If you’ve lost a child or someone to suicide, I need your help

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This summer I’m speaking at two national conferences on finding purpose after loss. They are AFSP Long-Term Survivors of Suicide Loss Summit in Cleveland, Ohio and the Keynote Speaker at the Bereaved Parent USA 25th Conference in St Louis, Missouri.

The subject is finding purpose after loss. And here’s where I need you.

Many of you are giving back in some way or another since the death of your child or loved one to suicide. If you could share those examples, it would really … Read more...

Grieving and rosemary

When I first lost my son Charles to suicide I would go downstairs and take my hand and run it over the rosemary from the herbal basket my friend Preston sent. I would bend over, breathe in the scent and slowly exhale.

They say lavender is the grief herb. But for me, it was rosemary. I can’t really explain what it did for me other than I experienced a moment that hit the pause button on my grief and offered me a rare moment of peace. and comfort.

I often walk in the morning with my friend Virginia. And we … Read more...

Emotionally Naked Wedding

She entered the church wearing a gown few over 50 could wedge a thigh into. Heck, that gown would be a fantasy for a 35-year-old. The fitted mermaid style gown was punctuated with a pair of designer Colorado-style cowboy boots.

Lloyd, once the paster of the church in which they wed, beamed with pride in his 007 style tuxedo as his bride waltzed confidently up the aisle to her soulmate. The groom’s father presided.

Grief brought these two together. And the Emotionally Naked love story started here on this blog, not a dating app or match.com.

The wedding, which had … Read more...

Father’s view: Sex and intimacy after loss of a child

by Gary

sex and intimacy after loss of a child from a man's point of view

Males are different psychologically and emotionally. My wife and I lost our 17-year-old son after he died suicide on Nov. 7, 2019. The grief is overwhelming, strangling, choking, at times.

I’ll not attempt to convey the grief. One understands, or one does not.

The intimacy of coitus with my wife is the deepest of (the many of) my connections with her, encompassing my love, my emotional and psychological attachment, reaffirmation, on every possible plane you could imagine.

Males are always subconsciously tense, on guard. The old stereotype complaint, his falling asleep after making love? Criticized, some women never … Read more...

Your pain doesn’t have to consume you

It can take you to your knees. It can surround you and make you feel trapped. It feels like it will consume you.

But here’s what I want you to know.

Feelings are temporary. Whether it’s joy or agony, that feeling has an end and it will lift. If you numb it or push it away, it will come back twofold. And while you can’t make it go away, you can learn to manage it.

Often what we do to ourselves to avoid it causes years or even a lifetime of more pain.

The secret is to allow it in … Read more...

We all stand in line

by Joanna Frank

Note from Anne Moss: I met Joanna in my suicide loss support group. Her husband had taken his life immediately after he missed the signal that their son’s respirator had stalled and died as a result. She lost both sons to health issues and her husband to suicide.

We are all really the same
We all stand in a line
Waiting for that unknown moment.
We may think our lives are unique but our deaths are already designed.

We will all breathe our last breath one day…
We will all be in line
To be call home… Read more...

Sometimes I feel relief instead of grief

relief instead of grief

When we first sent my youngest son, Charles, away to wilderness and then therapeutic boarding school, the grief from having lost what I considered a normal high school experience left me feeling cheated. No home-town plays with Charles in them, no chaperoning the homecoming dances that he’d attend with a date.

We sent him away to save his life. And it was a last resort.

But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t also find relief after he left.

I wrestled with the agony of sending him away against his will while also welcoming the warm blanket of … Read more...

How a conversation on death can change your life

My bon voyage file

I didn’t talk about death a whole lot before Charles died. He did, though. And I wish I had asked why since obsession on the subject is an indication that someone struggles with thoughts of suicide.

We live in a death-averse, death-phobic culture. We can’t even say the word death, substituting instead, phrases like “passed away” or “kick the bucket” to sugarcoat life’s ending.

So how do you want your end celebrated? Where do you want to be buried? How will it be paid for? Do you want your organs donated (the closest thing we … Read more...

My pain is worse than yours

After I lost Charles to suicide, someone I knew called a few months later and shared the sad news she’d just lost her Dad. He had died at 94. Later when I met with her, she told me she hurt just as much as I did and that our situations were exactly the same. I said nothing. I knew she was close to her dad and was really hurting.

I cannot say and never will say that I hurt more than her. There’s no way to compare grief or pain. I just wish she had known that.

Sometimes we want … Read more...

Don’t use the words ‘at least’ to a friend who’s lost someone

“At least she isn’t suffering.”

“At least you have other children.”

“At least you will no longer worry.”

“At least he is in heaven now.”

“At least he didn’t suffer.”

If you are thinking of starting any sentence with “at least” to a friend who has suffered a loss, you are essentially trying to polish grief with a coat of positive. In other words, you are invalidating someone’s feelings.

When I suffered a loss, I didn’t want anyone pointing out the good part of losing a child. There was nothing positive about Charles’ suicide. I was at the lowest point … Read more...