Saturday, July 23, 2016

Diamonds


I don't think Adam would have approved this song, but I find it beautiful and how I feel about him (minus the romantic overtones, of course).  I heard it as "You're beautiful, like diamonds in the sky..."










My diamond in the sky...


Sometimes it hurts so bad.


Random-ness

This was a week of convergence of Adam-ness. Adam's dad came to Macomb last week to carry some of his ashes ("5 scoops of Adam")back to Nebraska for their entire family to memorialize Adam at his favorite place, Riverside Lakes:
This is the island where part of Adam was laid to rest on Wednesday. Everyone from the Tuttle side was together in what I can only imagine was an emotional tribute. Some of his ashes will also be placed at the Elgin and Laurel, NE cemeteries, for a more traditional (Catholic and Methodist) resting ground. Thursday evening I received and started posting pictures from Adam's life between 2008-2011. What a joy it was to see those happier, often goofy times he kept tucked away from us. It reminds me of when he was a teenager and I used to clean his room (rarely) and would examine receipts I found on the floor to track down clues to who my son, who became somewhat of an enigma to me, was. Yesterday as I was pulling onto Dudley Street a young man on a Mo-ped rode by: Adam's facial structure, coloring, body type, and a knit cap on his head in the middle of summer. I did a double take.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Did the heat get shut off? Why is everyone hanging around in a parka?
Selfie, before selfies were a thing?
Thank God I'm a Country Boy??!! I like this one because Adam is wearing a shirt I got him when I went to Mackinac Island in 2008.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Secret Life of Adam

Okay, it wasn't really secret, to those friends in Springfield. But to me, I just got a treasure trove of a glimpse into Adam's life at UIS from Kelsey today. Here is just a smattering. I am still savoring just looking into Adam's beautiful eyes in these photos. This is really special, so get ready...
Typical
Silly
Chillaxin
Check out the Bombers sweatshirt
So, just a taste. There are MANY more to disclose.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Peeps

I had lunch with these good people today. They lifted me up and made me feel Adam had a good life in Springfield, even if he kept this life separate. I needed to bridge this divide. These young people will be affected for the rest of their lives, but hopefully in time, good will come. I know they are strong, kind, loving young adults, just what I hope for their generation.
The message that keeps going through my mind since Adam died is, "You are not alone." Even if it's a call to a national hotline, you are not alone. Adam was not alone.

Trans

I read the book "Raising Ryland: Our Story of Parenting a Transgender Child with No Strings Attached" in two days, bawling my eyes out the last few chapters. What a loving, accepting, flexible, amazing family they are. This family is changing the world by sharing their story.



So why the tears? Besides the fact almost anything can elicit tears from me these days, their identification and alignment with the LGBTQ community is nothing short of inspiring. A typical conservative, Christian family has embraced this community as they love and accept their child for who he is. The mom, Hillary, writes:

      When you first come to the support group, the fact that there are other families and children dealing with        the same pain cements your new reality-this is actually real, because look around: other families are            experiencing it, too. But thank goodness there's also a relief to it: I am not alone. 

That quote is so relatable to my feelings after attending my first support group for survivors of suicide loss. It was horrible and relieving to be among other parents who are linked by this new fact of our lives. I didn't realize there would be so many recent losses of young life. There were other family members, too, but my attention focused on the other parents.

One of the most moving parts of the book is learning that the parent's motivation to support Ryland's transition at such a young age is to avoid their child becoming an alarming statitstic: 41% of trans children attempt suicide as compared 4.9% of the general population, because of bullying, non-acceptance by their own families, and a host of other issues.

It is not the story they envisioned when they had their first child, and neither is mine. It's the story I've been given, and the one I strive to share. I cry because my heart is full of love for people who do the right thing.


Tuesday, July 05, 2016

A-1

I was in tears on the way home from work tonight thinking about re-heating some leftover steak and dipping it in steak sauce. The only reason I have A-1 in the house is for Adam. I liked to feed him steak when he came home, as he never weighed quite as much as I would like and steak was a reliable way to fatten him up, but only if there was A-1 (not generic either) steak sauce. Somehow this bottle standing in my refrigerator seemed to be standing in for Adam, and when it's gone  I don't know what I will do. So, I felt relief when I shook the bottle and it was reasonably full. I heated up my steak and poured a small amount on my plate and ate alone (Pat is at a game). I've also been thinking about fresh corn, and how Adam didn't really like to eat if off the cob, but when I cut it off and froze the extra last year and served it to him in October, he LOVED it. I am, but I'm not looking forward to this year's corn bounty. There are reminders everywhere and the last few days, week, have been kicking me.

Monday, June 27, 2016

2016

2016 was my 35th high school reunion. It would have been Adam's 10th from the same school. As I was thinking of this this evening and getting ready to snap a picture of Adam in 2006, I got the most wonderful news:



As I sat down to talk with a couple of friends last night after the reunion, the song Africa came on. As I have mentioned before this song was special to Adam because it reminded him of his parents. Just the opening I needed to talk about Adam to these friends who probably didn't know how to bring it up. You know, the elephant in the room syndrome. It was cathartic for me and hopefully enlightening for them to learn more about him and how someone deals with a grief so unimaginable.

Adam with grandparents in 2006- Graduation Day


* if you click on the images, they will get bigger.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Ash and Sand

Betsy, Ethan, Mom and I went out to the labyrinth around 4:00 Saturday evening. This was their first time, and we used the Wisdom cards that were designed for meditation with the labyrinth. After giving the cards intention, tracing the labyrinth on the card with our finger, and shuffling the cards, Mom selected Flower of Life, Betsy chose Environment, Ethan extracted Moon Goddess, and I pulled the Divinity card. Mom had to exit the labyrinth after finding the terrain too rough, but she puttered around the grounds exploring the displays and garden in her straw hat; she is a farm girl at heart. Did I mention it was quite hot in the sun?

When we got to the center, we remembered Adam and mixed some of his ashes with Tibetan sand from the World Peace mandala that Betsy saw in New Albany, IN in March. The monks painstakingly create the art and then it is swept away and its blessing sent out into the world. The sand reminds us of the impermanence of everything. How fitting, and comforting, too. I then suggested we throw it into the air in a Lebron-esque gesture and a good bit of it ended up on Betsy's face, stuck to her sweat.




As usually happens with Betsy, the serious moments are always cut with humor, something I dearly love about her. We laid down under a tree afterwards and enjoyed the refreshing breeze. This made us both break into song, "Let's Go Fly A Kite" which we had heard the night before at a showing of Mary Poppins. This was a song we used to sing as kids, but neither of us can remember why. 

As we threw the sand I told Adam I release him, and I do feel like another step has been taken in my healing.