Friday, November 30, 2018

Last Day of November

We had an extra week after Thanksgiving before Christmas this year. Maybe that's why November went so fast.

I don't know why I just put on the collection of songs I made on Spotify to remember Adam by starting with Jack Johnson's version of Imagine. Oh dear, how it puts me back to finding out  the worst news of my life. This past Sunday I had more crying spells than I've had in a good long time.

I did go through all the ornaments this week and made the tree look halfway decent. I hadn't done that since Adam died. I don't think I bothered to decorate at all the first year. The second Christmas, I half-assed it.

I'm cleaning out the closet known as the "Harry Potter Closet" under the stairs to find the Christmas wrappings and get rid of some the repository of sh-- that I've thrown in there over the years. There are things I just can't throw out...the Teavana box from the last Christmas gift Adam gave me to name one. I know it's stupid, it's just a box (and a very pretty one at that and I've always been a sucker for boxes).

I keep coming back to the computer to listen to the playlist. I'm not fancy enough for a blue tooth speaker like everyone else. I'm not making good progress on the closet.

Did I mention Adam liked the song Fast Car by Tracey Chapman? I listened the heck out of that album when I was pregnant in 1987-88. It must have passed through to him. Songs like The Rip Tide had extra meaning for me after Adam's death. Rip my heart out. Which I am grateful for, for I know I loved.

Everything that you love, you will eventually lose, but in the end, love will return in a different form.
--Franz Kafka and the Pervasiveness of Loss 

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

November 2012

He always took his shoes and socks off first. We could always find rolled up socks on the living room floor when Adam visited. He was always the last to bed and usually the last to get up.

2012 sounds like a long time ago, but it doesn't feel that long ago. This picture came up on my Facebook memories today from 6 years ago:

When I look through that folder of pictures it looks like the day my mom went over to Springfield with me and we had lunch at the Chesapeake with Adam. We took some blustery pictures at Scheel's messing around on the statues. It's a blustery day today, also gloomy.

Mr. Lincoln, I presume

Here is mom at lunch looking delighted! 

Time goes so fast, people. So fast. Do not take one day or hour or minute for granted. 

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Darker Days Ahead

As the hubbub of October events draw to an end, and the time changes backwards, I have been feeling the familiar constriction in my whole being as winter approaches and the sun hangs lower. The holidays used to be a bright spot, but now they are a reminder of the one who is not here.

Don't get me wrong, I have moments of contentment and even joy, many of them. Acceptance of Adam's death grows stronger. There are days I believe all lives are short, even those who live to 100, and we will all be together somewhere sooner than later. I'm reminded that the pleasure of growing old or older is compromised by seeing more and more death. A 55 year old woman died this week in our little town, the mayor's wife, who was seemingly full of beauty and light. We will all deal with death in time, so that is comforting and makes me more human. I'm nothing special.

So it is time to hunker down and focus on projects that can be done indoors, and keeping as physically active as I can (thank you fitbit). And before I blink my eyes, spring will be here again, and the cycle continues.

Sunset on the labyrinth

Saturday, October 27, 2018


i feel so refined listening to live trumpet concertos and sipping espresso in my Florida hideaway.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Another Walk in memory of Adam

I could have not have asked for two better events: Out of the Darkness Macomb/McDonough County last week, and Springfield yesterday. The weather was cool and cloudy but clear. Driving into Springfield the 3 smokestacks are always the familiar beacon and I heard the song Perfect by Ed Sheeran. I was the first to arrive, always nervous who will attend the Springfield Walk and how we will find each other as the crowd is usually in the thousands, or seems like it anyway. Cal was first to arrive followed by Betsy. I knew Matt W was coming from Arizona for the first time, and I wasn't sure I would recognize him. Ashleigh and Tim rolled up next with two more friends from Edwardsville, Michael Nickerson (known to Betsy as Ned Nickerson, Nancy Drew's boyfriend- how she remembers this I don't know) and Nick Ludwig (dead ringer for Nick Jonas).

Nickerson is in a full foot and calf cast and can't walk much. Ashleigh phoned Matt and he was on his way with Zach. Jon was dealing with an overflowing toilet but would make it soon. We then saw Sam and met his girlfriend. A pale young man named Michael joined us, and hauntingly reminded me of Adam. He said he knew Adam, but not well. Brent and his wife Kallie completed the group, and I was happy for the great showing of support and caring, most of these 'kids' were at Adam's memorial service in 2016, and I didn't get to talk to them much at all, so this opportunity each year is especially important to me.

