Elaine Alpert, M.Ed
Founder and Board President, MindPeace Miracles Inc
On a dusky Spring evening in 2004, while celebrating our younger son’s 9th birthday, our family was blindsided by the unimaginable. Our 16-year-old son Rand ended his life in anger and despair.
Our family was left with excruciating pain, sleepless nights and so many unanswered questions. While we knew Rand was feeling down, we had no idea that thoughts of suicide were on his mind. No one did.
I had been leading personal development workshops across the US for some time prior to our loss, yet it took 3 years before I could stand in front of a group again. I also dropped out of graduate school thinking I’d never return again. But 5 years later, I rallied the courage to go back, this time with a focus on the brain and depression, anxiety, and PTSD, as well as trauma healing.
Along the way, I became close friends with Iris Bolton, a dearly loved woman in the field of suicide prevention and aftercare, who invited me to co-present at national conferences…
Read Elaine’s Bio here
In honor of my son, Rand Colquitt ~
At 16 Rand was artistic and incredibly bright, sensitive and deep. The friend everyone turned to with their problems. He was beyond his years in things he thought about; I consider Rand a very ‘old soul.’
Recently, fourteen years after our loss, we were purging our house to move when I discovered a small journal of Rand’s in the attic. It was as if he wanted to reach me before we said goodbye to our family home, where he spent the last years of his life.
Shaking, I read Rand’s words, dated two years before his suicide. He wanted to do a better job, he wrote, of telling us as parents how much he appreciated all we had done for him. He went on to say that he could tell no one about his ‘secret’… the depth of his depression. It was such a shock to ‘hear’ from him in this way, and his words of loneliness continue to crack open my mother-heart.
Through these years I’ve experienced many profound connections with Rand from the other side. I feel him inside the work I do now. And while I will never understand why this happened in our lives, I am acutely aware of the preciousness of my own life and immensely grateful for the privilege of working with the women who find their way to MindPeace Miracles.
Iris Bolton, MA
Board Vice-President, MindPeace Miracles Inc
Iris Bolton is an international lecturer and consultant who offers hope to people bereaved by death, loss and suicide. She is Director Emeritus of The Link Counseling Center, Atlanta, Georgia, where she served as full-time Director for 36 years.
Her first book, MY SON … MY SON … A Guide to Healing After Death, Loss or Suicide, was written after her 20-year-old son, Mitch, took his life in 1977. Her co-author was her father, Curtis Mitchell. It is now in its 23rd edition.
Iris Bolton’s new book, VOICES of HEALING and HOPE: Conversations on Grief after Suicide, addresses phases of grief after suicide. With helpful stories and tools, each chapter helps define different aspects of the grieving process. A reader struggling with a particular issue can go directly to a related chapter for immediate guidance. Important issues include: Why, Guilt, Shame/Stigma, Anger, Emotional/Physical Pain, Fear, Depression and Faith.
A Tribute to my mentor, Dr. Kenneth Bradford Brown
I don’t know how I got so lucky as to have landed in the More To Life Program back in 1985. As a student and leader since then, and a certified Trainer for the program since 1998, it is my honor to tell you about Dr. Kenneth Bradford Brown. Brad was a key mentor in my life for 20 years until his death in 2007, and remains a primary influence in my life.
Together with Dr. Roy Whitten, he co-founded the More To Life program in 1981. Brad received his doctorate in clinical psychology in 1971 and acted as Rector of All Souls Church near the University of California/Berkeley campus in the ‘60’s and 70’s. He was at the epicenter of the Human Potential Movement and a direct student of Victor Frankl (author of Man’s Search for Meaning) and Alan Watts, a well-known teacher of Buddhist practice who played a significant role in the introduction of Eastern thought to Western culture. Brad also co-founded with his wife, Dr. Anne Brown, the Institute for Family and Human Relations in Los Gatos in the 1970’s.
I often refer to Brad as a ‘zen master’, as he loved to deliver wake-up calls, which he coined as ‘Lifeshocks’… those excruciating but perfect opportunities when he witnessed me hiding out or striving to prove myself. As a result, I’ve likened my seven-year path to becoming a Senior Trainer as ‘going through the keyhole backwards.’ Brad had eyes to see and ears to hear what others did not, and he insisted on trainers who would live with integrity, walk their talk and be willing to speak up, especially when it’s challenging to do so. Thankfully, he held the bar high.
As a licensee of More To Life tools, I am delighted and forever grateful to have the opportunity to incorporate into The MindPeace Method® the gifts of Brad’s legacy.