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Find Healing with Grief Expert Amy Florian (ep. 496)

Amy Florian

John O’Leary welcomes grief expert Amy Florian to the Live Inspired Podcast.

At 25 years old, Amy Florian tragically lost her husband, leaving her widowed with a seven-month-old baby. While surrounded by a multitude of others who were loving and well-intentioned, she felt isolated and alone. Determined to heal, Amy began her lifelong mission to help others recover from life’s crushing losses.

As a certified thanatologist and a leading expert on death, loss, grief, aging and transition, Amy’s practical and insightful work has been crucial in helping others navigate life’s toughest times.

Amy’s groundbreaking work on grief, including loss that others may not deem worthy of grief, will liberate you to heal, dare you to fully live and love fiercely. If you’ve ever been left to cope with death, the end of a relationship, loss or faced disappointment, today’s conversation is for you.

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  • As a healer, Amy helps others believe in themselves, that their life is worth living and that joy is possible.
  • Amy grew up in Dyersville, Iowa which became the legendary site of the award-winning film Field of Dreams.
  • As a thanatologist, Amy is an expert in death, loss, grief, aging and transition.
  • “Grief is triggered by a break in attachment. Any one experience can have more than one of the six main grief triggers.”
  • Disenfranchised grief is grief that others often don’t give credence to or deem worthy of grief.
  • “Plans, visions, dreams. So many things changed with Covid. That was all and is all a grief process.”
  • Both, and: While grieving the loss of John, Amy could be grateful, happy and relieved and still be grieving.
  • Instead of saying, “Call me anytime,” say, “Would it help you more if…”
  • “We live in a death-denying society. We’ve gotten to the point where we believe we didn’t have to die.”
  • Amy reminds us that grief takes longer than expected, especially on the “marker days”, like birthdays, holidays and anniversaries.
  • “I live differently because I know that all of life is a gift. Everything I have and everybody I love is a temporary gift.”
  • Amy encourages others to develop self-care practices that work for them. Tactics Amy uses include:
    • Using breath work, such as taking a big breath in and slowly exhaling, and repeating three times, a relaxation response is triggered in the brain.
    • Consciously breathes in peace and calm and breathes out grief and pain.
    • Connecting with nature
    • Journaling, especially before sleep
  • Richard Rohr says, “If we don’t transform our pain, we transmit it.”
  • To feel as few regrets as possible, Amy encourages us to work on one’s self in order to operate out of wholeness, not hurt.
  • Get Amy Florian’s books A Friend Indeed here and No Longer Awkward here.

Did you enjoy today’s episode?

You’ll enjoy my conversation with Mattie Jackson Selecman. Like Amy, Mattie was a young, unexpected widow and forced to navigate a future radically different than she planned. This conversation is a reminder that by relying on faith, and clinging to hope, we can truly heal. Listen to my conversation with Mattie Jackson Selecman on ep. 428.


About our sponsor: Keeley Companies wholeheartedly believes that if you get the people right -the results will follow. They set themselves apart with a forward-thinking culture that empowers their people and fosters loyal partnerships. Keeley Companies are a proud sponsor, partner, and super fan of the Live Inspired Podcast. Learn more about Keeley Companies.



  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. After John died, the Bible. Currently, I recommend Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life by Luke Burgis.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. I’m relearning that who I am is a person worthy of love, regardless of what I do.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. My mom’s jewelry and the baby books.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. Maya Angelou.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. In terms of parenting advice I was told, “Just love him. Then do your best to help him become who he was created to be, not who you think he should be.”  
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Perfection is not the goal.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. Recognizing that all of life and everything in it is a temporary gift and that we are not in control. Live as fully as possible, with every breath you are given. Love fiercely with your whole heart and soul. Live your life to the greatest extent possible so that if you had died last night, you would have died with as few regrets as possible.