9 ways I am coping with the insurmountable grief of suicide loss

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I believe that by being open about suicide and sharing coping experiences and ideas, we can learn from each other.

The stigma has kept us clammed up for so long, it’s time we shared.

These work for me. Not to wipe away the pain. But to help me figure out how to live my life with this loss.

1. Writing

Writing hurts sometimes. Well, a lot of times. But there is a release of pain after I hit publish. I also feel free to do it now–to say what I want. No one is stopping me because I started my own thing. I don’t have the shackles put on us by societal norms and there is always pressure to stick to those. Well, they suck and they need to change. Period. And I’m not sticking to those. I am not always going to be “positive” but the one  thing I will not do is leave people without is hope. Even though I am suffering the worst possible loss, I have not lost hope for others or for myself.  That has to be an element of everything I do.

2. Speaking

I have the most wonderful sense of calm when I speak about Charles, suicide and mental health. I find that so strange and it’s entirely unexpected. Maybe it’s because I felt I had to be so quiet for so long. But I feel Charles with me when I speak. And quite frankly, that feels good. I appreciate your allowing me to tell my story.

3. Giving back

There is that big empty cavernous space in my heart that I must fill with something worthy. Other moms out there who have lost a child understand. This is so grueling. I have been talking about mental health and suicide long before Charles died, since 2010. I am just getting started….

4. Running

My legs weigh a thousand pounds. I had no idea grief could slow me down so much in all aspects of my life. I wasn’t a pro runner before and now I run a truly pathetic pace. But that’s OK. I’m running a slow marathon, not a sprint. No one is timing me and I’m doing it for my own mental health. It cleans out the cobwebs in my head. No ear phones allowed. Just me and my thoughts. Some days are really, really hard. But I make myself go every other day in the rain, in the wind, in the cold.

5. Being bold

I step outside my comfort zone and go and do things I’ve not done before. And I just say it. Because it needs to be said. Mental illness and addiction don’t need to be swept under the rug. Suicide does not need to be whispered. Too many people are suffering.

6. Being transparent

I had no idea how freeing this was. There’s no going back. Emotionally Naked is how I roll.

7. #Griefheart project

With the #griefheart project, I can express my soul in this grief journey. Which is what this site is all about. And I can do this with others who are hurting. Exercising my creativity in memory of my creative genius who died by suicide is painful,  soul-searching and freeing all at the same time. I feel good about having a goal that honors him. I have no clue where this is leading and I feel excited about that.

8. Letting it all out

Tears have hit at inopportune times. Not as often now. But I let it go. I allow myself the tears. I allow myself to accept the pain so I can move on. Letting the journey take me has been a big shift for me.  Talking helps. It just does.

9. Reaching out

Nobody can think of our situation 24 hours a day. And sometimes that means I need to reach out and call someone. I used to think support groups were not my style. But I stepped outside that comfort zone and attended. I see now how important it is to bond with others in similar situations. You build relationships from the heart at these groups. You share a journey that others just can’t fathom.  The relationships from these groups continue to be helpful now.

If you’ve ever experienced grief, I would love to know what works for you.

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Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

6 thoughts on “9 ways I am coping with the insurmountable grief of suicide loss”

  1. I wrote, I read, cried and cried anywhere and everywhere, I joined the SOS group, it’s so helpful to be with others who know.

  2. I’ve not been coping well … the first year I worked…just before Trevor’s two year date, I was fired from my job. Since then I have not worked and have been barely able to get out of bed. I am coming out of it but it’s been so difficult … I am finally engaging in life again. I go for walks almost every day now and I am trying to fix my bike so me and my husband can go riding together. I still cry almost every single day multiple times a day and struggle to find hope but I look for it. I look for signs from my angel and look forward to working in my garden this year. I just hope that this feeling of hopelessness will eventually leave me.

    1. Kim – I am not past the first year yet. I don’t know what’s in store. But I have felt the way you do. I do find exercise helps although there are days, like today because it’s so cold, when I don’t want to go but I do it anyway. It is so hard. Thank you for posting your comment. It helps.

  3. Anne Moss,
    Each and every time I read your words, they amaze me. Oh how I wish I met Charles . I think about how in an ideal time and place, our sons would have sat across from one another and shared their pain, their struggles and both found peace and joy in their lives . That you and I were brought together for different reasons. I feel such a kindred connection to you. How in your grief, you are fighting for my son and others like him . You are empowering me with hope and strength . D and I talk about Charles everyday now. We discuss suicide more than ever. I was so scared to bring it up after he tried to commit suicide but I don’t hide from it anymore. It’s very freeing for me and less uncomfortable for him the more he talks about. We need to keep talking keep fighting keep telling people about sweet Charles and every other child that feels too much pain to live, stop people from judging, Mental illness and Addiction does not discriminate they are an unwanted intruder in many homes, way more than most will ever admit.

  4. Very well said, Anne. I walk, don’t usually run. But, the effects are the same. No distractions. Trying to enjoy nature again … without my son … making a feeble attempt to patch that hole in my heart or else get swallowed up by it. It’s like I’m learning to put one foot in front of another all over again. A life that is upside down because of an out of order death. Yelling at God one minute, praying to Him the next. Feeling as if time should just stop, wondering why it hasn’t. I mean shouldn’t it? After all, my son died by suicide and everything is different, nothing is the same nor ever will be. Trying to find that “new normal” is one miserable journey. After 10 months, it’s getting better. Time doesn’t heal all, as they say, it just takes the sharp edges and wears them down to a dullness that is bearable.

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