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LIVE BOLDLY with Sara Schulting Kranz

Dec 23, 2020

Did you know that you can carry joy and grief together?

Nancy Berns is the author of Closure: The Rush to End Grief and What It Costs Us, and professor of sociology at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where she teaches classes on grief, death, emotions, violence, and justice. She is also the author of Framing the Victim: Domestic Violence, Media, and Social Problems (Aldine de Gruyter 2004). 

Her current research explores how people live with grief and joy after loss. Nancy gives talks for various community groups, including counselors, pastors, bereavement support groups, and hospice volunteers and staff. Her work attracts a national and international audience through her TEDx talk (Beyond Closure: the space between joy and grief), blog, and interviews such as those with The Boston GlobeThe GuardianThe L.A. TimesU.S. News & World ReportCBS NewsReal Simple, and Prevention. For more information, see her website:

In this episode, we have an in-depth and beautiful conversation about grieving. There are misconceptions in our culture around how emotions work. We think there are good emotions and bad emotions. Grief gets misunderstood as a negative emotion. Plus, people think we can only feel one emotion at a time. It’s simply not the case; we carry all sorts of emotions all the time. The balance between our emotions will vary depending on the person. However, the more that we feed the light, the more that we can step into our joy and process the grief. Tune in as we talk about how to support a grieving person, how grief affects the body, and the complications behind forgiveness. 

In This Episode:

  • About Nancy and her work around grief [ 3:30 ]
  • How to experience joy while you’re grieving [ 5:55 ]
  • Giving support to someone who is grieving [ 10:00 ]
  • What to understand when you’re grieving [ 13:15 ]
  • How grief will affect the body [ 21:25 ]
  • Suggestions for people in the grieving process [ 24:30 ]
  • What we can learn from other cultures about grief [ 29:00 ]
  • How forgiveness can be complicated [ 34:50 ]
  • Reclaiming the holidays during grief [ 44:45 ]



  • “We can carry anger while also learning to forgive.”
  • “Don’t feel guilty if you have joy while you’re grieving.”
  • “Everyone grieves differently.”
  • “Try and take off the weight of social expectations when grieving.”

Links Mentioned: