The Last Lost Days of August

Suicide prevention and awareness

September 2nd is approaching; the anniversary of my father’s suicide.

It’s been nineteen years—yes, nineteen— and I still never know how that day will arrive. Some years the sorrow of loss starts gathering early. It might appear days, even weeks, beforehand, and is persistent like the dense fog that clings to these late August mornings—heavy and opaque.

Other years the date, though permanently circled on the calendar in invisible red ink, passes undetected by my emotional radar and I awake on September 3rd surprised by a guilt-tinged realization that I didn’t think of September 2nd at all. But those years are rare.

But today, August 21st,  marks a different anniversary from that same year that I rarely talk about. It’s the anniversary of the day my father wrote his suicide notes.

Continue reading “The Last Lost Days of August”

D. from USA. XIZOZU and the New Old Sister

Customers Share:

A few weeks ago I received a custom order request from a woman who was meeting her sixty-nine year-old sister for the first time. She wanted to bring her a gift of a custom XIZOZU to mark the occasion, privately. Of course being a story addict, I was captivated by the story and asked “D” if she would share some of the details of how this came to be. Here’s what she told me. She was gracious enough to permit me to share it with you.

My mother became pregnant while in nursing school in the late 1940s. When she graduated she went directly to a Catholic home for unwed mothers where she had the baby and gave it up for adoption. The baby, let’s call her Lisa, was raised by wonderful parents.

My mother assumed all records would be sealed forever but of course several years ago the law changed. Nobody in my mother’s family ever knew. AS it happened my brother is big into ancestry and uses an online site with a DNA service. Lisa was also in the system. Last year the website matched their DNA to be first degree relatives.

My mom had large family and I would have thought she would have been the last of her siblings this would have happened to. We had been communicating with Lisa trying to figure out which of our uncles or aunts would have been her parent. My brother and I were the only ones who knew at this point.

When the birth certificate was found and clearly showed my mom’s signature you could have knocked me over with a feather.

It’s 2017 and my ninety-year-old mother’s health is failing fast. My brother and I did talk to her about it and she really wanted nothing to do with it and it was not to be talked about to anybody else. Lisa eventually wrote my mom a wonderful letter and spoke with her briefly on the phone. Lisa wanted them to meet. My mom, a wonderful, popular woman with many friends, could not handle it at that time; she declined.

Ultimately I did convince my mom to meet with Lisa which I swore would be unbeknownst to anybody else. So the arrangements for a mother and daughter reunion were were made. Two days before they were to be together, face to face,  my mom passed away.

Since then I have stayed in communication with Lisa and my other siblings all now know. My sister and I are going to meet with her this summer and I wanted to bring her a gift.


Sisters meet their sister who was given to adoption in the 1940s.This is the custom XIZOZU™ created exclusively for this wonderful event. What D. doesn’t know is that in gratitude for her being so generous with her story, I’m sending one for her and her other sister as well. Only these three women ever have to know the true meaning behind the piece.

How about you? What makes you indestructible? Tell us here.

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You might be a caregiver if… | The XIZOZU 8

This week’s eight things that are worth sharing with friends

Issue #5: The art & heart of caregiving 

Are you wedged somewhere between the needs of children, spouses, and aging parents or ailing friends? February 16th is National Caregivers Day! We’re tipping our hats to those who by circumstance or profession wear the superhero cape of caregiving. It’s important, demanding and often thankless work. But we thank you. You are appreciated. Here’s some help:

  1. FIND YOUR TRIBE. Caregivers is a group designed to help care for the caregivers with ideas and support to lighten your load. If you didn’t laugh, you’d cry. And may still with this quick read of 25 touching caregiver experiences that will make you smile.
  2. LEAVE IT TO THE PROS. Even though they seem like superheroes of comfort—and trained for the inevitable—professional caregivers also have emotions that must be processed. Professional Caregivers Grieve Too.
  3. GIVE ‘EM A BREAK. Got a heavy-hitter caregiver in your life? Give them a break. Literally. This week might be the perfect time. You might also treat them to a medal 🙂
  4. LET THE MUSIC PLAY. Sounds that Heal. Providing music to those recovering. Everybody wins.
  5. EVERYTHING’S RELATIVE. Touching story of how one customer honored the passing of their spouse—When one person is five people.
  6. FIND YOUR CHILL. It’s OK to relax. In fact it’s required.
  7. FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD. I don’t care what you say nothing is more comforting than food! Here’s a rundown of the most popular go-to comfort dishes. Comfort Food Countdown – where does your favorite fall? (Personally, I’d switch #1 & #3 and everyone knows it.)
  8. CREATIVE CARING. Crafty ideas for children or adults that help you pass the time and have fun!

YOUR EMAIL EXCLUSIVE:
YOU MIGHT BE A CAREGIVER…
Or know one.

Honor the selfless dedication, countless hours, complex emotions, and comforting nature of the caregivers in your life with this XIZOZU medal designed expressly for that very special role.

Get yours >>

 


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The XIZOZU 8 is a regular collection of eight helpful or entertaining ideas that we think our friends and fans will enjoy.  Subscribe and get it delivered  straight to your inbox.

Information worth sharing with friends

When One Person Is Five People

Losing a loved one impacts so many relationships.

Bereavement and greif, how to honor the life of a loved one who has passed. Just before Christmas I received an order for five XIZOZU: Loss of Wife, Loss of Sister, Loss of Daughter, Loss of Mother, Caregiver.

