Monday, February 17, 2020

The Boy who would be Coach

Here's my little 8th grader leading the Mustangs onto the floor. He's first because he's the shortest.

Here he is 12 years later coaching his 8th grade team at the State quarterfinals. They led most of game, but the last two minutes didn't go their way. The team with the heart held their heads up and Coach Cal exceeded his goal of winning their Regional.

Cal wasn't the most athletically gifted player but he's taken his skills and intuition and heart to the junior high level in academics and coaching three sports. I couldn't be more happy and proud of him. He's living the dream and appreciating it everyday.

Thursday, February 06, 2020

On Surviving Four Years

I had a little dream early on 2/2/2020. It involved Adam's friend Brent whom I have been talking to. He's a big Cheif's fan so the Superbowl was coming up that day, along with the anniversary of Adam's death.

I don't remember the dream, and Adam was peripheral to it, but it felt nice, at least like he was near. Four years, and counting. Counting the days that have past, dreading some days ahead. Feeling useful in life, purposeful, as things change in my family situation. That's not my story to tell, but at some point it might come out anyway.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

Punch cards for Hope

We all have our days. Some have weeks, months or years. But healing is always possible. Sometimes we need more patience, especially with ourselves.

I choose to see the positive, skip over the negative, especially when it comes to what is happening in the world, the news, politics, social media, and in front of my face. I don't think this means I have my head in the sand. I am trying to incite change where I think I can make an impact.

I don't believe in the word "broken" as it applies to people or the world. Changing is more positive and also inevitable. Feeling broken makes room for healing and growth if one chooses to look at it this way.

Don't get me wrong, I have break downs. Things pile up sometimes and we need to take those moments to feel it. If I could give out hope in little punch cards or gift cards, wouldn't that be cool? Because true hopelessness seems to be the thing that contributes most to suicide. But hopelessness is just a feeling, too. For most of it passes eventually. Sometimes it takes work, yes.

If you are in need of a Hope infusion, please accept one punch from my heart shaped hole punch in your little card. Come back when you need another, and another. I have a little extra to share.

Monday, January 20, 2020

With a Little Help from his Friends

I am blessed to say I still continue to meet and talk to friends of Adam and understand more of the impact he had on them and the world. Last Friday evening while I was waiting for my pizza to cook, I recognized a high school friend of Adam. I had seen her comments on Facebook and that's how I knew that Adam's death affected her. So, I introduced myself as Adam's mom, and she said, "Yeah, I thought that was you."  She asked how I was doing, and sauntered away. Then suddenly she came back and showed me a semi-colon tattoo on her finger she got after Adam's suicide. I thought that was really cool, and told her about the one I want to get for Adam using a handwritten note from him.

I can't tell you how it fortifies me to have these little interactions and know how many people cared about him and were devastated by his death. I think he knew he had good friends and only in the last few years of his life did he start to share this with me. But having friends isn't enough in those low moments. Reaching out on a regular basis is crucial, but hard to do in this fast paced culture.

Two UIS friends have recently told me Adam helped them through a critical point in their lives, one by playing Connect Four for hours, and the other on the phone after he moved back to Chicago Heights. It's crazy the impact little things can have.

This was probably my favorite grief quote, and I had lost track of it, but I found two different versions over the past two weeks. Thank you universe for providing what I need when I need it.

Monday, January 06, 2020


It's January again...the Christmas decorations are down, the trees put away or thrown away, the visitors safely home. Arguably, the longest month of the year. In-arguably, it has been for me the past three years.

January 2016 I was mindlessly unaware my oldest adult child was undergoing a crisis of epic proportions. That's not an exaggeration; it ended in his suicide. A terrible truth we live with everyday, but this bleak, cold month it feels stronger, newer and more unmanageable again.

And so I am reminded everywhere of him in life, while I cling to our connection after his death. Others are hearing his laugh or his voice in my youngest son, and that warms my heart. Still I deal with the sudden sick feeling in the pit of my stomach sending me to the bathroom out of nowhere.

I'll just leave this right here and hope I can live up to it in small way:

Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Swedes

On Christmas Eve we played Cal's word game "Hippy Dippy." A person starts by saying "Hip Dip" or "Hippy Dippy" or "Hippity Dippity" to indicate how many syllables are in their word rhyme. Then they give a clue by way of a synonym. Sound confusing? It is until you get the hang of it.

Me: Hip Dip: a horned animal on the run
Answer: loose moose

Anyway, Scandinavian references kept coming up. The mind seems to stick on certain themes and so it was with "sane Dane" ""appeasin' Norwegian" etc.

Now to the point of this post. I seriously need to do more Swedish Death Cleaning. I think we took in less "stuff" this year, but there is much room to refuse, reduce, repair, and reuse rather than obtaining more more more. More experiences, less garbage. I am pleased that our spare bedrooms are devoid of clutter (at least visible) so that visitors can feel comfortable spreading out on clean surfaces.

Post script: Why does the Norwegian Navy have barcodes on the sides of ships? 
Answer: So when they arrive back in port they can Scandinavian. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Eve

Another Christmas Eve is here. Thankful I don't have to work today. There have been Christmas Eves I worked until 6 p.m. Back in the way back, I would bring clients to my house on Eve or Day that didn't have family to go to. More recently, we hosted international students who might be around over break. So nice to share a meal and cheer with others.

Grateful I didn't hear much "Are you ready for Christmas?" this year. My least favorite colloquialism. Thank you spell check. I know no harm is meant, but what does that actually mean? Perhaps the short turn around time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is to thank for sparing me. Because I really don't know how to answer that, and is it just an opportunity for someone to brag about how organized and prepared they are?

Grace sent some cute pictures of Dad and his 'adopted' granddaughters. Here is Yulia listening to a story.

The girls

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you find peace, hope, and grace in this special time of year.