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Following Up on the Post About Mom

Updated: Jan 18

Thank you all so much for your kindness and for letting me know that my words about losing Mom were helpful. I noticed some things I want to share in a follow up. I put some of this in a comment on my Facebook post and I'm also sharing what we talked about in the Art Words and Yoga class this week.




hands on the trunk of a tree


There are so many of us affected by suicide losses and although I knew I was not alone, I have been somewhat stunned by the response. Some people commented on Facebook. Almost as many sent me private messages about their own losses. Many spoke to me in person when they next saw me.


I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised. Others had quietly told me of their horrific losses long ago and there are whole support groups filled with people who have lost a loved one in this way. A suicide survivor support group that I have attended is in Auburn and I can help you find one if you'd like. Suicide is not as much of a secret as it once was but it is still terribly hard to talk about. Message me if you want or need more suggestions for help. I don't have all the answers but I know people who know more than I do.


And, again, thank you for reaching out. As the first waves of comments came in, I cried and had to take several breaks between reading before I could respond. My tears were the kind that come from feeling very seen and from the compassion felt when others share their own similar pain.



a young woman hiking in a canyon

Many people told me they didn't know about Mom. I didn't try to keep it a secret. I told people what happened when they asked the best I could although rarely in that much detail. The surprise of others reminds me of that saying somewhere by someone about how we would do well to just go easy on ourselves and each other. All the time.


We all have so much happening. Many many things that we will never be able to write and share because it's too hard to find the words, because it's not safe to share, or because others would be hurt by our sharing. I sense that this is especially true lately with the after effects of the pandemic and the more and more and more that has happened after that.



older woman comforting younger woman in an impressionist style painting


There is a certain amount of guilt that goes with any death. Because I lost several very close people over a few years, I became especially aware of this. In deaths caused by cancer, Covid, and other diseases, I didn't feel guilty about the fact that they died. But I found ways to feel guilty about how I handled it. How I didn't stay with them enough. How I should have told them I loved them more. How I should have been a better daughter-in-law, etc.


By the time my sister passed, I could see that guilt is a thing that happens in grief. That I could never be perfect in my love for anyone and that I could only ever do my best and forgive myself and others when we mess up. "Relentlessly" forgive ourselves and each other as my sister and I said near the end.


This knowing about guilt in grief hasn't stopped it from happening. It's just stopped it from destroying me and (mostly) stopped me from dwelling on guilt excessively.


Along these lines, I'm sharing another podcast with an interview of Dr. Lucy Hone, who talked about the sort of resilient grieving she used after a terrible loss of her own. She has specific strategies that I have found helpful in case you need them.



She also gave a brilliant and moving TED talk where she names 3 easy ways we can support ourselves and live on even as we grieve.





Finally, in the Art Words and Yoga class this week, we also made lists of what we have found helpful when life inevitably gets like it does for every single one of us. Like the resilient people Lucy describes in her talk, the women in the yoga group had wise suggestions from their own grief experiences. I want to share them with you because they are good.



a man standing in a filed and staring up at a blue sky with wispy clouds









Ways of Thinking


  • Practice positive self talk

  • Allow time to grieve

  • Think of new life—especially new babies

  • Focus on gratitude—on the miracle of our love for others

  • Practice The Both And —the paradox of living life fully while grieving


Ottis the ridgeback looking down a long and rainy street surrounded by trees


















Things to Do/Practices


  • Yoga a lot

  • Meditate a lot

  • Pray and wait

  • Read the book How to Survive the Loss of a Love (or another good book like Resilient Grieving)

  • Go to therapy

  • Wear a soft smile—the smile will lift mood and soften others around you

  • Take long walks alone with God

  • Walk in the woods

  • Garden—hands in the dirt

  • Arrange flowers and photograph them

  • Listen to hopeful music

  • Practice mindfulness—bring attention to the present moment

  • Interact with animals

  • Remember the ways we are like those we lost

  • Be around people

  • Write a letter to the person who died

  • Celebrate the one who died

  • Friends

  • Faith

  • Quilting

  • Praying for myself and others

  • Squishmallows

  • Funny movies

  • Music


Sending love and healing to you all. Beyond measure.


Karrie 

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