how family members grieve differently

It is amazing to me how much grief changes you.  After losing my dad to suicide, I never really thought about how future deaths would impact me.  My father’s suicide instilled this unequivocal fear that others would die tragically.  How could I not have that fear?  It happened once before, maybe it will happen again.  Much time and energy has been directed to this fear yet little has been directed to how I would cope if tragedy struck again.  So when tragedy did strike again, I was caught completely off guard. About a month ago, I experienced the loss of an unborn child.  I know people who have experienced this type of loss before, but never truly understood it until I experienced it myself.  It wasn’t easy to let go of the life I already planned for […]

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a loss of hope

The other day, I heard a survivor say their loved one “died from a loss of hope.” This is such a simple, beautifully-articulated statement. How have I not used this myself before? When explaining how someone died by suicide, most people fixate on the “did he or she commit or complete suicide” argument. Yes, that is certainly a very straightforward and factual way to put it. But, it feels rather cold, like the manner in which they died. I’m finding more and more that I personally like the way some of the softer phrases come across. I think my dad did die from a loss of hope. Hope that whatever troubles were on his mind would find a resolution. Hope that the weight of his depression would ever be lifted off his shoulders. Hope that […]

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Our Side of Suicide

A recent conversation with another survivor inspired me to write a post related to mental illness.  If you have been a subscriber to our blog since the beginning, you know that I have a strong passion for ending the stigma of mental illness.  I think that there are a number of contributing factors related to the increasing suicide rates we see in the world today; the stigma of mental illness is one of them.  So what is mental illness? What do you think about when somebody says, “mental illness?”  When I ask people this question, I often get a  similar response.  Usually the person describes someone who has been diagnosed with a chronic mental illness such as Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder.  People who haven’t experienced mental illness personally usually have this image of someone similar to what […]

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suicide prevention

Recently, a friend posted a shocking status update on Facebook… she checked into an airport hotel with a colleague while on a business trip and when the co-worker got to her room, she found a professional cleaning service inside tidying up the bathroom. She jokingly asked, “what, did someone die in here?” And, to her dismay, the cleaner said “yes” and that “it happens about once a month – mostly suicides.” This left me really unsettled. My dad took his life in a public park, likely as not to create a scene for anyone to clean up or to limit the people who might have been exposed to his act. (But really, who knows why?) I never really thought about the prominence of people doing this in a hotel room before. I’m not sure why, […]

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LifeEvents_960x350_scaled_cropp

I came across a great article, 7 Mental Health Resolutions for 2015, in Time Magazine that highlights the importance of caring for our mental health.  When I sat and thought about it, I couldn’t think of a single person who had set a New Years resolution pertaining to their mental health.  Or maybe people do, and just don’t talk about it out of fear of judgement.  We focus so much time and attention on our outer self, why not our inner?  In my experience, it doesn’t matter what I look like on the outside if my inside is filled with hopelessness, sadness, or pain.  Take a minute to read through each resolution, and think about whether this is a good personal goal to set for yourself.  I read through and noticed that each creates a strong […]

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a loss of hope

New Years after losing a loved one to suicide can be difficult for survivors.  New Years is supposed to be a time of happiness and hope.  Year after year I listen to people as they talk about what they plan to do to make this year better than the last.  The gym is filled with new faces, as people pour in promising to live a healthier lifestyle.  New goals are set, projects are planned, and promises are made.  When I think about it, New Years truly is the time when I feel people are the most hopeful.  “This is going to be my year” is often the theme.  But what about those who are still grieving?  The people who can’t possibly see past today.  A New Year may not offer that same hope that it […]

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photo

Three years ago today, I lost my father to suicide.  As I write that I still feel this sense of disbelief as I question, “How could this have happened in my family?”  It still just doesn’t seem real.  So much has happened in just three short years after losing dad to suicide. Being a survivor is now a part of my story.   It is not something I would have chosen to be a part of my story, but I suppose we do not always want the hand that is dealt to us.  Unfortunately, unlike poker you can’t really just “fold” and wait for a better hand.  So much has changed since losing dad to suicide.  This is a concept that is still very hard for me to accept.  Death is quite interesting, isn’t it? […]

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