Sunday, May 29, 2016


June 4th is almost here, and it should be my sweetest moment of parenting (other than the birth of my children). Eli and Hannah are getting married, and I couldn't be more proud of them both and excited for them to start their married life together. High school sweethearts, peas and carrots, June and Johnny; there are many ways to describe their exceptional bond. Dating for 5 1/2 years without a blip and engaged on Hannah's birthday last year, they deserve to bask in all the love that surrounds them and is evident between them.

Just one thing would have completed this beautiful picture. For Adam to be here standing up in the wedding, as they had planned.

Hannah had a special relationship with Adam, always making time to see him, and even pushing Eli to spend time with him when he was visiting. His death was hard on Hannah, in ways I can't even imagine. He was the big brother she didn't have, and she, the little sister he never had. Adam was different around Hannah than he was around us; more thoughtful, more friendly, dare I say, more humble. Perhaps this was the real Adam that his friends knew, without the competitiveness, the bravado, the crust we saw as his family. I would give anything for this Adam to be here to see what love can be.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Warning Signs?

My sleep has taken a turn for the worse again. At best I was only getting up at 4-4:30 a couple of times a week. I don't have to be at work until 9:00. Now I only sleep reasonably about once a week, and that is med assisted. Today I woke at 2:45, tried for 30 minutes to go back to sleep. Nope, got up at 3:15 a.m. and I don't even work today.

Some spaced out random events. Irregular heart beat which last most of one day. That was a couple of weeks ago. Two days ago, two very brief dizzy spells (while seated, not getting up too quickly).

Father: first heart attack at 59, congestive heart failure, A-fib. Brother: triple bypass at 51 or 52. Mother: heart disease (stents) in her 60's. Me: 53, can't remember how old I am anymore.

Mania? Heart trouble? Grief? Dementia? All of the above?

Monday, May 23, 2016


Sunday was a perfect weather day in Macomb, Illinois. I was able to ride my bike comfortably in short sleeves. I went out to the labyrinth about 7:00 p.m. and the gate was locked, so I parked at the gate and walked in. Shortly after I started my walk, a park district vehicle pulled up, opened the gate and drove in. He waved, I waved, and he turned around and left.

I had not seen any of the feral cats on the property in my two previous visits, but this evening a quiet black cat was hanging around on the labyrinth. I had a good walk in, tears in the center, and a peaceful walk out. It smelled like fresh grass and the sound of evening birds was soothing. It was nice to have this time to myself. The sunset was not as beautiful as Saturday night, but I felt more grounded and at peace after this walk. Just how I imagined the labyrinth would affect me.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

I'm Speechless

A friend brought this painting over yesterday (after this crazy week), having had her niece paint it for us from a favorite picture. The friend lost her brother to suicide when he was only 23, so this event and gesture has a lot of meaning behind it. If you focus on the eyes, you can really see Adam coming through.

That is his urn below it. His dad has asked for some of his ashes to put in Riverside Lakes in Nebraska where Adam had so many good times. We will be placing some in the center of the labyrinth at some point. Adam's birthday is coming just one week after Eli's wedding. This is a beautiful early birthday present.

Saturday, May 21, 2016


This week I got some very powerful information about Adam needing me to communicate with him before he crosses over.

Let me back up. The week after Adam's memorial service, my friend Karen learned that the Wesley Methodist Church had a labyrinth on loan for the community to walk set up inside the church. Remember it was February...She invited our mutual friend Kelley to walk it together as a way to find some peace or calm around Adam's suicide. After the walk we sat in a room and they tenderly told me about their experience at Adam's service from the different areas of the packed funeral home they were in, where they couldn't even see the service, but could hear it. It meant so very much to me to know how Adam's friends were reacting in different parts of the home and to reconnect with these two spiritual friends.

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I had previously attended an Out of the Darkness Walk in Galesburg, IL to honor those who had completed suicide and support the survivors. It came to me almost immediately after Adam's death by suicide, and apparently I told Kelley in that room that I was going to start a walk in Macomb and she was going to build a Labyrinth for it. This part is a little fuzzy and doesn't exactly sound like me, but I am going with what she told me yesterday as we discussed it again.

We began tossing out ideas for locations and materials to build a labyrinth. Kelley visited some local parks and open spaces and knew immediately that Lakeview Nature Center would be the location and that it would be mowed into the natural prairie grass. She high tailed it to the Macomb Park District and proposed it to the Director in the parking lot as he was trying to leave. Long story short, she got it approved and rolling and I worked the Out of the Darkness end, and it all came together this week.

