There are things I don’t think about anymore. Like my sister Denise's birthday or the anniversary of her death. I am always aware of them but I try not to put too much focus on them, especially the day she died. I prefer to use my sister's birthday as a time to remember her as a person and reflect on what she continues to mean in my life.
But Denise’s 20th…
Added by Michelle Linn-Gust on November 16, 2012 at 3:00pm — No Comments
It’s amazing how much I can see reflecting back on the almost two decades of life I’ve had since my sister’s suicide when I was twenty-one. But what’s even more interesting are the experiences I’ve had in the past few years, particularly since I became aware of my life changing about five years ago.
On Thursday of last week I met with a priest to discuss several things that are going on in my life. Things aren’t going badly, but…Continue
My goal when I decided to write my first book, Do They Have Bad Days in Heaven? Surviving the Suicide Loss of a Sibling, was to bring other sibling survivors of suicide together. I knew my siblings and I weren’t the only ones who belonged to this “group” but in those pre-Internet browsing days, I also didn’t have access to others.
On Saturday night, July 21, I had the honor, and I do mean this was an honor, to speak at The Compassionate Friends Conference…Continue
I spent the summer after my sister’s suicide doing my journalism internship at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. While it was a difficult summer, I wasn’t about to give up on my dream to spend time there. The internship offer came three weeks after Denise’s death and was a bright spot in an otherwise difficult time. I literally jumped up and down on the couch in my apartment after that phone call.
In the few months I was in Colorado, I…Continue
Sunday, April 1, I was asked to bring my fiction books to sell at a St. Baldrick’s Event to benefit children with cancer. A fellow high school classmate lost his daughter Brianna almost three years ago to a rare brain cancer when she was thirteen. April 1 would have been Brianna’s 16th birthday. Another high school classmate – the owner of a local pub – offered her location for the benefit. The turnout was incredible. For three hours, people had their heads shaved, enjoyed a meal…Continue
It sneaks up on me every year. I’m lost in my life when St. Patrick’s Day and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament jolt me into remembering that March 18 is around the corner. I think of St. Patrick’s Day 1993, the last day I saw my sister Denise, and the NCAA Tournament, where I was when she ended her life. Then it's April 4, Denise's birthday. I'm not filled with sadness; she’s with me, I know that well. Instead, this two-week period serves as a checkpoint of sorts, a time to…Continue
I once heard Dick Clark say that we each have a soundtrack to our lives. Recently, I’ve been listening to the “'80s on the 8” station on Sirius-XM radio and letting those songs take me back in time to a different point in my life (with '80s music, that mostly means high school).
Just as songs can transport us to a different time and place, they can remind us of our loved ones and the bond we still share with them. Hearing a special song can spark memories and…Continue
Two weeks ago, I moved halfway across the country, leaving Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I have lived since 1994, and returning to my hometown in the Chicago suburbs.
I have spent almost my entire adult life in Albuquerque, having come here when I was twenty-two. It was eighteen months after my sister’s death and almost a year after my maternal grandmother died. I can’t completely tell you that I understand my reasons for landing in New Mexico other than I was drawn to the…Continue
When I let the first few people read a draft of my latest book, Sisters: The Karma Twist , everyone just assumed that I was Sarah McCall (the main character). I actually work pretty hard not to allow my characters to be me. I change their hair color; I give them different…Continue
I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote the original version of what would become Sisters: The Karma Twist , my latest novel.…Continue
Often after a loss in my life, I find myself digging through my mental archives trying to remember conversations and experiences with the person who just died. And many times I am disappointed at how little I remember. I can’t remember the many discussions…Continue
July 9 marks the ten-year anniversary of the release of my first book, Do They Have Bad Days in Heaven? Surviving the Suicide Loss of a Sibling. I still remember waiting for the UPS truck that day with the delivery of several boxes of books. Then sitting on the steps of my back porch, a copy in hand, worried that the font on the pages was too big rather than enjoying what I’d worked seven years to produce finally in published form thanks to Jack Bolton of Bolton Press…Continue
Added by Michelle Linn-Gust on July 8, 2011 at 3:33pm — No Comments
I pulled out the blue spiral notebook where I journaled from 1991 to 1994, my Ball State University years. Tomorrow I will drive the 239 or so miles to Muncie, IN, where I did my undergraduate work in journalism. I haven’t been there in almost ten years, shortly after 9-11, when I lectured as part of the journalism department’s Professional-in-Residence series.
I’m not sure what I was looking for when I opened up the journal but it was much more painful to read than I…Continue
Added by Michelle Linn-Gust on May 16, 2011 at 3:34pm — No Comments
After dropping off some books at a local bookstore here in Naperville, I had about fifteen minutes with nothing to do before my next errand. I thought I would take a walk and headed over to Riverwalk. At what was once the east end of the Riverwalk, there is a fountain. Earlier that morning on my run I had found a penny and now as I walked by the fountain, I found another one. I knew that this penny belonged in the fountain although I’m not sure if someone missed when throwing it in or if it…Continue
Added by Michelle Linn-Gust on May 14, 2011 at 8:00am — No Comments
From first grade forward, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Several times between first grade and high school I debated becoming a psychologist or an athletic trainer but a part of me never wavered from a writing career. In high school, I began writing my first novel, a fictional…Continue
It’s been ten years since my book, Do They Have Bad Days in Heaven? Surviving the Suicide Loss of a Sibling , was published. And it’s been eighteen years since my sister Denise walked in front of a train just two weeks shy of her eighteenth birthday during my…Continue