Tag Archives: suicide

Dear #PPDChat Army: An Open Love Letter

Dear #PPDChat Army:

You are the most amazing moms in the entire world.

Your heart, your fire, your compassion, your wicked strength, your wisdom, your drive to not let anyone else suffer alone is mind-boggling.

This week, one of ours struggled publicly. You didn’t run away. You ran toward her. You held her. You listened. You reached out. For her. For yourselves.

So many of you dove into her maelstrom right along with her. You were there for her when it mattered most.

At the closing of every chat, I always say that help is only a tweet away. To use the hashtag and an army will be at your disposal.

This week?

You proved it beyond any reasonable expectation.

This week, you were an army. This week you bonded together, rallied around one of our own. This week you brought tears to my eyes. To the eyes of everyone involved. (HUGE thanks to the BAND for giving our mama a safe place to vent)

Thank YOU.

But now, now that she’s safe, in the hands of professionals and hopefully receiving the care she so desperately needs, we need to focus on ourselves. Turn the army toward ourselves.

When we support others, we often push aside our own fears. We push aside the scary, the hard, the sad, the bad. We suck it up because we don’t want the one to whom we’re reaching to think we are anything but strong.

It’s okay to exhale.

It’s okay to cry.

It’s okay not to be okay right now.

It’s okay to collapse.

It’s okay to say “Hey, #PPDChat? That was hella hard and I need support.”

We will be there.

It’s what we do.

It’s who we are.

It’s how we run things.

We’re strong, each and every one of us.

We’re beautiful, each and every one of us.

But we’re fragile too.

Together though?

As an army?

We are unstoppable.

We are here.

Together.

You, just like her, are not alone.

If you feel triggered by this past week, USE the hashtag.

I promise, an ARMY will be at your side instantly.

Because that’s how we do it.

I love each and every one of you so much it hurts.

You all ROCK.

On surviving the tempest

The following post is very descriptive of a difficult period in my life. I have not shared this story with very many people until now. Within the past few weeks, it has been swirling about my head, wanting to come out. As it did in the story, it took me a very long time to get these words on to paper. But tonight they came. I’m grateful. Grateful to have them off my chest and out in the open. If you feel you cannot handle a difficult and potentially triggering read, go watch the following video, Michael Franti & Spearhead’s Say Hey, I love you. This song makes me sqeeee with glee every time I hear it. Also, FYI, the triggering things in this post? Start right off the bat. Be SURE this is something you can handle reading before you scroll past the video.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehu3wy4WkHs]

A Quick Note:

The following intertwines words I wrote tonight with words I wrote in college as part of a short story. The words in italics are from the short story. Toward the end, there are words in bold italics. They are explained directly below, in red.

Perfect

When I was seven or eight, or perhaps a little older, I wrote a poem about death. It was quite graphic. My mother kept it in her jewelry box for a very long time. She may still have it today – I don’t know. You see, as a child, Death and I often played in the same sandbox. That bastard repeatedly stole relative after relative. He snatched them out of my arms as a greedy toddler snatches toys away from other children whilst shouting, “MINE! You can’t have them!”

I hated him.

Death faded out of the picture for a few years after he stole my grandmothers. My junior year of college, Death came back with a vengeance and stole my grandfathers. Just for kicks, he stole both of them in less than three weeks. Insolent greedy toddler prick.

For the first time, I experienced a deep, dark, sinister physical grief. I often lost control of myself. I hit, punched, kicked, screamed, cried, wailed, and writhed until I passed out. I drank. Heavily. In places I should not have. With people I really should not have. I did things I now regret with people I really should not have. And then….

Then.

I signed up for a Creative Writing Course as part of my Major Coursework as I sought my degree in English Literature.

As part of this course, I wrote a short story about a Latin American Author, Alfonsina Storni, who killed herself as she faced certain death due to cancer.

Brilliant, right?

Still grieving, I struggled to write this story. You would think it would be easy. But no… it wasn’t. A numb void – that’s what I was when I set out to write this story.

