Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Self Care

Is it considered self care to take your meds, a hot shower, crawl in bed with two Reese's peanut butter eggs, a Russell Stover maple cream egg, a jug of water, a tablet, a book and turn out the lights at 8:30? Maybe not healthy self care but it will have to do.

How many children do I have?

I woke this morning at 4:30 a.m. with anxiety prevailing over depression for the first time in a long time. I asked myself, what does this part of me need? No answer came. I am left with my fallback, positive self talk: I have the tools and skills to deal with difficult situations.

Yesterday a nine year old child asked me how many kids I have? I hesitated, then replied, "Two." Luckily there was no follow-up, it is not for her to bear one bit of my sorrow. It seems there will now always be a hesitation with that question, the weighing of the relationship, how much depth I want to go into at that moment, how much of myself am I willing to share, what am I feeling in that moment? I have felt for awhile that I am existing on a whole other level than everyone else. I have no name for this.

I've been poking around the Internet and found this blog:

It's insane how many feelings are shared between a mother losing a child at two weeks and another at 27 years. I love her poem from the perspective of the lost child. It's funny-serendipitous that I find a poem right after writing my first poem. The prayer flags are beautiful and an idea I had never heard of. It looks like a project right up my alley.

My niece Dawn wrote this blog entry in September 2015. Re-reading it today, takes on a whole new meaning and depth. What a perceptive and eloquent woman she is.

I just saw two robins flitting around, mating (?) behind a board Pat had leaned up against the garage. Maybe that's what I needed, to think about new life beginning, always beginning again.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Far, Wide, Deep

I cried through my 5 minute meditation this morning. Tracey Chapman's first album came out when I was pregnant with Adam and living in Denver. Baby Can I Hold You became his song, rocking my pregnant belly in our slatted wooden rocking chair, then holding my warm little miracle until he fell asleep. I hadn't played the song since Adam passed until this morning. Maybe if I told you the right words at the right time...

I want to write a poem but I don't have a shred of poeticism in me. I am far too practical, efficient and direct in my writing.

In a bubble of my own making,
Don't try to pierce it
It might shatter into a billion jagged pieces and you will get hurt

Far away looking out from my bubble
Deep in my own soul
Pouring over every remnant I can find

Wide is the space between us
But I see you in the stars
And the clouds and the sky

Closer than I dreamed

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter and Beyond

We survived the long holiday weekend without Adam. Betsy paid tribute to him before Easter dinner last night with a baked potato (he would not tolerate au gratin potatoes) and a Peep for each of us. It was one among several tearful moments that happened as we forge on.

The topic of our last time together at Christmas came up. Eli's perception was that Adam slept a lot, though that could be said of most of his visits. I couldn't remember a single conversation or interaction. Pat asked directly about Bella and received a seemingly honest answer. Tara thought he looked unwell in the family pictures. Cal took Adam's last notes to his room to view on his own. As I was looking for a photo of Ethan, Cal, Eli and Adam together for a Cousins picture frame for Betsy, I found one of them plus Hannah, and Adam looked positively ghostly, I now sadly reflect. There is no way anyone is putting that in a frame. I wonder what was going through his mind less than a month before he ended his life. Reading his last words scribbled on notebook paper in January adds to the mystery, but it is good, too, as T. reminded me. We have something. I know he was contemplating getting help as much as anything else, and he was trying to work it out through writing.

It strikes me that his suicide has been much harder on Adam's younger family and friends. While I haven't experienced a major death, let alone suicide, I have more life experience and perspective to draw on. The younger generation are experiencing this at a time when their own development is still emerging. I see Ethan as more subdued and introspective than I have ever seen him. While it of course shapes all of our lives, this event will impact my nieces and nephews and friends of Adam for many more years than mine. I can't imagine how huge this is for them. My heart aches for their sadness and confusion.

I am left to ponder what Mother's Day and Adam's birthday will be like. One thing is most likely, I will keep writing.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Good Friday

The day started with checking off one more item on the list to settle Adam's affairs. Got his taxes done with our fantastic accountant who makes everything so easy. His oldest daughter graduated with Adam. I can't tell you how relieved I felt when that was done.

