I’m so excited to have Rebecca Soffer, CEO and co-founder of Modern Loss, as my guest on today’s episode of Unstoppable.
Rebecca never expected to become an entrepreneur. But when she was 30, her mom was killed in a car accident. Four years later, her father died of a heart attack while on a cruise to the Bahamas.
While Rebecca was grieving, it became clear that most people don’t feel comfortable talking about loss, but yet, we all deal with grief. So Rebecca decided to co-found Modern Loss – a website offering candid content, resources and community on loss and grief.
Today, we talk about how to get people comfortable with talking about grief, what Modern Loss does to support people who are grieving, and more.
You can Subscribe and Listen to the Podcast on Apple Podcasts. And be sure to leave us a Rating and Review!
“It is very safe to say that this is not what I thought I’d be doing in life.” – Rebecca Soffer
- How to deal with grief
- What is Modern Loss
- How to heal from loss
- What is grief
- How to ask for support
- How men and women grieve differently
- How to heal from miscarriages
- Why we need to support people
- How to get comfortable talking about grief
- What makes a successful entrepreneur
“Why can we talk about everything else in the world, but not grief?” – Rebecca Soffer
Connect with Rebecca:
“I was 34, both of my parents were dead. Definitely not my life plan.” – Rebecca Soffer
Kara Goldin: Hi Everybody. It’s Kara Goldin with Unstoppable and so excited this morning to have Rebecca Soffer with us. Welcome Rebecca!
Rebecca Soffer: Thank you so much for having me. This is the highlight of my day.
Kara Goldin: Yay! So Rebecca and I are on a wonderful community call The Whist together. And shoutout to Rachel Skolar for creating this great thing with Gliness as well and really really excited. So we’ve talked many times through email and probably through phone but we’ve actually never gotten together face to face so we’re sort of like really, really excited about that too. But that’s a whole other story. So we’re here this morning to really get some more information on this great company that Rebecca has started called Modern Loss, but also going to talk about her book a little bit, which I have here as well, and it’s so great. So, just a little bit about Rebecca. So, she started this company in 2013, is that right? Yeah.
Rebecca Soffer: Yeah. I was nine months pregnant.
Kara Goldin: Oh, I love the pregnant business plans, right.
Rebecca Soffer: Yeah, very wise.
Kara Goldin: Yes, I did that as well. So, in starting Hint. I was pregnant with my fourth actually when the whole thing started.
Rebecca Soffer: You win.
Kara Goldin: Well, no, but it’s all good. And then with Gabby Birkner, so she co-founded Modern Loss and it’s not just a website, but I really do believe it’s a movement and especially around a life stage that I think everybody goes through. And so, we’re here to talk to her more about that. And prior to that she was doing lots of cool stuff, including one that I did not realize she was working with Stephen Colbert and we’ll maybe get sort of fun things that, the most fun stuff that you remember from those days as well. But anyway, welcome. So talk to me a little bit about how this all started.
Rebecca Soffer: Yeah, well, it is very safe to say that this was not what I thought I’d be doing in life. And it’s also safe to say that if I were presented with the option to do this, I would have probably said, “No, I’m good.” Because my goal was to … I went to Columbia Journalism School, as you just mentioned, I worked for Stephen Colbert. I was a producer at The Colbert Report when it first started and I wanted to do political satire. I wanted to do media that mattered in the way in which I felt it mattered. And I was very excited to grow in that role, grow in that type of content. But as we all know, the joke is perpetually on us in life. And we make our plans and the universe says, “Okay, that’s cute.”
Rebecca Soffer: And what happened with me was, it was 2006 Labor Day. I had just finished a camping trip with my parents in upstate New York, where it’s my most favorite place in the universe. It’s called Lake George. We camp in the middle of this gorgeous lake, on an Island. And it was the place where I always reconnected with them every year. And especially when I was 30, life was changing so much. I had just gotten my graduate degree and I was starting this new job, which was crazy. And it was just a meaningful trip that we had. And at the end of that night, they dropped me back off at my apartment. I said a very quick but very comfortable, like no big deal goodbye, and 45 minutes later, I got a phone call that there had been a terrible accident on the New Jersey Turnpike and my mom was not OK.