(some thought it was macabre to pose with goofy props)

After the Walk I had reservations at Kiku, the first restaurant that Adam worked at in Springfield, but they didn't open until 4:30 and it was only a little after 3. The group decided to meet for a drink at Mowie's Cue, a pool hall/pub near the UIS campus they were all familiar with. It turned out to be a great way to kill time, as several played pool, and everyone relaxed and broke into different groups to talk. Brent was especially gregarious, partially because he grew up near Macomb and lived here for awhile. He easily regaled us with Tut stories, and it was really nice he was so natural talking about him.

Having a shot of Crown for Adam

We all met after that at Kiku where most of the party had hibachi at two big grills at our table. It was fun, relaxed, and easy, and I am so grateful to these guys to take the time to fellowship together. It seemed kind of a like a reunion for many of them, as they graduated college several years ago and have gone in separate directions. It's clear that there was a pretty strong bond among them, which again, made me feel happy for Adam. Sherry, the owner whom Adam had worked for, gave me a huge discount and hugs. I know she felt terrible about Adam's suicide.

Matt from Arizona, Michael (doppleganger), Brent (before the fire)

Ned Nickerson and Nick or Joe Jonas at Kiku

This morning on the way from the hotel to Michael's for a bit of shopping, I felt that sinking feeling after the high. I saw the Men's Wearhouse where Adam was fitted for his tux for Eli's wedding during the last month of his life. Reality set in. The only reason for yesterday's high, was Adam's low. He kept this life in Springfield separate from us, and it is gratifying to know his friends were such good people, and we heard some new Tut stories. However, as Betsy said, I would trade knowing all these friends of Adam to have him back. It was a long ride back to Macomb, but I'm feeling as well as I believe I can under the circumstances. Two amazing weekends surrounded by warm hearts and lots of love.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Another amazing Out of the Darkness Walk wrapped this past weekend. We raised over $14,000 so far, the highest total by far in three years. Over 200 Walkers (our mayor estimated closer to 400) signed in on a rainy but not cold day in October to remember loved ones lost to suicide, support each other and make a difference in our community. Adam's Uncle Kevin made it in from Omaha for his first Walk, and represented the Tuttles well! Everyone enjoyed visiting with Kevin.

To see an entire high school football team walk up to our event  in uniform; it's sobering. One life changed so many. The impact of suicide is enormous on young people. I see it in my own sons, and I saw it on Saturday. The most prevalent comment I heard was how these young people brought out the emotions in everyone.

The torrential downpour just as we took off to walk could be seen as a negative.  However, there was no lightning and it wasn't too cold. I choose to see the positive, the resilience, the metaphor for overcoming a tragedy and making the world a better place. We have to do things differently if we want to stem the increase in suicide.

Our team this year (many didn't make the pic):

Cal had so many friends and supporters come to hear him speak. Several spent the weekend with us and it was a joy to have the house full of so many amazing young adults. If I hear another complaint about "Millenials" I'm going to lose it! This generation is caring, thoughtful, bright and funny.

The support and love was felt strongly by me and I believe others that day and leading up to the Walk with donations pouring in from so many sources. The rain just made it more special.

Thursday, October 04, 2018


I had two dreams about Adam this week. Not long ones, but he was clearly there.

I went on the radio yesterday morning to talk about the Walk, and almost was late because the battery in Adam's watch that I wear everyday died.

Monday evening I totally spaced out the Suicide Support Group. I had offered to pick up the pottery projects at the Park office that were fired and totally forgot that when I dropped off the banners for the Walk on my lunch that afternoon. So two fails on that.

I'm fretting and stewing about the weather Saturday which I totally can't control. Hoping for a good event in spite of the weather.

When I went to pick up my watch battery, the song Africa came on. That's my anthem for Adam.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sonnets and Such

One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washed it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.

Vain man, said she, that dost in vain assay
A mortal thing so to immortalize!
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eek my name be wiped out likewise.

Not so (quoth I), let baser things devise
To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:
My verse your virtues rare shall eternize,
And in the heavens write your glorious name;
Where, whenas death shall all the world subdue,
Our love shall live, and later life renew.

In 12th grade English we had to memorize and recite a sonnet. I chose this one by Edmund Spenser which I have always remembered the first line of, and that's all. It comes back familiar as I read it through this morning. 

Up at 4 a.m. organizing, tidying in preparation for the Big Week. The Out of the Darkness Walk is Saturday and Cal is hosting a cook-out at our house and having some friends in for the weekend from out of town. This has me in a frenzied mood to...write a sonnet??

One day I washed the kitchen floor,
But came the Pat and walked across it:
Again, I mopped around the kitchen door,
But came the ants and trailed their antish bit.

Vain woman, I said, that dost clean in vain
How can you expect this house to look a-swag!
For Cal's friends to be impressed is strain,
And wear you down to your last rag.

