For the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I had the privilege of interviewing one of the few people who survived the attack from a higher floor in the tower. Ari Schonbrun worked on the 101st floor in the accounts receivables department of a stock market firm. Of their 960 employees in that office, only 302 survived. Most of those who lived were not in the office that day.
There has been a lot of talk on social media about the Netflix show My Unorthodox Life these last couple weeks, and it has brought up a lot of different emotions for me. I thought I had healed from my upbringing, but I have found that I am still broken. After listening to others express their feelings for several days, I wanted to share how it has made me feel and what I have learned from this experience.
On December 22, 2020, 24 year old Yocheved Gourarie took her own life. Yocheved was a kind and thoughtful person. Loved by all. She was a top student, always maintaining perfect grades in school and at the time of her passing, was in the process of applying to PHD nursing programs. Posthumously, the family learned that she was accepted at Columbia University in their DNP program on track to becoming a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Unfortunately, her battle with mental illness raged, and she succumbed to it, not having fulfilled her dreams.
Tammy Ozolins is an extraordinary teacher. She returns to tell us of how teachers face an uphill battle in the field, boots on the ground, in the daunting challenge of helping teens who suffer with mental illness. She chooses to highlight the importance of being a friend to a student rather than a disciplinarian. In one instance, this technique resulted in a 6th grade student confiding to her years later, that her support drove him to not only graduate, but to join the marine corps with pride in who he was and what he became.
We are kicking off this conversation by speaking with online entrepreneur and speaker, Maley Jaxx, who in just a few short years transitioned from her career to being in the public eye with her very popular brand and online presence. During all of this professional change, she was also experiencing a very difficult time in her personal life as her marriage was coming to an end.
We continue the second part of our episode with Aliza Bulow, whose son Dani, died by suicide. Due to his diagnosed extreme depression and bipolar, Dani’s constant mantra since the age of 5 was that he did not want to live or be alive. As a loving parent walking on tiptoes, Aliza was constantly petrified of the day Dani would take his own life. She shares with us the intimate thoughts only a mother could, with extreme respect, love and fear of her son’s wishes and the truth of how he didn’t want to kill himself, he just didn’t want to be alive.
We are joined in this first of two episodes, with Aliza Bulow to talk about suicide awareness. Aliza shares the story of her young son, Doni, who was determined to accomplish his lifelong request of dying by suicide. She gives us insight from a parent that lives with someone with depression and a desire for death by suicide.
This week we are revisiting an old episode from last year because I find this interview to be so powerful that I wanted to bring it back to all of you. I had the special honor of connecting with Anne Moss, a mother, author, and founder of Emotionally Naked, a blog dedicated to her late son Charles Aubrey Rogers, who lost his life to suicide.
Marni Ratner lost her husband to suicide in 2009 and suddenly became the breadwinner for her two children ages 3 and 7 at the time. Through early grief counseling and a large network of extended family and friends, her kids are now thriving young adult with her oldest recently going off to college. Eleven years after her husband’s death, Marni finds strength in mentoring new widows and is also a strong proponent of suicide prevention.