I’ve never publicly promoted music before, but the first time I heard songstress Sara Bareilles sing, Brave, it was an extraordinarily painful moment for me. Everything in the room faded; it seemed Sara and I were the only ones left. She was singing the words I had wanted to say to my daughter. Tears ran down my face and literally brought me to my knees.
My daughter had just committed suicide, and while she was an extraordinarily bright and exotically beautiful girl, at age 15 her introverted personality and severely depressed brain wasn’t brave enough to accept the help she’d been offered. She was so much sicker than any of us ever suspected. Continue reading “I Want To See You Be BRAVE”→
We greet one another with “Happy Holidays!” but for some it’s not. Those who have lost a loved one during the year may find there is little to cheer.
Widowed at age 40, I couldn’t face my first Christmas without my husband, David. My 10-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter and I accepted my youngest sister’s invitation. We packed up the stockings, gifts, and holiday treats and headed for her charming country home in upstate New York. We returned two years to spend the holidays with her family.
The fourth year, we tackled the seasonal festivities at home by ourselves. Knowing I could not recreate the past, I started a new tradition. The kids decorated in their own style a second, smaller Christmas tree in the sunroom. Their creativity provided lots of laughs.Continue reading “Support Someone Grieving During the Holidays”→
Our son Keith was 29 years old when he decided to end his life. Keith’s death was a suicide. Suicide is a frightening word and it is not only ignorance but fear and stigma that keep people from understanding why someone would take their life. In a way it is easier to think that a person made a “choice”, freeing us from knowing the truth.
The word, “choice”, continues to perpetuate the stigma of suicide. The definition of “choice” is “the freedom in choosing, both in the way one chooses and in the number of possibilities from which to choose.” In a presuicidal state an individual is overwhelmed in a given situation. They suffer extreme mental anguish and a painful sense of hopelessness. Their sense of judgment is distorted, and they do not have the ability to make “choices” or options. They literally want to kill the pain and not themselves. Continue reading “Not A Matter of Choice (adult child suicide)”→
I facilitate a group for parents who have lost children to drugs and alcohol. The stated purpose of this group is to offer support and insight regarding the grief process.
Initially, my group had only one member named Annie. It seemed it might just be the two of us indefinitely. Each week I would greet her by saying “Hello Group” and she would greet me in kind. She and I had a contract – I agreed to run the group if she showed up and she agreed to show up if I ran it. Because it was only the two of us, we got to know each other pretty quickly. Rather than my taking a classical group therapist role with her, I opted for a supportive role since we were in the same boat. She shared her grief experience and I shared mine. We talked our heads off like many women do. Continue reading “The (Formerly) Silent Men and (Formerly) Talkative Women of My Grief Group”→