The evolution of my heart

#griefheart heavy heart
Heavy Heart

When I first heard the news of my son’s suicide, the weight of it lay heavy on my chest, pressed me to the floor, and pinned me to my despair. As I moved through this journey called grief, I had days where it opened so wide with love and appreciation, I thought it might explode.

Heart full of love

There were many times when I felt as if I was a kite on a tight string in a high wind flapping furiously in circles–ready to snap any moment. Darkness would move in and rob my motivation, take my … Read more...

Jilly’s hearts —#griefheart number 293

These are my grief socks and it’s an odd comfort to wear them. These were given to my daughter, Jilly, at Christmas. We have a tradition of buying everybody crazy socks.

Jilly hadn’t even worn these yet. It took my heart back when I saw them. Because when I found them I had already seen the symbol on Anne Moss’ e-book.

Jilly is my daughter who died by overdose. And this #griefheart is in her memory.

Note from Anne Moss: I’ve not posted a #griefheart in a while and some of you may not know of this project. But Read more...

Momma llama love—#griefheart number 292

When my boys were little, we’d walk into the library to get books related to certain holidays and in February, they’d have valentine-related books on top of the bookshelves. Both my sons loved books but Charles didn’t understand why we couldn’t take twenty or thirty books home.

This llama llama book book came out when he was a teen but I remember he had a saying  about momma llama love and I can’t recall the context in which he used the phrase. He would pick out pretty much all that would be on display and more and I would attempt … Read more...

Christmas heart—#griefheart number 291

Wreath heart

Crushed ornaments and greenery from a fallen tree make a perfect #griefheart. The holidays are hard and for the first time since Charles’ suicide in 2015, we have a small Christmas tree. And some lights because I like lights, especially in the dark.

The tree has all the ornaments the kids made and we filled in with the ones they chose over the years. We had a Christmas tradition that every year, we’d go to CaryTown in Richmond and they’d get to pick an ornament which always turned out to be more than one and close to a … Read more...

Poured my heart into it—#griefheart number 290

Poured my heart into it

It’s subtle but there is a heart in the middle of this crepe. As it was cooking, the image jumped out at me and yelled, “Quick take a photo.”

Charles died three years ago and a lot of healing has happened in this past year. A lot of heart and soul has been poured into my book, this blog. And I’ve gotten just as much back from all of you. That was an unexpected gift.

What is the #griefheart project?

I explain my #griefheart project here. Contact me if you want to honor and remember … Read more...

The face of love—#griefheart number 289

The face of love

I think most who suffer from depression like animals, especially dogs. I actually think that therapy dogs would be a great idea for those with suicidal thoughts suffering from depression. After school shootings, therapy dogs help with grief and I know our dog has helped us deal with the loss of Charles by suicide. Charles adored his dog, Andy who thankfully is still with us.

Dogs can sense when you are about to have a seizure, so I’m going to bet they know when someone is about to experience a major depressive episode, too. That’s the Read more...

A sign of love —#griefheart number 288

A sign of love

I don’t think there could be a more perfect #griefheart than this. A message to let someone else know they matter is literally the heart of what Charles was all about. Enough said.

What is the #griefheart project?

I explain my #griefheart project here. Contact me if you want to honor and remember your loved one who died by suicide or from addiction.

See all #griefhearts so far on pinterest or on this blog by #griefheart category.


A river runs through it heart —#griefheart number 287

River runs through it heart

I have not posted a #griefheart in a long time. I have had this one in mind for a while and was stumped in regard to how to illustrate the concept. Someone sent this and it was close enough.

Charles loved the James River and he was the worst swimmer on the planet. Dog paddle was the only stroke he knew and even that was pathetic. I took him to lessons for years. And would not get it because it was too cold. So I took him to an indoor pool that was heated. Richard … Read more...

Strawberry heart to honor Adam Doliber —#griefheart number 286

Adam Doliber’s HeartAdam Doliber died by suicide in August of 2016. Alex Chaffee, a friend of his, sent me this to honor his memory. 

From Alex: “Chesterfield Berry Farm is where I met Adam Doliber in 2015, son of Kathy and Bill. Adam died by suicide not even one year after I met him. This was my first time returning back to the berry farm since I last worked there. I had a sense of nostalgia. Even though I know he is gone, it was still rough not seeing him or his pick up truck around. The driver of


Petrified heart—#griefheart number 285

Petrified is how I felt during the last phone call with Charles that I could not figure out. Petrified is how I felt when I heard the news of his suicide. Not petrified like preserved. But literally scared as shit.

Scared of facing such an insurmountable loss. Fear of what was previously unknown to me. Grief from a loss by suicide is not something that is regularly discussed. Hell, grief in general and death is rarely discussed. Too morbid a topic. Yet it happens to all of us.

I am no longer afraid of the topic. My heart might hurt … Read more...

Heart of a blue bird—#griefheart number 284

I got this card from a dear neighbor, Roxann, on Charles’ birthday week. We used to live across the street from her family and watched her kids grow up before they moved away around middle school. They were the best neighbors. She and her husband have two lovely daughters.

So in the card, Roxann tells me that she and her husband were talking about their time in Virginia and they recalled a story about Charles. (We moms who’ve lost a child love to hear these stories.)

Her husband Pete mentioned how much he loved Coaching the T-ball team that … Read more...

Birthday cake heart— #griefheart number 283

I celebrated Charles’ birthday at training today and my friend Gray brought a cake in honor of my child who would have been 23. Gray lost her son, Whitten, to suicide. So sweet of her to bring this cake and I had a group with whom to share it.

Meanwhile, my husband went to go retrieve Charles’ ashes. It’s taken us nearly three years to go get them. I’ve remained undecided about what to do with his ashes. I waffle between wanting to take them with me always and ultimately bury them when I die, to wanting that grave site … Read more...

Pajama jeans love— #griefheart number 282

So there is a story behind these. Pun intended since this is a photo of the back end of my most comfortable jeans. So the denim style now is skin tight. That’s NOT the style of this old pair. These are well worn and soft. Because of that, holes appear in the rear. And when they do, I make a patch out of leftover jean material and sew it on to cover the hole.

These are my book writing jeans. Mondays are my dedicated days for writing my book and I’m currently working on draft number two, having completing draft Read more...

Easter egg heart— #griefheart number 281

Easter egg heart

On Easter morning, I could not help but remember how much Charles LOVED easter egg hunts. I think he is about seven when we go to the event in my parent’s neighborhood. It was a game, a group activity, and it had candy involved so it had all the ingredients Charles’ loved. What is funny now that was a little embarrassing at the time, was how aggressive Charles was at this Easter egg hunt.

Once Charles’ competitive streak was activated, he was unstoppable. Slower kids were out of luck as he dove in under them grabbing at … Read more...

Softened heart— #griefheart number 280

Softened heart

The stabbing pain of grief when we first lost Charles to suicide from depression and addiction was relentless. I didn’t know someone could survive such emotional agony. My soul felt hard and it literally hurt.

Over time, grief has lost its razor sharp edges and my heart has softened. It no longer feels like a dagger but a dull ache with a lot of love and compassion. There are days I get that stab but nothing like the sharpness I experienced the first two years after losing my son. Others told me it would be this way. I … Read more...