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“Indianapolis is home to the Indy 500, an event in which there is only one winner and a whole lot of professionals making nothing but a series of left turns that get them absolutely nowhere. Indianapolis is also home to Mary Beth Braun, a Certified Dream Manager that produces nothing but winners who run in the right circles. Mary Beth is a colleague but maybe more importantly, Mary Beth is my Dream Manager. In a city where champions toot their own horn, Mary Beth is more concerned about waving the checkered flag for her clients. If you're constantly living your life under a caution flag, put Mary Beth on your team and we'll see you in the winner's circle.”

- Thom Monahan

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50 Unplugged: Loss and Grief are a Consistent Reality

Posted by: Mary Beth Braun   |   Wednesday, July 13, 2016

sadEvery week I learn of someone I know losing someone they love – a parent, friend, sibling, child or colleague. At 50, I suppose this is my new relentless reality.

With this reality, I, sometimes daily, send prayers and compassionate sentiments to those who have experienced the loss. I have a drawer full of sympathy cards coupled with stamps for the times when a card is appropriate. With someone I know well, I often send another card a few months after the loss when other people’s lives have moved forward yet the person begins to realize their personal void and the loss still runs deep.

I have intimate knowledge of loss –Long ago, I lost my paternal and maternal Grandparents.  More recently, I lost my beloved Uncle and my Dad, who was, in many ways, my best friend.   

In the nearly three years since he has passed to the other side not a day goes by when I don’t want to pick up the phone and call my Dad to “check in” as we called it.  We’d check in on any topic from how the Colt’s played that week, to placing our $1 bet on the Notre Dame football game, to our picks for who would win the Bachelor and Bachelorette reality show or to “complain” about how people are always in a hurry and wondering where they were going in such a big hurry amongst a myriad of other topics.  Needless to say, I miss him every single day.

I now vacillate between a more mild grief for my loss and immense gratitude for having experienced his love, compassion and friendship for 47 years.

While these losses have created a major void in my life, they, in turn, have made me want to spread the love, compassion and joy that these 6 people imparted on my life to as many people and in as many ways possible.

When I get low, I take solace in two inspirational experiences:

1. One was two questions offered to me by Dr. Arif Kamal (, a Palliative Care and Hospice Physician from Duke University Medicine when I was taking a Yoga Certification Course.  He posed these questions to his patients just after delivering the worst news of that person’s life.  

The questions are when you think of the future:

        • What do you hope for the most?
        • What do you worry about the most?


2. Sheryl Sandberg’s (Facebook COO who recently lost her husband suddenly) commencement speech at Berkeley this year where she encouraged the graduates to build resilience amongst other poignant insights.  Many things stuck out to me in this speech, however, she offered, “when option A isn’t available, kick the shit out of option B.”  (Watch here for more inspiration:

I offer this blog post to you and those you know who have experienced loss, so you may glean the goodness your loved one provided you during their life and continue to bring it forth to those you love and to the world.   

Additionally, use these questions to propel you forward even if it is one moment at a time in the beginning. Use these questions to discover your dreams and goals to cultivate and create the life you want to live.

Finally, when option A isn’t available, “kick the shit out of option B!”


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