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Phil Cohen | Losing Your Only Child, Overcoming the Grief, & Becoming the Buffalo | S5 E92


Have you heard the one about the young man who grew up in a Jewish-Italian home, married his high school sweetheart, and even though it ended in divorce, had a beautiful son together? You know, the one where the teenage son goes out on a fishing trip with his friend and ends up being the largest search and rescue event ever recorded in US Coast Guard history?

In this remarkable episode, our guest is going to openly share the grieving he went through, the struggle of drug addiction while he tried to medicate the pain, and how he found hope and turned things around to become free from the grief. All this and much, much more in this week’s episode of the Remarkable People Podcast, the Phil Cohen story!

“Even though I don’t have a Masters degree in psychology, I have a PhD in experience.” – Phil Cohen



Phil Cohen is a keynote/ TEDx speaker, grief coach, and creator of The Grief Continuum™, a framework for helping others grow, flourish and overcome despair by discovering and developing their inner resilience. For over 25 years, Phil has helped global technology start-ups grow and prosper through developing their sales teams. After experiencing the sudden loss of his son, in what turned out to be the most extensive search in U.S. Coast Guard history, Phil has found a renewed purpose in helping others to integrate grief into their own lives after experiencing the inevitable traumas, tragedies, and transitions in life.





Guest Contact Info:

  • Website: https://www.philcohen.com
  • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cohenphil/
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/phil.cohen1

Remarkable People Podcast Listener Special Offer(s):


Resources Mentioned: 



Salvation, sales, God, Jesus, Jewish, ted talk, apologetics, divorce, automotive industry, podcasting, Perry Cohen, US Coast Guard, Grieving, guilt, shame, feelings of worthlessness, journaling, ugly cry, pain, loss, grief, listen, don’t try to fix it, facing in, facing your problems, Drug use, adderall, medicating pain, numbing the pain, sorcery, witchcraft, acceptance, 5 stages of grieving, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Brooklyn, Calvary Chapel, Tony Robbins, Loss of a child, Drug use, adderall, medicating pain, numbing the pain, Dealing with grief, 5 stages of grief



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While we are very thankful for all of our guests, please understand that we do not necessarily hold or endorse the same beliefs, views, and positions that they may have. We respectfully agree to disagree in some areas, and thank God for the blessing and privilege of free will.

Full Episode Transcript

Phil Cohen | Losing Your Only Child, Overcoming the Grief, & Becoming the Buffalo | S5 E92

Hello friends. I’m David Pasqualone. And welcome to this week’s episode of the remarkable people podcast. The Phil Cohen story. We have a young man who grew up in a Jewish Italian home. We have a man who got saved and trusted Christ. Around 22. And then as he grew as a man, he finds that his high school sweetheart and him weren’t equally yoked, but they still have a beautiful son.

The son, when he gets older, goes out on a [00:01:00] fishing trip and ends up being the largest search and rescue recording. And us coast guard history made national news and sadly his son was lost. You’re going to hear this gentlemen openly share the journey, went through of pain in a grieving. And of drug addiction and finding hope and turning things around and being free.

There’s a ton to this episode, really, there is, I could be looking at my notes, not right now and still not hit all the high points. So. Is a TEDx weaker, Ted talks speaker. He is a top 1% sales professional. He does coaching. He does consulting. He has had his own businesses, his brother and him work together on a [00:02:00] podcast.

His brother works for Tony Robbins and this is the circle they run with. This is a high achiever. Who dealt with major tragic loss, and he’s here to help us today to work through it. And be better humans so we can have joy and peace and glorify our creator, the Lord, God almighty. So get your pen and paper out, be ready to hear incredible content.

And then I hope and pray that you not only listen to this, but you do it and you repeat it every day. You can have a great life in this world and attorney to come. So again, I’m David Pascoe. Get ready for the Phil Cohen story now.

RPP E92 INTERVIEW Phil Cohen Losing Your Only Child Overcoming the Grief and How to Become the Buffalo: Hey Phil, how are you today, brother? Outstanding. David, how are you? I’m doing great.

You liked that blast right off the bat. Yeah, man. I [00:03:00] love the energy of all that it, I know. Right. It’s like flicking a switch. So I just went and told our listeners a little bit about you a little bit about our episode today and what they can expect. So at this time, let’s just jump into your story. Start us off with, you know, where were you born?

What was your upbringing like? And then take us step-by-step chronologically through your life. What you feel is important. What are the highs? What are the lows. And then show us everything you need to tell us of not just what you accomplished or achieved, but how did you do it in practical steps so we can do sound good.

Sounds good. Sounds really good. I was so I was born and raised in Rockland county, a suburb just outside of Manhattan. I am the youngest of three sons and much like the babies of the family. I was a bit of a wild child, got myself into a lot of trouble through my [00:04:00] adolescent years. But then finally grew up in high school.

I like to say. My upbringing was very similar to Robert Kiyosaki’s book, rich dad, poor dad. So my dad was born in born and raised in the Bronx. Definitely really street smart. Also very intelligent, but not the book-smart kind of guy. My, my biological dad taught me how to fight, taught me how to get through certain things, you know, taught me how to be tough, but my best friend’s father growing up though, as a, as an immigrant of Egypt, he worked for a chemist, chemical competent chemists, became a chemist at some point in his life, really, really smart guy.

It was partly invented, but NACA mouth spray. If you remember that and colored contact lenses, he started ran several businesses and just became a huge success. And, you know, he taught me how to think and how to that. To [00:05:00] never take no for an answer. So I really got like the best of both worlds, you know, growing up, it was you know, a great family, I think, along the spectrum and you know, how people can grow up.

I think that, you know, I had a good, we took vacations during the summer and the winter you know, really had no like crazy family drama. My family’s all, all salespeople. So I grew up and, you know, went into a life of, of sales right away. Monday marry my high school sweetheart. And in January of 2001, we had our first and only child.

And I think that that was probably the happiest day of my life because I knew that, you know, I always wanted to be a father. So that’s the short version of kind of, you know, where I grew up and you know, my upbringing into adulthood. Yeah. Well, looking at your child. Some people, their story begins. I mean, we’re all formed and we all learn and grow every step of the way.[00:06:00]

But are there any parts of your childhood or teenage years that you’re like, this was something that was very difficult and I needed to face it to be the man I am today. First year learning or did most of your learning come in adulthood? Yeah, I’d say there’s definitely a mix of both. You know, I think, you know, I was, I think a lot of the reasons, you know, if I had to look back and be completely transparent, a lot of the reasons that I probably got in trouble as a kid was that, you know, I wanted a better relationship or a closer relationship with my father.

So I, I got myself in trouble because I got noticed that way, even though I would get in trouble or get punished or, you know, maybe even sometimes, you know, beat up a little bit. But it was some attention as opposed to no attention. But I think that’s yeah. And then also critical, I think to that is my mom being saved.

And just talking to me about God, [00:07:00] bringing me to church and kind of building that foundation, even though I really didn’t want to hear much about it in those years, because I was. I just thought I was a bad-ass even though I wasn’t, I just thought that I was, I mean, I had really long hair. I was into Metallica, all those kinds of things, but it wasn’t until I actually moved out of my house at age 20 that maybe a couple of years later that I started going to church and diving into the word, things like that.

