Grieving Voices

Angie Hanson | Chapters of Loss and a Resilient Heart

May 28, 2024 Victoria V | Angie Hanson Season 4 Episode 196
Angie Hanson | Chapters of Loss and a Resilient Heart
Grieving Voices
More Info
Grieving Voices
Angie Hanson | Chapters of Loss and a Resilient Heart
May 28, 2024 Season 4 Episode 196
Victoria V | Angie Hanson

Send Victoria a text message!

Having endured the deaths of her one-year-old son, followed by her husband, brother, and sister-in-law, this week's guest Angie Hanson's journey through grief has been nothing short of harrowing. Yet from the depths of despair emerged a mission to alter perceptions around grief—a calling that led to the creation of Butterflies and Halos in 2022.

Butterflies and Halos is not your average greeting card company; it aims to provide comfort beyond mere sympathy by fostering genuine connection for those mourning. Additionally, Angie discusses her upcoming book "Chapters of a Resilient Heart," set for release in May 2024 (currently available for pre-order), which promises readers an intimate look at overcoming adversity with courage.

We talk about many facets of Angie's grief, from the relationships and support she had around her, parenting her daughter through her daughter's grief, and what she's learned about herself throughout it all.

Angie emphasizes choices made during grieving periods—the paths taken can drastically shape our healing process, as evidenced by contrasting outcomes within her family circle. Her message is clear: time may not heal all wounds but alters their impact on us over time.

This episode serves as both solace and inspiration for anyone navigating through similar turbulent waters or supporting someone who is—with an underlying reminder: hope persists even when shrouded by sorrow.





  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 support via text message. Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a trained Crisis Counselor

If you are struggling with grief due to any of the 40+ losses, free resources are available HERE.


Support the Show.

This episode is sponsored by Do Grief Differently™️, my twelve-week, one-on-one, in-person/online program for grievers who have suffered any type of loss to feel better. Click here to learn new tools, grief education, and the only evidence-based method for moving beyond the pain of grief.

Would you like to join the mission of Grieving Voices in normalizing grief and supporting hurting hearts everywhere? Become a supporter of the show HERE.

📣 Grieving Voices
Join Grieving Voices in supporting hurting hearts everywhere!
Starting at $3/month
Show Notes Transcript

Send Victoria a text message!

Having endured the deaths of her one-year-old son, followed by her husband, brother, and sister-in-law, this week's guest Angie Hanson's journey through grief has been nothing short of harrowing. Yet from the depths of despair emerged a mission to alter perceptions around grief—a calling that led to the creation of Butterflies and Halos in 2022.

Butterflies and Halos is not your average greeting card company; it aims to provide comfort beyond mere sympathy by fostering genuine connection for those mourning. Additionally, Angie discusses her upcoming book "Chapters of a Resilient Heart," set for release in May 2024 (currently available for pre-order), which promises readers an intimate look at overcoming adversity with courage.

We talk about many facets of Angie's grief, from the relationships and support she had around her, parenting her daughter through her daughter's grief, and what she's learned about herself throughout it all.

Angie emphasizes choices made during grieving periods—the paths taken can drastically shape our healing process, as evidenced by contrasting outcomes within her family circle. Her message is clear: time may not heal all wounds but alters their impact on us over time.

This episode serves as both solace and inspiration for anyone navigating through similar turbulent waters or supporting someone who is—with an underlying reminder: hope persists even when shrouded by sorrow.





  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 support via text message. Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a trained Crisis Counselor

If you are struggling with grief due to any of the 40+ losses, free resources are available HERE.


Support the Show.

This episode is sponsored by Do Grief Differently™️, my twelve-week, one-on-one, in-person/online program for grievers who have suffered any type of loss to feel better. Click here to learn new tools, grief education, and the only evidence-based method for moving beyond the pain of grief.

Would you like to join the mission of Grieving Voices in normalizing grief and supporting hurting hearts everywhere? Become a supporter of the show HERE.

Victoria Volk: Thank you for tuning in to this week's episode of grieving voices. Today my guest is Angie Hanson, and she shares her story of immense loss. Journey marked by the deaths of her one year old son, Garrett, her husband Jack, her brother, Seth, and her sister-in-law brook. In her own profound grief, Angie, Phones, and a mission to change the narrative around grief, to bring light into the darkest moments, and to offer genuine support to those walking the path of loss. She founded butterflies and halos in twenty twenty two a greeting card company that seeks to bridge the gap between sympathy and understanding, between condolence and companionship. Angie is also publishing her first book chapters of a resilient heart that will be published in May twenty twenty four, so it's actually on preorder and coming out very soon as we're recording this. And she also co hosts a podcast from Lost to Light touching on all aspects of losses and how people have found their light. Thank you so much for being here. And I love the podcast app title, and I love the book title as well. How did those come to be?

Angie Hanson: Well, honestly, for the podcast, I co-host it with a fellow widow friend of mine, Michelle, and When we started talking about doing the podcast together, we were just like, we wanted to focus on how people have found their light, you know, and through any losses because we know that losses are not just death. And we know that there's losses from divorces, you know, drug addiction, abuse, anything, job losses, pet losses, And so we really wanted to touch on all those because and we wanted people to figure out and let us know and let our listeners know how did they find their light and it's been so inspirational listening to how people have journeyed through their losses and they found their light and especially the people that have come through like the recovery of any drug addiction. Those are the ones that really just grab at my heart and I'm so amazed by them. So their resilience is amazing and so that kind of steps into my book title, chapters of a resilient heart. I kind of always love the name chapters. I've always wanted to own a bookstore named chapters. I've just loved that. And so I kinda had chapters of this, chapters of that. And nothing was just really settling with me. And then we actually were on a trip in Costa Rica, and we were sitting there talking about the title of the book and my husband that I'm married to now, the word resilient came up. And we were just like, well, that's kind of everything that I embody is, you know, the resilience of my losses and what I've kinda you know, and what I've encompassed by doing what I'm doing now out there in the grief world is I'm leaning into that resilience of everybody. So there we are. My new book, chapters of a resilient heart.

