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Nov. 15, 2022

How discovering the death of my mother (as a child) shaped my future

Lesley lost her mom at the age of 10 in a shocking and tragic way. Recovering from that and growing up without her made life very difficult in small town Texas, being raised by a single father.

Lesley lost her mom at the age of 10 in a shocking and tragic way. Recovering from that and growing up without her made life very difficult in small town Texas, being raised by a single father.

Lesley went on to find success in acting and pageants, eventually earning a BFA in acting with her specialty being musical theater. Her father encouraged law school where she earned her JD and now balances supervision of 2200 active litigation files and 90+ employees along with being a mom of 2 boys.

Navigating her father's sudden death in 2020 meant she had to cope with the grief and tragedy all over again - this time as an adult.

Lesley's story is a powerful one of love, grief and resilience. Lesley lives with her duck hunting husband, an argumentative 7 year old and a rambunctious 6 year old who are required to put up with her bursting into song should the mood strike.

Lesley is passionate about supporting women, especially in leadership roles.











Alright, welcome back to between the before, and after I'm very excited to have my guest Leslie holiday with me today and served as a holiday or Halo.

I'm like, it is holiday season.

So it's actually Hollow a, I just had had a momentary brain, fart was like, today is a holiday.

So that's the fun part about this being live as we don't get to rewind.

And well, let's edit that one out now, we'll keep that one.

How are you doing, Leslie?
I'm doing great.

Thank you.

Thanks for having me.

Yeah, yeah.

So before we dive into your Or here, which is really quite a remarkable one.

I was like to give people a little little kind of snapshot of where you're at right now, kind of what's going on with you and if people want to get in touch with where they can find you and then we'll dive into your story and some of the things you've overcome.


So I am the managing partner of a large personal injury, Law Firm here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and I supervise a staff of over all.

We have almost 100 employees.

A lot of those employees over half report directly to me.

As I'm a large staff, a lot of attorneys.

And so I'm, I'm doing that daily.

I'm also a mom of, yeah, two little boys.

So, I have that on my plate and I am just typically working volunteering for their school.

Trying to, you know, we have over 2,000, litigation files that were working on well, so it's a it's a large practice.

Because I'm doing that.

So you're a lawyer.

Yes, yes.

Among other things, your lawyer, your mom, your money, other things as well.

But in your profession, you're a lawyer, you know, and I think about how the legal profession is presented in television shows and series and movies and things like that and kind of my thought is that I'm curious actually when you watch it and you watch representations of lawyers on things like that.

What kind of runs through your head?
Well, I think that I was definitely more intrigued.

I those shows before I actually became a lawyer, I did go to school for acting for my undergrad and fair enough.

I think that I originally thought I just wanted to be playing the lawyer on TV rather poke a lawyer.

You want a real one?
Yeah yeah I grew up watching LOL.

I think was a big show back when I was sort of a kid it wasn't quite the law and order but you know, if they have a good advisors on I'm set.

I think that they can really get it right?
And some of those some of those legal things can be really intriguing.

I mean, I'll still get sucked into a law-and-order marathon but right.

Right, right.

Yeah, and so it's different.

What I do I do civil law.

Yeah, yeah.

There maybe isn't quite as much drama in that I think most times I guess if they're going to do a show around something illegal, it seems going to evolve criminal and oftentimes like murder or like something that's really dramatic and something as a storyline that just pulls Us in and kind of compels us.

So but I think so, you might still have an opportunity to act as a lawyer.

I know at some point.

I mean I did some volunteer work for a scholarship where the lawyers get together and put on sort of a show sort of a Saturday Night Live type red.


So I have done some acting still but yeah I don't know, I don't know what the future holds with that, that that would be kind of fun to be like, well I was a lawyer in real life for X number of years and I get to Play one and, you know, maybe you could do be like a singing musical lawyer just to like just right, right?
Going to has there been a musical drama around a courtroom sort of story.

Well, I don't know about a musical drama, you know, they made Legally Blond into a musical for Broadway, a fair enough, okay.