Nice. Now you said your mother got saved. What was your family’s upbringing up until that point? How old were you at that point? And. Yeah. So we, I, we know prior to that, I was never really raised with any religion especially with a name like Cohen, which is very, very Jewish. You think that, you know, I would have had some, even though I know a lot about Judaism but I really wasn’t raised with much religion.

We always celebrated Christmas, never celebrated Hanukkah, things like that. So yeah, I wasn’t really, I didn’t really have much exposure to [00:08:00] any type of religion or any relationship with God until my mom got saved, but really I was hearing it, but I wasn’t listening. It was one of those things. It wasn’t until later on in life that I really started to take my relationship with God.

Seriously. Nice. Now did your, was your father Jewish? Was he Italian? What was your upbringing? Cause like if your mom, your dad Cohen, so probably Jewish and then she ends up trusting Christ as their savior. What was that like in the. Sure. Yeah. So my dad’s mom was Italian. My dad’s father was Jewish. So that’s how we got the name Cohen and my mom’s whole family was Italian.

So, you know, so I think to say you know, half pizza have bagel, if you of got a little bit of both in me, for sure. And I can tell you one thing, you know, having the name Cohen has helped me a lot more than it’s hurt me in my life. But yeah, in the home there wasn’t, my mom was [00:09:00] just, my mom was the one that was always talking about Jesus and talking about God, you know, to all of us and my father.

My father got saved much, much later, you know, maybe almost like six, seven years ago. So he, he, he was hearing it, but he really. Didn’t really want to do anything, you know, definitely more right here, as opposed to oppose to a doer of the word. So in the home it was really just around me. You know, I really didn’t start adopting it until, until I started to, I moved out of the house at age 20 and went to Calvary chapel in Fort Lauderdale.

And at that time was a mega church. The pastor who, who built that church has since gotten himself in a little bit of trouble and and no longer ones that church, but that’s where I really started to hear the word and, and pick up the Bible. And I saw, I remember I started talking to my friends and I started telling my friends and my buddies about God and Jesus and everything [00:10:00] that I was learning.

And I remember them saying, you know, Phil, that’s great, but you believe people will live to be 800 years old. You believe someone lived in the belly of a whale for three days. Like you believe that. And I hated David hated so much that I couldn’t answer that with any type of actual. Real knowledge, you know, it was more just, wow, this is how I feel.

And this is what I learned. And it’s just this, you know, this connection that I feel so that, you know, that inability to be able to speak with any type of confidence got me to start studying apologetics and then through learning apologetics and then really digging into the Bible. That’s when I started realizing, oh, this this book is way more than just a book and there’s no way all of the names and dates and numbers that could, they could all be coincidence.

And just that’s when my, when my faith just got really, really [00:11:00] strong, just because there’s so much there. Yes. And if we have listeners over 93 countries, so I want you to explain two terms quickly explained what saved means and what apologetics. Saved, you know, in short means that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior, and that he is the ruler of my life.

And that when I, when I have a problem, I look to the word for that type of solution, because there is no problem, trial tragedy, trauma transition that you can’t learn how to overcome or deal with. That is not in the word of God. It’s all right there. And apologetics is really just a way of defending your faith, so to speak.

And that’s the shortest way to be able to say it, how to be able to tell people in a way that Jesus is the son of God, that he lived, that he was crucified and that he rose again, [00:12:00] and how to do that without. Fluff. Yeah. Yeah, no, I agree completely. And the Bible is a living book and from cover to cover, you’ll see it true.

So even if right now you’re listening to Phil and I, and you don’t believe in God, you’re not sure what to believe. Pick up the Bible and read it. Governments, organizations all over the world have used the Bible just as a history book. And it’s always proven true archeology, gold digs. Everything they do with the Bible is always true.

So what Phil is referring to is the Bible talks about salvation by Gracie saved through faith. And it says for whosoever shall call upon the, the Lord shall be saved. So what you’re being saved from is actually you have to, we have two choices. All of us are going to die. We’re all going to pay taxes, right?

But when we die, the house is, you know, absent from the body present with the Lord. So we only have two choices. We’re either going to die and be separated from God and burring forever in the [00:13:00] lake of fire. That’s tormented bad, or we can be an attorney with Christ and be at peace and joy and love. What were you saying?

Yes. Yeah. Yeah. I apologize if I interrupt, I get passionate about these things. No, that’s good, man. You’re Jewish and Italian. If you’re not passionate, you’re. Exactly. Exactly. I love that. I love that. Yeah. And just even just take that one step further, what really got me, you know, by studying apologetics and then even like picking up a concordance and then, you know, trying to translate the original language to English.

Because if you look at the original language, it’s, it’s so much more picturesque and in the Bible, like the word spirit. They only, they were used the word spirit. There is no other really word for it, but in the original language, it could have meant one, one of three things. There was Panera, you know, which meant that there was the spirit that was next to you and walking alongside of you it’s sometimes it was described as E N is N, which means that you’ve, you’ve invited the spirit to live inside [00:14:00] you.

And then there was the epi, the overflowing of the spirit that it it’s just so much in you that it overflows out of you to other people. So there’s just, there’s so much there that, you know, if you, if you, if you pick up the Bible and you’re starting to read it and you think, I don’t really understand what this means, you know, look to the original language sometimes and get yourself a concordance and some other tools.

And that’s when the Bible really starts to come alive. Yes. And there is no age either because I know that the Bible started coming alive to me when I was 15, I got saved when I was 12. Didn’t really go back to church or do any studies. Until I was 15. And then when I started getting discipled, that just simply means someone who knows the Bible has more experience, sits down with you and explains it to you.

And that was beautiful. And that’s where it came alive to me. And Phil, you said you were, how old, when you, when it started being real, that’s probably about 22. 23. Yeah. Yep. Yeah. So there’s different age for [00:15:00] everybody, but the thing is, everybody’s looking for the same things in life. Everybody wants to feel special.

Everybody wants to feel loved. Everyone wants to feel understood and all that’s with God. So definitely get into the word. And if you don’t understand it, pray to God, just talk to them. Like you talk to me or Phil and then ask them to give you somebody who’s going to interpret the Bible correctly and show you what it means and then move forward and you can connect with Phil and I to try to get pointed in the right direction where you are, wherever you are in the world or the country.

So let’s go back. By the way, if you’re watching this podcast, I apologize. Mid recording. My camera broke. Of course. So when flipping, you’re watching, you’re like, why is this camera angle keep changing because I’m switching cameras while we’re talking. But anyways, Phil, so keep going on with your story. You grow up, you got three brothers, you get a great mom and dad, your mom gets saved.

She’s telling you about God, but then in your twenties, you decide to start digging [00:16:00] in on your own and you study what people call apologetics in America. It’s defending your faith and now you’re, you know what you believe in why, but this is helping you learn to explain it. So where does Phil’s life go from?

Yeah. So, you know, my whole, my whole family is, yeah. I think I mentioned earlier while been sales guys at this time. I I’m married to my high school, sweetheart. We just had our, our, our first child, not only child. This is in January of 2001. I think I’m 28 at this point. Everything’s going great.

