memories and acts of pain and look farther into our history to remember the good times and the love that was shared amongst us all.  I see your wounded soul trying to recover some sense of normalcy in your life as you are striving to weave together new good experiences.  I also see it is too painful for you to reconnect with me as I am only human as well and remain vigilant and protective of my own recovery and that of my son’s wellbeing.  I chose to look towards these good memories and my beliefs of who you are in the core of your existence on this earth and know that you are doing your best.  Time is still young from our experience.  Forgiveness is mine to give freely without expectation of amends and reciprocity.  Anger, rage, fury are not my friends and do not belong in my heart or my mind so I let them go.  I unpack these emotional bricks from my backpack on my journey forward.  I turn to the Tenets my Higher Power gives to me as a means of healing and health:

Tenet #7 Learning to forgive and what forgiveness really means. Forgiving ushers in a peace in one’s heart which keeps love flowing through it in order to really live in the rest of your days. Amen.


The Duality of Grief

I am coming across some thoughts and visions about this experience with losing Jordon and the onset of my grief…my love…ongoing for him. The pain still hurts a lot.

In the beginning I was just trying to survive.  I had my eye on the prize which was surviving the first year without the father of my eleven year old son.  I got there.  I felt a “finish line completion” emotion come over me, but then I went home from the race I was so glad that I had won that I didn’t take notice to the aloneness of our home. It was still the same. The silence was deafening.  Jackson, as an eleven year old boy, who had had only 6 weeks to digest this was going to happen to us was sitting with me looking up into our big Victorian style house that I had just finished fully renovating, and said, ” This house feels too big now”.  I know he was experiencing the feeling of the Great Void.  I felt it too in those first few months of the epicenter of Grief.  Wow.  It is a feeling that cannot be fully described in words and to which no person on this planet that if you have never had this experience happen to you, then there is no way for you to understand it.  It has to be experienced to fully understand what grief feels like.  My point is, grief is a life-altering, completely enveloping, full emotion that comes to stay in our lives forever.  We have to make room for it.  It effects every other emotion we have.  Every relationship we have.  Everything.  It is a new era of our lives when we have this ushered in to our lives whether we want it or not.  Whether we believe it or not.

Grief is love.  Therein lies the duality, yet the dichotomy of Grief.  This powerful emotion of grief can also create a cataclysmic broadening of our awareness, our spirit, our Higher Power, and our knowledge and wisdom to our lives here on earth now.  The here and now is happening.  We are still living and breathing and responding and trying and scratching and clawing our way through this experience.  Many of us have very spiritual experiences of our Loved Ones passing away.  I always try to remember to Look Up.  Use Tenet 1 and Tenet 2 as your Highest Level go-tos for strength and wisdom and perseverance through the real hard days.  Acknowledge the surreal love with the pain, signs from above if you see or feel them, and enjoy the connectedness you can have to what you need to survive, heal, and thrive?   The ultimate choice would always be to be able to have this wisdom intact that we all experience through grief and just go back and have our loved one back with us.  Gratitude would abound. But we all know the truth and our lives are moving forward without them…..Like Alcoholics Anonymous is for the Alcoholic, a Spiritual Solution, so we are for Grief.  Higher Power, Finding a Sanctuary, Learning to Forgive.  It is working for me and for many others too.  I need it daily.

The Key to opening your heart to Grief that will never leave your doorstep, is to accept Grief in and give Wisdom and Knowledge a comfortable chair to sit on.  The pain and the heartache and the grief waves will be there too, but they don’t get to steal your joy, gratitude, and hope, and love. Every emotion has a place at the table of your heart with Grief. Grief is just the visitor that has come to stay. We just have to make room for it and allow the good emotions to have their say too. img_5816



Face Your Grief: Letter to Grieving Kids from my 14 Year Old Son Who Lost His Dad Two Years Ago

Grief doesn’t go away for us.  And it sure doesn’t go away for our children when they lose an important loved one in their life.  We feel a compounded grief when our children grieve.  The pain of watching them as they struggle to make their own way through grief is very difficult on us. We do our best most of the time.  Other times we do our worst when we ourselves are consumed with a big wave of grief.  Everyone has a full plate in the epicenter of grief, and children are no different.  Some stop talking.  Some act out.  Others pack it all away and do not face their loss and pain.