That was a really big hit and then and then A Few Good Men, which a lot of people are familiar with.

It was actually a play.

The one who is not a musical, but it was a play before it became immediately.

So, I'm just picturing like, you know, the jury's would be like a chorus where they like sing something out and, you know, everybody you'd like you dramatically present your case in Long.

That would just, it would be quite something and then that, I'd imagine the judge would be, like, just like this kind of, like deep baritone, like, kind of booming, Voice or something like that.

It, you know, I don't know.

That there's an idea.

Just planting seeds for the future.

Yeah, maybe, maybe you're onto something.

Could be my wife.

Does some performing and producing whatnot.

And so in local theater.

And so, yeah, maybe maybe I could convince her to try to put something like that on, because she all, she likes these legal dramas, and things like that as well.

So yeah here.

Yeah, so here are planning out your future.

Um, yeah.

Sounds good?
Yeah, great plan.

You know and I guess I'm kind of curious, you know, you have like a lot on your plate in terms of like, being a lawyer and it's probably potentially long hours in your work in the realm of a civil law and personal injury.

I think, you know.

How does that sort of effect?
Like because I just picture there is not nearly as Eating maybe as its presented to be in terms of law profession.

And there's like maybe a lot of, like, slogging and like hard work or maybe you're now more managing people in.

You are managing cases, is that, right?
So I am managing people more than I am managing cases these days so and that's a very difficult thing to do is manage people working up a case is I don't want to say it's easy.

I mean each case is different and but I've been doing it for almost 15 years.

So yeah, working working a case is something that I can do just because I've done it for so long versus, you know, dealing with people, it's a more challenging because you're just getting so many different types of personalities that you have to deal with and try to get the best performance from for their work.

So, you know, I'm kind of always coming up with different strategies for how to manage people.

So I definitely do that more than I actually work on the cases these days.


Humans one such a more complicated in cases because it with cases, you're trying to deal with factual reality is versus the sort of unpredictability of The Human Condition.





Condition is what we study because we are picking juries.

And when you're doing jury selection, there are dozens dozens of books on jury selection.

And the philosophy behind it and how do you pull out people's bias?
And, you know, inherent thoughts, on whatever topic you're trying to approach a trial?
How do you pull all that out of them?
And the 45 minutes, you have to pick a jury.

So it is really a study of human beings in a lot of ways.

Mmm, fair enough.

So, and that's part of why we have this podcast here as well as to explore people's sort of Stories and our tagline is the stories that shape us.

And so of course, I wanted to dive into your story as well and kind of how its shape the path you've traveled.

And I think one of the major elements in your story and maybe get a little back story to this but ultimately it was the the tragic passing your mother at the age of 10.

But if we run just a little bit before that, I gave us a bit of a backstory, kind of what your childhood and things leading up to that.

I believe you grew up in small-town, Texas.

Is that right?
Yes, I was born in.

Tyler Texas.

And that was the big city.


I grew up in in a small town Mineola, which I looking back, I really loved being from a small town because I think that they're, it's just Kinder in a lot of ways to grow up in a small town and not the big city.

So they're just it's just a Kinder atmosphere, I think for kids, but I wouldn't say that my, my A hood.

My son asked me the other day.

Was it easier being a kid or an adult.

And I wouldn't say my childhood was particularly.

Happy mean.

It wasn't it wasn't it wasn't terrible earlier, you know, before my mom passed but it was difficult.

My, my parents had gone through a divorce when I was six.

Okay, yeah, and I was being raised by my by my mom and my dad was a builder.

And so this was the late 80s when building wasn't so great, the market would be so great for that.

So we had some Financial struggles.

Al's as well.



And what a kind of profound question to be asked by your son.

It's life.

Easier is as a kid or an adult.


He has some insightful things to say that one my my eight-year-old he's a he's a thinker.

And what was his thoughts on that?
Well I think he has a lot of empathy and so I think he thought that it was pretty sad.

To for me to say that I didn't have a particularly happy childhood.