Victoria Volk: I love it. What were you doing before?

Angie Hanson: Well, I actually was working in a Taffy store like saltwater Taffy. Okay. So there's a little local store here. She's actually an antique store and I kinda worked for her just part time doing some things, and she actually started this Taffy saltwater online Taffy company where she ships out monthly subscription boxes to people and you get Taffy, surprises every month. So I kinda learned a little bit of the online industry through her and through helping her and working for her. So that kind of just put me in motion to, you know, understand going forward with my, you know, with my business and all that. So Yeah. And then, you know, I just before my deaths, I actually worked in the banking industry. So I worked doing everything in a small bank here. So but then death happened and knocked at my front door, and I never turned back to that job.

Victoria Volk: As a way of doing that, doesn't it?

Angie Hanson: It just Yes.

Victoria Volk: Then everything. And what were some of the questions, like, big questions you were asking yourself as you were I mean, because you've had a lot of loss and we'll get to those. But, you know, what was coming up for you as you were going through this? And first of all, like, how did you even get out of bed?

Angie Hanson: You know, every day in the beginning after my I was working at the bank when my son had died. And The biggest obstacle for me was how, you know, moving forward in life and how do does that look like? And what does that look like? And it was it was very very hard, but my daughter was four at the time. And, you know, I just really leaned into wanting her to have a good life. And the life that she deserved and honoring her and, you know, just wanting her to be able to have happy fun times. And I had to figure out how that looked like and what that looked like. And so I just basically, every single day, it was, okay, you can get up today and today if you shower, perfect. Today if you just, you know, if you get to go outside and sit perfect. So the questions that I asked myself surrounding that, like, what what matters most now? Does does it working a nine to five in the banking world matter? Absolutely not. It didn't matter to me anymore. You know, I didn't I didn't care. And my only kids were my family at the time.

Victoria Volk: Would you say in in some ways? I just in the conversations I've had over the last four years plus years of having my podcast too, it's like, when you have other children that you have to get up for. They're almost like you're saving grace in a way I imagine. Is that Did you find that true for you too? Like, she was really your reason to get Yes.

Angie Hanson: Yes. And her name is Gracie. So she was she was my saving grace. And with, you know, I, you know, my husband and I, Jack, we definitely grieved differently. So he was more of a go out. We lived on an acreage. So he was more of a, let's go outside and work work work, you know. Keep my mind occupied. Do that do that. And for me, I was just so lost. You know, I just I couldn't think of how I could move forward. And but every morning when Gracie would come to me and I would see her, you know, I'm just like, this this is not fair for her. You know, she deserves to have this beautiful life, and so she she did. She saved me from going into a rabbit hole.

Victoria Volk: Was your son for those that, I mean, don't know you or have never heard you speak or be on podcasts and things your son was one, Garrett was one. Was he sick? Much of that year, first year?

Angie Hanson: No. Garrett was the epitomy of health. He had just turned one, and he died six days after his first birthday. And he had just had his one year checkup on that Friday and he died on a Tuesday and he had a heart defect that went undetected. And it's a very undetectable heart defect as well. It's It's got a really long name. It's like ectopic origin of the right coronary artery. So basically his right coronary artery was kinked, And so you a person suffers sudden cardiac death in extreme arrest or extreme activity. And, you know, you've heard similar stories, maybe of athletes dying on a court or a football field, and that is similar to what Garrett had, and he was resting. He was sleeping. He was taking his afternoon nap when he died. And there really are no signs or symptoms, you know, because that was one of the things I had really asked our pediatrician was did I miss something? As a mom, I was just holding guilt. Did I miss something and nothing? I mean, he was He ate well. He was happy. I mean, joyful. I mean, his coloring. Everything was perfect. I mean, even the doctor was like, I don't know how I could have missed that, you know. And we did talk to some lead cardiologists at our local children's hospital when they said that there was nothing really that we could have we could have seen or noticed that would have show us that he was he had that.

Victoria Volk: You mentioned your your husband had he had also passed away. And so how far out was that was the loss of your husband from when you both lost your son.

Angie Hanson: Garrett died in June of two thousand six, and then about a year and a few months later in two thousand seven, my husband Jack was diagnosed with cancer. So he had melanoma when he was twenty one years old, and so he had a molt removed, you know, some invasive surgery on his arm, but it was nothing that had spread. And then, you know, we're fifteen years later when our sun dies. And I honestly believe the stress of our sun dying, you know, ignited those cancer cells on his body again. You know? And he was trying to be the strongest for all of us and that's who Jack was. So he was diagnosed, let's see, fall of two thousand seven, so just a little over a year after her son had passed. And then Jack, he was diagnosed with ocular melanoma, so he had a large tumor in his eye. And it had spread through his to his liver and his brain and a spleen. So you know, at that moment, we were told, you know, Jack was diagnosed terminal. And, you know, we didn't know how long he would have with us, but we weren't going to not fight. So we fought and fought and fought. He did chemo radiation, all the things. And Jack battled for about sixteen months before losing his life to the cancer. So he died in February two thousand and nine, so just two and a half years after our son had died.

Victoria Volk: And your brother, Seth, and your sister-in-law like this. I know. I don't even like, it's not like it's not nervous laughter, but it's just like it's it you can't even wrap your head around it.

