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.

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?

Are people afraid?

On Sunday, September 14, 2014, the day after National Suicide Prevention Week ended, I hosted a table for a Little Free Library Grand Opening. A total of seven authors hosted tables at the event held at a church. The event last for 2.5 hours.

Disappointed came when I only sold one book. While the author next to me matched my one sale, he received more visits to his table. I think everyone had more visits/interests than my book did. I started to wonder if people are afraid of my book?

At the Health Fair a couple of weeks before, people stopped at the table (I sold three books at that event). During a church picnic people barely stopped by. The tables I’ve hosted a couple of my church functions were pretty quiet, but I sold more books. Go figure, then again the parishioners knew me and my journey.

Yes, a stigma still surrounds suicide. Some people won’t talk about it and others believe it’s a selfish act and not caused by a mental illness. People don’t always talk about things they don’t know much about especially if it’s only brought up when tragedy occurs and/or it’s covered in the media.

What are your thoughts? Do you think people are afraid to buy the book due to fear of what they might learn? Are they worried about what other people think if conversation around suicide entails? Conversations don’t hurt people, but sitting around and ignoring an issue that’s affecting more people, that isn’t going away, can hurt people.