Sunday, November 27, 2016


Some titles from books I collected from Adam's room:

The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

The Intellectual Devotional by David Kidder and Noah Oppenheim

Little Ways to Keep Calm and Carry On by Mark Reinecke

I hope that Adam's spiritual journey continues and that it includes seeing each other again.

As I was decorating for Christmas I found Adam's stocking, the one Grandma Tuttle gave him when he was little. It was a little odd because it hung the opposite way of the other stockings and it holds way more stuff. I had been tossing around the idea for some time that this year we could each put something in the stocking and then give it to someone who might need a boost at the holidays.

I decided to put on REM's Everybody Hurts while I actually hung the stockings just now. I hadn't really thought of it as a decision, whether to put up his stocking or not, take his ashes and portrait off the mantle where they have been for nearly 10 months. It feels right to have him with us. I didn't decorate much else.

Here's what I came up with:

I think it needs some greenery and/or light. I'll work on that.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Adam is heavy on my mind and my heart, of course. How could he not be? I got up at 5:00 and was in the grocery store this Thanksgiving morning before 7:00 a.m. As I was entering the final turn (frozen foods), the song Africa by Toto came on overhead. If you are a close follower, you know what that song now means to me. I was pissed when "Jimmy" interrupted the song to make a Hy-vee commercial announcement, as it interrupted my flow. But the song came back on and it gave me great comfort to feel Adam was near.

It hadn't really hit me until last night at 5:04 p.m. pulling into my driveway. "Adam should be coming home tonight."  I could dismiss Mother's Day, his birthday, etc. but Thanksgiving is a definite. I walked into the house in tears and was amazed to find Pat, Eli and Calvin all sitting together in the living room discussing Marcel Dareus' Snapchat hack. Very interesting that when I set up Adam's computer, I found he had a bit of an obsession with the Bills' nose tackle; pictures and files he saved of this guy. And there wasn't that much saved on this new-ish computer. So, could Adam have messed with his computer as a joke and a message? We quietly acknowledged his absence (and his presence) as a family.

Last year Adam brought Bella home for Thanksgiving. His whole demeanor was changed. He was quiet, and attentive to her. I think Betsy asked her at dinner if she had a boyfriend back in Korea? She said no, so I 'slyly' asked if she had a boyfriend here, and she smiled and said "no." We know by several indicators that Adam wished to continue a relationship with her after she returned to Korea late last fall.

 The family Christmas card shoot 2015
 Before or after the pics
 Bella, Adam, Moi, Cal
 Pat, Bella, Adam, sparkling juice
 Bella, Adam, Cal, Ethan, Chuck

Last year Thanksgiving I was giving thanks each night for God keeping my children healthy and safe.

I am still saying that prayer, but it feels different now. Today will mark the first of our Thanksgivings without Adam in the flesh. He will be forever felt in our hearts and our souls. Rest easy, best boy. We got you. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


I have been struggling (overused word #1) with moods, thoughts, and direction as the holidays approach, the days are darker and colder, and the reality continues to sink in. Adam's death has made me question everything about life, not all the time, and realize there are so many sides to people we will never know.

2016 was an astonishingly bad year, for me and my community. The worst in fact. You might not know that if you see me going about life, smiling, occasionally laughing, keeping busy. It's not an intentional front I put up. There are happy times and there is good in the world. The individuals who killed themselves this year, they didn't "look" different. They may have felt they were 'faking' it. Some of the suicide books say it results from a "perfect storm" of factors coming together to overwhelm a person. Those would be different for each person, but could include drug or alcohol use, depression, triggering event, stoic nature, time and means. The list is endless.

Ask me the right (or wrong depending on how you look at it) question, and I will cry on the spot. Hear a particular song, and it will trigger (overused word #2) a stream of tears. See me in bed at night; my pillow is damp, my eyes crusty in the morning (but not every night anymore).

Just know that we are all doing our best, and we will never know all that is behind each face we meet everyday. Be kind, stay positive, give hope when you can. Someone may need it.

*I received condolences yesterday from two people I used to work with, one in the form of a card, the other a face to face conversation. I know those are the hardest for people because everyone wants to cry when you speak to someone about losing a child. It's okay. And more than that, it is so appreciated.

Monday, November 07, 2016

College Days (Daze?)

As my Little Sister Marissa said, "Cubs won the World Serious." Sweet Kelsey found a batch more pictures from their UIS days, and this was among them. Bills hat, Cubs shirt. Wish Adam was here to break down this W.  