Angie Hanson: Yeah. Yeah. It's unbelievable sometimes when, you know, own people here it for the first time it is it's unbelievable. My brother Seth had actually been battling a brain tumor for about five years. And him and his wife, they lived on our acreage with us. So we had like a big house and a little house My brother Seth and Joey, his wife, they lived in the small house. And when Seth was first diagnosed with his brain tumor, five years prior, he I was kind of his caretaker a lot because he lived there and, you know, right there and my parents were divorced. And so, you know, they had both remarried and kinda had some younger families, but I had no problems doing that. And then once he re once he married to his wife, you know, she was able to take care of him a lot, but it was about a month after Jack had died. So in March of two thousand nine, my brother just started having some issues, some headaches, and things like that. So he had his third brain surgery on March thirteenth of two thousand and nine. And he had always bounced back from all his surgeries because he was extremely healthy. You know, he was an exercise guy and, you know, he didn't drink nothing. And it just came back this third time with a vengeance. And two months after my husband died, my brother died, he died on April seventh two thousand nine. So, you know, just he just they removed that brain tumor that third time and they were going to end up doing some chemo and radiation once he healed from the surgery, but the tumor just came back with a vengeance. And he he just died. And it was, you know, I at that moment in my time, point in my life, I was just like, what in the hell is happening? And I was so lost because and I didn't know who I was grieving. You know, I didn't know if I was grieving my son or my husband or my brother. And it took a lot of hard work for me to, you know, decipher who I was grieving for and, you know, separating those griefs and you know, still raising my daughter, Gracie, and just doing all the things that I could to survive.

Victoria Volk: And how old was she at this point?

Angie Hanson: Gracie turned so she was six in February when her daddy died, and then she turned seven and March. So yeah. So, you know, in between all that, you know, she has this wonderful birthday, but Yeah. It was just I, you know, I just really, really just wanted her to have this happy life, you know. I didn't want her to be the victim of all these deaths, you know. And I didn't want it to define how we survived and lived our life. So I had to really work on figuring out how to maneuver that.

Victoria Volk: And what did that look like? Because for people listening, like, growing up, we had a lot of loss early in I had a lot of loss early in my life. My dad, my mom had lost her mom within the year. And so there was just it was a lot too in my growing up. But as a kid, you know, there wasn't a lot of talk you know, and this was back, you know, late eighties, early, you know, late eighties. So what did that look like for Yeah. What did that look like with Gracie? And, like, how did you talk about it?

Angie Hanson: Yeah. You know, we I've always been the one to just talk about it. Let's say their names constantly, you know, talk about them, who they were, you know, listen to stories if people would tell us just so she could know who these people were, and what kind of people they were and if we could mirror how they lived life and that would help us and it has and we we live big for these people in our lives that have died and you know, I we went to some group therapy, and it was a lot of it was four kids, her age, we went to a local organization here in Nebraska and it was called grief's journey or Teddy Bear Hollow at the time. I guess they've changed her name, but And that was really helpful for Gracie because I really taught the kids how what death looked like, what what it all look like. I mean, from just the artwork that they would do to teaching them. So that was helpful. And then she did see a therapist a couple times. You know, and every time I go, the therapist honestly thought she was doing really well. And we just had a strong support system around us. And, you know, our family was hard with our family because everybody was had lost the same people.
Right? But and we are all grieving differently. And we are all grieving, you know, different people. But we were able to come together and honor all these people just the same way that we could greet them. So everybody really wrapped their arms around Gracie.
And, you know, I journaled a ton and that was my therapeutic way of dealing with some of it was journaling. And, you know, I just like I said, still every day I'd get up and I'd make sure, you know what? Gracie's going to have a good day today. How does that look? And, you know, it's it's not easy. I don't have a magic answer for people because I know people want that magic fix because but we know that grief cannot be fixed whatsoever. And It's just, you know, time does help whether people believe it or not. Time does help. It'll never make it go away, but it changes and it evolves. And But that's not going to be the first year or the second year or the third year. And when you're having compounded grief like we had, it's, you know, it's hard.

Victoria Volk: When did you feel like you could breathe again? Although, you did end up having another loss in the mix?

Angie Hanson: Yes. Yes. You know, I feel like after about a year, after my husband and my brother had died was when I kinda started feeling better. I was feeling more hope And I had more faith in me because I had lost a lot of my faith. And but I was I was feeling that. And I was I was seeing glimmers of light and, you know, there were things just within my life that was just feeling good, you know, and size like, okay. Okay. We're we're gonna be okay. This isn't gonna be easy still, but and yeah. So that leads to my, you know, my sister-in-law, my first husband's sister, Jack, Brooke, she died in two thousand eighteen, so nine years after her brother had died. And she died from alcoholism. You know, and so that's our choices that we have. You know, and I talk about the choices a lot. And My sister-in-law broke was an amazing human. She loved life. She was smart. She was beautiful. She had amazing drive, but she couldn't deal with the deaths. And she didn't live in Nebraska. She lived in Colorado. So she was away from all of us when we were all grieving, and she was dealing with it by herself in Colorado. And she had lost her job And she turned alcohol because when she would drink, that's when she felt the safest, and that's when she felt the best. And, yeah, she ended up, you know, her choice was to drink. And She ended up dying from alcoholism in June of two thousand eighteen. So, you know, that that left her parents without any living children. You know? And so it's heartbreaking. And but that's I talk a lot about you know, my daughter, Gracie, you know, we have choices. You know, I chose to live and I chose to honor our people and brook didn't know how to do that, you know. And it's it's not any shame to her. She thought she was doing what felt right because the alcohol made her feel right. She just got she just got stuck into that trap and, you know, it's sad and unfortunate, but it doesn't define who she was as a person at all. Because if she could have just known, she would have she would have gotten past it.

Victoria Volk: You know, if and if she would have been grieving maybe with the family and had that support system around her to to witness other people and who could hold her to Exactly. To support her.

Angie Hanson: Exactly. It's yeah. It's it's it's really really sad. And so it's like I said, it's it's all our choices that we have, and we really honestly just have to decide every day, how we're going to move forward each and every day, putting one foot in front of the other, and it's not going to be easy. We're gonna falter. You know, we're gonna turned to maybe stuff that makes us feel better and but we have to continue to journey forward healthy and positive.

Victoria Volk: And how is a gracie how is gracie adjusted into young adulthood now?

Angie Hanson: Yes. She actually just graduated college. So, Gracie's now twenty two, and she just graduated college. And she's doing amazing and I feel like with her she honestly has such a good head on her shoulders. And, you know, I think she's just learned by watching. You know, that's You know, I just always kinda tell her, you know, you can you can do whatever you want. You you know, we can be whoever we want. We can strive to do amazing things, be good. And I think she's really just kind of taken those and really just become an amazing young lady. And she's she's we still honor and we still talk about our people, you know, we we giggle, and we laugh, and we tell stories, you know, now all the time about them and we support everything that our family members met to us and what they brought to the table for us, you know, the all our our grief has turned into this big gigantic bubble of, I don't know, purpose and love, I feel like

Victoria Volk: What did your daughter choose to go into?

