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.
So both my husband and I are absent minded, we’re both losing everything we touch and forgetting what we wanted to say mid-sentence. I’m getting lost leaving my house and putting all kinds of engagements on the wrong day. Yesterday, I apparently had a lunch scheduled at 11:45pm and again on 11:45am Tuesday and 11:45am Wednesday with the same person. Tuesday was the right day but I had to email my lunch date to figure out which day and time was right. So logistically, I am all out of whack. Thank God … Read more...
Absolutely epic grief relapse this week. But today I forced myself on a long run to reset myself and today was better. Not perfect but not as dark. Talked to someone in recovery whose brother died by suicide. That helped. All of you out there helped. Your outreach is what I need. I am so blessed to have such caring friends. Thank you.
Today is one of those days when it hurts so so so bad. I miss my boy so much. It is so hard to have cared for a child so intensely only to have him vanish and no longer be in your life at all. It is so surreal, so unbelievable.
There are actually good things about grief. Believe it or not. You realize along life’s path, you can only control one person, yourself. And in grief, you realize you can’t always do that. You have to let the journey lead you and there are times you simply can’t fix yourself but you can guide yourself.
In this journey that absolutely no one wants to be on, you simply see more things than you saw before, let things go that are not important and reach out and touch people you would have never thought to connect with. You also learn other … Read more...
Those of you who have a child with special needs, mental health issues, learning or physical disabilities know how hard it is for that child to earn a high school degree. There are countless road blocks, problems, run ins with teachers over homework etc. Providing Charles with the support to finish high school was so difficult and expensive, it was a full time job in and of itself.
We enlisted the help of an educational consultant, Martha Kolbe who has since passed away. I would highly recommend that step. While we ultimately had to choose a boarding school, there … Read more...
I know so many don’t know what to say to those who’ve suffered a loss, particularly that of a child and in the case of suicide.
Unfortunately, I can check both those boxes.
Suggestions on what to say
I made a pact to welcome any and all comments and never pass judgement on what someone has asked or said because it takes guts to speak up. After so many years of suffering in silence since he had such stigmatized illnesses, it’s a relief to let it out.
Figuring out what someone else in the same shoes wants is tough.
I loved the Harry Potter Tour in London. But once they opened the doors to the studio, it hit me how much Charles Rogers would have loved this tour. I lost it and it was dark so I thought it was enough to hide my grief and my tears. Sometimes it just hits me like a punch to the heart.
So I find a seat in the crowd and as I am struggling to pull it together, a concerned Warner Brothers staff member comes up to me and asks me if I’m OK.
Probably one of the toughest things about having a child that died, especially one that died by suicide, is that many people avoid you and say nothing. And yes, we notice. In fact, we are hyper sensitive to it.
It’s isolating and devastating enough without the added stress of someone obviously avoiding you or the subject because they don’t know what to say. I understand why. But it still hurts.
And sometimes when I have brought it up to eliminate the elephant in the room, people wave me off or turn away like it’s too ugly and they don’t … Read more...
A painful day. Meetings provided some distraction.
I was at the Comcast office today and I asked the CSR what his tattoo represented. He said it was for his mom who died when he was 15. He was about 28-30.
I asked him flat out if she had been a heroin addict and died from that disease. And he said yes. How did I know to ask? How did I just know that sun tattoo represented a mother who died of addiction? How could I have been so bold to ask that of a perfect stranger? I don’t know. I … Read more...