And he sort of felt, he felt, sorry, he said, oh I feel so sorry for you and I, you know, and I, which I will don't, I mean, it's just, it's more of an observation than it is attached to it at this point.



Fair enough.

And so you're living with your mom and you were, you were visiting Aunt of yours.

When it when you came across your mom and You know, share what you're comfortable with, but kind of, I guess, lay the scene a little bit here.

What happened and what was going on when you discovered your kind of what went through your head?
Yeah, so it was it's amazing.

The kind of clarity you can still have.

And and remember when such a big event happens to you even at such a young age and there was no indication that anything like that was going to happen.

My aunt was out of town.

So I had a Older cousin, but she was still in high school and she had asked my mom and I to come over and stay with her while they were out of town.

So I remember we went and rented some movies from Blockbuster.


And came back, and I had stayed up and watched one movie with her.

I can't remember the movie I watched, but I remember she was what she was going to stay up and watch Monty Python, okay, and class.

Yeah, and so she, you know, she went and put me in the guest room.

The second night and it was a school night.

It was, it was it was a Monday and I remember that also put me to bed said I love you.

You know, all the things.

There's no indication no, you know, she wasn't, she was Ill, she had a, she had diabetes and had a really hard time managing it.

And like I said, we had Financial Still struggles.

So insulin was not cheap.

So just her management and diabetes was so much harder to manage back in the 80s.

And it is now, they've they've really made a lot of good progress with that.

But but yeah.

So I woke up to get ready for school and she was lying in the living room floor.

and, I, Walked in and just something inside of me knew immediately.

And when I got close to her and I leaned down to touch her.

And she was cold to the touch and my heart just sank.

And I knew and my cousin came in and I was like, I need to call my dad and she said, yeah, what's going on?
And I said, I said, I think she's dead and my cousins, like, oh no, we need to call an ambulance, or I'm gonna call the neighbor, and I just remember thinking I need to call my dad, and you call my dad.

And, and uh, yeah.

So she calls the neighbor and The Neighbor comes over and then they decide to call the ambulance.

And in my mind, I just remember, thinking it's too late for this.

Like, this is too late.

Yeah, even as just even as a child knowing that it was, it was too late for all of that.

So I think.

Yeah, it was and then well, then it was just a lot of activity after that a big bustle of activity after that.

So but I think about like as you kind of walk into that room there's something about like maybe us as humans and we can maybe sense the energy of another human and we can't really put our finger on it necessarily, but when you walk in the room and you see the body there and you don't feel that And maybe we can't necessarily describe it.

Exactly like what's going on.

But there's something intuitively in us that we know.


It's are the times already passed like, it's it's too late to do something about this and so now there's all sort of like rush and like a bustle of activity and what not and you're sitting here trying to really process what's taking place?
I gather you probably would have went to school that day.

How did that day play out for you?
I just looking back, I was in shock really.

It's that feeling of seeing everything happening around you, but it's like you're part of it and not at the same time.

And I remember the police were called, I remember.

We were waiting on a justice of the peace to come out and declare her dead.

I remember the ambulance, I remember, when the ambulance got there and they walked in, and they took one look at her and was like, there's nothing we can do here.


I remember my grandparents coming over her parents, I remember my brother coming over and the look on his face when he saw her.

I just, I remember mainly calling my dad.

I did call him myself and say you need to come over to my aunt's house and he could tell immediately something was wrong.

And I, he's like, what's wrong, what's wrong?
And I said, I said Mom, I'd and he just said, I'll be there as fast as I can.

He hung up obviously?
There weren't cell phone, she couldn't stay on the phone with somebody in the 80s.

So yeah, he just hung up.

And, and he just flew over there and I remember, you know, everybody being really concerned about me and sort of, you know, wanting to like, keep me in this bubble and protect me.

But it's like, well, I'd already seen the worst of it.

Yeah, yeah.

Was to be shielded at that point.


Right, right.

So yeah, it was the j.p.

came in and then they, you know, took her away and that was I didn't see her again until the funeral home.

Hmm, yeah.

