Don’t stick a smiley face on my whine

COVID-19 sucks. Yeah, sure good stuff will come out of it, or has come out of it. Bad stuff, too not to mention a lot of death and people without jobs.

I don’t complain often. Not much at all really. But on a few occasions, someone has stuck a smiley face on my whine and pointed out that “everyone is in the same boat,” or “everyone feels the same way.”

Well, that doesn’t mean I don’t want a minute to moan for a couple of minutes and express what I’ve lost in this process. It might not be as bad … Read more...

Hanging on for dear life

After my son’s suicide, it was all I could do to exist. Blistering pain, the shock of loss, and fear of the process on which I was to embark left me clinging to the sides of a whirlpool of grief that threatened to suck me in. There were times it was all I could do to hold on.

Finding hope in those early days was a bleak expedition. But I never lost it. If the day started with sunshine, I found it there. If it was a cloudy day, I found it in a flower. There was always a ray … Read more...

7 steps to divorcing guilt

When I refer to guilt, I’m talking about instances where you think it’s all your fault.

In my case, I struggled with guilt and regret after my son’s suicide. All the regrets and coulda woulda shouldas played in my head on repeat for months and even years. Maybe you have guilt from substance use disorder or a suicide attempt.

You can’t hold yourself hostage for past mistakes you probably had little control over or ones influenced by trauma, crisis, or mental illness forever. Carrying that weight won’t benefit you, your loved ones. At some point to move forward and live … Read more...

Free eBook: The Emotionally Naked Bereavement Provider

Don’t know exactly what to say to someone who is struggling with a loss by suicide? What does it feel like to the bereaved? How can you help?

Whether you are a bereavement counselor, a bereavement group facilitator, an LCSW, or a friend, this guide offers you answers to common questions and ways to help those struggling with this brand of loss.


Was that scent a sign?

signs from the deceased

There are a lot of people who would think I was crazy to look for signs from my son who killed himself. I don’t care. While we all have beliefs about what it’s like after we die, no one really knows even though they think they do. So I’m going to go all kumbaya on you all.

Last week, I woke up from a Charles dream, the details of which faded like an old photo as soon as I was fully conscious. I had not had a dream about him in a long time and I crave them because that’s … Read more...

What does it mean to move forward after loss?

While my loss was the death of my son by suicide, yours could be the loss of a loved one to mental illness or addiction. It could be loss of a marriage or a even a job.

After my son Charles died I would hear people talk about moving forward. Early in the grief process, I couldn’t fathom what that meant or what it would look like. Despite my tragedy, the world lunged forward with annoying consistency and continued to spin on its axis while I struggled with the steps on how to take a shower and get dressed.

At …

The Art of Surrender


Today I want to talk to you about the art of surrender. That doesn’t mean giving up and surrender is not a sign of weakness or cowardice, just the opposite.

It’s an honest personal inventory assessment about coming to terms with how much control you do and don’t have. And it means continuing to take action steps when it’s appropriate– and accepting that full control wasn’t yours to begin with.

Control is a result of being attached to a specific outcome an outcome, an outcome we’re sure as if we always know what’s best. But micromanaging the world is … Read more...

Should you delay the funeral service after a death?

snooze button

Covid-19 has us asking this a lot.

Many want the big service and due to restrictions, people decide to delay it. But given that a funeral is the only culturally accepted and sanctioned event to kick off the grieving process, I think it’s important to do something shortly after the person dies. But what do you do?

Check state restrictions. Usually, an outdoor gathering is acceptable in most places provided guidelines are followed. For example, in the state of North Carolina for my father’s funeral, we were allowed to have 25 outside. We maintained physical distancing and wore masks even … Read more...

Hope to Recharge Podcast: Processing the Grief of a Death by Suicide

Website Podcast Link

With Matana Jacobs at Hope to Recharge Podcast. Over 30k downloads!

Grief is incredibly difficult to process through and understand. Navigating through the grief of losing a child is something that could potentially destroy someone.

This podcast sheds light on the hope found within grief and the process of healing after losing a child to death by suicide. If you have not listened to the first conversation, this is the link to the full story about life with Charles, and the journey she and her family went through battling her son’s mental illnesses and addictions.  … Read more...

The pink flamingos flew back

Amy Spindler
Amy Spindler, 40, died of a brain tumor in 2004 (1963-2004)

In 2001 a few months after my two brain surgeries (1999 and 2000) to remove a skull base tumor was successful, I engaged in a mentoring program to support other patients. Brain tumors are such a serious topic. And when you are in that environment, there is little humor. The endless string of appointments and waiting for results, surgeries, radiation, and in some cases, chemo are a drag. I wanted to bring an element of humor into my mentoring.

Amy Spindler was the third person I mentored and we … Read more...