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...

Heavy Heart- #griefheart number 15

#griefheart heavy heart

Every limb feels heavy today. Nothing going right either and you tend to take things harder when you are grieving.

You are weighing on my heart today Charles. One of those days I can hardly breathe. Been reading your music and your words. I finally found that song about Cal. Too ironic. Thank you for leaving me the gift of your lyrics. I love you.

What is the #griefheart project?

I explain my #griefheart project here.

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

Love from Arizona – #griefheart number 14

Charles’ Grandparents, Meemaw and Grandpa, live in Georgia but are currently traveling in Arizona. Myra sent this today. Love to my baby boy, 20, who spent last two birthdays (April 26) with his grandparents. My heart does feel like stone it’s so heavy.

Thanks to the Rogers and Nimocks clan as well as Godfather Gene for your messages. Thanks to cousin Byll for offering to help orchestrate an art show when the #griefheart project is done. And Charles, Party like it’s 1999!

What is the #griefheart project?

I explain my #griefheart project here.

See all #griefhearts so far on … Read more...

Waves of Love – #griefheart number 13

#griefheart thoughtful heart

This heart was sent to me by Debbie Morrison. It appeared on the beach, she took the picture and sent it by text today with the message, “Thinking of you.”

It represents the waves of love and outpouring of support I have gotten since Charles died. Support which has been so important to my aching heart. As such, it had to become part of my #griefheart project as that support is part of my grief journey.

It’s my first heart that is nature made.

Thank you Debbie, Alison, Sophia, Kathleen and Laura. I hope you have a grand time at … Read more...

Impromptu Recovery Speech for JHW Foundation

I went to a donor reception for JHW Foundation and heard from three success stories. I am sorry I didn’t get the young ladies on video. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as they told their stories about how JHW Foundation provided the resources that saved their lives. Their pictures are below.

I caught Chris’ impromptu speech here

IMG_1823 IMG_1827 IMG_1831 IMG_1840.

 

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Proud Heart – #griefheart number 12

The first time we did this, I thought it was #iamnotashamed but it’s #imnotashamed. I’m and not I am.

I am sending this to TeamNotAshamed today so it was only fitting to make it today’s #griefheart. Rachel Griffen, a singer songwriter, had an article recently in the Washington Post. And she started the movement asking those with mental illness to speak up. Thank you Rachel.

If moms and dads, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends speak up about those who died by suicide, we could save more lives.

So we have those with mental illness … Read more...

Heart of steel – #griefheart number 11

These were Charles’ favorite shoes. Nanny gave them to him. These were the last shoes he was wearing when he died by suicide. So ironic that he’d be wearing “Man of Steel” shoes.

What is the #griefheart project?

I explain my #griefheart project here.

See all #griefhearts so far on pinterest or on the blog by #griefheart category.… Read more...

Addiction: What is rock bottom?

Everyone tells you that tough love is the way to go with those with substance abuse disorder (aka addiction).  What no one tells you is when to help your addict.

Rock

No one defines “rock bottom” or when it might be time to actually help your addict.

Everyone’s bottom is different. But everyone concentrates so much on the boundaries, which you need to do, few consider when they might reach in and help their addict get into recovery.

What might that cry for help sound like?

What would make a cry for help different than the multiple calls you’ve gotten before? How do … Read more...