You know then about three years later, I started to have some issues, not even three years. Two years. Cause my son was about three when his mom and I got divorced. You know, we can, we can dive into all reasons as to why that is, but that’s probably not what this podcast is essentially about. Unless you’d like to ask me questions, I’d be happy to answer them, but we wound up getting a divorce.

And I wound up starting my own [00:17:00] business in 2008 2008, 2009, when the economy started to fall apart a little bit. I don’t know if you remember that, that time I was trying to do. And I was at the time I was selling software to automotive dealers, retail automotive dealers, really complex, comprehensive software.

That’s prior to this past year, my, my. My what’s the word I’m looking at? My professional identity was always Phil Cohen, VP of sales. I run sales teams. That’s what I do. That’s what I love to do. That’s what I’m great at. So that’s what I was doing even in 2008, 2009, when the economy took a hit I was laid off like many other people.

And, but prior to that, I’ve always, I was always had this entrepreneurial spirit. I’ve always wanted to, even in the companies I’ve worked for, I was intrepreneurial starting things within the company. So since I’ve really been floundering and nobody was really hiring, especially willing to pay the money that I was making at the time [00:18:00] I started my own business.

I saw, I saw an opportunity for retail car dealers. If you drive by pretty much any retail automotive dealership in the United States, Do you know, like when you see those black and yellow numbers, that other price, or at a great deal on the windshield of a car, pretty much every buy here, pay here, even retail automotive, automotive dealers generally talking about.

Okay. So that’s like the one thing that I never saw a change in the automotive industry throughout my time through it. So I’m like, there’s gotta be a better way to do this. You know, so I bought myself a, it was called a plotter. It was just essentially cuts, vinyls into numbers, started out with just different color numbers and sayings and found a way to put them on the windshield.

That was just a lot better. And that, that really marketed the dealership a lot better because a lot of times when those cars were out on the road You wouldn’t know what the, if you, if you were in the market for a car and you saw [00:19:00] this used vehicle with black and yellow numbers on the windshield, and you’re like, oh wow.

That, you know, that looks maybe like a car I’m interested and you wouldn’t know what dealership it came from. Just, you just saw it pass by you. So that was one of the issues that these stickers that I made solved and that grew into just buying them, buying a full color printer. And I started doing vehicle wraps and boat wraps and all different signs and banners.

And I, I did that for about seven or eight years, and then I realized. That I didn’t like any part of that business, you know? Number one, I’m completely colorblind. So I had no business at all, making a living as a graphic designer. I didn’t like the production aspect of it and watching everything print and preparing it to be installed on the vehicles.

And I didn’t like the installation process. What I loved was the entrepreneurial aspect of growing the business, building the revenue, hiring people, watching the company, grow, things like that. So anybody out [00:20:00] there, if you’re thinking about starting a business, the one thing I would say to you is, think about the things and the tasks that you will be doing daily and think about what will you really like doing those things, you know, not so much the business aspect of it all, but what will you be doing day in and day out?

Because it took me six years Selma, seven years to realize I don’t really like any of this. Yeah. And that’s a real issue that is such a real issue. How many people get involved? In something, whether they just, it falls in their lap or they live somebody else’s dream. And then they look back and they’re like, I hate this, you know, it pays the bills, but yeah, like 70% of the population.

So yeah. So, so those people that went to school, like you think I want to go to school to become a doctor or a lawyer, and then you’d go in and you’re doing those things you realize. I don’t really like the daily things I have to do every day. You know, I just thought about this, you know, this one piece of maybe being in the courtroom and asking somebody questions, I got into thing, but so much of your day [00:21:00] is other stuff.

Yeah. Or somebody’s good at something. And their parents and friends like, oh, you should be a lawyer. You should be a lawyer. You’re good at arguing. And they’re like, okay. And you spent 30 years of your life getting degrees. And you’re like, oh, damn, I hate this. So yeah. It just depends, but yeah, you’re right.

So you spent seven years wrapping vehicles and working with cars and you’ve been in that industry. And then where does your life go from there? So 2014, 2015, I started listening to podcasts and this is Mike, but nobody really knew what a podcast was like, people like what’s a podcast, you know? And one of my favorite ones was this one called entrepreneurs on fire with John Lee Dumas.

And he would basically interview these entrepreneurs that were right at the brink of success and ask them, you know, what, Kate kept you from becoming an entrepreneur. And you know, what, what did you do if you can recommend one book for somebody, what would it be? So I started listening to them and I started [00:22:00] realizing like my brother and I should start a podcast because we’re both sales guys.

We’ve both been really successful in sales. I could see. And John Lee Dumas, the, the host of that podcast at one point started to share how much money he was making from the podcast meeting. Like he would share here’s my here’s my sponsors. Here’s how much money we’re pulling in. And it was a whole lot of money, like way more than you might even think.

My brother. Are you familiar with Tony Robbins? Okay. So my brothers worked for Tony for a real long time. I got to meet Tony and Fiji. You’d have to go to a resort in Fiji called the Mala. I got to spend some one-on-one time with Tony and his wife Sade. So I got a few crazy Tony stories. I don’t know if I’ll go there, but so my brother, my brother rich he’s, he’s basically run coaching and product sales for Tony for a long time.

He still does it. And so I called them up. I’m like, bro, we should start a podcast because he is so off the cuff, like [00:23:00] super, super funny. He just tells it like it is. And I know we’d be able to get like, you know, some good sales guys that were, do being successful in their phone sales or direct sales interview them.

And between the two of us, we’d be able to really make something interesting. So he’s like, yeah, let’s, you know, let’s give it a shot. So I actually sold my sign business. Went out to California temporarily to start this podcast and we started doing it. And then I got a call that changed my life forever.

Split my life into there’ll be a pre-fill and a Postville ever since that moment. So on July 24th, 2015 my ex-wife called me and said, Phil Perry is missing. Perry’s my son or son, the coast guard is looking for them. I had to let you know. I’m not going to go into the rest of that conversation because a lot of it was like, well, what do you mean he’s missing?

And that [00:24:00] kind of a thing, but I’ll get more into the details. I’ll cover the high level of it. And then you can ask me questions as you like. So I was immediately on the next plane I got from California to, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. So my 14 year old son at the time, he was 14 and a half and his close friend were last seen leaving the Jupiter inlet.

Jupiter inlet is an inlet out of Jupiter, Florida that leads into the Atlantic. They were last seen on a 19 foot fishing boat. And south Florida. There’s crazy storms that just pop out of nowhere if you’ve never lived in, then I think you’re in Florida now. Is that right? Yeah. I’m in Pensacola, Florida.

So we just had tornado warnings two days. So it just, it can be rough weather and then it can look like, I don’t know if you can see behind me just gorgeous blue and you just want to go Sunday and all day. And like they could last five minutes and then it’s always on it’s gorgeous again. Right. And it happens, it happens all the time.

So one of [00:25:00] those came out of nowhere, it was heavy rains winds of 40 mile an hour plus and after several attempts to reach the boys via their cell phones with no answer, the coast guard was notified. And one of, if not the largest searches in the history of the United States coast guard in suit that search lasted seven X grew shading days.

And you know, if you’re in Pensacola, near the ocean, people go missing all the time. Right? There could be people like on a paddle boarder or a surfer or somebody in a boat. And the coast guard may look for them maybe for a day. If they’re lucky, maybe two days that this was a week, this was a massive search.

