Carol Kalnow

Currently retired to focus on guiding individuals and family through bereavement one step at a time, one breath at a time.  This has proven to be rewarding as they forge forward on their journey in becoming the individual’s they now are with their loved ones in their heart.  It continues to be cathartic for me as well.  I, too, hold a special place for them in my heart.  It’s a joy to be part of their journey.

Former Administrator for University Associates in Dentistry, team dentist for the Chicago Blackhawks, for 25+ years, where I learned many valuable “people” skills.  People have always turned to me for advice and guidance.  Little did I know that that connection to others would help me in guiding those that have lost a loved one, including myself.

Former Executive Director of the Stepping Stone Foundation – working with and providing interaction with seriously ill children, pairing tutoring for hospitalized children with high school volunteers, organizing and providing entertainment for hospitalized children on a monthly bases and fundraising

Former Flight Attendant and AFA negotiator – was part of the negotiations for the first maternity leave contract in the airline industry

Former Elementary School Teacher – kindergarten and 6th grade teacher.

My greatest accomplishment is raising two amazing children.  Both are accomplished in their chosen professions as well as philanthropic.

My greatest joy is sharing time with my grandchildren and the grandpups.  And, not to leave out, spending time with family and friends.  That means the world to me!  That includes a shout out to my significant other, Trouble.

My Story

As wonderful, attentive and protective as my children were (Drew, wife Anne and Cara), I knew they had their own lives to live. They could not be my 24/7. Work became a “safe haven”. I could immerse myself and shut out the world. Walking home and wandering became the norm; avoiding going home at all costs. I’d wander the streets of Chicago, dine alone, try to listen to music or just sit in silence. There were times I even contemplated jumping off the bridge. Truly contemplated it. Once home, I’d open a bottle of wine and walk around the dining room table. Many times, just crying. I searched for a therapist that had walked the walk as well as talked the talked. There didn’t seem to be one. I wasn’t ready for group therapy. I was too wrapped up in my own grief and just wanted that someone to reach out to. Most friends wanted to comfort me, but I was not ready to let them in. I hoped that they would be there when I needed them. I sought out those that had lost a spouse or partner. They were my saviors. They knew the depth of pain. A depth of pain that is unimaginable. Everywhere I went there were memories. Joyous, but painful memories. Dealing with the records and legal matters surrounding Ron’s death, became a raw, gut-wrenching, gift that kept on giving. There was no escaping the grief, the pain. The days seemed dark and unbearable.

The first time I smiled, the first time I laughed, oh the guilt! But there it was. I was beginning to thaw, beginning to take small steps forward. Fast forward to today (9 years later – 2021), I still miss Ron with every fiber of my being, but I am able to live, laugh and embrace life again. It’s a journey I wish on no one, but one that many of us (unfortunately) go through. Remember to breathe, remember to keep breathing.

Of course, as I write this, Elvis Presley’s singing, “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You”, begins playing on the radio.  It was our last dance.  Our spontaneous dance the day before his accident while enjoying coffee at Starbucks.   Ron is ALWAYS with me, always within me.

Bereavement/grief is very individualized.  It is unique to YOU.  There is no magic potion, but with coaching, you can learn how to find some comfort as you recover and learn to live again.  These “tools” are your “tools” based on your own experiences.  Together we will explore and create ways for you to dig into yourself to find ways to comfort yourself and to turn painful memories into treasured gifts.  Sadly, I have “walked the walk” and can “talk the talk” while guiding you through, one step at a time.  After the depth of loss felt when my husband suddenly passed in 2011, I became a certified life and health coach.  Over the course of my coaching career, there have been so many heartwarming successes.  That’s why I expanded my client base through using Bark in 2021.  Let me help guide you: One Step at a Time, One Breath at a Time.