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Witnessing Death as a Nurse and Supporting the Family

by Miranda

Death is an inevitable part of a nurse’s career. It occurs not only in hospice care settings where death is an expectation but in many other healthcare settings as well. The circumstances surrounding a patient’s death, the level of experience of the nurse, and their coping strategies are all factors that can affect a nurse’s emotions in profound ways. 

Patient Death Affects Nurses

A study published in 2021 surveyed 160 nurses across four hospital units—emergency department, internal medicine, surgery, and intensive care unit—to assess the impact patient death has on nurses. 

Despite only 11% of nurses reporting “that … Read more...

Memories of Making Hot Sauce with My Dad

by Ava Schrage

My most treasured middle school memories begin with the intense aroma of habanero peppers and pineapple. For most, comfort food equates to mac and cheese or hamburgers, but for my father and me, a touch of homemade hot sauce was a taste of home.

I had memorized all the basics to impress him with my knowledge of spicy foods: where everything landed on the Scoville scale when the best time to harvest peppers was, and what lingers in the membranes of the seeds that create that sweet burn on your tongue.

By the time September rolled around

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Making peace with regrets

Charles thought we’d given up on him.

There is no putting lipstick on that thought to make it pretty. And denying it won’t make it not true. I drowned in guilt over this for years. And it has resurfaced after a dream in which the phone rang incessantly and I woke up in a cold sweat that something awful had happened.

It had of course. In 2015, my son had taken his life. Why was this coming up now?

Right after he died, I was obsessed about that last phone call.

But it wasn’t the last phone call. There was … Read more...

Mercy was my support dog for recovery and two losses by suicide

by Andrea Giannini

My name is Andrea and I am an addict in recovery. My addictions were speed, narcotics, and alcohol. Because of my addictions, I’ve lost friends, significant others, housing, and my dignity. But since getting clean and sober, I have gained family, home, companions, and Mercy.

Andrea and Mercy

My mother gave me this rescue pitbull puppy which was named Angel. After realizing that the rescue dog rescued me, I renamed her Mercy.

Mercy came to me just 2 days after I became free from addiction

My clean/sober date is January 29, 2014, and I received Mercy on … Read more...

A perfect life is made up of imperfect days

And success is made up of a bunch of lessons learned from failures.

The screw-ups, break-ups, surgeries, traumas, illnesses, natural disasters, losses, and accidents, are all woven into the tapestry called life. They are not events we want to happen but they do. And the best way to come back after any one of them is to learn and grow from it, not bury the feelings that go with these experiences.

Because if your feelings are covered up and buried, you get stuck in a really raw place for a lot longer than you need to.

This is where we

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Happy Valentine’s Day grieving hearts. My favorite #griefhearts

Valentine’s heart— #griefheart number 217

Valentine’s heart— #griefheart number 217

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...

From suicide loss survivor to post traumatic thriver

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.

This evolution from survivor to thriver does … Read more...

Cleaning out the house or room after death

Circa 1942- My Aunt Peggy is on the far left, Grandaddy in the middle, and my dad, age 12, on the far right in the aviator’s hat with goggles and knickers.

Each time I have done this, after Charles’s death by suicide, after my dad died, and then after my mother’s death, it’s been a different experience.

It’s both an emotional and intimate experience going through someone’s things after death

I admit to also feeling somewhat voyeuristic as well as insatiably curious. I could still catch the scent of my mom on her clothing which I also experienced when … Read more...

Grandparent grief over the loss of a grandchild

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...

Leo, the French kid

Leo

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.

It was a couple of weeks before I would figure … Read more...

What am I grateful for? Day #9

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...

How can I love someone who is dead?

love someone who has died

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...

Podcast: A Mother’s Grief Journey After Losing Her Son to Suicide with Anne Moss Rogers

podcast guest on suicide

Show notes

We talked a lot about specific strategies for the “what ifs” and “coulda woulda shouldas” that come from having lost a child.

  • Listen in as we talk about:
    • [3:00] Who Anne Moss’s son Charles was
    • [4:20] Charles’ struggle with drugs and depression
    • [5:45] How Anne Moss navigated her son’s struggles
    • [10:20] Fighting for her son’s health with medical professionals
    • [19:55] Learning how to get information from her son in a kind and empathetic way
    • [22:15] Finding out her son had died
    • [26:20] Choosing to find the gift in Charles’ death, and grieving in her own way
    • [35:40] What
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One can never predict the future. Or change the past.

by Liza Sierra

Strong emotional content and suicide method referenced. If you are in crisis, text “help” to 741-741 or call 988

John Michael Carrington, 12/27/1984 – 05/07/2018

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 was hard … Read more...

10 Steps to Finding Your Purpose

Click the yellow title to get your 2-page ebook.

10 Steps to Finding Your Purpose

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.

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