It was spring. Slowly, the buds poked their heads out, the freshness of a reborn earth filled the air, the chirping of baby birds echoed across the forest. Rain fell to push the buds closer to blossoming.

Spring. Rebirth. Water.

There was a lake nearby the college. I often drove to this lake, sat there, dipping my toes into the cool water as I watched the ducks and geese swim and fish. Sometimes I even fed the geese, getting them to eat from my hand. I even discovered an underwater cement jetty at one location which allowed me to walk almost halfway out into the lake yet only be ankle deep in the water. The mere thought of standing in the middle of the lake like that still makes my head spin – very surreal.

As I struggled to understand Alfonsina, I visited the lake more and more.

You see, she killed herself by diving into the Atlantic Ocean from some cliffs in Buenos Aires. I struggled to understand why she would do such a thing – why, when she was a mother and would leave behind a son. I struggled with this because I was not yet a mother but I could not bear to think of my own mother doing such a thing.

Finally, I began to write:

I know they talk about me all the time. They say what a bad mother I am, those proper mujeres de Buenos Aires; what a distraught pilgrim she is, along for a ride of simple ecstacy. How crazy she is; the woman who lives away from the society she should be embracing. I see no point in embracing the false, that which inflicts pain and suffering upon others for mere appearances. Stretching out under the covers, I open my eyes to face another day. At least today there is no treatment for my cancer. Today I have all to myself and know exactly what to do.

After tossing the covers aside, I reach for my bathrobe. I pit-pat to the bathroom to shower before heading out for the day. No one else is home, my son is off at University listening to his Professors ramble. Warm water flows about my body for more than half an hour. Water lifts my soul. It is my freedom, my saviour.

It is dark outside now, night. I have a glass of wine and a pack of cigarrettes beside me. As I sip on the wine, I hear crickets outside. I also hear the soft echo of traffic just down the hill from my dorm room. There is a soft breeze which plays with the leaves on the tree outside my window. I let the last sentence rumble about in my head for a bit as I chat online with friends.

Water has been my own saviour. I grew up on the Jersey Shore, less than a mile from the beach. Each day as I walked to school the air was infused with the scent of saltwater. To this day, that scent is a very soothing scent for me – sometimes I smell it even when it is not there.

I think this is why I was so drawn to the lake just outside the town limits of my college. For me, water is peace. Water is solace.

As I lay down to sleep, I continued to brainstorm about this story. Due in just a few days, I had to finish it. I had to…

The next day I wrote a few more paragraphs.

Alfonsina comes to life on paper. And in my head.

Every action intentional, deliberate. This woman had a plan.

I find what I want, a pure white ankle-length dress. Low cut, it hugs my curves as I slide it down over my naked body. Staring at myself in the mirror, I smile, sliding my hands down over the cotton fabric, smoothing it over my hips. I rub some blush upon my cheeks and lipstick upon my lips. I whisper to my reflection, “I am Alfonsina Storni, and I am beautiful.”

From there, I briefly summarized Alfonsina’s life. Her childhood, her marriage, her life as a single yet determined mother. And then. Then I type a single word.

Perfect.

What’s perfect? Who is perfect? Who says things are perfect? Who has that authority? How did they get that authority?

I had learned an important lesson…not everything is perfect nor could it ever be, at least not here on Earth. Earth by its very nature exists on an imperfect plane, riddled with rills, ridges and faults.

Sorrow and guilt live among those ridges and rills, I thought to myself. So does death. Death. Perfect.

My story is due within a day or two. I need to write my conclusion.

I have to write her suicide.

The next day it rains. A deluge. Complete with thunder and lightning. Lightning. Water. Person. Death. Perfect.

I change my clothes. Flowing skirt. Flowing shirt. I grab my keys and purse. Run for my car. Drive to the lake. Park my car. Sit and stare at the choppy lake, listen to the thunder and watch the lightning. I get out, leaving my keys in the car. I won’t need them anymore.

