Several years ago, the pain in my heart from losing my son Charles to suicide was so intense, I needed a way to manage the pain and lessen the suffering. This is a creative exploration of my grieving heart through pictures.
While it didn’t make the pain go away, it helped to have something to scan for daily. From this idea, the #griefheart project was born. That task alone really did give me purpose and meaning.
Here’s what I didn’t expect
Unexpected was the outpouring and sharing of hearts across … Read more...
They call it post-traumatic growth. I say that with a cringe. Because I didn’t accept this descriptor without denying it and pushing it away because I worried it sounded braggy.
Over the last two years, many have pointed out that I was more than a survivor at this point in my journey.
Post-traumatic growth (PTG) is a theory that explains transformation following trauma
This theory, developed in the mid-1990s by psychologists Richard Tedeschi, PhD, and Lawrence Calhoun, PhD, posits that people who endure psychological struggle following adversity can often see positive growth afterward.
Grandparents from both sides arrived at our home the day after Charles died by suicide. I was underwater emotionally and I needed to offload some of that grief onto my loved ones who were ready to hold me up at a time when I didn’t know how to exist, move forward, or even think. It was such a relief to fall into their arms. I’m fortunate to have had both sets of grandparents at that point.
My dad’s mind was going and dementia had set in which in the long run would provide some cushion for his grief because he’d … Read more...
When I first messaged Leo, he revealed only an “L.” He first landed on this blog from a google search on how to kill himself. He was filled with despair and claimed he needed to get on the bus.
I had not ever heard anyone put it that way. I wonder now if it’s a French saying. In short, Leo was suicidal. For the record, my blog has never offered instructions on how to die but I do offer a listening ear and resources for those who want them.
Love flew in from Los Angeles and we picked up my oldest son, Richard, from Dulles airport in Washington DC. That’s a 4.5-5 hour round trip and totally worth it. This is a late-night photo.
This is the kid who just weeks after college graduations said, “You are great parents…” 5 minutes into our breaking the news about his brother’s death by suicide.” He said more than that and you can read all about that here in this post.
No one else could have said anything that would have mattered more than that statement did on the absolute worst … Read more...
Maybe there are times you have talked about your loved one who died and gotten the question, “Don’t you think you should have moved on from all that by now?”
The truth is, a child or a person’s death does not erase them from our family tree or our friend group.
And just because they are not with us on earth, doesn’t mean we stop loving them, thinking about them, or missing them. I buried my child not his memory or my love for him. So why do people who’ve never been through a devastating loss want to pass judgment … Read more...
Trigger Warning: Strong emotional content and suicide method referenced. If you are in crisis, text “help” to 741-741 or call 988
At 17, I enjoyed loud music, hanging with friends, and like any other teenager, online chatrooms. One day I got a message from a guy who was 19, single, and from the U.K! I was completely fascinated by him, being that I’m from Texas.
We exchanged pictures, and phone numbers and we both got into so much trouble for running up our parent’s phone bills back then. (Sorry Mom). It … Read more...
Length: Two pages (maybe the spiral notebook look is overkill)
Finding purpose is how you add meaning to your life. It can be a business venture, passion project, or social justice pursuit. It doesn’t have to be grand and international. It can be simply promoting a cause in a meaningful way. These are the steps I took to find my purpose and I hope these steps help you find yours.
My son Charles was an artist — an actor, comedian, rap artist, and an amazing writer. In short, he was a creative genius and he would have been 27 years old today. He suffered from depression and addiction and died by suicide seven years ago. And yes we have birthday parties for our son in heaven.
Charles loved birthday parties. When he was little he’d start planning months in advance for his. It drove us crazy. But now I miss what drove me mad even though I did think it was so precious. He didn’t love parties because of the … Read more...
See the website here. Susan E. Casey is a grief expert and therapist who wants to help people find the light in grief. In this episode, you can join the conversation with a mother, Rebecca, whose son died from an accidental overdose, and how she is finding a path forward a year after her son’s recovery and shocking overdose.
Todd Inspires Beliefcast with Todd Sylvester is for those looking to get more out of life, move beyond limiting beliefs and overcome addictions, depression, and anxiety. This one is trending as one of the top 1% of mental health podcasts worldwide.
We invite you to be in this interview to laugh, cry, and grow together.
Charles had a girlfriend named Susanna. (Name changed to protect privacy.) Between the two of them, their weight would add up to one average human. So yeah they were both thin people. While he did love her I don’t think he was an awesome boyfriend. Those with substance use disorder rarely are because their addiction makes them desperate and selfish. Deep down that was not who Charles was.
She had gotten clean by the time Charles had relapsed after his first recovery so it was a lopsided relationship at that point with Susanna acting as his primary transportation and everything … Read more...