Seasonal Support

For many people, the holidays aren’t very joyous, but difficult. While normal holiday stresses exist, other not so normal unseen stresses appear. For people who have lost a loved one for whatever reason, grief joins in for the holidays. With winter settling in, the gloomy and cloudy days, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and depression become part of some people’s days. They require sources that can aid them: books, friends, and support.

Do you know someone who has been or is going through a tragic situation or life event whether or not related to this journey? Do you know anyone this holiday season that would benefit from reading, “That’s All I Got! A Widow’s Journey After Suicide”?

Why not give the gift of healing this holiday season. Why not direct them to sources that may assist in their grieving. Reach out.

Why I do what I do

If someone asked me: why do I write? why did I write a book? and why do I share my journey? I’d tell you the following.

Everyone at some time in their lives has required healing. Many people have qualifications to assist in healing. I help to heal from experience.

Some may think it’s difficult to discuss my journey and at first, I thought so too. It took a long time to talk to people without crying or getting into a lot of detail. I remember it took over a year, to utter the word widow and that’s when I was in counseling. The second time I used widow was during a discussion I had with my first chiropractor, Dr. Drew, and he was the first male stranger (at the time) that I shared my struggles with and I didn’t shed a tear. Talk about a milestone in my journey. Even now, while discussing certain topics I may become teary-eyed, but that’s almost always due to memories.

I want to educate others on what I know about traumatic grief. It’s important that I share my journey to reveal there’s a light at the end of a dark tunnel following tragedy. Part of my “job” consists of preventing innocent lives from being lost due to the completion of suicide. I would like other people to learn about mental illness because education is a life line.

The other day, a friend of a friend posted on Facebook about losing a friend to suicide over the weekend. I know what she’s dealing with so I reached out to her. I let her know that she could reach out to me because grief and emotions take a long time to heal.

This afternoon/early evening, I hosted a spot at a health fair sponsored by my chiropractic clinic, along with my book, That’s All I Got!. While I only sold one book, I shared many more conversations. Almost everyone I spoke with knows someone who lost their life to the completion of suicide. Some conversations were about mental illness. A few people knew today is World Suicide Prevention Day or that this week is National Suicide Prevention Week. I shared what today meant with a few vendors and each said, “I should know this” and “why don’t I know this?”. I opened their eyes to something they didn’t know. Yes, I wished I had sold more books, but a conversation I had with my current chiropractor that revolved around what really matters, reminded me why I do what I do. Thank you Dr. Steven for the reminder.

Suicide Prevention Week & Day 2015

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This week, September 7-13, 2015, is National Suicide Prevention week. You too can do your part to help prevent suicide. When you become educated about mental illness and suicide prevention, you help save a life or more from being lost to the completion of suicide.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015 is World Suicide Prevention Day. People will come together around the world to help prevent suicide. You can do your part by wearing blue, and placing a lit candle in a window at 8pm.

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I’m hosting a spot at a health and wellness fair to share my journey and to have copies of That’s All I Got! available for sale.

On October 4, 2015, I’m walking in the Milwaukee Out of the Darkness walk for education and prevention. You too can join and/or support a walk in your area. Let’s work to #stopsuicide ! #BeTheVoice #TalkSavesLives

You too can inspire!

On Sunday, August 9, 2015, I completed my fourth ever Sprint Tri(athlon) with this as my third Iron Girl Triathlon. My seventh wedding anniversary also took place on this day.

I knew the day would take every ounce of energy-physical, mental, and emotional – I had before the day concluded. On Saturday night, while I prepared and packed for the Tri, I pinned two Angel pins near the right shoulder of the shirt that would cover my swimsuit for the cycling and running segments of the Tri. These Angels represented my husband, Russ, sitting on my shoulder as I completed the Tri. He didn’t disappoint me as I persevered through the challenges.