Rebecca Soffer: I could talk forever about that night, even though I try not to remember it so much. But I learned, as soon as I got to the hospital, that she hadn’t survived. She was killed in the accident. My dad was in the car with her. And that was my entry point into really my version of adulthood, because I’d realized that I kind of been a kid up until then. I just turned 30, but I felt like I was like 19, also being a single woman living in New York in my little apartment with my college era furniture still. And so, I became very quickly aware of how isolating it is to live with profound grief or even semi-profound grief. How our culture does not want to talk about this kind of stuff. How the pressure is always on us to make everybody else in the room feel comfortable. And honestly, it was especially hard because I was 30, I was working full time, I was still building up a role at a newish place for me and I didn’t have a structure.
Rebecca Soffer: And you and I were talking about this before we started recording of, I couldn’t look at the employee handbook and say, “Okay, Oh, I can take like two months off in pieces if your mom is violently killed.” I know I have someone to catch me at work. I actually didn’t, because there was no bereavement policy. It was up to my managers how many days I got off. There was nothing that was like really written. And then moving forward I still had to pay my rent. I still had to work. I had to advocate for myself while navigating also building up my life. I was very much in my build phase of life.
Rebecca Soffer: And so all of that was just like really isolating, really excruciating and really lonely, because I also really wanted to hear from someone that I could still live a really good life in spite of this hand that I had been dealt. didn’t want it to be all over at age 30, but it felt like it, because I felt so alone. And so Modern Loss really came out of that experience, which was my mom dying. And then unfortunately my dad dying just a few years later. So, I was 34, both my parents were dead, absolutely not my life plan. And it just kept occurring to me over and over again. “Okay. This is just, I’m so sick of the stigma, I’m sick of this being a stigma. Why can we talk about everything else in the world but not grief? It’s just ridiculous.”
Rebecca Soffer: And so I pulled in my friend Gabby Birkner and we launched in 2013, November 2013, as I mentioned, I was nine months pregnant. She was about six months pregnant. So a very wise move on our parts. And it’s in essence a digital platform, an online publication that runs literary nonfiction, personal essays, so many that are narrowly focused around one aspect of the grief experience and loss at any point in time, like one day after, 20 years after, just to prove that this has a long tail, that it’s with you 365, 24/7 and that we’re there for you. We’re your resource, we’re your community outside of your therapy circles, outside of any religious circles you might be a part of. This is just your storytelling platform where you can let it all hang out with no judgements.
Rebecca Soffer: So that’s what it came out of. Again, not my plan, nor would it have been my choice. But life gives you this hand and you say, “Well, sometimes it is what it is. What can I do about it to stay safe?”
Kara Goldin: Yeah, and you’re navigating and you’re … and absolutely. And I know you can help others as you’re starting, you’ve already been through something that people are maybe unfortunately just going through.
Rebecca Soffer: Yeah. That was it.
Kara Goldin: I think that’s, it’s huge.
Rebecca Soffer: It’s not like I, my mom died and then I said, “I want to start a platform.” I was very insular. I went through living hell for a few years. I didn’t want to … this was not what I thought I would be doing. I waited until I was ready for this to be something that I knew how to do with an editor, a publisher, a producer, and also someone who, as one of the leads of it, knew what type of content needed to be a part of it because I was also moving through it.
Kara Goldin: So what do you think is like the consistent, is there a consistent thread? When people go through this horror, right, what is that kind of consistent thing that you hear that people really are sort of needing more than anything else?