Lot of a lot of planes and boats and the Navy FBI, there was a lot of people searching for the boys, neither of the boys were at found. Yeah. And exactly what happened. Exactly what happened. I think. I know, but [00:26:00] just so you like, so the listeners know what Phil’s saying is tremendously. I can only imagine.

I can only imagine. I can’t know what you must’ve gone through in those days, but in Pensacola in anywhere there there’s water with a strong current, you can literally get caught in a, in like an invisible stream almost within the ocean. And it’ll suck you out like a water. So people all the time, they don’t take the undertow seriously.

And in the ocean, the current, and they get caught off guard. I’ve seen a six foot, six, 300 pound man in the water to his calves and it sucked him out and he almost drowned. So where we live, it’s super dangerous. And if come visit Phil and I, but it’s, it’s serious danger. And what are you talking about?

Your son? You went out through Jupiter, Florida. You said the port. Yep. Yep. Yeah. So there can be a [00:27:00] current that can pull even a boat out. So, so go on. So what happens? They do this massive search. You’re exhausted. I’m sure what happens from that? Yeah. I mean, my whole time was trying to keep the coast card looking because I knew once the coast guard gave up, that was it.

Right. And so the boys went missing on a Friday. They found the boat, the coast guard found the boat on a Sunday capsized. And and meanwhile, this whole thing played out like. All of social media, it was on CNN. Good morning, America. I mean, this was like a national news story for about a week. A guy jumped out of a helicopter.

One of this coast guard guys jumped out of the helicopter to see maybe the boys were under the boat or around the boat. They couldn’t find the boys. But they found, they found the boat. I just found the boat from the boat. Seven days they found the boat. It was actually the two days. So they went missing on a Friday and then that Sunday they found the boat.

And then from that point on, see part of the, part of the, [00:28:00] I guess the benefit of. Not finding the boat was that they could possibly be on it. So that was keeping the coast guard booking because maybe they were on either in it or on top of it, whatever the case may be. But once they find the boat without the boys, that means they’re in the water or they’re floating on something small.

And then, you know, one of the things that I had to find out was survivability rates. I talked with Navy seals and, you know, there’s only a certain amount of time that you could survive in the water. There’s, you know, so by, by the seventh day, and I remember sitting across from the Admiral, the United States coast guard, then, you know, he said words that no parent could possibly prepare themselves to hear ultimately that, you know, he wanted to let me know privately that tomorrow they’d be making an announcement that they would be calling off the search.

And you know, that was a day I’ll never, I’ll never forget, man. I’m so sorry to hear that [00:29:00] Phil now. When all this is going on, you’re in California. Correct? I was in California. I had moved to California a few months prior, prior, temporarily to do this podcast thing with my brother. Then I got the call from my ex-wife and then that night, essentially I was on a plane.

So I was in, I was in Florida that the Saturday morning. Yeah, I just met. So you weren’t even in state, you fly back, then you’re trying to scramble to figure out where your son is. Now. You made a comment, you have a suspicion of what happened. I mean, when someone’s in a boat, it could be legitimate. It could be nature.

It could be foul play. It could be negligence. It could be pirates, kidnapping. I mean, there’s so many things, these things that you never want to think about your kid in a situation, right? Like any of those. So looking back now, what do you think happened that day? Like to your, or do you have more of the story we need to continue?

I don’t want to jump on. No, it’s fine. [00:30:00] I’ll tell you what the if I were, it would literally take me no exaggeration 10 hours to explain all the polices and things. And why was this there? Why were they here? So there is so much to this story. That I could easily write a book or make a movie about it.

That’s not my goal and that’s not the life that the path that God has me on right now. But there is so much there. So the short version of what I believed happened after reading every single report of every word of every single report from all the federal agencies that were involved, as well as every sink, social media posts, all the comments to all the social media posts, you know, I, I needed to figure out there was so much information.

The fact that I had to build a website for myself so that I can say, okay, this person is, [00:31:00] this person is this person. They know this person, here’s the timeline that everything that they said happened and just cause it was just so much there. So what I believed happened was they left out of the Jupiter inlet.

Shortly thereafter, there was a really bad storm. You could see that one of the pings from one of the cell phones was right at where that storm went over. So the likelihood is that they got caught in that storm. One of the boy that my son was with actually right before sent a Snapchat of the storm.

Whereas, so just, you could see the storm comment and he said we’re after. And that was the last communication that anybody had with the boys or not even a communication. That was the last note, essentially that we’ve got from them. When they did find the boat they did an inspection on the engine.

They determined that the engine did seas. So [00:32:00] likely they got caught in that storm. The engine seized, you know, a road wave, something, flipped them over. I’d like to think that they both perished quickly, you know? But there were reports of one guy flying in a plane that said that he saw us, saw somebody going like this on a makeshift raft that he went up, he went up hired so that he can.

Signal or communication so they can call somebody then went back down and lost them, whether that’s true or not. I don’t know. The one thing I realized is that there is a lot of, you know, not to quote Trump or anything, but there is a lot of fake news and I realized that when you’re going through something and then you see stories come out of the news, you’re like, that’s not true.

That’s not like, why are they saying that? You know? And it’s been like that for as long as it’s been television. Well, yeah. Yeah. So that’s the short version of, of what happened, you know, what really truly happened. And as you mentioned earlier, you know, to have to even think about the possibility of, [00:33:00] you know, all the things you mentioned, plus several others was is, is, is a nightmare.

Yes. So, okay. Let’s do this. If you don’t mind me go, let’s go back. And we’ll kind of shift, shift gears a little bit. And then when we come back to the tragedy and the accident, okay. And then we want to, there’s very few people who probably lost their loved ones to. But the same loss and tragedy and resilience to heal and overcome.

We’ll tap into that. So you can help us process and heal. But before we go on you, we talked openly. We were Christians and you know, you accepted Christ as your savior and you get married and then you get divorced. I don’t need to know details and we don’t need to go there when I want to talk. I mean, you can, but what I’m getting at is this, a lot of Christians get divorced.

Sadly there’s as many Christians getting divorced as there are people who are, haven’t trusted Christ as their savior. [00:34:00] So how did you deal with that and process it? Because I recently went through a divorce and I went six years in overtime and I did everything I could to keep the marriage and family together.

And all I do is exhaust myself and damage myself and my children in a lot of ways, lot. You know what I mean? So, but I’m still recovering. From just the pain of going through it. So, because you are a Christian, you said you went through divorce. How did you work through the pain and get to a point of healing?

My situation’s a little bit different. So my ex wife is Jewish. So, you know, do not be equally yoked, right? Unequally, yoked. So when I started to, when I started to really start to come to God and to even start to share that with my wife She basically said something along the lines of don’t even say the name Jesus in my [00:35:00] house, no matter what you say, I’m not going to believe any of that.

So that was sort of the beginning of the end. And not because she didn’t believe in God, but we were already, you know, we were high school sweethearts. We had been together for six, seven years. Then we got married. We were married. We were married for six or seven years. So it was a long relationship and we were both young.

But you know, in short it wasn’t a good fit by the time, by the time that we did get divorced, we were both ready for that, even though, you know, I’ll never, I’ll never forget. I remember my pastor, this is one of the things that happened right at the perfect time. My pastor was talking about divorce and he was saying he took it.

