I Did Not Know What To Say Blog

Archive for the ‘Suicide Survivors’ Category

Sign-Up Today for the FREE Grief Healing Telesummit: March 10 -18, 2014

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on March 5, 2014

Grief Healing Telesummit:

Enjoy free access to 17 amazing speakers who share their best information to
help you transform grief into healing and living again!

  Free Registration at http://griefhealingtelesummit.com/lpederson
March 10 -18, 2014
Please share with those with a grieving heart!

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Look at this amazing line up of experts!
I Did Not Know What To Say – Wed. March 12 at 1pm EST
The Grief Toolbox Toolbox
What’s Your Grief
Peace & Wellness Centere
Embrace Your Inner Self
Simply Kerryy
Dorothy Fitzer
Global Association of Holistic Psychotherapy
With Sympathy Gifts & Keepsakes,
Tina Games, Michael Mapes, Margaret Paul, Maggie Chula, Uma Girish, Tabitha Jayne and
Transcending Loss: Understanding the lifelong impact of grief

Free Registration at http://griefhealingtelesummit.com/lpederson
March 10 -18, 2014
Please share with those with a grieving heart!

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Posted in Caregiver, Children Grief Support, Gratitude, Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Grief Support Workshops, Holiday Grief Support, Hospice/Palliative Care, Inspiration, Loss due to Suicide, Loss of a Aunt/Uncle, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Father, Loss of a Friend, Loss of a Grandparent, Loss of a Mother, Loss of a Parent, Loss of a Pet, Loss of a Sibling, Loss of a Spouse, Memorial Day, Men & Grief, Stillborn, Suicide Survivors, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Virtual Book Tour – Interview with Annie Mitchell – Author of “HOLDING BACK THE TEARS”

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on January 26, 2014

Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour.

Today we welcome Annie Mitchell author of Holding Back the Tears. Annie’s interview offers many insights and practical suggestions on how to support a parent that is grieving the loss of their child from suicide.

Please feel free to comment or share your own experiences on how your friends and family have assisted you in restoring balance in your life after the loss of a loved one in the comment section below.

What inspired you to write the book Holding Back the Tears?

The loss of my son to suicide on 6th February 2000 age 26yrs born 1st June 1973 the hottest day of the year.41zzqnU-RmL__SL210_

How did losing your son to suicide change your life?

It affected my health mentally and physically.
Mentally, I became a recluse, I was frightened to face people in fear of what they would say to me or not say to me.

I felt at the time I had to justify myself as to why my son took his own life as I felt I was to blame somehow. I was also frightened as I did not know what to say to them so I hid myself away from the world for 6yrs the only contact I had was with people on the internet and medical staff and my husband. I lost all contact with all family members who could not accept me for the person I had become. I felt low self-esteem and did not like myself for a long time, with having to cope with depression and anxiety on top of my grief it all became too overwhelming to cope on my own so I went and asked for help and accepted I needed it. I can be forgetful and very nervous in a social group but I can cope with these feelings by using self-help methods which again I learned through my journey.

Physically I tire very quickly and get stressed very quickly now. My energy is low so I have had to learn to pace myself out more over a day time. I can only take on small tasks and when I do, it takes me longer to complete these. This made me very frustrated indeed, but now I accept this is me now.

How does the death of a loved one by suicide differ from other losses?

In my own opinion, it differs as it is very unexpected if you expect a death of a loved one you prepare yourself for the worse to happen when this happens, it is unexpected and out of the blue and the last thing on your mind. So you are unprepared and in a state of shock.

Is there any one thing that your family or friends did for you that assisted you through the grieving process?
Yes, they did not focus all of my attention all on my grief, I was given space to for some me time to deal with my grief with a little guidance from them when I needed it also a lot of reassurance telling me it was normal to feel how I did at the time.

Our website focuses on providing tips to friends and family members on how to support a loved one through the grieving process. What would be your suggestions on how friends and family can support a loved that is grieving the loss of a child due to suicide?