Rebecca Soffer: Yeah. I think that they need to have it made clear to them that they have permission to talk about what they’re going through and that there’s no pressure for them to have it be in like hushed tones or like any fear that the record is going to come to a screeching halt if they mention a dead partner or a miscarriage. These things happen. They happen to people we love every single day. We might not even know it, because they’re not talking about it. And we keep hearing that there’s just this encouraging silence that is suggested to keep it to safe corners. Keep it to like therapy, your really close friends. What we want to do is make it something you can live out loud in the open and be something that can be dropped into conversation and then dropped out of conversation.
Rebecca Soffer: Because when you talk about your loss, if you say my dead mom, that’s really overwhelming to many people in the Modern Loss community, the thought of saying that out loud to a coworker, to a manager, but we’re encouraging them to say it so that it becomes normalized so that they can, in the same sentence or the same two sentences, speaking with a friend or someone at the water cooler than talk about a work deadline or a date that they had. We want to normalize this and that is what the biggest desire is from our community is just feeling normal. Feeling like there’s nothing wrong with them. Like they aren’t damaged goods. Feeling like they’re not part of a taboo. That is really, I mean, that’s like a meta thing. Definitely, most of our readers are between the 20s and 40s if not early 50s age range.
Rebecca Soffer: We’re really younger audience. Again, I was 30 when my mom died. Gabby was in her 20s when her dad and her stepmom were killed. And so, this really came out of this realization that we’re in this unique stage of life where we have to build up our lives, but we’re also faced with loss. And we felt like there was a white space that existed that really needed to be filled with guards to that. So inherently, a lot of our readers are younger and going through the same thing. And a lot of times work comes up. How do I talk to my boss? How do I get support at work? I’m exhausted from two years of caretaking, but my mom just died or my husband is 30 and just dropped dead from a brain aneurism.
Rebecca Soffer: I have two little kids. How am I going to do this? Like, how do I ask for support? So asking for support from friends and family and especially workplace is definitely something that pops up every single day in Modern Loss chatter.
Kara Goldin: People just don’t know how to do that. I mean, it’s hard.
Rebecca Soffer: No, we don’t make it easy for them in this country. I mean, this country doesn’t really seem … I mean, I think it seems to like pregnant women, but as a mother of two little kids in Manhattan, sometimes I feel like it doesn’t like mothers or kids. Life is hard, there’s not a lot of structures in place to catch you and to say, “It’s okay.” And I feel like loss, those who live with loss, which newsflash is going to be every single person you ever meet in life. That’s another group that really needs support, ongoing support.
Rebecca Soffer: And it shouldn’t be something that’s stigmatized. But in our workplace, we were just talking about it. The average bereavement leave policy I think is like three days. And that’s for a parent or a child, three days. That’s insane. And I know there are companies that are doing better and that’s great, but that’s like the sheer minority of companies and we need to do better.
Kara Goldin: Absolutely. No, I think it’s super important. Do you see a gender difference in kind of how people talk about this as well? I mean, it’s a-
Rebecca Soffer: Yeah, absolutely. We actually ran a piece, I don’t know, a few months ago, and I called it Dude, Where’s My Grief? Because it was written by a clinical psychologist, a dude, whose mom had died when he was in college. And he was so utterly transformed by the experience that he became a therapist who specializes in grief and runs grief groups for men between the ages of 18 and 34, because that’s a segment that just, A, they’re not used to people dying around them.
Rebecca Soffer: And B, dudes just don’t … men don’t, they don’t process grief in the same way that women do for the most part. And I’m generalizing, but I’m generalizing for a reason. They’re much more internal. And I’m not a therapist, but I’ve learned this. We’re working with many therapists over the last six years. They’re much more internalized. They’ll go insular, they’ll fix their car or become fixated on a project. They’re not going to sit down and say, “I really just need to emote. Can we just hold hands? I need a hug. Like I need a touch.” For the most part, that’s not what they do. And so, I think it’s extra difficult for people who are in relationships. The people who have had miscarriages and who’ve had stillbirths or a relationship where the father, the man has lost somebody.