I got teary. Instantly.

It was impossible to miss the far-reaching impact that the passing of this one woman had in her world.

I was glad to create medals that would be reminders of each of those sacred connections and also containers for the love that could no longer be physically expressed. I poured all my comforting energy into each of those medals.

It’s easy to forget how deeply each of us touches so many others on a given day, in a given lifetime. As I packaged the order up for delivery I whispered a promise to myself to be better about valuing each of spaces I occupy in other people’s lives. 

Have you thought about how many roles you fill in your everyday life? The list grows quickly once you start making it. Believe me.

Thanks for reading,
Christine

View Current Medals

In Time for Christmas

Remembrance jewelry lets you honor your loved ones and keep them near to your heart
Stylish, discrete packaging allows customers to not reveal the meaning of their XIZOZU™
XIZOZU™ Medals of Honor empower women to honor their hourney but say it in secret.

If you still want a XIZOZU for yourself or as a gift in time for Christmas, I have  XIZOZU™ in hand that can be shipped standard or express service through December 21st!

Plus you save! Each medal is only $20.00 shipping!

HERE’S THE COMPLETE LIST

Let me know which XIZOZU™ medals you’d like and we can take care of the details via Etsy or Paypal.

Don’t wait though! Once these are gone I won’t be making more until after Christmas!

 

The Importance of Remembrance and Memorial Jewelry

Remembrance jewelry lets you honor your loved ones and keep them near to your heart

Yesterday’s post about my father’s suicide received a lot of positive attention both here on the blog and in conversations on Facebook.

It was wonderful to see the dialog about mental wellness and suicide open up around me, but what was equally striking was the number of private messages I received in which people privately expressed their experiences with suicide. Those who reached out via text and email wanted to share their thoughts and memories, but confidentially.

That’s exactly what XIZOZU’s all about. The ability to  honor an event or emotion, while still keeping it secret.

Personally I think it’s important to broaden the conversation about mental wellness, grief, trauma, and suicide, so I’ll talk about, or write about, my experience of losing my dad. Others aren’t there yet. I totally get that. Everyone processes grief differently and there’s no universal way to do it.

Above is one of the XIZOZU™ I will be likely wearing for the next few weeks. Its one I wear often. It honors the loss of a loved one through suicide. It’s where I can direct my affection, and sometimes draw  bit of strength, anytime I’m move to, especially when I touch it.

Honor your own achievements, challenges and loss with your won medals.

Get Yours

 

Saying It In Secret

Sent this set to a buyer this morning.

The aspect of one’s life that any given XIZOZU™ honors is only identified on the inside of the hangtag. You can share it’s meaning if you choose. Or not.

You see, we deeply respect your privacy and are exceptional secret-keepers.

Adoption or Surrogacy: Two Paths To Family

This thoughtful article appeared in my Facebook feed just a day after I had created XIZOZU™ medals for both adoptive families and surrogate mothers. It’s worth everyone’s time to read.

For Gay Parents, Deciding Between Adoption and Surrogacy Raises Tough Moral Questions by John Culhane

For gay or infertile couples, adoption (in all of it’s forms,) or surrogacy are the only options for creating a family. Both paths can be paved with joy, or pocked by heartbreak; sometimes both. Besides being expensive, the experience itself is incredibly complicated—emotionally and legally—with laws varying from state to state, and for international adoptions, country by country.

Regardless of which path you choose to bring a child into your home and heart, it’s as deeply emotional and long-lasting as creating a family in any traditional way.

It changes everyone.

Honor your journey.

 

Resources In Support of Grieving Parents

A Letter to People in Pain: The Early Days of Grief Are a World of Their Own by Megan Devine

Dear Kate: Living With Grief by Nancy Comiskey

How to Talk To A Parent Who Has Lost a Child by Samantha Hayward

Death of a Child Affects Relationships Throughout Family by Alex James

Death of a Child ~ Grief of the Parents: A Lifelong Journey by National SIDS Resource Center

Growing a Strong Marriage after the Death of a Child by Margaret Brownley

Helping Bereaved Parents Cope by Sandy Fox

How Grief Can Affect a Marriage by Pat Schwiebert

Let Me Tell You Who I Am Now by Angela Miller

Loving My Son, After His Death by Nora Wong

My Adult Son’s Death Has Changed My Life by Basia Mosinski

Parental Grief in the Wake of Homicide by Marty Tousley

Farewell To My Daughter Kate, Who Died On Christmas Day by Jean Gross

Reaching Out, Sharing Grief by Sherry Cassedy

6 Things to Never Say to A Bereaved Parent by Angela Miller

The Obliterated Place by Cheryl Strayed

What I Wish More People Understood About Losing A Child by Paula Stephens

When A Child Dies Of Drug Addiction by Joni Norby

 

 

Websites:

Bereaved Parents of the USA – Home Page

Center for Loss and Trauma – Dr. Joanne Cacciatore

The Compassionate Friends: National

Fathers Forever

Grieving Dads: To The Brink and Back

Grieving Parents – Surviving Loss As A Couple

Hospice of the Valley’s Grief Support Services

Lamenting Sons: Fathers in Grief

The Loss of a Child

Love Never Dies: A Mother’s Journey form Loss to Love

Open to Hope

POMC: Parents Of Murdered Children