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Posted on Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 5:57 a.m.

Personal experience provides grief coach with insights to help others

By Alan Caldwell


Tamara Sutton with Peaceful Crossings

Photo by Sheila Doeden

One of the neat things about hosting our Everything Elderly radio show is the wonderful guests we get to meet each week. Tamara Sutton is quickly becoming a good friend and someone we greatly admire for her helpful insight. Tamara is a grief coach, a life coach and an author and works with a company called Peaceful Crossings.

Tamara initially got involved with grief coaching back in 1994, at Ele’s Place. That organization provides grief counseling to children who have lost loved ones and has centers in Lansing and Ann Arbor. A couple years later, Tamara experienced the unfortunate death of her 23-year-old son. Coping with, and learning from this tragedy, greatly increased her personal passion for grief coaching.

Our discussion focused on the grieving process. Tamara has a keen, unique perspective on this important aspect of life. Tamara confidently and convincingly seems to really understand grief.

Tamara talks about approaching the grieving process with open arms and an open mind. Everyone has his or her own way to deal with grief. People often want to get back to normal, to get back to what their life used to be, but that doesn’t happen. Each of us should redefine our new normal and not fight to get back to what we used to have. And grieving isn’t easy at all. “Nothing is harder than grieving,” she says. Conserving your strength and energy is important.

Tamara works as a grief coach for a company called Peaceful Crossings. They focus on helping people create their legacy, to plan for their end of life. Peaceful Crossings helps people get organized to give peace of mind, and so they can then fully live the rest of their life.

To listen to the first half of our 25-minute talk with Tamara please click the audio link: Everything Elderly Tamara 1st 0820.mp3">

To continue with the second half, please click the audio link:

Everything Elderly Tamara 2nd 0820.mp3">

To get in touch with Tamara Sutton, call 517-896-3173, or access her website

Alan Caldwell and Sheila Doeden co-host Everything Elderly every Saturday morning at 8:30 on 1290 WLBY. In their day jobs, Alan and Sheila co-own and co-manage Senior Helpers, providing in-home care services, primarily to the elderly. Both can be contacted at, or at 734-927-3111.


Soccer Mom 100

Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 3:32 p.m.

Maybe a better title would be "grief counselor". I went to one after my husband died, following a 3 month battle with cancer. She was there to listen and let me know what to expect. She let me know the feelings I had were all part of grieving, and that you need to develop a new normal, just as noted in the article. It was nice to know someone out there cared. I felt so alone, even with family. A third party actually helped quite a bit. The grief counselors can help "coach" you through what to expect next, and how to deal with everything. Yes, the pain is still there, but it does ease a bit. There are different triggers that bring back pain, but then you need to remember the good things. Again, that third party does help to put things into perspective.

Alan Caldwell

Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 2:16 p.m.

Thank you John very much for your comment. I am very sorry to hear of yourloss. A "grief coach" is not for everyone, I certainly understand that. Knowing Tamara, I can tell you she is not profiting from this vocation, she simply genuinely wants to help those that she can help. More personally, I am in the process of losing my own wife to a very long battle with breast cancer, and for me, it is helpful to talk with Tamara.

birch creek john

Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 1:18 p.m.

As someone who is in the midst of living through the grief associated with losing my beloved spouse of 47 years, I take great exception to someone who has the audacity to call herself a "grief coach." Come, walk with me as a friend, show me great, genuine empathy, but, please, do not profit from my grief by advertising yourself as a someone who can somehow instruct me in the ways of dealing with the most intimate experience of my life. There is no "new normal;" what there is to know is that there will never be a normal again. What next--a "happiness coach?"