Are you keeping your bereavement a secret from your employer?

This recent UK article caught my attention (it’s a good read). It talks about the fear that disabled and chronically ill workers face if they were to reveal their conditions to their employer. Penalties and job loss being two major ones. It also questions whether the pandemic has helped to change our mindset about this or whether our biases are too entrenched to implement changes that would better support the vulnerable. Which got me thinking. This is exactly the same for the bereaved. Are you keeping symptoms of your bereavement a secret from your employer to protect your job?

Continue reading “Are you keeping your bereavement a secret from your employer?”

Get Me Started! -a new course for the bereaved

I’m getting super close to launching my new online school and course Get Me Started!. The first in my signature series Beyond Bereavement Your Path to Personal Power. While my school is dedicated to helping anyone heal and transform their life through expanded consciousness, the Beyond Bereavement series has been created for people who have experienced devastating loss. Specifically, people who have had a recent loss or one from years ago that has left them feeling powerless to change their life. (I’ll soon be offering a course similar to Get Me Started! to help people get “unstuck” from where they are and learn to fall in love with themselves again!)

Continue reading “Get Me Started! -a new course for the bereaved”

Grief Culture Today

Sadly, I had a reminder recently of just how much our grief culture today remains unchanged from sixteen years ago, when I lost my daughter (and decades before). One of my family members shared with me the difficulty they had in knowing what to say to an acquaintance, who has a family member who is critically ill with COVID 19.

Given our own bereavement and the isolation we all felt as a result of it, I was somewhat taken aback to learn that this encounter for my family member still felt extremely awkward, despite everything we’ve gone through after the suicide of my daughter. It turns out that the bereaved can be just as tongue-tied when having an unexpected and/or unpleasant conversation with someone going through stress, worry or trauma. In this case, someone coping with the serious illness of a loved one that could potentially lead to their death.

Continue reading “Grief Culture Today”

WHAT IF YOU JUST SAID YES?

Are you someone who is more comfortable saying no to opportunities than yes? Can you recognize opportunities when they come knocking at your door? Looking back, do you have any regrets over the relationships or opportunities you let slip away?

Whether any of the above relates to a missed business opportunity, relationship you passed on or a job you turned down. Or it was the moment you hesitated to ask for a promotion, shied away from becoming an entrepreneur or hesitated to pursue an education. When you didn’t believe enough in yourself to make your dream career come true, or change anything else about your life, do you wonder what would have happened if you’d just said yes to something or someone instead of no?

Continue reading “WHAT IF YOU JUST SAID YES?”

Can we really find the Divine in loss?

After experiencing earth-shattering death or any other harrowing experience that for many, can represent losing something of great value and life-long devastation, can we really find the Divine in loss? The Divine, as defined by many as something of or from God, or Supreme Being of another name. Which hails from the celestial realm and in its sacred power, guides us to develop our personal form of worship. Where in our faith we believe that all good comes from or through the Divine. We trust that there are no mistakes. Not even when the worst of our experiences occur.

In fact, we may not even question why bad things happen to us. Instead, we become willing to let go of our tragedy. To replace our sorrow with peace so that we can move on with our life. Maybe even find happiness again.

Continue reading “Can we really find the Divine in loss?”

Beyond Bereavement – Hope Is Essential

Bereavement is the result of deprivation or loss. Many people (including my former self) do not equate bereavement with an experience other than physical death. However, bereavement can arise from anything that has caused us to live with intense grief.

No matter what has happened in our life to create adversity or knock us off our feet, we can change. We can free ourselves from whatever has trapped us in our mind and physical circumstances. From feeling hopeless we could ever move beyond whatever has thrown us our raw deal. From whatever has left us bereft of all happiness and the things we once wanted.

Continue reading “Beyond Bereavement – Hope Is Essential”

Are You Scared of Success?

Are you the kind of person who dreams about your future and can easily envision changing your life? Who can set and achieve goals? Who knows that what you do, want, and have to say matters? You feel confident and ready for more, but when opportunity comes knocking (as it does), you want to run? You make excuses about why you can’t do this or that and worry about how your life would change? You fear becoming more visible, engaged with others, maybe even well-known, and all of what that may mean? Are you scared of success?

Continue reading “Are You Scared of Success?”

Your Path to Personal Power – Beyond Bereavement

Can you feel it? Can you smell it? There’s something brewing in the air where I live. Probably where you live, too. It’s called a return to normal after what for most of us, has been the worst global crisis we’ve experienced firsthand.

But this post isn’t about pandemic experiences. It’s about the questions we’ve been left with, wondering what our new normal is going to look and feel like. Will it be the same as before with only a few minor tweaks? Or did the pandemic leash upon us profound change that’s left it difficult to imagine going back to the way life was?