Angie Hanson: She is she got her degree in Kinesiology. So it's sports medicine, basically. And so she wants to do, like, medical device sales. She wants to give people abilities to walk again, you know, use their arms again, things like that, whatever that looks like,

Victoria Volk: to take action in their lives. Right?

Angie Hanson: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes, to move. So, yeah, she's so she's home with us.
It's been a blessing because, you know, she was gone for four years. And now and she went out of state and she was fourteen hours away from us when she went. So she graduated high school in twenty twenty era, so she really didn't have a normal graduation. And then she graduated just now four years later So now she's back home and it's so fun to have in our home.

Victoria Volk: So when did this greeting card company spark come up?

Angie Hanson: You know what, it was probably the end of twenty twenty one I am remarried now to my husband's chance. And, you know, I would sit there and talk to him and just tell him, you know, the greeting cards you know, greeting cards are simple. They're an inexpensive, simple gesture to support a friend. And I was just tired of seeing all the with deepest sympathy. I'm so sorry for your loss greeting cards. As well as intended as they are, they don't hold any value in my in my eyes, you know. It's it's it's an easy out for people. So I'm just like, why can't we say something like this? So the very first card I had come up with was I don't know what to say. Let's go eat one of those damn casseroles. You know, so that's what I would give to my friend who maybe had just lost her spouse. You know, I'm not going to give her with deepest sympathy card. And I just really wanted to figure out how we could change the narrative around grief and change the stigma that grief shows up in cards and, you know, at the stores, at the, you know, all the hallmarks. And I'm not bashing hallmark whatsoever. They have some wonderful cards, but they don't have people that understand what griefers feel like. And so I came up with a list. I have about well, I have a hundred and sixty cards. And right now, and they are mostly all grief related. I do not call my cards sympathy cards because I feel like sympathy is something we give. The first few weeks after someone dies. And, you know, that's the sympathy and understanding. And then moving forward, are we going to show up for our friends, weeks, months, years later, if we could send a card to our friend once a month. You know, just acknowledging their grief still and, you know, telling them that they are supported, I mean, That is what I wish I had. Would have had one I was going through the depths of the grief. If I was having a really crappy day, I'd walk out to my mailbox and if I had a card that just said, I'm thinking of you or some of the funny ones that I have, you know, I just wish that I would've had that. But I mean, that's gonna change the whole day for your friend because they're gonna be like, wow. Angie's thinking of me again, and that means the world to me that I'm not alone in my grief, that people still are acknowledging this. And that's my whole vision with this, you know. And like I said, it's simple. It's not going to fix them. Because like I said before, we can't fix grief. It's going to just support them and acknowledge it. And that's all we want. We want to to still even years later. I still love hearing stories about my people. You know, if people will tell me in with writing this book, I've had people reach out to me that used to work with my late husband, Jack, and they've bought the book, and they're just like, Angie, we are so proud of you, and they'll tell me funny stories about Jack. And, you know, that's fifty Jack's spent on fifteen years, and I just think that's absolutely amazing that people are doing that. And that's what I want with my cards even.

Victoria Volk: Did you not feel supported?

Angie Hanson: I felt supported, yes, but I just think even back in two thousand six, when Garrett had died? People still didn't talk about grief a lot. You know, I just feel like the whole movement of changing the narrative around grief has happened within the past couple years. Cool. Yeah. I you know, and I'm seeing this, you know, this brief community that, you know, where I even met you on, you know, on this socials, I just feel like, It's evolving. And, you know, we are changing it. And I think, no, people I had support from my friends. Yes. But I just don't think people knew. And they didn't know if it was acceptable to still a month later or two months later or three months later, to send me a card. You know? I don't think that they knew that or if it was acceptable.

Victoria Volk: And Or even to share the like, the dark humor

Angie Hanson: Exactly. Out

Victoria Volk: of, like, the visceral thing. Right? Yeah.

Angie Hanson: Yeah. And, you know, and then it It's just and it's okay, you know, and it's I just want people to know that it's okay to do that. But I just feel like even like you said, you know, when you had had your losses, you know, even back in the eighties, I mean, it was really taboo to really talk about stuff like that. You weren't supposed to bring that up. You know, we honored and we kinda started our own after our son had died honoring him. But then, you know, here we are. Like I said, I think with the social media world that we're living in, finding these grief communities where we are at and starting to change the narratives is so important. And I'll give you an example of like, the sympathy versus the empathy, there's a greeting card, and I this is nothing against anybody. I've kinda talked to them about it, but there's a The Greeting Card Association, and they hold what is called the Louie Awards. And the Louis Awards is like the Oscars for greeting cards. So you submit, you pay per card to submit your cards. Well, so they only have they have so many different categories, but they have a sympathy category. And they don't have an empathy category, but I submitted to the sympathy category. And so then I didn't none of my cards won, which is fine. But then we received the feedback from the cards. And one of the comments that I received was very disturbing to me because they said, the cards are okay, but they make me feel uncomfortable.

Victoria Volk: So Then you're uncomfortable with your grief, my friend? Yes.

Angie Hanson: And so that's and then all of a sudden, I was just like, oh my gosh. You know what I so I actually made a real about it, like a funny real on Instagram. And that is my biggest it didn't go viral, viral, but it went pretty close to being viral because people were astounded that this made this person feel uncomfortable, and it's in a sympathy category. And that is why we need to change the narrative around this grief industry. You know, people need to know. This is why we can't have people in a hallmark that have never had a loss writing or greeting cards, you know, and it's it's it starts. It starts right here, you know, and that's that's what I want to do.

Victoria Volk: You know you're onto something special when you're poking the bear and you're giving a response like Right. Promise. Yeah. I actually designed a couple cards. And years ago, like, gosh, five years ago, and I put him on redbubble and, like, just randomly one day, I was like, where is this money from? So I bought the card. I was like, Yay.