Get up (quoth I), there's cooking and cleaning to do
And there you sit typing rubbish on your computer screen:
Your thoughts are those of a Shakespearean shrew,
And matter less than how you preen;
Where, whenas, all the guests arrive in haste,
And judge you to be a Mama of good taste. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

I received this watercolor in the mail yesterday. Originally painted in 2016 shortly after Adam's death. These things have a way of coming around when they're needed. With the Out of the Darkness Walk coming up, and all that represents for me, it is nice to have a surprise like this to brighten my day.

Yesterday morning after meditation, I was journaling per usual. I just write down whatever comes into my mind, an encouragement to myself, a goal, a poorly drawn sketch or pastel. Yesterday my mind was saying "soft touch." I decided I had just invented a concept called soft touches. These are things we give or receive that are usually small but give us that little boost we all need, and when strung together, represent a meaningful life. Later in the day, this soft touch came in the mail.

This soft touch was not so small, but it is so very soft, don't you think? The artist is Chuck Melvin, my ex Bill's, (Adam's father), roommate in college. A really funny, nice guy and super talented, even though he says he is not a watercolorist.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Ashes to Ashes

Sometimes I just look at something and think "I put that there before Adam died," and I decide to leave it there forever.  I found a bottle of strawberry milk mix in the refrigerator that was clearly there for Adam, and can't bear to throw it out. I was dusting the upstairs bathroom and thought, "This dust was probably here before Adam died." How weird is that?

I was discussing ashes last night with a friend who was widowed young. It was an easy conversation. She spread her husband's ashes after 7 years, as per his wishes. Adam, of course, left no instructions or time to discuss such things. It was probably the last thing on his mind.

So his ashes, his remains, stay on the fireplace mantel. Bits have made it to Nebraska and the labyrinth at Spring Lake, even back into my body. As I consider Pat's and my own death (I know, but we do these things in "middle age"), I think about a permanent marker somewhere, probably in Macomb. If we pick out a plot and headstone, I believe Adam will be included there, but I can't say I'm in a real hurry. As my friend said, "You'll do it when you're ready."

Monday, July 23, 2018

Living a Life that Matters

While looking for a mindfulness book at the library, I ran across an older book by Harold Kushner of "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" fame. As an author and rabbi he has a clear way of explaining the Bible. The book is themed around the story of Jacob. All I remembered from my early bible teachings of the old testament was the song "We are climbing Jacob's ladder" and no idea what that meant.

Jacob is kind of a devious dude, who tricked his father into giving him the patriarchal blessing his twin brother Esau was supposed to get. Jacob then flees from a furious Esau to Aram (Syria). He meets and falls in love with Rachel, but is tricked into marrying her older sister Leah (Karma). He then works even more to earn Rachel, giving him two wives. Jacob then wrestles with an angel and wins, but comes out limping.

I'm not sure why I started writing this blog a few weeks ago. I guess Kushner's idea that to be human is to struggle with our conscience and need to be good people, while at times giving into the easy way out, even cheating or acting willfully mean, spoke to me. Kushner determines that it is good enough to play a supporting role in life, we don't have to be the star, the saint, the one who leaves behind a great novel, painting, or legacy. He says,  "no life is ever wasted. If a person has known love, has felt and given love, that person's life has made a difference."

I just thought I would share this picture of one of my loves, at the cool spot in Denver, Linger, housed in an old mortuary.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Bucket List

I never dreamed I would be able to tick off a bucket list item on this particular day. On our way down from St Mary's Glacier, there was a water fall off the path a bit. We detoured off and I suddenly thought, "oh I always wanted to do yoga in a waterfall. But while I envisioned being underneath the fall, I figured a nearby rock was as close as I may ever get so YOLO, why not?  Betsy readily agreed to be my photographer.

Downward Dog

So tired, I had to rest in Child's Pose:

It was really an amazing trip. One highlight was walking around our old neighborhood and taking a picture in front of the apartment building we lived in when Adam was born:

Here is Eli's Quintet for the week at the Rafael Mendez Brass Institute:

They really smashed their piece on Saturday. I thought it was so fantastic. He got along with his group so well and made new friends for life. The University of Denver has a stunning concert hall and music building. Just gorgeous. 

Friday, July 06, 2018


The image below came up on my Facebook memories today, and it took my breath away for a second.

This picture was taken on my parent's back porch deck on Cedar Drive. We had a cookout, Uncle Chris was there, Aunt Betsy, a nice reunion over a 4th of July weekend, seemingly. The caption I gave it was, "I took this boy back to Springfield today."


Image may contain: 2 people, including Susan Anne

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Bubble Wrap

We cannot wrap ourselves in physical and emotional bubble wrap and expect to live an amazing life.