Many Angels surrounded me as I swam 1/2 mile, cycled 12 miles and ran/walked 31 miles. Not only did Russ and other Heavenly Angels sit on my shoulders, but Team Phoenix members were all around me. Team Phoenix this year composed of 47 cancer survivors either in treatment or remission. Most of them survived breast cancer and all of them were first time triathletes. They rallied before starting and you couldn’t help but feed off their energy. This strong group of women inspired me to keep going even when I started tiring. I stuck around until the last triathlete crossed the finish line and it happened that it was a member of Team Phoenix. The entire team went back on the run course to finish the race with her and everyone else associated with the team waited for her on the other side of the finish line. They even had a ribbon for her to cross. Many people shed tears including me. These tears represented joy, hope, strength, inspiration, and love.

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We’ve all overcome challenges and tragedies on our journeys and continue to inspire others. We’re all thriving overcomers!

Climbing Higher

In the last few weeks, I’ve personally sold book numbers 101 and 102. Book number 102 went to a friend of mine after we watched the South Shore Frolics Fireworks at South Shore Park last night. Book number 101 has a story to share.

I attended a Sunday morning yoga class at the Downtown Milwaukee YMCA. We had a sub for class that day. I really enjoyed the class and talked to the instructor after class ended. We started talking about journeys and I shared the concept of That’s All I Got! with her. She became interested in my book and told me she’d buy a copy. I always travel with a few copies of my book in the car and since we had parked near each other and she had the cash, she bought a copy. I handed her a small stack of postcards for her to put out at the gym she works at and then she suggested having a book signing event at the gym in Cedarburg later this summer. Wow! Talk about a great encounter!

There’s always opportunities to share my journey available, but you never know who cares enough to listen. They did, will you?

Expanding Awareness

Canada this week (May 4-10, 2015) recognizes mental health as part of Mental Health week #getloud. This week has a place on the calendar every year just as the United States has mental health awareness week. The U.S. also has May designated as Mental Heath Month  #MHMonth2015.

Thanks to advice from a friend who suggested that I connect with Tweeters that relate to the book and my cause. I started doing this in the U.S. and Canada since everyone everywhere deals with mental health issues and needs to create awareness on suicide prevention. Last night, I received a notification on my smartphone about tweets regarding mental health week in Canada. I chose to browse the tweets and I found one from a Tweeter that also started following me: Wellness Mindfulness @911well

Instantly, I knew I had to favorite and retweet this message and I chose to add a message: ” Let’s talk about suicide! Stigma surrounds it & we need to break it!

Not only did I choose to share this on Twitter, but also on my facebook page and the walls for the Milwaukee Out of the Darkness walk facebook page and my own event page for the walk.

I didn’t know that the retweet would receive such a positive response. Besides the followers I have the hashtags reached further. Hashtags, universally used, may relate to programs, events, life, and anything you can think of and they’re reused over and over. I chose #suicideprevention because it’s something I believe in. I chose #MentalHealthWeek because that’s what’s happening in Canada this week. I’m thankful that through technology people reach across states, countries, borders, continents…across the world…to share messages. I expanded awareness to many people in another country. To reach out to those in need for hope and promise expands knowledge and knowledge helps prevent and cure illnesses, dis-ease, and innocent lives from being lost to the completion of suicide. I feel blessed to have received the opportunity to change lives.

#breakthestigma #suicideprevention #mentalhealth

Reaching 100!

It’s been over a year since That’s All I Got! became reality. Since then 175 books have been in my personal inventory waiting for good homes to readers to inspire and educate. For a long time, 99 books have waited for 1 more to join them out into the world. That day arrived. On May 1, 2015, book #100 found a home!

It took a lot of time and effort to reach this milestone and I began to think it wouldn’t arrive. Here’s proof that patience does pay off. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible and to those who help share the message the book holds.

There’s too many innocent lives lost to the completion of suicide every year due to mental illness. There’s too many stories that need telling to help prevent another life lost and to educate others about mental illness and suicide. I’m surprised how many people have had their lives touched in some way due to a suicide loss. Just today, I listened as someone shared the story of another life lost to suicide, and this person asked questions that most people don’t due to the stigma still surrounding suicide. Help break this stigma-speak the story/journey-help others-share the message.