The final 48 hours

Trigger warning: Strong emotional content and suicide method mentioned.

This is one of the last photos of Charles before he died
This is one of the last photos of Charles before he died

Charles, who suffered from anxiety and depression and ultimately addiction had been from detox to rehab to a sober house. After rehab he looked great. I call this “Saturday Charles.” He then went to the sober house but relapsed the next morning by walking downtown and buying heroin. We can only imagine he got money from his room at home on the way to the recovery house. The policy at the sober house was that if you went to Read more...

Tangled heart – #griefheart number 37

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Grieving Beauty

“Weave the unveiling fabric of God’s word through your heart and mind. It will hold strong, even if the rest of life unravels.” –Gigi Graham Tchividjian

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When I lost my brother, Matt Geary, to suicide four years ago, it felt like life had unraveled.

The grief process is not linear but tangled and messy. It has been like a long string of anger, resentment, and hurt all jumbled up and knotted together. Hard to sort out like a ball of string.

But as years have passed, I have learned that you can knit something beautiful out of the passing … Read more...

Market Heart – #griefheart number 36

#griefheart
Market Heart

Charles would have loved our new neighborhood. Sadly, he died by suicide just 4 days after we sold the house. He did not even know where we were going to be living.

And the Farmer’s Market? He would have adored it. All that hustle and bustle. All the people and the buzz. Charles loved to be surrounded by people–the more the better. So when we went today, I thought about that, pictured him eating one of those giant home made donuts that most of the market regulars worship. As I was thinking about just that, this t-shirt met … Read more...

Should you let your teen smoke pot at home?

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No. And they shouldn’t be drinking in your basement either.

I remember when we caught Charles with marijuana. He insisted he needed it to sleep and to quiet his anxiety. It had been so tough up until then to figure a treatment plan for him.

We said no after listening to his argument and we were firm but we actually did think about it. Trying to find the right medication to help your child is very difficult. So difficult you actually consider things that later you realize is nuts.

There is stigma with medication for mental health even though some kids need it … Read more...

Personal Heart – #griefheart number 33

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Personal Heart

Your grief journey is as individual as you are which is why this one is made of fingerprints. There is no timeline and everyone hits different stages at their own pace. There is no rushing it. It has a mind of its own. You can do things to find peace and joy but for the most part, you are along for the ride.

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...

Fractured Heart – #griefheart number 32

#griefheart
Fractured Heart

This #griefheart is in honor of Stephen B Sandknop, March 25, 1983-October 28, 2013. He was in a relapse from methamphetamine addiction and was having psychotic episodes and died by suicide when he jumped off his own apartment building in Hollywood, CA during a phone conversation with his mother, Randy. She didn’t find out until the next morning what had happened to him.

Stephen was a singer/songwriter and three of his songs are in movies. Here’s his YouTube channel. So many artists suffer from addiction and mental illness. This picture is donated by the photographer, his mother, to … Read more...

Heart of Gold – #griefheart number 31

Heart of Gold
Heart of Gold

Charles had a heart of gold. Yes, he suffered from depression. Ultimately succumbed to an addiction to heroin and died by suicide.

But the person underneath the illness of addiction was a sweet, thoughtful person who cared about others. My sweetheart of a child was imperfect. He was stubborn. He was his own person. I do wish he was here with me. But I’ll have to carry him in my own heart instead.

What is the #griefheart project?

I explain my #griefheart project here.

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

I know what will wipe out mental health stigma

In 2 years, stigma for mental health and addiction will be a thing of the past
In two years, stigma for mental health and addiction will be a thing of the past

More people are speaking out–Suicide survivors, suicide loss survivors, overdose survivors, those who suffer with mental illness.

Parents are motivated to seek help and are risking the fallout of reaching out because the risk of losing their child outweighs their fear of living with shame.

Then there is the awareness, rising suicide rates, media coverage and the opiate epidemic which has cut across all racial and socioeconomic groups including politicians.

All of this works in tandem together to raise awareness and educate millions.

But that’s just part of

Read more...

Flat Hearted – #griefheart number 30

flat and lifeless heart #griefheart
Flat Hearted

Some days my heart doesn’t feel sad or happy, it feels flat and lifeless. As if all the juice was sucked out of it like an orange.

It’s those days when I feel a bit dazed, confused, catatonic–like the walking dead. I know now that this doesn’t last forever. When I feel flat, it’s hard to jump start myself out of it and it’s best to just wait it out. It does pass. Episodes now are not as long as they once were.

What is the #griefheart project?

I explain my #griefheart project here.

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

BFF Heart – #griefheart number 29

bff #griefheart #suicideawareness
BFF Griefheart

We got news of Charles’ death about 9pm at night. By the time we called Richard and our parents, it was pretty late. I knew Martha didn’t stay up late on Friday nights. She has a very physical job as a special Ed teacher with autistic kids. Many of these kids need a lot of help so I knew she wouldn’t be up.

So first thing when her feet hit the floor June 6, she thinks, “I need to call Anne Moss.” And she did very early which she never did since I am not a morning person. … Read more...