EPISODE 80: Navigating Life as an Orphan: Coping with the Loss of Both Parents at Age Twenty with Danielle DesRosier

Welcome to LEAP, where we sit down with people from all over the world to hear their transformational stories and perspectives on their grief and loss journeys. 

In today’s episode, we speak with courageous Danielle DesRosier, who shares her experience of losing both of her parents at a young age and how she started her healing and self-love journey.

At just 20 years old, Danielle received the devastating news that her 57-year-old father was terminally ill. She shares with us how she and her mother grew even closer after his death, but then faced another tragedy when her mom passed away from a pulmonary embolism at 51-years-old. Danielle takes us through her devastating grief journey, and how she learned to manage the logistics of taking care of bills and living in her parents’ home without them.

Danielle found solace in the healing power of animals when she got her cat Ronnie, and how he helped her through the grieving process. She also talks about the decision to sell her family home and how she found the courage to make big life changes. We hear about the support she received from those around her, and the role therapy played in her healing journey.

Danielle shares her self-care practices and how she writes through grief as a therapeutic outlet. She concludes by discussing the meaning of hope and self-love in her life today.

Join us for a heartfelt conversation about courage, loss, healing, and finding love within yourself. Listen to Danielle’s inspiring story, and gain insights into how you can navigate your own journey through grief and loss.

**TRIGGER WARNING** This episode covers sensitive subject matter and is not suitable for all listeners. If this topic could be a trigger for you, listen to this episode with a friend, a sibling, a loved one or a parent so you can talk about any emotions that come up for you. The contents of this episode are not intended to replace therapy and should not be taken as such. If you need immediate help, please call the crisis hotline listed below in our resources.

Listen in as we talk about:

  • [1:00] Receiving the diagnosis that her father was terminally ill when she was only 20 years old
  • [4:50] How Danielle and her mom grew even closer after her father’s death
  • [6:10] Losing her mom to a pulmonary embolism 
  • [7:45] What Danielle’s grief journey has looked like after the death of her parents
  • [11:45] Living in her parents’ home, taking care of bills, and managing the logistics often not talked about when someone dies
  • [15:40] The healing power of animals
  • [17:55] Preserving’ her family home and eventually selling it
  • [20:00] Where Danielle found the courage to make changes and sell her house
  • [23:40] The kind of support she got from those around her 
  • [27:40] Was therapy a helpful option during her initial healing?
  • [32:40] How Danielle takes care of herself 
  • [34:15] The therapeutic benefits of writing through grief
  • [48:55] What self-love means to Danielle today

Grief Hotline

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with Danielle here:

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