Recovering from devastating loss is much the same. We’re left with these same questions. To answer them there is a path to personal power that will take you beyond bereavement and the pain and struggle to decide for yourself what you want your life to be.

Continue reading “Your Path to Personal Power – Beyond Bereavement”

Loss and trauma – making up for past failures

Loss and trauma – making up for past failures. Have you experienced loss or another traumatic event recently or in the past? Do you feel tied to your pain? Are you working yourself to the bone trying to make up for a past failure? Here are three questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you appreciate all that you have accomplished since that event?
  2. Do you even think about all that you’ve done and are still capable of doing?
  3. Can you slow down?

If you answered no to any of the above, read on. This post is for you.

Continue reading “Loss and trauma – making up for past failures”

3 Minutes – Suicide the best kept secret – Prevention

Recently I watched Our Silent Emergency by Roman Kemp (young UK media celebrity) who recently lost his best friend to suicide. While it focuses on what can be done to get younger males to start talking about their struggles amidst increasing rates of suicide, I found it helpful. I lost my daughter to suicide in 2005.

Regardless of age, gender or circumstances, mental health problems remain shrouded in secrecy and stigma. It’s been this way for years. I’m not sure what will ever change this regardless that we are talking more openly about the subject. It was no different when my daughter died .

The tragedy is that when a young person dies by suicide, it leaves a traumatic impact on the best friend(s) left behind. They seldom ever get over it. The guilt and regret can haunt them well into their older years. Just like loving family members believe they were responsible in some way for any family member’s suicide, friends believe they should have saved their best bud from dying. My daughter’s best friend struggled with these same feelings. Specifically, not confiding in us the best kept secret my daughter shared with her. Which was her wish to die.

Photo by Chris Yang on Unsplash

Suicide the best kept secret

One statement by Roman that struck me poignantly in his documentary was that it would only have taken him 3 minutes to run to his friend’s house. He could have been there. He should have been there for his buddy. And he would have been there if only he’d known his friend was in trouble. A guy who was the life of the party but had obviously kept his troubles hidden from everyone.

But then, who truly knows when anyone intends to die? Suicide really is the best kept secret. It doesn’t matter who is at risk.

The other thing that caught my attention was how much we hesitate to dig further into finding out how “okay” our loved ones really are. While some females may be more willing to discuss their needs than males, nobody’s talking much about suicide. If they were there wouldn’t be so many deaths.

The number one reason people choose suicide

The number one reason people choose suicide is because they believe they are a burden to their loved ones. Hearing this in the documentary helped me let go of some of the searching I’ve been doing for years. Feeling desperate to know why my daughter chose to die. This was what she believed too.

Prior to discovering this after her death, the thought never crossed my mind that my child thought she was a burden to us. I assumed she knew we would be there for her no matter what. As a mom, it makes me feel less inadequate and more the same as millions of other parents who couldn’t have done any more to prove this was simply not true. Having said this, it’s clear all survivors missed the chance to talk with our kids, friends and other loved ones about their mental health and other struggles.

Photo by Harli Marten on Unsplash

Why we don’t talk about suicide

Talking about our problems helps to squash all the negative things we tell ourselves that simply aren’t true. False stories ramp up in our heads and sometimes force us to make terrible decisions. But in the end, they always are just our stories. We can never presume to know what anyone else is really thinking.

One reason why we don’t talk about suicide is because we cannot fathom that anyone we love would want to kill themself. But people of all ages do kill themselves. Every day! We need to start accepting this as a fact. We are ALL vulnerable to a single moment that could compel us to make an irreversible decision. One that creates lasting emotional damage to all survivors.

3 minutes

It would have taken Roman only 3 minutes to reach his friend’s house to check on him. It only took about 3 minutes of the slightly more than twenty-two years of life my daughter had lived for it to be wiped out. Minutes I’ve thought long and hard about over the last sixteen years. Trying to end my suffering that’s been exceptionally hard to overcome.

Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash

What we can do to better support each other in our mental health needs:

  1. Ask twice. When we ask someone how they are, and they reply “okay”, ask again. People often reveal how they are really feeling after being asked more than once.
  2. Talk. Confide in someone we trust about how we are feeling and what we are thinking. It can change our story.
  3. Listen. Listening without judgement to what our loved ones and friends are going through can literally save lives.
  4. Fur babies. Someone interviewed in this documentary who had survived a suicide attempt found talking to his dog served the same purpose as talking to a human. Animals bring us renewed hope and optimism with their unconditional love. If you don’t have a living pet, a stuffed animal works just as well.
  5. Honesty. While there is still stigma attached to mental health issues and it is difficult admitting we have a problem, being honest with ourselves and our closest loved ones about our mental health can set us on our path to healing.
For newly bereaved parents

For other support, books and resources related to grief, suicide and healing visit vonnesolis.com.