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...

I’ll give you this cupcake if ….

If you leave me a review, I give you this cupcake. That’s if you read my book, of course. The rest of you can just buy one if you have not already. You see, we new authors need those reviews. They are so important. So yeah, I’m offering a cupcake. A picture of a cupcake, actually.

Imagine what this would look like if I tried to mail it to you especially since it’s so warm here. But a picture of this cupcake! What a prize. That’s better than a trip to the Caribbean. It’s not like you can’t google one … Read more...

Who do I have to thank

This is my acknowledgment page from my book. It’s who helped me get it published.

This is my first book and was both a labor of love and therapy for my grieving soul. Writing it was agony at times but growth and self-discovery was more than worth the tears invested. I began writing it in my head the day after my son killed himself because the story stalked me and wouldn’t let go. Prior to typing the first word, my tribe at Emotionally Naked (EmotionallyNaked.com) encouraged me to write a book; it was one thousand blog posts and two and … Read more...

5 years after my son, Charles, died by suicide

killed himself

My new life, my new normal, started the moment I heard the phrase, “Your son Charles has been found dead this morning….” My life was split in two–before he died and after he died. Every picture I see or memory I have goes into one of those categories.

Five years after Charles’s suicide, I am still stunned he killed himself. However, those with lived experience have helped me understand by sharing their stories and allowing me to listen when they are in their darkest places. Charles’s music filled in a lot of blanks. My own writing helped me … Read more...

Protests over George Floyd’s death

Charles protesting downtown in 2014

Had Charles been alive he would have been at the protests in downtown Richmond over the murder of George Floyd, an African American man killed by four policemen when they wrestled the handcuffed man to the ground and put a knee on his neck. Charles would have been so outraged and my youngest always expressed his fury with action. He was not violent. But he was passionate–all brimstone and emotion.

The picture above is one in which he ran into a friend who was protesting and got involved. This was a response to a grand … Read more...

Audiobook fans, I need your opinion

The audiobook of Diary of a Broken Mind has not happened yet. It is supposed to have but our first round of auditions ended in a nondecision in early February. I need to move forward with this, however.

In talking to two people in the last week, both have said they want to hear me read it. I had not taken this on due to my vocal cord issues. Instead, we were auditioning other voices. I only have one vocal cord and my voice is unlikely to be very consistent from one day to the next. Maybe scratchy some days. … Read more...

2020 Library of Virginia Award Nominee

In 1997, the Library of Virginia established its annual Literary Awards program to honor Virginia writers and celebrate their contributions to the literary landscape of our state and nation.

The categories are fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. And my book made the nominee list for nonfiction. As a first time author, I am so excited. Given the number of Virginia nonfiction that focuses on history or politics, I wasn’t sure if I’d even make the first cut. But I did.

Diary of a Broken Mind

Virginia Literary Awards web page.

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Happy 25th birthday to my son in heaven

If Charles was still with us, he’d have grand birthday plans. The pandemic we are in right now would have forced him to change the celebration. But he would have found a creative way around it. I wonder what that would have been.

Charles loved parties. Loved people.

He would talk about his birthday plans in January like the party would be happening the next week. It drove me nuts because he was hyperfocused on it and it was so important to him.

Because he exhausted me daily with party details months in advance, one time I laughed and said … Read more...

No one is too busy

This was one of my son, Charles’, last tweets.

I’ve thought about it a lot over the last few years since his death by suicide. I sit with it sometimes and let it marinate. Charles was never too busy for his family and friends. We were always a top priority. That’s just who he was and what I loved most about him.

He didn’t understand that not everyone else was like this.

For the last year, I’ve seen humans get busier and busier to the point that no one was paying attention to one another, only on their own goals. … Read more...