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Episode 2: Grief & Loss

December 19, 2020 


"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a fierce inner battle.” 


While I would not wish the experiences of grief or loss on anyone, I’m confident that my traumas have increased my ability to put this familiar saying into practice. According to emotion researchers, empathy is the ability to imagine what another might be feeling or thinking. Author Brene´Brown sums up the difference between sympathy and empathy with excellent insight. She suggests that instead of offering silver linings to those who’ve befallen heartbreak, we might say, “I know what it’s like to experience pain and I’m here with you.”

I acknowledge people’s intent isn’t typically to make others feel worse, and most of the time, people just don’t know what to say or do. But, in my opinion, insensitive comments, unsolicited advice, or one-upping someone’s pain can hurt when people are in an emotionally fragile state. In other words, connecting heart to heart and merely being present is more helpful than any words one could ever say.

To that end, we recorded another TBY Talks video blog on the subject of loss and grief. This time, Kadi Petridis leads the discussion (with participants Willie Underwood Kadi’s fiance, Andrew Gurvey, and me). We started with the timely subject of losing our brick and mortar, where our TBY community formerly practiced yoga together. In our discussion we acknowledge the loss of a structure or business pales compared to the loss of a loved one; in addition, the four of us address some of our other deeply personal losses.

— Julia Jonson, Co-Founder of TBY Yoga


Kadi Petridis was born in Bamako, Mali, to a black Malian mother and a white American father who served in the Peace Corps in Liberia for several years. He then moved to Mali to continue his volunteer work, where he met and married Kadi’s mother.  When she was two years old, her parents, sisters, and brothers moved to her father’s hometown of Denver, Colorado. Kadi cultivated a strong work ethic from an early age and eventually graduated from the Northwestern University School of Communication. While she was in school, she experienced an unplanned pregnancy yet finished school on time. Kadi is a mom to two daughters. She is also a Senior Director in Pfizer’s Oncology division, where she leads a group of account managers. Kadi says she loves getting to know a person’s history, stating that rich and authentic conversations are incredibly nourishing for more introverted personalities like her own. Kadi is a longtime yoga student who has a lovely, easy demeanor.

Dr. Willie Underwood, III, M.D., MS, MPH,  grew up in Gary, Indiana. Willie describes himself as born eager to learn and aspired to be a doctor from an early age. Yet, during his freshman year at William Wirt High School, Willie’s Social Studies teacher told him it was pointless for her to answer his questions since he was destined for jail by the time he was 19. Like many other teachers, this teacher made it clear that he was not worth her time to educate. Despite being immersed in a harmful school system, Willie became a board-certified urologist with 20 years of experience as a surgeon. Willie is a member of the American Medical Association Board of Trustees and an expert in health care disparities and health care policy.  Willie is a clinician-scientist, entrepreneur, and positive social change agent.  Willie shares his passion for helping people by speaking out about racial inequality. With his work in social activism, Willie believes that meaningful conversations now can lead to more equitable practices and lasting changes in the future.


In keeping with our mission of cultivating community, we are proud to present TBY Talks, a video blog that brings important topics to the forefront. TBY Talks will either be pre-recorded discussions or Livestream interviews involving issues that affect individuals and communities. In this time of social distancing, we hope these online community-building endeavors will allow for a sense of connection. Kadi Petridis leads the discussion (with participants Willie Underwood Kadi’s fiance, Andrew Gurvey, and Julia Jonson). We enjoy these collaborations so much and our hope is they resonate with you!


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450 N Seymour Ave
Mundelein, IL 60060

(located inside Life Force Health Center)

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