Rebecca Soffer: Everybody has their own grief journey and sometimes the journeys are so incredibly disparate that you really need to work to see each other. And so what we do at Modern Loss is try to peel back and kind of show the underbelly of the grief experience. Like what’s really going on behind … in a man’s brain when he is grieving? What’s really going on when you have a stillbirth? What really happens? What does it really feel like to go through that experience? Because we want everybody to become more empathic. So that the next person that goes through it, they really know how to support them. And that is how I really feel like we change a culture. That’s how I feel we really move the needle.
Kara Goldin: I feel like I’m friends with a lot of guys who have shared with me privately and not so much out in the open that they’ve had a miscarriage, their wife’s had a miscarriage. And I think it’s, it’s so fascinating because I’m always like, to see them grieving and they don’t feel like they’re allowed to actually talk about this in their typical circles and I think that what my advice to them is that they’re actually going home to the situation where they’re kind of in this denial. They don’t really talk about it and then they go home and that even creates more issues, right, of how are you communicating with this. So even if the person who’s actually experienced the miscarriage is, if her community is not talking about it, then I don’t think it helps her to actually-
Rebecca Soffer: Right. Nobody is.
Kara Goldin: Nobody’s talking about it. And I really think that it’s like, it extends way beyond that. The other thing-
Rebecca Soffer: And that’s one four, one in four women-
Kara Goldin: Yeah, that’s crazy.
Rebecca Soffer: … will experience miscarriage. And I guarantee you that there are multiple women on this floor in which we’re speaking who have gone through this. It’s just still called the silent sorrow. And what we’ve worked really hard on for six years nonstop is to really de-stigmatize those taboos times two, which grief is the stigma, sure. Loss is stigma. Even like 10 years after you lose someone. People don’t really want to hear about it, but you’re still living with loss. You’re living with a different version of loss. I have two little kids, I wasn’t parenting through loss when my mom died. I was a single person trying to figure out how to have a dead mom in the world. And now I’m a woman who’s married, who has two little kids who don’t get to have living grandparents.
Rebecca Soffer: So I have to deal with that every day and figuring out how to navigate that. So what we try to show is that this isn’t just that first 365-day period of time, like Modern Loss is literally a lifestyle movement. It’s an endeavor that people are really happy in our community. They’re not just like, they didn’t just lose someone yesterday, but they do need the ongoing support, the ongoing invitation to have a conversation about this stuff, because things keep popping up. And so we always try to shine a light on the losses that are extra difficult to talk about. Like you say miscarriage, stillbirth, suicide, AIDS-related illness, there are so many different types of death that people just … like you hear crickets in the air when it’s mentioned.
Rebecca Soffer: And you think about the survivors of those deaths, of those losses and what happens to them and how marginalized they feel. And it’s like your heart breaks. You know?
Kara Goldin: We live in this community just North of San Francisco called Moran County. And it’s amazing how many grandparents have moved in to this community who are the parents, I say grandparents because there are so many kids in this community, but are the parents of many of my friends and they pass away. And like these grandparents have made a conscious decision to sort of be in their kids’ lives. And so they, you see them walking to school and you’re like, “Oh that’s Derek’s parents and that’s this.” And what I see so often is like that’s a whole other set where like on the one hand these are the parents of the friends in the community, but it’s also the grandparents who, in many ways, while the parents are off working, are right there.
Kara Goldin: Right, and they’re raising, I mean, they’re not raising these kids, they live in a different house-
Rebecca Soffer: No, but [crosstalk 00:17:57] really big presence in their lives.
Kara Goldin: Super big presence.
Rebecca Soffer: Yeah, they’re not just like a Boca Raton visit on spring break.
Kara Goldin: No, they have made this conscious decision. And so I’m always like, I’m curious if you’re seeing that as well. Like how do you … I think that it’s generational too and how people are reacting to that. And I think also I would say even that there’s some situations where it’s like, for a kid, they don’t want to talk too much in their house because it upsets their parents and that they know they’re upset. But then on the other hand they need someone to support them as well. Do you see that community in your conversations where people are concerned about their kids as well?
