How I got through the death of my mom at 18 and the overdose of a brother with Gen Morley | POP 744

How does a young person heal from the death of two close family members? Where do you find a connection within the world that truly soothes you? How can you cope with the violent death of someone you love?

In the ninth episode of the How I Got Through It series, Joe Sanok speaks with Gen Morley about getting through the death of a mom at 18 and the overdose of a brother.

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Meet Gen Morley

A photo of Gennifer Morley is captured. She is an owner and therapist at North Boulder Counseling. Gennifer is featured on Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

Gen became a counselor after years of working in the medical profession. While applying to medical school, she realized that the aspect of medicine she most appreciated was supporting patients when they faced significant change and challenges in their lives. As a result, Gen has created an approach to counseling that effectively combines evidence-based therapies with a down-to-earth approachability. As the director of North Boulder Counseling, Gen specializes in anxiety and major life transitions for adults & children.

Gen received her master’s degree in transpersonal counseling psychology from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Her extensive expertise includes EMDR training at Maiberger Institute in Boulder, CBT training at Noeticus Counseling Center in Denver.

Visit Gen Morley’s personal website to find out more about her lifestyle coaching. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Visit the North Boulder Counseling website and connect with them on Instagram and Facebook.

In this Podcast:

  • Death of a mother at 18
  • Finding connections in nature
  • Losing a brother at 26
  • Getting through the grief
  • Gen’s advice to her younger self

Death of a mother at 18

Gen’s mom was diagnosed with cancer, and it was a matter of weeks after the diagnosis that she passed on.

The moment she passed, I went into autopilot, and actually, now I think it’s so beautiful, like some piece of my soul just took over. (Gen Morley)

Finding connections in nature

After her mother passed away, Gen put on her shoes, went out the backdoor, and ran through the forest. She ran until collapse, and while lying on the ground, she saw a flock of sparrows circle her a few times before flying away.

To Gen, this was a sign that her mother was now free.

I would say it sort of saved me. All of a sudden, my connection to nature to this point had been [very] rich and [present] in my life … and to have something that I could make meaning with almost instantly [saved me], and to feel that I could have this [connection] to [everything] around me. (Gen Morley)

Gen spent the next six to eight years in the woods. She spent a lot of time alone in the woods to heal and to feel close to her mother.

Losing a brother at 26

At some point about six or seven years after my mom passed away he started to clearly be delusional and I said to him, “What you’re saying doesn’t sound like it’s real and I know you’re really afraid, how can I help you?” (Gen Morley)

Gen, with hindsight as a therapist, realized that her brother suffered from severe bipolar disorder.

He suffered from delusions and may have used drugs to cope with them, but it, unfortunately, made them worse, and it became a terrible spiral.

It was very different from the loss of my mom. Her death was surrounded by people, and it was unfair and unfortunate, but it wasn’t violent, and his death felt violent. (Gen Morley)

After her brother passed, Gen tried to find a way to process his death. One night when she was feeling the pain, she heard a voice in her mind say to her, “It didn’t hurt”, and it felt to her like her brother reassuring her.

Even though the death was still violent and lonely, that moment helped her to cope with the event and integrate it into her life.

Getting through the grief

  • Gen meditated every night before bed for a year
  • She practiced yoga and went to many silent retreats
  • Gen sought a connection to a life source that was vast and healing

Gen’s advice to her younger self

Learn what is in your heart, have integrity in the world, and learn how to suffer so that you can suffer less. Sit with the big things to heal them and yourself.

Useful Links mentioned in this episode:

Check out these additional resources:

Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

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