Embrace the New You

I started working with grieving moms, writing books, and speaking after my son died by suicide. My writing started on Facebook with my first post announcing his death, followed by details for his celebration of life. I can’t explain why, maybe a God thing, but I continued to post my grief journey on Facebook; the good, bad, and ugly of it. I was vulnerable and raw with what I was experiencing. I did not hold back my emotions. It was around the fourth month that my friends and followers began commenting that what I shared was helping them with their grief. Not all their grief was loss of life. Some expressed help with loss of relationships, animals, and careers. At this point, I was not only sharing my pain and suffering, but I was also including what I was doing to work through my tragedy. My story was helping others. Repeatedly, I was encouraged to write a book. Others told me that my posts were helpful! It was difficult for me to believe that my words and thoughts were making a difference. I wasn’t ready to write a book. However, I decided to continue to post about my grief journey for 13 months. Since my son died just before Christmas, I wanted to get past the one-year anniversary and then some before stopping.

Ten months after my son died, I met two authors who urged me to write a book. With their encouragement, I said yes. Even though I did not have formal training as a writer I accepted their challenge. Not knowing how to do something hasn’t stopped me before and was not going to stop me then. I thought it would be easy; just pull together all my Facebook posts along with the pictures and voila I would have a book. Well, that did not turn out like I expected. There is more to a book than pictures and social media content. (Although it is not a book, the first year of posts is available on my website, TheGriefSpecialist.com).

Because my first loss was so difficult and lonely, and I was going through it again, I decided that no mother needed to do it alone. I wanted to become a resource of experience and a beacon of inspiration. If I could do it, they could do it. My purpose was to help others who didn’t have the necessary resources to live after loss. My first book, Life After Child Loss: The Mother’s Survival Guide to Cope and Find Joy was written and published in the very beginning of the Covid pandemic. It has meaningful, useful, and practical tools to help mothers with their grief.

What I haven’t shared yet is that 30 years earlier, my first daughter died in a day care accident when she was 9 months old. That was a horrific time in my life. As a grieving mother, I had very little support, child loss was the elephant in the room and few people understood what I was going through. In between the deaths of my two children, my parents passed away, my sister at 53, and other young adults from suicide including my 16-year-old niece. My losses have been immense, yet I have managed to survive and continue to live a fulfilling and productive life. When my son died, I reflected on how I made it through so much loss. I looked back into my youth. I was always an outdoor person who felt grounded when surrounded by nature and participating in sports. As I grew older, I combined my personal training background, nutrition consulting, wellness coaching, love for personal development and positivity to get me through tough times. My son’s death was definitely a hard season. I pulled together all the resources I had to travel my child loss journey for the second time, and this became my first book.

My second book, Survive Your Child’s Suicide: How to Move through Grief to Healing started out as a grief ministry for my church because I felt there was a need for a program specific to suicide. Unfortunately, or more like fortunately, it did not work out as I hoped with my church. When my proposal was turned down, I turned my plan into writing and publishing Survive Your Child’s Suicide as a book.

You might be asking yourself why I am sharing my story. To begin with, sharing and talking about my grief journey is healing. Each time I speak about it, I become stronger and more convicted that this is something I am meant to do. My mantra is “Helping you Move Forward.”

Grief is the opportunity for personal growth. You may find renewed energy in old activities; the ones you enjoyed before losing your loved one. A new relationship may spring up; one of love and support for the person you are now. This is a time to seek meaning, not in the whys of this happened, but meaning for your future. It may encompass getting involved and help others. It can be either in your loved ones honor, much like my books and grief coaching is in my son’s memory, or a cause that is near and dear to your heart.

Grief may generate a new level of self-compassion and passion. Out of your loss, you could do more than you ever dreamt of. I never dreamt of writing books, speaking about suicide or being a podcast guest. Grief will be ever present, with varying degrees, yet you will also have other things that bring you joy, contentment and a sense of purpose. This becomes the new you, version 2.0, remodeled with the past, present and future you.

Embrace this new you.







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