I wish it had been anything but suicide

As I sat in the back of the police car, the officer said, “Charles was found dead in an apartment on Monument Avenue.” I thought it was an overdose. Convinced, actually.

But it was my husband’s question, “How did he die?” and the officer’s answer, “He hung himself,” that took my breath away. Literally. It was an extra twist of the knife that brought with it so many emotions I did not recognize. All at once–with confusion leading in the race.

My first thought once I could think was, “No, no, anything but that. Not that. Please not that.” As … Read more...

Putting my life back together after my best friend’s suicide

Hannah Flanery and Emily Barnhardt

by Emily Barnhardt

If had to choose a phrase that encapsulates my story and the pain and suffering I’ve experienced, it would be: “collateral beauty.”

Several years ago, I lost my best friend (who was also my roommate) to suicide. It turned my world upside down.

There are no words to explain the devastating grief that washes over you after a complex loss like suicide; it’s as unpredictable and relentless as waves crashing over the seashore. I wrestled with the never-ending questions and the monstrous-of-all questions, “why?” I broke time and time again over the … Read more...

Would I do it all over again?

charles-aubrey-rogers
Charles, the one who died, on the left. Richard on the right.

“Let go, emotions flow, let it show and dissipate
This world is crushing me but I lift the weight
Look at star with a different face you’ll see tomorrow
The world will be a better place”
–Charles Aubrey Rogers, 1995-2015

Would I spend the money that we spent, upwards of $250k, again to try to save Charles life?

Without hesitation.

Would I have had Charles if I knew I’d only get him for 20 years?

You bet.

He was a handful. And a joy.

He was a creative genius. … Read more...

Super Heart – #griefheart number 45

Charles loved super heroes. The “man of steel” was his favorite. All super heroes have some pain in their past and I think now he identified with that.

He was always intrigued with super powers and used to talk of mechanical hands and flying as late as eighth grade. I think he hoped a super power could fix him.  And maybe a super power did.

This S is for Suicide Awareness. Thank you all for helping me spread awareness of a subject cloaked in silence.

What is the #griefheart project?

I explain my #griefheart project here.

See all … Read more...

Love, by Chaney’s Hands – #griefheart number 20

Chaney is my #griefheart today. It’s not just “my” journey, this is a journey for millions of people suffering a suicide loss. And today, this heart is in honor of Chaney Corley who was only 13 when she died by suicide in September of 2015.

I met Tony and Angel Blackmon online after they read this article I wrote in February 2016. By Chaney’s Hands is a non-profit in Kentucky and they are doing their first fundraiser on the first day of youth mental health week, May 1, 2016.

What is the #griefheart project?

I explain my #griefheart projectRead more...

9 ways I am coping with the insurmountable grief of suicide loss

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I believe that by being open about suicide and sharing coping experiences and ideas, we can learn from each other.

The stigma has kept us clammed up for so long, it’s time we shared.

These work for me. Not to wipe away the pain. But to help me figure out how to live my life with this loss.

1. Writing

Writing hurts sometimes. Well, a lot of times. But there is a release of pain after I hit publish. I also feel free to do it now–to say what I want. No one is stopping me because I started my own … Read more...