Is a grief retreat right for you?

by Karla Helbert

My opinion on this is always YES!

My opinion on this is always YES! We live in an extremely busy, fast-paced, hustle-driven, hurry-up world that is also extremely death denying and grief aversive. Grief is a process that requires—demands—attention, nurturing, space, and heavy doses of ritual.

We know from current research that those who have the best outcomes—meaning those who are able to best carry and integrate their grief and have more functional, productive, healthy lives, are those who have good self-care and good support. We also know that help-seeking people tend to do better than those … Read more...

So how did the vocal cord surgery go?

Since 1999, this brain tumor, although benign, has taken a lot from me–hearing and feeling on one side, reduction in fluids like saliva, tears, on the left side. And so on. In 2016 and a year after Charles died, I had gamma knife radiation treatment to fry it which left me with trouble swallowing (dysphasia), upper esophageal reflux and vocal cord issues. By far the most devastating was the loss of my voice. It was barely above a whisper. For a while, the botox injections (called vocal fold injections) were working and then they weren’t.

To qualify for the more permanent … Read more...

#MythBustingMondays – Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem

Implying suicide is a cop out is a lazy and a flip comment from a limited point of view. We say it to try to make sense of something we don’t fully understand. It dismisses the fact that the thoughts, for many, can be pervasive. The intense, irrational part when someone is in danger of following through is temporary.

But when someone completes a suicide, we don’t always know how many times someone has suffered through it or what trauma, mental illness, or life event may have triggered it. Over time, they can be difficult to fight and wear someone down. I … Read more...

Tell me three positive things about yourself

Many of you will balk.

Some of you may even claim there are not three good things about yourself. So for those of you who struggle the most with this kind of thing, I want you to dig the deepest. Ask someone else if you need to.

But there are three things. And today I want you to list them. It’s not bragging if I’m asking you.

So since I started this, I’ll go first. Here goes.

  1. I am persistent in reaching my goals – I don’t give up easily, I am OK with being bold and sticking my neck
Read more...

I will always come get you

charles and mom

I remember telling my children this. “If you have had too much to drink, I will come get you and I won’t ask questions.” And I followed through with that.

But when Charles wanted me to come get him in that last phone call, although he didn’t literally say, “come get me,” I didn’t. At first this was a huge boulder to carry and I punished myself constantly for it. And while I have forgiven myself, it will always sting.

The disease of addiction and all of its chaos scrambled my brain. The fear of the disease consumed me … Read more...

What stops a person from killing himself?

My son, Charles, wrote this as part of his rap song, Hell on Earth.

Live with meaning before death forever
Eternal darkness,
peace at last,
no more hardships
Hard to comprehend in the human mind
Impossible to envision leaving yourself behind

Many people comment here about suicide and some while they are feeling the worst hurt of their lives and contemplating how to end their own life.

The two reasons people don’t kill themselves fall into two categories.

Life reasons.

Fear reasons.

The life reasons have to do with children, spouses, parents, pets, and friends. The suicidal person doesn’t want … Read more...

Momma llama love—#griefheart number 292

When my boys were little, we’d walk into the library to get books related to certain holidays and in February, they’d have valentine-related books on top of the bookshelves. Both my sons loved books but Charles didn’t understand why we couldn’t take twenty or thirty books home.

This llama llama book book came out when he was a teen but I remember he had a saying  about momma llama love and I can’t recall the context in which he used the phrase. He would pick out pretty much all that would be on display and more and I would attempt … Read more...

For Valentine’s Day, I’m having my throat slit while awake

And what’s more, I’m excited about it.

The benign brain tumor next to my brain stem in the cranial nerve area is finally fried and won’t cause more problems. But it paralyzed one of my vocal cords. Socially, it’s debilitating because if there is background noise, no one can hear me.  On microphone I do fine but I have had to limit my speaking engagements because the vocal cord gets tired.

The tumor was first discovered by Charles in 1999. Two craniotomies, one in 1999 and the other in 2000, a cranial reconstruction in 2003, and then radiation in 2017 … Read more...

#MythBustingMondays If your child is addicted, it’s because you didn’t put your foot down

Why was my child abusing drugs?

Was it because we didn’t punish enough, take away enough privileges or otherwise let our child know who was boss?

Maybe we coddled him too much, let him hang out with the “wrong friends,” or worked too much when we should have stayed home.

Or perhaps we didn’t go to church enough, get Charles more involved with activities, or do enough random drug tests.

The truth is, drug abuse and addiction happens to good parents, bad parents, happily married parents, divorced parents. It happens to working moms, stay-at-home moms, dad’s who are involved, dad’s … Read more...

How did I get the courage to speak out about suicide and addiction?

suicide story charles rogers
This screenshot was a day or two after it posted. I only wish I would have screen-shotted the comments as those original ones are now lost. I found such comfort in reading all those other stories

Three years ago, I wrote this newspaper article following Charles‘ death. I’ve referred to it several times before. 

Charles died by suicide June 5, 2015 and I started writing it in August of that same year. We were moving at the same time since the house sold four days before his death. 

It took six months to write 1,200 words. Earlier versions were … Read more...