Then to get ready for my visit with T. I want to be careful to respect her privacy which I have probably already busted, but hoping she will forgive me in my quest to share as much and as openly as I can. She was looking for closure, as she had not been able to attend Adam's service, and some answers. I was looking to learn about a side of Adam I didn't know. It was deep and thorough and cleansing. I think she got what she was looking for and I was able to say things and show her things I don't share with most people.

Miss M (my Little Sister of five years) came over and we played her Logo game with my entire family. She got a hysterical kick out of Chris' dramatic reading of the brand name trivia questions ("Everything tastes better when it's sitting on a ____?"). She cheered him on when it was his turn to answer: "Come on Chris, you got this, you're really smart!" One bank of questions was devoted to "Peeps," Adam's favorite Easter treat (sign?).

We had a huge fire in the backyard last night, wide as it usually is tall. The neighborhood cat was sniffing around Pearl's gravesite by the apple trees. Betsy reminded us that one of those trees was planted for Adam when he was a baby. We were talking about the roasted squirrels we had thrown in the last two pyres. WARNING: morbidity follows. For the second time I had the terrible image of what Adam's cremation might have been like.The first was when I saw the funeral director who had picked up Adam's body from Springfield driving down the street in a pickup truck. The reality of what really happened to his physical remains is one of those things I try to block out as much as possible.

Overall, it was a good Friday. I went to bed pretty exhausted before 10:00.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Coldplay Friday

I am just anxiously waiting for Adam's friend Tara to get here for lunch. Adam would probably scoff at Coldplay, and I am 10 (?) years late on the draw, but I enjoy Chris Martin's melancholy voice and songs.

This from my friend, the scientist, just now:

As your friend I will be thinking about you. I know this weekend will be rough. I believe that Adam is always with you and your family in spirit. When you least expect it you may notice him in his brothers laughter and smiles,or in your nephews eyes. Life is a circle and we are connected by our DNA. Pieces of him still remain in this life. Although science will never be able to prove life beyond death in terms of religious views I can tell you with certainty that we all live on in our shared DNA. Sometimes I am able to find comfort in this fact. I see my dad in my son and daughter and it brings pleasant memories. And someday sooner than we all wish we too will be a memory but I have faith that we will be with the ones we lost. If there is anything you need just call or message me . I can even make you some chicken and noodles for the family if it would make you all feel just a little better. smile emoticon Chicken and noodles=love smile emoticon

    Did I drive you away
    I know what you'll say
    You'll say, "oh, sing one we know"
    But I promise you this
    I'll always look out for you
    That's what I'll do
    I say oh
    I say oh
    My heart is yours
    It's you that I hold on to
    That's what I do
    And I know I was wrong
    But I won't let you down
    Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, yeah I will, yes I will
    I said oh
    I cry oh
    Yeah I saw sparks
    Yeah I saw sparks
    And I saw sparks
    Yeah I saw sparks
    Sing it out
    La, la, la, la, oh...
    La, la, la, la, oh...
    La, la, la, la, oh...
    La, la, la, la, oh...

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Magic Changes

This guy's got nothing on Ethan...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Bits of 'Is and 'At

Enough time has passed that I am getting little trigger flashbacks. Weird stuff like eating broccoli cheese soup at Subway this past weekend reminded me of coming home from Springfield that first time and eating that same thing. It's depressing. Washing a coat I wore during that time and putting it away for the winter. Riding in his car for the first time when someone wanted to test drive it.

Things that are hard: telling people about Adam that don't know. Thinking about how this weekend with my family Adam would have come home. Not buying any Peeps this year. That I lost the adult coloring book and colored pencils that I found in his room (I don't know why this bugs me so much, I think it spoke volumes for who he wanted to be). Watching the video of his pictures. Hearing songs like "How Do I Live" even though I know it's meant in a romantic sense. Remembering that Adam hated it when I cry.

Things that are not so hard: talking about Adam with people who know. Going to work and focusing on other people's problems. Finally reading a book again.