Rebecca Soffer: Yeah, I mean, absolutely. So again, many of our readers, many of our community members are younger generation. They’re millennials, gen Xers, maybe gen Z at this point.
Kara Goldin: Yeah, and just starting to have-
Rebecca Soffer: So they have kids. I have kids, I’m in this community and I always say, “Wow, I would give anything to have my parents living, but I’m really glad I don’t have to go through that again. Because that was really excruciating.” And I look at my friends whose parents are getting older while they’re dropping their kids off at preschool and then going to their all-day meetings or going to trial or doing whatever business deals they’re doing, or going to operate on someone. And I think, “Wow, that’s really complicated.” Because a lot of them do have parental support and I’m very envious of that, to be honest. I wish I had that, but it also must be really complex because those parents, the older parents eventually are going to die. That’s just what happens. It’s part of life.
Rebecca Soffer: And they’re going to be, thank goodness, that’s a good thing that the grandparents are going to be such a presence in the kids’ lives. I feel like in these days, these days we are having more of that and that’s a wonderful thing. But of course that’s more loss. That’s more profound loss that kids are going to experience. We always have parents in the community. We have closed Facebook groups, you know, we’re on all the social media platforms, so there’s a lot of chatter. There’s a lot of peer to peer support, a lot. And a lot of in-person events where I hear this happening and people are worried about their kids, that someone loses a partner or a husband or even another child. “Oh my God, I’m so worried about my child. What do I do?”
Rebecca Soffer: So Modern Loss is definitely not a platform for children, because again, I’m not a therapist. I’m a producer, a journalist, a storyteller. But those children have parents and the parents are part of the community. And so we have many, many, many pieces, many resources, many essays and prescriptive pieces about how to help kids who are grieving. And one of my favorite ones is, I think it’s called like Six Reasons Why You Should Focus on a Grieving Child. Because just like men, grieving kids look different than-
Kara Goldin: Very different.
Rebecca Soffer: … a grieving 35 year old woman. They don’t express it the same way. They’re not developmentally there. They have different stages every single year with regard to what they can handle, what they can process and how they can externalize it. And so, we really try and hold parents hands through the process, going through a lot of advisers who are licensed therapists and also running essays by people who are in it to share what works for them, what is the mess for them, what’s unresolved for them. There’s no resolution here. It’s just part of this journey that never ends. But we’re not going to pull each other through it unless we can divide up this load among all of us. And then the load feels a little lighter. When you feel like you’re part of a community, at any point, even if it’s like part of the same baseball team. It feels better.
Kara Goldin: And I think that’s really what ends up. I mean I look at even the Hint community, I mean, people have said for years there were these drinks that were like doctors recommend it. And at the end of the day, people want to say that that kind of stuff and I think it’s the same for you is like a good thing. Like doctor say this. But at the end of the day, it’s the people that are in it that are actually getting results from these stories. People who are drinking water or Hint and they’re getting the results, right, you need to hear those stories.
Kara Goldin: So I think what you guys are doing is so spot on, it’s even more important than … and how many of these people, where this happens to them, actually go to a doctor individually because they’re like, “I don’t need to go to the doctor. This happens to everybody.” But how they’re processing it and how they’re ultimately able to go on, I think is just like looking at other people and hearing their stories it’s critical.
Rebecca Soffer: That’s it. What I needed when I was 30 and had to work at a daily TV show every day and come home at 8:00 at night. This was a grueling schedule and also have a dead mom and then a living dad back in Philly who I would go see every weekend. I was stretching myself so thin. I was like one little pat of butter that was spread across an enormous baguette. I felt like I was going to crack. What I needed was not people putting their hands on my shoulders and vomiting platitudes onto me. Like, “It takes a year,” or like, “It’ll get better. It’ll be okay.” And I was like, “Okay.” I used insanities to myself and said, “Okay, I don’t want to hear that it’s going to [inaudible 00:23:30] being okay. I want to know how, if you can’t draw me a roadmap, then please don’t tell me this empty shit, because,” Sorry, can I say that?
