Elementary school music teacher Connie Irick values sharing the skills she has learned with others. This was no different after the tragic loss of a friend, where the healing she received inspired her to help others heal.
To that end, Irick will be instructing an upcoming class on the Grief Recovery Method for Idaho State University’s Continuing Education and Workforce Training.
“The Grief Recovery Method is an evidence-based action program with simple steps that anyone can take. It gives you tools to allow you to process the pain of loss in a way that I’ve never experienced anywhere else,” she explained. “[This class] is a safe space we create where you can share openly and be able to express those things with no judgment analysis or criticism, and learn tools to be able to deal with those things.”
Nearly 4 years ago, during Irick’s first year of teaching in the Pocatello school district, Irick lost a friend to suicide. “That loss was one of the hardest I have experienced because it was different than the other ones I have experienced,” she said.
The loss of her friend sent Irick into a dark depression, partially because she felt responsible for her friend’s death. Her friend had called the night before she died, but Irick didn’t answer.
Two days later, she found out she wouldn’t be able to speak to her friend again.
“I thought it was all my fault. She had reached out and I wasn’t available and I failed her as a friend. It caused me to isolate myself, depression, I was pushing friends and family away, and in a weird way I was afraid if I did anything else with someone else something else could happen,” said Irick.
After a few months spent wallowing in grief, Irick finally reached out and began her healing process. Then, a friend referred Irick to Laura Jack, a Grief Recovery Specialist. Together they began focusing on the loss of her friend and by the end, Irick had ended up discussing the losses she had in her childhood.
With Jack, she was introduced to the Grief Recovery Method*, and the healing she experienced during the process inspired her to become a Grief Recovery Specialist.
“What I learned as a Grief Recovery Specialist is that grief is more than just about death, it’s about life,” said Irick. “Learning to cope with death gives you more joy because you are able to have fond memories with the person you’ve lost without dwelling on how they’re not here anymore.”
She also noted that one of the biggest problems surrounding grief is the spread of misinformation about the grieving process. People don’t allow themselves to feel their pain because the emotions can be overwhelming.
“There’s so many people in this world who don’t know how to deal with their grief. Time [alone] doesn’t heal, but action and time heals, and the Grief Recovery Method provides those actions.”
Another misconception people have is that grief is related solely to the loss of an individual. However, Irick states that the Grief Recovery Method defines grief as a loss of regular behavior or routine. This can be anything from a new job, to a breakup, to, of course, the loss of a loved one. Or, as applicable in the current moment, a global pandemic.
“[Grief is] the conflicting feelings when familiar things change or end. And COVID has caused a lot of changes in how we used to live our life,” Irick said.
This course is also beneficial for anyone experiencing emotional pain from the crisis. With the end of regular routines, it’s not out of the question that one might grieve. Irick welcomes anyone who has been affected by any type of emotional pain or loss to take her course.
The course starts Wednesday Sept. 9 from 7-9 PM and will run for 8 weeks. If interested in registering, or for further information, click here.
Last week, Irick sat down with Gary Salazar and Jason Batalden on CEWT Talk to talk about the Grief Recovery Method and her experience with grief. To hear more about her class and her inspirational story, listen to the podcast here.
* - The Grief Recovery method is an evidence-based program (the only of its kind) that is effective at helping grievers deal with the pain of emotional loss. To learn more about the Grief Recovery Method, visit their website.