Enter the communication piece. Kelley had found and corresponded with a prairie labyrinth builder in Kansas and the communication with it's creator Toby was so compelling that Kelley knew she had to visit there. This was not able to happen until this past Monday, May 16th. Mind you, she had the design, the measurement, the volunteers, everything ready to go for our labyrinth Thursday May 19th.

Toby Evans:
A fully developed prairie labyrinth

Here is where it gets weird if you are a non-believer in spiritual things, so you can stop reading if you choose. When Kelley arrived Toby discussed with her why I hadn't come (due to my inflexible schedule), and she shared that Adam is still here, and he kept me from going out to Kansas. She said he is not ready to go (cross over) yet, and I'm sure there is a lot more to it which may sound even weirder. However, she did mention that Adam would try to mess with Kelley's and my communication*. When Kelley (who never met Adam) walked the labyrinth (and I consider Kelley a pretty grounded, common sense kind of person), she felt strongly the message that I need to talk to Adam before he crosses over.

Remember how the time and temperature clocks were all messed up on the day of Adam's memorial service? I have never seen that before or since, so stay with me here. I was not able to meet with Kelley 1:1 until after the Prairie Labyrinth was laid. You know why? We were trying to arrange a time this week to meet in person to discuss her trip to Kansas, but when I left her a voice mail Wednesday, the message was cut off and her phone deleted me as a contact so she couldn't call me back. *someone was messing with our communication big time, but I don't know why...

Friday morning when Kelley told me all this, I let her know I haven't been talking directly to Adam, more or less to God, however, earlier this week I did start talking to Adam out loud in my car, as his electronic safe I have been carrying around in my car for months, began beeping insistently at me.

Just an aside, as I got dressed Friday morning I wore the black hoodie shirt of Adam's that I am very attached to. I wasn't expecting anything to come up with Kelley about Adam in particular. I thought it would be more about how to make the labyrinth or something else. Kelley relayed that Toby said that the spirits attach to people, and after hearing this, I felt Adam was 'on' me the rest of the day.

I don't know when or where I will complete the conversation I need to have with Adam. I am leaving that open to him or me to happen naturally. One more piece of the labyrinth puzzle, which Kelley who has been involved with labyrinths for many years just learned about from Toby, is that the center of a labyrinth is a portal to and from the spiritual world. I can only guess that perhaps this is how Adam is going to cross over, and is the reason this project was brought to us, because so many, many pieces worked out perfectly for this to happen.

And I am not a believer in hocus-pocus. This is for you, Adam.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Let's start with the Labyrinth

This is an aerial shot captured by a drone (courtesy of TnT Video Services) May 19, 2016 of the Lakeview Prairie Labyrinth designed and executed by my friend and artist Kelley Quinn and friends. The site is located outside of Macomb, IL on Macomb Park District property near Spring Lake. The prairie has formerly held various walking paths. Here is a press release I wrote about the project:

The prairie at Lakeview Nature Center will be laid out in the pattern of a Labyrinth on May 19, 2016 by local artist, Kelley Quinn. The natural prairie grasses were burned this spring for regeneration purposes, making the perfect palette for a new path to be created.  The idea for the Labyrinth came after recent suicides rocked the local community. Susan Denecke (who lost her son to suicide) and Kelley Quinn are collaborating to bring the first ever Out of the Darkness Walk to Macomb/McDonough County October 1, 2106 at Lakeview Nature Center ( to raise awareness and provide support to survivors of suicide loss. Combining the walk with the ancient single path labyrinth will provide a meditative, restorative and healing experience for participants in the walk and visitors to the Nature Center throughout the summer. 

A little more background for my readers and friends. 

In Greek mythology, the labyrinth (Greek λαβύρινθος labyrinthos) was an elaborate structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos. Its function was to hold the Minotaur eventually killed by the hero Theseus. Daedalus had so cunningly made the Labyrinth that he could barely escape it after he built it.*

The labyrinth is based on sacred geometry (you look that one up) and was found on coins as early as 430 BC; on ancient pottery, baskets and body art; on walls of caves and churches. One of the most famous labyrinths is found in the Chartres Cathedral in Northern France. They were found in Roman, Greek, and  Native American culture, as well as found in Goa and India (I don't even know where Goa is). 