Kara Goldin: Yeah, you can say that, yeah.
Rebecca Soffer: Okay. “Please, don’t give it to me. It’s not helpful. In fact, it’s actually infuriating me and I kind of want to hit you.” What I needed were stories. I’m a storyteller. I wanted to be shown, not told. And that is what Modern Loss is. We show you through people’s experiences what it feels like. We show you through people’s experiences what worked for them, not in general, the silver bullet thing that worked for them. That doesn’t exist. But the thing that they’re grappling with on a narrow focus. How did they deal with the decision to have or not have another child after their second child died? How did they come to that decision whatever it was? Maybe it helps you think about how you’re going to do it. How did they decide to completely jump careers after their mom was killed?
Rebecca Soffer: Because life is fricking short. Our pieces are meant to be both used for commiseration purposes, but mostly for inspiration. This is very inspirational endeavor. This is not just like let’s all suck our thumbs and talk about how crappy this is. I mean it totally is, but it’s also like if you make the decision to stick around after somebody dies, and many of us do have to make that decision, then we owe it to ourselves to live as well as humanly possible and that’s what we want to help you do.
Kara Goldin: So Modern Loss, the book, it’s on Amazon. At Modern Loss. Tell us a little bit, how does this differ from sort of what you’ve been doing today?
Rebecca Soffer: That’s a good question. So, our book came out last year in 2018 and it’s called Modern Loss: Candid Conversation About Grief. Beginners Welcome. And it is a collection of pieces. It is purposely meant, I mean, you’re holding it in your hand. I would say it’s very pretty. It’s very bright. It’s very cheerful. It’s not what you would think. It doesn’t look like a chicken soup book. It doesn’t look like the stages of grief like … let’s use it as a doorstop. It is purposely meant to look like something that you think is cool enough to leave on your coffee table and leave it out loud and be unabashed about it. I’m not embarrassed to have a book about grief in your home. Don’t shove it under the bed. It’s kind of a metaphor for how we want you to approach this topic. And it is a collection of about 45 pieces, Gabby and I wrote extensively for it, and each piece has its own cartoon.
Rebecca Soffer: We hired this amazing New Yorker cartoonist, Peter Arkle, he’s terrific. And then we have all these individual cartoons that are pieces in and of themselves that have prescriptive advice. We have a piece called Grief Speak, which was a full page excerpt in the New York Times, which is kind of like the loose lexicon about real terms of loss-
Kara Goldin: No, I loved it.
Rebecca Soffer: … that therapists definitely don’t use, but I definitely do. And as I mentioned, I wrote a lot for it, so did Gabby, but so did 40 people from around the world. So we have five continents represented in this book, which is insane. And I wish I could say one was Antarctica, but it’s not. But the book is divided among umbrella experiences that we loosely define, like triggers, absence plus time, journeys, secrets, collateral damage, which is like all the insulting crap you have to deal with after a death that you, when you think the world should really just do you a solid and lay off.
Kara Goldin: I could write a book on that topic.
Rebecca Soffer: Totally. So all these chapters each have about four or five different pieces. Some of them are by people that are public names like Amanda Palmer, who’s a literal rock star.
Kara Goldin: Amazing.
Rebecca Soffer: Brian Stelter, who hosts Reliable Sources on CNN. Kim Goldman, who is kind of infamous from her brother Ron Goldman was one of the victims in the Nicole Brown Simpson murder trial. And some are just people who have really, really compelling voices and stories that have to be told.
Kara Goldin: That’s amazing, I’m excited.
