Gianna DeMedio was 27 when her father, a raging Philadelphia Eagles fan’s famous Conshohocken real estate agent, suffered a fatal heart attack five years ago. He was 63 years old and suddenly left.
DeMedio was devastated by his father’s death just two weeks before Father’s Day, but he did not immediately know what grief awaited him. He poured his attention and energy to help the people around him to overcome the loss of his beloved Gary DeMedio, who had a big mouth և the taste of a cigar. Gianna just wanted to be a rock for her family.
“It’s really funny how grief makes you feel like you have to get up right away and start running,” says DeMedio, who lives in Longport, Atlantic. “I was very hard on myself; I was so worried about everyone else in my family because they were all upset, I wanted to have a brave face to make sure they were all well.”
It worked until it worked. One day DeMedio went home to his apartment, where he was living in Philly, and was blinded by a tsunami of emotions. He panicked and spent the night in the hospital.
That was when DeMedio, a former public relations officer at Jefferson Health, learned that he had a long way to go before he lost his father.
Initially, DeMedio received a huge boost from the Eagles. To this day, some believe his father’s fierce spirit had something to do with the team’s incredible Super Bowl LIV run, which began a few months after Gary’s death. It was a cathartic moment for him during that difficult first year, but he has been doing long-term treatment since then.
Now 32-year-old DeMedio is ready to share his wisdom and wisdom with others who are struggling to overcome the loss.
This week DeMedio introduced the online boutique, All heavenswhich will serve as a resource center և gift shop dedicated to mourners.
“It was something my father always told me,” DeMedio explained. “He would say, ‘I love you more than all the oceans and all the heavens.’ It was just very symbolic, it seemed to fit the mission I was trying to do. ”
This mission is to help people resist, to examine their grief in an honest, reflective manner, both alone and with the help of others on the same boat. DeMedio covers everything from rolling your eyes to finding comfort in gloomy humor, whatever it takes to actually overcome the pain.
DeMedio has a podcast.So sorry for the loss“It’s now more than 50 episodes և includes a wide range of guests on a variety of grief topics. The podcast line is simple: “Grief sucks,” just as you can imagine Gary DeMedio shouting. “Dallas sucks.”
In one of the last episodes of the podcast, Gianna interviewed Courtney Well, the star of the “Blow Deck” TV series, about the actress overcoming her father’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, which is a different kind of loss. In other episodes, men talk about their grief, encouraging their peers to challenge false expectations of seeking help for depression.
The launch of All The Skies was a learning experience for DeMedio, but he pushed to launch a boutique on Father’s Day this year.
“One thing I’m trying to say to people who go on these parental holidays or death anniversaries is to really try to realize yourself,” de Medio said. “Be as selfish as possible, because it is very easy to ignore the feeling, to say ‘I do not want to accept it’ or ‘I do not want to make myself sad.’ But you kind of need it և you can not escape from this. You just can’t get over the grief. “
DeMedio: Online store contains a selected collection of 40-50 products that meet the different needs of grieving people, be it the death of a parent or someone whose absence has left a hole. Some elements of All the Skies are books of grief that, according to DeMedio, have been transformative for him, including some that offer a more intense approach to how to heal. He has also worked with wholesalers and manufacturers on jewelry collections, greeting cards, gel beaded eye masks, and soft shirts.
“With clothes, I really want to create a sense of community, because grief can be so isolating,” DeMedio said. “If you see that someone is wearing it, you will be like. “Oh, they lost someone too.” Maybe it’s something to start a conversation with or just to help someone feel like they’re the only person on Earth going through it. It is very easy to feel that way in sadness. ”
DeMedio is developing an extensive resource guide that will include the best books, articles, and media he has found during his travels that have helped shape his view of healing.
“These are all resources I have seen over the years that I would like if someone could give them to me in the first place,” DeMedio said. “These are my favorite books, podcasts, sponsorships, social media accounts, YouTube and TED about grief. It will be a downloadable PDF. “
DeMedio wants All Skies to make up for the lack of grief resources for people in their twenties, thirties and forties, whose needs often go unnoticed as much as those of widows and children.
“What about those in the middle bracket?” DeMedio asked. “I wanted to open something much more modern that people like me could go and see in their reflected products.”
When his father died, de Medio did not predict that he would ever become the voice of a community of people overcoming loss. He was moved to help others when he encountered how often people seem to get stuck, eventually silencing their grief over time.
“I was just amazed at how people did not know or did not want to talk about it. And I felt very strongly that my life would never be better in the beginning. That’s the end. “I was stuck in this really dark place,” de Medio said. “I think people are very ashamed to say that they feel better, because there is a notion that they have gone through it, they do not miss themselves anymore. That’s just not the case. “
After Gary’s death, many people would say to DeMedio, even 20 years after losing a loved one, that it was not so good for them. It’s as hard as ever losing a parent!
“It’s something people would say to me, ‘I believed it. “I took it and thought there was no way out,” DeMedio said. “The best advice I received was that I should deal with it early and not give up on it. “I really took the time to sit down, to share what I was feeling, and in doing so, I got to a really good place.”
In the five years since Gary DeMedio’s death, Gianna has made great strides in her life.
“I was engaged, I got married, I had a career advancement, I had a child,” DeMedio said. “I was able to feel all the goodness in those things, even though I did not think it was possible after my father died. “I thought everything would be bad because my father was not there.”
After all, DeMedio knows that life without a father will always be a struggle, but he wants his platform to help others find the confidence, the strength, to enjoy their lives in honor of the people they miss.
For the past few years, DeMedio has been going to the beach for Father’s Day to listen to a list of Gary’s favorite songs. He pretends that he is sitting next to him on a beach chair.
“I’m looking at it differently now. “I used to feel isolated, I felt lonely on Father’s Day, I thought that day was just a painful reminder,” DeMedio said. “Over the years, I have come to realize that just because he is not physically here, does not negate our relationship. He will always be my father. I can still say that. “