So then kind of going through something like that young and I don't I don't know how like well you know you were given the opportunity to kind of process and navigate that, you know, I think sometimes maybe back I mean I was I'm travel the 80s as well we worked so well equipped You know, we didn't have the internet as hard as it is to imagine nowadays, but, you know, didn't have any.

I didn't have cell phones, things like that, maybe access to information, resources wasn't really the same.

How did it kind of effect?
Like, you know, at some point I'm going to go back to school and see your classmates.

Again, kind of go through like your teen years without a mom to ask questions too.

And so on and just there's like this gaping absence in your life.

You know.

How did that shape your kind of ensuing years as you went through High School, your kind of routine.


Well, it definitely Most of all it messed with my value and my self-worth because going through the grieving process as a child.

The number one thing you start to think is, what did I do?
What did I do wrong?

And there's a lot of like I must have done something bad and then it sort of became, okay?
I didn't do anything bad but but my mom didn't take good care of herself.

Why wasn't I worth it to her?
To take better care of herself?
So there's a lot of self-worth issues, just and so made me start.

I mean, luckily, my dad stepped in and was wonderful but he still didn't feel that.

Void, left your books there.

And so I think I just had so many issues with self-worth that I was looking for external validation, so that's why I got You know, I went through, like, a lot of girls, I went through like a little bit of an ugly duckling phase, in my middle school years.

And, and I think that I just sort of, I was really down on myself a lot and then, and so, then I worked really hard to be physically attractive to get that validation from other people to hear that.

I was, you know, because you look physically attractive, grownup, grownup, girl, and East.

Texas is a lot of time.

That's what It's about.

And so I put a lot of time and effort into that, but it was just never internal.

Like, my internal value self-worth was just never there and it was always a struggle especially during the teen years.


Did that affect friendships relationships?
You know, that shape who you may be like let into your life in that capacity.

Yeah, I mean it definitely did I think that it was tough to have to have boyfriends, I sort of felt like I was not ever really.

I just didn't really think I was very worthy of being in a relationship or being cared about.

So I think that it really it is really mess with myself so forth in that way that I had a hard time with boyfriends in particular.

I I felt like I needed to have a boyfriend or I need to have a certain type of boyfriend or maybe this boyfriend wasn't good enough.

I needed it just as messing with the idea that like who I, dated was a reflection of me and my self-worth.

So what it was really challenging and that way.


And and some really fascinating and self-aware insights kind of an on hindsight and in reflection and so I wonder was there any sort of figure that stepped into your life that was Bit of a mother figure to you or was that just something that was absent for you and you're being raised by a single dad, you just did the best you could.

Well, I had several people who were helpful, my mom's best friend was one of those.

She really, she really stepped in and tried to do her the best she could.

But I was very much like, I don't want anybody to replace my mother, I was very sort of standoffish when it came to that idea of somebody trying to replace my mom.

I just Just, I didn't want it.

My grandmother was pretty supportive and active in my life.

I mean, my grandmother had younger sisters, who were very supportive.

So there were a lot of support around me but I didn't want somebody coming in trying to be my mom, right?

I was just like that that person is gone and I'm not going to try to fill it with somebody else and that my dad he was You know, he was in it.

I mean, he was ready to step up and, you know, take me on full time he didn't have me full time.

Then my mom did because they were divorced, but he was just immediately.

Like, okay, I'm gonna and I mean, even though they were divorced, I'm just how did he handle the loss of her?
Because again, it's something that says sudden its unexpected.

There's you know, you might consider you might consider like last interactions and things like that.

You know how did he handle that?
It's hard.

It's hard for me to really say as a ten-year-old girl because I was so wrapped up in my own fair enough.

Yeah, my own tragedy but I think that he did take it hard.

I think that he still had a lot of love for my mom and they just had a really tumultuous relationship.

And I think it had all of us hard is because it was so unexpected.

She was so young.

I mean, I mean she was 38 years old.


So it's just I think I think everyone took it hard.

I think that that he did take it.

I think that he felt a little bit like he had still lost the love of his life.