Angie Hanson: That's awesome.

Victoria Volk: I'm gonna be out there and I was, like, whatever, I'll put it out there. Yeah. I've just been dabbling, but I've understood that too for years that people just don't get it. And to bring some sarcasm in humor, into something that's just so heavy. Everyone has that friend that will get it. Yes. You know what I mean? Like that it's bringing some lightness to something that's so heavy and you can't even wrap your head around sometimes. Right?

Angie Hanson: Exactly. Yeah. Well, yeah. Because, like, one of them I have, you know, it's the next person that tells me everything's gonna happen for a reason. I'll throw, punch him. You know, just I mean, you know, never would I do any physical harm to anybody, but you know what? My friend would she would appreciate that card, and she would, you know, she would understand it. So that's definitely yeah. I I'm enjoying it. I enjoy the greeting cards.

Victoria Volk: Well, let me ask you this. So, I mean, you've shared a lot of, you know, backstory and how you were feeling and on supporting Gracie and all of that. But what overall has your grief taught you?

Angie Hanson: Really, you know, it goes it goes to resilience. It's taught me that you know, we can have join happiness together that, you know, the grief and happiness can coexist. And honestly, I just it's taught me to be obviously more empathetic. And I think through everything that I have been through, I am so amazed by the human body in our mind and what we can tell ourselves to journey through the grief, so that's where the resilience comes in. And I don't think somebody can be resilient if they keep on telling themselves that this is crappy. You know, it's no fair. You know, why didn't my person have to die? You know, if we tell ourselves negative feelings and thoughts, it's going to be a negative journey. And you're going to be stuck and fifteen years later, you're still going to be stuck. But if we can tell ourselves that, you know, what we can be happy. You know, we deserve to be happy. You know, we have to have that faith and trust. And, you know what, that's going to evolve throughout the years. And so then one year fifteen years and almost eighteen years out for my son dying, I can live an extremely happy life because that's what I'm doing right now. And so I just think our resilience in our bodies and our mind is so powerful, powerful, and we just have to tell ourselves that we can.

Victoria Volk: When it comes to kids, when people say kids are resilient, when they've had losses, that's always I'll tell you this. It's always rubbed me the wrong way because as kids, they don't have a choice.

Angie Hanson: Exactly.

Victoria Volk: You know, it just I hate when people say that, oh, your kids are so resilient. They'll bounce back.

Angie Hanson: Yeah.

Victoria Volk: And I can speak from my own experience, but you know, just knowing the grief that I've experienced. It has a child growing up as a grieber. It just changes over time and it's it's gonna show its face again and again and again and especially with loss in the future because we are human and you love and you lose. Right? And we're taught how to acquire people and things, but not what to do when we lose them. And so you mentioned and you touched on your parents' divorce, your son wasn't your first loss. So you had other losses, I imagine, growing up and pet loss and probably maybe friends and moving and all of these other things. Can you speak to that a little bit and what you learned about grief growing up and maybe in hindsight what you took from those early experiences in your life.

Angie Hanson: Well, I did experience probably that my first traumatic loss was probably when I was about seven. My uncle was killed in an accident. And so I just remember that that feeling of wow, you know, and I would say, again, like, back in the day, we just didn't talk about that. And so it was kind of hush-hush and different things. I mean, it was It was a very public accident. He was on the volunteer fire department and the rescue squad got hit by a train. And so three of the members had died and two had lived. And so it was a very public, you know, accident, but You know, we didn't talk a lot about it. And then, you know, my grandparents died when I was younger, you know, and then my parents divorced when I the year after I graduated high school, And so through all that, I guess, I would say that I just really learned how to I guess, separate some of those losses and grief and just, like I said, I journal a lot and I read a lot and so I think separating grief and losses into what they are. So, you know, it's okay. This is a bad accident. You know, I we can't put blame on, you know, like, losses. I don't like that. Like, people are like, well, why would God let this happened to your son. Why would god let this happen to your husband? Why would god let your uncle get hit by a train? You know, things like that, but God doesn't allow that, you know. And I just he's there for us when we when we go through these hardest things. And I guess, I just probably stuffed a lot of it sometimes when I was younger just because we were taught to do that. And so then as I grew and then as I come upon my first loss of my major loss that catapulted me into a losses that I never would ever, you know, turn back and be the same from. That's when I really learned about what death was and how to journey through it. And I've learned now more so that talking about all those losses are probably the biggest thing that really helped, you know. And I just wish that we could have back in the day talked about those losses because I think it really could have changed because I'm certain that my parents divorce probably stemmed from a lot of the losses that they had endured. You know? My dad's brother was the one that had died, so my dad didn't deal with it. You know, they just didn't talk about it. And so then, you know, my dad drank and then my parents got divorced and then, you know, it's just it's a cycle. And so how can we move forward in these losses in a healthy manner. And I guess that's what I've learned to do is just do it with all our people in mind and keeping their memories alive.

Victoria Volk: Well, my next question is, one tip you would give other hurting hearts, and I would say that that's a pretty good tip?

Angie Hanson: Yes. Yes. I would. Yeah. And I just I've always believed in the, you know, the choices. You know, the choices that we make. And If you're if you're hard if you're really really hardening, you know, don't don't expect don't expect change immediately. And I always, you know, say, you know, give grace because you're going to have a great day one day. And then and the next day, you're going to take a couple steps back and it's going to take time for your heart to feel love again and normal again. And, you know, you can have it there. You know, I had love for my daughter the whole time, but I didn't really care about the outside world as much. I didn't care about the outside noise. And but it's the choices that we have. So how do we choose to love and honor our people?

Victoria Volk: You had touched on a little bit about having lost your faith a little bit. And so the role of faith and spirituality through your grieving process. I know that was a huge aspect of my grief story. Can you share a little bit about what that looked like and how that changed over time?