I walk down onto the lake’s beach. Into the angry water swirling under an angry sky. I begin to cry. I wail. I scream. I shout. I lift my arms to the sky and ask why. I scream even louder. I pray for lightning to strike the water. I contemplate sinking beneath the water and staying there. I wonder how long it will take anyone to notice I am gone. I breathe. I wonder what it will feel like to fill my lungs with gulp after gulp of water. What the sting of lightning will do to my body. Grief has finally opened it’s gaping mouth to swallow me whole. I’m circling the drain. Gleefully.

The rain beats down on my face, mixing with the saltiness of my tears. I close my eyes and am reminded of the ocean. The ocean – Alfonsina.

Then it hits me.

At first it is a whisper. Then a scream.

This?

Is not what my grandfathers would want for me. Is not what my grandmothers would want for me. Is this really the BEST I have to offer? The BEST I promised my grandmother? IS it?

Is it?

I scream back. Angry at them for saving me.

I wade back out of the lake and trudge across the muddy beach. I get back into my car. I’d left it unlocked so anyone finding my vehicle wouldn’t have to break in.

I sit there, in my car, until the storm begins to subside, draped over the steering wheel, drenching my seat, crying, wondering what’s next.

I finally start my car. Drive back to school, trudge up to my dorm room, change, and plop down in front of my computer with a deep sigh. I open Alfonsina’s story and stare.

I begin to type, my hair still soaked, dripping onto my shirt and arms.

As I walked to the edge of the cliffs, I hear the thunderous roar of the ocean greeting me. My eyes drink in the beauty of the view. The cliffs went down about fifty feet, and at their bottom, a small sandy and rocky beach stared up at the sky. In the distance, several boats bobbed about in the ambivalent sea as they struggled to find their way.

I closed my eyes, held my hands out, and drew in a deep breath, relishing the scent of the sea. Keeping my eyes shut, I breathed in the sweet scent once more, holding it longer this time. I sat there a long while, holding it in longer this time. I sit there a long while, listening to the waves crash and the sea gulls cry overhead. Here, at Mar del Plata, I find my peace. Here, I glance into the mirror of God and am appeased momentarily. But then the pain and horror of my cancer grows larger and looms heavy. Recovering from a radical mastectomy, I’m to be home. But I had to come. Water is my saviour.

I draw out a small pad and my favorite pen. I write a few lines, as I always did when I visited the cliffs. Today is different though. Today is the last time I will ever drive here.

I Am Going to Sleep


Teeth of flowers, hairnet of dew,

hands of herbs, you, perfect wet nurse,

prepare the earthly sheets for me

and the down quilt of weeded moss.

I am going to sleep, my nurse, put me to bed.

Set a lamp at my headboard;

a constellation; whatever you like;

all are good: lower it a bit.

Leave me alone: you hear the buds breaking through . . .

a celestial foot rocks you from above

and a bird traces a pattern for you

so you’ll forget . . . Thank you. Oh, one request:

if he telephones again

tell him not to keep trying for I have left . . .

Alfonsina Storni

(*Note here: The above poem was mailed to a local newspaper by Alfonsina the day before she committed suicide. Those are HER words, not mine.)

I sign my name with a flourish and set my purse on the paper so it will not blow away. Standing up, I smooth my dress down over my body as the wind plays with the bottom of my skirt. Walking close to the edge of the cliffs, I lift my head in prayer. I ask God to forgive me, explaining I could no longer endure the pain. I take one last deep blissful breath of that sweet scented Atlantic air. I dive head first over the cliffs, my eyes wide open to see just what endures below God’s mirror.

I slump back in my chair.

Grateful to be finished.

Grateful to be alive.

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Graham Crackers & Peanut Butter with a side order of crazy: Part III

Welcome to Part III. Today I talk with the doc and get sent to the ER. Not the best day in my life but one of the most helpful by far. Click here to read Part II.

And we’re back at the morning when I wanted to let go.

They say the hardest thing to do is to let go.

Lemme tell you something – that morning, letting go was easy. I was weak, tired, frustrated, confused, and overwhelmed. I had nothing left to do but to let go. So I did.