I've been stressing about financial things like doing Adam's taxes and selling his car. Really stressing. Then yesterday I thought, Adam wouldn't want me stressing about his affairs. Just chill out. And it helped.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Real Dream

After falling asleep rather quickly last night and then waking for two hours, I fell back in a deep sleep. I woke at just the right time to remember vividly my first dream about Adam since he died. The boys, Betsy and I were in my kitchen, when he walked in. I ran to hug him because this was post-death, and I knew he was there in some kind of ghost form. I was astounded when he didn't disappear with the hug. He then said to Betsy, "Do you want to see me eat my last grilled cheeses?" The next thing I remember he was in a miniature sized red convertible in the parking lot getting a push from the boys. The car didn't start so I tried pushing it and eventually that tripped the starter and away he went.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Ride Store

It felt weird.sad coming to Betsy's without Adam even though it has been many years since Adam made this trip. There are still many memories stored here.

Betsy/Adam in Monster Trucks, Chris/Adam are in the top airplane

Yesterday was an "up" day. Could have been the clear, sunny, warm weather, fresh air, nice walk over the Big Four bridge. I was running through the parking lot at Hobby Lobby pushing a cart pretending to run into people. We shopped at Bass Pro Shop,  formerly known as The Ride Store to us. Betsy discovered this mall with kiddie rides shortly after moving to Louisville to start the Ph.D. program at U of L. Now the Bass Pro has taken over the closed down mall and there are no more rides. Our kids enjoyed going there every time we visited, and Adam was the first. While still a toddler he could play freely in a carpeted area with big vinyl covered geometric shapes. I remember wanting to just sit there and veg as I was a little exhausted by motherhood. Later he could ride the mini airplane ride and the mini monster trucks (with an assist from an adoring aunt and uncle). Still later it was the simulator ride he enjoyed. He introduced it all to Eli and Cal after they came along. I'll find some pictures after I get home.

Fun at the old River Falls Mall (Ride Store) in Clark County, IN

Today was cold, dreary and down. I didn't exercise at all. I finally got to talk to my good friend ML from Buffalo. That picked me up. We had an early dinner at Four Sisters Vietnamese French restaurant. I had Vietnamese coffee for the first time. Delish. It tasted like very high quality chocolate milk (A+ Adam). We went to Grease tonight and I found myself crying when Ethan sang his Magic Changes song. I thought Man of LaMancha was going to have me in tears last fall, but no, Grease makes me cry. Go figure. Ethan played Doody not Kinicky. Whatever.

Relaxin' after the show

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Grease and Grime

I noticed about the 13th this is the first March I have not gotten excited about spring since I was a little kid, and the first in many years I hadn't taken note of the first signs of spring. Then suddenly Wednesday I was standing outside and saw buds on the flowering pear tree and the lilac bush, and heard cardinals singing.

This weekend I will get see my nephew Ethan perform in Grease as Kinicky. The only reason I am familiar with the character was I watched the live TV event of this musical on January 30th. I tuned in primarily to see Carlos PenaVega (the Dancing with the Stars cutie and Columbia, MO native) play Kinicky. I related to his addiction recovery story, his ultra-cute marriage to Alexa PenaVega (of Nashville) but not necessarily his Christian conversion. In spite of his "moral" dilemma, he danced the hell out of his Magic Mike routine. I never got back to the DVR to finish watching the movie because I had another show (which shall remain nameless) Monday night and Tuesday we got the horrible news about Adam. I will now have a chance to see how it ends.

Pat has gone ham this week, brightening. lightening, whitening and tightening our old house. Thanks go out to him for that and his patience with me working through my ever changing mental state and heightened uptightness. Have some fun alone with Eli and I'll see you Sunday!

Monday, March 14, 2016

A New Week

It was good to go to work today and be busy with my mind occupied. This evening I had an amazing conversation with someone who is battling cancer. We had never really talked before, but his knowing my situation and my knowing his, we just clicked. I noticed some similarities in our collective experience; shock, fear, faith, acceptance, living with mystery. Although it was not verbalized, I think there is a sense of peace that comes with knowing the worst has happened. Cheryl Strayed expressed it after the death of her mother like this: "nothing bad could happen to me. The worst thing already had." It was an easy conversation about difficult situations. I have had people opening up to me like never before, talking about mental health, suicide, serious illness, personal things we usually keep to ourselves or our inner circle. It has been one of the positives to come out of this.

