Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust)'s Blog (72)

'The Green Dress' Impact

In the two months since I got married and my new book, The Green Dress, was released (on the day of our wedding as gift to our guests), I have had time to reflect on how much the book has changed me.

It has been one of many steps that I now see are about how I have never strayed from who I am supposed to…


Added by Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust) on August 14, 2015 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Remember All That Matters to You This Holiday Season

Flickr Creative Commons | kayte terry

I will be the first to admit that I love the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. I’m a multitasker, I like to entertain, and my birthday is in December. Last week I was in England at…


Added by Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust) on December 2, 2014 at 1:00pm — No Comments

When Grief and Engagement Intersect

In March, just weeks before my mom died, Greg and I began to discuss a future together. I felt as if we were dancing around the topic a bit, probably because I had been married before and a part of me wanted to make sure it would truly be right, but also knowing that life changes and sometimes you have to go forward into the…


Added by Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust) on September 26, 2014 at 12:00pm — 1 Comment

Reconciling With a Loved One After Loss

My friend Janet once told me that parents raise their children to be independent and, therefore, they won’t get along all the time. I always thought of this in the years that my mom and I lived under one roof following my divorce in 2011.

I had a house in my hometown in Illinois and we had moved her there the…


Added by Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust) on April 2, 2014 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Long Winter Gives Way to Bright Spring

Spring is coming. While it might not seem like it with all snow and rain in many states this winter, everything will begin sprouting green soon because of all that moisture.

Usually we all look forward to spring because that means summer and warmth is coming. It means everyone will be outside. But when…


Added by Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust) on March 20, 2014 at 10:26am — 1 Comment

Thoughts About a Future Cut Short and Finding Balance

Something about grief throws us off balance. While we think we can predict how we will react after times of loss, we don’t really know until it happens. And sometimes we aren’t aware that our reactions are causing us act in certain ways.

In the 20-plus years since my younger sister’s suicide, I can see one way…


Added by Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust) on February 21, 2014 at 12:00pm — 1 Comment

In Time of Loss, Parents and Children Grieve in Different Ways

I never doubted that my parents’ grief for my sister’s death 20 years ago was different from mine. However, it wasn’t until I began to speaking about grief and loss, specifically about suicide loss, that I began to really see how the losses are different. And it wasn’t until I found myself working in the field, particularly doing advocacy work, that…


Added by Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust) on January 17, 2014 at 11:30am — 2 Comments

Just What You Need

George Bailey reunited with his family in 'It's a Wonderful Life' (AP Photo) The myth that most suicides take place during the holiday season probably has been perpetuated by the film It’s a Wonderful Life, where George Bailey feels as if he has failed his family on Christmas Eve and seeks to end his life.

Nothing could be further from the truth, though. The reality is that as much as people might dread being with their family members for two of the biggest holidays of the year, being…


Added by Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust) on November 26, 2013 at 10:00am — No Comments

Leaving The Coins For Someone Else

When I started to post my coin findings on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), I had no idea it would be of interest to so many people until I began to think it was boring and started to stop posting them. However, when I would talk to people, they told me how much they enjoyed reading about how I would find them. Some people said it made them smile and brought them a lot of hope because of my belief that the coins are being left by my dad who died in 2006.

For me,…


Added by Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust) on November 8, 2013 at 11:52am — No Comments

Remembering military families on 9/11

People often don’t see how the grief journey can be unique for someone who loses a loved one while on active military status. The events are reported in the media and sometimes families find out about a loved one’s death before the military can arrive to notify them. The public shows up for the funeral, invited or not. Since Sept. 11, 2001, over 16,000 uniformed service members have died on active duty…


Added by Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust) on September 11, 2013 at 8:30am — 1 Comment

World Suicide Prevention Day

While my work has been progressing beyond suicide prevention and suicide grief, I am still very much aware that this week is National Suicide Prevention Week and that today is World Suicide Prevention Day. When I looked at Facebook Sunday night, I noted how many people had changed their profile pictures to the purple and turquoise ribbon that we use as the colors for the cause.


And then it took a moment for me to remember that I was one of two people behind…


Added by Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust) on September 10, 2013 at 7:11pm — No Comments

The Mystery of the Coins

I can still remember when I figured out the coins I found were because of my deceased father. It was about a year after his death and my then-husband and I took a trip to Florida. We were staying outside Orlando and dividing our time between Disney World and Ft. Myers Beach. The morning we were leaving, I walked out of the motel to put some things in the rental car when I spotted a penny on the pavement. Next to it was a hazelnut.


Growing up, we always had nuts…


Added by Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust) on August 6, 2013 at 9:30am — 3 Comments

National Military Family Bereavement Study

There is little we know about how families grieve over time. Although the field of grief research is growing, we have yet to explore much about family bereavement. And we know even less about what happens to military families who have suffered the death of an active duty soldier.


With the number of military deaths increasing (not just those killed in action but suicides and accidents as well), there…


Added by Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust) on January 14, 2013 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Our loved ones want us to be happy


It was all about the Barbie bathtub.

I can remember it like it was yesterday– the moment when my younger sister Denise and I found the Barbie bathtub that I was going to get for Christmas. It was in a cedar closet my dad had built in the basement. I don’t think we were…


Added by Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust) on December 20, 2012 at 3:00pm — 4 Comments

A Giddy Book Release

Conversations with the Water: A Memoir of Cultivating Hope One afternoon recently, after being out for several hours, I drove up to find several packages on my front porch. One of them was the final proof of my new book,…


Added by Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust) on December 20, 2012 at 2:00pm — No Comments

The Old Road with New Paving

Over the past year I have watched my life come full circle. Some things that didn’t pan out in the years before my sister’s death, or things I lost interest in mostly because I was a busy college student, have come back into my life.

A few summers before Denise died in 1991 I had an opportunity to work at my local newspaper but it didn’t work out. Then a few months ago I…


Added by Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust) on December 3, 2012 at 5:30pm — 1 Comment

Looking Back and Moving Forward

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 Rusk (Linn-Gust) on November 16, 2012 at 3:00pm — 1 Comment

What do I say?

I never knew what it was like to have to respond to someone who lost a loved one to suicide. After my sister died though, I found myself thrust into a life I didn’t plan or want. And as nearly twenty years have passed, I find myself asked how to respond to someone who has just learned of a suicide loss. This comes most often through Facebook from high school friends who have learned of my work. I am grateful that I can share with people how to help because there is nothing worse…


Added by Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust) on September 21, 2012 at 4:47pm — 8 Comments

The End of the Road

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…


Added by Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust) on August 17, 2012 at 12:29pm — 1 Comment

Honoring Surviving Siblings Everywhere

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…


Added by Michelle Rusk (Linn-Gust) on July 27, 2012 at 3:38pm — 4 Comments

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