This is part of my crew at Midnight Snack–mile 10.1 at the Overnight Walk. The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention Overnight Walk is a 16 mile trek through a city in support of suicide prevention. We are encouraged to honor the struggles of those who died by suicide, support those who have survived an attempt and raise awareness in general for the topic of suicide.
There are two of these Overnight Walks per year–one on the west coast and one on the east coast. This year, the east coast event … Read more...
This one was hiding in my friend Jenny’s dishwasher. Emptying the dishwasher was the first chore I ever texted to either of my kids. Back when all the moms and dads were complaining about their kids texting instead of calling, when text messaging was new, I was sending chore lists to my kids because they got done!
Well, in Charles’ case, almost done. He’d always leave a couple of things in the top rack and some rogue glass in the bottom rack. Like he was just done with it and had to go. It was hard enough to get Charles … Read more...
My friend Shirley Ramsey, the Virginia Chapter President of American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, runs a support group for suicide loss survivors. They lit these candles in honor of their loved ones for the holidays– remembering them forever.
As long as I live, You will live. As long as I live, You will be remembered. As long as I live, You will be loved.
Thank you SOSL-RVA (Survivors Of Suicide Loss, Richmond VA)
Charles always had a lively and colorful personality. He could make anyone laugh. I think that’s why so many couldn’t believe he suffered from depression. He didn’t get the chance to understand that it could be treated or that the world was not a better place without him in it.
Grief can wear you out. There are some days it just uses up everything you have and it drains you of color. It’s during those times you have to remember that there are days your heart is bursting and you feel light as a feather.
This one from a new friend, Elizabeth. I met her on the Out of the Darkness walk for suicide prevention and she works for the organization. We outfitted her with a t-shirt and adopted her right away on Team Charles.
This heart is made with some small shells and has RIP written inside. Someone else lost a loved one and memorialized them with this temporary heart on the beach. But since Esther took a picture and sent it to me, it’s now a forever #griefheart.
I was walking the dog today and saw the leaves turning and it made me think about the fact that I am witnessing another season change which makes me feel just a little farther from my child that died by suicide.
The world keeps turning, lives keep moving forward but his has stopped and that concept is so hard to accept sometimes.
After 6 years of mental health advocacy, speaking out, being on TV and radio interviews, doing presentations, videos, writing articles, starting this blog, risking rejection by speaking out and all but throwing myself in the middle of the street with a neon flashing sign, we are seeing change. I am referring to understanding that mental health and addiction are illnesses. It’s the collective effort and sharing of millions who are tired of the stigma surrounding substance abuse disorder and mental illness.
Not that we are done. But more people are speaking out and things are starting to … Read more...
This oyster heart reminds me of all the family beach trips we took over the years at the Outer Banks. The last trip we took, Charles was suffering a depressive episode and it was hard to get him out of the basement room. He always denied suffering from depression which makes you truly feel helpless and even question if it’s your imagination. I would gently nudge him about coming outside and he’d come out and skim board for a bit and then go back in the basement.
When we went shell hunting, Charles would pick up any shell. He wasn’t … Read more...
These are the beads from the Out of the Darkness walk. Each color strand represents a particular loss. I was part of the bead ceremony which is an opportunity to honor our loved one and our loss. Here’s what the strands represent.
White – Lost a Child
Red – Lost a Spouse or Partner
Gold – Lost a Parent
Orange – Lost a Sibling
Purple – Lost a Relative or Friend
Silver – Lost First Responder / Military
Green – Struggled Personally
Blue – Support the Cause
Teal – Friends and Family of Someone Who Struggles