From where I do I draw my strength?

pray for the strength to endure life's challengesI have been asked this question several times since Charles’ death. As a result, it’s been on my mind because I know that others not in this club must wonder how we go on.

I have had many near death experiences that I have mentioned before–a broken neck, an attempted rape and murder at knifepoint, a brain tumor, two brain surgeries and a near lightening strike.

I would have thought this would have groomed me for whatever came my way. The truth is it did not prepare me for watching my son self destruct and his ultimate suicide.

At my … Read more...

Why saying ‘he’s in a better place’ can be a dangerous phrase

grief, in a better place

I made a pledge when Charles died by suicide not to nitpick what people said to me after his death. After all, it is so hard to know what to say. I was overjoyed if someone said anything at all.

To be honest, the worst thing you can say is nothing at all. So don’t fret if you have used the “better place” expression.

Here is my issue with it

When we say “better place” we could potentially be glorifying heaven as a destination. Basically you could be promoting an early exit since you are implying the place after death is “better” than … Read more...

A letter I wrote Charles in 1999 that was opened in 2010

o1LPlTH

On the eve of the millennium, I wrote both my children a letter that I ended up giving to them on their 16th birthday. 

Charles kept his letter and the creases and letter were well worn which indicated he had opened it and read it often in the 4 years before he died at 20. 

After his suicide, we got his backpack back and in it he had every single card or letter I had written him while he was away at boarding school, every family picture he could find and have printed out– and this letter.  

I don’t know Read more...

My alter ego talks to me when I want to give up

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Me: Some days I just want to give up. I just feel like I’ll never be heard

Alter Ego: But you are being heard

Me: Why don’t I feel it?

Alter Ego: You can’t really expect that every day you’ll feel it

Me: I feel sure people are so tired of me. Want me to just shut up about it

Alter Ego: Why do you feel that way?

Me: Suicide is a dour subject that people want to tune out

Alter Ego:  And you think you should shut up because of that? 

Me: No

Alter Ego:  What are you expecting Read more...

Worthless

“Tough times never last, but tough people do.” –Robert Schuller

There are times during this grief journey that I feel small and worthless. I don’t normally suffer from lack of self esteem so the intensity of this feeling is foreign to me.

Not that I have never felt this way. Everybody does at some point. But since Charles’ suicide, it has, at times, been paralyzing and more persistent.

My normally tough exoskeleton is soft and pliable during these episodes that I can only assume are triggered by the vulnerability of grief. I have moments when I think if I screamed … Read more...

Let it go

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At some point, you have to ask yourself, what is that baggage doing for me?

To move forward after Charles’ suicide, I had to let things go.

Like anger. Guilt. Shame.

Unlike other suicide loss survivors, I never felt a lot of shame. When we first started seeing signs of drug use, I did feel shame but as I educated myself, I came to realize addiction was an illness.

So I let it go.

I had some flashes of anger after Charles killed himself but I never thought he died by suicide to hurt me. I never felt anger at anyone else either. I didn’t blame anyone or think someone … Read more...

The day after

charles-post

I remember waking up. Then dreading that I woke up and reality hitting me like ice water in the face.

My child is dead. I am the mother of child who killed himself. I actually feel as if I am in someone else’s skin because it feels so foreign and prickly. I just want to slide out of myself and into someone else’s life. Anything but the one I’m in right now.

Randy and I hold each other sobbing. The coulda, woulda, shoudas hitting us hard in the light of day.

How do I tell people my child is dead? … Read more...

Does losing a child by suicide hurt more?

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It would be unfair to other moms and dads who have lost a child to say that my “hurt” was worse than theirs.

It hurts to lose a child. Period.

I also can’t compare because I’ve only had a child die one way and that’s by suicide. And besides that, grief journeys are very personal experiences.

Loss from suicide is like no other loss

That I can say.

What’s different about suicide is that on some visceral level, I feel it’s a choice–that my son chose to leave this earth even though I was in it.

Intellectually, I know Charles killed himself because he felt the world would be … Read more...

You can now choose daily or weekly updates to auto emails

Existing members of the blog subscribe email list can change their email preferences from daily to weekly. Just find the gray bar in your email and choose weekly.

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If there is a glitch, let me know by commenting here or replying to your email. Here is what those emails look like. 

You can also update by finding this itty bitty link at the bottom near the MailChimp logo.

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If you get the weekly email, you can update to daily with the MailChimp link above.

Thank you to Denise for suggesting a weekly update. I love your feedback and I … Read more...

Grief Glossary. Add your definitions!

Having some fun with grief. And you didn’t think that was possible did you? Those of us in the “club” can relate.grief-sculpture

Grief – The price you pay for having loved someone and lost them

Grief Ambush– When you are minding your own business and wham, grief hits you from behind and takes you down. You didn’t even see it coming. You feel the weight of it in your heart and all your limbs. It sticks around a while before it lifts slowly allowing you to breathe again. “Grief attack” is a synonym

Grief anxiety – Worrying that you’ll … Read more...