He took a black piece of paper and a white piece of it. You know, and he said, listen to me, when you get married, you become one, you know, one flesh, just like the Bible says, and he glued them together. And then he pulled out a little bit later two separate pieces of paper that you had with the glue was dried and they said, well, we get them for, he said, no matter [00:36:00] how, what that marriage is like, and it rip the two pieces of papers apart.

And he’s like, there’s always going to be black on the white and white on the black. There’s going to be pain because when you make a vow under God and you break that vow, there’s a price to pay. So there, there was definitely pain there, but it wasn’t for me. Like, it sounded like for you, like I knew, I knew.

It was basically over at that time. So by the time that we got through that so I wasn’t trying to frantically save the marriage and try to keep it together. Quite frankly, it got to the point where it would probably be better off for my son if we weren’t together because we were all arguing so much things like that.

Yeah. First off that illustration, my pastor used that when I was 15 or 16 to describe sex. And it’s, it doesn’t matter if you’re married or not. When you joined together to become more. And then, so if you have sex [00:37:00] with one partner or 15 partners or a thousand partners, you’re literally taking and leaving parts of people everywhere, spiritually.

And it’s something that we need to be aware of because the society tells you to have sex with a bunch of people and, you know, blah, blah, blah. And if you’re actually a Christian, or if you try to live a holy life, even if you haven’t trusted Christ as your savior, and you just want to be monogamous with one person, they act like you’re the freak when really that’s the healthy way.

And I don’t care if you believe in God or not, it’s proven healthy mental health. You know, it’s not to be taken lightly. So with marriage that’s completely applicable as well. And. It’s a great illustration. So thank you, Sharon, for sharing that, Phil. Yeah. You know, and I just want to touch on something you needed to mention now.

I’m not sure if you were going to bring it up about, you know, you had experienced grief and maybe still be experiencing grief. And although you can’t imagine, which you never should, you should, your brain won’t even let you go there, especially if you’ve got a child to the point of [00:38:00] imagining too. And that’s a reality.

That was my reality. But I just want to say that like, grief is grief and loss is loss, you know, and, and yes, I, you know, I lost my only child and that is what some. Professionals might consider to be the worst traumatic event that can happen to a human being. But the way that I kind of describe it as like, between like a beast thing and a bite right there, they’re both painful, but, and they both hurt.

They’re just different. It’s a different kind of pain. So, you know, I recently did a wrote an article in the wall street journal and the woman, the woman who interviewed me just lost her father. And, and before, during the interview, before she wrote the article, she was telling me about her relationship.

And she was writing this article a lot for herself. She wanted, you know, different, unique ways to heal that weren’t the same old trite thing that you hear every day. So I w I wrote to her, I said, I have a couple of ideas. And she said, great. I want to put this in my article. Then she called me and she, we were talking about.[00:39:00]

Her father. And I could tell this woman loved her father. I mean, this, there was a strong bond, a strong relationship and a strong, massive wound that left her when he died. And so she posted in, she posted the article and I like reading the comments and things like that. And one comment said, losing your father is nothing like losing your 14 year old son.

And, you know, in some ways I agree, but in some ways I disagree, you know, I, if you, whether you’ve lost your job or a dream or a relationship, you know, the pain is very similar. The grieving process is very similar, you know? And so, you know, I just want people to know that it’s listening to this story, that, you know, if you’re going through something, don’t just write it off, you know, write off what I’m saying, because you didn’t lose your child there.

And I lost my child. I think there’s a lot, maybe, hopefully that you can learn through this conversation as we start to go through it about ways to heal from whatever it is that maybe happened to you. Yeah, and I couldn’t [00:40:00] agree more. I mean, you can’t compare pain because you’ve not, we’ve not as humans gone through every pain.

And even at that point, the latest pain is always the worst, right? It’s like, I’ve been physically ill to the point of death. Like, like they told me to make out my will three times in life and all three of those times were painful, different, but painful. And do I want to go through any of them? No, but emotional is not much different.

I mean, when, when we have something happened to us, it hurts and there’s depths of betrayal and there’s depths of sorrow. So yeah, I think you’re spot on Phil. I mean, definitely let’s be kind to each other and to be there to help each other heal. But let’s not compare, especially pain. Cause there are people who do that.

Like, oh, you have no idea what I went through. And usually those are the most ignorant, shallow people and they really, they get a paper cut compared to, you know, you’re getting hit with a rocket launcher, [00:41:00] but but for you, what did you find in your life to help you heal? Because that’s what this show’s about is having practical steps.

And I’m sure you’re probably still healing. Like you said, those piece of paperwork torn apart, you lost your son, but what are some of the things, whether it’s from the divorce or whether it’s from losing a child or whether it’s just from, you know, any aspect of life that causes us to stress. What’s a starting point for people to try that you’ve seen work.

Well, first of all, I think that, you know, we all have to take the time to grieve, like, you know, take the time to actually feel the pain. So many people run from the pain as opposed to actually taking the time to sit in it and to feel it. And some of it may just be, you may think it may be too difficult to sit in.

But without doing that, it’s not, it’s not going to go away. The analogy I like to use is like holding a beach ball under [00:42:00] water, like we could do it and you could do it for as long as you want to, but eventually it’s going to find its way out to the surface and the harder and farther we push it down the faster and harder it comes up and sometimes hits you right in the face, you know?

And you don’t even see it coming. So if there is no way to run away or outsmart or outflank grief, you’ve got to eventually face what you’re going through. And there’s a, you know, there’s a. An interesting analogy or a metaphor. One of my friends was telling me about a story about where he grew up in Colorado, near the Rocky Mount.

And the the Rocky mountains is one of the only places in the world where both buffalos and cows can coexist. And when storms start to come over the Rocky mountains, they almost always had come in from the west and heads towards the east. And both the animals can sense the storms coming, but how they respond to the storms is [00:43:00] completely different.

And really it can teach all of us a lesson, the cows, when they sense a storm coming, they start to run east to get away from the storm. And if you know anything about cows, you know that they’re not very fast. So without knowing any better, the storm catches up to them and they start to run with the storm, ultimately maximizing the amount of time, pain and frustration that they spend in that.

And just like we were just saying, I think so many of us have humans do the same thing is that when these transitions, these tragedies and traumas hit us with, we run away from them instead of facing them. The Buffalo on the other hand are quite unique to the animal kingdom in that they wait for the storm to cross over the crest of the mountain.

And once it does, they turn and head at the store, they run at the store and ultimately running through the storm, minimizing the amount of time, pain and frustration that they spend in that storm. But notice how it’s the same [00:44:00] storm. And I just think it’s such a great metaphor for all of us as human beings, because although that, although we may be at different parts of our life, we all have storms that we have.

So I, I think, you know, that’s just a great story too, maybe to crystallize the fact that you can’t run away from the storm. You’ve got, you’ve got to face it at some point. And so to, to, to then back up at answer your question about the healing part of it, for me, there was a lot of things. Number one in one of those moments, I mean, I was a good year and a half of just an absolute wreck.

I mean, you know, this is my baby, right. I mean, and, and, and the fact that the guilt and the shame and the worthlessness, I couldn’t, I couldn’t save my son. Like what kind of father? I, why, why did I like this hat? I put a lot of the blame on myself and that, that led, that kept me on the floor. And then, you know, [00:45:00] I like to say that I saw my son.

