I am the mother of two boys and the owner of emotionally naked, a site that reached a quarter million people in its first 18 months. I am a writer and professional public speaker on the topics of suicide, addiction, mental illness, and grief and my book, Diary of a Broken Mind, will be published in the fall. I lost my youngest son, Charles, 20, to suicide June 5, 2015.
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
I made a pact that I was not going to get upset with people regarding what they said after Charles’ suicide. After all, it’s hard to know what to say and I was thankful when someone said anything. However, there are some classic zingers you should know to avoid.
1. Say nothing
I think this is the worst. If your child had stigmatized illnesses, you are used to nothing. No emotional support. No conversation. No resources. Saying nothing appears as though you are erasing this child because mention of him/her makes you uncomfortable. Many times people make excuses like, “I … Read more...
Of course there is probably an age at which it needs to be handled differently. I will leave that to those experts but I would think that 11 and under is where you might seek guidance from a professional on how to approach the subject.
Suicide will continue to stalk our kids, our teens and our young adults if we keep turning our backs on it.
Already, it is the number one cause of death for college students in the US. It’s the number 2 cause of death for those 15-25.
What I didn’t expect from all of you was the outpouring of support when I write publicly about all the stigmatized illnesses we suffered through with Charles– as well as my own grief. And I didn’t expect to be encouraged to keep writing about it.
I was not rejected or ostracized. I was not “unfriended” for bringing up unpleasant subjects. Maybe some have unfriended. But I’ve gained more than I have lost.
But I’ll be honest with you, I did not think it would be that way. I was fully prepared to be written off as the person always posting depressing … Read more...
This is such a hard question. But one thing’s for sure, you’ll get an answer one way or another when you set your boundaries.
Someone asked me if I felt like I should have approached my son’s depression and addiction differently?
Is tough love the right thing to do?
Keep in mind that I encouraged her to ask the question she was wanting to ask because she hesitated. It’s a good question with no “right” answer. Given that my son’s rock bottom was suicide, I’ve asked myself this a hundred times. But here’s what I can tell you.
I bet I am not the first mom to write their child in heaven. But this is my first letter to you since you died. I hope you get it because I am not sure how to have something sent to heaven.
It’s been about 8 months since you left us and I miss you. All the time. Every day. And I always will. There are days I wake up and the realization that you are gone just hits me like a freight train in my heart.
And those of us still grieving feel kind of stuck sometimes. Forgotten even. That’s the isolating nature of grief.
It’s like there is the speed train and everyone is back on it. But us. We just watch as it speeds by, unable to get on that train. Limping on every once in a while but then having to exit because we simply can’t keep up with the pace.
Sometimes it’s hard to to see happy family pictures knowing that I will never have a picture with both my … Read more...