Meet Melissa Lunardini of Tribal Grief, LLC
As a child I was exposed to death, divorce, an incarcerated drug-addicted parent, homelessness, abuse, abandonment, poverty, hunger, gangs, and absentee caregivers; making grief a big part of my life’s narrative. Much of my grief was disenfranchised (not socially acknowledged or supported) so I reconciled my pain alone. I was a kid who lacked access to resources and appropriate adult guidance and support. My coping mechanisms manifested in an unhealthy way at an early age.
As a teen, I had formed a serious drug addiction which led to a drug overdose that almost ended my life when I was 17. That near-death experience forced me into reflecting on what my purpose was. I often talk about the power that one adult can have on a child’s life because I know first hand how true it is. After my drug overdose, I had one teacher sit me down with tears in his eyes and say “Melissa, I was so scared that you were going to die. I don’t think you know how many people would have been devastated by your death. I want you to know that you’re better than this, you’re smarter than this, and your life is more important than this.” It was the first time in my life that I felt seen and that was a powerful experience. It changed my life in an instance. It was in that moment when a teacher saw me for who I was and who I could be that my purpose had been carved out for me. I knew that I wanted to work with youth who had experienced heavy and hard life challenges like me. I wanted to be an adult who would SEE them.
After graduation, I went straight into college to become a teacher. Focused and determined to work kids who were like me. By the time I was 21 I started teaching at my Alma Mater. I kept my room open during lunch so students would have a safe place to come, I set up mini support groups for girls who were struggling with self-harm or suicidal idealization, I used my prep periods to play sports with the athletes, I even took up coaching the high school softball team all to connect. I even started volunteering at a local center for grieving children and teens who experienced the death of a loved one during my free time. THIS WAS MY PIVOTAL MOMENT.
It was through volunteering with grieving children and teens that I got to sit and just listen. I fell in love with every human emotion (the good ones and the hard ones). I fell in love with vulnerability, courage, silence, weakness, and rawness. It was brutally beautiful. I knew then that my purpose was to figure out how I can do “this” forever and if I can’t personally do it forever, then figure out how I can help others do it.
Over the last 15 years, I have had the privilege to sit with thousands of children and teens and make them feel seen and heard. I have developed robust nationally known programs that serve these hurting hearts. I’ve trained endless amounts of professionals, caregivers, and volunteers on how to support bereaved youth.
Tribal Grief was developed to be a platform that brings services into local communities. As a grief and loss consultant with nearly 15 years of experience specializing in childhood bereavement, I am positioned to provide training to professionals and program development to agencies who serve bereaved children and teens.
Being self-employed is challenging. Every day you place a bet on yourself to win. Winning and success start to take on different meanings when you’re in the self-employed arena. I’ve had countless learning curves but three major challenges come to mind.
Challenge one: Refining what measures of success look like being self-employed and how are those measures different from a traditional workforce.
Challenge two: Connecting with appropriate mentors who can offer relevant insights and who want you to win.
Challenge three: Practicing daily mindset maintenance to stay in the ” dusty, sweaty, bloody, err, and shortcomings” arena that Theodore Roosevelt speaks of so that “…at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Tribal Grief, LLC is a Grief and Loss Consulting Agency that provides practical training, content and program development for professionals and agencies who serve grieving children and teens.
At Tribal Grief, LLC, we are determined to support, educate and assist professionals to feel more prepared to support grieving children and teens. We focus on delivering training, enhancing and creating programming, as well as providing content where there are gaps in services surrounding grief and loss.
One of our measures of success that we are proud of is our client’s ability to apply training concepts, tools, resources, and programming instantly.
Tribal Grief, LLC is differentiated in two major ways.
1. Our educational blend of psychology and business. This allows us to create programming that is client-centered but is rooted in a sound and sustainable business model.
2. Our specialization and years of experience in childhood bereavement offer a unique perspective and knowledge base for training our clients.
Through our support, organizations and professionals will feel prepared and fully informed on how to best support and assist grieving children and teens. We tailor our services to your needs, we give you the tools you need to feel fully equipped. Contact us to find out how we can support you and your organization.
I believe that success consists of many decisions, choices, and actions that are made throughout a day that culminate in moments that change your life or someone else’s for the better.