A labyrinth is a single path or unicursal tool for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation. Labyrinths are thought to enhance right brain activity. You cannot get lost in a labyrinth, as there is one way out and one way in.

The Classical Seven Circuit Labyrinth in this example shows that you enter a labyrinth through the mouth and then walk on the paths or circuits. The walls keep you on the path. The goal is in the center of the labyrinth. When you reach it, you have gone half the distance – you now need to turn around and walk back out.**

So, this prairie labyrinth was created to bring awareness and open up the dialogue about suicide and mental health issues, and I am personally dedicating it to Adam's memory. That said, I am not in any way taking credit for it. It was simply meant to be and in my mind came from a force greater than any of us. So many things fell into place for this happen, it just has to be divine intervention. Join us October 1, 2016 for the first Out of the Darkness Walk Macomb/McDonough County.  Visit

**The Labyrinth Society 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Tuesdays on Wednesday

The worst day of my life was a Tuesday. I never liked Tuesdays before that (something I noticed working in the school setting). Monday everyone is kind of in the same Debbie Downer boat, Wednesday is hump day, Thursday is Friday eve, and Friday is TGIF. What is Tuesday? Nothing but a day to get through until Wednesday arrives.

I remember lots of things about the weekend before "It" happened. One thing was I was using the phrase "Not my circus, not my monkeys" to combat stress that was caused by things and people I had no control over or had any business fussing about.

I have traced back that weekend so many times for the last contact I had with Adam, to see what I was doing, plans I was making, how I was feeling. It drives my mind crazy sometimes trying to remember everything. My OCD mind wants to have everything logged so that I feel a sense of control, when I should know I have no control over so many things.

I'm doing these things less often but the obsessions still strike me. For awhile nothing seemed truly important, and that was kind of freeing, but I am getting back to my old patterns of getting caught up in fear and stress. Trying to get that balance of what I really need to be worrying about and what I don't or can't.

Tuesday will forever remain my least favorite day of the week but I don't have to be afraid of it anymore.

Sunday, May 15, 2016


My ponder for this weekend is, that people say not to make major decisions after a traumatic event. One rationale is that you (I) might be making life changes to try and change the way I feel. I have been having the thought a lot lately, if I'm miserable doing this, I'm going to be miserable doing that. I do know that I am someone who can be happy with the least of things, and miserable when I have everything.

I feel pretty grounded, not to say I don't have daily waves of sadness/fear/panic. I honestly don't know where I get my strength to keep going and actually accomplish things. Tonight for example I am pushing away feelings I feel too tired to have. I am up in what has become my corner of Adam's room where I often retreat with my book, journal and tablet. Last night I was laughing at YouTube videos, tonight crying for my lost boy.

I will have to keep making decisions as they come and hope they turn out okay.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

The Day I Became a Mama

June 11, 1988. I was having light contractions all morning, awaiting the okay to go into the hospital. I think it was one day past my due date. I had worked the day before (Friday) and planned to go back Monday if I didn't have a baby by then. I was 40 pounds heavier than my former weight, trying not to eat as instructed, rocking in my chair and waddling around trying to picture the rest of the day. I believe it was early afternoon when we were told to go to the hospital, St. Joseph's in Denver. My nurse mid-wife met us there, and decided to start inducing me as she didn't like how long I was taking to dilate. Since she came in wearing running clothes, I had the feeling there were things she'd rather be doing than delivering my baby. If you've ever been induced you know you are plunged into hard labor very quickly, and I didn't wait long before asking for an epidural. That was a godsend. Finally the pushing could start at the same time the epidural wore off. She wouldn't let me have any more...I felt the mid-wife was being kind of mean and yelling at me and finally with pure exhaustion I pushed him out. He came out kind of blue, and looking back, I sort of figured out things weren't going very well, and for some reason the doctor wasn't available. I don't know if she was doing something wrong (delivering babies without appropriate medical backup?), but I felt there was some panic on her part, but luckily he was a healthy 8 lb. 1/2 oz. bouncing baby boy.

Today is starting off nice. I opened the precious gifts from my boys, a "Cup of Sunshine" mug, colored pencils and whimsical sea creature coloring book, along with heartfelt messages of love. It's hard not to think about the call I won't get today, but these boys I have are filling my empty spaces with everything they've got. Luckily the heart expands to unbound places but I weep for the parents who have lost their only children. I pray their hearts find peace in knowing they loved most deeply and it was worth it.