Working through Grief, Crises and Other Challenges with guest Stuart Preston


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Working through Grief, Crises and Other Challenges with guest Stuart Preston

Stuart Preston shares with us his personal tragedy, the loss of his son Ian to suicide at age 19. He shares his discovery of psychedelics as a means of treatment to help deal with the “grief that never goes away.”

All of us, at some point, have or will experience a personal and sometimes traumatic crisis or loss. In this episode we talk about how we deal with those crises, how we work through them—how we learn to live WITH our challenges and losses.

Episode Recap


  • Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8244
  • It’s time to remove the stigma from suicide and other mental health issues. We do that by talking about it.
  • PK Jordan has her foundation to help kids with suicidal thoughts, the Laloboy Foundation 480-612-4656
  • We learned to see psychedelics as beneficial medicine.
  • It’s a great time to refinance your home.

Let’s Remove the Stigma from Suicide and Start Talking About It

Today, we had a serious topic: working through grief. Building off of our conversation with PK Jordan, we talked about learning to move forward after losing a loved one to suicide. We welcomed Stuart Preston to share his story. Stuart is a long-time valley resident and up-and-coming Stand-up Comedian.

Stuart needed to share his story, as it’s important for people to talk about suicide and help remove the stigma from suicide. He’s developed a one-man show that isn’t all comedy. It’s about losing his son four years ago to suicide. Ian was a large presence, and impressive. He started programming at nine years old, started professionally at fifteen, and was a full-time professional software engineer at seventeen.

When Ian died, a local blogger wrote up a piece on his life and asked if she should include the way he died. Stuart was at first confused. Of course, why not include that? That was his first insight into the stigma. People don’t want to talk about it. Stuart does talk about it.

What were his options when this happened? He hid in his strength. He felt like he had to be the strong father/husband, to allow his family to grieve. Turns out, he was hiding within his grief. He found that out while watching the Robin Williams movie, What Dreams May Come.

When Stuart had to tell his wife that Ian had died, it was a horrible moment. Since that moment, there is no normal again. People may see him every day and think things are normal. They’re not. In fact, knowing that things would no longer be normal was instant, as soon as he knew his son was gone.

At that point, it’s a matter of figuring out how to live, how to go on, how to do life.

A Caller With Her Own Story of Loss

They started this segment with a caller, Paula, who had also lost her son to suicide. She stressed how important it is to share and to talk about suicide. Hiding in strength resonated with her as well.

Felecia asked, what can a friend who wants to offer comfort say to somebody who’s lost a child to suicide? A lot of people have great intentions, and there’s a lot of support in the first weeks. Paula mentioned that they don’t need advice. They just need you to be there for them. Don’t disappear. You can say, “I’m with you.”

Talking about the lost child is great. Mention their name. People are afraid to do that, but that’s a great thing to do. Parents want to hear their kid’s name. They want to see old photos. You can’t make the parents more sad. They’re already sad. So, talk about this kids. Paula mentions that it brings joy to hear from friends. Don’t be afraid of hurt feelings. Talk about the lost loved ones.

What shouldn’t people say to those that have lost a loved one? There are a bunch of blogs that address this (do a Google search). Don’t say: “I understand”, “God has a plan”, “At least you still have your daughter.” Stuart almost punched a comedian in the Green Room at a comedy show for saying something super offensive. Paula had a scenario where somebody on the internet misquoted her about his achievements (5.0 student), essentially blaming Paula for everything.

We have to understand that people don’t mean to hurt the parents.

Parents who have lost a child to suicide need to connect, because nobody else can really understand what they’re going through. Having somebody to talk to is important for them. Thank you so much, Paula, for calling in!

Psychedelics and Grief

How does a parent live the rest of their life after this? First, there is no getting over it. Stuart shared his story of working with psychedelics to help him with grief. Learning that psychedelics (entheogens) can put one into a dream-like state. He thought maybe he could spend time with Ian in that state. It didn’t work that way, but he learned what great things psychedelics can do. That’s where his Stoned Ape Show came from — the theory that man’s evolution came from magic mushrooms.

Psychedelics are a purposeful experience in this situation, not a party drug. There are studies going on again in a new psychedelic renaissance, including studies at Johns Hopkins,, and more. They’re working with MDMA in treating PTSD, psilocybin (magic mushrooms) for those with anxiety and terminal illness, psilocybin to quit smoking, LSD for alcoholism. The list goes on. There’s even a Peyote Way Church right here in Arizona.

How have these medicines benefited Stuart? It’s like psychotherapy. They get right to the heart of the matter. Psychedelics have a way of punching your ego in the face and bringing up your issues. As a result of that, he is a much healthier person emotionally, mentally. That helps him work with his grief, rather than letting it control him. Again, grief will never go away. And it’s not like one can take magic mushrooms to cure grief.

So, what’s a psychedelic event like? Stuart shared an experience of an Ayahuasca ceremony. It’s a ceremony in the South American jungle where you drink tea and have a deep experience with Shamans. There is a spirit, La Madre, with Ayahuasca. In his experience, La Madre showed up, gave him a spikey cylinder to get rid of. He realized that La Madre was him, that the cylinder was his feeling of helplessness. The lesson was that he had the power to change his life and get rid of powerlessness. So, what is he doing now to share his experiences?

The Stoned Ape Show

Stuart talked about his Stoned Ape Show. This is how Stuart lives with his tragic event. His life is much different. He used to be a curmudgeony, road ragey kind of judgemental guy with a quick temper. Now, he’s reconnected with Love, Acceptance and the connection between us. That makes it harder to hate somebody, to get mad at somebody.

That’s why he’s doing this show, The Stoned Ape Show. He wants to share his story in order to help those going through grief, to remove the stigmas from suicide and psychedelics. If you’re curious about these subjects, go to the show. He’ll also do a Q&A session to answer your questions.

Matt Watson from State Farm called in. He said his perception has changed on psychedelics. He said it’s good that perceptions are changing, with a new understanding of the benefits of “plant medicine.”

Stuart mentioned his two podcasts: The Consciousness Podcast and The Stoned Ape Reports. Felecia loves The Consciousness Podcast. It’s an exploration of human consciousness. After he lost his son, he wanted to understand what happens to your consciousness, your soul. So, he talks to experts and shares those on the podcast. With Stoned Ape Reports, he helps other Stoned Apes and practitioners share their stories.

Mortgage Minute with Ryan Steckelberg

The mortgage minute with Ryan. It’s a great time to refinance. Make sure your credit is still good and improving as you apply or start thinking about applying for your home loan. What should a future buyer/borrower do? A score of 640 is the minimum to get down payment assistance. So, make sure you’re paying attention to your credit score. Avoid having multiple pulls on your credit report (applying for credit).

Wrap Up

Until next week, Drive Friendly Arizona!


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