As I drove myself to the doctor’s office, my mind was blank. I don’t really remember the drive. When I arrived, I went back pretty quickly and shuttled into a little room with a nurse. She asked why I was there. Didn’t I tell you on the phone? Why do I have to repeat myself? It wouldn’t be the last time. I sighed and let the monsters out of the bag. I was too far gone to care about consequences.

I sat in the doctor’s office confessing all of my dark secrets. But it wasn’t me.

No, I floated above myself as this other woman confessed to a multitude of sins that I had not committed. To thoughts I had certainly not had. To horrible things like not bonding with my child and wanting to smother her with a pillow. My mouth moved, sound escaped, but surely it wasn’t my voice uttering these things. I am a good mom. Good mothers do not want to do things like smother their children or abandon them at the hospital. Good mothers can do anything. Good mothers are perfect and kind and… well, like June Cleaver.

My house was a wreck, I slid closer and closer to carrying out these horrific pirhanic like thoughts swimming through my brain, I barely slept, barely kept up with anything anymore. There was no way in hell good mother applied to me.

She spoke slowly and deliberately, asking how long it would take me to get to the local hospital, what route I would take, if I felt I could drive myself.

I asked if I could go home to get some of my things. I needed a breast pump. My breasts were starting to sting they were so full. (It was almost 4:00 p.m. now. I had not pumped since 11:00a.m. and normally pumped every three hours.)

No. You have to go straight to the hospital. Can you do that?

But I need to get my things….

No. Hospital. Now.

Okay. If you say so.

She and I walked quietly to the front of the office where she helped me check out. (Sidenote: I carry that receipt/slip with me in my wallet to this day. It reminds me of how far I have come since then.)

I left and walked to my car. I called my husband to tell him the doctor sent me to the ER. I’d call with an update when I could.

When I arrived at the ER, they were waiting for me. The doctor said she would call ahead. I was triaged and sent back almost immediately.

The ER doc on call came in, sat down and asked me what was going on with me.

I told him. Quietly and calmly.

“I’m here because I do not want to be Andrea Yates. I don’t want to be Andrea Yates. Please, keep me from being Andrea Yates.” I pleaded with him as he sat across from me, legs crossed, arms crossed, yet seemingly warm and open. Relaxed. He stood in a very relaxed position. This made me comfortable.

I remember this ER doc. He kept telling me how much courage it took to seek help. He commended me for my bravery. Shortly after the ER doc left, a nurse came in and a security guard showed up. My belongings were taken away from me to keep them safe. (Translation – to keep ME safe.) I talked openly with a social worker about my situation, my thoughts, everything. I don’t remember what he asked or what I said to him. I do remember asking if I could have a breast pump. It was now nearly 6:00 p.m. I believe. My breasts were moments away from bursting.

The social worker talked with me about hospitalization. I nodded in agreement. I needed help. I needed to rest. He disappeared to make some calls. I wish I had known about Emory at this time. I would have requested to go there. But I didn’t so off to elsewhere I went.

My husband arrived with some of my things including my breast pump which I received permission to take with me. He looked exhausted and scared. I’m sure I looked the same – or worse.

Shortly after he arrived, the transport driver showed up. I asked to go to the rest room and had to be quick about it. I hugged my husband good bye and followed the driver to the van.

I don’t know what time we left the ER. The inky sky swallowed me whole as tiny rays of light beamed down. I missed the sun. I felt even more trapped and alone as the van glided over streets I had driven time and time again prior to this night. Yet tonight the buildings judged me, the stars judged me, and the headlights of the oncoming traffic judged me. They all knew – they all knew why I rode in the back of the medical transport van.

As the driver turned onto the main road away from my town, I took a deep breath. I had no idea what the rest of the night held but I already felt a tremendous sense of relief.

(Read Part IV here)

Why I support other Mothers

I just wrapped up reading a post over at Her Bad Mother, If Prayers were Horses, Grievers would Ride. She’s talking about the recent death of her father and how to cope with her daughter’s questions about death. The post itself doesn’t have a thing to do with Postpartum Mood Disorders. But my reaction to it does.