Something Cal said yesterday stuck with me. He was sharing his timeline (of his life) with his reflection group on the trip to Memphis. He described his service trip to Guatemala over Christmas as putting him on the highest of highs. He had written a really great 2 1/2 page, single spaced, essay on it that Grandpa had been requesting since he returned in January. He had in fact just emailed it to Grandpa on February 2nd when he got a text message from his aunt saying she was so sorry and her heart was breaking. He had no idea what was going on, since he had just talked to Grandpa to make sure he got the email. As he explained this to the students and one older adult, he went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows upon learning that Adam had ended his life. He said the group was eerily silent and the adult present gasped. We are all experiencing telling our story to someone who has no clue what is coming. It is kind of a defining moment and hurdle we all must cross at some point.

Some of the Mississippi River Clean Up

Guatemala was all about the people

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Falling Apart

If you asked me earlier today I would tell you I am falling apart. Tears over many things. Frantic need to find certain baby pictures. I don't want to talk about it or for anyone to 'intervene.' It feels more rightfully mine than the serenity and strength I have been walking around with.

Unlocking Adam's picture gallery brought a new round of emotions. Much of it was videos of a professional football game he had attended (?), pictures of big, ugly fish in the kitchens of Asian restaurants. A day at the zoo. Nature shots. A few pictures with Bella, a few of Pearl. He didn't actually use the camera that much. A couple disturbing images popped up of Adam with the gun. I don't know if these were taken around the time of his death, as I can't see dates on them. I found myself compulsively going back and making myself look at them and try to discern the place and the context, but it just ended up upsetting me more.

We have found a couple of references to health problems on his email and texts. At this point it is a mystery if something was going on with his health that frightened him and somehow contributed to his decision.

I think if we are honest, most of us have had some at least fleeting thoughts of suicide at one time or another. What would happen if I ran my car off the road? Don't panic here, because I am really fine, but I did think, maybe I should go find him. I don't want him to be alone. Then I thought maybe he is with Grandpa Charlie and Pearl (as of Friday), and you know what? I will die one day, we all will, and if it is meant to be, I will see him again.

So, yeah. It's getting real. Now cleaned up, in my PJ's and tucked into bed with Wild, I feel okay. Just okay.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Hitting Hard but Coming Through

Today was rough. I got a sudden headache and starting vomiting about 9:30 a.m. after making pancakes for Pat and a friend I am supervising for licensure. I had to send her home and go to bed. I put in ear plugs because Pat was maniacally cleaning the house. I just let the emotions fly, pretty much wailing, and then had a good nap. Still down after getting up and doing some things, letting small things and things people say and do grind me down.

I had a 70 minute conversation with Cal about his alternative spring break to Memphis to clean up the Mississippi River. This is his third trip, second as trip leader, and this time I think it was a deeper experience as he was able to share with people who didn't know him at all, what he had recently been through. They shared with him as well, and he met a girl from Springfield who had frequented Adam's restaurant and had something of  a crush on him. I honestly think this kid (Cal) (maybe the girl, too) needs to become a counselor. If teaching is what he loves, that's great, but he would also make a fantastic therapist or social worker. The field needs more men. In this conversation I was able to emote with Cal and open up to him as I have not been able to previously. I definitely began to feel better after talking and listening to him.

Friends are lifting me up through prayers and messages and making plans with me. Life goes on somehow. I posted a video to Facebook today from a young man about depression. Wishing something like that had spoken to Adam. He said there is always light in the future. I know that is true, for me at least. I can't actually be in someone else's shoes but I have to some degree. I wish there was a mechanism to stop people from making a permanent action in response to overwhelming, yet ultimately temporary, feelings.


I think I slept about 6 hours. Pretty good. I woke up from a dream where Adam was lying in bed and I went over to say, "Don't ever, ever kill yourself" and hug him. I don't know if I told him or was just considering it, because I wasn't sure that was something I should say to him. It was always kind of delicate talking to him. I knew he would deeply consider anything I or anyone said, and I didn't want to make a mistake and make him feel worse.

Friday, March 11, 2016

It's Getting Real

I miss this guy something fierce tonight, today, all day. What was originally going to be a 3 hour workshop on Cultural Diversity in Springfield followed by lunch at Little Saigon with our favorite waiter turned into an excruciatingly boring presentation followed by an appointment with the "Evidence Section" of  the Springfield Police Department to collect Adam's last effects, otherwise known as a cell phone and what they have been calling a 'journal.' I inadvertently learned what the police do with firearms used in suicides (keep for at least one year and then have them melted down). After that painful interaction and seeing the original notes for the first time on a small white tablet, it was hard to keep it together. Thank you to J for accompanying me on this unexpected journey.

