Public Speaker Talks

Triggers & Coping Skills

In order to share this journey with you, I will be sharing something that triggered me and how I coped with it. I honestly do not want to tell you this any more than other people want to read this. I am moving through this in slow-motion, but to keep this to myself seems the wrong choice as well. If you leave this post now without reading further, please know that I see you and I love you. I pray that you find something in someone else’s writings today that touches you and engenders you to return.
Robert CristelloJan 17, 2022

Are You Still There?

The shock of my son’s death overwhelmed me. Thirty years ago at the age of 35, I turned to things like drugs and crime to fill the void that was left in me. I hurt many people that I can never atone for. Their only crime was loving me and believing in me. The source of my shame was being raped at the age of 13 by a male music teacher who literally held my future in his hands. That future was perverted and instead of continuing a career as a performer I became a soldier. When my son was 35 he could not grasp that there was love in the world, because I taught him it was a dark and cold place. He ended his life, just as pragmatically as I began mine 7 months ago.
Robert CristelloJan 14, 2022

Open Your Mouth

I entered into a rigorous process determined to find the truth about why my son killed himself. What I discovered was the only question I could answer was what my role was in the death of my son. I chose to answer it. It was a binary moment of do it, or walk away. Once I chose that path, there were only two binary results at the end of this. I was either responsible or I was not. I am always grateful for others who find they have no responsibility though they grieve no less once they move past being in shock about the death of their child.
Robert CristelloJan 8, 2022

So This Is Christmas

As you gather today in your homes and around your trees, sharing meals with people you love, opening presents and seeing the light in the eyes of an 8-year-old as I will do with my daughter today, I ask you to remember those who are struggling today. I don’t just mean people like me who have lost a child to suicide. I mean, really, take a moment and think about the suffering of the world today. While Christmas has become a national holiday, celebrated by those who believe in it’s religious significance, it is celebrated by those of all faiths because it is an American tradition. It was born in the suffering of a single man who was crucified because he believed, and told the world, that he was the son of God.
Robert CristelloDec 25, 2021

Scrambled Eggs

Please know that there is hope, but if you do not carry that message it may not be heard. I am a soldier and I know no one is coming. That makes me responsible. I could not do it alone, I went a long way with the help of others but there were days that nothing on this earth could save me from shock and grief. I had to turn to something greater than myself, some people call that ‘God’. Some people simply call it service to the community because sharing our experiences, strengths and hope with each other is how this works. Others among us feel that no spiritual component is necessary though I do believe that road must be filled with a higher degree of difficulty.
Robert CristelloDec 23, 2021

We Have No Choice

People see the life rush out of us. Some have the luxury of speaking to us over the phone as they place us into a state of shock. I feel empathy for the first responders who come to our doors, into our lives, attempting to dissuade us from seeing the pictures, the autopsies, the drug reports or listen to the stories heard from the friends and family they investigate.
Robert CristelloDec 22, 2021

Happy Birthday, Anthony

Today, I feel weak and vulnerable. Today, I want to cry and crawl into bed. Today, I want to be angry and make everyone pay. I have to say that out loud because it is the truth. I cannot stand here and tell you that I am not angry, that I am not hurt and that I certainly wish to get up now and go to work. I am angry, I am hurt and I do not want to get out of bed. I do not even want to be alive if the truth is to be told, but saying that to you on the outside of these walls brings up nothing but further mental health concerns on your part towards us, for a completely natural state of shock on ours.
Robert CristelloDec 21, 2021

What changed? I did

All parents know inside that suicide is out there in the world. They may not know that the World Health Organization states that a person dies in the world every 40 seconds from suicide. My son Anthony, killed himself on August 16, 2017, at the age of 35. He left behind no note to explain his actions or his state of mind. He left behind a family, friends and one small broken man named Bob.
Robert CristelloDec 20, 2021