‘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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Happy Birthday to my three-year-old blog!

my log has reached a half million
Google Analytics from Feb 4, 2016- Jan 30, 2019. This blog has had a half million visits. Number of pages viewed? 690,135

It’s 2016 and I’m just starting off on my morning run. Good God it’s cold. It’s one of those days when my eyelashes freeze. I’m covered up completely and the only thing you can see is my eyes.

I don’t run or walk listening to music or podcasts– just me and my thoughts. And I get an idea which is what happens when I leave my brain some room to think and create. If I constantly have noise … Read more...

I got new built-ins. Why does this matter?

I was having my headshots taken with photographer, Tosha Tolliver, late last year who also lost a child, and we started talking about momma grief. Her teenage daughter died unexpectedly from a medical complication at just around the same time Charles died by suicide in the summer of 2015.

Later on she started talking about wanting to have her floors refinished. I had talked about planning these closets for a custom build.

Both of us then realized that for the first time in years, we actually cared about decorating and making changes to our homes. Prior to that, it could … Read more...