We headed over to Little Saigon which I really wanted to follow through on. I had the uniforms washed on hangers to return if they could make some use of them. No one seemed to recognize me so we were seated at a table and placed our order with "Chris." Steamed dumplings and Panang Curry lunch special with egg drop soup and a small egg roll. While we were waiting for our food, I took the shirts up and greeted the hostess/manager (I'm sorry I do not remember her name); we hugged and she took the shirts from me. J and I both enjoyed the food, and on the way out the staff all said good-bye and I swear, An looked like he was going to cry which made me start to cry.

J wanted to check out the little market across the street so we walked over. By this point, I was starting to think about how beautiful the day was, but how Adam would never be riding his bicycle on the rails to trails path, never going into work again, never parking in the back of the lot. I thought about how it must be hard for his co-workers who were used to seeing him everyday to be reminded of his absence. It's getting real for me.

I don't understand what was going on, what was going through his mind after reading the last things he wrote on this earth. He was making to do lists, talking about Bella, about his weight, about eating pizza and then dying. Several things he wrote will haunt me forever.

I put the phone together with the charger I found in his bedroom and have looked through some of the text messages. Pretty predictable stuff. He had gotten fitted and paid for his tux for Eli's wedding. His last message out was 1/29/16 at 11:03 p.m. The photo app needs an update before I can look through his pictures which I do not know how to access. I just need to know everything I can to try to put the pieces together. It's a jumble right now and I just want to obliterate everything from my mind and maybe sleep for the first time in three nights.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

One of the those Nights

I guess it's going to be one of those nights. I've already taken my regular medicine plus two Tylenol PM, and I find myself sobbing in bed. This week has already been a downer. I have not been busy enough and I've found myself wandering around physically and mentally unmoored. But tonight the memories are just overtaking me. Remembering Memorial Day 2013 when I went down to Springfield. The plan was for me to buy steaks and Adam was going to invite friends over to grill out. It didn't happen because the weather turned bad and a tornado came through Springfield. He took me the Chesapeake instead, and if I remember correctly, it was the first time he insisted on paying. I thought that was such a cool turning point in our relationship and his adulthood. When we got back to the apartment, my mom called to say Uncle Cal had just died.

For Adam's birthday in 2014, I went down to visit and we had lunch at the Dubliner. It was kind of windy and cool but we ate on the patio. I remember him wanting to show me pictures on his phone of a recent trip to St. Louis because as he said, "You don't really know about my life here in Springfield." Afterwards I bought him a nice Giant bike as his last one had been stolen out of his garage.

One holiday the family was all playing a game called Beyond Balderdash where you are given an obscure date, a name, acronym, etc. and everyone writes what they think the real answer is in order to fool everyone into voting for theirs as the actual answer. Adam was the first one of us to have a smart phone, and he was googling some of the info, because the real definitions were weirder than anything we could think of. And sure enough, there was a man who had three legs.

Sunday October 26, 2008, Adam's first semester at UIS, Eli and I drove down for a David Crosby and Graham Nash concert at Sangamon Auditorium. I think we all appreciated this show and the fine musicianship. Mom and I had stopped for dinner with Adam earlier that month on our way home from a Laura Ingalls Wilder tour to Missouri. Mom's choice was Red Hen (close to UIS and sit-down). After she grilled the waitress about the canned green beans, Adam warned her, "Grandma, never give the wait staff a hard time- they might do something to your food."

I pray to God that you are safe and know that I gave you the best of my love.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

I just love this picture

I think this is my current and possibly all time favorite picture of Adam, with his friend Tara in 2010, New Year's Eve, I am told.

Several of Adam's friends continue to use a picture with him for their profile pic on Facebook. This means so much to me. I know they will change the pictures one day, and I kind of hope I don't notice because I don't know how I will react. For now I am just drinking it in and appreciating the love.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Real or Not Real?

I guess my question for the day is, when is it going to feel real? I was having a breakdown tonight reading about the birthday of my friend's son who took his life two years ago. His brother and sisters spoke at  his service and it was impossible then and now not to cry over the courage and heartbreaking pain they experienced and shared with everyone that day. It was absolutely mind blowing how they were able to do that, and draw strength from each other and how this family continues to bond together.