Have patience and understanding and do not put a time limit on their loved ones grief recovery as for me, I did not really start to grieve until around two years later, even then I was still not believing my son was not coming back I did not want to accept that I would never see him again. I feel also for family and friends to accept you for who you are and not look for the person you once were as I felt I lost me after the very first contact of receiving the news of my son’s death. Something inside me broke and I knew then it could never mend. A bit like someone telling you shall never be able to stand up and walk the way you did ever again.

What do you wish your family or friends had done differently?

I wish they had, had a better way of communicating with me and did not pussyfoot around the fact my son was not coming back. For when they did this it only led to me feeling more and more confused and holding onto my belief that one day he would once again walk through my door.

Learning to cope with Grief is bad enough for the mother or father, etc. Who has been affected by their loss, but it is just as difficult for others around us as they too have to learn how to cope with you too. For some, especially those around me they would sometimes change the subject quickly or pretend you had not spoken or ignored the fact you were in the same room as them. Anything rather than cope with your pain. It was horrible for them and also for myself.

What are your top three suggestions to help people move forward in the grieving process after the loss of a child due to suicide?

Do not rush into anything, no matter what it is; going back to work or moving houses or even writing a book about your loss. Take time out to enjoy what you have in your life and what is going on around you at that moment in time.

Appreciate that you do have a future ahead of you to spend with your loved ones all around you.

What is one thing you would like readers to take away from your book?

To realize their loss was an important milestone in their life, one in which no parent ought to have had to face but to accept they did face it and that they can and shall come through it and go on to give themselves and others around them a stronger family bond, not take what they have for granted and to love and cherish every moment of every day they spend together which in return shall give their own life a purpose and a meaning.

What would you like our readers to know about you and your book?

Annie Mitchell (D.O.B 1953 – born in Scotland, to Scottish parents, a true Scottish Lassie grew up in Scotland and still lives in Scotland.

A Highly skilled ARTIST/WRITER/POET/MUSICIAN/THAI-CHI/POET/DANCER
Has sold many Art pieces throughout her life from miniature to full wall murals /pet portraits /Scottish landscapes to 3D textured sea scenery.  Master in all mediums.

I now put all my energy and time into devoting myself to my writing and promoting books my aim is to help others who have lost a loved one.   “HOLDING BACK THE TEARS”.

You can sit back and do absolutely nothing to help your bereavement grief loss situation and continue to feel the pain for longer with choosing not to try to help yourself.
Or you can choose to learn new ways of coping and accepting your loss and pain by using trial and error coping skills.

Have you written any other books? Do you plan to write any other books in the future?
Yes, I have a poetry book coming out soon with mothers in mind and others if they so wish. Available pocket size, I felt if I had had some little support which I could carry around with me in my pocket I could bring it out and read it whenever I felt the need for an emotional link to be once again with my child in thought and spirit it would give me great comfort on the darkest of my days.

BOOK IS AVAILABLE
http://www.rosegardenbooks.co.uk
HOLDING BACK THE TEARS is featured on our Helpful Books page –
http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/helpfulbooks.html
Grief Support Resources: http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/grief_support_groups.html

Posted in Gratitude, Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Loss of a Child, Suicide Survivors, Virtual Book Tour, What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

We are accepting Article & Interview Submission for 2014

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on January 25, 2014

Are you an expert in the grief recovery field? Do you have a story about your own life experience dealing with the loss of a loved one that you would like to share? Do you have tips or suggestions on how to assist a loved one after a loss? We would love to hear from you. We are open to article and story submissions for our website, newsletter and Facebook page. Please email us at info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

