Sunday, November 27, 2016


Some titles from books I collected from Adam's room:

The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

The Intellectual Devotional by David Kidder and Noah Oppenheim

Little Ways to Keep Calm and Carry On by Mark Reinecke

I hope that Adam's spiritual journey continues and that it includes seeing each other again.

As I was decorating for Christmas I found Adam's stocking, the one Grandma Tuttle gave him when he was little. It was a little odd because it hung the opposite way of the other stockings and it holds way more stuff. I had been tossing around the idea for some time that this year we could each put something in the stocking and then give it to someone who might need a boost at the holidays.

I decided to put on REM's Everybody Hurts while I actually hung the stockings just now. I hadn't really thought of it as a decision, whether to put up his stocking or not, take his ashes and portrait off the mantle where they have been for nearly 10 months. It feels right to have him with us. I didn't decorate much else.

Here's what I came up with:

I think it needs some greenery and/or light. I'll work on that.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Adam is heavy on my mind and my heart, of course. How could he not be? I got up at 5:00 and was in the grocery store this Thanksgiving morning before 7:00 a.m. As I was entering the final turn (frozen foods), the song Africa by Toto came on overhead. If you are a close follower, you know what that song now means to me. I was pissed when "Jimmy" interrupted the song to make a Hy-vee commercial announcement, as it interrupted my flow. But the song came back on and it gave me great comfort to feel Adam was near.

It hadn't really hit me until last night at 5:04 p.m. pulling into my driveway. "Adam should be coming home tonight."  I could dismiss Mother's Day, his birthday, etc. but Thanksgiving is a definite. I walked into the house in tears and was amazed to find Pat, Eli and Calvin all sitting together in the living room discussing Marcel Dareus' Snapchat hack. Very interesting that when I set up Adam's computer, I found he had a bit of an obsession with the Bills' nose tackle; pictures and files he saved of this guy. And there wasn't that much saved on this new-ish computer. So, could Adam have messed with his computer as a joke and a message? We quietly acknowledged his absence (and his presence) as a family.

Last year Adam brought Bella home for Thanksgiving. His whole demeanor was changed. He was quiet, and attentive to her. I think Betsy asked her at dinner if she had a boyfriend back in Korea? She said no, so I 'slyly' asked if she had a boyfriend here, and she smiled and said "no." We know by several indicators that Adam wished to continue a relationship with her after she returned to Korea late last fall.

 The family Christmas card shoot 2015
 Before or after the pics
 Bella, Adam, Moi, Cal
 Pat, Bella, Adam, sparkling juice
 Bella, Adam, Cal, Ethan, Chuck

Last year Thanksgiving I was giving thanks each night for God keeping my children healthy and safe.

I am still saying that prayer, but it feels different now. Today will mark the first of our Thanksgivings without Adam in the flesh. He will be forever felt in our hearts and our souls. Rest easy, best boy. We got you. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


I have been struggling (overused word #1) with moods, thoughts, and direction as the holidays approach, the days are darker and colder, and the reality continues to sink in. Adam's death has made me question everything about life, not all the time, and realize there are so many sides to people we will never know.

2016 was an astonishingly bad year, for me and my community. The worst in fact. You might not know that if you see me going about life, smiling, occasionally laughing, keeping busy. It's not an intentional front I put up. There are happy times and there is good in the world. The individuals who killed themselves this year, they didn't "look" different. They may have felt they were 'faking' it. Some of the suicide books say it results from a "perfect storm" of factors coming together to overwhelm a person. Those would be different for each person, but could include drug or alcohol use, depression, triggering event, stoic nature, time and means. The list is endless.

Ask me the right (or wrong depending on how you look at it) question, and I will cry on the spot. Hear a particular song, and it will trigger (overused word #2) a stream of tears. See me in bed at night; my pillow is damp, my eyes crusty in the morning (but not every night anymore).

Just know that we are all doing our best, and we will never know all that is behind each face we meet everyday. Be kind, stay positive, give hope when you can. Someone may need it.

*I received condolences yesterday from two people I used to work with, one in the form of a card, the other a face to face conversation. I know those are the hardest for people because everyone wants to cry when you speak to someone about losing a child. It's okay. And more than that, it is so appreciated.

Monday, November 07, 2016

College Days (Daze?)

As my Little Sister Marissa said, "Cubs won the World Serious." Sweet Kelsey found a batch more pictures from their UIS days, and this was among them. Bills hat, Cubs shirt. Wish Adam was here to break down this W.  

I'm posting this pic, because Kelsey looks so cute (not that she doesn't always):

Obviously, this is not flattering of Adam...however, every picture I treasure, because I can analyze and try to learn more about him.  Look at the guys at the top of the first picture, placing another liquor bottle on the cupboard. Most of these pictures from UIS are taken at the on-campus apartments that Adam lived in for two years. I remember moving him in the first year. Pretty sure the second year, he just drove down and moved himself in.

He should be here.

Friday, November 04, 2016


things that kill me

  • seeing his handwriting
  • pictures where he is wearing a shirt I gave him (Mackinac Island, Skagway)
  • pictures of him having fun
  • only having pictures
  • his laugh
  • songs
  • that he won't be coming through the door on Thanksgiving
  • pretty soon I will not be able to say, "I saw him last year at this time"