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Local Legend: Sam from The Empathy Gift Co

Local Legend: Sam from The Empathy Gift Co

Tonight’s post is one that is very close to my heart. For those of you who know me either online and real life, you’d know that this last year has been, by far, the hardest of both my and my family’s life. Last August we lost our beautiful Dad, very suddenly. Only three months earlier we also lost our beloved Nanna. Grief beyond words to describe the void that has been left. It’s been a very hard year. One that we’ve almost come through. Nine months later we are doing ok. We have our moments. Sometimes we laugh, and other times we just cry, still in disbelief that he is not here. One thing that has kept us going is our support network. A close yet far reaching net of family and friends who have gone above and beyond to make each of us feel loved, and not left behind. I’ve often spoken with my friends about the sense of helplessness they felt at the time. What could they do? My Mum’s home quickly grew into what can only be described as a florist. Something that gave us great strength knowing how much people cared for us. However there were many, many people who felt at a loss as to what to give us. There are only so many flowers that fit into vases. Only so much room in the freezer for meals. Whilst these things are (I can tell you) very much appreciated, there are also alternatives that can a bring a smile to someone’s face who is facing the hardest time of their life. Whether it be a death, a divorce, a sickness, break up, mental health issue or hard time.

A great family friend who had also recently lost her Father, and not too long ago, her brother decided to do something to help people, help others in such times. Sam Lehmann developed The Empathy Gift Co. Gifts to give those who need something to help them through. Her vast array of pre made hampers that include books, candles, creams and an amazing range of other unique products. Stemming from her own experience, Sam wanted to make it easier for others to help others. To help give them something different. I’ve benefited myself from her own forethought, and am very proud to promote her business to you. One day, you may be searching for something to help someone get through their darkest time. Sometimes it’s not about sympathy, it’s about Empathy.

Here are a sample of her gift boxes below:

Those who are dealing with sickness…
or a break up…
a hard time…
or an incredible loss..

*Tell us about your business: your idea, your dream….

I have always loved giving gifts and I think I’m a good gift giver, I feel I take a lot of time and effort to choose something right for my friends and family and loving seeing their reactions when they see what I have picked for them. Having experienced two major losses in my life, my gorgeous brother when he was 35 and most recently my darling dad  I have gone through some pretty intense feeling of grief and loss. I received a lot of flowers after both deaths and although I appreciate the sentiments I feel there are other items that could bring more comfort like books, candles, pampering products and keepsake gifts. I have also had issues with anxiety and depression over the years, more so anxiety. The symptoms I’ve experienced have been pretty traumatic at times, I have a deep empathy for people who suffer from mental illness, you are completely vulnerable, frightened and don’t feel your self it can be debilitating.

I feel  that knowing this I could offer gifts to those not knowing how to support someone with mental illness, People who have never suffered don’t know what to do or say and I think we offer suitable products that communicate love and support to someone struggling. I decided that I wanted to create a business that could really help people support others with gifts that were helpful in many difficult situations like grief, emotional distress, cancer, divorce or becoming a new parent.

I would love The Empathy Gift Co to be the type of online business that people go to because they know they are going to be able to communicate their support and kindness in a helpful and long lasting way. If they struggle with choosing gifts we can help you with our Pre-made Gift Boxes, some people actually do nothing when someone they love is facing challenges because they are not sure what to buy or how to help, most of the time the person suffering just needs to know that someone genuinely cares about them and we like to think we can really help do that with our beautiful Products and empathy cards.

*Magic: What is the most magical thing that has happened so far?

I have owned and managed 3 other businesses, fashion retail boutiques, two women’s boutiques and a baby/kids concept store, I was lucky enough to sell all three. I would have to say the most magical thing that has happened to me as a business owner is not the financial success I have had, I would have to say its the people I have met and connected with, the stories I’ve been told , the support I have received and the satisfaction I have got from helping people, helping them feel good about themselves, I love that more than anything. I have learnt a lot about what’s really important in life, its certainly not money or being a successful business person, its the people you love and care about and if you do something you love and are passionate about the financial success will come anyway, be true to your self and don’t ever forget the people, the relationships, helping others, having integrity and sticking with your values., these are what will make you successful in life!

