4 things you should never say to grieving parents

Man shouting, pulling hair

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...

To all who have lost a loved one to suicide or overdose

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I’ve made a commitment.

I need one from you.

On behalf of my son Charles who died by suicide, I am carrying on a tradition he handed down to me and that is to reach out.

Survivors of suicide loss and those who have lost a child or loved one to overdose need to say the words suicide, mental illness, addiction and drug overdose.

Don’t soften it, sugar coat it or hide behind it

If we do, we carry on a tradition of shame instead of acknowledging our loved ones struggled from an illness. Those illnesses will continue to carry stigma if we don’t … Read more...

Should you talk to your children or friends about suicide?

Yes.

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.

So how did suicide get such a promotion?

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The long arm of the law reaches down Charles’ pants

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Supporting Files:

  1. Mp4 – Internal Affairs interview -This has the most accurate account of what happened from Charles’ point of view. Just hearing him on the tape triggers a crying episode of despair.
  2. Word Doc- Transcript of police stop above on the Mp4
  3. Word Doc – Charles account of the original arrest
  4. Mp4 – Police stop with Charles and 6 officers 
  5. PDF – Breathalyzer

One of the incidents I have had a hard time with was one that happened in late February 2015 in Chesterfield County Virginia, just 4 months before Charles died by suicide.

Charles was driving home and was stopped by … Read more...

Grief. My alter ego tries to hoist me out of bed in the morning

Alter Ego:  Morning. Time to get up. 

Me: I don’t want to. 

Alter Ego: You have to get up. 

Me: But I’m not ready. I have to face the fact he’s gone when I’m awake. 

Alter Ego: Are you going to spend all day in bed?  Won’t that totally depress you? 

Me: Yeah. It will. 

Alter Ego: What are you going to wear on your run? 

Me: My legs feel like lead. I don’t want to run. 

Alter Ego: You always feel better once you go. 

Me: Not always. Somedays my legs feel like lead the whole time. Somedays nothing Read more...

Grief. Is there a heaven?

I want to believe it without reservation. I do.

And I know most of you do. You’ll tell me there is and all I have to do is believe. However, I am a skeptic. I think there is something out there. But I often have doubts.

I do think it is something very different from what we think it is. A different kind of existence all together. Not a bad existence just not what we think.

I have a lot riding on this belief

Since Charles died, I really want to believe 100%.

Let’s say there is a heaven.  Would … Read more...

To all of you

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.

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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...

Is tough love the right way to treat an addict?

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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.

No addict makes a change unless

Read more...

Dear Charles. My letter to heaven

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Charles was wearing these shoes when he died. Ironic even in death

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.

I am … Read more...

People move on. I cannot resent that

Kids that were friends of Charles are growing up.

People move on.

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...