I definitely heard him, but you know, I don’t know if I saw an apparition, but I know I heard his voice loud and clear in one of those moments when I was on the floor and my son said to me, get up dad. It’s okay. I’ll see you when you get here. And I remember, I remember thinking in that moment, he that’s exactly the way my son’s natural state was one of laughter and just, he was just had just a lot of life in heavy.

It was never sitting still. And he was always having fun. On the way to school. And I take him to school that podcast. And I mentioned to you earlier about John Lee Dumas entrepreneurs on fire. I would purposely listen to that podcast with him on when I would take him to school and just say to him, son, you know, do what makes you happy?

You know, don’t do it. Somebody else is telling you to do find what you love and the money will come. So, but he, if, if he were able to come to me, that’s the way he would say [00:46:00] it. Like, all right, dad, all right, you cried. It’s been a year and a half now get up and go live your life with passion. Like you always told me to do.

And I’ll see you when you get here. And that moment was transitioned for me. I mean, it was almost like a flip of a switch and it wasn’t that he gave me permission to heal, but he showed me that I needed to give myself permission to heal. And from that moment, I actually started writing out on post-it notes.

Post-it notes. And I wrote, I give myself permission to heal and I would put them in my car and into my, my refrigerator and I, my on my bathroom mirror. And I called them my permission slips. And that was just a reminder every day that I’m giving myself permission to heal. And for those of you that may be listening, may have in fact, lost a loved one.

I bet that they would tell you to get up to at some point they would tell you to get up to, they don’t want to see you living in a world of hurt and a world of pain. They want you to live your life and they’ll see you when they get [00:47:00] to when you get there too. So it was just, you know, call it a, you know a reframe, if you will, you know, just a different way to look at it.

It’s like, I know where my son is and I know that I’m going to see him again. And really when I really think about it, when you really think about it, like he’s in heaven and he’s in a better place. And I know that, I know that. Me wanting him back is really almost selfish. You know, it’s almost an that’s for my own.

That’s my, you know, I would have changed place with him in a heartbeat. I’d give anything to hug him again and to hear his laugh. You know, I feel like that’s all for me. You know, like when I think about when I, if I ever have feelings of worthlessness or guilt or shame, those are all self selfish feelings, things about me worrying about me.

You know, when I think about how I can help other people through the tragedy that I went through and some of the steps that I took and, you know, speaking at [00:48:00] churches and writing a book and doing podcasts like this to ultimately help, maybe just even one person. I know that sounds cliche, but you know, that to me is worth everything.

Yes. And anybody who’s been through true sorrow knows that what you just said, the cliche. If I can just help one person that’s real because you know, the pain you went through and you really would sacrifice everything to help that next person. And also when people say, I wouldn’t wish that on my enemy, there are situations that are just that severe.

So thank you for sharing so openly and talking about this and when you were mentioning that, you know, you’re writing books and speaking and you know, you’re, you’re doing podcasting each time you released an episode, wrote words on the page or spoke about it. Did you feel like it helped [00:49:00] you heal a little more each.

Absolutely a hundred percent at that. I would say, especially as men, you know, cause we’re, so was basically brainwashed to believe that, you know, real men don’t cry, you know, that we don’t share emotions or we don’t seek therapy. We’re supposed to just tough it out and suck it up. That’s strategy doesn’t work with grief.

It doesn’t because like I said earlier, you can’t outrun it. You can’t outflank the memories and the reminders they’re going to come up and you can’t try to shield yourself or insulate yourself from the pain. It’s going to catch up to you. So whether it’s talking to people that you trust and love are journaling and even, you know, recently I’ll tell you my, I remarried about three years ago almost four to an amazing woman and, and You know, she, during the Perry’s birthday and the day that he would go missing, she would ask me a couple of days in advance.

What do you [00:50:00] want to do? You know, what do you want to do that day? And I knew she was really asking me, you know, can I be there with you? You know, how can I help you? And I really, I, I never let her in to that before, because one she’s never had kids. And I think the lie that I was telling myself is that she possibly couldn’t understand my pain.

And I was also really worried about her seeing me ugly cry, cause that, you know, I still do that on these days. And you know, that’s okay by the way, there is no, you don’t reach acceptance. And then you’re good forever like to cry for. There’s always going to be a pain associated with the loss of my son.

But one year, this past year, I decided to do something different. Generally I would go to the coast and I would sit there and I would just talk to Perry and cry by myself. And this year I decided to let her in and we went to a local restaurant and I, we toasted Perry. And I was telling her [00:51:00] stories and crying and she was crying.

She was just holding my head and touching me. And, you know, she did what a lot of people should do are grieving. She’s like, don’t try. Don’t don’t try to make it better or there, cause there’s nothing that you can say to just be there, just be there. And I realized by opening up and sharing with my wife my feelings.

That I was doing myself and her, a great disservice by not doing that in the past. And there was a tremendous amount of healing. And now I talk about Perry a lot more with her, and now I cry. Like we watched a movie the other day and about somebody who lost their child and not obviously, you know, hits me really hard.

And I started, you know, tears were coming down my eyes and she just puts her arm around me or holds my hand and I’m, but I’m not, I didn’t, I don’t, I’m not trying to wipe away the tear without her seeing anymore, you know? So anybody out there that, you know, who’s going through something and there’s somebody that loves you and that, that, [00:52:00] you know, you can trust and has expressed interest in spending those days or those times with you try something.

Let them in. And I bet you’ll to find, you know, an indescribable amount of healing from that. So all of those things, the facing it and telling the stories and sharing the stories about Perry. Cause I don’t want him to be forgotten. You know, that, that is where the healing starts to come from is by, by being open to it and sharing with other people.

Yes. And I think what you’re saying, I don’t, I not only agree with it, but I think there’s two real takeaways from that. Like you were explaining when your wife in not only are you guys sharing something intimate and in America we think intimate sexual, but intimate is a connection, deep connection. So you normally, you guys now want a more intimate level of love and sharing, but you’re also [00:53:00] replacing.

Pain with positive. You’re like you said, instead of having a Memorial, you’re having a toast and you’re reforming these synapses in your brain. So people who are out there listening, I’m going to say something right now. And then Phil, you speak openly what you think. I’ve never been a proponent of pharmaceuticals.

And I think there’s a huge place for there’s a place for pharmaceuticals, but it should always be temporary and last resort. And when people are going through grief, listen to what Phil said, you got to face into the pain and you’ve got to experience it because if, instead of being a Buffalo, you’re that cow and you’re medicating yourself, you’re not just medicating yourself a pain, you’re medicating yourself to life.

And there was a period where I was on antidepressants. I didn’t know what else to do. And Phil, you can [00:54:00] talk if you were a not, and again, there’s a place in time for everything, but overall, you don’t want that to be the solution you don’t want to be. I don’t care if you’re in India or Mexico, Brazil, or America, you don’t want to live Medicaid.

It’s just not healthy. So do what you need to do to heal. Listen to Phil, apply what he’s telling you. Go to the Bible, go to God, reach out to people who are qualified that love you and are in your best interest to help you. But please don’t just numb the pain. Don’t I see so many people just numb the pain and numbing can be drugs, pharmaceutical.