There just is no rule book here to go by.  All of our situations are different and to pull them all together under one plan of action just doesn’t work. One size doesn’t not fit all when it comes to grieving children.  Just like the education of a child take a village, so does helping a child through grief.  Grief Anonymous wants to be part of giving back to children.  And who better to relate to grieving children, than grieving children themselves.  Here they can come online, read stories, post comments with their parents if they want to, and not risk having to tell their story to other children who do not understand what they are going through and even become frightened over hearing their experience.  When my husband died, several children who were friends with my son had to go to counseling just from being a witness to our experience. They were terrified that they would lose their parent too. It was a big reality check for many people in our community.  The feelings that they have at school can be isolating and confusing and cause emotional turbulence in their young lives being around other children who have never felt grief and loss before.  Connecting children through the writing of stories and experiences here can maybe allow them to know they are not alone.  And they will not have to risk their friends who don’t understand finding out about it.  Teenagers are sensitive about self-image and to wear their grief out on their sleeves is very difficult when you are just trying to fit in.  We as adults remember this awkward stage we ourselves went through.  Imagine going through all of that, along with grief.  I think I have a remote idea now as I write this at how important it is that they know they are not alone.

My son woke up this morning having another hard day with lack of sleep and was struggling going to school. I gave him his laptop and said- write it out.  He wrote this and asked me to share it with you:

I realized another very important thing about dealing with grief today.  It has been the most difficult thing to process in my mind.  It’s like this advice has been said to me multiple times and I couldn’t understand it.  Whenever I feel upset about something, my mom would say, “you’re grieving your dad.”  As a kid, that’s honestly the hardest advice to take. Ever since my dad died, new good things and good opportunities came into my life, I would always have a bad side to it.  Now I know, something that has been said to me since my dad died is really true.  I never focused on the main problem and that caused me even more pain and sadness when really I could’ve had less had I dealt with my grief.”

Thanks for reading,



This was Jackson two years ago at his father’s company location for a memorial tree dedication, four months after his father passed away .  He got up in front of all his dad’s co-workers and told them how much they meant to is father, how he enjoyed hearing the stories from work,  and for that he was grateful.  I am so proud of this young man.  I see his father’s Light through him every day.




The Jordon Barker Foundation, Inc.

My husband, Jordon passed away at 2:00 am in the morning at hospice just 13 hours after he was admitted.  We did not know it was his last night with us.  We did know he was in severe pain and we were doing all we could to keep him comfortable.  My husband was 41 years old when he passed away.  Cancer stopped him abruptly in the middle of his life. He was an amazing father. His friends and connections were scattered all over the world and he was finally back in his hometown surrounded by his childhood friends, family, and loved ones. I don’t think there was a soul on the earth that he knew that didn’t like or love him. Between the time he was diagnosed with metastatic cancer till his passing was only six weeks long.  We had no idea death would take him so soon.  We thought he would live through the summer and that we still had some time as a family, but that was not to be.

We, the ones left behind, often have to whitewash our real experience of losing our loved one.  When we are asked, we skip on many of the hard details when we discuss the nature of our experience of losing them.  We do this for many reasons. To tell the real story of what transpired takes away a sense of privacy and a dignified death to talk about the unpleasant details. We sanitize the conversation to protect the one who asks so we don’t ruin their day and hear our own voices as we describe what we bared witness to. What we experience behind closed doors stays there. Or so we think.

What happens to many of us through the experience of loss is emotional trauma. The after-effects of trauma emit an energy in the human mind in the form of anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD, OCD, and depression.  These are the symptoms of grief, not grief itself.