Angie Hanson: Yeah. I talked it was really after my brother had died that I had lost all faith, you know. And I couldn't understand how this was happening, why this was happening again and again, and you know, and you always hear the saying, why do all the good ones go? You you know? And I kind of just slowly journaled about it. I went to a group that was a Christian led group, and that is really what changed a lot for me. Is because I learned about death and how it is in the bible and God. And then I started putting my faith back into him. And I learned, like I said earlier, that you know, we are all built a certain way, you know. And so for my son to be born with a heart defect, you know, that was that's just something that happened. And, you know, my husband and my brother are both with cancer. You know, they it's just their genetic disposition. You know, they environmental things. We don't know, but what I know is what I've where I'm at today is not because I am the strongest human in the world. It's because I've been carried and something bigger than me is holding me through all this and they're guiding me and I have to believe that and I have to believe that all my people are safe But for me, I just really leaned into reading a lot about it and just trying to understand what faith and death and god all meant.

Victoria Volk: What was the toll of grief on your health? Over the years. Do you recognize you did you have physical symptoms? Like, how did the grief manifest for you? Because in grief recovery, which is program I adore and love and change my life, but we talk about nerves, short term energy relieving behavior. So you were talking about alcohol and just how people use these outside things to cope. And so how did neither grateful manifest in physical symptoms or will turn to these things to help us to feel better for a short period of time. So what how did the grief manifest for you?

Angie Hanson: I would say that, you know, I you know, I after our son's death, I really lost a lot of weight, you know. That was my kind of my health thing I just didn't wanna eat, I didn't care. After my husband had died and my brother died, you know, I just I didn't really I didn't turn to anything, you know, I didn't drink a a lot more than I had normally. You know, I had drinks But my health wise, I just I just honestly like I said, I guess I just didn't eat a lot, so I lost weight that way. But I was really just I think my mind was the biggest recovery thing that I needed to figure out how to be present, you know. And I had to be whole for Gracie. And I honestly didn't turn to anything negative for myself. And I didn't find I don't have an addictive personality, so I don't turn to, you know, that. But mine was mostly all my mind work. And how could I stay healthy? And the healthiest way I could be would be to work on my mind? And that was journaling and reading and, you know, I mean, traveling. Gracie and I traveled quite a bit. You know, we would go visit friends and just be in present. So, yeah, for me, I didn't really turned to anything that hindered me from my process.

Victoria Volk: Well, even exercise can be a stirb. So it can be good things too.

Angie Hanson: Yes. Exactly. All of a sudden. Yeah. And, you know, I did not I did not turn to work. That was one thing I slacked on. You know, it's just but yeah. Just I don't know. Yeah. There's not I don't have anything. That's that's one of the things that I've kind of always been wondered about. You know, maybe I need a deep dive into that a little bit more, you know, to go back into those corners of my mind and really see about what I did. That'd probably be a good exercise for me.

Victoria Volk: Because there's these myths of grief. Right? It's keep busy, grief alone. You know, don't feel bad. You know, there's so many time heals all wounds, which you touched on time, but it's not it's not the time itself. It's the action that you take within the time. You know, that Exactly. Matters. And it sounds like you were, you know, surviving but yet also doing what you knew to get more control or what have you of your thoughts and your thought process and it's so easy to downward spiral, to allow your thoughts to downward spiral and Yeah. Take it You know, I just

Angie Hanson: I always you know, I had a friend of mine. She had lost her husband two years prior to me losing my first husband, Jack, and, you know, she was a she was a good resource for me, but when I would have bad days, you know, we would and we would do this with each other, we would just be like, okay. You're allowed to have this one bad day. But tomorrow, you're going to get up and you're going to, you know, you're going to change your thought process. And you're gonna change, you know, your mind and everything. And, you know, just giving ourselves that permission to be because I feel like people, honestly, like, they want to do something to fix it. Even even ourselves as grievers, we want to we want to feel how we felt before. We want to feel the same way and, you know, we just can't. But if we can allow ourselves that time to grieve or just to be or just to not do a single thing. Like I said, if if you wanna lay in bed all day for a day, lay in bed all day, there's nothing wrong with that. And I feel that that is part of the whole healing aspect of grief is doing that. But you know what, then she'd say, she would check on me the next day. Okay, Angie. How are you today? Are you going to get up and shower and go? And yes, I would. And, you know, I, you know, just and also just yet, like you said, exercising and being outside with nature, but I just think giving ourselves permission to be and not rush. And don't rush the grief process either. You know, you we it takes time. And I feel like a lot of people rush it.

Victoria Volk: Well, we are a you know, let's just take a shot, let's take a pill, let's,

Angie Hanson: you know, let's call Amazon, you know.

Victoria Volk: Herb side, like, we are such an impatient society. It is redontulous. Yes.

Angie Hanson: Yes. I agree a hundred percent.

Victoria Volk: How would you describe the ANGI before loss versus the ANGI after loss?

Angie Hanson: Well, that's a good question. I would say that I was way more outgoing. I was way more friendly. And I and don't get me wrong. I'm a very outgoing friendly person now, but it's evolved and changed. I would it was easier for me to be friend. You know, now I feel like I don't be be friend people easily and I think they don't because I think I have this aura around me and people get scared of grief. So if they know about my story or any loss that I've had. They kinda run or turn their head or they just don't wanna dive deep because I think they think it's contagious, but it's not but I've had a lot of strange situations with that. But I was I was very just more very laid back, more more easy going, and like I said, more friendly. And now I just I get a little bit more anxious. I, you know, I really deep dive in who's going to be my friend and who's going to be in my life. And that's maybe something like of a protectant part of me, like, I don't wanna lose anymore people. So if I if I don't bring all these people in my life, maybe I won't lose them. So, yeah, I would I would say I have a lot I have a lot more anxiety in that aspect and Yeah. I wish I had some of my oh, my my free thoughts that I used to have, you know, because now I don't have those free thoughts as much. And I've just kind of adapted all my like I said, I'm I still have all those feelings. I'm still a nice person because I am, but they've all adapted differently than what I was before