And he never really never remarried.

He never.


You know, he just did a sort of dedicated his life to taking care of me.

Yeah, which is pretty remarkable.

And you mentioned having a sibling older younger.

Some older brother.

He was actually from my mom's first marriage, soak a half brother and he he was a he was a senior.

I was in fifth grade and he was a it was a singer.


When this happened.


What kind of what kind of relationship did you have with him?
Like it.

Does he feel like a brother or was it sort of somewhat too?
Because the age Gap, really wasn't the same or it really wasn't the same.

I mean, he was so much older and just in two different things and we just we never really saw eye-to-eye.

Unfortunately, he was He had his own sort of issues with life just because his dad wasn't present and my dad stepped in or tried to step in and there was there were a lot of issues around that and so we just were never close.

It's funny.

We actually didn't speak for about 10 years just because of how our relationship was.

And then after my dad passed, we Sort of started talking again through text and I think that it's been good.

I think we feel more like where he lost our mother.

And so he felt like he lost everything and that I still have my dad, so we're quite on the same level and then once I lost my dad it's like okay.

Now we've both lost everyone and yeah somehow that sort of Drew us a little bit more together.



It's it's tough.

You know, it's interesting how these Kind of human experiences can really do that to relationship because it makes us maybe think about things differently and you know regardless you're still like a blood connection to him, you know right.

You know so so the end up pursuing the pursuing legal profession and whatnot you know you had some difficult relationships because you didn't really know how to maybe navigate a relationship and what that what started to turn the tide for you where maybe you know your struggles around self-worth.

We're Sort of maybe leading to difficult relationships because you know, obviously found a husband, you got a couple of you know, beautiful kids and whatnot.

So what was that, what was that turning point for you?
Well, I think that and I've only come to realize sort of recently.

I don't know that there was really a turning point.

I know that my freshman year of high school, I was sort of going down the wrong path.

I was hanging out with a bunch of seniors.

I was not do my school work.

I had failed a class Ass.

I just was, I felt like that was a pivotal moment in my life and I was out at a party and my dad came and got me from the party.

This was super embarrassing but I was just, I was doing a lot of the things that teenagers do but I was doing it without a lot of guidance and and we got in a huge fight, a huge fight and That night, I remember was sort of a catalyst to turn the tides and I turned that was one turning point in my life.

I think that's sort of got me on the road to.

Okay, where am I going in life?
And luckily, I found acting and singing and I just loved it so much that I wanted to sort of get my life straight so that I could pursue that.

And, you know, Couldn't participate if your grades weren't good and all of that.

So I think that that helped me to sort of refocus and get myself together.

But I still struggled in college even with relationships and end my relationship with my husband.

We've known each other for 20 years and it's definitely had its ups and downs over those 20 years, but a lot of having to do sure again, with just my own perception of my own self worth and it wasn't until my dad passed that I really had to explore.

Our that pretty deeply.


And that was what you pushing?

And that's remarkable and get insightful to say.

I think it's really powerful actually, because let's say we hear a story like this and like your story isn't complete.

There's still a journey that you're on and so there's so much growth that's taking place just over the years inevitably.

I mean the thing about the responsibility of being in the firm and being a managing partner in a firm, you know, being a mother.

And so on all of these response, like life carries on life, doesn't stop.

You have to carry it all these things and somewhere in there, you know, you have to fit try and fit a little bit of time in terms of like processing growing and developing and but you know how fantastic is it to have some sort of go alongside you and you know I think it wouldn't be like a meaningful relationship if there wasn't some times some tumultuous times because inevitably were two human beings like I've been together my wife first 17 years and, you know, there's been a lot of ups and downs along the way, but we approach through the lens of like we're going to figure this out one way or another like yeah, we're going to butt heads but we're going to figure this out because we decide Going to try and kind of grow together and has that been the case for you where there's, you know, you kind of had some growing and maturing together and whatnot.

Yeah, we did.

We did.

We got together so young and then we actually we broke up for a while.

We got, we went our separate ways and then ultimately chose to come back together.

