In this episode, Kim shared her incredible story of how she overcame the adversity of her husband’s death after a long fight with cancer and how her experience helped her be an expert in HR.
The story started normally with Kim and her husband, a young couple raising three kids and living happily as any average family would.
But the tragedy comes as the signs of a disease in his husband are showing up, and when they find out it is cancer, their world is turned upside down. Even though they fought hard with the help of their friends, families, and co-workers, the day when her husband finally rest comes.
Kim had to suffer from the pain of losing someone you love–the misery it brings is unimaginable, but she knows she needs to move forward, and that’s what she does.
Kim talks to Dr. Brad about how writing and having people in your life can help you navigate such tragedies in life.
Additionally, Kim shared with Dr Brad how she keep her joy and laughter after going through a dark experience. For Kim, it’s all about optimism and thinking that things are bad and they could always be worse.
Kim Hamer’s story is a heartwarming story of a person who goes through a difficult stage of their life, taking care of someone they love fighting a deadly disease. But no matter how grieving it is, she still finds joy in life.
Episode 162 of The Beyond Adversity Podcast is a must-listen for anyone taking care of someone that has a life-threatening disease or going through grief, searching for an inspiring story of a woman who overcomes the pain of losing her husband from cancer.
“The Beyond Adversity Podcast with Dr. Brad Miller is published weekly with the mission of helping people “Grow Through What They Go Through” as they navigate adversity and discover their promised life of peace, prosperity, and purpose.
Dr. Brad Miller 0:00
Special guest today is Kim Hamer. She's the author of 100 Acts of Love. She has a incredible story about she and her husband face incredibly difficult time and how that then translated not only into her own family, but into the workplace. And Kim, welcome to our conversation here, here today.
Kim Hamer 0:23
Well, Brad, thank you so much for having me. It's really good to be here. I'm really excited for this conversation.
Dr. Brad Miller 0:28
Well, I think it'd be awesome. And I mentioned that the name of your book is 100 acts of love your website, whether it 100actsoflove.com. And we'll get into the details of that in a minute. But because that's kind of response to the situation you found yourself in, and I'm going to just set it up just with the framework that you and your husband, we're moving along relatively well in life, and it's circumstance circumstances changed. So can you kind of go from there and help us understand the story we're about to tell?
Kim Hamer 1:02
For sure. So I think you you really nailed it on the head. You know, we were this young couple raising three kids in California, in LA. And actually, it's funny, I look back now. And I didn't realize how la we were, you know, we were like he would get up in the morning and go work out and then I'd get up and get my workout clothes on and get the kids up. And then he'd come home and I'd go work out and he'd get ready for work and get the kids ready for school. And then he I'd come home and he'd get you know, he go to work. And then I get the kids ready for school and we'd, you know, do our thing. We ate organic food, you know, we made sure we took care of our bodies, we went to services, you know, we went to church. And so we sort of were living this this life. And then within three weeks, you know, my husband's showed some signs. I always laugh at this, we were treating his cancer because we didn't know it was cancer at the time, Dell, some cough syrup and ibuprofen, because he was running these fevers, these very little light fevers, 100 100.5. And he was coughing a lot. And so that's how we were training it.
Dr. Brad Miller 2:06
Just you're at home, you'd had a bug or some sort of you thought just just how we're doing. Right.
Kim Hamer 2:11
Exactly, exactly. And you know, and we also were sort of like, we don't really need to go the doctor, we're fairly healthy people or we don't want to burden it's the other thought was we don't want to burden the system. Right? So we fast forward and a couple of weeks. And he is he goes for a run he comes back very quickly. He says I can't breathe. He then we're in a we're at a we're at a you know, he calls her a primary care doctor. And she says, Hey, why don't you go see this, this this viral, you know, infectious disease doctor because it sounds like something's up. And so we go in there, and he takes an x ray and of my husband's chest and he does an exam. And he comes back in the exam room. And it was like something out of a movie. You know, he lays his fingers together. He put them on the exam table. And he looked my husband in the eye and said I I think you have cancer. And then he showed us the x ray. And there were these nodules, these white spots all over his lungs. And that's why he had been coughing. And it turned out that he had lymphoma and one of the early signs of lymphoma is that kind of running these very mild fevers consistently.
Dr. Brad Miller 3:18
Before we go on that dare that must have been a thief. That moment takes your breath away in and of itself, does it not?