We are open for article submission for our I Did Not Know What to SayTM newsletter on the following topics:
• Tips on how to assist a loved one through the grieving process
• Inspirational stories on recovering after the loss of a loved one
• Special ways to remember a loved one during the holidays
• Featured stories on individuals and organizations that are making a difference in the grief recovery field
• How to articles on planning for a future without you (i.e. Life Insurance, Estate Planning, and Funeral Planning)
Visit our Newsletter archives: http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/mailinglist.html

We are also looking for authors to be interviewed as part of our Virtual Book Tour.
If you are an author of one of the following types of books, please contact us to be included in our 2014 Virtual Book Tour:
• Recovering from the loss of a loved one (child, spouse, sibling, significant other, parent, grandparent, friend, and pet)
• Inspirational stories on recovering from the loss of a loved one
• Inspirational books on living your best life
Visit our Virtual Book Tour: http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/griefbooks-virtualbooktour.html

We are looking for the following types of professionals to interview as part of our Planning for a Life Without You™ series:
• Funeral Planner/Director
• Estate Planning Attorneys
• Life Insurance Providers
Have an idea for an article? Want to be interviewed? We would love to hear from you. Please submit your idea or article to us at info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com

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Posted in Children Grief Support, Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Grief Support & Holidays, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Holiday Grief Support, Loss due to Suicide, Loss of a Aunt/Uncle, Loss of a Child, Loss of a Father, Loss of a Friend, Loss of a Grandparent, Loss of a Mother, Loss of a Parent, Loss of a Pet, Loss of a Sibling, Loss of a Spouse, Men & Grief, Military Loss, Miscarriage, Planning For A Future Without You, Share Your Story, Stillborn, Suicide Survivors, Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts, Virtual Book Tour, What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Leave a Comment »

In Loving Memory of a Widow: Quiet Reflections…and Loud Actions

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on April 28, 2011

Guest Post from  
http://widowswearstilettos.blogspot.com/2011/04/in-loving-memory-of-widow-quiet.html

Today is a very quiet day.
 
Make no mistake – it’s still a typical Tuesday at work.  Lots to do, lots to write, lots of deadlines, emails, phone calls…
Lots of…stuff.
 
But it’s still a very quiet day.
 
It’s one of those rare times where I struggle for words – but not for tears.  Tears are coming easily.
 
Because we lost one of our own yesterday.
 
She was one of our own because she was a member of our widowed community.  She belonged to every single one of us.
 
Every single widow/er who knows the incredible pain and despair.
 
Every single organization who seeks to help and support the widowed community.
 
Every single organization who is dedicated to allaying suffering and bringing healing to those in pain.
 
She was one of us.
 
I did not know her personally – but that really doesn’t matter.  She was a part of our community.
 
She was one of us.
 
The question of what causes someone to take tragic measures always looms large.  And in the days to come, many will ask that question.  Many close to her will suffer from the guilt that such a tragedy leaves in its wake.  People will ask questions:
 
“Were there any signs?”
 
“Why didn’t she get help?”
 
“How could she do ‘this’ to her children?”
 
All questions for which there may never be any answers.  But I do know this.
 
Sometimes there are no “signs”.
 
Sometimes a person doesn’t know how to ask for help – or thinks that it makes them look weak or wimpy to look at another person and say, “I can’t deal with this”.
 
And she did nothing “to” her children.  For as I have said in the past, oftentimes a person who takes their own life isn’t necessarily “choosing” to leave…it is simply too painful for them to stay.
 
A horrifically permanent solution to what can be a temporary situation. 
 
I don’t know of any widow support organization who has not intervened at one time or another on behalf of a widow/er in despair.  Many of us have sought training to do so as effectively as possible.  Recalling the time years ago that I was on vacation and received a letter via email that mentioned suicide, I now travel with the telephone number of crisis hotlines at the ready…just in case. 
In the days to come, there will be pain of unbelievable measure.  There will be much speculation.  At some point in time, there may even be blame assessed.  And at least one person will say something that is unbelievably mind-numbingly stupid…
 
But not from our community.  Never from the widowed.
 
