I wish our love could keep someone else alive

A dear friend lost her son to suicide last night. She was one of the first people to follow this blog and I knew both her and her boy. I won’t share any more than that because it’s not my story to tell. Heartbroken isn’t a big enough word to describe how I feel.

For mothers and fathers who’ve lost a child, we never forget hearing the news.

Maybe some of the finer details are shuffled, but that desperate longing in our souls for one more hug and our irrational disbelief that it can’t be true steals our breath and … Read more...

Grief without the gathering

Grieving together takes on a whole new definition during COVID19

When my son, Charles died by suicide on June 5, 2015, my house was elbow-to-elbow full of people by June 7 every day from 11 am-5 pm. That went on for a week. And I was grateful.

Family and friends surrounded me with love and the Southern tradition of dropping by, bringing barbecue, booze, and boxes of tissues. The hugs, food, and flowers from people’s gardens were what got me through that first tragic week and the funeral that followed seven days later was packed with mourners.

I thought there were …

Grief: Music can help you heal

music fills my empty and makes my hollow float

You can write it, perform it, listen to it but there is no denying that music can heal a battered soul.

It turns out music is connected to the pleasure center of our brains and is a great coping tool because it allows us to release feel-good neurotransmitters without resorting to booze, pints of ice cream, or shopping till we drop.

When grief renders words inadequate, music gives a voice to overwhelming visceral emotion.

Sad songs make us feel less alone, happy songs elevate our mood. My son, Charles, used writing and performing rap to help him through his … Read more...

Get a personalized signed copy

“Months later, I am still feeling the effects of Diary of a Broken Mind….I lost my own son to suicide 15 years ago, and although I have read so many books about this kind of loss, nothing has touched me as deeply as this.” —-Mea

Want a personalized signed copy of my book?

This will be a signed copy plus a personalized message with your name, or the name of someone you list. And you can say what message you want if you want that. Where it say’s “Name for personalization” below the paypal button is where you … Read more...

The feeling of eerie isolation

Isolation and I have met. We’ve spent years together. Because grief does that to a parent who has lost a child.

The weight of isolation for me was far worse when my son was struggling with substance misuse and later his addiction to heroin. It was off the charts after his death by suicide.

As the historic Coronavirus disrupts our lives and social interactions, all of us are getting a dose of unwanted but voluntary isolation in an effort to prevent overwhelming our healthcare system.

The difference between that isolation and this one is that I’m not alone. Almost the … Read more...

For two years, I was invisible

My divorce from normal life happened right after Charles’s suicide.

I would walk through the grocery store, Lowe’s, or the drug store and no one looked at me or noticed me even if I was crying. My grief had transformed me into background noise. I wandered about in my own dimension for some time.

A little over two years after the death of my son, I got off a plane and walked up the boarding bridge into the airport. I can’t remember now where I’d been but I had arrived back into Richmond, VA.

When I walked through the …

Life hurts. So how are you going to cope when it gets tough?

There is both joy and sadness in life and both can happen in extremes. The devastating days make me think the “bad days” are not so bad. The good days have me dancing on a cloud.

How will you cope with the events that challenge you to the core, crush your heart like glass?

In Hollywood, they cope by going out to the bar. Or by eating pints of ice cream. How good are these long term?

You don’t want to hurt, to suffer. It’s not fun. Is it avoidable? Some think so. But when they try to numb it, … Read more...

Loss of a child: Say this, not that

Don’t say: At least he’s in a better place now
Say instead: I know you miss him every day

Don’t say: I couldn’t survive losing a child
Say instead: I can’t fix your hurt. But I can listen

Don’t say: Call me if there is anything I can do for you
Instead say: I will be over at 4 pm to take Sara to soccer.
Is that OK?

Don’t say: I know exactly how you feel. I lost my great grandfather last year.
Instead say: I don’t know how you feel. Can I give you a hug?

Don’t say: You …

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

52375223 – close up of hand holding red heart and hands of children on green background

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...