Please tell us about ConnorConnor died by suicide in 2018. His death was a surprise. He was 24 and working a new job, moved into a house with some friends and seemed happy. I found out after his death that he was struggling financially and having difficulty in a relationship. I wondered how I would make it. I made it through Courtney’s death but another one? OH – God, why???
Why did you choose to document your journey during your first 365 days without him?
Documenting my journey on Facebook is the way I processed my son’s death. I started with making the announcement of his death on Facebook. I wanted friends and family to know what happened and wanted them to come to his memorial service. Connor was loved and a true friend. He would jeopardize his job, safety for a friend in need.
I shared everything – how I was feeling, how tough it was my journey. At around 4 months, I saw a small shift in what I was posting. I was sharing my progress, how things were getting better, how I felt like I could move forward. As I saw and felt that I was moving forward, friends and family on Facebook noticed it as well. They started telling me what I posted, blogged about was helping them. It helped with grief, loss of life, loss of a relationship, loss of a job. No matter the grief, it was helping. I committed to posting on Facebook for one year. I wanted to get past the one-year anniversary. For me, that has been a turning point in my previous losses. In between Courtney’s death and Connors’s suicide, both parents passed away, my sister, cousins, friends, family and 3 young adults to suicide.
After the first year – actually, 13 months since the year mark is December 14, I decided to write and publish Thursday Thoughts once a week. Since January 2019, I have been publishing Thursday Thoughts.
Can you tell us about your book?
Survive Your Child’s Suicide: How to Move through Grief to Healing is my second book. When I took a closer look at what was helping me progress, move forward on my grief journey, I found three phases that I went through: acceptance, understanding your fear and recovery in physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. All this was the cumulation of years in health and wellness as a personal trainer, nutrition consultant and wellness coach, practical life experience of surviving the above-mentioned losses and professional skills. I know these tools work – because they are what worked for me. I spend more time on suicide – it is messy, unique, and complex. Understanding the who, what, when, where, and how suicide happens is helpful in reducing survivor guilt shame and guilt while giving the loss survivor permission to grieve and heal. The biggest question “Why” will never be fully answered yet we do know that those who chose suicide over life are in pain, physical or mental. Whatever the type of pain, it is so horrible that their only solution to end the pain is to end their life.
How has grief changed you?
Oh boy, grief has changed the way I think about my future, that life is short and that I am here to serve others. My story of resilience, perseverance and courage inspires others and gives them hope that they too can and will make it through this extremely difficult season in their life.
I also accept there is a day when I will be gone, and I want to leave a legacy for my family. I have a purpose – to carry on, live life, help others in Connors’s memory, raise suicide awareness and be the support for those who are going through what I have been through.