Inspired by tragedy to change the world

Here’s what grief as the result of suicide loss can look like. The profound moments of joy are appreciated more, and savored longer. The feeling of love lies closer to the surface and most of us that have suffered this loss are more willing to reach out without worrying how it will be perceived. It’s real and it’s authentic.

Things matter less. Relationships matter more.

Thanks to Shirley Ramsey, I had the opportunity to connect with others who grieve the loss of a loved one by suicide and are passionate about the cause of suicide prevention at the American Foundation 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...

Worthless

“Tough times never last, but tough people do.” –Robert Schuller

There are times during this grief journey that I feel small and worthless. I don’t normally suffer from lack of self esteem so the intensity of this feeling is foreign to me.

Not that I have never felt this way. Everybody does at some point. But since Charles’ suicide, it has, at times, been paralyzing and more persistent.

My normally tough exoskeleton is soft and pliable during these episodes that I can only assume are triggered by the vulnerability of grief. I have moments when I think if I screamed … Read more...

Let it go

At some point, you have to ask yourself, what is that baggage doing for me?

To move forward after Charles’ suicide, I had to let things go.

Like anger. Guilt. Shame.

Unlike other suicide loss survivors, I never felt a lot of shame. When we first started seeing signs of drug use, I did feel shame but as I educated myself, I came to realize addiction was an illness.

So I let it go.

I had some flashes of anger after Charles killed himself but I never thought he died by suicide to hurt me. I never felt anger at … Read more...

Grief: Finding joy where I can, when I can

When Richard, oldest son, was here for the Richmond Film Festival early in March, we got some time to spend together. (His film Cottonmouth got in the festival.)

One day I took him and his roommate out to lunch. While we sat there eating, Richard said, “Hey Mom, do you want to go to the screenings with us this afternoon?” I said,”Yes I can. No plans!”

Whatever plans I had, poof, they were gone. Fortunately I had taken the day off and cannot even remember what my plans might have been.

In the car before we got to Bow Tie Read 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...

4 grief phrases that make your journey more painful

griefThese might also apply to a death of a loved one that is not a suicide.

However, my grief experience is with the suicide of my son, Charles so I wrote from that point of view.

quote-leftI will never get over it

A suicide, or any untimely death, is not something you “get over.” It’s a journey that changes over time. You’ll always miss your loved one but you learn to carry them with you. Saying something as dour as “I’ll never get over it” merely brings you down emotionally. It shatters your hope of having a life and finding … Read more...

Grief: 5 things that helped me turn a corner

Charles died 8 months and 3 days ago from the above dateand these are the things that helped me find some peace.

#1 – Joined a support group*

support groupWhile in group, there were times I felt like I was pouring alcohol in a wound when hearing everyone’s stories. I broke down with each one. However, exposing yourself to others in this way releases so much of your own pain. You bond with others in the same situation. Allowing the hurt leads to healing. It’s truly a relief and it allows you to let go.

#2- Understanding that I’m not always

Read more...