Removing the masks at Trees of Hope

Anne Moss Rogers, Tom Leahy, Diana Leahy

Tonight at Trees of Hope, we removed the mask of mental illness. Brandon Farbstein delivered a motivating message of hope, Savannah Hatcher mesmerized us with her violin and her voice, Sophia Nadder serenaded us, Hunter Zuppo and Ryan Prim rocked Pearl Jam and Chris Cornel’s music, and VCU RAMifications hypnotized us with acapella.

Congratulations Jayden Metzger and Greg McQuade for winning Ambassador of Hope awards for 2018.

Thank you to all my friends for coming out and supporting youth mental health and suicide prevention. It meant so much to me.


Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my youngest son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide 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, 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.

14 thoughts on “Removing the masks at Trees of Hope”

  1. Sarah, am another mother who’s lost a child (adult son) several years ago. He also suffered from mental illness as your daughter. I live in VA Beach and would make time to meet with you for lunch, dinner, or just coffee to be there for you, to be an ear to listen. The loss of a child is the hardest loss anyone can experience. You don’t get over it, you just learn to live with it. Please feel free to email me should you like to meet. If you’d rather talk on the phone, that’s fine too. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Blessings, Rachelle

      1. Dear Anne
        How are you ?
        Hello beautiful angel of hope !!!

        Your book about Charlie was well written and straight from your mother heart ! I hope you are managing and adapting to more time at home during this pandemic

        Would you please remove this online diaglogue between Rachelle and I when you are editing your blog ? It pains me to read it two years later My friendship with Rachelle has been short lived and a most unpleasant ending

        Sincerely Yours


  2. Dear Ms Rogers
    Just found your website tonight
    Your son was a beautiful soul and I don’t understand how the earth can allow our children to go ahead of us
    God must have a answer
    I too suffer from conflicted. over powering greif of my beautiful most beloved Katharine who drowned after being released from a psychiatric hospital in full blown psychosis from her acute paranoid schizophrenia She was 24
    There are no words I am divorced from her father I am 54 and living in Va Beach VA
    I’m hanging by a thread As a result I have become a pariah to my family and best friends of a life time have walked out and far away
    I’m in agony going into this second year Everyone expects things to be better and they are only worse It’s like trying to run with a broken leg
    Your story is excruciating and your greif is like a labyrinth of never ending pain with some relief only to return to the labryith of suffering I don’t know if our minds and hearts are ever to accept this fate of our beautiful beautiful children?
    It’s hell on earth

    1. Oh Sarah I am so sorry. Even worse that your support system has abandoned you. I will say that last week was tough but it’s getting easier if that’s the right word. Softer. I want times to remember him now. So grief is not my enemy any more but my friend. I have survived. I do laugh. I do cry without shame. You must find some support in that area. It means everything. If you write a post, I can call on my network of support and I know we can find help and support for you in VA beach. You must have had years of difficulty with that mental illness and your sweet daughter.

      We are so glad you found us and I hope you will stay. Here you will get support, love, no judgment.

    2. Sarah – you hang in there. No feeling is ever final. And I felt like the second year was as hard or harder than the first. My son left us 5 years ago and it has been very hard. You are right – it is hell on earth. You are not alone however, sadly.
      I am so sorry about your support system collapsing. I had good support in the beginning, but they have tired of it. And they like to pretend that I’m just fine. No one asks anymore. It’s weird – you might find that people that you don’t know very well, or don’t know at all, are better support. Like this blog, for example. You keep commenting and we will talk with you.
      I will email you and check in…
      I will give you my support.
      You just go day by day and one day, you will find that it turns into week by week. Then month by month. It softens. You hang in there.
      Peace to you today.

    3. Sarah,

      There is a huge community of support, many of them here. I think the second year is almost worse than the first. The first year you are just so numb and sad and raw. The second year is just as sad, and almost more raw as some of the numbness begins to wear off, couple that with the “expectation” that we be “better”. Who gets better from the loss of a child. One day at a time. Sometimes one minute. Give yourself grace. Sending light and holding space for you. 💙

      1. I agree Jenny – with the second year come the expections and the realizations…..
        Its hard Sarah – love to you today too! <3

        1. Sarah. I’m sorry it’s still so painful. Have you felt any progress? Are you able to enjoy anything? I only ask because I am concerned. Thank you for commenting. The way you have spoken about Katharine speaks volumes about how much you loved her. A lot of us here struggled when our child was alive because of mental illness and substance misuse. We struggle still after they are gone, in a different way.

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