Because we’ve been there.
 
We know that pain.  We know the despair. 
 
We’ve been startled by the sound of feral wailing that came from within ourselves because the pain in the pit of our stomachs and the breaking of our hearts was almost too much to bear.
 
We’ve suffered the lonely nights laying awake in the dark and praying for an uneasy sleep.
 
We’ve endured the ridiculous comments (and worse) from those around us.
 
We’ve fought for financial benefits to which we were rightfully entitled; only to have doors slammed in our faces.
 
We have been betrayed (and worse) by those who were supposed to have our backs. 
 
We know.
 
And so, while today is admittedly a quiet day – it nonetheless calls for very loud action.  And I’m really good at being really loud.
 
Please….PLEASE…if or when that day comes that you feel that you just can’t go another step on your own journey…REACH OUT!  Reach out to another widow/er – it doesn’t matter who they are; just the fact that they are widowed will bring you comfort in the immediate and love and friendship for the long haul.  REACH OUT to any one or ALL of the wonderful organizations that you know are out there.  That’s why we’re here…to help YOU.  We WANT to help.  We WANT to get you through the pain to a place of peace.  That is our entire purpose for existing.  Support.  Comfort.  Community.  Strength.  And if we can’t help you, we’ll get you to someone who can…immediately and absolutely FREE of charge. 
 
And remember…it is not a sign of strength to try and go through this alone – nor is it a sign of weakness to say, “I need help”.
She was one of us.
 
As a sadly-large community of the widowed, let us all declare that her death will not be in vain.  Let us recommit every day to helping one another recover – and when we are able, reaching out to others who are in pain.
 
She was one of us.
 
She was not the first.
 
But please…Dear Lord…let her be the last.
 
And may she rest in peace.
 
Written in honor and memory of Nichole Haycock.
 
 

About Carole Brody Fleet

Carole Brody Fleet is the award-winning author of the critically-acclaimed, “Widows Wear Stilettos: A Practical and Emotional Guide for the Young Widow”  (New Horizon Press) and “I’m ‘Heeling’ One Day at a Time: The ULTIMATE, One-and-Only Question, Answer and Reference Guide to Life After Widowhood” (due in 2011); as well as the author and executive producer of the best-selling CD entitled, “Widows Wear Stilettos: What Now?”.   To learn more about Widows Wear Stilettos; including the newly formed “First Month” Foundation as well as Widows Wear Stilettos’ nationwide in-person support groups, visit www.widowswearstilettos.com.

 

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Loss of a Spouse, Suicide Survivors, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Don’t Miss Our I Did Not Know What To Say Monthly Newsletter

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on March 17, 2011

Don’t miss our monthly newsletter featuring tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist a loved one through the journey of restoring balance in their life after a loss.

March 2011 – Featured Article:

The Myths Surrounding Suicide
by Catherine Greenleaf

Catherine Greenleaf is the author of the highly acclaimed book Healing The Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who HaveHealing the Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide Lost a Loved One to Suicide.

Be sure to also visit our Virtual Book Tour and read our interview with Catherine Greenleaf.

To read more, Click on the link below to sign up for our Monthly Newsletter: http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/mailinglist.html

Our Newsletter includes tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one.
Plus You will receive my FREE Special Report, “Twenty-Five Supportive Things You Can Do For Someone That Has Lost a Loved One ~ Plus Ten Thoughtful Gift Ideas”

Our Past Newsletters are Now Available Online.   Click Here for our Newsletter Archives.

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Suicide Survivors | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Virtual Book Tour – Interview with Catherine Greenleaf – Author of Healing The Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on January 15, 2011

Thank you for joining us on our Virtual Book Tour.

Today we Welcome Catherine Greenleaf, the author of “Healing The Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide”. Catherine’s interview offers many insights and practical suggestions on how to assist a loved one that is a suicide loss survivor.

Please feel free to comment or share your own experiences with grief and the healing process in the comment section below.

