Sharing a bit of news

Woohoo! I qualified to be a National Speaker’s Association Professional Member. At the moment, I have more virtual events than ones on stages but it’s taken a year to qualify and I turned in all my paperwork and now it’s official.

I hope you are OK with my sharing my braggy news. And if you know of someone looking for a speaker on topics about mental health, grief, suicide prevention, or addiction see my professional speaking page.

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Should you kick your addicted child out of the house?

Fill in the blank here. Addicted spouse, sibling, friend.

Living with someone who is addicted is hard and you have had enough. The lying, manipulating is bad enough. Your loved one swears they are not using but you know the signs. They are not going to rehab as they said.

Why won’t they get help? Why are they lying? Why are they torturing you like this?

You think they are selfish and unkind but what you are seeing is the disease. Your loved one is buried under all that behavior. They have not surrendered to the fact they have a … Read more...

Unresolved grief can trigger later addiction

I met grief when the police officer uttered, “I have some sad news to share, your son Charles has been found dead this morning.” “Met” is probably too gentle a term. It was more like grief and I had a head-on collision. The news that my son Charles killed himself was a painful twist of the knife. At that moment I was assaulted by so many feelings at once.

Losses can be traumatic especially when it’s an early or unexpected death.

No one is born with directions on how to grieve and after it happens you crave a road map. … Read more...

The pink flamingos flew back

Amy Spindler
Amy Spindler, 40, died of a brain tumor in 2004 (1963-2004)

In 2001 a few months after my two brain surgeries (1999 and 2000) to remove a skull base tumor was successful, I engaged in a mentoring program to support other patients. Brain tumors are such a serious topic. And when you are in that environment, there is little humor. The endless string of appointments and waiting for results, surgeries, radiation, and in some cases, chemo are a drag. I wanted to bring an element of humor into my mentoring.

Amy Spindler was the third person I mentored and we … Read more...

I had finally surrendered

When Charles called me that last time and maybe when I found out he was addicted to heroin 4 weeks prior to his suicide, something in me changed. I have wallowed and bathed myself in guilt for having felt defeated and not being on the top of my game during that time. There were multiple layers of issues, all of which we tried to resolve. It was all so much.

For the three years prior to his death, it was all about desperate attempts to save his life. What parent wouldn’t want to do that? Historically, he never gave any … Read more...

How to find hope

pilot light of hope

How do I know you will find hope? Because you came here, started reading this and wanted to find it. 

Hope is a little pilot light that dims when you are down, brightens, and flickers when you are up. There are always going to be extremes but most of life is spent somewhere in the middle.

While hope is anticipation for the future, it influences how you feel in the present.

So when you are in despair, take a step outside your comfort zone, or practice an act of kindness. No matter what, don’t let the flame of hope die.… Read more...

Thank you for supporting my birthday fundraiser

The goal was $2015, representing the year Charles died. Thanks to all of you, we exceeded that by over $200. The funds will go to NAMI Virginia. NAMI stands for the National Alliance of Mental Illness.

It’s an organization that provides programs for those who live with mental illness and their families. In times like these, what they provide is so important and I know they need the funds more than ever.

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The Bereaved Parent’s Pledge with Worksheet

pledge from bereaved parents
Hand on heart. Icon on a white background. Vector illustration

For July, bereaved parents month

This starts with a pledge from a grieving parent. Then some information about how friends and family might perceive your well being. They don’t know what’s healthy grieving or unhealthy grieving and often mistake perfectly healthy grieving practices as warning signs or even grief shame you.

Pledge

While I, the grieving parent/guardian/grandparent, know that friends don’t know what to say, I will give them credit for talking to me because saying anything takes courage.

Friends are afraid of saying the wrong thing but my pledge … Read more...

Your child said he is suicidal: Say this, not that

I get hundreds of messages and comments from children, teens and young adults monthly about how parents respond to “mom/dad, I have been having thoughts of suicide.” I then advise these kids to tell a teacher or a school counselor when a parent isn’t responding.

So if you hear that confession, respond with, “I am so sorry. Tell me more. I am here to help in any way I can.” Then do more listening and no lecturing. Many parents respond appropriately but some do not.

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