Redefining the meaning of ‘the first birthday’

This is not my son’s first birthday. It’s the first birthday since he died. He would have been 21.

Years ago, I dreamed we would be in a better place with Charles–with his depression and addiction. His sleep disorder, his anxiety, his ADHD. We worked so hard at it.

Instead we are grappling with his suicide. I still can’t believe it some days.

As I look back, I see things I didn’t see before.

I can’t even tell you how much I miss him. How much this hurts. I know you know that.

His birthday is my connection to him … Read more...

Can you make your suicide story positive?

And yes I get this question a lot. And no, I can’t. I won’t.

I won’t sugar coat my story. I won’t lie for the sake of saving you tears. I won’t avoid the subject of my son and his suicide.8615555b339ed34ce94880229f47873d

Most importantly, I won’t leave you without hope.

Many times when he struggled and we struggled, I felt my hope waver. We were desperately in debt and resources for help were slim. But I clung to hope with all my might–never letting that pilot light to go out.

While my son died by suicide, I still have hope. Hope … Read more...

How did I end up in this f—ing club?

Sometimes I just can’t believe I’m the one that lost a child. That was something that happened to other people. Not me. And not only did my child die, he died by suicide.

I could argue that I know my purpose now
But this “purpose” has such a high price tag.charles-beach

Some days I feel like I am barely able to scrape myself together. I wake up and just can’t believe I am in this place. I have to endure it, shape it, live it. It’s so much work. There’s no magic pill, no “fixing” it. It just is.

This … Read more...

Grief, suicide, addiction, depression: Top 10 Posts

David Letterman did it, why can’t I?to 10 taboo posts
I was just curious regarding which posts were the most popular. So I thought I’d share the results. These were chosen by you guys, by the number of visitors to the page.

I am not surprised by what ranked #1.

1. Why did he kill himself? Answering the why

2. The long arm of the law reaches down Charles’ pants

3. Did Charles show warning signs for teen suicide?

4. What did Charles say prior to suicide to indicate his intentions?

5. Please do not avoid the subject of my son who died

Read more...

9 ways I am coping with the insurmountable grief of suicide loss

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I believe that by being open about suicide and sharing coping experiences and ideas, we can learn from each other.

The stigma has kept us clammed up for so long, it’s time we shared.

These work for me. Not to wipe away the pain. But to help me figure out how to live my life with this loss.

1. Writing

Writing hurts sometimes. Well, a lot of times. But there is a release of pain after I hit publish. I also feel free to do it now–to say what I want. No one is stopping me because I started my own … Read more...

Charles always reached out

Charles at Wasatch Academy in Utah

If there was one consistent theme about Charles, it was that he always reached out. He reached out to kids who were not always visible to others and to ones who were highly visible as well.

He put himself at risk socially doing this. But unlike other kids his age, he didn’t care.

He’d put himself on the line and stand up for other kids who had no friends at all or had tons of friends. Kids that felt isolated or depressed or were having a hard time with something in their lives. Kids … Read more...

10 new traits I’ve adopted since my son’s suicide

There is nothing like the suicide of your child to inspire you to look at life differently than before. Life is now defined by “before Charles died” and “after Charles died.” Recently I’ve noticed myself adopting new behaviors. Below are the ones that stand out.

life after suicide

1. I tell my friends I love them

And I tell kids that were friends of Charles’ that I love them. I’ve always said this to my husband, family and children but expressing that to my friends is new. I want them to know.

2. I reach out to others more

It’s like I’ve become … Read more...

9 Things I no longer tolerate since my son’s suicide

Ahhhh. It feels so good to let go of that baggage, simplify my life and bond with those who are genuine. While some of these have always grated on my nerves, now I cannot bear to be around it. Here goes, stuff I can no longer tolerate.there-are-three-things-i-cant-stand-1-liars-2-spiders-3-poorly-blended-eyeshadow-a41c5

  1. I can’t tolerate judgmental people – If you have not walked in someone else’s shoes, you have no right to judge. I can be polite but those who are critical of others due to lack of experience or just plain “judgy” types have no room in my life.

2. People who veil prejudices Read more...

4 grief phrases that make your journey more painful

griefThese might also apply to a death of a loved one that is not a suicide.

However, my grief experience is with the suicide of my son, Charles so I wrote from that point of view.

quote-leftI will never get over it

A suicide, or any untimely death, is not something you “get over.” It’s a journey that changes over time. You’ll always miss your loved one but you learn to carry them with you. Saying something as dour as “I’ll never get over it” merely brings you down emotionally. It shatters your hope of having a life and finding … Read more...

Grief and daylight savings time make me a noodle head

Is my new normal about being stupid?

14787bfee610be209d37056b46883436Nothing is worse for your grief than lack of sleep. You know if you don’t sleep you are weepier and more prone to sinking into the black hole of grief despair.

And nothing kicks that up like that “spring forward” time of year. Not that I have any past experience with grief and spring forward.

I had started to get up earlier and felt a little lift with spring coming when seeing that sunshine come through the blinds. That was prior to Daylight Savings Time (DST).

Adjusting for me has always been hard. … Read more...