They can be illegal drugs. It can be alcohol, it could be pornography. It could be a million other things, but don’t just medicate the pain. You’ve got to face it. And it’s fill you. You held in a week, right? Or took two takes time. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. It takes time. So if you’re in pain, realize it just [00:55:00] takes time and that’s normal.

That’s healthy. But if you’re stretching it out by medicating in any of the forms, it’s just going to take you longer. So feel, I don’t want to you tell me you agree, disagree. What do you think about that? I agree a whole heartedly. And it, you could, if it goes back to my point and that it’s going to catch up.

Yeah, you could, you could drug yourself, but it’s going, you’re going to pay a price at one point or another. And, and, you know, the, the picture in my mind that I use about grief is, you know, is, you know, when I lost Perry it was like these giant tidal waves just crashing over me one after the other, without even a time to breathe, you know, just one after the other, really close to each other.

And over time, over time, they were still massive, but they got a little farther apart and then a little bit further apart. And then eventually they got a [00:56:00] little bit smaller and a little bit smaller and they still wash over and over me. But you know, now I’m almost glad that they do, you know, cause I want, I want to remember him and I, and I it’s almost like, but it doesn’t.

The same way and there’s life in between the waves that we need to, to live. And so sometimes our grief can really be part of how we choose to honor and respect the ones that we love despite their physical absence. So, and on that, you know, you know, in a complete transparency you know, I’m, I’m, I really like to be as real and raw and open as I possibly can in an effort to help other people.

I’m not selling anything here. I’m not going to offer at the end of this podcast, go to this, you know, go to this website and buy this because I solely share my story in an effort to help other people and ultimately called to glorify God. That, you know, when this first happened, I did use drugs. I did, I actually couldn’t work.

So I was taking Adderall. That [00:57:00] was my drug of choice because I couldn’t, I couldn’t function otherwise I couldn’t focus. I, when I first went back to work six or seven months later, I’ll never forget. I was sitting at my desk and I just peed in my bed. I just, I just, I didn’t, I didn’t want to get up to go to the bathroom.

I just sat there in my office, on my office chair and wet myself. And then texted one of, one of the, one of my friends and was like, you know, can you please go get me some jeans and some underwear? So you know, these things may happen and you know, you, you, you, you, you face them as they come. Th the drugs they’re just gonna, they’re just going to numb the pain for us for a short amount of time.

And eventually it’s going to catch up to you. And about a year ago, year and a half ago, and I was taking Adderall for that many years. So it’s been safe, was about five and a half years for me to be able to yeah. From just because I couldn’t, you know, once I started taking it and then I got addicted to it, you know, then I was [00:58:00] like, I, cause I tried to stop several times, but each time.

You know, I, I would just want to sleep, you know, I couldn’t even get up off the couch. I just wanted to go to sleep. And that’s tough because depression makes you want to sleep. Pain makes you want to sleep. Now you’re putting an Adderall to relieve the pain and depression, and that makes you want to sleep.

It’s a vicious cycle. It’s a vicious cycle. And I was vaping not marijuana, but just nicotine too. So it was like between the two things. I was just, that was my, that was my. My vices. That was my, the way that I was using to cope, even though I thought I was coping with the pain. And partly I was, but but the drugs helped numb it for sure.

And then, you know, the, throughout the time God was telling me, stop the drug. Stop the drugs. And even in the Bible, it says that my spirit cannot, cannot live where there is pharmacy and the word pharmacy in the original language actually can be translated into witchcraft. Yes, exactly. Yeah. [00:59:00] So I knew that like, I am not going to, God has been on my heart, man.

I’ll tell you it’s God is just so good. I want, it’s like, I want to use you. I want to use you, but you gotta get rid of the trucks you got to get rid of. I need a clean vessel, you know, to be able to use you and to glorify me and about maybe eight or nine months ago, I don’t remember the exact date. I went to go get another prescription and my doctor had retired and the new doctor said, I’ve listened how to prescribe this drug.

So if you want this, you’re going to have to go see a psychiatrist. So I said, okay, Lord. And I just gave it up. I just, I just said, this is enough. This is the time I, I slept. I did what I needed to do. And it took me a good couple of months to get past it, but I did, I did get it and I did get my energy back and I quit the vaping and all of that.

And just now it’s just, I am who I am. I have no chemicals in me, you know, and I, and I, and I live every day to do what God has sent me to do. And [01:00:00] and that’s ultimately to help other people, you know, that’s, that’s that I don’t even know what that looks like right now, David, you know, I’m trying to figure out like, you know, how do I, yeah, I’m not the Lord put on my heart.

Like, don’t worry about the money, you know, don’t worry. Doing this or doing that just, just like about biblically, right? He says, Lord will tell you, go stand on this corner. And when you get there, I’ll tell you what you’re supposed to do next. I feel like that’s the path that I’m on right now. And, but I do see myself speaking, like doing these types of things and maybe speaking at churches because I really want to infuse, you know, scripture into what I’m saying.

Because without God, and I’d never would have gotten through this. And I, and I know you mentioned earlier, you know, us Christians and. That may sound like so fufu to some people, but I’m telling you, you know, that when you have that relationship with God, when you wake up in the morning and the first person you speak to is God.

And throughout the day, you’re like, Lord, where do you want me to do today? What do you [01:01:00] want me to say to this person? He will make your steps, right? You just need to get the, get the enemy out of your head that tells you that’s, that’s, that’s nonsense that that’s foolishness. And even biblically, it says the word is foolishness to those who do not believe.

So it will sound like foolishness to you. But when you’re connected to your creator, there, there, there is the piece that’s beyond all understanding. And that connection that I have with God right now has me so excited because I know number one this life is just temporary. You know, this is it’s going to end, it’s going to end.

And then I’m going to be able to spend eternity with Jesus and in heaven and get to see my son. So nothing scares me at this point, but I know, although I may not know the end goal exactly where I’m heading. I know that I’m on the right path and I’m so happy for you, proud of you and thankful for you and sharing the story.

And to hear that [01:02:00] you’re cleaning off those drugs and man, that’s huge. There’s, you know, once those drugs get ahold of us, not just the, the crutch aspect of it, but those drugs are engineered to addiction. And to make you dependent on them. And I’m not saying they’re not out there, but I’ve never met one pharmaceutical executive that was godly that I, you know what I mean?

I, there’s not those people are out to get people addicted trillion dollar industry to make money. And if you are a person who is looking at the welfare of others, man, it’s really tough. I mean, even stuff like diabetes, that’s, you know, great insulin is needed. It keeps people alive. But what are the 50,000 other things that are causing that diabetes?

You know, could we go to the core instead of dealing with a symptom and heal it? So man, for you to get off that I’m proud of you. That’s fantastic, Phil, thank you. [01:03:00] Yeah. And if people never heard what Phil said that the pharmaceutical pharmacy. Sorcery witchcraft, look it up. It’s real. It’s not a speculation.

It’s not conspiracy theory. It’s it’s called language. Whether you’re in Hebrew, Greek or English, that’s the, that’s the language. That’s, that’s what the word means. So, all right. So between your birth and then today, is there anything in your story we missed or something that you want to touch on or a message you feel led to share with us?