 *Mayhem: What has been your greatest challenge?

My greatest Challenge would probably be this new business as I am used to having the face to face interaction in my stores. Having an online business and not being able to talk to everyone that visits my site is just something I will need to get used to. I really want to be able to make this shopping experience easy for people so even though I don’t get to meet them all in person I hope when they visit the website and read my story they get a pretty good idea of the type of business and person they are buying from.

*Milestone: What have you been most proud of?

My greatest achievement is not any of my business’ , its raising my 2 beautiful caring, kind and loving daughters. It hasn’t been easy and at times very stressful but they both make me so proud to be their mum. Being a mum has been my greatest challenge but also the most rewarding. Finding work/life balance is I believe a challenge for all mums, we want to be there for our children always but at the same time we feel the pressure to contribute financially and be an independent woman. We wear a lot of hats because we just want to get it right, but I don’t think any of us ever get it right, we just do our best, we make mistakes and mess up but all we ever want for our kids is to feel loved, accepted and be happy. We just want them to grow into capable, loving, resilient and  kind adults well that’s all I want for my girls.

*Pay it forward: who or what do you admire?

I source items for my business all the time I want to make mention  the amazing artisan creators out there, the skincare, body products, candle makers, crafters and cooking creators, these small business do awesome stuff and I am keen to support as many as possible rather than the big brands. When you visit markets and festivals support these people they put so much love into what they do and deserve to do so well.

Sam also has an amazing range of cards to say words that are often hard to say. From one person who has experienced loss and found it hard to get through, these gifts would be a tremendous help. Just knowing that you have someone in your life who cares enough, is enough.

Head to https://www.theempathygiftco.com.au

Losing Dad : Six months on

Losing Dad : Six months on

It’s been six months today since we lost Dad. Six months feels so long, and yet it feels as raw as ever. It’s such a long time to not hear someone’s voice or see them smile.  I’m writing this today because I find it helpful to write it down. Helpful to share how I’m feeling with others. Sometimes I receive messages from others, sometimes total strangers, who have walked this path too. T Sometimes I get messages from people who have read my posts and they say it has helped them. To feel as though they are in this with someone else. That they are not alone. People sometimes ask me why I write this blog. I write for many reasons. Today I’m writing because I feel proud of our family for getting through a really, really hard time.

These last six months have taught me a great deal. When Dad passed away it was the first time in my life that I truly felt like this was a problem that  I couldn’t fix it. I couldn’t find an answer, a solution. I couldn’t see how it would be ok. Losing your Dad, especially when you are so close has effected me in so many ways. It’s made me grow up even more, and yet it’s made me feel as though I’m a kid again. No matter how old you are, when you lose your Dad, you are taken back to those childhood times where you truly just thought he would be here to protect you forever. These six months have taught me that we truly never really grow up. Grief knows no age. It knows not maturity. It makes you face your fears, stand up to the challenge and stand up to the plate. And yet it can strip away everything that has made you feel all grown up, and leave you wanting your Dad like you did when you were five years old.

losing dad six months on

These last six months have taught me that grief takes time to overcome. A really long time. IT has taught me to see life through a new lens. A new reality where we need to both remember, cherish and lean on our wonderful memories, and yet at the same time, create new ones to help us see that life can bring us all happiness again. That it WILL be ok. Whilst we often feel at a loss to fill the giant void in our life, that we have enough love around us to help us feel whole. One day we will. I know it. Sometimes you feel at an utter loss which direction to take. In the end I’ve learnt that it doesn’t really matter. Just try your best to keep going and be happy.

These last six months have taught me how loved my Dad truly was. Not only by his family, including his beautiful Grandchildren, who only this morning spoke about their darling ‘Pa’ after looking at pictures on our fridge. A double edged sword, these moments bring me both tremendous relief to know that they remember him, and yet I feel a sense of pain that they won’ know him more. I’ve learnt from people, far and wide, familiar and unfamiliar, that he left his ‘mark’ on their lives. Ironically.

