My siblings and I are approaching the halfway mark in our “Year of Firsts” since losing our father back in mid-May of 2022.

As these months have passed, I’ve found myself moved, surprised, delighted, pained, sad, lost, and splashing around in pools I simply have no words for.

I wouldn’t call all of what I’ve been experiencing “grief,” but I can see now that grief has more faces than previously imagined. Many more.

It can come out of nowhere and move quickly.

Yeah, sometimes it hurts. Yet, from my perspective, this business of feeling is nothing to fear. Rather, there are many things to allow, be curious about, and yes, to welcome…

Which brings me to a recent experience of appearing on a podcast.

At the end of September, I was interviewed by Zarrina Alieva for her Beyond One Lens podcast. As an interviewer, Zarrina is gracious, welcoming, curious, and does a beautiful job of allowing her guests plenty of space to stretch out and march to the beat of their own inner drummers.

All of that would have been enough to make for a very lovely experience.

One of the cool bits about Zarrina’s program is that, because the show is about coaching and the impact of coaching conversations, she invites her guests to do some real, live work with a real, live coachee in the second part of an episode.

Interestingly enough, the first time we spoke about appearing on her show, I didn’t retain the bit about coaching someone. It flew over my head without notice.

As our recording date approached, Zarrina reached out to ask if I had someone in mind who would like (or at least be willing) to be coached for the podcast.

This presented me with a bit of a quandary. Because I hold confidentiality pretty tightly, I was uneasy about asking existing clients if they’d be willing to make an appearance. After waiting several days, I floated an offer to my men’s mastermind group, but no eager takers on that end.

Zarrina told me not to worry, that she’d work on it from her end…

That’s how Keith showed up.

And just a few months into my own Year of Firsts, Keith wanted to focus on his relationship with his aging father, who had just moved to a facility where he can receive the attention and care he needs for his last chapter.

With images of my own father running through my mind, with somatic memories still fresh and vivid, we spent just shy of 20 minutes immersed in an exploration of Keith’s future with his elderly father.

It was sweet. It was glorious, poignant, magical, and rich.

It was an honor to witness and, at the same time, be an integral part of.

And, in case you’re wondering, I never mentioned my own loss to Keith. It wasn’t about me – and sharing any of my stories would have taken (or pushed) him out of the center of focus.

I don’t know that I can honestly determine who got the most value out of the conversation, but I left buoyed and refreshed, delighted to have been in the company of, and made a palpable contribution to, a man I spent less than a third of an hour with and am unlikely to ever meet face to face.

Yet somehow, in our brief time over Zoom and across an ocean, whilst echoes of my own season of loss repeated like soft, distant chimes, another layer of healing fell gently, quietly into place.

For that, I’m wildly grateful.