This week’s episode has impacted me in such a special way. By the end of our interview I felt like I had made new friends. I learned a new term (“ambiguous loss”). And, I was reminded of how fragile each of our lives are and how important it is that I do what I can now so that I am best prepared if — (no, when) — hard times come. Nothing in life is certain.
After their teenage son’s traumatic brain injury from a hard hit in a football scrimmage, Pat and Tammy McLeod’s world turned upside down. In this powerful interview, they share about the months and years that followed their unexpected heartbreak, how they came to understand “ambiguous loss” and some of the things that helped keep their marriage, family, and faith together through the hardest of times.
I believe the McLeod’s story, and the concept of ambiguous loss is so important for all of us to understand, and I pray you are encouraged by this episode!
Pat and Tammy’s Website (with videos and links to all they do.)
The incredible book that shares the story of Zach’s accident and all that has followed: Hit Hard: One Family’s Journey of Letting Go of What Was – and Learning to Live Well with What Is
Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief (by Pauline Boss)
The Myth of Closure: Ambiguous Loss in a Time of Pandemic Also by Pauline Boss (this one looks interesting for all of us!)
Two types of Ambiguous Loss:
1. A physical absence with a psychological presence. (military deployment, some split family situations, kidnapping, etc.)
2. Psychological absence with physical presence. (brain injury, alzheimers, and other medical situations primarily.)
Things that the McLeods were doing which helped them get through a traumatic time:
1. They developed a deep faith
2. They established a strong community
3. They had regular date nights
THANK YOU to this episodes’ sponsor!!!
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Or you can listen right here! 😀
More about the McLeods
Pat and Tammy McLeod serve as Harvard Chaplains for Cru, an interdenominational Christian ministry. Tammy is also the Director of College Ministry at Park Street Church in Boston. She received her MA in Spiritual Formation from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Pat holds an MA in Theological Studies from the International School of Theology and an MA in Science & Religion and a PhD in Practical Theology from Boston University. They are founding members of the Mamelodi Initiative in the township of Mamelodi, South Africa—a project that connects Harvard students with at-risk youth in a mentoring and educational program to prepare them for college. Pat and Tammy, certified instructors for Interpersonal Communication Programs, Inc., have been married for more than three decades and are parents to four grown children. They coauthored the book Hit Hard: One Family’s Journey of Letting Go of What Was and Learning to Live Well with What Is in which they share their journey into the world of ambiguous loss that began after their son suffered a traumatic brain injury playing football. Zach’s story received media coverage by ABC, NBC, CBS, and NPR. Recently they started COVID-19 Conversations on their website hoping to help others be resilient in ambiguous loss. For more information, please visit https://
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My book, BOY MOM, was released in August of 2019 (Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers) and is full of practical advice and helpful resources for raising boys. It’s great for personal reading, or to use as a study for small groups!
Order it here: Boy Mom: What Your Son Needs Most from You
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