To all of you

What I didn’t expect from all of you was the outpouring of support when I write publicly about all the stigmatized illnesses we suffered through with Charles– as well as my own grief. And I didn’t expect to be encouraged to keep writing about it.

I was not rejected or ostracized. I was not “unfriended” for bringing up unpleasant subjects. Maybe some have unfriended.  But I’ve gained more than I have lost.

love-letter

But I’ll be honest with you, I did not think it would be that way. I was fully prepared to be written off as the person always posting depressing … Read more...

Is tough love the right way to treat an addict?

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This is such a hard question. But one thing’s for sure, you’ll get an answer one way or another when you set your boundaries.

Someone asked me if I felt like I should have approached my son’s depression and addiction differently?

Is tough love the right thing to do?

Keep in mind that I encouraged her to ask the question she was wanting to ask because she hesitated. It’s a good question with no “right” answer. Given that my son’s rock bottom was suicide, I’ve asked myself this a hundred times. But here’s what I can tell you.

No addict makes a change unless

Read more...

Dear Charles. My letter to heaven

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Charles was wearing these shoes when he died. Ironic even in death

I bet I am not the first mom to write their child in heaven. But this is my first letter to you since you died. I hope you get it because I am not sure how to have something sent to heaven.

It’s been about 8 months since you left us and I miss you. All the time. Every day. And I always will. There are days I wake up and the realization that you are gone just hits me like a freight train in my heart.

I am … Read more...

People move on. I cannot resent that

Kids that were friends of Charles are growing up.

People move on.

And those of us still grieving feel kind of stuck sometimes. Forgotten even. That’s the isolating nature of grief.

It’s like there is the speed train and everyone is back on it. But us. We just watch as it speeds by, unable to get on that train. Limping on every once in a while but then having to exit because we simply can’t keep up with the pace.

Sometimes it’s hard to to see happy family pictures knowing that I will never have a picture with both my … Read more...

Imagine living with a premonition that your child is going to die?

I can’t predict things. But I do get premonitions. They just hit me like a lightening bolt. Most the time it’s just random stuff. Usually not a death although those are the ones I remember the most. I’ve actually had only three death ones and one of those was Charles.

I had no clue how he would die. That wasn’t part of the premonition. The suicide was a complete shock. Often my premonitions are mundane enough–like I am going to win a prize or a friend is going to have a flat tire. My mom used to call me the “witch”– but not in … Read more...

You may think you are not guilty of stigma

Addiction. Depression. Suicide. Our family suffered the triple stigma, all of them with our son Charles. He didn’t want to admit depression due to stigma and was even more hesitant to accept help.

What characterizes stigma?

I asked friends about how to raise money to get help for Charles addiction and depression since we were tapped out. When I mentioned that a friend wanted to do a FundMe campaign of some kind, all eyes were downcast. Silence. Squirming. Awkwardness. An uncomfortable feeling overall. That is stigma. It’s that very moment when your eyes cast downward and you sort of freeze … Read more...

Charles’ new Rap is online on iTunes. I don’t wanna be a patient.

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This was the intended album cover for this album. Only 1.5 songs from it and this is the finished one. Photo by Louis King at Imperial Alliance Media in Richmond VA

Charles was a Rap artist among his many talents. His notebooks and music were his salvation while he was alive and probably the only reason he lived until 20.

When he was away at a therapeutic boarding school, they did take his notebooks which made me angry. Writing is therapeutic. I don’t hate the school but I didn’t think taking his writing away because they … Read more...

Did Charles show signs of mental illness earlier in his life?

“I’m the last piece in a broken puzzle
 To a broken puzzle
 Never fittin’
 I’m just sittin’ near the trouble
 It’s difficult findin’ air to breathe concealed within a bubble
 Can’t sleep
 Death is the only way to keep peace from the struggle”
Charles Aubrey Rogers

Charles never slept well, even as a toddler. He was “always on, never off”. If that is an official indicator of something to come, I am not aware of it but lack of sleep definitely contributed to all of his issues and his creativity peaked at night.

Sleep is so precious and it … Read more...

Things I no longer give a rat’s ass about since Charles’ death

Losing my child to suicide has forced me to take another look at my life. And it’s actually liberating to ditch things and basically spring clean my brain and no longer care about…..

1. What others think. I have never been one to worry a lot about this. But once I lost a child by suicide to depression and addiction, I totally let go of caring what others thought of me personally. You either take me as I am or you don’t. And conversely, I’m not going to be passing judgment on others either. It’s probably why I feel so … Read more...

Suicide. The silent serial killer

Grief is painful and heavy. But it can also inspire you to go in a direction you would have never gone and inspire a new sense of passion. To honor Charles’ memory, I will no longer be silent about suicide. Silence kills.

I have submitted this video in my application for a TedXRVA talk. If you want to help, please nominate. Description is below.

Thank you Melanie Murray for suggesting this title: Suicide, the silent serial killer

Short description of the topic would be:

Suicide. The silent serial killer

Title: Co-Owner, Impression Marketing. Board member, Beacon Tree FoundationRead more...