Why aren’t we screening for suicide?

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Many parents who lose a child by suicide have no idea their child has had thoughts of killing themselves.

Even more parents, 90% of them, are unaware their teen has attempted suicide*, according to Lisa M. Horowitz, PhD, MPH, a clinical psychologist from the National Institute of Mental Health with whom I spoke with recently.

That was true in our case.

Charles apparently did have a previous attempt and while in Wilderness, he was on suicide watch according to his music lyrics about Cal Riley, a young man that died by suicide 2 years before Charles.

“I hate myself.

Read more...

Eggshell heart — #griefheart number 189

When Charles died, my heart was crushed like eggshells. Emotional healing takes a lot of time and this journey really isn’t anything like I expected at the beginning.

I had no idea what grief was all about. It’s just not something people talk about. But I’ve made up for that! I consistently expose the world to my grueling, naked grief. I appreciate your taking this journey with me, holding me up when I need it, sharing your own painful journeys and being a part of this village.

What is the #griefheart project?

I explain my #griefheart project here.

See all … Read more...

Anne Moss is my first name

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Just so you know, Anne Moss is my first name. It’s a double name–a Southern thing. Not Anne. Not Moss. Not Moss-Rogers. Anne Moss. Then Rogers, the last name.

Moss was my grandmother’s maiden name. And since my grandmother had two girls, the Moss name was in danger of dying out. So my mother attached the Moss to my name for a double name.

In North Carolina, this is not uncommon.

I have often been asked, “Can I call you Anne?” Well, no because that’s only half my name. Many of you might not have realized that was my … Read more...

Living with grief. It’s not all sad.

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Sometimes grief sits beside me and I wonder why, at that particular time, it’s not crushing my heart. Those are the days it just glides at my side.

Sometimes it sits on my chest, invades my limbs and sucks my motivation. Those are the days it weighs me down.

Sometimes it slaps me in the face and throws me in a dark hole.

Sometimes it makes my heart swell up and feel like it’s going to burst.

Sometimes grief leaves me on the verge of tears and I feel on edge.

Sometimes it brings me a memory that makes me … Read more...

Fragile heart — #griefheart number 188

Cousin Kate sent me this. And the moment I saw this camellia heart it reminded me how fragile a person Charles was. My friend Chris was telling my oldest about how resilient addicts are. And that’s true. You hear the stories of what they have endured– homelessness, being run over, multiple overdoses. When they tell the stories, you can’t believe they are standing in front of you as normal looking human beings once they have found recovery.

Charles didn’t have resilience and I wish I could have shared mine with him but depression took it away. In its place he … Read more...

Giving back becomes contagious

Sherry had just celebrated a year in recovery and had just 3 more weeks of school in Charlottesville before she graduated. But her car died permanently and she had no transportation from Richmond to her classes.

She had gone back to school so she could earn a better living to sufficiently support her three children. As a single mother, that was not possible at a minimum wage job. So that car was critical to her being able to achieve that goal.

Despite all her hard work and perseverance, it looked as though her dream of graduating would evaporate with just … Read more...

Sweet Memory heart — #griefheart number 187

What did Charles like better than cookies? Cookie dough! He also loved to break the eggs. He didn’t always have the patience to do the whole cookie baking deal but he would appear out of nowhere for the egg breaking and decorating.

And he was the messiest decorator ever. His cookies were the ugly stepchildren of the batch, making them all that more special. Thank you Alex for sending this holiday cookie. It inspired a sweet memory.

What is the #griefheart project?

I explain my #griefheart project here.

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

Wish list

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I wish I could have one more hug.

I wish I had known that phone call was my last.

I wish Charles had not died by suicide.

I wish my dreams of his future had not been shattered.

I wish I was not staring at an empty seat at our holiday table.

I wish I had a my own dream of Jeanie.

But I am thankful, too.

Thankful I stayed home with my children and I have those memories.

Thankful that I have the love and support that I do.

Thankful Charles was part of my life.

Thankful for what … Read more...

Madalene’s heart — #griefheart number 186

When I started this project, my friend Bonnie sent me this link to Madalene’s Monday Hearts. I admired how artistic hers were. Downright stunning. Well, 7 months later, she found me and my #griefheart project and sent me this book full of stunning, artistic hearts. Her story below as well as her thoughtful words of wisdom.

“My hearts actually started as a little tradition I would do for my love on Monday mornings so she would walk out the door and see a little heart on her doorstep. Thus the name Monday hearts for Madalene.

When she got sick … Read more...

Grief: How relationships with friends have changed

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A friend and I had a conversation just recently. And we talked about how things have changed with my friends. For one thing, having lost a child doesn’t exactly put you at the top of an invite list for social events.

Once I noticed this, I made the decision not to be bitter but to host more events on my own and reach out more. Start my own party so to speak.

But why was I still feeling left out?

My friend said something interesting in our conversation, “We haven’t changed how we’ve treated you.” And in general, that’s true.… Read more...