When I first watched the video montage about Crystal that Joseph Raso sent me, I wept. My children were in the room. And here was mommy, huddled with her laptop, headphones on, tears sliding down my face, my body literally wracked with sobs. Did I know Crystal? No. Do I know Joseph? I do now but I did not then. But I DO know loss. I know the heartache it can bring. I know it all too well. And I suffered from it when I was a child. By the time I was 22, I had lost all four of my grandparents, two cousins, and several other relatives. Most of them succumbed to cancer.

The first death I remember was when my aunt died when I was five. I remember her only a little bit.

My first real brush with a strong emotional reaction was when my step-grandmother died on Thanksgiving in 1987. Imagine getting ready to go to your other grandparent’s house to celebrate and have fun only to have your parents sit you down in their bedroom to explain to you that your grandmother has gone to be with God. I wept. I’m starting to cry again now. Strangely, I just accepted this as part of life. But I had already been through a few other deaths prior to this one so for me, death WAS truly a part of life. We went to her memorial service as she had been cremated. I remember standing at the top of a spiral staircase staring out the windows at the rain. No one was around me, I wanted it that way. My heart hurt. My body hurt. I wanted my grandmother back but I knew she couldn’t come back.

Eleven years later, her husband, my maternal grandfather died. Just a few days before his death, I had a dream. I dreampt his death. I saw him gasping for air, not breathing, calling for help, no one coming to rescue him. A week later, he passed away due to congestive heart failure. This was the first time I had lost someone so suddenly. I became an empty vessel only capable of crying, moaning, thrashing. It was not a beautiful thing. A mere 19 days after this, my other grandfather died. I had nothing left to give. Nothing.

I share all of this to get to my point.

After I watched Crystal’s video, my daughter asked why I was crying. I gulped. Dear Lord, how do I explain this to a child? How do I tell her why this beautiful woman on my computer screen made mommy cry? How?

I grabbed her and held her close. I pointed at the pictures of Crystal sliding across my screen. And I talked to her about what I do. Why mommy is on the computer so much. We’ve talked before but this was different. I told her that this mommy, THIS MOMMY, got very very sad after she had a baby. And no one was there to help her. She didn’t know where to get help. And she made a decision that took her away from her family. That this Mommy’s decision had made her family very sad and now her children didn’t have a Mommy anymore because she’s in heaven. I started to cry again. My daughter looked at me. I looked her in the eyes and said rather emphatically:

“THIS MOMMY is why your Mommy does what she does. Your mommy doesn’t want other kids growing up without a Mommy. YOUR MOMMY wants women to have help and know where to turn.”

We hugged, and a few minutes later, she came back over to me.

“Mommy?”

“Yes dear?”

“I’m sad the Mommy isn’t here anymore.”

“Awww, honey.”

“But it’s ok for you to be on your computer now.”

And you know what, since then, she’s really been okay with me being on my computer.

Kids are resilient like that. Yes, we need to guide them and be careful what they see and hear. But life happens. The more open we are with them about life, the better prepared they will be when they finally step out into that giant pool without us. And if they swim well, we’ve done our job right.

One reader’s reaction to Crystal’s Video

A close friend of mine, Marcie Ramirez,  a Co-Coordinator with Postpartum Support International in Tennessee, sent me the following piece last night. She wrote it to process her feelings after watching Joseph’s very poignant video about his daughter, Crystal. Marcie used to live in San Diego and was newly recovered from her own journey through postpartum when Crystal’s tragedy occurred. I immediately asked if I could post it as it was beyond fabulous. Sheer power and emotion are captured so magnificently here – I couldn’t let it just sit in my inbox. With no further fuss, here is the piece I received:

Today I was watching a montage that my friend had posted on her blog.  I had read the article which had the basic nuts and bolts…a story of yet another mom who didn’t survive the first year of her child’s life.  A mom, who just like me felt like her family would be better off without her and for whatever reason didn’t feel like she could ask for help.