Kim Hamer 3:25
Yeah, it does. It's funny. I've told the story so often that I've sort of removed myself from the emotion but I just remember thinking like what, like just what and I started to cry and art started to cry. And then the doctor said I'm gonna give you a few moments. I've got to make some phone calls because we need to get you started immediately. So this wasn't this was on a Friday. And the doctor thought it was so bad that like there's no kind of waiting to get tests you need to get going immediately.
Dr. Brad Miller 3:49
No time to process anything jump into it, right? Yep. And we
Kim Hamer 3:53
made three calls. We made a call to his parents and told them we made a call to my parents and then we called his boss. So those are the three calls we made on that Friday. We went immediately over to see a urologist because they thought it was testicular cancer because he had a tumor there. It turns out it wasn't it was something called large B cell lymphoma with testicular large B cell lymphoma, fairly rare kind of lymphoma. And the I'm really glad they made the call to his boss because his boss then called some people and we got in to see a doctor first thing on Monday morning. So the urologist was like okay, we're going to wait over the weekend, which the urologist didn't seem to understand how serious it was. So we waited over the weekend. And then we like I said arts boss got us an appointment with a doctor who happened to specialize in this kind of cancer and he set up the alarm bells. He's like you need to be on oxygen. You know, he wasn't our doctor so he couldn't prescribe these things for us. So he said you need to be on oxygen right now. You need to get you need chemo by the end of this week. Like, I'm not kidding, this thing is going to kill you. And that was that was even more scary because you think that you're in good hands. And then this other doctor is like, No, you need to move fast. So we, my husband was he went into the hospital on Tuesday night because he was struggling, he was really struggling breathing. And he was really scared. I think that there's that, you know, we all know what it's like not to be able to breathe. And when you can't be when you're not able to breathe consistently for over a period of time. It sets up the startup panic. So we bought him into the hospital. He ended up having surgery on Wednesday. And they started they couldn't even wait for the surgery site to heal, usually like to wait and they started chemo. I'm sorry, he had chemo. He had surgery on a Friday and they started chemo on a Sunday.
Dr. Brad Miller 5:45
So basically, all this was came down to just a period of maybe 10 days or so two weeks.
Kim Hamer 5:49
Yeah. Yep. 10 days. 10 days. Yep.
Dr. Brad Miller 5:53
Yeah, one, boom, boom, boom, right after another just, you know, just literally in his case, might have felt like a kick to the chest in your case, you know, kick to the good wherever, whatever metaphor you want to use. But you were knocked back by this situation. Absolutely. So unfortunately, it progressed. Right. Are you? I mean, you had a relation? Yeah.
Kim Hamer 6:18
Yeah, it was very clear in the beginning that we never said this to each other. But we knew he knew that his job was to beat this thing. And it was a stage four, which is the worst stage. So his job was to beat it. And my job was to hold down the fort. And so that's what we did.
Dr. Brad Miller 6:34
You jam your marriage and family project.
Kim Hamer 6:37
It became our marriage and family project. Yep, exactly, exactly. So he goes into remission, which is absolutely fantastic. But I think the thing that I always expected is once you get that cancer free, you like throw parties, and you see life as a brighter and better place. And honestly, we were in shock, we were still in shock. I remember us lying in bed and looking at each other and just going, what just happened. And then we had to put our marriage back together, you know, something like that really brings out the best in your marriage. And it brings out the worst in marriage. You know, I was feeling really resentful that he you know, this was the man of the house, he was the breadwinner. He was, you know, we live stereotypical sort of lives. And I was really resentful that he got sick. And he felt a lot of shame for getting sick. So we had to work through that as well. And decide that we wanted to stay together, which we did. So I'm really glad for that we decided we didn't like each other. And we decided that you know, we could we did work through the resentment and the shame and the guilt and everything that comes along with that.
Dr. Brad Miller 7:41
And yet, relatively young children at the same time as
Kim Hamer 7:45
we did, yes, yes. When he was first diagnosed, they were four, seven, and four, seven, and nine. So then the cancer, we're kind of going about our lives where we were building, we do start to really appreciate each other a bit more, and each other's strengths and honor, honor our weaknesses. And then the cancer comes back. And it's you know, he is, you know, looking back at photos, you can see that he's lost a lot of weight. So there was a little bit of denial on both our parts. But he cancer comes back and gets re diagnosed in January, again at stage four, and then he dies on a four months later.
