Friday, July 21, 2017

Announcing My New Grief Memoir: With Thanks to Readers of this Blog

 A long-awaited day has finally come. With pride and tears, I’m excited to announce the publication of my book, “I’ll Write Your Name on Every Beach:  A Mother’s Quest for Comfort, Courage & Clarity After Suicide Loss” (Jessica Kingsley Publishers).

Part grief memoir, part personal essay, part self-help, the book blends my suicide grief story with quotes from experts, original poetry, and soothing mind-body exercises to bring light and hope to my fellow survivors of suicide loss. It's intended for survivors; those who care for them, like friends, therapists, or clergy; and anyone interested in the suicide grief experience or grief memoirs. I’m grateful to have the endorsement of experts in suicide grief, like Iris Bolton and Dr. John Jordan, who call the book “eloquent,” “intimate and wrenching,” and “searingly honest” with “extremely helpful tools for better coping and healing after suicide loss.” You can order the book here and read more about it below.

(It's hard to articulate the confusing mix of feelings at this moment--a child gone, a book I never would have wanted to write, but given the enormity of this loss, a book I had to write and look forward to bringing to the world. More in future posts, I hope, on this grappling with blessings that may come in the wake of tragedy.)

The book has its roots in this blog and in my lifelong dream of publishing a personal book that would move people. I started the blog three months after Noah’s suicide, when I was just emerging from the worst of the shock and desperately in need of an anchor in the surging, bewildering storm of grief. Writing for the blog forced me to wring coherence out of the primitive scrawls in my journal.  I couldn’t help bellowing my pain to the world; I needed a container for my anguish that might be heard and held by others. And you, my readers, have been so generous to listen to and respond to that cry, even at its most raw, and encourage me to keep writing. I already knew many of you and have met more of you through the blog. It’s gratifying when readers share their own grief stories as we explore this wilderness together, seeking places of comfort, understanding, and connection.

After blogging for two years, I wanted to bring my voice to a larger audience in a memoir. I noticed that most suicide grief memoirs are written many years after the fact and lack the immediacy of the early years, when the pain, questioning, and need for support are most intense. I decided to build on the blog to bear witness to the early stages of suicide grief while reaching out to offer hope to my fellow survivors. I also noticed that the mainly chronological narratives of memoirs make it difficult for newer survivors to get through the books and find the topics they need to cope. So I decided to shape a book around short, digestible reflections in thematic chapters—on dealing with things like holidays, physical reactions, and self-blame--that show how each aspect of suicide grief evolved over time. I reworked and updated reflections from the blog, adding new material on the circumstances of Noah’s and my father’s suicides, mental illness, and other topics, along with more experts’ perspectives and creative or mind-body exercises that I’d found helpful. I was fortunate to find Jessica Kingsley Publishers, whose list includes many books on bereavement and mental health.

With the publication of this book and the start of book talks and other efforts to promote it, I’ve reached a new level of going public with my story and my identity as a suicide loss survivor. (So it’s finally time to put my name, rather than Mourning Mom, on this blog!) On the one hand, I feel exposed and a little uneasy; how will a broader public respond to this difficult topic and this baring of my soul? On the other hand, the warm, sensitive reception I was given at a prepublication book talk was immensely reassuring. As I promote the book, I look forward to meeting more survivors and others interested in the suicide grief experience. And I plan to use each public appearance as an occasion to raise suicide prevention awareness in the hopes of catching even one person before they fall. All royalties from the book will go to the Noah Langholz Remembrance Fund to promote suicide prevention and postvention (survivor support) programs.

I welcome your questions and comments about the book, here or soon on the Forum of my website (the website is fine but we're still resolving some glitches with the Forum) . And I’d greatly appreciate your help spreading the word about the book, especially to anyone who has lost family or friends to suicide, as well as health/mental health professionals, clergy, educators, and law enforcement who work with survivors, via your personal email lists, social media, word of mouth, and ratings/reviews of the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, FB, etc. You can refer people to my website or to the publisher for more information. You can also contact me about book talks or public speaking at
Many thanks again to all of you for joining me on this journey and helping to make this book possible! The journey continues on the blog and on my website, so please stay tuned.


  1. Congratulations Susan! Your writing has a lot to offer those touched by suicide as well as those who work with survivors of suicide.

  2. Thanks, Pam, I appreciate it!

  3. Congratulations on this courageous undertaking. I've been "enjoying" reading your eloquent writing and refer clients to your blog as a place for them to find support and camaraderie.
    I am in Long Island (a close friend of your friend Jane's) - if you'd like to speak here I can probably arrange it at The Book Revue in Huntington.
    Good luck as you launch into this next "out-in-public" phase.

    1. Hi Nancy,
      Thanks for your kind words and your referral of clients to this blog. I hope they'll find the book helpful.
      Thanks, too, for the offer to arrange a book talk in Long Island. I'll be in touch if/when I'm able to take the book on the road.