“Healing The Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide” is featured on our Helpful Books page under Healing after a Suicide.

And now our interview with Catherine Greenleaf:

1. What inspired you to write the book Healing The Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide?

I wrote the book I wished I’d had when I was first going through suicide grief. My first suicide loss was in 1980. While there were many books written about suicide during the 1980s and 1990s, I found most of them to be published by academics writing for a professional audience of psychiatrists. I was yearning for a book in plain English I could understand, written by a suicide loss survivor like myself, so I could read about how to get through the grief. I wrote my book so survivors could identify the stages, or passages, of suicide grief and know they were not going crazy. I also wanted the book to help survivors know that things do get better and it is possible to hold that special person in your heart and still live a happy life. I finally published my book in 2006 – it took many years to write!

2. How did losing your friend to suicide change your life?

I was so young back then. I was in my mid-20s and I had never really experienced a sudden death before. I was devastated. He was one of my closest friends, and more like a brother to me than a friend. I felt like I had totally failed him as a human being, that I should have done something to somehow stop him. I can remember every night after coming home from work lying down in the bathroom on the cold tile floor and just weeping and sobbing. This went on for months. I ate a lot. I gained weight. I didn’t really take very good care of myself. I didn’t reach out for help. I just kept it all inside and didn’t talk to anybody. But you know, back then, Healing the Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicidethere weren’t really any support groups or therapists specializing in suicide loss. Things are a lot different today.

3. How does the death of a loved one by suicide differ from other losses?

Suicide is sudden and violent. It gives you no opportunity for closure. Your loved one is there one minute and gone the next. There’s no chance to even say good-bye. The self-inflicted violence of suicide is appalling, and often family and friends are diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, whether they witnessed the suicide or not. Just the news alone sometimes is enough to cause PTSD. Suicide is also considered a form of complicated disenfranchised grief, because there is so much shame and stigma attached to it, and society in general just does not offer support to grieving families. The irony of suicide grief is we are the ones who must reach out and ask for the help at a time when we are most in need of help from the community. I am happy to say that is finally beginning to change.

4. Is there any one thing that your family or friends did for you that assisted you through the grieving process?

I have to say I am very fortunate that I have incredibly wonderful friends. After the suicide, I had several friends encouraging me to take care of myself and seek help. One of my friends drove me home from work after I got the news of the suicide by telephone. I was so shell-shocked I don’t even remember it, but apparently she drove me home and cooked me dinner! My friends are good listeners. They will let me rant and rave and they will just sit there and offer support. I should add here, however, that some friends will be unable to offer support and may even disappear from your life. This happened to me. Not everyone is cut out to handle the pervading stigma around suicide. It’s another loss, to be sure, but it does happen. Stick with the people who can support you and validate your loss.

5. Our website focuses on providing tips to friends and family members on how to support a loved one through the grieving process. What would be your suggestions on how friends and family can support a loved that is grieving due to suicide?

Be a “first responder.” Since suicide loss survivors are very likely to pull down the shades and hide inside the house, you be the one who rings the doorbell or makes the phone call and offers unconditional love and support. You have to understand that suicide in the family makes you feel like the whole world thinks there is something abnormal about your family. That is not true, of course. Suicide can happen in any family. But you feel the heavy weight of shame nonetheless. The best things you could say would be: “I am so sorry,” and “Is there anything I can do?” Silence is the worst thing. So many people aren’t sure what to say, so they don’t say anything. To the suicide loss survivor, unfortunately, this could be interpreted as condemnation.

Ask them what they need. If they want to talk, then you can be a tremendous help by just listening. If they just want to sit silently and enjoy the closeness of your company, then that can be just as comforting as well. You’ll want to remember that at times they may not know their own minds. Suicide grief is a form of complicated grief because dying through violent self-infliction is extremely traumatizing to the loved ones left behind. Not only are they trying to work through the stages of suicide grief, they are also often diagnosed with PTSD and experiencing various symptoms like agitation and sleeplessness. They may also have to go on medication for anxiety and depression. There are going to be days where they have no idea what they want, so your patience will be key.

