The edge of grieving season

I feel it rolling in. It’s so subtle at first– a little extra heaviness and the tears are just a bit closer to the surface.

When the harsh daily news hits my ears, mass shootings, terrorist uprisings, more suicides and overdose deaths, they all resonate more. How much more grief can our culture endure? I wasn’t even paying attention to the date or the fact that the upcoming month, April, is a so close. But I looked up and there it is just days away. It’s Charles’ birthday month and he would have been 24. What would he look like? … Read more... “The edge of grieving season”

Bonding with others who’ve lost is therapy

Anne Moss Rogers; Jill Cichowicz; Omar Abubaker, DMD, PhD
Anne Moss Rogers; Jill Cichowicz; Omar Abubaker, DMD, PhD

So recently my friend, Jill Cichowicz, whose twin brother died from Substance Use Disorder, arranged a meeting with me and Omar Abubaker, DMD, PhD who lost his son to addiction as well. We talked about pushing forward our agenda on substance abuse education and how, we, as people who have lost someone precious to this drug epidemic can make a difference and educate people on this disease–starting with presenting it as a disease.

Dr. Abubaker is a seasoned speaker. As head of the VCU Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, … Read more... “Bonding with others who’ve lost is therapy”

‘I Don’t Understand.’My Journey Through Suicide Loss

by Chrissy Lowery

Jake Lowery
Jake Lowery, 07/16/1999- 06/15/2016

“Another one…?” I couldn’t help but hear it repeat in my head. “Really, another one?”

My body shook with chills and my stomach knotted itself, just as it does now remembering the story. I wondered if hearing these stories will always affect me this way, and if they would always jolt me back to that instant gut-wrenching fear that I felt on June 15t, 2016.

I’m an RA for a freshman residence hall at Christopher Newport University in Virginia. We have weekly staff meetings in which my boss updates us on … Read more... “‘I Don’t Understand.’My Journey Through Suicide Loss”

Grief Coping Workshop w/ Karla Helbert, LPC and Anne Moss Rogers

Cover art by Mehmet Sahin Altug reprinted with permission. Mehmet owns Cool Colors Gallery, CaryTown in Richmond, VA

Save the date. We are hosting a coping workshop at Ellwood Thompson on Wed, 04/10/2019 6:30 pm-8:30 pm. This is in Richmond, VA. Both Karla and I have lost a child but this is for anyone who has suffered grief and loss. We will highlight and provide guidance on some specific strategies. We hope to have a sponsor so we can have some food and there will be a nominal charge to cover expenses.

I want to video this so those of you … Read more... “Grief Coping Workshop w/ Karla Helbert, LPC and Anne Moss Rogers”

Is a grief retreat right for you?

by Karla Helbert

My opinion on this is always YES!

My opinion on this is always YES! We live in an extremely busy, fast-paced, hustle-driven, hurry-up world that is also extremely death denying and grief aversive. Grief is a process that requires—demands—attention, nurturing, space, and heavy doses of ritual.

We know from current research that those who have the best outcomes—meaning those who are able to best carry and integrate their grief and have more functional, productive, healthy lives, are those who have good self-care and good support. We also know that help-seeking people tend to do better than those … Read more... “Is a grief retreat right for you?”

I never thought this would ache this much so many months later

by Dr. Laura Elizabeth

Dr. Laura Elizabeth
Dr. Laura Elizabeth

“Can you pull your panties down a little more for me?” the sonographer says.

My brow furrows just a slight bit. My heart starts to flutter ever-so-minutely as the only background noise is some indiscernible humming. The machine, my own nerves–could have been anything.

More measurements. More calculations. I stare up at the clock to see if any time has passed. I look back at her and this time her eyes are watering. This can’t be good. Soft marker for Down Syndrome, maybe? I am 36, after all. I get that my risk … Read more... “I never thought this would ache this much so many months later”

So how did the vocal cord surgery go?

Since 1999, this brain tumor, although benign, has taken a lot from me–hearing and feeling on one side, reduction in fluids like saliva, tears, on the left side. And so on. In 2016 and a year after Charles died, I had gamma knife radiation treatment to fry it which left me with trouble swallowing (dysphasia), upper esophageal reflux and vocal cord issues. By far the most devastating was the loss of my voice. It was barely above a whisper. For a while, the botox injections (called vocal fold injections) were working and then they weren’t.

To qualify for the more permanent … Read more... “So how did the vocal cord surgery go?”

Tell me three positive things about yourself

Many of you will balk.

Some of you may even claim there are not three good things about yourself. So for those of you who struggle the most with this kind of thing, I want you to dig the deepest. Ask someone else if you need to.

But there are three things. And today I want you to list them. It’s not bragging if I’m asking you.

So since I started this, I’ll go first. Here goes.

  1. I am persistent in reaching my goals – I don’t give up easily, I am OK with being bold and sticking my neck
Read more... “Tell me three positive things about yourself”

How did I get the courage to speak out about suicide and addiction?

suicide story charles rogers
This screenshot was a day or two after it posted. I only wish I would have screen-shotted the comments as those original ones are now lost. I found such comfort in reading all those other stories

Three years ago, I wrote this newspaper article following Charles‘ death. I’ve referred to it several times before. 

Charles died by suicide June 5, 2015 and I started writing it in August of that same year. We were moving at the same time since the house sold four days before his death. 

It took six months to write 1,200 words. Earlier versions were … Read more... “How did I get the courage to speak out about suicide and addiction?”

I need your stories. Because this kind of message never gets old

Names have been removed to protect the identity of the sender of the above message but these are the kinds of messages I get in response to both my story and yours. That’s why I need and want your emotionally naked stories. That’s why they are important.

Stories about managing a life with a loved one who suffers from substance abuse, how you cope after a loved one’s suicide or suicide attempt, how you manage thoughts of suicide or a mental illness, a memorial about your loved one that suffered from mental illness/addiction, your grief after loss of a loved … Read more... “I need your stories. Because this kind of message never gets old”