Cute as a button heart – #griefheart number 162

charles-richardCharles was so cute. Everyone thinks that about their child. Charles is on the right. Charming, effervescent and full of bubble and fun. We never went anywhere his life that the whole room did not react to him like moths to a flame.

He had “it” and now he’s gone, a tragic suicide as the result of depression and addiction. And you know the worst part? He was ashamed of his illnesses. I think part of that is why he killed himself. It’s time we stop shaming people. Who’s in?

What is the #griefheart project?

I explain my #griefheart project

Thank you heart – #griefheart number 162

This thank you #griefheart is for all of you that have supported me in my grief following Charles’ suicide.  I believe that you have to have a support network to be able to move forward and thankfully I’ve had that.

It’s my hope that this project has raised awareness of those grieving the loss of a child or a loved one by suicide. And that all those families get support for their loss.

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...

5 things to help you find hope after tragedy

How do you get the worst news of your life and move forward? How do you weather a tragedy that alters your life so much you can’t see how you can survive? How do you find the strength to enjoy life after that? Will you ever laugh again?

At first, you are in shock, moving through a fog. It’s hard to put anything in order and you feel lost and in disbelief. But once you come out of the fog, you need to find your way and you have to fight for it. Because we only have one life and I want … Read more...

Infinity heart – #griefheart number 161

An infinity heart is an “I love you forever heart.” I love Charles forever and ever even though he’s not here any longer.

This is actually a tattoo on the arm of my friend Beka Lombardo who suffers from bipolar disorder. Part of her recovery is giving back and being outspoken on the subject. This is what she has to say about her new arm artwork.

“The idea behind this tattoo is that if I ever got to where I felt like I wanted to cut or have suicidal ideations, I just look down and see Joe’s name and I … Read more...

Help me eliminate the phrase, ‘committed suicide’


I understand the phrase has been around a long time. It’s even the headline in my most popular article (I didn’t write that phrase in that headline, by the way*).

Historically, suicide was considered a crime up until the early 60s. In some other parts of the world, it still is.

Saying, ‘committed suicide’ implies crime

Suicide is not a criminal act like murder or a home invasion, but often the result of a treatable brain disease such as depression, addiction, or bipolar disorder or even a physical trauma such as a head injury.

In short, suicide is a public health …

Key to my heart – #griefheart number 160

Charles will always have the key to my heart. And thanks to this artful gift from Allie, I can carry that heart with me. Even better, I am less likely to be digging for my keys in my handbag.

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.

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What I miss most about Charles


Love an addict – #griefheart number 159


Many of us love or have loved an addict. Their disease is not who they are and I want you to know that even when they are actively using, their real selves are alive and suffering. I can see from Charles’ rap lyrics before his suicide that he felt deeply when he was using. That he hated himself, felt guilty, ashamed, depressed and ostracized. But I love him and hated the disease.

quote-left My actions were ugly , teenage druggie, looking for anything to numb me, pathetic, scummy.
But you still love me. I would cry when I wanna die and … Read more...

Loupey love – #griefheart number 158

Loupy love
Loupey love

The instrument in this picture is a 10x loupe (pronounced loop). They are used in the jewelry industry examine diamonds, for example. This loupey heart photo sent to me by my friend Denise, a fellow diamond lover. I use mine to help me examine my prongs, make sure my ring is clean and for occasions when someone shows me a family heirloom or takes me with them to look at engagement rings for a fiancé-to-be. Yeah, it’s a little obsessive to own one.

I worked with a diamond dealer in NY, Diamonds by Lauren, for many years. And Charles met David, the owner, … Read more...

Scamming bereaved parents


The lowest form of life is a scammer that scams parents who’ve just lost a child. These are the ones that Richmond, VA moms including me have experienced.

My advice is that if you have a friend that has lost a child, step in and help where you can because it’s unlikely parents are thinking straight.

1. Holding your child’s body hostage

Never having lost a child, or anyone really, I had no idea how to choose a cremation home. Instead of asking a friend who had been through a death recently, a friend and I googled it. We didn’t … Read more...

Pair of pebble hearts – #griefheart number 157

The heart of mother and child are a pair forever.  This sweet pair of pebble hearts sent to me by my friend, Melissa and reminded me of mine and Charles’ heart. Together forever.

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.

Get updates to this project by subscribing

The letter from heaven I wish I would get