Well, The I recently I did a Ted talk about, you know, when I first, when I first I’d never, I never lost anybody prior to losing my son. I always I’d always consider myself blessed, you know, that I never really lost anybody. And then all of a sudden I lost the most precious person in the world. And you know, there is no playbook for this, right.

There’s no, [01:04:00] there’s no instruction manual. If this crazy thing happens, here’s what you do. So, yeah, at first I kinda just cried right away and I kind of ran away from it like a cow. And, and at one point I was like, I don’t think I should be doing nothing, you know, but I, I didn’t know how to grieve. I didn’t know if I was doing it right.

And I didn’t want something to come up and bite me later on. So I actually. Googled how to grieve. And, you know, if you do that, even now, you’re going to get the five stages of grief. And although the five stages of grief makes sense, and I’m sure that they’ve helped a lot of people. I personally don’t think that we all start at the same place and if you’re unfamiliar with the five stages of grief, they say that grief starts at denial then goes to anger, then bargaining, then depression, and finally acceptance.

And I don’t think that we know we navigate grief, like we navigate school. And I don’t think we all start at the same place in graduate through the same [01:05:00] stages to eventually arrive at the same destination. You know? Cause when I first learned about my 14 year old son being missing, the first thing that I experienced was fear and also revenge, neither of which is covered in the five stages of grief.

So just know that if you’re not sure if you’re grieving, right. Or if you feel like you’re not doing this right. That’s okay. Because there isn’t one size fits all model for grief, and also know that it doesn’t end that acceptance and that through this, through this horrible, horrible tragedy, I did find some gifts.

I know what God has made me. Through this tragedy and I’ve been able to help other people. I’ve had people come up to me and hold my hand. I’ll never forget this one woman actually at the Ted talk, after the Ted talk, came up to me and held my hand and she held so tight in both of her hands and she was [01:06:00] crying and I was crying and she was telling me how everything I just said helped her, you know, that she was, she just lost her, her father, a blood because a year or two ago, and she hasn’t been able to forgive herself and that she needs to give herself permission to heal.

And my, my point in saying that is that don’t think that you’re, that if it, if you didn’t go through denial, whether you have one stage or whether you have 15 stages, that’s all okay. And we don’t just move from one spot to another grief is something that we move back and forth and back and forth. And, you know, even after I passed acceptance and found gifts beyond acceptance, like I mentioned earlier, I can watch a movie and find myself reminded of Perry and start crying and that’s okay.

That’s okay. You’re not doing it wrong if that’s, if that’s the path that you’re on. But the biggest thing, the only way that I was able to get up off that floor was to finally acknowledge the pain, to stop running from it and to face it. [01:07:00] So that would be the one piece that I think maybe that we haven’t covered is that if you’re, you know, if you’re not sure if you’re doing it right there, isn’t one way just don’t run from it.

Yes. And I think that’s a biblically, biblically supported approach. Very rarely does God communicate with us the same way. I mean, there’s always a foundation. You got the Bible, you get the holy spirit, you have nature, but he might communicate with Phil differently than he communicates with me and you and the other 7 billion people in the world.

So I think it’s very wise and accurate when. Don’t get stuck to this manmade, psychological five stages of grief. W I was just speaking with another guest and, you know, she didn’t really feel anger. And she, she felt in, and it did come out in her life and other areas, but it wasn’t that if you went by a textbook, she didn’t experience that in that way.

So she was thinking, is there [01:08:00] something wrong with me? And no, it’s just how she’s built. I’m like you said, you go in and out and there’s ups and downs and the older I get, and the more I experienced the good, the bad and the ugly, I think it’s exactly what Phil said. The key is an experience in the stages.

It’s that? You’re real. And you’re honest with yourself and it’s scared as you are facing and, and face. I never heard that illustration of the Buffalo and the cow, but that’s great. Be the Buffalo, be the Buffalo man. When you make you a, t-shirt be the Buffalo, that’s your new t-shirt, that’d be your book, be the Buffalo.

But that is the name of my book that I’m actually shut off. It’s actually become the Buffalo because most of us are cows. So then what are the steps that you need to take, right. To get, to be go from the cow to the Buffalo. So that is like the part of the that’s my chapters or what, what do you do first?

When you do second, what do you do? Third? And just, you know, [01:09:00] infusing scripture in there. Just like you’re saying and just yeah, so that’s what I’m doing right now. This is what happens when you put two Christians together with the sales and marketing background, we already know we’re writing. All right.

So, but if you’re out there, you know, myself, Phil, every human, nobody wants. Even the people who think, you know, they’re miss wired and they like pain. They don’t like pain. They’re torturing themselves. And when people are looking to heal, please listen to Phil, go in their face into your pain, go through the work and you’ll be out faster through the other side.

So Phil man, thank you so much for sharing so much. I mean, I got a thousand more questions, but hopefully we will continue the conversations off air as friends. And if you need anything, please let me know. No. Where are you today and where are you heading? So the audience and I can [01:10:00] help you get there.

Yeah. Right now, right now, you know, I’m speaking at churches, I’m speaking at grief groups. If anybody has out there, like to have me come and speak, I’d love to do that. I have been doing some one-on-one work with mostly men. You know, because I believe that we’re always most powerfully positioned to serve the person that we once were.

And, you know, I find people that are going through grief and not knowing how to deal with it. That, although I don’t have a master’s degree in psychology, I’ve got a PhD in experience and I find that I’m really good at helping other people get through that pain. So that’s where the Lord has me right now.

Where I’m going is, is to be seen,

that’s wonderful. And I agree, you definitely have that gift of communication and the experience and education formal education has a place, [01:11:00] but experience trumps at every time. So get the formal education if it’s available to you, but don’t ever, ever snub your nose at someone who has experience because you can’t be a man in his own job.

So if you get me, somebody that has all sorts of engineering degrees, and then you give me another guy or girl who’s worked that job for 30 years, probably give me a lot more wisdom coming out at a 30 year veteran with experience. So if someone wants to get ahold of you felt what’s the best way to read.

It can go to my website@philcohen.com. That’s P H I L C O H E N. They can reach out to me there. Then I I’d love to connect with anybody. That’s resonated with my message today. Awesome. And I truly thank you for being a guest in the show. I know our listeners have enjoyed and benefited from it. I know I have [01:12:00] before we sign off, is there anything else that we missed during this episode or any final thoughts that you want to share?

you know, I got to get better at that question. I think we covered it all. That is no better, man. I put you on the spot. That’s what it’s all about. Right? If you don’t know, there’s no script to this show, ladies and gentlemen, there’s no outline. It’s just two guys talking and seeing where God leads. So now, if there’s not anything to share above and beyond, we’re done.

But if you had any thoughts that I over-talked and didn’t shut up and you missed, well, let me know. I definitely will. All right, man, then ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being with us in this episode, please. Don’t just listen to what Phil said, but like our slogan says, listen to the good information.

Remember all truth comes from God. So if it works short term and long, and it’s true, that’s comes from God, but don’t just listen. Do it, repeat it [01:13:00] each day. So you can have a great life and this attorney in this life and attorney to come. So I’m David, that was Phil. We love you. Let us know if we can help.

And if not, we’ll catch you in the next episode of the remarkable people podcast. Ciao.

The remarkable people podcast. Check it out.

the remarkable people podcast. Listen, do repeat for life.


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