“Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes”

Hi, my name is Christina, and I am a Shame-a-holic.

When i started this blog last week I did so with the intention to be as honest , candid, and open about my grief as I can be.

Ive spent some time with shame in my life. Ive also spent a shitload of time and money “in recovery” from it. And now, here I am, thick and heavy in the fog of it again–aware of its harm, and really attempting to use all the tools in my toolbox to distinguish between it and what is a natural part of the grieving process, losing my only child to suicide.

What I want to say is that I dont blame myself. What my shame says is that I played the most significant role in raising Isaac so therefore, I am responsible for his choice. What I need to say, to you, dear reader, is that
I AM recieving help because I cannot do this on my own, because in my despairing moments, I have a tendency to believe in the voice of shame and I believe wholeheartedly that shame would have its way with me without the intervention of the voice of truth.

I am not an expert on shame. I am a complete amateur with this particular brand of grief. As I navigate this desolate terrain, I endeavor to do so with grace and tenacity, to be gentle as well as unflinchingly honest with myself. Hope in the midst of hopelessess because without hope, without wholeness, we all self destruct.

Isaac lost hope. While I can only tell myself stories about how or why, I am not privvy to concrete answers. This is an agonizing fact that I have tried with all my might to outsmart. Now, I surrender completely to the simple truth that his loss of hope resulted in the ultimate consequence of self destruction. People have asked me if Isaac was suicidal. Obviously he was! But for how long? This I do not know. I do not know if I missed a crucial piece of the puzzle. I need to believe that I would have moved mountains if I knew Isaac was hurting prior to this day, this choice. I only know that I believe in my heart of hearts, in the bones of my heart, that this was an act of hopelessness– of shame–whether it was chronic and hidden or situational and impulsive. That is all I know about Isaacs choice. And because of his choice, it is my duty, to myself first and foremost, to prevent shame and hopelessness from causing my own self destruction– of all kinds–big and small. And if that helps someone else– blessed be! For now, I can only save myself.

This is a difficult truth.

I have been trying to intellectualize it– this has caused numbness and avoidance, “if i dont think about it, it will go away”. This is followed by guilt for not feeling worse. Bubbling under the surface are feelings I fear. With help, I am beginning to understand that the wisdom of my heart & body are trying to help me feel, not think my way through.

Fly in the tea cup…

In 13 years as a devoted-to-spirit-massage-therapist, I have conveyed this message to my beloved clients, to my child, to anyone who would listen– and yet, in the midst of deep despair– i forgot. I forgot that pain is a messenger. I forgot that I have to listen to it and look at it even when it isnt pretty or comfortable. I have to sit with it and let it tell its story, its truth. I have to feel it in order to understand it. I have to stop telling myself stories about its source and my role in it. I have to trust in it rather than judge it, doubt it, push it down or hide it away.

And then, someday, when I can embrace it, i can abide it. This, I pray, is the epitome of hope.


Published by: christinaryanstoltz

I write to touch the supple center of unguarded ache~ To release myself from the pressure of not knowing how to move forward from the unfathomable loss of my beloved son, my beautiful boy Isaac, to suicide, of not knowing how to release my grip on of the past, both the worshipping of it as well as the beating myself up for it, and letting go of the need to know what I could’ve done or what on earth I will do now. I write to heal.


5 thoughts on ““Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes””

  1. ❤ I am only sending hearts because I have no words. But someday we will hug, and take a walk on the beach together! I love you! You are in my heart and in my prayers.


  2. I believe in my heart of hearts this was Issacs choice as a spontaneous moment. The thought of letting anyone down was more then he could bare. I totally Beleive that because of the kind soul he had!! He loved life and he loved making people happy. He just had that gift!! I love you lil mama


  3. Christina, right before i heard about your beloved Isaac, i had just returned from avfuneral of my beloved brother in law in Kansas.He and my sister were married for 37 years. He was alone in his hotel rom away from my sister and died of a heart attack. Vanished. Gone. We are all mourning and grieving. Your honesty is so courageous.


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