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The Individual and Collective Grief Journey 

Grief is a five-letter word. There are also five familiar words used to outline a grief journey – denial,  anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  

There’s not much to it, right? WRONG! 

Grief is SO much more than five letters and five words! The five “stages” are really like a scaffolding, providing a very broad guideline of what you might feel along your grief journey. Your grief journey is DEFINITELY not linear and not a “one and done” thing. 

Grief is a natural and normal reaction to a loss – any loss. It is a strong, messy and often overwhelming emotion. Everyone grieving is in a “club” they didn’t ask to join and on a journey they don’t want to take. 

This grief journey is both individual, like the grief after a loved one has died, AND collective, like the grief we feel from the ongoing residual effects of the pandemic, social unrest, war in Ukraine, mass shootings, weather related losses and more. These collective losses seem to be in our faces every time we turn on the news or social media, making our grief compound on itself.  

Grieving is hard work and healing is a verb, not a destination – both things involve action, and neither can be rushed. Grief and healing do not have a timeline, as much as other people might like it to in order to make THEM feel comfortable. 

If we don’t deal with the grief, it will deal with us. We have to go THROUGH it, honoring our emotions for each loss we experience. That looks like: 

  • Celebrating your loved one(s) and the wins you have daily – no matter the size!  
  • Unplugging from the media around you from time to time. 

There can also be smiles, laughter, joy and FUN on our grief journey! Also, know that you’re not alone. I am here to hold space with you on your journey.  

You can reach me at 210-757-9428 during business hours or you can email me at Susan.Smith@biobridgeglobal.org.   

He shared his life with others 

Montez McCrary was an avid fan of video games, architecture, and YouTube. No matter what his interest was, he wanted to share his joy with others.  

He shared his life through his YouTube channel, The PractioNERD. After passing away at 35, he shared his tissue and corneas with patients who needed them by being a registered organ, eye, and tissue donor.  

“He just cared about other people. I know that he would have done anything to help,” said Montez’s mother Renee. 

Montez passed away from thrombo-pulmonary embolism in December 2020, just three weeks before his wedding date. He was set to marry his fiancé and middle school crush, Minh Pham.

“Never would I have guessed that I would fall in love with this quirky nerd,” said Minh. “Losing him was like losing my best friend. He will always be my first true love, my fairy tale prince, and my hero.”

Now, Montez’s family remembers the man he was through reminiscing about all his favorite things. He had a black belt in karate, loved learning computer languages, and was a huge fan of wrestling. 

“He always represented himself as a proud nerd,” Renee said. “I just thought he was brilliant. He was also loving and nurturing. You know, he had a big, big, big heart.” 

Some of his friends held a virtual 10 bell salute in honor of Montez after he died, and as a nod to his passion for wrestling. 

Watching her older brother proudly describe himself as a nerd helped sister Maiya build her own confidence, she said.  

“He is the reason that I’ve grown to love video games, computer languages, and proud to be a nerd,” Maiya said. “I’m blessed to be his little baby sister, and I don’t mind being his ‘little shadow’.” 

One way his family keeps his legacy alive is by “talking about the things that he would do–the nerdy things especially,” said his father, Michael. 

They also remember the difference he made in so many patients’ lives through being a donor with South Texas Blood & Tissue. His cornea donation went on to restore sight to two people and his tissue donation could go on to impact up to 75 different patients.  

“You know, we have had so many people to tell us what a difference that he made in their lives,” Renee said. 

BioBridge Global announces appointment of John Youngdahl as Chief Financial Officer

Youngdahl to replace retiring Glenn Kues

BioBridge Global, a San Antonio-based nonprofit healthcare services enterprise, integrating donor-to-patient services to enable the future of biotherapeutic solutions, announced today that it has named John Youngdahl MBA as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately.

Youngdahl has been with the enterprise since December 2016, serving as Executive Director of Financial Planning and Analysis. He succeeds Glenn Kues CPA, who has served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since December 2017.  Kues retired June 30.

Youngdahl held senior financial positions in Arjo-Huntleigh – Getinge AB, Kinetic Concepts Inc. (now 3M/KCI) and Dell Financial Services.  He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in finance from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, and an MBA from Texas State University.

“We are very fortunate to have a person of John’s experience and quality ready to lead our Financial and Information Services functions,” said Martin Landon, CEO of BioBridge Global. 

“At the same time, the entire organization would like to thank Glenn for his leadership and contributions, including the development of John and other members of the team, during this past 4½ years. We wish him and his family all the best in his retirement years.”