Trigger Warning: Before we introduce you to my guest and the topic for this episode, I want to let you know that we discuss suicide and the circumstances leading up to it in this episode. If this could be a trigger for you, please consider listening with a friend or skipping this episode. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, text or call the Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline at 988.

Sometimes life can turn on a dime. Maybe it’s an unexpected diagnosis, a decision a loved one makes, or dreadful news delivered when we least expect it. When this happens, our well-ordered world is suddenly turned upside down. Everything can look dark, and the pain is tangible; you may even wonder if life can ever be beautiful again.

My guest, Kayla Stoecklein, can relate to this better than most. She is an author, speaker, and mental health advocate. Kayla became an unexpected widow in August 2018 when her husband, Andrew, who was the pastor of their large church in California, died by suicide. With three young sons also grieving and a heart full of pain, it became her mission to bring hope and help to others who have faced unexpected hardships.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • The importance of asking questions when someone shares their struggles
  • How embracing your pain can be good for you
  • Steps you can take to rebuild beautiful
  • How to rediscover yourself after loss
  • And more!

My conversation with Kayla was powerful, and I am praying it encourages you no matter what your circumstances may be.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

My Key Takeaways:

1) Lean in to others’ pain. If someone has shared their struggles with you or has been vulnerable about their feelings, you need to lean in and draw closer to them. Our natural reaction is often to condemn or pull away from them, but that leaves them alone and less willing to reach out again. If it has to do with suicide, ask if they have already made plans, and be sure to inform other trusted people dedicated to their treatment and care.

2) Embrace your pain and share in the suffering. Pain hurts. Our response is often to run away from it or to make it stop as soon as possible. But we need to learn how to sit with our pain and the suffering of others. When we do this, our empathy is increased, and we can fully process our pain.

3) Rediscover who you are. On the other side of pain and tragedy, you need to rediscover who you are. This process will take some time and will require a lot of looking inward to rediscover your passions, dreams, and how you want life to look now. This is when you uncover what really matters and cherish what you have in this life.

About Kayla:

Kayla Stoecklein is an author, speaker, mental health advocate, podcast host, and mother to three beautiful boys. Kayla came face-to-face with crushing personal loss when her husband, Andrew, died by suicide. In the wake of this tragedy, she sought to better understand mental illness and the circumstances that led to that tragic day. Kayla shares her journey through her writing and aims to spread awareness and offer hope to others struggling with mental illness and unexpected hardships. When she isn’t busy raising her sons, you can find her on the beach, sipping iced coffee, or searching for little glimpses of heaven on earth.


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