I'm posting this pic, because Kelsey looks so cute (not that she doesn't always):

Obviously, this is not flattering of Adam...however, every picture I treasure, because I can analyze and try to learn more about him.  Look at the guys at the top of the first picture, placing another liquor bottle on the cupboard. Most of these pictures from UIS are taken at the on-campus apartments that Adam lived in for two years. I remember moving him in the first year. Pretty sure the second year, he just drove down and moved himself in.

He should be here.

Friday, November 04, 2016


things that kill me

  • seeing his handwriting
  • pictures where he is wearing a shirt I gave him (Mackinac Island, Skagway)
  • pictures of him having fun
  • only having pictures
  • his laugh
  • songs
  • that he won't be coming through the door on Thanksgiving
  • pretty soon I will not be able to say, "I saw him last year at this time"

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

It's October 25th, and I don't know where this month has gone. There have been highs and lows, as usual, one of the lows being a trip to Springfield to visit a doctor. The GPS took us from the doctor past the house on Burton Street, past Little Saigon and all the memories of Adam those places contain. We proceeded to the mall, and while waiting for Pat to use the restroom in the food court area, I had the most profound sense of sadness for all the times we met there, ate there, shopped there. H & M next door was a favorite store, and Teavana where he bought my last Christmas present. I thought of him walking that mall shopping for us a year ago, and how thoughtfully he chose our gifts in 2015 in particular. I'm sure we all treasure those last momentos handed from him to us the last time we saw him.

After this sad day, I really needed to see Cal, and drove over to Blo No on that Sunday. I made him recount a couple of times he spent with Adam, and he shared a Snap Chat app where he put Adam's eyes onto his face, and they were actually alive. He thought it might freak me out, but it was comforting to me.

A sign that was given to Pat on 10/20/16, that exact evening after travelling to Springfield:

 I was randomly digging in the yard last night. Pulling weeds, moving plants etc. I put the shovel in the ground and hit something unusual. Upon further investigation, i discovered an old toy army jeep that Adam must have buried 20 years ago. Simple as they were, he loved these toys. Since his untimely passing, there have been some odd unexplainable occurrences. Makes your mind wonder at times. I could only think he was sending me a message of some sort that everything is good! My mind immediately thought only positive thoughts and for this I felt some relief. He had an active imagination and used these toys to pretend and expand his world. How I would love to have shared this story with him if he were still here. Things in life are different in life for a "surviving parent". I'm choosing to use these oddities in a positive way. Love you Nuke...keep me wondering.

Here's the little guy...

The phrase that keeps going through my mind lately is, "he decided to take himself out (of this world)" and just sitting with that thought. This past week, a neighbor and former wrestling coach and dad of Adam's childhood friend Derek, passed away. I am picturing Adam greeting him to the other world and Kevin smiling and giving him some encouraging words.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Dark and Light

Words of Kelley Quinn,labyrinth creator, spoken at our first Out of the Darkness Walk in Macomb/McDonough County Illinois:

Autumn is a season of paradox. As the leaves change color and the air grows crisp, we are invited to release and surrender what no longer works for us, to shed old ways, to clear space for the new.

In this season of change, autumn also invites us to gather the harvest, to celebrate in the bounty of what we have planted and watered, to name and share our abundance with others.

In holding these two ideas in tension, we are reminded that in letting go and releasing we also find abundance.

Autumn is also a time of reflection. At this time of the year, with equal night and day, we are reminded of the balance of light and dark within ourselves. We are invited to look at darkness not as something to fear but as a place where slow steady growth of the soul can occur.

On the labyrinth we can trust that we can walk to the center of our souls and not get lost. We can trust that we can follow the path out from complete darkness into the light with the gifts we have gained from the center. And we can trust that no matter how dark the path may seem, or how difficult the journey, we are never on the path alone.

My words:
I am profoundly grateful for a successful first Out of the Darkness Walk. Despite a drizzling rain, the participation and money raised for suicide prevention is overwhelming. Best of all, I was able to stay in the moment more than I thought I would. Team Tut consisted of 21 friends and family of Adam.

I have met some incredible people on this journey and had some amazing experiences. I have gone out of my comfort zone to speak to groups, individuals, and the media about my loss of Adam to suicide. But I would give it all back in a heartbeat to have one more day with Adam; to make sure he knows I love him, that no problem is too big to solve, that I would do anything to help him. 

Last night I went to bed with that content and satisfied feeling of love and support I had the night of Adam's memorial service. In spite of the profound sense of loss, there is hope and goodness in the world that I can hold onto. This is for you, Adam.