Grief coach helps women get over loss of spouse, gives tips on pandemic

By: N. L. Preston


HOUSTON — Have you ever heard the phrase, “she died from a broken heart?” Well, according to a Houston grief coach, that just may be true.

Studies show 700,000 women are widowed each year in the United States, and on average, widows (no matter how old or young they are) survive for 14 years after their spouse’s death.

Nickcole Byrd, an associate pastor at Higher Dimensions church for more than 20 years, is hoping to change the shocking statistic by helping widows heal through her organization, 700 AD. Byrd explained 700 represents the number she wants to decrease, and AD represents “after death.” She knows firsthand how it feels to lose someone after her husband of 25 years died unexpectedly nearly eight months ago.

“My husband passed away 9/19/19, and since that day the number 19 has been popping up all over the place. If you are a spiritual person, study the number 19. What it means is the ending of one thing and the beginning of another,” Byrd explained. “It’s a tough journey. I truly believe that you can grow and transform from your trauma.”

Because of her experience in ministry, consulting and coaching, Byrd is determined to help widows, especially African American women, who may not always have the same resources as others.

“I know that was not God’s will for my life. The faith community and emotional support that I had through therapy, many don’t have access to that,” Byrd said. “Grief is supposed to be a very natural and human response to a major loss, and when misplaced, can turn into depression. Now we are talking about mental disorders, suicide attempts and not having the will to live.”

African-American News&Issues asked Byrd about coping with loss, especially during the current crisis the world is under.

Q: How does a person deal with loss, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: We see now that the world is grieving. This pandemic has come upon us and those of us who were already on a grief journey are now in a dual layer of grief, and we have new people now suffering a major loss due to COVID. We must first acknowledge the emotions we are having and grieve from a healthy place. We also need to check on “the strong,” who are often forgotten. Those who are normally strong sometimes are not aware of what they are feeling and push those feelings down.

Q: Is it OK to be angry? How do you deal with anger?

A: Accept the fact that grief and mourning may trigger emotions you may never have thought you had. We call them “moments” in grief coaching. If you feel like shouting, hitting something or crying, welcome that emotion. Here is where we get in trouble — when grief visits us, and we allow it to become a resident. We get caught up when we allow it to move into your home and sit beside your bed. It’s not supposed to stay there.

Q: Is it OK to express your grief and anger on social media?

A: I would say you have to be in a space with people who have the capacity to handle your emotions and the compassion to understand. Sometimes things on social media can come across with misunderstandings. A person in mourning or experiencing trauma needs to surround themselves with people who allow them to be vulnerable and to express their emotions without being judgmental.

Q: What is the true definition of ‘self-care’?

A: In this context of grief, self-care is giving yourself permission to feel what you are feeling, but actively participating in your healing and recovery. It can be therapy, worship, yoga, acupuncture, or even taking walks outside. You are a three-part being. You are mind, body and spirit so you have to take care of every part of you.

Q: How do you feel about medication? Is it necessary to help get over issues?

A: You can take medication, but the underlying issue is still going to be there when you are off of it. You must have faith, community and emotional support, in addition to some type of counseling or coaching. Trauma is damage or an injury to your psyche after living through something extremely frightening or distressing. Therapy can help you develop certain coping skills or learning how to talk things out.

Q: Tell us about your one-on-one sessions.

A: Women get an opportunity to come into a space with me and be safe, vulnerable and express themselves however they need to. Most of that session is me posing powerful questions to draw out what the challenges and the issues are, and developing a plan of action to work toward the end result they desire.

Q: What can you tell someone who has lost the love of their life?

A: The deeper the love, the deeper the grief. If you are feeling broken, disappointed or like God has forgotten you and no one understands, we can talk it out. Don’t isolate yourself. We are practicing social distancing, but it doesn’t mean social isolation. Let others support you.

Byrd said she believes the old adage, “time heals all wounds” is a myth. She stresses what you do with your time, is what heals the wounds.

Byrd is releasing a healing and recovery book, “The Widows Oil,” soon. To sign up for the waiting list, go to

You may also connect with her @NickoleByrd on FB, Instagram and Twitter.






Latest Articles


Search our archive of past issues Receive our Latest Updates
* indicates required

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

Scroll to Top