Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Love Letter

Every morning I drive across the same bridge into our twin city, to take my baby to school...and every morning I am in awe of the beautiful sunrise.  And I say to myself, Darn, I missed it again! I wish I could take a photograph and capture this moment in time to share with you.

    This is my bridge.

So this morning, I drove to the little roadside park beside the river, after I dropped my daughter off, and I captured it for you. I am sharing this glorious and beautifully breathtaking piece of my world with you. Because you make me happy! You make me smile. Every single day. I want to share my world with you! What I cannot put down with pen to paper, what I long to tell you but I cannot express in words, what I want to show you when there are no words than can possibly express the joy my heart feels, that can best be captured in a picture. A frozen moment in time. Because I am ever grateful for your care and consideration in choosing me. Thank you for being mine. As a friend across the pond says, I love you in this world between the wires. I love you for loving me, and for always being there for me. For picking me up with your words, for sharing your world with me in pictures when I cannot physically be with you, and for being a part of my life. Thank you. 

I am forever grateful for my betwen the wires around the world friends. I am thankful that you have welcomed me into your lives. I cannot ever thank you enough. But I can write you pictures. Forever. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Walking Through Fire

Today I want to tell you a story about a friend of mine.  A friend and her family. I went to school with a girl, her name is Heather. She already had children when she met the love of her life John. They got married recently. John found his family, and they found John. Welcome to their almost not so happy ever after.

John had to have surgery to remove a tumor on his back. His recovery took longer than expected. He resigned from work, because he was not expected, by the doctors, to be able to return to his very physical job. He made a full recovery and tried to get his job back, but they had filled the position. He not only lost a job that he loved and excelled at, but his ability to provide for his family. Heather and John used up all of their savings.  They became unable to maintain their household on a single salary. They lost their home. They moved in with friends. They got by with the help of their family and friends.

John is the happy go lucky one in his family. No one would ever suspect John to suffer from depression. Not only has John suffered from depression, but he has suffered from suicidal thoughts. People always assume that individuals with mental health or substance abuse issues are the only ones that are at risk for having suicidal tendencies. That is what Heather thought. Heather was wrong. John became difficult to be around. He was even harder to live with. She had no idea what he was struggling with. Heather did not give up on him. She was not aware of the full extent of what he was going through. Heather loved him no matter what. Against all odds. You walk through the fire together.

There are two endings to this story. The first is that John didn't want to talk about his depression, nor his grief, embarrassment or shame at not being able to support his new family. He kept his feelings hidden and suffered in silence.  He became so depressed that he started to feel like ending it all would be a better solution for his family. He made the decision to end his life. Heather's dreams were dashed, her new happy ever after over, and the love of her life gone with barely a beginning.

The second is that John didn't want to talk about his depression, nor his grief, embarrassment or shame, at not being able to support his new family. He kept his feeling hidden and suffered in silence.  He became so depressed that he started to feel like ending it all would be better for his family. John realized that he needed to get help. He realized that the way he was feeling was bad, and nothing was worth ending his life. She was worth it. He was worth it. They were worth it. John chose life. John chose Heather. He made the call that ended up saving his life. He sought help and got a new job. They are in a new home all their own. Life is back to a new and healthier normal. Back to the happily ever after they both so richly deserve.

You walk through the fire together.

Which way will you choose?

John chose his family. John chose life. John chose to reach out and get help. Will you?

September was National Suicide Prevention Month. John was a life saved in September.

If you know anyone who suffers from depression or may be suicidal, jot down the following. It can save a life. It saved John's. Don't suffer in silence. Get help.


*Thanks to John and Heather for sharing their story. John hopes that sharing his story will help others realize that they are not alone.*

Friday, October 2, 2015

There Is A Storm Coming....

It's almost your birthday again Momma. October was always your month. The weather has changed  from summer and there is a chill in the air, and in my heart. There is a storm coming. One that I cannot fend off alone.