Victoria Volk: I resonate with that a lot. I don't know if it's my resting bitch face or my aura, but probably my aura too, but I tend to I tend to poke the bear when I'm, you know, meeting people. And it's it's because It's like you don't have time for bullshit. Like, let's cut the bullshit. Let's cut the surface level talk. Like, tell me your deepest desires and your dreams. Like, what do you want what do you wanna do with your life? Like, like, those are the kind of the questions that I wanna talk about, and it's like, it's really hard to find those people, like the deep thinkers and the, you know, the thought provoking questions and the insightful you know, people, you know. And I think because we get so caught up in this, the mundane daily life, you know, the hamster wheel. We don't even stop to think about the things that ignited us when we were kids. Right? Like, just actually one day just over Mother's Day weekend. There was three little girls, and the semi truck just chewed its horn, and the girl's just so kitty and just yeah, just like this. And it was so funny because I never shared that with anybody. And as I was sitting there, I was thinking, gosh. I was taken back. I was having some ice cream with my girls or seventeen and a half and six you know, fifteen already. Yeah. And I just was taking back in time in that instant to See, I saw them, like, you know, in doing that, my daughter does this still to this day when she gets excited. And Yeah. So it just took me back in time, but I don't know where I was going with that.

Angie Hanson: Yeah. I just think it's like, you know, the society the way society has grown and changed and evolved that, you know, we we are losing, like, you know, you the deep conversation with people. You know, it is hard to find those people that we can match up with and have those, you know, just sit there and talk about and walk away feeling just refreshed. You know, I leave a lot of conversations feeling icky. You know? And I don't I haven't pinpointed exactly why, but like I said, I just when people when I first kind of meet them in a situation and they ask me, oh, what do you do? And I'm like, well, I you know, I have this greeting card business. Oh, that's awesome, you know, and they're like, what kind of cart and I, you know, I tell them and they're I'm like, well, they're mostly grief cards and they're would you do that? You know? And then I'm like, well, do you have a while? No. But, you know, so then I kinda explain And then I can see their whole demeanor change. And so then I just like and then I get sad sometimes because I'm like, There's nothing wrong with me. I'm still I'm the same person but different, but I still want to have the deep cover stations, and it doesn't have to evolve all around me. I wanna hear all about you, you know, and so that's yeah. So I just I feel like in society and it's it's kinda like the fast and go of the world that we were talking about that people people don't wanna take the time to learn and have those deep conversations anymore. And I feel like we have to get back to that.

Victoria Volk: Well, and I think they're afraid. I think it's fear. Imagine what people say to me. I work with Grievers. Like, I work with Grievers, and I do energy healing, and and all this weird stuff, you know. And she might, like, do some voodoo on me or she might, like, you know, get me to, like, confess and verb verb vomit, all of my grief. You know what I mean? Like,

Angie Hanson: explain my real feelings. Right? I mean, people they're they're scared of their real feelings.

Victoria Volk: I had someone actually just just word vomit just let it all out in a very public place. And I felt so you know, obviously empathy for this person. Right? But I was, like, a little bit, like, What's the word? What is the best word to describe that feeling I had?
It was refreshing. It was refreshing. That's probably

Angie Hanson: felt the same feeling. Probably.

Victoria Volk: It's like it there is something about giving it a voice. And, you know, I think so many of us I'm gonna get into, like, some voodoo top voodoo voodoo talk. Like a throat wound. Right? I think many people have a throat wound, you know, especially if, you know, as females particularly or young girls that grew up and, you know, be seen and not heard and don't use your voice and or or you're too loud or you're too much or you're too much of this or too much of that. And so we just kinda minimize our voice and we don't use it. And I guess that's been the greatest gift for me and having my podcast. And maybe you can relate is that it's helped me find my voice in what I experienced and in sharing stories with people and meeting people like you said just sharing in community with other other grievers

Angie Hanson: Yeah. A hundred percent. I yeah. I do. I feel like when I hear stories after people talk about their stories during the podcast and, you know, and then when I listen relistened to him and I, you know, I just I take back I take away so much.
You know, I take away from that initial conversation. And then when I re listen to it, I take away more and I hear more and I hear more of what they were saying because then I can listen to more tone. Their tone of their voice and different things like that. And then I have a whole different perspective of what they are feeling and going through. And it's absolutely amazing. I mean, that's why I just you know, we these platforms that we're able to utilize such as the podcasts and, you know, writing our books, you know, and even our socials, it's sharing our stories is so huge for everybody because it is bringing out so much for so many others that they're maybe just sitting on the sidelines and they hear the podcast and then they they read about or if we're talking about our books, they're like, Well, I could maybe do that, you know, so it's sparking stuff in people. And we are, like I said earlier, we're changing this narrative, and I feel the evolution of this really taking place. And I'm really excited for what it's gonna do for future grievers. Because I just feel like sharing our stories however that looks, you know, even if I've told people before, even if you write a full book and you never publish it, that's okay because you shared your story. You know, you shared it and that's you shared it within yourself and that's okay too. You don't have to publish a book to be great. You don't have to have a podcast to, you know, you can just sit there, but you're you're growing by hearing stories.

Victoria Volk: And that is a form of giving it a voice too. Yeah. And journaling. You know, I journaled I journaled since I was fourteen.

Angie Hanson: That's awesome.

Victoria Volk: I mean, quit, you know. It's it was my outlet very early on too. So

Angie Hanson: Yeah. Yeah. It's it's it's so methodic for people to be able to write down things. And I, you know, I just people are like, sometimes I've heard people say, well, I could never write a book. Well, no. You could write a book. Write it all out. I don't care. Type it all out. However you want, but you don't have to publish it. No. It's you're still doing the same thing I'm doing. I just excited to publish mine, and you didn't. But we, at the end, we did the exact same thing.

Victoria Volk: That's exactly true. Yeah. Like I said before when we started recording, it's like, I think they people think to write a book, it's this huge And it is a big project. Right?