Rebecca Soffer: Where they don’t normally get the platform to tell those stories and it’s meant to be picked up. And that’s meant to be put down for like three months if you need to, but it’s meant to be there.
Kara Goldin: That’s awesome. That’s so great. So, tell us what’s next for Modern Loss?
Rebecca Soffer: Well, I personally do a lot of live storytelling events, which I love doing. It’s frankly, it’s like my favorite thing that I’ve ever done in the world. I just did one at the JCC Manhattan. We’ve sold out with 230 people.
Kara Goldin: I want to have you to San Francisco, to the Hint office.
Rebecca Soffer: I would love that.
Kara Goldin: And we’ll host one there. That’d be amazing.
Rebecca Soffer: They’re really great. And so, because I believe that this topic really needs to be approached with a dose of levity whenever possible, given my background in political satire, I learned very well that you can’t shove tough things down people’s throat. They’re not going to listen, they’re just kind of like gag it up. If you do it with humor, then it’s going to make a tough topic a lot less scary, a lot more palatable, and you’ll keep coming back for more because you’re not going to be like terrified. So that’s our tone in Modern Loss. It’s light. It’s not disrespectful, but it’s light.
Rebecca Soffer: I have no problem with gallows humor. It has saved my sanity on many an occasion and it saves a lot of people’s sanity and sometimes what more do you have? But the ability to just laugh, the ludicrous aspect of this whole mess. And so these storytelling events, I put together a lineup of comedians and performers and writers and it’s a very curated show where we have five or six people sharing like five or six minute stories about an aspect of their loss. And their body, like you could be in the basement of Second City or UCB or Comedy Cellar and instead you’re at the JCC listening to this and it’s like my favorite … my last closer in March was Katie Rich, she writes Weekend Update for Saturday Night Live. So I love doing those events. I’m very hopeful that there will be more. I’d like to do more of them around the country.
Kara Goldin: Yeah, I would love to have you out to San Francisco.
Rebecca Soffer: Yeah. That would be great. And we have a small partnership with 1-800-FLOWERS. We do some content for them. I did a live event with them, a pre holiday self-care event, which was so great last week. We built our own terrariums. I know that sounds really silly, but honestly I love building my own terrarium. It was really fun and we had wine and cheese and community and people who are just kind of bracing themselves for this ho ho like it’s such a, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s actually not for a lot of people. Even if you’re years down the line, it’s bittersweet.
Rebecca Soffer: So we have to recognize the bitterness in this. So I like doing events that are kind of focused around those holidays. I’m in the middle of finishing up our winter holiday gift swap, where we ask anybody who thinks that the holiday season is a trigger for them with regard to a loss to sign up. And then we match them with a complete stranger around the country or in Canada.
Kara Goldin: I love it.
Rebecca Soffer: And so, now I have matched personally more than 1,200 people over the last three years with each other, who send each other gifts and cards. So we do a lot of wacky things. A lot of it is like boiling a big pot of pasta and throwing it against the wall and seeing what sticks. But, I know it sounds crazy to describe it like this. It’s fun because when people ask me how do I work with death every day, I don’t view it as working with death, I actually view it very much as working with life. I’m working with the people who are trying to live well.
Kara Goldin: Right, and you’re looking at the future and how do you … because I think that’s so hard for so many people.
Rebecca Soffer: It’s so hard.
Kara Goldin: Having lost both of my parents. I think it’s … I get it. And it was … as you and I shared earlier before a bit, I mean, it’s something that you can go through and you can sort of say, “Here’s what my experience was,” but everybody’s experience is different. And so I think the more stories in there for people to gauge, pick pieces of, you know.
Rebecca Soffer: It’s a choose your own inspirational adventure. If I wanted to leave you or your listeners with any one thought, there is no right way to do this. Well, there’s one wrong way, which is if you’re hurting yourself, you’re hurting somebody else. Anything else beyond that goes, why shouldn’t it? Who cares? You do you, who cares?