After after a bit after a little separation of about three.

Three to four years.

We had so many mutual friends, we still kind of Knew of each other in the same circles.

But yeah, I think we needed that we needed that time to sort of separate, and I feel like I'm sort of constantly working on myself.

And I just, I feel like I have a tattoo on my foot that says eudaimonia, and it's a Greek word for happiness, but what it really means is human flourishing.

And I like that because I feel like it's more active and more.

Kind of just there's work attached to it, right?
And purpose.

I think that's what.

Yeah, I think that's what is what I'm sort of constantly doing to try to just improve as a human being so yeah, absolutely no.

There was a lot of work between the both of us, but ultimately by like together and figured it out.

I think one of the things that maybe leads human beings to struggle is the idea that happiness is a destination.

I think I'm just going to get to this point in my life.

Where are all the stars?
Going to align them for the rest of my life is happily ever after, when recognize that happiness is a is a transient State.

It's one that comes and goes as we navigate the highs and lows of life.

And so we set ourselves up, ironically to be unhappy when there's this expectation that somewhere in my future is Perpetual happiness.

And so I love that this idea that, you know, this is really about human flourishing and we find happiness and having a sense of purpose, meaning, or maybe more than happiness, like a sense of fulfillment and even becoming comfortable, if you know, you talked about your still work in progress.

And you get to the place and maybe I'll just ask for them to speak for you but you feel like you're now more comfortable about being a work in progress and maybe not feel like it's something that should be concealed or hidden.

Oh yeah, absolutely.

I think that for a long time I wanted to appear as if I had it all figured out and I wanted to just put that out into the world, like I know what I'm doing.

Don't don't question me, I've got this and I feel About certain topics.

Yeah, I've if you want to come touch me about a case and in the legal field I feel really confident in that and and yeah, at this point I am okay with saying that I'm still learning and I'm still working on myself and I think that that's a lifelong Pursuit and there's nothing wrong with that at all and yeah, it's even good for you.

Well, absolutely.

Because again, happiness isn't really a destination.

We get to this point and development.

We think I'm supposed to be happy here and I'm not What was because there's more and we recognize when we get to this point that oh, I actually have capacity for more growth and for more learning more development.

And that's that's part of like the enriching human crew experience.

And so one of the things I want to make sure we don't miss here as we're getting near the end of the episode.

But we you mentioned the passing of your dad.

And that there was that was relatively sudden as well.

And that only happened in 2020 is that right correct?

This time around this time in twenty twenty two years ago at the time of recording this and you know it was this one unexpected.

Didn't sudden as well, it was, he had health problems for several years, but, you know, we always thought he was sort of like a cat with nine lives.

He always managed to come through it and I guess I, he jokingly said that, a fortune teller told him once he was going to live to be eighty two.

And so in my mind I just always thought he would, at least get to 82.

And so it was just sudden it was during covid and he just passed Suddenly at home and It was it was a huge shock and we talked every single day.

I talked to him every day.

On the way home from work on the weekends we were just super close and so it was a huge shock and and yeah it was it was pretty devastating.

What age was he when he passed?
He was 79.



And so, Um I think about how you would have you navigated grief without maybe if I could put it this way.

Maybe like not a lot of direction or understanding as a child correct.

You're right there wasn't many resources back then but this time around I wonder did it bring back, you know, sometimes a traumatic event like that or a shocking event like that.

Can really bring us back to this place mentally and emotionally where we were before it.

Did you find maybe to your surprise that some of these feelings?
You experience as a ten-year-old were coming back to your like I've been through this before Before somehow, you know, I think I was just more about.

Okay, this day has finally come.

When it happened.

When I was 10, I spent a lot of time living in fear of losing my dad, okay?
And so part of it was just okay, it's finally here because I had spent so much of my life worrying about him and worry about when he was going to pass and sort of like what am I going to do being scared about stability?
I think.

Obviously, he had passed when I was very stable.

I mean, I can take care of myself.

When you're young child, you're worried, like who's going to take care of me, right?
And so part of it was just like, okay, it's finally here.