As I watched the video I not only read the words but I noticed familiarities in the pictures.  It was a landscape common to San Diego, my home until not quite two years ago, where I gave birth to both my children and where I went through the most terrifying experience of my life.  I watched and my suspicions of this woman being from my home town grew when I saw the name of the cemetery.  My heart sank.  I clicked on a link in the blog that took me to the man’s original story and it turned out that he owns a restaurant my husband and I have been to on many occasions.  It was also the restaurant my family and I would go to every Christmas when we would look at the lights on Candy Cane Lane and Christmas Circle.  La Bella’s was one of the few perfect memories of my childhood.

As suspicion turned into reality I realized that I went through my Postpartum hell at the same time she was pregnant and when I was really starting to see a light at the end of my tunnel she saw nothing but darkness.  What if our paths had crossed?  What if I had been able to say something to her that would have allowed her the freedom to ask for help?  I never asked for help.  To this day I am still confident that if I hadn’t have been screened that I would be dead.

San Diego is on the forefront of Postpartum Mood Disorders.  I say this because I know first hand how incredible my access to maternal mental health services was.  I was screened through my pregnancy, before leaving the hospital and again at my six week postpartum checkup.  When I didn’t pass my screening there was a therapist onsite who saw me before I went home.  I saw posters, I had access to a psychiatrist who specialized in maternal mental health.  I wanted to kill myself many times but somehow was able to hold on because I knew if I could just make it to my next appointment that I would have a soft place to fall.  I spent close to two months in a mental hospital when I just couldn’t handle it anymore…but I survived and am thriving.  I am not only a better mom but a better and more empathetic person than I ever thought possible.

Still, when I read the words of this courageous father I was left wondering why she didn’t get the same help?  Was it because she wasn’t screened?  Was it because she developed the PPD after her last screening?  I don’t know and will never know.  What I do know, though is that just as we call our medical professionals to screen new moms we have a responsibility to do our own screening.  We don’t necessarily have to whip out the Edinburgh every week but we can sincerely ask a new mom how she is REALLY doing.  We can learn the signs of PPD and ways that we can help minimize the stress on new moms.   We can offer to bring lunch over and then have a real heart to heart conversation.  We can talk about our own experiences so that the one in seven who are suffering realize that they are not alone.  We can offer to take them to their appointment or watch the baby so they can take an uninterrupted nap.  There are so many things we who have been there can do to make a difference.

Ironically maybe an hour after I read the articles and watched the heart wrenching video, I was at a restaurant with my two boys who are now seven and three.  For some reason my oldest son asked if we could sit at a particular table in a section we had never sat in before.  At the same time a family sat down at the next table.  Mom, dad and a beautiful little girl who was maybe a year old.  The little girl, however screamed over and over and over…and every time she screamed I saw the life draining from her mother’s face.  The mom would bury her head in her hands as if trying to escape.

I was instantly back into my first year postpartum.  I could see, smell, taste and hear the very things that were going on when I was in that place.  My heart sank and I just wanted to walk over, hug her and tell her that she would be able to get through this.  Normally when it’s just a mom and baby I can easily strike up a conversation and casually mention that I had PPD.  This was different, though because dad was there.  He seemed like a wonderful and supportive father from what I could tell from my few minutes watching the family.  He was trying to take over with the daughter so mom could eat in peace.  Eventually he got up to get a drink and I was able to speak briefly with the mom.  I gave her my card which had my contact info for the work I do with Postpartum Support International.

Hopefully this mom was just having a bad day.  But what if she wasn’t?  What if she felt completely hopeless and was ready to escape by any means necessary?  We don’t know.  That is why it is so important for each and every one of us to love new moms and be there for them.  Sometimes a kind word can be the beginning of changing someone’s forever.

Reclaiming the Anniversary: One Father’s Journey

On April 9, 2009, I posted a moving story from Joseph Raso over at the Postpartum Dads Project. Susan Stone had originally posted this at Empowher.com and I reposted with her permission. The piece stayed with me.

