Charles texted me this picture. My heart sprinted out of my chest

Charles texted the picture to me and also posted on twitter on March 2015

I was driving on March 2015, and Charles texted me this picture. I had to pull over. For some reason, this picture triggered an uneasy and uncomfortable feeling. Things were not going well with him and I think I must have sensed on some level his cavalier attitude about his own life.

He killed himself just three months later although by a different method.

He had been at a friend’s house when this was taken and the dad had told the guys they could have a … Read more... “Charles texted me this picture. My heart sprinted out of my chest”

Grief Coping Workshop w/ Karla Helbert, LPC and Anne Moss Rogers

Cover art by Mehmet Sahin Altug reprinted with permission. Mehmet owns Cool Colors Gallery, CaryTown in Richmond, VA

Save the date. We are hosting a coping workshop at Ellwood Thompson on Wed, 04/10/2019 6:30 pm-8:30 pm. This is in Richmond, VA. Both Karla and I have lost a child but this is for anyone who has suffered grief and loss. We will highlight and provide guidance on some specific strategies. We hope to have a sponsor so we can have some food and there will be a nominal charge to cover expenses.

I want to video this so those of you … Read more... “Grief Coping Workshop w/ Karla Helbert, LPC and Anne Moss Rogers”

Book Update

As many of you know and some of you might not know, I’ve written a book called Diary of a Broken Mind, a memoir about my son Charles who died by suicide that includes our story as well as his published and unpublished lyrics. So you get the point of view of what our family went through from more than one perspective.

It was tribe here who encouraged me to write it.

I don’t think I’m “important enough” to get an agent. I’ve been wondering if that is the case. I’m not famous, nor do I have a platform of … Read more... “Book Update”

Today is a Sunday. Life-ing is hard today.

by Anna Wieder

I choose the booth by the window because it seems like the first sunny day in forever.  I feel a surge of relief and a welcomed lift in sadness, as a I gaze out at the blue sky. 

In the background, I find the noise of many conversations comforting.  It keeps my feelings muted and calm. 

You see, this is a common Sunday spot, Panera. Part of my routine. With a book and a laptop and some work for the week.  I like how I can be alone, blend in, but still be surrounded by humans. I … Read more... “Today is a Sunday. Life-ing is hard today.”

Cuddling up with my Charles memories

It still hits. Those grief lightning bolts of loss since Charles’ suicide. They are different 3.5 years later, however.

When it first happened, I could not escape those unrelenting waves of grief. I lost one third of my hair, screamed at the walls, blamed the carpet, broke out in hives, wrote two blogs a day to manage the hurt, and sank to the floor in sobbing wails of despair and loss.

The grief has softened into something like a vignette around a picture.

No longer do I run from my grief but towards it.

When it hits, I embrace it … Read more... “Cuddling up with my Charles memories”

Mental Health Film Screening Richmond, VA

Coming to a theatre in Richmond, VA, together with Beacon Tree foundation, I am screening this movie about a high school grad who finds himself in turmoil within his family as he battles coping with Bipolar disorder. Wed, 03/27/2019 7:30 pm-9:00 pm

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Is a grief retreat right for you?

by Karla Helbert

My opinion on this is always YES!

My opinion on this is always YES! We live in an extremely busy, fast-paced, hustle-driven, hurry-up world that is also extremely death denying and grief aversive. Grief is a process that requires—demands—attention, nurturing, space, and heavy doses of ritual.

We know from current research that those who have the best outcomes—meaning those who are able to best carry and integrate their grief and have more functional, productive, healthy lives, are those who have good self-care and good support. We also know that help-seeking people tend to do better than those … Read more... “Is a grief retreat right for you?”

How nesting dolls are a vital part of my mental therapy

by Morgan Antoinette

It may seem that Russian nesting dolls – also known as Matryoshka dolls – are intended for just decorative purposes. Indeed, they can serve as a fine decoration piece in your room. There is a plentitude of themes in which nesting dolls can be painted, which is why they can have substantial decorative value.

This article isn’t about the decorative features of nesting dolls, however. Maybe, many people haven’t thought about it – me included at some point – but Russian nesting dolls can serve a therapeutic goal as well.

How? Let me explain how I view … Read more... “How nesting dolls are a vital part of my mental therapy”

I never thought this would ache this much so many months later

by Dr. Laura Elizabeth

Dr. Laura Elizabeth
Dr. Laura Elizabeth

“Can you pull your panties down a little more for me?” the sonographer says.

My brow furrows just a slight bit. My heart starts to flutter ever-so-minutely as the only background noise is some indiscernible humming. The machine, my own nerves–could have been anything.

More measurements. More calculations. I stare up at the clock to see if any time has passed. I look back at her and this time her eyes are watering. This can’t be good. Soft marker for Down Syndrome, maybe? I am 36, after all. I get that my risk … Read more... “I never thought this would ache this much so many months later”

So how did the vocal cord surgery go?

Since 1999, this brain tumor, although benign, has taken a lot from me–hearing and feeling on one side, reduction in fluids like saliva, tears, on the left side. And so on. In 2016 and a year after Charles died, I had gamma knife radiation treatment to fry it which left me with trouble swallowing (dysphasia), upper esophageal reflux and vocal cord issues. By far the most devastating was the loss of my voice. It was barely above a whisper. For a while, the botox injections (called vocal fold injections) were working and then they weren’t.

To qualify for the more permanent … Read more... “So how did the vocal cord surgery go?”