This day has finally come.

And the day I had worried about for 30 years had yeah, finally manifested.

And Help you with all that.

Yeah, I guess I think about it and of course hindsight being 20/20, you know?
Because you could have known this day was going to come, but did 30 years of worrying about this, you know, serve you I guess really, in a sense I always tell my kids, don't spend your time worrying about those things.

They've sort of, you know, they've had to be exposed to me, losing my dad and then of course they have questions about death and then they start asking.

Well, I'm so worried about the day your Diana and I just I say absolutely do not worry about this one, you have no control over it.

Absolutely none.

And I made so many decisions in my life.

Because worrying about being too far away from my dad.

Hmm, being getting too much distance, not being around and not being there to jump in.

If something happened, it's just an, it's what it did not serve me, I don't think very well.

I think that I made a lot of choices based out of fear rather than wanting to make the choice, but I think just being sort of afraid of losing him.


What do you miss most about your dad?
Well, the thing I've been working on for the past two years is the fact that he was so much of a sounding board for me.

When I had a stressful day or a problem, he just always knew the right thing to say to me.

And I remember when covid hit, and no one knew what was going on in the world and I had we'd just moved and bought a new house and we hadn't sold our other house yet and I was sort of freaking out.

And he just told me everybody in the world feels this way right now ever.

No one knows what's going on.

Everyone feels just like this.

You are not the only one.

He just always had such a good good way of putting things into perspective for me.

Yeah, I miss that.

Yeah, yeah.

And ate your kids, had the opportunity to get to know him as Grandpa as well.

They did.

Yeah, good.

And how did you help them?
You know, because you now know what it's like at home.

Losing a grandparent versus a parent.

Isn't quite the same thing, but I imagine there's still some grief connected to that and you can who have a sort of different level of empathy, because you now understand as a child, what?
It's like to have a significant loss like that.

And how did you help them sort of process navigate that grief at a really young age?
Well, one thing is I didn't try to hide my grief from them.

I think that letting them know that it's okay to cry.

And sometimes I they would see me start to tear up and don't cry mommy and I would just remind them, it's okay.

These are just, it's part of the process.

I just have to feel this way.

I have to cry.

I have to you know, it's all the love for grandpa.

That is still is it's not able to be expressed.

To him directly, that's what it is.

And so, beautiful way of putting it.

That's why I'm so sad.

And I think the other thing is to talk about him to have to tell stories about him funny stories to.

I mean, there's a lot of humor in my life with my dad and I will tell them the funny story.

So I think laughing and smiling helps process.

That grief and remembering those good things.

Things are just keeping that person sort of present in your life even though they're not not around anymore.


Keeping their memory alive and keeping them alive in your heart.

And, you know, I think you touched on some really really important things.

One not be afraid to talk about the individual and I think sometimes we fear when a loved one or a close friend or something has lost someone in their life that we don't want to talk about it because we don't want to stir up feelings of Pain by reminding them of their loss.

And yet one of the best things, I think we can do for someone who's leaving is to to celebrate that person and the the role of the place that they had in an individual's life.

So, getting place that and maybe the second thing being and what a beautiful lesson, teacher Boys, in particular because I'm a, I've got a 20 month old son, and I just think about how I want to help him to develop as an emotionally healthy male where it's okay to feel feelings, it is okay to have feelings and if anything it's incredibly unhealthy to block and Us them and, you know, I love being male and masculine I love being strong physically.

It just, you know, it's part and parcel with being masculine, I guess, but I don't think it diminishes masculinity to have feelings and to feel them.

And so dispelling, that myth I think is remarkable maybe one of the best gifts that you can, you can give to your boys that it's just, it's okay to feel these things and it's part of Being Human.


I think that is very important for boys today.

Especially growing up.

I want my boys to be able to To to feel their emotions, recognize what they are recognized, where they're coming from, I always say name it to tame it, you know?
Let's, let's, let's, let's let's figure out what you're feeling right now.