On Wednesday night, I received an email from Joseph. It included a link to a video montage of his daughter, Crystal, set to the Rascal Flatts song, “Why.” Crystal tragically shot herself shortly after giving birth to her second child, Max. No one knew she had been struggling. They simply thought Crystal was being Crystal and worrying just as she always did. No one was let in to help her. Her world turned upside down, inside out, and the only way she saw out was to leave her family behind in the most tragic way possible. Joseph has worked courageously and tirelessly to share Crystal’s story with as many people as he can in order to raise awareness of Postpartum Mood Disorders. And for that, I commend him. It is difficult work to take such a dark event and turn it into something so showered with light nothing can touch it.

Today, February 27, 2010, marks the second anniversary of Crystal’s tragic passing. Please join me in respectfully remembering her life. Join me in praying for her family, her parents, her husband, her children – praying they will continue to find strength and that God will bless them each and every day. Join me in sharing her story to raise awareness of Postpartum Mood Disorders. Click on the candle picture to light a virtual candle which will burn for 48 hours in honor of Crystal and mothers everywhere who needlessly lose their lives to Postpartum Mood Disorders each day.

I charge you with a simple task today. If you know an expectant or new parent, male or female, make a point of asking how THEY are doing. Encourage honesty. Don’t judge. Listen with compassion. Educate yourself and expectant/new parents about Postpartum Mood Disorders. Feel up to more? Challenge your local L&D to educate new moms if they aren’t already doing so. Please don’t let any more mothers suffer so alone and so silently. It’s just not okay.

(Before you click on the video below, please know that it made me bawl like a total baby after having read Joseph’s piece. And I don’t cry or bawl. Often. If you are not emotionally stable right now, you may want to skip the video. There is nothing graphic in it at all. It’s just very very moving. Kudos to Joseph for putting together such an amazing montage.)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYIRZbyXnu0]

The following is what Joseph shared with me via email when he sent me the video:

“This Saturday (02/27/10) is the second anniversary of Crystal’s passing.  Mary, I, and the whole family miss her so.  Seeing her children, Hannah and Max, almost daily is double edged sword.  On one hand, being a huge part of their lives brings such joy, but on the other hand, every time we see them we are reminded WHY we are such a big part…  it is because Crystal is gone.  I thought you might want to keep this video in your library.  Someday you might want to forward it to someone who could be at risk of postpartum depression.  This song “Why,” by Rascal Flatts, not only tells the story of how our actions can affect others, it is also so beautiful, anybody could enjoy it.  When I first heard it, I was  reminded of what we went through after Crystal died.  God Bless You.”

If you, a loved one, or a friend are coping with the recent loss of a loved one to suicide, please read this from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

If you are contemplating suicide, there IS hope. There are people who love you. People who care and want to help you heal. Need someone to talk to right now? Click here for a comprehensive list of resources in the US.

If you are struggling with a Postpartum Mood Disorder, contact Postpartum Support International‘s warmline at 1.800.944.4PPD. (I may just be one of the people to return your call – I’m a volunteer for the warmline in addition to providing support in my home state of Georgia)

Bottom Line here? There is hope. There is help. And above all, you are absolutely NOT to blame. And above that? You WILL be well.

Please feel free to share any of the above information on your blogs or within your networks. In fact, I encourage you to do so. Below is a button for you to place on your blog in remembrance of Crystal. The only rule is that if you download it and post it, it must be linked to Joseph’s YouTube video.

Here is a list of blogs participating in today’s remembrance event. A big Thank You goes out to all of them for great posts! (If you posted and you’re not listed below, please let me know so I can add you to the list!)

Jenny’s Light

Jenny's light logo

At just seven weeks postpartum this past December, Jennifer Bankston took her life and her son’s life as a result of a severe postpartum mood disorder. Her family has started a wonderful organization in memory of her dedicated to spreading awareness, educate, and help support women and families suffering with postpartum illness. They have already achieved so much and netted over $50,000 at their first fundraiser. Please support this amazing family as they join us to help prevent other families from the pain they have so unfortunately experienced.