Knife to the heart – #griefheart number 1

Knife to the heart – #griefheart number 1

Heart just hurts today. I know it will subside but tears are close to the surface today and it really does feel like a knife to the heart. Love you Charles.

What is this all about? I explain my #griefheart project here.

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

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

I’m going to go through the process of what he said in various places to various people so you know what someone contemplating suicide might say.

This is a super hard post to write. Extremely, exceptionally, impossibly painful. I’d not do it if I didn’t think it would help others ...  read more

Addiction and Recovery: A fateful friendship

aaI am at an AA/NA meeting at The Healing Place in Richmond, VA. One eloquent speaker says, “By the grace of God, those of us here are not wearing toe tags.” Just hearing him talk is worth my time.

I start to cry because my son was one of those that did not make it. His addiction and ...  read more

The #imnotashamed how to

Starting Thursday, April 7, 2016, support mental health with the hashtag #imnotashamed. You can post a picture or post a message and a quote you found. But say WHY you are not ashamed. It doesn’t work if you just post the hashtag and don’t say why.

The purpose is to say something...  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.

 ...  read more

To those still struggling with a child’s mental illness

This is probably a familiar scenario. You are with a group of friends who know you’ve been struggling with a child’s mental illness or drug abuse–and absolutely no one asks about your child.

You’ve been through hell and back. You are emotionally spent and wrung out trying to ...  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 in religion – This ...  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 joy after the untimely death of a loved one. I hate this phrase and refuse to think it.

quote-leftI want to die

I cannot dismiss your feelings. That would be invalidating them. So if is the way you feel, please get help. Please. This is considered a suicidal thought. You are important and you owe it to yourself and your family to find help and to talk about it with someone. I found a suicide support group to be helpful.

quote-leftIt was such and such’s fault

Suicide is so complicated and those who are successful do so for a bunch of reasons combined. Blaming relatives or even drug dealers doesn’t bring you peace or closure. It leaves you bitter and estranged. Do acknowledge those feelings and see if you can come to terms with them with the help of a counselor if you need to.

Staying bitter breeds more bitterness and unhappiness. Forgiveness brings peace and helps you move forward again. Forgiveness does not mean that a person who has done wrong or made errors is absolved of all wrongdoing. It just means that you let go of the resentment and choose to move past it.

quote-leftIt’s my fault

So classic of a death by suicide. We all feel that way. What could we have done differently? You will go to that place whether I tell you to or not.  I did. The coulda, woulda, shoudas are part of the grief suicide journey and are devastating. It’s the knife in your heart with an extra twist. It’s important to learn to move away from it, to let it go as it will only take you down a black hole. I don’t go there often anymore. Not like I did. But that took effort to not sit around and drown in that misery.

Get updates to this project by subscribing

Dear Charles. My letter to heaven

We need to make suicide a household word

You’re probably thinking, “Why would I want to make a dour, gloomy, depressing subject like suicide a household word?”

Talking about suicide does not give someone the idea.conversation-about-suicide

The idea is already in their heads.

By repeating it, taking it out of the dark and putting it in the spotlight, we give people permission to reach out, we remove the secrecy and stigma and make the idea look like a less logical solution.

Just as important as talking about it, is the listening part

Listening is a skill we don’t do enough of. We tend to lecture our teens for example. Has that ever worked? Makes parents feel like they are doing their job. But the kids? They tune you out.

It’s important that when you listen, you don’t invalidate how people feel. Think how this irritates you when you say that you feel sad, and someone tells you shouldn’t feel that way.

Emotional invalidation” is when a person’s thoughts and feelings are rejected, ignored, or judged. Invalidation is emotionally upsetting for anyone, but particularly hurtful for someone who is emotionally sensitive such as a person that suffers from depression.

Phrases like, “get over it”, “don’t be sad”, “it could be worse you know”, “happiness is a choice”, “there’s no reason to be angry”, “why would you get upset about that”, “that’s not a big deal” all communicate invalidation.

Refusing to acknowledge someone else’s feelings perpetuates thoughts of suicide because they are then bottled up. You’ve stated you do not want your day ruined with someone else’s baggage even if that is not what you meant.

Once you listen, the next move is to let someone know how important they are to you. If you want some guidance on having a conversation about suicide, here is a guide in multiple formats that will give you some direction.

We are not going to prevent every suicide. But we can prevent a lot of them if we talk about it more. Avoidance has not worked for us as the rate of suicide has climbed.

Please don’t think it will never happen to you. It can happen to anyone. It did happen to me. And we could avoid the deaths of many of our loved ones if we can get past our own fears of having a conversation about a scary topic.