As I go through the motions of eating, I cannot enjoy my dinner this night. In the wake of the taste of grief, everything tastes bland and lifeless. I close my eyes to try to savor the sweetness. It is no use. Everything is bitter. I feign happiness for my sweet, innocent daughter. But there is no happiness  for these tired eyes on this night.

There will be no calling her grandmother to brag on her latest achievement at school, nor any inviting to tomorrow's soccer game. There will be no laughing at horrible school picture faces or the resounding cacophony of my child's voice bouncing off of the walls of Granny's house. Your home  is no longer. It remains, but is falling into disrepair much like the unkempt weeds that grow across your gravestone, both too long unvisited. The house and your grave both hold hollow echoes of you and a cherished time gone by.

A time that held the greatest love of all, as the late Whitney Houston sang. A love I will cherish all of my days and one that I could never forget. A heartbreak that my heart cannot ever truly begin to heal. A loss so tragic that somedays, on the raw days, my mind still cannot begin to fully comprehend.

But comprehend I do. I have no choice. The chill sweeps outward from inside. A cold, suffocating wave envelops me as the tears run unchecked down my face. The realization has set in that my memories are all that I have. There will never be any shiny new ones. This is the fourth year that I have replayed the same worn memories over and again in my head. There will never be any more memories than what I have at this exact moment. I am heartbroken. Yet I have a lifetime full of memories, but it is not enough. It is never enough. I want more. I want more of you. But there is no you anymore, only what I carry in my heart and my mind.

I close my eyes and remember. One at a time I take out my cherished memories and replay them in my mind's eye. Mommy and Daddy kissing, the last hug on our visit before your final hospital stay, you imploring me to never let my three year old, now seven, forget you. Birthday shopping with you that last year to bring you into the technological age, and your birth date on a sticker from our last ever shopping trip on my computer tablet, a mere six weeks before your journey was at it's end. Precariously sealed in time with scotch tape, my attempt at preservation. Preservation of the proof of a precious memory. Something physical from that last birthday with you. Something that marks a specific moment in time and says that she was here. You were here together. You were with me this day.

On a day that I long to hear your voice, I close my eyes and try to replay it in my head. Only this time, I cannot recall your voice immediately. My eyes fly open, my breathing becomes labored, and I start to panic. The tears fall unabashedly down my face, as I try to remember your laughter, and I cannot. Time stands still. I can hear my heartbeat in my throat, as I  desperately play memory after memory in my head. I can almost hear your voice. But I cannot find your laughter. It is on the edge of my remembering, just out of my grasp. No, no, no my inner voice screams, you cannot have lost her laughter. It's in there, just remember. We have to find the laughter! I cannot lose another piece of her. I am hysterical on the inside as my grief ridden brain desperately searches for the laughter, her laughter. My mother's laughter.

The emotional storm rages as I desperately search my mental archives for the laughter. I find it, and as I replay the memory in my mind, there is no sound. It is as if the sound has altogether been stripped from my memory. I continuously wipe the tears from my eyes and face in an attempt to keep my daughter from seeing the storm raging within me, that is leaking out of my eyes.

Another piece of her lost today as another little piece of me died. I have lost my mother's laughter. "It was all you had of her, how could you lose it!", my mind screams at me. "But it's been so long since I have heard it..."another piece cries.  I am so very weary. So tired of all of the grief. So tired of the maelstrom of swirling emotions. Grief, guilt, loss, sadness, depression, exhaustion, bravery, strength, selfishness, and loneliness. Tired of feigning excuses tonight for the little one so as not to have to explain myself, and stir up her grief as well as my own. Trying to control this storm that always rages within me just below the surface, threatening to break free.

There is always something constantly reminding me of you; a familiar smell, a rainbow or a butterfly, or your favorite colors. Eating dinner on your favorite color purple plate, just to feel closer to you when I feel the storm coming.

I miss you Momma. Just like storms that reach their shore, they rage awhile and then they are no more, so is my grief. At least kept at bay for a little while.

Good night Momma, I love you!

     -Your cherished daughter