Bonnie Frankel

Bonnie Frankel: I Lost a Loved One to Suicide and Here is What You Should Know – An interview with Pirie Jones Grossman

To not accept the guilt attached to it — I felt that if I had been with my dear friend, I could have prevented it.

Losing a loved one to suicide is a heart-wrenching experience. It can also be confusing, and it usually comes with a lot of mixed-up feelings, including anger and guilt. What are some things that family members would like other people to know about losing a loved one to suicide? As a part of this interview series, I had the distinct pleasure to interview Bonnie Frankel.

Did you know that before Bonnie Frankel became an exercise guru, her career was in the men’s hairstyling industry. Bonnie worked for the late Jay Sebring, who was the innovator of men’s hairstyling, and was killed in the Sharon Tate-Manson murders. She evolved from this horrific situation and became a hair stylist and opened up her hair salon at The Burbank Studios.

Thank you for your bravery and strength in being so open with us. I personally understand how hard this is. Before we dive in, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and what you do professionally?

Ibecame a world class runner at the age of fifty, exercise coach, author, and writer of inspirational articles. One of my biggest feats was overturning an NCAA eligibility rule for women so that they could compete in a division one collegiate sport. I became the oldest woman to use this rule, not in running, but in swimming.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am always in the process of promoting exercise to build a healthy mental and physical immune system. The various vehicles I use to accomplish this is in the form of writing various articles. Currently, I am working on my second book, lecturing to a variety of groups of all ages, an exercise coach to all ages, and most importantly being a role model for others so they can follow my lead. This helps people get a handle on their lives as they are responsible with the knowledge that I give them so it will help them to achieve a healthy life style in order to live a lively, independent, and a long life.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“You never know what is around the corner.” Shortly after I lost my best friend, I was fortunate that the universe planted in my life a cherry of a woman who has been my best friend for over forty years The universe can work miracles.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Do you feel comfortable sharing with our readers about your loss?

Yes, because it might help others to get through their loss as well as to eliminate the guilt that they could have done more to prevent the ultimate ending. Also, it is good therapy for me as many years have gone by for me to look back to revisit the past to compare to how I felt yesteryear as compared with today. You would be amazed what you discover.

What was the scariest part of it? What did you think was the worst thing that could happen to you?

Her choice of suicide was executed in a violent way, unlike what most women use to end their life. I felt that I wouldn’t want to follow that pattern.

How did you react in the short term?

Shocked, numb, angry, and sad. I had received a phone call from a person that we were both close with that shared the news with me. Fortunately, I was located in My Lake Arrowhead vacation home surrounded by my love of nature.

After the dust settled, what coping mechanisms did you use?

There were a variety of managing methods I used to help relieve my anxiety with my sorrow. Firstly, I was able to discharge my loss with shedding many tears that flowed like a never- ending abyss. I was fortunate enough to be in a location in where I resonated beautifully soothing with. I was able to be by myself with my dogs surrounded by nature alternating running, walking and hiking the trails to get my endorphins to kick in to help clear and console my heart and my head. Being an artist, I continued my creating in the mediums of drawing, painting, and sculpting. I also continued to write in my daily journal to express to document my feelings.

Can you share with us how you were eventually able to heal, at least to some degree?

Time was my best friend in healing. Also, just by expressing my feelings in many different forms of activity helped me to resolve that this was her choice. Various forms of meditation was very key to healing. I found relief in knowing that she was at peace with herself.

In my own grief journey, I found writing to be cathartic. Did you engage in any writing during that time, such as journaling, poetry, or writing letters? If yes, we’d love to hear about any stories or examples.

By keeping a journal, I was able to express and feel at ease with the various types of feelings I was going through. Most important, they were written in stone so I could reminisce for a long time. Also, I would be able to see the different stages I went through just by flipping the pages. The memory I will have forever before she took her life, I spent her last birthday on a week end at our local beach in Santa Monica. It was the only time we had taken a trip. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I remember how tender she was and how she shared her experiences with the maladies she went through with her own health. It helped ease my anxiety with handling my newly prognosis.

Aside from letting go, what did you do to create an internal, emotional shift to feel better?

I had a few tricks up my sleeve to relieve my emotional distress to create a better feeling me. I used different approaches to shift to a better place. Professional counseling from a psychologist was a wise decision which helped me feel safe to deal with my seemingly unending internal agony. This gradually lessened my emotional depression to attain a healthier state of mind. My own internal shift I created was to imagine my lost friend was an angel by my side until I was ready to emotionally to let her go. I remember that she used running at one time as a tool to help her heal when she was in emotional pain and I eventually followed her lead. This helped me to outpour feelings that were trapped inside my mind and body. My happy endorphins kicked in and I began to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I also extended to my creative endeavors by taking classical piano lessons which was on my bucket list to soothe my emotional pain.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to cope and heal? Can you share a story about that?

Mary, my best friend of over forty years was and still is today a life saver. She appeared in my life shortly after by best friend’s last breath and pursued a relationship with me. We both were going through life at forty which is an age that can present a turning point in life. We met at art school. It was like the universe acted in my behalf and plunked this peach of a woman in my life for both of our needs shortly after I lost my best friend. Mary had the ability to make me feel at ease with trusting that whatever I said to her would stay in the vault. She not only helped me feel comfortable about sharing the grief about my best friend but when I attempted suicide, Mary was right by my side. She remains there forever.

What did you learn about yourself from this very difficult experience? Can you please explain with a story or example?

You never know what one is capable of doing no matter how well you think you know them. I would never have thought that my best friend of many years would have ended her life so violently. My friend was a spiritual person as well as a pioneer specifically in the field of organic/supplemental nutrition. She was a known actress, and her goal was to write. Because of this loss, I scrupulously am aware that anyone can vanish from my life, and for this reason I am sensitive to be alert to signs that suggest even a slight possibility that they could be a victim of suicide and try to get them help.

I learned from the passing from a dear loved one to treasure the relationship. What I will carry forward is what I had, not what I lost.

I will cherish her beautiful spiritual being, her being a great educator, her tenacity to recover and move her life forward with my encouragement when she lost her son, and her divorce. The many intimate exchanges about our very personal feelings with complete trust, and that she was a role model of a beautiful as well as a tender woman.

What did you do to get help and support for yourself?

I found a new best friend that I could confide in as well as continued therapy, and added a hypno-therapist to help me along this road to recovery. Also, my continuing exercise as well as other artistic activities were of major assistance.

What signs would you tell parents, friends or loved ones to look for in people they think may need help?

There are many indicators that lights the red light. Some include: depression, anger, withdrawal, substance abuse, schizophrenia, overindulging, and any behavior that is out of their norm.

Thank you for sharing all of this. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experiences and knowledge, what are five thing you want people to know about losing a loved one to suicide? Please share a story or example for each.

To not accept the guilt attached to it — I felt that if I had been with my dear friend, I could have prevented it.

That they are physically lost forever — I will never be able to hug her, say hello to her, and not be able to share a moment with her. She is not lost in my heart.

The importance of grieving — I cannot overemphasize the importance of expressing and embracing your emotions. Time is your best friend.

To be able to move your body — This changes the perspective of your feelings and hopefully prevents

That you will be able to recover — Engage in helping others

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Exercise to keep our spirits a healthy safe fit.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂

Tammy Bruce

Read Full Article on: Authority Magazine

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