“Perspective is one of the paradoxical gifts of tragedy:” powerful, timely advice from Mary Katharine Ham (Episode 99)

With Mary Katharine Ham
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Show Notes

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, journalist Mary Katherine Ham found herself reminded of some of the feelings she felt while grieving her husband, and what it was like parenting her two young daughters in crisis. Mary Katharine’s husband was killed in a tragic cycling accident when she was seven months pregnant with the couple’s second child. Recently, Mary Katharine wrote about her experience in an Atlantic article entitled: “It’s okay to be a different kind of parent during the pandemic.” “Perspective,” she writes, “is one of the paradoxical gifts of tragedy.” 

In Episode 99, Mary Katherine joins me to share how she got through the horrible experience and what others can learn from her story. Her perspective, and the self-compassion she allowed herself is both uplifting and incredibly inspiring. 

Here are just a few takeaways from our conversation: 

– Even in her earliest stages of grief, Mary Katharine knew that she had to “write her story” and to “control what she could control.” She didn’t want her family to remind others of mortality, and she didn’t want her girls to live their lives afraid.

– Breakfast became both a daily victory, and an important way to start each day. It also served as a new family ritual. Even the small victories can remind you that you can keep going.   

– She found comfort in “identity-based habits.” Affirmations that remind one to believe in her own power to persevere. 

– She emphasizes the importance of self-compassion when you are going through a loss, even when it’s something much less tragic. 

– She talks about how best to help others who are going through a similar crisis. 

– She also shares that it’s important to find things that are silly and that make you laugh, even when you don’t feel like it. 

I was truly blown away by Mary Katharine’s strength, courage, faith, and ability to find good in the most difficult of circumstances. Her story is powerful, and her advice particularly relevant during COVID-19.

[Watch Episode 99 on our YouTube channel!]

You can follow Mary Katharine on Instagram: @MKHammertime and follow me @LauraCoxKaplan and @sheSaidSheSaidPodcast 

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[Photo: breakfast at Mary Katharine’s]