6. What do you wish your family or friends had done differently after you lost your friend by suicide?

I wish my family had talked about it. There wasn’t even a discussion to not discuss it. It was like a silent, unwritten pact to pretend nothing happened. My family didn’t mention Bob’s name for 11 years. It was like he never existed. There was so much shame and stigma and confusion, the decision was made to sweep it all under the rug and pretend it never happened. I think my family’s reaction is pretty typical of many families today who experience suicide loss. Unfortunately, the trauma and repressed emotions don’t go away. They are buried alive and will come out unexpectedly during another loss or crisis like divorce or illness. I would suggest family and friends urge their loved ones to get help, and start talking about it.

7. What are your top three suggestions to help people move forward in the grieving process after the loss due to suicide?

1. Be sure to find yourself a sudden loss bereavement therapist. Just any grief therapist will not do. You really need someone well-versed in the trauma of sudden, complicated grief. I can tell you Kubler-Ross’ Five Stages of Grief do not apply to suicide loss. Kubler-Ross’ created those stages of grief in the 1950s for hospice patients. Unfortunately, since that time many therapists have used a cookie-cutter approach with those stages. I have documented 12 stages, or passages, through suicide grief in my book.

2. Don’t feel guilty if you feel relief after your loved one dies by suicide. Many of us have lost loved ones with brain disorders. Living with someone with a personality disorder, schizophrenia or bi-polar can be extremely stressful. From my own experience, you kind of walk on eggshells hoping they won’t go off their meds and have an “episode.” So when they do die, it’s not that you feel relief because they’re gone, it’s because you no longer have to tiptoe around hoping not to set them off.

3. Don’t isolate. Join a suicide loss survivor support group in your area. Make friends with these people. Go out for coffee and ice cream with them when you are feeling lonely or overwhelmed. Put yourself with friends who validate your loss and encourage your recovery.

8. What is one thing you would like your readers to take away from your book?

That my book is strictly for them – for the suicide loss survivor. I don’t go on and on about what to do and what not to do to prevent the suicide of a loved one. My book does not focus on suicide prevention. There are plenty of organizations and books out there addressing that side of things. The big problem is there are not enough books addressing the needs of the loved ones left behind. That is why I wrote my book: to address the confusion, anger, hurt and despair. I want my readers to know they can survive their grief and go on to live happy lives.

9. What would you like our readers to know about you and your book?

I’ve lost three people, the first in 1980, the second in 1986 and the third in 1992. Since I had been through it three times, I naturally started to notice a pattern to my reactions, my grief and what I needed to do to get through it all. I started writing it all down and eventually my journaling turned into a book. I would suggest that any survivor keep a journal. It is a very powerful tool for healing. I tell my journal all my deepest, darkest secrets and fears.

10. Have you written any other books? Do you plan to write any other books in the future?

I just came out of the recording studio! I have created a CD of healing music and positive affirmations called Today, I Am Healing. The affirmations are designed to help restore a person’s self-esteem and self-worth after a suicide loss. I found a wonderful New Age music composer to write the music. It should be out by May of 2011.

About Catherine Greenleaf

Catherine Greenleaf is a suicide loss survivor. She travels all over the United States to share her experiences with other survivors. Her website is: http://www.healingthehurtspirit.com. You can follow her on http://www.twitter.com/todayiamhealing. You can also read her articles on suicide loss at: http://www.healingfromsuicidegrief.blogspot.com.

Healing The Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations for People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide is featured on our Helpful Books page – http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/helpfulbooks.html

Grief Support Resources: http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/grief_support_groups.html

Posted in Loss of a Friend, Suicide Survivors, Virtual Book Tour, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »