4 things you should never say to grieving parents

Man shouting, pulling hair

I made a pact that I was not going to get upset with people regarding what they said after Charles’ suicide. After all, it’s hard to know what to say and I was thankful when someone said anything. However, there are some classic zingers you should know to avoid.

1. Say nothing

I think this is the worst. If your child had stigmatized illnesses, you are used to nothing. No emotional support. No conversation. No resources. Saying nothing appears as though you are erasing this child because mention of him/her makes you uncomfortable. Many times people make excuses like, “I … Read more...

Grief. My alter ego tries to hoist me out of bed in the morning

Alter Ego:  Morning. Time to get up. 

Me: I don’t want to. 

Alter Ego: You have to get up. 

Me: But I’m not ready. I have to face the fact he’s gone when I’m awake. 

Alter Ego: Are you going to spend all day in bed?  Won’t that totally depress you? 

Me: Yeah. It will. 

Alter Ego: What are you going to wear on your run? 

Me: My legs feel like lead. I don’t want to run. 

Alter Ego: You always feel better once you go. 

Me: Not always. Somedays my legs feel like lead the whole time. Somedays nothing Read more...

Grief. Is there a heaven?

I want to believe it without reservation. I do.

And I know most of you do. You’ll tell me there is and all I have to do is believe. However, I am a skeptic. I think there is something out there. But I often have doubts.

I do think it is something very different from what we think it is. A different kind of existence all together. Not a bad existence just not what we think.

I have a lot riding on this belief

Since Charles died, I really want to believe 100%.

Let’s say there is a heaven.  Would … Read more...

To all of you

What I didn’t expect from all of you was the outpouring of support when I write publicly about all the stigmatized illnesses we suffered through with Charles– as well as my own grief. And I didn’t expect to be encouraged to keep writing about it.

I was not rejected or ostracized. I was not “unfriended” for bringing up unpleasant subjects. Maybe some have unfriended.  But I’ve gained more than I have lost.

love-letter

But I’ll be honest with you, I did not think it would be that way. I was fully prepared to be written off as the person always posting depressing … Read more...

Dear Charles. My letter to heaven

man-of-steel
Charles was wearing these shoes when he died. Ironic even in death

I bet I am not the first mom to write their child in heaven. But this is my first letter to you since you died. I hope you get it because I am not sure how to have something sent to heaven.

It’s been about 8 months since you left us and I miss you. All the time. Every day. And I always will. There are days I wake up and the realization that you are gone just hits me like a freight train in my heart.

I am … Read more...

People move on. I cannot resent that

Kids that were friends of Charles are growing up.

People move on.

And those of us still grieving feel kind of stuck sometimes. Forgotten even. That’s the isolating nature of grief.

It’s like there is the speed train and everyone is back on it. But us. We just watch as it speeds by, unable to get on that train. Limping on every once in a while but then having to exit because we simply can’t keep up with the pace.

Sometimes it’s hard to to see happy family pictures knowing that I will never have a picture with both my … Read more...

Things I no longer give a rat’s ass about since Charles’ death

It’s actually liberating to ditch things and basically spring clean my brain.

  1. What others think. I have never been one to worry a lot about this. But once I lost a child by suicide to depression and addiction, I totally let go of caring what others thought of me personally. You either take me as I am or you don’t. And conversely I’m not going to be passing judgement on others either. It’s probably why I feel so bold about the mental health cause. I’m on a tear now and I will stop the day I die. liberation

2. The small Read more...

Suicide. The silent serial killer

Grief is painful and heavy. But it can also inspire you to go in a direction you would have never gone and inspire a new sense of passion. To honor Charles’ memory, I will no longer be silent about suicide. Silence kills.

I have submitted this video in my application for a TedXRVA talk. If you want to help, please nominate. Description is below.

Thank you Melanie Murray for suggesting this title: Suicide, the silent serial killer

Short description of the topic would be:

Suicide. The silent serial killer

Title: Co-Owner, Impression Marketing. Board member, Beacon Tree FoundationRead more...

If you have a bereaved parent in your life

Guest post by Kimberly Gardner, North Carolina

If you have a bereaved parent in your life, remember that she/he is most likely choking down sobs in the quiet of their house. The silence of where their child’s voice should be, is deafening. They likely sob in the shower. In the car. Behind their computer screen….anywhere.

grief

Show them in tangible ways that you care.

Show them you have not forgotten their child, no matter how many years have passed.

And for the love of everyone, remember to say our child’s name over and over again. It is music to our ears. … Read more...

Grief: Letting go of bitterness to find hope and joy

I am more hypersensitive to the bitterness of others than I ever have been. If ever anyone is entitled to bitterness, I feel it would be those of us who have lost a child. Frankly, I don’t want to live my life feeling that way. It would be a disservice to my son that died as well as the one that lived.

I think the key to leaving bitterness behind is finding my direction and purpose in the most devastating tragedy of my life. My purpose as a mother was to raise my two boys to be thriving adults. To … Read more...