Angie Hanson: And I'm

Victoria Volk: not gonna deny that or minimize that. It's a project, but it's not as scary as some people make it out to be. You don't have to have a publisher, you can self publish, which there's there's so much free information out there I mean, actually, my tagline is Google that shit because I mean, I've learned so much by Googling and and I guess I've never been one that's been afraid to, like, dive head first and let the rabbit hole, you know, swallow me all, but You know? I mean, that's the fun of it. Right? Like, that's and that reminds me of what I was telling with the story, with the little girls

Angie Hanson: Yeah.

Victoria Volk: A friend of mine I didn't tell her about that, but she had the exact same story exact same story across two thousand miles away where she saw these two little girls and she saw them get so excited and hers she we're in a in a box or group together and Yeah. We've known each other online now for, like, four plus years. But she's one of those people, right, where we talk about stuff, like, we're talking here, like, have deep conversations that she was, like, just never it was a reminder to me and she said to never lose that spark. Never lose that joy that you had as a little kid just seen, you know, having someone toot their horn and give you you know, and I told her my story, and it's like, it's like mind blowing, like, the synchronicity of that. It's it was just a reminder again to me, you know, what brought you joy as a kid? How can you bring some more of that into your life as a grieber? In your adult life, you know. Yeah. It's Yeah. I love that. Messages there for you. Yeah.

Angie Hanson: Yeah. I do. I absolutely love that because that's the joy as a child is absolutely beautiful. And, yeah, we we need more of that in our adult life.

Victoria Volk: To play.

Angie Hanson: Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. Instead of just these schedules and these these deadlines and just the anxiety that life brings everybody if we could just let it go. And just be, that would be amazing.

Victoria Volk: So what would a day of play look like for you? Well,

Angie Hanson: you know, I'm actually gonna do it later on here. My daughter, since she's back, we're gonna go golfing. And so she wants to go she wants to pick up and learn golfing. And she wants us to learn how to play pick a ball. So it's like, so, you know, it's a beautiful day in Nebraska, finally today.I was like, you know what? Yeah. We're gonna make time and we're gonna go golf this afternoon. And so that's what we're gonna do. So today, and we're just gonna have fun. And we'll probably giggle because she will probably be I golf. So I do golf already, and I'm on a ladies league, but she doesn't giggle. So we'll probably giggle at the way she hits the ball and all that, and it'll just be, you know, easy going. And like I said, having her home has brought so much life kind of back into our house that was missing, you know, not you know, my husband and I it's just been the two of us and which has been great. And, you know, we've had an amazing four years, but having her here just brings a only different element of joy back into our house and laughter. And because she's just you know, she's a silly twenty two year old girl.

Victoria Volk: And the energy. Right? It's a different energy

Angie Hanson: and Yes. Yes. And we've been taking she's, you know, walks every day. So we've been going for walks every day and you know, it's just it's just been so amazing. And, you know, that's just I'm learning to, I guess, slow down in a sense to, like, I don't have to sit in front of my computer and do do do, you know, I guess I've built I'm going to build my career around my life, you know, and the way I want it to look like. So I'm able to do that right now, so that's what we're gonna do. And I'm celebrating that for you. Thank you.

Victoria Volk: You know? Yes. Is there anything else that you would like to share?

Angie Hanson: I really just want people to know that, you know, if you are if you are a griever and you've lost someone, you know, just really, just give yourself the grace that you that you deserve and do not rush your grief and your grief journey because it's just it's it's yours. And you get to do it your way and you need to move through it and journey through it. So I just I really want people to honor those feelings that they're doing as they're grieving. And then if you're not the griever, if you're on the outside and you have your best buddy or anybody going through something tough. You know, meet them where they're at and don't try to rush ahead of them, you know, speak their people's names, you know, just acknowledge them. Don't try to fix them. And, you know, you will be the best support system that they need. And just always continue to reach out to them even if they tell you no twenty five times. You know, the twenty sixth time they'll say, Thank you for reaching out to me. I needed to hear you today.

Victoria Volk: And just by twenty six of Angie's cards and then Yeah. And then I'm like,

Angie Hanson: That will get you through two years.

Victoria Volk: Twenty six. Yeah. Yes. Definitely. So where can people find your cards and connect with you?

Angie Hanson: On socials, Facebook and Instagram. I'm at butterflies and halos, and then my website is butterflies and halos dot com. All my cards are there. I'm also if you're an Etsy person and prefer that, I'm on Etsy as well, butterflies and halos. And you can order my cards there. I have some other stationery products as some stickers and notebooks. And my book will be on there for sale here probably within the next week or so. And, yeah, Everything's butterflies and halos.

Victoria Volk: How does that mean?

Angie Hanson: Oh, the well, butterflies are assigned my sign that I've had since my son died. And so and then the butterfly is just the the symbolism of a butterfly and the trans formation that they make and the spiritual transformation that they make is something that I hold really dear. And then the halos are for all my people. So that have diets. And so I just I kinda meshed them together for butterflies and halos. Yeah. I love it. And then for anybody that is on here, if you use the code podcast fifteen, you can get fifteen percent off your first order.

Victoria Volk: Is it all caps, lower caps?

Angie Hanson: All caps podcast fifteen. Yep. And then that can be that's accessible on Etsy or my website.

Victoria Volk: And I will add that to the show notes as well. Yeah. Yeah. How long is that good for?

Angie Hanson: It's it's never ending.

Victoria Volk: Okay.

Angie Hanson: Yep. Yep. So they can they can use it whenever.

Victoria Volk: Right. Thank you so much, Angie. For sure. You. For having this deep dive conversation with me for the work that you're doing in this movement that you and I are both part of, I think, is is moving the needle.
Yeah. Moving the needle by little.

Angie Hanson: Yeah. Yeah. We'll get there. But I appreciate everything you're doing as well, and I appreciate being on here and sharing and just the beautiful conversation. And then, hopefully, we can have you on our podcast here in the next few months, and that would be amazing.

Victoria Volk: I would love that. Yeah. Thank you. Invitation. Yeah.
So thank you again for being

Angie Hanson: my guest. Yes. Thank you.

Victoria Volk: And remember, when you unleash your heart, you unleash your life. Much love.