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Keep Showing Up

In light of the tragic suicide of Ian Alexander (Regina King's son), I want to speak on a few things. I do not know either of them personally and I will hope to be as respectful as possible in this post. About to be a lot of conjecture going on.

I do not know what was going on in Ian's heart or mind when he completed suicide. I can assume he saw it as his only option. I can imagine that he may have tried to talk to 1 or 2 people about what was going on with him OR felt like there was no one he could open up to. His struggles were likely on going and deeply painful for him.

I encourage us all to listen. Just listen to the people in our lives. Make ourselves available to them and keep showing up, to be present if you feel like a loved one is hurting. Their suffering may not be obvious but sometimes it is. A genuine, "how are you" followed by actually listening can go a long way.

Be kind. Always. People have begun to pride themselves on how "savage" they can be. How cruel and cutting and hurtful they can make their words. This serves no one. We are all in need of kindness. It takes nothing from you to show kindness. Practice kindness. It's what we all need.

Now on to Regina King. I do not even pretend to know what this woman, what this mother is going through right now. I can imagine the people in her life don't know what to say. They probably feel really awkward and are hurting over the loss themselves. I hope they keep showing up anyway.

When tragedy happens everyone is there at first. When the tragedy still doesn't even feel real. By the time it really clicks for her that her son is gone, the people will have faded back to their own lives. Keep showing up. Keep checking in. Keep making meals or offering to do things with the grieving person and most importantly, be okay with it if they say no. Be okay with making plans only for them to cancel. They need the options. To be able to connect if they have the energy and to withdraw if they don't and know that it's okay. (They should still be courteous enough to give you advance notice though).

I hope that people in her life are still willing to mention her son's name in front of her. Yeah it will hurt but feeling alone in missing him hurts too. Ask if she wants to talk about him. The grief isn't going anywhere. Be patient with her process. She will grieve for Ian for the rest of her life. Hopefully in ways that aren't as all consuming as they probably are now. Her grief will last as long as her love for him does. That is true for all of us. That's why it can so easily feel like it happened yesterday when it's been years. She will need her community through it all.

I'm talking about a specific person but we all know grieving people. Same thing applies.

Be present.

Be patient.

Be open to talk.

Don't rush them or try to fix something that's not fixable. You'll be a gift to them.

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