Wednesday, May 23, 2018

April seemed like such a long month, probably because winter reared its ugly head, making normal spring activities non-existent. May finally came and it's already 2/3's over. Wow.

This week, my supervisor asked if anyone was interested in speaking as a mental health professional at a Candlelight Vigil for a young man (high schooler) who had ended his life last week. This is the third young life lost to suicide in our local area that I am aware of since February. Despite my intense reservations about my public speaking skills, I feel called to do this. Who better?  If I can touch one life, make one contact, reach out to a grieving family, I want to be there.

I said I would do it if someone else accompanied me. Guess what? Another caring co-worker offered to go. After figuring out some short and simple things to say, I am strangely looking forward to this.

I went to a Mental Health Story Slam a couple of weeks ago and was very inspired. In some ways, mental health is coming out of the closet and being talked about. In other ways, it feels like suicide is becoming all too common. AFSP has set a goal to reduce suicide by 20% by 2025. With deep breaths and all the courage I can muster, I will do my part, willingly and with gratitude.

Friday, May 18, 2018

My History Lesson

I've been learning some things from a program called Drunk History. I know, all my sobriety years, and I find this amusing? So this chick tells the story of Ponce de Leon...I have kind of a fascination (but not enough to study actual history) with King Franz Ferdinand. This might make me sound really dumb, but Eli liked this band in high school named Franz Ferdinand and I LOVED their music and I had no idea who this guy was. Eli's probably the only kid whose parents loved the music he discovered.

So anyhoo, here's what I know about this Ferdinand dude (poorly remembered from a novel I read years ago, and watching drunk history last night) and how this relates to Ponce de Leon.  You'll eventually see where I'm going with this. It's all an elaborate ploy to post some pictures.

This guy King Ferdinand of Spain somehow got assassinated by some important people, and it triggered World War I.  But before that, he sent out...

OMG, I just realized this King was on the throne in the 1500's which does not at all relate up to WWI. And I'm not even drunk.

Back to the story. The King sent out Christopher Columbus to discover the new world, and then Ponce came along and wanted go out and take over Puerto Rico. He was a cool guy and he got along with the indigenous people great. But this other guy, can't remember his name, got mad and wanted Puerto Rico and he was a real douche. He booted Ponce out, and Ponce then went to to "discover" La Florida. What I'm guessing is he might be the one who founded (?) St. Augustine, as the earliest settlement in the US of A.

Here's Eli and Hannah strolling the quaint streets of St. Augie in August of 2017

Here's Eli and Me in front of a canon in St. Augustine in the park.
Can anyone read the plaque? We sure didn't...
Pretty sure it doesn't say anything about Ponce de Leon.

And that concludes my ignorant history lesson of the day. The End.

PS. No Google Search was used in the making of this informative piece.

Saturday, May 12, 2018


I've found watching Adam's old mates (by mates I mean class mates, high school and college) turn 30 a specially poignant process. Social media makes this a public event for those who choose to share this way. It's a milestone year, and it's nice to see the growth and maturity in their faces, activities and words.

Nice, but cutting, too. June 11 Adam would have been 30. Maybe finding himself and putting the puzzle pieces of who he was into place. Instead, he exited two plus years short of making this milestone.

At some point, I wrote down an Etsy shop on a scrap of paper, so before I could throw it out, I checked it out. I found this sweet little art that sums up my feelings, if not my reality. I wasn't able to copy the original, but drew this in my sketchbook. Close as I could get.

Mother's Day 2018

The day got immeasurably better when Cal surprised me by coming home Saturday night!

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

A few things have combined and got me with a case of the sads. I'm working hard on the 2018 Out of  the Darkness Walk. Somehow I take the success or failure personally, so I have to really work on not attaching to the outcome. We had support group this week. Today a patient mentioned "you had three kids..." I don't even know how he knew that and if he knew one is gone. It's our anniversary and it felt really obvious that I got messages from two children and not three. One of those days where you really notice you are the mother two living sons instead of three. Sometimes it feels like one of my limbs was cut off.

And Betsy and I are planning a July trip to Denver, where Adam was born. Little things like a song or Dancing with the Stars are making me cry.

Random pictures. There will be no more pictures...

Friday, April 06, 2018

I thought about Adam a lot today. I thought I needed to cry but didn't. I watched his whole memorial video without crying which was a first. I looked through an old yearbook from 2006 and saw a class picture taken behind the WIU Union. I don't remember ever seeing it before, but there he was in the top row on the far right next to some kids who looked kinda fringe. When I saw something about Probiotics in a magazine I tried to remember the conversation with Adam telling me I should take them; they helped his stomach. But honestly those last holiday photos he was so thin and gaunt, nothing was obviously working...I wish to god I had noticed and intervened in some way. Here come those tears. 

Thanksgiving 2015
Pat, Bella, Adam 

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Dream Weaver

I asked for a dream about Adam last night, and I got it, early this morning. After a couple of hours of middle insomnia I fell back asleep and dreamed we were at Grandma Nell's. I was trying to discipline Adam for something and he was being defiant strong willed. So instead we went upstairs and played Pogs. It's funny, even the floor was the same as Grandma Nell's upstairs, that common gray linoleum tile. As we were setting up this elaborate game scenario on the floor, I saw ants crawling around, so we went downstairs to fix some ant bait (Borax, sugar and water). We were then deciding what to get for dinner as there were lots of little cousins around, and Adam suggested making our own hot dogs instead of getting Happy Meals, and then everyone could get an electronic that they wanted (instead of the cheap toy in the meal).

Strong Willed Age 12

The Suicide Support Group met last night. There's a core group of us who all experienced our loss around 2 years ago, one couple 18 years out, and there was a newbie. I can actually say I felt good leaving that meeting last night for the first time. The veteran mom of the group never fails to say this one line, there will come a time it won't be the last thing you think before you go to sleep or the first thing you think of in the morning. This used to make me feel kind of angry because I didn't want that to be true, because that would mean I cared less. Again, for the first time last night, it didn't bother me so much as I realized it was true, and my assigned meaning, wasn't true. Does that make sense?

Defiant Age 14

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Easter Weekend

I'm not an Easter person, never have been. Most likely has to do with my lack of specific Christian beliefs, literal Biblical theology, distaste for commercialization and materialism of holidays, and the oddness of some people that show up to church only on this and other holy days. But why would I care??

Maybe I'm jealous because I never got a fancy Easter outfit, or a basket full of toys on Easter as a kid. Yes, we dyed Easter eggs and had chocolate, a nice family dinner and even went to church most of the time.

My favorite Easter memories are of Betsy and me scavenging in the church dumpster for palms after Palm Sunday and acting out The 10 Commandments and Pat's famous Golf Ball Hunt for our boys.

So I guess I should stay off  Facebook until next week and wish you a Grouchy Easter.