I remember being in my husband’s hospice room and having some emotional turbulence around me and out of nowhere the feeling of lack of air, light-headedness, and weakness came up without warning.  I felt my blood rushing to my face.  I was not able to talk. I heard a ringing in my ears and felt a welling up of nausea begin.  I was sitting next to my husband’s bed and I literally fell out of my chair and on to my knees unable to breathe. This is what a panic attack feels like.  I made my way to the other side of the room and crawled up on another chair and kept my head near my knees and tried to breathe.  I did the only thing I could do. Pray.

Our Father Who Art in Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done On Earth as it is in Heaven, Give Us This Day our Daily Bread, And Forgive Us our Trespasses, As We Forgive Those Who Have Trespassed Against Us, Lead Us Not into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil, For Thine is The Kingdom, The Power And the Glory, Forever and Ever,  Amen.

I said it in my mind and softly on my lips over and over again until I could finally stand and breathe. My spiritual mantra brought me out of my reality and slowed the energy that had overcome me.

Over time the trauma symptoms from my experience of losing my husband are still with me, but they no longer have the piercing, cutting edge to them that they once did. Other people are not so lucky.

For many of you out there, the symptoms have not slowed and they have disabled you. They have come to rule your world without your permission. Grief is alive in society within our homeless populations.   Drug addiction and alcoholism are often the result of not being able to cope with the trauma over loss.  I know thousands of people are living this life because I see it every day on my Grief Anonymous Facebook page and my closed online grief group.  Many people who have experienced loss have found themselves incapacitated from grief and trauma.  They cannot hold a job.  They have no back-up and they lose everything they have, including their own minds.

This is the part of grief in our society that cannot be whitewashed and sanitized.  Their story must be told and the shame and stigma must be removed.

I remember joining an online grief group on Facebook after my husband died.  I remember a woman in Florida on one particular post who had just purchased a train ticket to travel several states away to her aunt’s home for safety, shelter, and hopefully a hot meal.  She only had $5 in her pocket. She had just lost everything as a result of her husband dying.

I will never forget the moment I read that.

I have founded the Jordon Barker Foundation, Inc.  Through the foundation, we will seek to find local charities throughout the USA who can earmark funds for those who are suffering extreme hardship due to grief and loss.  I want to clarify something important. We ourselves are not a charity.  We are a foundation that will give to charities.  We will be looking for legally-registered, financially transparent charities who are local in their communities and who are established to help people who are in crisis from the loss of a loved one.  I want to do something so that people like the woman in Florida have something more than $5 in their pocket and a train ticket to their name.

Forever forward,

Holly C. Barker

CEO, Founder of the Jordon Barker Foundation, Inc.




My Son’s Advice to Other Grieving Kids about Losing His Dad Two Years Ago at the Age of 11. In His Own Words:


I woke up today not feeling up to anything. I had a bad dream and I’m stressing over my grades because they are terrible. I was walking to my bus stop and my feelings kept crawling deeper inside my head. I texted my mom and said “today is not going to be a good day,” so she let me come home.

On my understanding of how to deal with my feelings when it comes to grief there’s no way that I can make myself happy in a second. I think of it like a table with lots of food on it. You can not eat all of it at once. You have to be the smart one and sort this out. I would start off with the stuff that catches my eye first. Then I would slowly take it day by day eating the food. That’s my vision on how to deal with problems with grief over losing my dad. If I choose to eat all the food (deal with all my problems) in one day, I would feel terrible. If I choose to do it that way, none of my problems would get solved. If you don’t take it slowly and deal with all your problems, they will turn into bigger problems. In many situations this is true. No matter what the situation, you have to be your number one priority and you have to sacrifice stuff that does not have to be in your life.

A good way I like to get through my week is to not to look forward only to my Friday night, but to take every day and try to find something to enjoy about it. Take your free time and use it as fun and wisely as possible.

After my Dad died, my mom and I moved back home to be closer to family. All through 7th grade I could not stop missing Toronto, which was the city I grew up in. I spent most of my free time missing home. That is an example of problems that don’t need to be in your life. Now I realized I missed a whole school year on helping myself get better. Free time is the most important thing in going through grief. If you don’t know how to use it right, you’re getting nowhere. If you use it right I PROMISE you will improve.

Thanks for listening to my story,