Read This First

I came across this through the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. It was on my Facebook newsfeed. I tried to cut and paste the article but it’s not easy on my iPad mini.

Read this article if you are considering suicide. Read this article if anyone you know is considering suicide, so that you can share it with them. Just Read This.


A New Katherine

I haven’t checked my stats to see how long it has been since I posted anything, but I know it’s been a long time. Most of my writing over the past 16 months has been very private. It has been an agonizing process of emptying my heart onto paper. Yes, paper. After my son died, I started writing and writing and writing. Letters to him. Questions for God. Poems in the darkest hours of the night when I had not slept in days. Almost all of these were written on paper. At my age, 53, the words seemed to come easier when I used a pen and paper. The thoughts poured from my soul onto the paper, sometimes until my hand cramped so badly that I had to stop. If I had no paper with me, I would write on the back of a receipt, a napkin, an envelope, or any surface available. My laptop, iPad, and smart phone were my last resort. I even downloaded an app to my iPad so I could handwrite my thoughts with a stylus or even my fingertip. Note…if you try it, it is not the easiest handwriting to read when you go back and I have not tried to print any of it.

I also read everything I could on grief, grieving, loss of a child, suicide, survivors of suicide (a term I used to think referred to one who attempted suicide and lived), depression, treatment, and so many more things than I can remember, much less list here. I am still in counseling and trying to get into a group for bereaved mothers. I talked to people, at least to those who would talk to me or rather, would listen to me. A grieving parent soon learns that very few people can bear to listen to or witness your grief. I’ve found that other parents have the hardest time. I believe that is because my loss has forced them to face the possibility that if it happened to me, it could happen to them. And, no parent can bear to think about that. It is terrifying. It hurts. I know, but I feel that I have lost friends because of the tragic loss of my son. The friendships were not strong enough to weather the changes that have occurred in me since Donald’s death.

Any parent who has lost a child will tell you that they have lost the person they used to be. I can tell you that unequivocally. I knew it within the first week. I am not the Katherine I was before Donald died. I’m not even the Katherine I was in the first few months after his death. For many months, I felt as if I was less than half a person, physically and emotionally. I am slowly becoming the new Katherine, but I’m still not sure who she is going to be. I see a vague picture developing, but it will be a long time before it becomes clearer. I know God has a plan and a purpose for me, one which will use my talents and honor my son’s life here on earth.

I may have mentioned before that I have always wanted to write. I’ve never wanted to be the next James Patterson or Nora Roberts. I love fiction, but I’m not sure that my talent lies in that direction. I may learn that I’m wrong about that but it’s not on my agenda for now.

I have reached a point where I believe it is time for me to start my new blog…a I have many ideas for blog. I feel, as the new year comes closer, that it is time for me to get busy. My hope is that by writing this new blog, I will be able to reach and help other grieving mothers. I am not ignoring grieving fathers, but their way of grieving is different. Any post I write about grieving fathers will be more along the lines of the differences in how mothers and fathers grieve, and how mothers can hopefully understand a little more about their child’s father as he grieves. I do hope to be able to find and share materials for grieving fathers, and even guest posts by grieving fathers.

Another topic I will be tackling is suicide, suicide prevention and awareness, and survivors of suicide. I’m not sure if that will fit into my new blog or will develop into a separate blog.

I am not a doctor, medical professional, therapist, social worker, or in any manner trained to give advice on this subject. I do not intend to give advice. I plan to share my experiences, and the stories of others willing to share, along with links to resources for help and treatment.

I hope that I can help at least one person. If I do that, I’ve done at least part of what God is leading me to do in this phase of my life. I really hope I can help many. The number of followers I may get is not important. I’m not trying to make money on this. It’s a calling. I am going to write from my heart, add in my research (as a retired lawyer, I can do some research!) and let God lead me. I feel very strongly that He is calling me to do this, as well as other things which will come later.

I ask one thing of anyone who reads this post. If you feel inclined to comment, I would greatly appreciate any suggestions, thoughts, resources, and constructive criticism that you can share. If you prefer not to comment publicly, please feel free to email me. One thing I’m trying to determine is how often I should post. Those of you who are experienced bloggers, please share your tips with me as well as any reading materials that you think would be helpful.

That one second

That one second.   There is no way I could describe this feeling any better.  That second when the coroner told me it was an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.  What?  No, not my son.  I had just talked to him.  He was happy.  He was looking forward to graduation in December, a choice of jobs, a new football season, a date with a girl he really liked.  The detective says he can find no reason that my son would commit suicide, unless “he was not in his right mind”.  Maybe drugs, but maybe not.  We don’t know.  We won’t know for months.  There were no indications of foul play at the scene, but there are some unusual circumstances surrounding this entire event.  An investigation continues.

If my son committed suicide, I will never know why.  I worried about a lot of things while my son lived, but suicide was the one thing I never worried about.  All of his friends say he is the last person on earth who would commit suicide.  So, WHY?  What happened on that day?  What could have been done to prevent it?

I will walk in the next Out of the Darkness walk in Birmingham, AL.  I will reach out to others who have become survivors of suicide.  I will be there for other parents, whose worst second was the one in which they learned their child was dead.  I will treasure my memories of my son, who brought light into every room when he entered.

Fear and Understanding

October 23, 2012

Quote of the Day

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.” – Marie Curie

About Marie Curie

Marie Curie, the pioneering Polish-born French chemist, was the first person to win Nobel Prizes in two different fields.  She was born in Warsaw in 1867.  No Polish school would admit a woman, so she worked as a governess, sending her sister through medical school in France.  Her sister, in turn, sent her to the Sorbonne, where she met her husband, Pierre Curie.  Together they studied radiology, discovering two new chemical elements and inventing the term “radioactivity.” She died in 1934.


This quote, with which I am familiar, touched me this morning.  The death of a loved one is something we all fear.  I never really thought about the death of my son because he was 22, way too young for death.  But, it happened and my unacknowledged, worst fear became true.  Now, I am faced with trying to understand it.  The circumstances of his death are troubling.  There is no explanation for what happened.  There were no signs that anyone could have seen.  Was it homicide, accident or suicide?  We don’t know.  It will be months before the medical examiner provides an autopsy report and toxicology screen.  So, as I go along my journey of understanding and healing, I have the shadow of the unknown hanging over my head.  I am learning not to fear what I may learn, but to try to understand.  However, I feel that I may never truly understand.  All I can do is try.