Are you frustrated?
Are you mad?
Are you tired?
Are you hungry?
Let's get to what it is that's causing this and just being able to recognize I think is so important and then yeah, process it.

And then like, okay, let's get into your feelings.

Let's have them.

And it is okay to cry.

If it's, you know, if it's something worth crying over, its, you know, you don't want to just cry about every little thing in the world, but we definitely, right, right?
What, our boys, to, to have those emotions and not to bottle them up.

It's just so, it's so unhealthy for you.

Yeah, to have so much of that bottled up.

Yeah, I'm firmly convinced that suppress emotions.

Diminish, our immunity and lead to health issues in ways that we can't necessarily.

Measure in a scientific study, but I think we as human beings have this understanding that there is something about suppressed emotions that leads to some form of like disease dis.

He's really, we could say in the body.

Well, lastly, it's truly been a pleasure chatting with you.

I really appreciate your openness and just sharing your experience here, you know, it.

I know what's.

It's been maybe a number of years, you've used probably spoke about it a lot, but I think it still takes courage to step forward and to share your experience.

And so I really want to acknowledge and appreciate that you you're willing to come and do that to help other people as they navigate difficult experiences.

So I want to thank you for that.

And the final question I always like to ask my guess is, if kind of, if you could offer one nugget that you would like people to take away food, listen, this conversation today.

And you think we know if I just in part one little nugget I would like people to take away from this.

What would that be?
I think it's that grief is survivable.

It feels like the world is coming to an end when you lose someone.

That's so close to you, but you just keep taking one more step forward every day and you do get through it and you know, resilience and it's not about bouncing back, it's just being able to to bend And when the hard time comes and you just have to, you know, keep moving forward.

Everybody experiences it, it's a collective feeling.

Everybody's going to lose someone, and it gives me great comfort to know that there are other people out there feeling the same things that I'm feeling.

So I think that knowing like here's a person that has experienced grief on it on a very deep level and still managed to move forward.

That would give me a lot of comfort.


So, I hope that, that, that gives other people Comfort.

I love that.

I think I think myself grief is inevitable in life because it's a part of being human in it it means something precious and valuable has been our life.

But I love that final thought just that grief is survivable and maybe that's the thing that stops us from grieving is this fear of what we will experience if we allow grief to be fully expressed.

So what a beautiful take away grief is survivable.

Well, thank you so much Leslie.

It's truly been a pleasure chatting with you.

And I'm just excited for what comes next for you.

Thank you so much for having me.

I enjoyed it.

Thank you so much for tuning in to between the before.

And after if you've enjoyed this episode, please like share, subscribe or leave a review because that helps his podcast to reach and Inspire more people.

I love exploring the stories that take place between the before and after the powerful experiences that shape, who we become and I love human potential.

I'd love the possibilities that lie within us.

So whatever you may be up, Against.

I hope these stories inspire you because if you're still here, your story is not done yet.

So keep moving forward.

Anyone can come from any place of Brokenness and destitution and build an amazing life.

Jonathan McLernonProfile Photo

Jonathan McLernon


Coach Jon is a weight loss coach and emotional eating expert who has lost 100lbs. From nanotechnology researcher, to Navy marine engineer, to globetrotting nomad, Coach Jon spent most of his life running from his true calling, until one question changed his life. Now he's on a mission to help others lose weight for good and leave BS diets in the rearview mirror.

With Freedom Nutrition Coaching he marries the Science of Metabolism with the Psychology of Behavior Change and the Compassion of Human Connection to create life-changing transformations with his clients.

Lesley HollowayProfile Photo

Lesley Holloway

Attorney, Managing Partner, Mom

Lesley is a 17 year attorney with Management and Litigation expertise. In addition to her J.D., she has a BFA in acting with her specialty being musical theater. She’s a mom of 2 balancing supervision of 2200 active litigation files and 90+ employees. Lesley lives with her duck hunting husband, an argumentative 8 year old and a rambunctious 6 year old who are required to put up with her bursting into song should the mood strike. She’s also a retired pageant queen who is passionate about supporting women, especially in leadership roles.