I’ve learnt the power of positivity. Of smiling through the pain. Of the need to let yourself cry when you need it, but the feeling of joy rush through your body when you laugh and allow yourself to really smile.

So with the ticking of the clock, and the dawn of a new day, today we will toast to our Dad. With a crownie tonight: free and compulsory as he would say.

Dad we are doing ok. We miss you more than words could ever describe. However we’ve got each others’ back, just like I know you would want. You’d be so proud, especially of Mum. We all are.

Losing Dad, finding Hope

Losing Dad, finding Hope

Three weeks on from losing our beautiful Dad, things are really only now becoming real. He really did pass away. Suddenly. He really isn’t coming back. I can’t believe I’m even writing this. Only four months ago I wrote about losing my Nan, after 93 years. A long and happy life. My Dad’s life was incredibly happy. However it was cut too short. Dad passed away in his sleep, something everyone ‘wants’ to do. Except when it’s 30 years too early. It’s as though he has vanished, the world has deleted him. And yet he is still here. Every where, in every thing, every thought. Dad would hate this. He would hate to see his family suffering, asking why, living this reality each day. And yet I also know that Dad would be wanting us to live our lives. To be happy. To make the most of each and every day. After all, that is what he did.

losing dad

At Dad’s funeral, we included this beautiful poem in his mass booklet….

He is Gone – A Poem by David Harkins

You can shed tears that he is gone,

Or you can smile because he lived,

You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,

Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.

 

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him

Or you can be full of the love that you shared,

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,

Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

 

You can remember him and only that he is gone

Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on,

You can cry and close your mind be empty and turn your back,

Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes,

love and go on.

IMG_4840This was my Dad. Mark Patrick Sherlock. It’s hard to put into words a description of a Father who gave you the life of your dreams. He was not only the most amazing Dad, but he was a person we all wanted to be. Loving, kind, hard working, generous. Dad was a people person. It was actually very hard to find a photo of my Dad on his own. He smiled from ear to ear in each and every one. Dad created a life for us, that I hope I can create for my children. He epitomised happiness. He loved his job and worked with the RSL for over 30 years caring for those who have returned after serving for their country. He loved our Mum. Adored her. He gave her a ‘double kiss’ each time he said goodbye, and each time he came home. He travelled a great deal, and not matter where he was in the world, he would text Mum wishing her a good night…’don’t let the bed bugs bite’.

losing dad

When you lose your Dad, especially so suddenly you feel vulnerable. Bare. Exposed. The person who you knew would always protect you is no longer there. You have to grow up in an instant. You have to consider yourself an adult, who now has to rise to the occasion and ‘be’ the person they wanted you to be. Strong, brave, hopeful. Finding hope is hard at times like this. I hope we all can. I know we will with time.

As Fathers’ Day approaches, I’m feeling sad, scared, numb. I’m also feeling incredibly reflective, and so proud of the life he gave me, and the life he lived. Not everyone is able to say that their Father truly is their hero. I’m blessed that I can. My beautiful husband told me that he wants our children to love him the way we loved our Dad. Already I can see that they do, and my Dad would be proud of him.

So three weeks on after losing Dad, I am searching for hope. I’m searching for the things that can bring us comfort. The love of family and friends. The blessings of my children. The messages and memories shared from near and far. I hope they keep coming, they help more than you know. Grief is exhausting. People ask you how you are, but you don’t know how you are, or what to say. You know that people don’t know what to say either. You just put one foot in front of the other, and do your best. People say it gets easier with time. I hope so. I know it will. In the mean time we are surrounded by incredible support. In my previous post I talked about it ‘taking a village to raise a parent’. Well it also takes a village to help you when you lose one.

My fridge is covered in photos of our family. Of my Dad’s smile and his love of life. I want to keep him ever present in our thoughts and in our reality. He may not be here in body, but he is most definitely here in spirit. He is still my Dad. Always and forever. This brings me hope and a smile. We can close our eyes and pray that he will come back, or we can open our eyes and see all that he has left. A life of memories and love.

losing dad

 

losing dad

kate