Advanced Grief Recovery Method Specialist® - Trainer
My name is Tammy Fleming. My career for thirty years was in Christian ministry, serving mostly as a missionary in Northern and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and the UK. I first became aware of the Grief Recovery Method® twenty years ago, when a colleague recommended to me, “You really should read this book.” Three years went by, and I didn’t read the book. Then, in 2007, I uprooted my family and moved across the Atlantic (for the fifth time in two decades) and was missing my friends, my culture, feeling lonely and guilty for tearing my grade-school son away from a life he loved. Soon after the move, I took a weekend away with a friend whose hopes and dreams for her family and career had been ripped away, one by one. We brought with us two copies of The Grief Recovery Handbook, and we spent the weekend reading the book, each completing the exercises and being listening partners for one another. That experience was revolutionary. By taking the actions outlined in the book, I was surprised to discover that an even greater pain in my heart than the recent move was my relationship with my adult daughter, who had just moved out of our family home. I didn’t realize how much regret I was carrying, how much unfinished emotional business there was between us. I had spent so much time fretting about the past or being anxious about the future while she was growing up, that I missed a lot of her childhood. I was there physically, but my thoughts and my heart were often in other places.
From that time on I could no longer “unsee” the grief in people everywhere. I gave dozens of copies of the Handbook away.
Ten more years went by. My husband and I were preparing to retire in 2017 and intended to spend the next chapter of our lives devoting ourselves to supporting the churches where we had lived and worked in Russia and Eurasia. I felt strongly that we needed to bring with us an effective tool for dealing with grief and loss that we could translate into Russian. I spent a year in the United States exploring all the available programs that I could find that purport to deal with grief and loss. I found most all of them to be in some way encouraging and comforting, but none except the Grief Recovery Method® was scientifically proven to work. None but GRM® taught action steps, a set of tools you walk away with and that you can continue to use.
In May 2017 I did my GRM® Certification Training with the passionate Laura Jack, and was once again blown away by what I discovered as I took the actions of the Method®. I realized only then that I had been carrying unresolved grief for the loss of my parents for decades. I was raised an only child and both parents had died quite early from horrible cancer. I learned that I’d been practicing destructive habits ever since, to deal with the pain of their deaths and all the other consecutive losses and disappointments as life went on — and I thought I was doing a good job “being strong.” In reality, I was acting like the mythical ostrich with its head buried in the sand. My health and other relationships were suffering because I lacked any understanding about what it means to complete grief in a relationship.
During the next four years I took all the training opportunities offered by the Grief Recovery Institute — at first a little hesitantly but feeling ever more called to this path. Ed Owens, Vice President of the Institute, became my mentor, and in 2021 we completed the translation of the Handbook and all the Certification materials into the Russian language and trained 15 GRM® Specialists in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine. Now that the war has begun we are urgently working to translate everything into Ukrainian.
My husband Andy and I have been married for 35 years and have married children on opposite sides of the planet: my daughter continues to live in Ukraine with her family, despite the war, and my son and his wife live in Austin, Texas.
I now reside in the UK and am thrilled to have the opportunity to train other GRM® Specialists. Every time through the Method® with someone is a huge privilege for me, a profound learning experience, a sacred space. I hope we’ll have the chance to make some significant discoveries together and multiply the number of those equipped to effectively heal broken hearts.