Melissa Bottorff-Arey

Picking Up the Leftover Pieces after Suicide Loss

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A Survival Guide, Facing Life After Suicide Loss

About the Speaker

Hello, my name is Melissa – I am a retired professional Chef, who now favors pretty rocks and plants…I also write books in my ‘spare’ time. A few years back, in my mid-forties, after a life of clearing hurdles and overcoming adversities, I thought I had finally hit my stride. Life was just good. Then, on August 7, 2016, my world shattered when my 21-year old son Alex, died by suicide. My life as I knew it ended that day.

In those early days, I wasn’t sure how I would survive let alone find meaning, or joy ever again.

Two years after my son’s death, I knew I had to try to find something that resembled life. I was just lost. My husband and I sold our business, our home, and most of our belongings to ‘hit the road’ in a motorhome. We traveled the country; to breathe, but also to figure out what now? For me, it worked. In simplifying life down to the basics, I was able to see how (and why) I wanted to build it back up. A lot of choices, hard work, and support were required along the way. I know I will always be a work in progress, but now I also know I can live a good life, right alongside my grief. Shattered can indeed be made whole again, even if it looks (a lot) different than it did before.

In rebuilding my life, I have become a podcaster, author, funeral officiant, and certified grief companion. My heart’s mission is to create a community of support and healing for suicide loss survivors – specifically for grieving parents like myself. Through my podcast, books, online community, and speaking engagements, I can help them step toward hope and into healing – to find meaning, and even happiness amid the leftover pieces before them.

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