It feels wrong of me to detach the way I have and to become emotional over other people's losses. I truly can't help it. It's like I don't have anything to fear anymore. It's not that I am trying to compare Adam's death or our family to anyone else but it does seem obvious that we cope and grieve in different ways. I have never done this before, lost anyone close to me, so I don't have a clue what to expect. I printed off the stages of grief for Pat over the weekend, and I don't seem to fit into any of them. I am going about business like I haven't missed a beat.

Sometimes I still get that pounding, racing heart beat when I am trying to sleep or wake up and I realize that Adam is gone, that it's not a dream. It feels like terror. But most of the time, if I am honest, I was more sad and scared when he was alive and unreachable.

I am horrified to be saying this.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

March Musings

Life is busy and life is good. I just re-read all the cards we have received last night. It was difficult, but it made me feel good, too. I have felt so many things but overriding it all is love. I’m not sure how much love Adam was feeling when he ended his life, but I do know we had good times and he was loved by many. I think he knew that somewhere inside. I found near his bed letters, real actual mail, that I had written him and it was a comfort to know he saved those words and maybe re-read them a few times.

I am on about #75 of thank you notes with at least 25 more to go. I have enjoyed doing this more than you would think. I much prefer it to watching TV, and I still have not been able to read a book. I started Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I found it in Adam's room and thought it would be nice to connect with him through reading this. I have been finding comfort in wearing some of Adam's old clothes and his watch (well, one of his watches). I stubbornly hold onto those last emails, to reassure myself that it wasn't my fault, that he wasn't mad at me. When I wake at 2 or 3 a.m., I usually drift over to Adam's room to finish the night. I know it sounds weird, but I haven't washed the sheets since he was home at Christmas and I have no plans to. It makes me feel closer to him, and I keep hoping I will see him in my dreams. Adam had a lot of sleep issues in that room, and I would even welcome a nightmare if I could see him again moving and talking and breathing.

As we March forth (wait that was yesterday), activities and people fill our days and evenings, but night time is still my time with Adam, good or bad. I say the prayer I taught him, and hope that he still remembered it and that it took him peacefully into his new dimension.

My bodyguards.

That Nuggets shirt is one I have been working out in. It's Andre Iguodala's. Adam had a connection to him through a cousin who went to UIS. He has since made a big name for himself with the Golden State Warriors.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Another Steal from Betsy

Breakfast drink for the morning. It's pre-mix chocolate milk. Rating 6/10.  --Timothy Yu, 2/7/16

As told to a packed house 6-6-16...

The Qualities of Chocolate Milk
Adam was the first, like his namesake.  The first in our world.  The first grandchild, the first nephew—he was there at the beginning.  He held all our love for a long time. More kids followed for all of us, but he was the leader, the one they could look to for life lessons—how to persevere, be strong.

Adam could be a bit of a contrarian—was that an understatement?  Sometimes we’d be having a conversation, and I’d think, “Wait, am I in an argument with Adam?  Crap, yes, I’m arguing with Adam.  And not only that, I’m losing this argument I didn’t know I was in—grrr.”  But if we were in a group, I always wanted Adam on my side.  I didn’t want to go up against him—his passion, his fierceness.  He was also a defender—he’d take up for someone if he saw them faltering.  He did that for Ethan a lot—stepping in to help him make his point, showing him how to clarify.  I knew Ethan was listening, learning because after we saw Adam, Ethan would be a little more defiant, more challenging and he’d echo Adam’s arguments.  How many times over the years did I say, “You sound just like Adam”?  I know his brothers learned the same, the courage to stand up for their convictions, to express their thoughts and be heard.

