I celebrated Charles’ birthday at training today and my friend Gray brought a cake in honor of my child who would have been 23. Gray lost her son, Whitten, to suicide. So sweet of her to bring this cake and I had a group with whom to share it.
Meanwhile, my husband went to go retrieve Charles’ ashes. It’s taken us nearly three years to go get them. I’ve remained undecided about what to do with his ashes. I waffle between wanting to take them with me always and ultimately bury them when I die, to wanting that grave site … Read more...
So there is a story behind these. Pun intended since this is a photo of the back end of my most comfortable jeans. So the denim style now is skin tight. That’s NOT the style of this old pair. These are well worn and soft. Because of that, holes appear in the rear. And when they do, I make a patch out of leftover jean material and sew it on to cover the hole.
On Easter morning, I could not help but remember how much Charles LOVED easter egg hunts. I think he is about seven when we go to the event in my parent’s neighborhood. It was a game, a group activity, and it had candy involved so it had all the ingredients Charles’ loved. What is funny now that was a little embarrassing at the time, was how aggressive Charles was at this Easter egg hunt.
Once Charles’ competitive streak was activated, he was unstoppable. Slower kids were out of luck as he dove in under them grabbing at … Read more...
I see references in Charles’ music to his black heart. He felt like he was ashamed because of the darkness in his soul.
I hear that a lot from those with mental illness. They think they are not worthy of friends, of a family’s love, or life. That darkness is part of the disease of depression, bipolar, and other mental illnesses. People who suffer often feel ashamed of it.
So I’m celebrating those who suffer from a black heart, died from a black heart and all the moms and dads out there that love someone with a dark heart. Like … Read more...
I hope the Y is OK with my taking logo liberty for the benefit of this project. So visited the YMCA in Midlothian today. They are hosting Leader’s Club retreat with teens from Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Florida. I talked about mental illness, suicide, addiction, grief and the #umatterchallenge. Looking forward to delivering a short keynote tomorrow morning. I just love this club and the young lady who introduced me to it in the first place, Alex.
This heart in memory of all the friends of the kids at today’s retreat who have lost a friend … Read more...
Since losing my son to suicide, I realize I feel every emotion more fully.
At first, I thought it was only pain I felt more acutely. Eventually, I noticed I felt everything, including joy, times one hundred. As strange as it sounds, this loss has given me the capacity to carry more love in my heart.
Even though Emotionally Naked is two years old, in Google years I’m middle aged. The good part about that is that at two years, if you’ve blogged consistently, Google gives you precedence in the search engine world. All week I’ve seen their little bots indexing pages for search like mad. Your stories, my stories have greater potential to reach more people, save lives and offer community and support to those who need it. Without judgment. Without shame.
It was two years ago, that I realized that I needed a space to write … Read more...
My niece, Aurora, sent me some soaps she made for Christmas. One of them was a heart. Charles and Aurora didn’t see each other that often, but I know she adored her older cousin and he loved her.
When Charles died, Aurora and her mom drove down from upstate New York to the memorial service and to offer me comfort. I so needed my family and friends after Charles’ suicide. I was out of my mind with grief. It meant so much they came.
When I started the #griefheart project, it had been my hope that more people would honor their loved ones with this project. To give permission to loved ones to honor the memory of those who died by stigmatized illness such as suicide or overdose. (See examples below)
But few have taken me up on it. And I would love for more to honor the memory of their loved ones. So if you could spread the word.
So many hearts have been shared and sent to me for this #griefheart project.
These are just a few of the ones I could find in my inbox. They are texted to me, sent to me by email, through facebook private message and posted to my wall. Messaged through linkedin, twitter and even sent as presents. I don’t think this is even 25% of them because I can’t keep up with all of them. But it doesn’t matter. The sentiment is there as is the feeling of support.
The tribe here has embraced this project in memory of my son … Read more...
From Anne Moss: Michael is a thoughtful young man who attended a special needs school. He has mood disorder, sleep disorder a learning disability and has suffered from suicidal thoughts. With a lot of perseverance, he has worked his way up to being a manager at a restaurant and he sent this picture and a the narrative.
by Michael Widuch
On Monday October 30th, 2017, I started to come back to emotionally naked after drifting away for some time. I started on the article where I last read which was “CareTalks Presentation Video.”
Chewed up and spit out heart. If you’ve lost a child, you know the feeling.
But this is gum. Which is candy. which means that Charles loved it. Walmart? His favorite store. Why? Because on some day during the week, don’t remember which one, they’d run a special on candy at Walmart. Or maybe it was just the cheapest there. Second was WaWa because he could buy candy and get a sub.
My mother-in-law bought this gift for me on her trek across country. She got this on her stop in Nova Scotia, Canada.
She shared the story of this #griefheart project and about Charles. The lady who sold it to her listened. And then she told my mother-in-law her daughter had lost her son to suicide just one week prior.
Lived experience. I wish there were fewer of us with that.
This heart reminds me of all of our family beach vacations at the Outer Banks. Charles loved being with his cousins there. He didn’t love going in the ocean a whole lot and despite signing him up for swim lessons and more swim lessons, he refused to participate in them and as a result was a terrible swimmer. So I didn’t encourage a lot of ocean swimming.
We live in a river town so I worried he was in danger of drowning. And I always watched him closely at the beach for the same reason. I think back to all … Read more...