Finding Meaning After Loss and Grief
Profoundly evolving after extreme suffering following the death of her two sons, Cathy Cheshire left a business career in healthcare to support other grievers. In honor of her sons, she became an author, speaker, grief coach and the founder of the “Master Grief Coach” training program with a certification option. She has diverse education from traditional and progressive professionals with varied grief expertise including the areas of thought, emotion, mindfulness, and resilience. Cathy received her BS degree from Arizona State University. Her book is titled “Thriving After the Death of a Child.” One reader commented, “This is such a powerful book.” Cathy courageously shares her story to provide hope and advance how we discuss grief.
In 1995, the second of five children, Cathy and her older sibling revealed being abused by babysitters when they were children. The denial and criticism from her parents and younger siblings left her heartbroken, and she hasn’t seen them since. Two people close to her had tried to die by suicide, and loved ones struggled with drug addiction. She pondered the meaning of her own existence and sought resources to help manage her life.
She endured three short marriages, each ending in tumultuous divorce. After her second marriage ended, Cathy was left to raise their son Jeremy by herself. She worried about financial security while she immersed herself in providing for and loving her only child. Through books and counseling, she learned she was desperate for affection and viewed partners as she wanted them to be rather than who they really were.
She persisted through numerous painful breakups intent on taking the time to find the right life partner. In 2006, when Jeremy was 15, Cathy met Drew and finally found a truly loving relationship. His previous wife died in 1999 at age 36 from a blood infection when their son Ian was only 11. Cathy admired how Drew loved and was dedicated to his son who was 18 when she met him.
In 2007, Jeremy died instantly in a car accident when his friend who was driving lost control of the car. Cathy and Drew kept their plan to marry a month later, and he held her hand as she spiraled into a dark realm that terrified her. She had moments when she didn’t want to go on but couldn’t end her life. She realized progressing through jobs including administrator, consultant, leadership coach, and chief executive officer was to increase her self-esteem and not because she loved the career. She felt overpowered with negative thoughts, unfamiliar bad feelings, nightmares, and an increasing apathy for life.
Cathy lived in torment until becoming determined to figure out how to feel happiness again. Using her exceptional planning skills and remembering self-help book principles, she designed and implemented an action plan to improve all the major areas of her life. She embraced life’s mysteries and fostered good habits. She overcame negative thoughts and became emotionally healthy. She broke away from dysfunctional relationships while nurturing the best connections she has with people. She realized the importance of fun, passion for your job, and service to others.
There was a synergy in achieving her prioritized objectives, and it propelled her into an existence she never thought was possible. Her life became filled with love and joy once again. She experienced a renewed sense of well-being, and an excitement for the future all interwoven with immense gratitude. The more she does what she values, the less negative emotions are triggered. She can be happy for others because now she loves everything about her own life. She went from robotically living to be conscientious about everything. She felt her efforts were well worth the work, which became easier as she unlocked her potential.
Cathy has learned that the more you love someone, the greater the grief when they die. She discovered the value of living in the present moment. She no longer regrets the past or worries about the future. She focuses on cherishing time with loved ones, thoughtfully speaking her truth, and chasing her dreams. Realizing the impermanence of physical form, she awakened to spiritual possibilities. She has learned how to forgive, to have deep compassion for those suffering, the value of inspiring others, and the importance of respecting one’s individual journey through life. Feeling prepared to handle inevitable loss and difficulties, she now looks for the lessons in life rather than unyielding suffering. Cathy now understands how valuable it is to be knowledgeable about grief before loss. She created www.CathyCheshire.com to provide resources about how to thrive after loss.
In 2017, after a long illness, her husband’s only child died in the hospital at age 29 when a blood clot caused a stroke. Benefiting from studying the findings of top grief experts, the pain was the same as when Jeremy died, but her grief felt natural. Cathy and Drew knew the value of sharing their feelings and coping effectively as they kept living the wonderful life they built together, including continuing to embrace those they love. Drew is more naturally resilient, and Cathy learned it, so she put her grief knowledge into practice right away.
Motivated to continue cultivating her life, she made remarkable discoveries which enhanced how much she appreciates life. Cathy studied current neuroscience research revealing how thought, emotion, and mindfulness may empower you to reach your goals, why her life action plan worked, how anyone can learn resilience, and why some people never change. She was able to experience sadness and joy while grieving. She became skilled in following her heart rather than her mind, which lead her to her greatest life purpose, supporting the bereaved. She explored body energy improvement methods like the Emotional Freedom Technique (also called tapping), Reiki, and sound bathing, also learning why they are effective.
Varied expert knowledge about grief is invaluable to anyone wanting to find their own way to heal and thrive after loss and there is an abundance of misinformation not based on research or professional opinion. Recognizing the need for affordable, comprehensive, and concise training to effectively inspire individuals who want to heal and for those wanting to support grievers, Cathy worked with an advisory board she admires and founded the online “Master Grief Coach” training program with a certification option.
Moving 17 times for jobs and relationships, Cathy has lived on the west side of the country and in the mid-west. She has been thriving for years, is happily married, and lives with her husband near Cleveland, Ohio. They are animal lovers and have two rescued dogs named Benji and Petey.
They enjoy spending time with loved ones, traveling, boating, snow skiing, and sightseeing on their motorcycle.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Jeremy, Son 1991 – 2007
Jeremy loved music and taught himself to play guitar. He loved skateboarding, wakeboarding, and snow skiing. He was passionate about what interested him. He had a great sense of humor and loved to joke around. He was amazing at computers and video games. He deeply loved all of his family and friends. Some of his friends would fondly call him curly. He had intuitiveness about understanding the importance of cherishing every moment with those you love. He would want everyone to remember the happy memories and live life fully like he did.
Ian, Stepson 1988 – 2017
Ian graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a Bachelor degree majoring in history and minoring in psychology. He was bright and full of potential. He loved history, writing, snow skiing, traveling, and adventures. He knew how to have fun, was full of humor, and loved to make others laugh. Many feel blessed to have shared good times with him, calling him a wonderful friend or like a brother to them. There was so much love between him and his family and friends in life. He now is at peace with the mom he dearly loves. He is a guardian angel showing us how important it is to cherish the time we have with our loved ones still here.
Bricks on Main Street Sidewalk
Downtown Sturgis, South Dakota