But that was only a part of Adam’s larger interest in life—in questioning and examining.  When Adam was about 13, he took a trip with Mom, Dad, Ethan and me to North Dakota.  (Adam was always ready to go—traveling even when he was still.)  At every meal, he’d order chocolate milk.  Now to most of us, chocolate milk is just a drink to go with your meal—not that interesting.  If you asked most kids how was the milk, they’d say fine or good.  But to Adam every glass was unique.  Was it pre-made or did they add chocolate to the milk?  If so, was it enough chocolate or too much?  Was it stirred properly or was the long spoon left in it so Adam could stir as he went.  Did you know sometimes they don’t bother to stir it, leaving that to the customer?  He even developed a rating system, comparing the milks along the way.  How could he make milk so interesting?  I don’t know, but we all looked forward to that first sip, then listening to Adam expound on the qualities of chocolate milk.  I’m sure you can all think of examples like that.  Adam could exasperate you, but you loved him all the more for it in the end because he cared so much about things and people many of us would never even notice.  He made you pay attention.

The last time I saw Adam, I told him to come give me a hug. He slowly unfolded himself from the couch, stood and stretched.  (Did you ever notice how deliberate he was in his movement?)  As he walked toward me for his hug, he said, with that edge of laughter in his voice that also contained some uncertainty, “Why?  You’ll only tell me how skinny I am…”  And it was true, I had been bugging him about that lately and was always worrying over him.  I told him, no, I wasn’t going to say that.  And, as I held him, I said, “You’re perfect.”  And he was.

So the waitress at Sunrise Cafe made my chocolate milk into a smiley face. How cuuuuutttteeee. 
--Ashleigh Elizabeth Lockhart, 2/12/16


Sometimes when words fail me, someone else's words articulate my thoughts exactly, or what I hope to be my thoughts.

From sister-aunt Betsy: I’m still finding it impossible to believe in the neverness of not seeing Adam again.  It’s easier to just think he’s away and won’t have time to see us because of work or something.  Adam didn’t smile as much as the other kids—didn’t seem to “enjoy” things as much so when he was laughing, smiling, it meant so much more, but now I’m looking back wondering about that—was that genuine or meant to make us feel reassured?  I absolutely believe Tara’s message, but I wish we’d all been able to take some pieces of his pain and carry them for him so his burden wasn’t so great and unbearable.  I was so looking forward to when he figured things out for himself and moved confidently into the amazing life I believe he would have lived.  His life was already good, but I just knew there was so much more waiting for him.  I’m so sorry to be saying all this…I’m soooooooooooooooooooooo sad. 

From Rich, an old friend: I know it seems like you will never feel whole again right now, and that can lead to doubts and more questions. Just know that the love that still surrounds you is real, and nothing can take that from you.

From me: I think when Adam smiled or laughed it was real. He was not one to fake things. I know he was uncomfortable in certain situations, but I take solace in recent times (2015) when he spent time with mom and dad just talking, and they all raved about how nice it was. And the come to Jesus (I mean this figuratively) I had with him in October. Once he made himself do stuff, I think he was glad.

From Mary-Louise Parker via AARP Magazine: You don't have to fight for your story when you're writing.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

March 2, 2016

I am going to stay up to write this, because it has to be done. I will never have this day again to record how I feel, what I did, how I coped. It is exactly one month since we found out Adam was gone. Ironically (?), oddly enough, the death certificates showed up in the mail today, and verified what we already knew about the manner of death, suicide.

Before I had even seen this, I was driving home for lunch crying because the thought was real; Adam is never coming home again. He's not just in Springfield living his life, he is never, ever coming home. As life would have it, I went on Facebook and had this inspiring message from Tara: Just remember that he didn't do this to make your life sad or miserable..:he did it simply because his pain was too much to bear. I know Adam absolutely would not want any of us to be sad...and he will never be forgotten!!

It felt like Adam was talking through Tara to me. It blows my mind when young people are so smart and intuitive and mature. I am learning from my 'youngers' every day.

It feels like a milestone has been reached, all the hoopla has died down, and we are left not knowing what to feel or do or say sometimes. I'm sure I would not have taken that trip to Albuquerque if it had not been booked. Now coming back, I was only gone from work five days, but it felt like an eternity. I was really reaching for that trip and change of scenery and now that I'm back, a melancholia has set in (or so it seems).

A couple of kind friends sent me personal care packages, a nice reminder to take care of myself. I drew a bath tonight and dropped a bath bomb in watching it fizz and foam, lifting it up to see what air would do to it, rolling it down my legs. It smelled great and was a nice sensory stimulant. I used the Harry's razor and it glided perfectly around the lumpy knee area where I usually nick myself.

Thank you Tara, Claudia and Melissa for comforting me on a significant yet ordinary day.