If you have a bereaved parent in your life

Guest post by Kimberly Gardner, North Carolina

If you have a bereaved parent in your life, remember that she/he is most likely choking down sobs in the quiet of their house. The silence of where their child’s voice should be, is deafening. They likely sob in the shower. In the car. Behind their computer screen….anywhere.

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Show them in tangible ways that you care.

Show them you have not forgotten their child, no matter how many years have passed.

And for the love of everyone, remember to say our child’s name over and over again. It is music to our ears. … Read more...

Did Charles show warning signs for teen suicide?

Looking back after my son Charles Aubrey Rogers’ death, I see that he did exhibit signs of being suicidal. Of course I have often asked myself what I missed.charles rogers I had been a mental health advocate and board member at Beacon Tree Foundation for several years prior to his suicide. Although I had been to one suicide symposium, I still did not connect the dots when it came to my own child. 

Frankly, he didn’t check that many of the boxes on the list of suicide risks they presented that day.

His father and I have been married 30 … Read more...

Grief: Letting go of bitterness to find hope and joy

I am more hypersensitive to the bitterness of others than I ever have been. If ever anyone is entitled to bitterness, I feel it would be those of us who have lost a child. Frankly, I don’t want to live my life feeling that way. It would be a disservice to my son that died as well as the one that lived.

I think the key to leaving bitterness behind is finding my direction and purpose in the most devastating tragedy of my life. My purpose as a mother was to raise my two boys to be thriving adults. To … Read more...

How could I resent your child’s cancer fundraiser?

Part of my grief process is to let go of such insane resentments and just do something about it instead.

It sounds crazy. It sounds inhuman. But there were times when I felt jealous that others got such overwhelming financial and even emotional support in their struggles to get medical help for a child who was ill. My resentment was never directed at a specific family. It was resentment that society could turn their backs on mental health while embracing physical health so passionately.

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Send a card, reach out, listen w/o judgement

The outpouring of support when your child has a physical ailment … Read more...

Why did he kill himself? Answering the why

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Charles in Wilderness Program for troubled teens. It was here that we finally got a great diagnosis. He did embrace the program after 4 weeks or so.

I learned a lot about Charles after his death by suicide from his RAP diary where he wrote his songs. You can see his notebook in his hands in the picture on this page. Many of his friends know what I’m talking about since he carried them with him. They were his lifeline.

It’s in those pages I saw just how much he hurt. Every single day.

And why he ultimately gravitated to … Read more...

Grief: My alter ego and I argue on what to say

Alter Ego:  A lot of new people at this party

Me: I love meeting new people

Alter Ego: What will you say if they ask how many kids you have?

Me: Maybe I will just mention Richard

Alter Ego: What about Charles?  

Me: I don’t know. Just saying I have one sort of makes me feel like I don’t honor his memoryBlank white speech bubbles

Alter Ego: Saying he died is such a conversation killer

Me: Well I’m not going to say “Hi my name is Anne Moss, I had a child die by suicide” 

Alter Ego: Let’s hope not

Me: If it Read more...

Grief: 5 things that helped me turn a corner

Charles died 8 months and 3 days ago from the above dateand these are the things that helped me find some peace.

#1 – Joined a support group*

support groupWhile in group, there were times I felt like I was pouring alcohol in a wound when hearing everyone’s stories. I broke down with each one. However, exposing yourself to others in this way releases so much of your own pain. You bond with others in the same situation. Allowing the hurt leads to healing. It’s truly a relief and it allows you to let go.

#2- Understanding that I’m not always

Read more...

Why do I post about grief? My alter ego and I have a battle

Alter Ego: Are you really going to push that “publish” button and depress everyone?

Me: Well that’s not why I am writing all this. 

Alter Ego: Then why?

Me: I am not sure why. 

Alter Ego: Then why bring everybody else down? Who wants to read this crap?  No one wants to be dragged into your grief about your dead child. Who wants to hear about that? This is your journey not theirs. 

Me: They don’t have to read it. It’s not a required reading assignment 

Alter Ego: You know people are going to feel forced or obliged to reach Read more...

Grief Ambush

That’s when you have a grief attack. In short, it’s a day that sucks. It sneaks up behind you and bam, ambushes you out of nowhere. It takes you down to your knees, it hurts like the devil, it doesn’t ask forgiveness nor does it apologize. You can’t function worth squat and you are confused and weepy.

Just when you think you can’t take another minute, hour or day, it subsides just a bit and then a little more and then some more until finally you see a sliver of light and you rush to open it wider because you … Read more...

Suicide. The coulda, woulda conversation in my head goes something like this

My coulda woulda shoulda is that last phone call I had with Charles. Here’s how it goes.

Alter Ego: You missed that last conversation, the one where he texted you, “Please pick up the f@#$%& phone, there is something I need to tell you.”

(my mind usually whines here)

Me: We had already been on the phone for two hours. He was shouting, incoherent and argumentative. I didn’t know where he was. I couldn’t understand him. I said, “I have to go. Bye, bye, I love you.” Then he called again and we talked again.

Alter Ego: But that third phone call, the one that Read more...