The Signs Beckon

The signs beckon me, calling my name. Come in Today! Store closing. 80% off. Everything must go.

I’m a retail homing pigeon when there’s promise of a “deal.” (Guest Blogger, Jolene Weir, R.N)

It always happens. It doesn’t matter what type of store. This time it was my neighborhood pet store.

Surely He needs a Gift

It happened again last Friday, the day the news broke of Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. I don’t have a pet. But, I’m the devoted “auntie” of my brother’s Chihuahua, ChiRo, who’ll be visiting me this summer.

Surely, he needs a gift, I told myself while stepping inside. Little did I realize this shopping stop was more than an impulse – it was a divine appointment.

I Realized We Are All Traumatized

The store was empty except for two clerks. They were busy rearranging merchandise on half empty shelves. As they worked, the ladies chatted about the suicide.

I boldly chimed in on the conversation. I commented on the sadness and referenced Kate Spade’s suicide just days before. One of the women had to go help a customer at the register. So, I spent the next four or five minutes talking with the remaining clerk. She talked about her deep sorrow over the death of the brilliant and talented Anthony Bourdain. Gone by suicide. Gone. Dead.

She told me she’d stopped by the library that morning on the way to work. She wanted to pick up one of Bourdain’s books. But every one of them was already checked out or reserved. She left empty handed and broken hearted.

Let’s Keep The Conversation Going

I shared how important it is to keep the conversation going about mental health and suicide. Log after the headlines fade. Long after the collective whispers stop, “Can you believe it? Did you hear the news?” She agreed.

What happened next is my ‘why’ for writing this. The young woman turned towards me as she was putting a 5# bag of dry cat food on the shelf. We looked at each other. Her lip started to quiver and the pained expression on her face spoke volumes. I took one step towards her and suddenly she was in my arms crying.

“I’ve lost so many friends to suicide. This just rips my heart out. What do I do?”

I simply said…” I don’t know. But trust yourself. You will figure it out. Let’s keep the conversation going about mental health, suicide and grief.” She nodded.

Store Closing and Hearts Opening

A store closing and hearts of strangers opening. That was why I was there. To hold a brief but important conversation. To be with another for a few moments in collective sadness.

I don’t know how or even how often I will “keep the conversation going.” This is a start, I suppose.

One thing I know for sure. The next time I see store closing signs and hear the siren song of 80% off everything, I will remember my experience in the pet store. I will remember her and wait eagerly to experience what happens next… beyond grief and beyond hearts opening.

Thank you, Jolene, for this heart opening, blog. To keep this going…….I have:

Tips from Georgena:

  1. Know the Suicide Hot Line Number: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)
  2. Print the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale card & carry it with you.          (
  3. Find and embrace your personal weakness.

“Find your true weakness and surrender to it. Therein lies the path to genius. Most people spend their lives using their strengths to overcome or cover up their weaknesses. Those few who use their strengths to incorporate their weaknesses, who don’t divide themselves, those people are very rare. In any generation there are a few and they lead their generation.” ~Moshe Feldenkrais.