My son, Jake, died from depression

by Susan Shearouse 

Journal Entry. May 12. Sunday. Mother’s Day

Susan and her son, Jacob Hasson Stull who died by suicide.
February 26, 1982 – September 14, 2018

Sitting on the porch, comforted by the sweet soft rain. This bench is sheltered just so. I can look out across the front yard at my gardens there and stay dry here.

Mother’s Day. I am the mother of three children. One is not with me. Other people say “he is here.” No. Here is rumbling through the neighborhood in an old truck that needs a new muffler. Here is bounding up … Read more...

Keep it positive! A phrase I hate

All my career I heard that phrase. In advertising, they practically force fed it.

When did we become so fake that anything other than bliss was off limits? There are times when a warped or dark point of view is funny.

One time, we did an ad for Ethyl (now under another name.) It was for a fireproof suit. We featured a photo of a guy walking through fire with the suit on and the headline was something like, “Our guys walk through hell to test our suits.” The client loved it. Except for one thing. Could we make it … Read more...

Mother’s Day is here. Again

by Karla Helbert, LPC

mother's memories on mother's day
Mother to a daughter. And a baby son lost to a brain tumor.

I wish people knew that this day, now over-commercialized, over-sentimentalized, overblown and over-filled with spending, obligation, and long waits at any brunch-worthy restaurant, was first created by and for bereaved mothers who shared it with all other mothers.

They started it not to elevate to superiority the mother and her role in family and society, or even to simply honor motherhood.

Did you know that the women who started Mother’s Day were actively working to help lower infant mortality rates? That they protested … Read more...

An Emotionally Naked Love Story

I never thought of this website as a matchmaking site. But apparently it is.

Once upon a time, I met a lady named Tamara who became my friend when I reached out to her after her son, Logan, died in a truck crash. Logan suffered from mental illness including a binge eating disorder and lived in the neighborhood Charles grew up in.

So she understood my frustration with the mental health system. And the expense. Even more coincidental, Logan went to the same boarding school in Utah as Charles.

We were instant friends

Tamara wrote this article about her Read more...

Mother pours grief into ‘Claire’s Song’

by Karen Poll

Our daughter, Claire, was a bright, seemingly healthy teenager who had a zest for life and was always using the phrase YOLO (You Only Live Once).

However, by the age of 14 we started noticing changes.  We didn’t realize at the time they were some of the key warning signs of depression:  personality change, agitation, withdrawal.  We attributed them all to normal teenage angst.  

We had no idea of the catastrophic storm that was brewing inside her. Claire ended her life the last night of ninth grade at the age of 15, June 5, 2014.  We … Read more...

Happy Birthday Charles

Charles Aubrey Rogers

Today my boy would be 24 years old. What would he look like? How would he have changed or not changed?

He’ll never get wrinkles, have arthritis, worry about getting a cancer diagnosis. He’ll never graduate from college, get married or have my grandchildren.

Instead, he is forever frozen at the age of 20 in pictures and memories. Forever young. Forever tragic due to his addiction to heroin and death by suicide. Charles was supposed to be famous by now. He was supposed to be making me laugh.

I crack morbid jokes sometimes which make me laugh … Read more...

How can I love a dead child?

After my son Charles died by suicide, I had to learn to accept the loss –a brutal and agonizing process. I wondered where all that love I had for my child was going to go since he was no longer with me as a living being.

Somehow I thought I would redistribute that love elsewhere. I do share it more now as a salve to the ache that loss has left. But I have never stopped loving or talking to Charles, which if you saw me, would look a lot like I was talking to the air.

I’ve developed … Read more...

Coping Strategies Workshop

It was our virgin voyage of our Coping Strategies for Grief & Loss Workshop at Ellwood Thompson’s The Beet. You think I would have removed the geeky voice amplifier. The room was packed with 50 or more attendees. The sharing was awesome and we got great feedback from the group so we can adjust as we go forward.

We had people who came suffering all kinds of losses and just being in the room together, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying together was part of what I loved.

Just making the effort to come out was huge. And Karla and I especially … Read more...

What did I say to myself to keep going?

After my son died by suicide, I kept telling myself I would survive.

I took deep breaths and repeated it to myself several times a day at first. I had no idea how, or when, or what that journey looked like. I honestly didn’t even know if it was true but invested in blind faith that I would. Others had. Why couldn’t I?

That simple phrase was the single most important thing I told myself.

It was a way to offer myself hope at a time when my future looked like it was paved with broken glass and razor wire. … Read more...

Did my child die because I lacked faith?

by Karla Helbert

This topic is important and praying people, especially Christian people, please note.

I saw a post on social media from a bereaved parent friend yesterday about a movie opening soon called “Breakthrough.” I had heard about this in passing, understanding it to be one of those movies that has an overtly religious, specifically Christian, message.

I generally stay away from those finding them to be trite, or too simplistic, to really address what I think are deep theological and/or social issues. Also, they are generally about pushing their own agenda for conversion. I am not down with … Read more...