Dr. Brad Miller 8:25
Wow, what a first of all, I'm just sorry, you know, I'm sorry for your loss. And I know it's been several years now. But that just stays with you. And, and you continue to share the story in your book and in your teaching and on podcast. And so you've chosen to be a courageous person to share that story and evolve your children and whatever other aspects of your life now and we're gonna talk a minute about your professional life. But I wanted to touch if I want to ask you about something I think was pretty cool that you and your husband whose name was art? Did it took pictures, even doing some pretty tough? Yeah, really. And I saw some of them on your website. Tell me what precipitated this. This hurts to record through photo photography. What was happening at that time? I think that's an interesting perspective.
Kim Hamer 9:23
Well, it's so I'm really glad you asked that Brad, because I hadn't really thought about it. So when he was first diagnosed with cancer, I kept a blog I just wrote, I just felt the need it was part of my process of processing what was happening in our lives. So I wrote and a friend of mine said you need pictures and it never dawned on me that I needed pictures. But then I started to get into photography and I did wasn't like I got a camera. I just loved I loved photography books. So one for my birthday art bought me and Annie Leibovitz, one of her books, and the photos and they are beautiful, but she documents Susan satin limes, death through the cancer and she documents her her father's death in that book, and I thought it was so moving. And then for Christmas, the year that he was diagnosed the second time, he got me a camera. And so I just started taking pictures. And I, I remember just thinking there was that, and there's also a friend of mine, her husband died in 911. And she sent out a Christmas card that year with a ton, like, you know, little photos of, you know, 25 little photos of them. And she said, Take lots of pictures. And so there was those two things that were sort of in my mind that that Annie Leibovitz had done this, and that this person who had lost her husband, 911, was giving me a thing to do. That was that that would impact my life. And so I just started taking pictures. And he was okay with it. I asked, and he said, take away, and I'm so grateful I have those photographs.Dr. Brad Miller:
Because what a gift what a special gift. Yes. Yeah. AndKim Hamer:
I think it's we forget, you know, this has been my story. My I'm coming up on 14 years since his death. And so I often you like, like what you just did, you stopped me from telling the story for a moment, because it was like, Kim, this is a big story. And I often forget that that was a huge moment in my life. And when I have those pictures, I can remember and when the kids see those pictures they can remember. So that it it almost verifies and validates, you know, this was a big deal. This happened, this hurt, this was painful, and you're resilient, and you were able to move forward.Dr. Brad Miller:
I'm a big believer that we have to be tried to sensitive to these special and sometimes, final or final gifts. We often don't remember the last words we hear, you know, there's books and books, read about the last words people say or deathbed confessions and things like that. Why? Because people remember some of those stories told photographs, taken videos, or moments. Or even like a song of the radio I was. Or I was talking to a person not too long ago, who was lived near for 911 happened in New Jersey, and skid see the smoke from the fires of the Twin Towers and for her smoke triggers. Right, but her trigger, and that can be good and bad, or poignant or sad, or all kinds of things. And I'm sure, I'm sure you also see it in my just, I'm just making an assumption here, you tell me when you see pictures of your children in that era, who are now young adults, I presume, you know, it just puts it in perspective, a little different.Kim Hamer:
Yeah. as well. And I also I, you know, I've used those photographs with them to remind them of what resilience looks like, right? Because we don't, you know, resilience isn't the popping back up that it is it is it is just kind of putting one foot in front of the other. One thing that I remember very clearly, and I just said this to someone, yesterday is your backup is up against the wall. And turns out the walls have really good support. So that's resilience, it's it's resilient to standing using that wall.Dr. Brad Miller:
The resilience can help you move against the resistance and keep moving forward. Because if you just stay, otherwise, you're just stuck. And that's part of what I think a lot of happens to a lot of folks, I want to get into some of your, how you apply this theory to real life situations in a second. But just to kind of the point is, a lot of people are stuck in the moment, or stuck in their grief. Or you're dissolved into not able to function any more out of their grief or other situations, their cancer, whatever it would be. And you have to make some really conscious decisions and actions to move forward. And you noticed you picked up on some of the things people said. So I think people didn't say that were helpful, and some of them not so helpful in this process. And that tells me that you kind of had even in the midst of your pain. Some things just felt weird. Some felt bad and some felt good. Am I right? Am I anywhere near correct here with Yeah, absolutely.Kim Hamer:
Right. Yeah, I couldn't. I couldn't even describe it sometimes why they felt good or why they felt bad. But I just knew that they were wrong, right?Dr. Brad Miller:
Let's just go there with some of the statements or some of the types of things that were said. They kind of fell in those categories. Good, bad, weird, if you will.Kim Hamer:
So one thing I tell everybody all the time is Don't say if you need anything, let me know. And I know that probably 99.9% of your listeners have said it. I used to say it all the time because it feels like it's really helpful. But there are really four specific reasons it's not helpful. The first one is when someone is sharing their pain with you. They really need you to share. And I'm not saying you need to be you know, feel their pain but what they want. They need witnesses. We all need witnesses. We need people to see us in the moment in those bad moments and In the good moments, and when you jump into if you need anything, let me know you're not witnessing them. So taking that moment to just be shocked by the information, it's okay to burst out crying, you know, it's not okay to get them to comfort you, but it's okay to burst out crying. It's okay to say, I don't know what to say. Right? That the gravity of the situation mean, that means that the gravity of the situation strikes you so hard that you were speechless. That's a beautiful thing. So I think that that phrase does not do that. The second reason it's not helpful is What does anything. Like what is anything?Dr. Brad Miller:
Anything? No is literally nothing in a way.Kim Hamer:
Exactly. Exactly. You know, I had a toddler, when my son went an older toddler four year old when my husband was diagnosed, does that mean that you were going to take your brand new, just clean, just detailed card up to preschool to pick up my vomiting toddler? Or did you mean that you'd be happy to drop off a bottle of wine, anything is to bank. The third reason it's not helpful is because now you're putting the pressure on the person who is dealing with this terrible thing to figure out what you mean by anything. And that's just, it's just too I can't I don't have the I have barely enough energy to function in my life as it's currently turned upside down, to figure out to break apart my day. And then the last reason it's not helpful, is because I don't know about you, but most of us aren't very good at asking for help. And so now you have this vulnerable person who might have come up with one thing that they think that maybe, you know, might be helpful to you might be helpful that they need. And now you're asking them to ask you to do it risking that you might go, oh, gosh, well, you know, they're not going to do it. Nobody wants to be vulnerable like that. So That's often why people use that phrase, and nobody and they don't, you know, and the person doesn't call you to askDr. Brad Miller:
it. Okay, I'm just gonna say just, I want to continue that conversation. But is it the I've conduct? I'm a retired pastor I've conducted in the neighborhood of 300 funerals in my class 40 something years. And the, what you described a scenario is so ridiculously common. It's, uh, you know, I've been there standing next to the casket. When people say things, what can I do, and the things I found better and better is when somebody just shook a hand or gave a look, and just said something like, I'm here for you, or what, you know, a specific thing that they could do for them. So let's go, let's let's go there from edit, because I know your book is wanted or acts of love, which tells me it's slightly different than 100 words of love. So I don't know, anywhere close to what you're about or not, but go there with what are some of the things you found a good thing or helpful?Kim Hamer:
Well, I do want to I do want to let people know, you know, you nailed on the head, the best thing you can do is to honor them in that moment, and then be specific about the kind of help you're willing to offer and offer more than once. Because again, this person is not dealing with a full deck of cards, and they're going to forget or they're going to think you really don't mean it. So we all have helping superpowers, things we like to do things we're good at. Those are the way those are the best possible ways to help somebody. Some other things that people did one of the most helpful things that Pete when someone did for us was they put a cooler by the front door. And this was the second time my husband got cancer. And it was so helpful, because it relieved me from the need to answer the door. And sometimes I was in the mood and art was in the mood for company. And sometimes we weren't. And oftentimes people show up with a meal and they want to you know, they want to connect them, they say how are you? And then I would feel the pressure because they just bought me a meal, I would feel the pressure that I need to respond. Right. I feel like they just it's the law of reciprocity. You just gave me something I need to respond in kind. And I don't want to respond. I'm tired. I've had a really long day, we just got bad news from the doctor, whatever it is. And so that cooler by the front door allowed me and art the option of responding. And after he died, it allowed me the option of responding. So if I knew a meal was being dropped off, I didn't necessarily have to answer the door. And that was a really great thing. Another great one is I often tell people just do the little things. You know, bringing a meal every Monday is great, and I will never downplay that. But a car needs a registration. Kids need to be picked up from school or have a night out. You know, work a worker needs to you know, needs a hot, hot cup of coffee. So there's, it's the little things the book is full of these little ideas, simple ways that you can show up. I wanted it I wanted to make it easy for people. I wanted people to know that it's not the big overwhelming things that really make a difference. It's the small little things that you do that you show up that really help.Dr. Brad Miller:
And really what you're sharing in your book as a whole is an essential list of tips or activities that people can do. And they can generate ideas of the specific snack that they that they can do. And, and I think what I'm hearing you say here, and I'd like for you to go deeper in this little bit is that part of what I think has to happen for people to navigate tragedy or navigate these things is you either have to be an action taker yourself, or you have to engage in some form or another that which needs to needs to be done the activity. And so I'd like you to go a little bit more into that, because you then chose to do some activities yourself, I'm thinking of writing some of the things that you did to help process this yourself. What do you think are some of the activities that people can do to be helpful to navigate something the tragedy such as you experienced?Kim Hamer:
I think, you know, writing for me was a very important one, I have, I didn't really consider myself a writer until that kind of book kind of, you know, came through me. So writing was very important. I think if you're, you know, if you're the person who is dealing with this loss, or this cancer, finding your people to talk to is really important, not everybody is going to be your person. And it's just sort of way it is, and so finding those people who are going to be able to hold a space for you. And you can have different people, you can have the people that you call up hysterically crying, feeling lost with and then that person holds you and, you know, hold you physically or figuratively, and let you process you can have your prayer group, right, your prayer group that you just need, you just maybe need some extra prayers right now. And today. So you have those people in your life. You know, you can have the logical people in your life like, these are my options for this type of cancer treatment. What do you think, have you can you pull up some research for me, so you can have all different sorts of people in your life, I think the most important thing, though, is to have people in your life. Oftentimes, what I see is someone will have a cancer diagnosis or deal with loss and they have been hurt. And so they don't they figure everyone else is going to be like this. So they pull back. Right?Dr. Brad Miller:
Right? If they've had bad experiences, and they say, forget, forget about our mathematics.Kim Hamer:
Exactly, exactly. Or, you know, seven people have said to them, if you need anything, let me know. And they're realizing that's not helpful, and no one's taking action. They get angry, and they get hurt, and they pull back.Dr. Brad Miller:
This exacerbates the pain. So let's address the I heard you say several things there. You talk about writing, you talked about people, you talked about prayer groups, you talked about logical people and kind of medical people and people to be comforted and to hold your hand. Let's go there, the mention of prayer and and I just want to go there to the area of the role that connected to our Higher Power spiritual plane. What role did this play in helping you an art navigate this and you know, even how you've navigated this situation? Since he's passed away, tell me the role that a spiritual life plays in everything that you're about here.Kim Hamer:
So in the beginning, not much. I mean, you know, we were going to church, and we stopped going because I couldn't go. And so I didn't want to take the kids by myself. We had someone who was coming in and talking to him sort of a spiritual adviser who would come and meet with him once a week, during the first round of his first term, he had cancer. But after that, we didn't have it the second time. So there wasn't a lot of spiritual spirituality in our lives. At that point, we had people praying for us, which was helpful. Where it really came in was when I was brought to my knees after he died. And, and it wasn't just the first year I was not brought to my knees until the third year after he died, okay. And when I realized I could not continue going on the way I was going on, I couldn't raise my children, I was still I was dealing with depression. I was, you know, I was messing around with alcohol. I was just, I knew there was this little and it was God, you know, for lack of better word that just said, you're in trouble, and you need to get help. Right. And so it wasn't, you know, it wasn't, I wasn't even connected enough to hear God's love. I was only connected enough to hear God tell me that I need to get help. And so that's where my spiritual life really took off was in that complete surrender. I couldn't I couldn't do my life anymore the way it was going. And I knew that I was going to, you know, I felt I was afraid that I was going to harm myself or harm my children, and really mess up even worse. And yeah, I mean, that little voice was just like, this is you need help. And that's exactly and I was like, You're absolutely right. And that's when I started to get help and that's when God stepped in. I was I was I was open as you know, you hear the stories all the time, right where people was brought to their knees and, you know, any, even then it took me a while to even get on my knees, I would pray to God standing up, right because it was just too, I was too willful. And then things really started to move when I got to my knees.Dr. Brad Miller:
Well, it seemed to me You strike me as a woman who, for in many ways would like to think that I can figure this out, you know, I can get through this. But you found that you needed people and you needed the spiritual plane, in order to ultimately to deal with this. And I don't know if that's anywhere near correct or not. But that's my take on it right now, I just believe that's basically true for everybody, you need people you need to have, you kind of have to have the physical aspect of it, if you will, you need to get active, you need to get engaged, you can't stay locked in the house under the covers the whole time, you got to get out and get engaged. And you need to make a connection in some states, something greater than self and including other people in and then share those those gifts with one another. And sounds like you did a pretty good job with that. And it's an ongoing process. And you're involved with it now. And, you know, I see, I just want to share with you that who has looked at your website and talking to you a couple of times, now you have a kind of a beautiful smile and countenance about you, that resonates and inner joy, and that's a good thing. And yet I know that there's whatever people have great pain. You know, there's tears and there is mad, there's anger, there's all the emotions that come into play. And I just want to ask you about where have you found? And how this whole process there? How have you found in experience, joy or laughter? Or even, you know, experiences with your husband, even though that put a smile on your face? Tell me where you get that from, if at all. I just want to talk to you about joy and laughter. And that part of things?Kim Hamer:
Yeah, that's a really good question. I don't know. I just I think that there is something that you know, I have always kind of liked and laughed at things, I think. I think it's, it's, that's a really good question, Brad. I think what I find is, it is it's just sort of this optimism. It's sort of like, you know, things are bad. And they could always be worse. Okay, I know. I know. That sounds like you know, when RT was first diagnosed in January, the second time was diagnosed the second time. Lebanon was bombing Israel, Israel's bombing Lebanon, I don't remember which one. Right. And, and, and I remember thinking, we're not there. Yeah, we just remember thinking we could be really relocating the whole family to a different part of Israel to a different hospital because the hospital that we were going to as being bombed, I know that people think well, that's sort of a survival mechanism. But it is, and it worked and art and I laughed about it, we were like, could be worse, we could be being bombed. You know,Dr. Brad Miller:
kind of sucks. It sucks to be your type of thing. Right.Kim Hamer:
Exactly, exactly. So I think it is, you know, it is about finding, finding the joy and finding the sweetness and I, what I've learned through this process, and through, you know, my my spiritual process is that I heard this quote, actually, I'm gonna do this quote, so good. This, it was by an actor, I forgotten his name, African American, young black actor, new to the scene. And he said, he really wanted a steady life. He's like, I'm so tired of these highs and these lows, and his therapist said, you know, you got a heartbeat, and it goes up and down. But if you go with the same, you're flatlined. Oh, andDr. Brad Miller:
I've not heard that off the look.Kim Hamer:
And so what I remember is that, you know, those lows are really low, and they're hard. But the highs are really high. And they're great. And so men, and I try to tamp myself down like I was, you know, with the alcohol and with everything else I was trying to use. I was trying to tamp it down because I didn't want to feel but I didn't want to feel the lows. But I also realized I was afraid of feeling the highs, you know, I was afraid of those incredible moments. And so once I once I worked through that, you know, when I'm low, even in the lowest moment, I shared with you before we started recording, you know, you said how are you and I was like well, that's up there yesterday. Yeah. A lot of conversation. You know, and, and in those tears, even in the moment of crying, I was so grateful I was crying. And then one point, I'm on my knees I'm laughing and crying at the same time, right because I'm laughing at the old Kim who would have never been on Her knees in the No, doesn't matter what you would have told her she would never gotten on her knees. And I'm laughing because that Kim is no longer here and I'm crying because I'm in, in such pain and I need I want direction I want I want God to just, you know, inspiring me one way or the other. And then I'm crying because I'm also so grateful. So I had all these, uh, you know, sad, grateful and joyful all in one moment. And I think when you can open yourself up to that, there's that there's that piece of it. And also, it's just really fun. I have to say I, I was at Camp widow two weeks ago in Tampa, there's a such a thing as camp widow love it. And we made a lot of jokes about dead people. You know. And when you're in that group, you get to make those kinds of jokes. And it's funny, and it's an it's a way to connect with each other and it's joyful. And if you aren't, if you don't have a dead person in your life, you may you probably look at us like we're crazy. Same thing with cancer, you know, we made a lot of jokes aren't now used to crack up about cancer, we talked about going to it when he was bald, we talked about going to a restaurant and complaining that they found hair and his food.Dr. Brad Miller:
That's a great story that'sKim Hamer:
theirs, there's hair in his foot, you know, so. So it's it's, it's the ability to understand that laughter isn't an escape. And it's just no matter how bad the moment is, there is a moment where you can just take a moment and breathe and just give a little giggle and it relieves It relieves the some of the pain It relieves some of the hardness and the harshness of it.Dr. Brad Miller:
It's a real human emotion, just like crying is. And that is you're feeling something that and I'm sure there's moments when you think of art, and think of your family moments, good and bad that just brings it just brings a smile to your face. Right?Kim Hamer:
So absolutely,Dr. Brad Miller:
that's awesome. The time comes, though, in this life cam, when you count, you mentioned has been 14 years since you lost him. And one of the things that people say people get stuck and what I'm all about here, and this podcast is helping people get unstuck and get on back to life, get on back to their living. And that was the case for you, you had to get back to your life and get back to your world and your business world. And, and you had to face a few challenges there about that. Because not everybody is equipped to deal with us in the workplace. And so let's take our last few moments and deal with that kind of the business side of things. So that's an important part of your business that you are run. So you are an HR person. Tell me about this scenario that you found in the workplace, that is kind of a unique thing that I that became a problem that you are now a problem you're helping to address.Kim Hamer:
Yeah, so you know, most people don't know what to say or what to do. And then I go into the workplace. And I realize it's the same thing. Most people don't know what to say or what to do. And it was, it was very painful to see, because what I saw was a group of people who wanted to help this employee dealing with cancer, or an employee dealing with loss, and not sure what to do looking for direction. And then I saw this on the other side, this person who wants the support, who needs the support, right, we spend a third of our lives at work working with individuals who we see more than our partners. And so they want the support from these people, and they don't know how to get it. And so that sort of that is where I went with the business, I am now helping managers and HR teams, you know, understand what to say and how to work with an employee dealing with cancer loss, or even if there's an employee death. I think it's something that in the end, I want to want to say this. For those people who are really struggling, it's about putting one pinky toe in front of the other. I did not get here because I took these leaps and bounds. Those early days were really hard. And there were days I just thought I just didn't want to. And I think it was I learned to lower my expectations for myself. And I know that's exactly the opposite of what you know, raise your expectations of what you can do. But what I found early on is something that my mentor always says to me, expectations or resentment under construction. Wow. Expectations. Yeah, or resentment under construction. So when I had expectations about myself about how I should behave, what I should be able to do after my husband died, they only they most of the time, they turned into resentment that I couldn't do them that I wasn't able so it was a judgment. So making sure that I had the really low expectations. There were mornings I was like okay, feet on the floor. What next? I should probably go use the bathroom. Great. Okay, done that now. Wash your hand. Great, right so it was one step at a time. I'mDr. Brad Miller:
thinking Joe's at a time, just tiny steps.Kim Hamer:
Exactly. And it was also also remembering to say I can't, it's not I don't want to. I can't. And and letting that be the okay answer. Because there was always the thing is, I really want to or should be able to, or, you know, I will, when I really I can't, I can't, I just can't right now. And so making sure that I that I was giving myself permission to say I can't right now, as as often as I could. So I just wanted to put that out there because I think that's something thatDr. Brad Miller:
that's a part of the process that you teach HR folks and that type of thing. And corporate types and, and it gives them some tools to work with. Because I know HR folks are dealing with, you know, all the protocols of the workplace and all, you know, the management of personnel and other things. A lot of times, it's the human emotion that we have a hard time dealing with. And, you know, I know they are certain certain HR people are given certain protocols on how to emotionally handle hiring and firing and that kind of stuff. But not always this kind of situation. And I think it's a, I'm assuming it's a real need. I know, my wife works at a law, large law firm, of pits international in scope. And this is a relatively common thing, you know, people do get sick, and they do die in a law firm with with 1000 people on it, it happens and, and you have to deal with it. Even in my small offices that I dealt with, we just have four or five people in the offices that dealt with common thing, common thing. So how you deal with it makes a difference. And, and I just want to thank you for giving us some handles to work on here for this workplace. Anything you want to say specifically about how this might be helpful if there's an HR person listening to us today, who say, Okay, this is exactly what I need.Kim Hamer:
I think I want people to know that there is a balance between empathy and productivity, I think what happens in the workforce is something like this happens, we know it's an emotional hard thing. And we back off, because we are so afraid of asking people to step in to show up in one way or another. And that is one of the biggest mistakes we make there is there is a way to be empathetic, and also to still drive productivity on a team. And you don't have to be mean, right? I think there's this idea of like, managers don't want to be mean. So you don't have to be mean to do it. So I and it's not it's not as difficult as people think. So I think that's I'm in this gray area that people don't realize exists. And that is that people want to help, they want to show up. And they also want to get work done. And there is a way that you can work with employees, you know, dealing with cancer loss, depression, or even grief on a team that will help the team do both of those things. And when you do that, right, when you do that, well, you end up driving employee Connect, you know, employee engagement higher, you end up with more connected employees, you end which means you end up with more productivity. So there's, there's a, there's a reason to do this, a business pays to do it as well.Dr. Brad Miller:
Yeah. Well, let's close with this countless thought here, I always like to close with a sense of the results of what's of what's happened here. The name of your book is 100 acts of love, I'd like for you to I want people to go buy the book, of course. And I want you to tell us a minute how to get in everything. But give us one or two, give us one freebie. And I'd like you to share that with me with us in the context of a story of maybe someone who's been helped by the book or by your own personal counsel or, or something like that. Give us a story.Kim Hamer:
So it's very interesting. You asked for this, I just got an email yesterday from a woman who has been on my email list since I was doing a different business. And she shared that her husband died two years ago, you know, in the middle of COVID. And one of the things she shared she said that what you know, what my book gave her was the opportunity to know exactly what she needed to ask for help. So she literally made copies of the book and sent it to people and this is what I need, right? So she would she would say this tip is this tip. You do this and this tip when people would say if you need anything, let me know, especially those the friends that were close to her. So she used it that way. She found it really, really helpful. I do want to tell a really quick story, please. My neighbor, Nate, my neighbor Nate wandered up to my house one day after art died, knocked on the door and said what was the last time the oil was changed in your car? And I was like, I have no I was like, there's oil in the car. So he said I'll tell you what, I'm home all day tomorrow. leave the keys in the mailbox, text me I'll come get it and I'll change it for you. And I said, Okay. And y'all I did not want me to help me. I felt like this was I think there was a month four or five, I felt like I was okay. I wasn't, I felt like I should be able to do this by myself. I couldn't. And so I was very hesitant. But in the morning, I was like, you know, what, just have him do what he offered. So I called him I put the keys in the mailbox, he came and grabbed the car. He texted me when he put the car back and put the keys back in the mailbox. The next day, I went out to the car. And it looked very different. And I was like, huh, and I got in, and I turn the car on, and I start to cry. Because they just didn't have the oil change in the car, he had had it washed inside and out. And he had filled it with gas. Nate didn't do this. Again, he did it one time. And then that one gesture, he relieved all this pressure off of me, right? Remember, first of all, in the early stages of grief, remembering anything is impossible. So remembering to put gas in the car wasn't possible. My car was a mess. I had three young children. And I wouldn't you know, the idea of just changing the oil in the car was just something so far from my brain. And so what this what this demo, what this illustrates is, it's simple gestures that are so powerful and so easy to do. And what he did really mattered so much so that I went down to his house a year later. Now, I said thank you to him, of course. But I went down one day when I was thinking about it. And I said, I just want to thank you so much for for doing this for me. And he said, I want to thank you for allowing me to help helping you help me. Sure.Dr. Brad Miller:
And that's one great way of looking at it. And that is indeed an act of love, isn't it an act, an act of love to you experience. And your book is a way to help share those with other folks. So our folks are out there listening. And they in many cases, they're hurting, they need some practical tips. Kim Hamer tell people, how they can find out more about you what you're all about your book and your consulting and what you're all about.Kim Hamer:
Sure. So first of all, you can go to 100 acts of love.com backslash what not to say. And you can download for other phrases never to say to anybody dealing with cancer or loss, and what to say instead because I don't want to leave you hanging. So that's 100 acts of love.com. What Not To Say no spaces, no capitalized. I am on Instagram at 100 acts of love. And I'm also on LinkedIn all over the place. I post Tuesday Tips. I do a Thursday live. If you have any questions about what you should do for an employee, just go ahead and ask me and I will answer them on the live and I'm just I'm launching a YouTube channel next month.Dr. Brad Miller:
Awesome. And that's 100 acts of love and I just would point out so numeral 100. 100actsoflove.com. We'll put links to all that in our website, Dr. Brad miller.com. Our guest today, the author of 100 Acts of Love. Kim Hamer, thank you for being our guest today.