7 things we need our ‘ungrieving’ friends to know

When you lose a child, it changes you. And our friends don’t know how to act or what to do. They don’t know what to do with the new you even though you’re the same person you were in so many ways. So here’s what we want our friends to know.

1. You are enough

Period. We want you just the way you ...  read more

Is your grief worse than someone else’s?

Let’s face it. Losing a child hurts. Period. It’s devastating. So devastating you wonder how you will go on. You wake up every day for months and then it dawns on you that your worst nightmare is actually true.

It can’t hurt more.

All I can say is that a suicide is a loss like no other and you don’t know it until you’ve been through it.

A stigmatized death like suicide or overdose does carry with it some shame that other causes of death do not. It’s still a “less noble” cause of death for some reason. So there is more implied shame and sometimes less support from family, friends and community. Thankfully, that’s changing. What we can’t say is that it hurts more.

Some say it’s harder to lose a child than a spouse. Or that losing a brother is less difficult. That depends entirely on the situation and we can’t measure hurt with a yard stick or a thermometer.

Charles was addicted to heroin, suffered from depression and killed himself while going through withdrawal. Which is awful. Terrible. Painful. But think about the person whose child was productive and successful and had everything going for him and died in a gruesome, painful accident. Or was murdered?

I can’t say how I’d feel in any of those situations. But I can empathize with another parent that loss of a child is extraordinarily painful. And I can commiserate with someone who lost anyone they loved because grief and I have become well acquainted.

Grief is not a contest or a game of oneupmanship. It is, however, an opportunity to hug another human being. I am always up for an excuse for that.

DailyWeekly

Typical hurt day

It’s messages like these that keep me going

Picture courtesy of my brother Gene from whose Facebook page I snagged it

You all have no idea how deeply appreciative and honored I am that you share your stories and messages with me. All of you inspire me. Becca, you’ve inspired me. Thank you –Anne Moss

Dear Mrs. Rogers-

I had no idea how to start this e-mail as I feel like I’m writing a lifelong friend, although you have no idea who I am! My name is Becca, I’m twenty-two and a psychology student at VCU. I switched my major to psychology when I was nineteen; my best friend and soulmate died by suicide or accidental heroin overdose.

I found your blog today which marks the three year anniversary of Tyler’s death. I spent hours reading your blog, news stories, and learning about you and your mission.

I really connected with your quote describing grief as a desire to leave your skin. Nothing has ever hit closer to home. As someone who’s battled depression, anxiety, and PTSD for several years I love seeing and learning about people like you.

On what is historically one of my darker days, I found a bright light in your writing and didn’t feel as isolated in my grief today. When I would think of Tyler, I’d also think of Charles and your strength.

I’m sorry if this is all coming off bizarre, I just really wanted to take the time to reach out and thank you. Thank you for inspiring me, thank you for moving forward in life and thank you for caring. I’m heartbroken by the number of people who brush these events under the rug and never learn from them. Regardless if you know it, you ARE saving lives.

My mom participates in Out Of Darkness walks with me to show her support for her daughter that survived suicide and it really makes me enthusiastic to see others turn tragedy into an opportunity for growth.

I hope in none of this has offended you. Since I’m not a mother I could never possibly understand your experience. I have nothing but respect and appreciation for you and your family. Please don’t ever stop doing what you’re doing, you are making a huge difference.

Please don’t ever stop doing what you’re doing, you are making a huge difference.

Warmest regards,
Becca Hagan

DailyWeekly

I refuse to bury my son’s memory

Comforting heart – #griefheart number 140

kitty-cat-heart

This one came from Trinidad and Tobago from my friend Virginia. Kitty cats are soft and cuddly. And comforting. Charles found comfort in animals. His preference might have been dogs but he loved all animals as long as they had fur. They loved him.

He’d walk in as a stranger and if that household had an animal, it would take to Charles immediately.

We are finding hearts in the darndest of places. The last place I expected to see a heart was underneath a kitty cat’s furry jaw.

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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Grief: Going all ‘hallmark’ on you