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Denise Ilitch show

Oct 20, 2021

“It takes a lot of courage to grieve.” Kristen Meekhof 
In this episode Denise talks to Kristen Meekhof whose success as a writer, speaker and lecturer came quite accidentally, after authoring the book she wished she had to read after her husband’s surprising death at age 33.  They had been married only four years.  Born in South Korea, she was abandoned on the streets as an infant and adopted by an American couple.  Just before her fifth birthday, her father died, making her mother the first widow she knew.  Sharing her own journey navigating grief and loss in her book, A Widow’s Guide to Healing, she is now a sought-after resilience and gratitude expert. 

Find out from Kristen: 

  • How trauma is related to loss and grief 
  • The link between the emotional and intellectual sides of grief 
  • The importance of getting rid of negative self-talk and asking for help 
  • How to recover from a loss—of trust 
  • Her cocktail for self-care 

Kristen A. Meekhof, born in South Korea in 1974 and adopted by American parents, Meekhof graduated with a BA in Psychology from Kalamazoo College and completed a clinical master’s in social work at University of Michigan.  In 2007, her husband of four years died of adrenal cancer after a medical misdiagnosis.  She spent the next three years interviewing widows from all walks of life, blending their stories with practical advice to author her book A Widow’s Guide to Healing.  She was a lecturer at Harvard Medical School, the key-note speaker at the 2016 Global Fund for Widows and is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post,, Psychology Today and others. 


Denise Ilitch, an owner of Ilitch Family Companies and President of Ilitch Enterprises, has been a part of Detroit’s business and philanthropic community for over 40 years.  As a mother, lawyer, entrepreneur, devoted community servant and tireless advocate for women and children, she learned early, from her father, that everyone is worthy of contributing to the world.  Her passion for affordable, accessible, quality education stems from her own experience as a first-generation student, earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, where she currently serves on the Board of Regents. 


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