Kara Goldin: No, absolutely. I think it’s so true. So, I always ask this question, what makes you unstoppable? And I think you’ve answered a lot of it.
Rebecca Soffer: Coffee.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. Coffee, Hint. You know, right.
Rebecca Soffer: Fear of being late for school pickup.
Kara Goldin: Yeah. But I think putting this different lens on death, and I always appreciate companies that are helping people. I bet there’s a lot of people that, as they talk about your brand, you’re actually helping people, which I think is something so powerful and that’s, but anyway-
Rebecca Soffer: Yeah, I mean, I really like to think so. I think, in all seriousness, you asked me what makes me unstoppable and the real answer with regard to Modern Loss is that I 1 million percent believe in this. I completely drank the Kool-Aid, mostly because I started making the Kool-Aid myself.
Kara Goldin: Totally.
Rebecca Soffer: And I was just sick of the stigma. I was sick of the crickets and I was like, “This is just no way to live life. I don’t understand, maybe something’s wrong with me that I’m happy to talk about this stuff, but other people probably want to as well.” And so that’s what makes me unstoppable because I really believe it and I’m really driven, I’m really passionate about this. And I want to do more retreats. I’ve done two retreats at Kripalu. I have been doing a lot of public speaking.
Rebecca Soffer: I’d like to do more of that in 2020. Speak with companies, go into their HR departments, their employee wellness programs, talk about community building and peer-to-peer support. Because when you have people who talk to you about that stuff, I think it makes you a much happier or at least more loyal employee, you feel taken care of. And so, yeah, that’s what makes me unstoppable and coffee.
Kara Goldin: I love it. So what’s your favorite Hint flavor?
Rebecca Soffer: Oh my gosh, you actually served it to me.
Kara Goldin: Yeah?
Rebecca Soffer: Yeah, I do like-
Kara Goldin: The blackberry.
Rebecca Soffer: … I do like the Sparkling Hint. I do. We have a seltzer problem in my house. Yeah. It’s like sometimes I ask my husband if he’s capable of drinking still water.
Kara Goldin: I love it, yeah.
Rebecca Soffer: But as I said, Hint has a very special place in my life with my husband. We met at a benefit that we were pulled into the planning committee for that benefit the next year because they were so excited that two people met there and ended up together and Hint was one of the sponsors.
Kara Goldin: I love it.
Rebecca Soffer: Hint was a sponsor of our Modern Loss launch.
Kara Goldin: Oh, I love it.
Rebecca Soffer: I remember we had barely known each other and I think I had enough chutzpah, because I was nine months pregnant and my OB said, “You’re four centimeters dilated.” And I said, “Shit, I think we have to launch, because that’s … it’s going to get really busy.” And I emailed you, I said, “I think we’re going to have a little party. Is there any way you could send some boxes?” And you were like, “Yep, it’s done.” So, it was like an open bar and Hint. I’m a lifelong loyal Hint lady.
Kara Goldin: That’s so great. Okay, so Rebecca Soffer, it’s on Twitter as-
Rebecca Soffer: Yes.
Kara Goldin: Yes. Okay. And where else do people find you?
Rebecca Soffer: They can find me. It’s just @RebeccaSoffer, S-O-F-F-E-R on Twitter, on Instagram. Modern Loss is very active on all social platforms. We’re @modernloss everywhere and we do have a Patreon campaign that is really going to be the thing that I hope helps us keep the movement going.
Kara Goldin: I love it.
Rebecca Soffer: We encourage anybody, anybody, if you find value in what we are doing here, if you find value in this community, in this conversation, if you have seen somebody in isolation going through loss and want there to be a better conversation about it and resources and content, then help be part of the reason that this movement keeps going and become a member of Modern Loss on Patreon. And each level has its own benefits. It’s super easy. You can choose your own. So yeah you can find us in the ether and in person you can find me running around New York City.
Kara Goldin: Yay. So, thank you so much.
Rebecca Soffer: Thank you.