I saw this meme today and while riding my bike got philosophical. Sometimes my mind is racing with things I want to do, and sometimes I am slogging through the mud. No, I'm not bipolar, but aren't we all on that continuum?

That person who stays in the plastic bubble will not experience the highs that life risks can bring. Believe me when I say I am not a huge risk taker, but I'm trying to do more things that terrify me. One example is public speaking, especially about suicide. I have always enjoyed calculated thrill seeking such as motorcycle rides, roller coasters, water slides, white water rafting, that kind of thing. I have taken many emotional risks with opening myself up to sharing about Adam's suicide. This has definitely brought me rewards in the form of friendships, bonds and more connections. I can't change the fact of Adam's suicide but opening up has brought unexpected joy.

Here's to more adventures and risks in life.  In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt:

The purpose of life is to live it,
to taste experience to the utmost,
to reach eagerly and without fear
for newer and richer experience. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Dreams vs Alternate Reality

I dreamt Adam came back again. I just want to hold onto that feeling or go back in the dream, but I also have to write it down.

I was in his bathroom and found Dulcolax drops, and then he was there, and I asked him if he used them, and he said, "Just when I need them." I told him I have a new solution. It then began to dawn on me that he had been gone.

Then we were in the kitchen and this is what transpired:

Me: We need to talk about where you were.

Adam: I have an alternate Mom and Dad.

Me: Her name is Violet...(there had been previous talk of the name or color Violet).

I know it's not much, but it gave me hope his soul is still out there and I will see him again. Maybe there is an alternate reality where he is temporarily living. Maybe death is like a really long dream.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day

Here's a few memorable Memorial Days:

1999 drank my last alcohol, 3 beers on the back deck

2013 Got much of my house cleaned, obtained a decent book to read ("A Thousand Splendid Suns"), bills paid, shopping done, and looking forward to breakfast with a friend and a day with Adam in Springfield. This was from Facebook, but I remember that day clearly. Adam was inviting friends over for a cook-out, and we were going to the store to buy the food in Springfield. Suddenly a big storm came up and knocked down a bunch of tress and put the kibosh on the BBQ. Adam took me to the Chesapeake House instead. While we were in his living room that day, I got the call from my mom that Uncle Cal had died. We were all kind of relieved, I think. 

 2010 We got to our cruise boat around 11:30 checked in and then Betsy and I went for walk around the Public Market area of Seattle. It was very crowded and full of Seattle grunge/hippies selling their tie dye shirt and leather bracelets. We didn't see the fish throwing show. I'm not sure exactly where that was. We did stop in for a tea tasting which was very nice. Betsy made a $30 guilt buy so we will hopefully be drinking Lychee Black on the boat. We finally got out of port and the ride is very smooth. Very beautiful. I don't think we ever get out of land view. It is strange that the water is deep enough for the gigantic boat so close to shore. We explored the ship and got something to eat. I didn't get too distressed when a Haz Mat dude walked through the dining room in full garb including respirator. A few minutes later a whole team came back through carrying a red bag. Somebody probably threw up or spilled blood. I wonder why they had to carry it through the dining room. 

2008 Boy13 played a tournament over the Memorial Day Weekend, so that was the focus of our time off. They ended up 2-2 and placing 7th out of 14. Friday evening was chilly, but the hot bats warmed things up with a win, on a walk-off Grand Slam. That's pretty exciting for these Pony League boys. 

Saturday they took two losses and the weather was long sleeves and long pants, for sure. 

Sunday was 80's and bug-free. Perfect conditions, but the game ended early with a 10 run rule in our favor. A good way to end the weekend. 

The gas prices were near $4.00 a gallon and we had several hours of travelling back and forth to the other town. With food prices the way they are (over $25+ for fast food for 4), I would say it's getting to be an issue. I think about it anyway, and made sandwiches for Saturday, and Sunday after the game we were hosted by one of the kid's family to eat their graduation leftovers. It was a good time for the grown-ups and the kids to extend the fun we had at the games.

2007 I was thinking about the country song "Moments" by Emerson Drive, a song I really like, as a theme for describing my Memorial Day trip to visit my sister and her family. Our drive to southern Indiana took about six and a half hours, that was making pretty good time. The boys had their Ipods, some magazines and Boy14 finished HP 5 and started #6. These are re-reads, but he is getting primed for the July debut of the Harry Potter book #7 and movie #5. Isn't this Daniel Radcliffe going to be having a mid-life crisis by the time the film series ends? I got really sleepy the last 1 1/2 hours. I had awoken at 4:30 a.m. and got up at 5:15 a.m. to get "a few things" done before we left town. I was starting to do that jerk-yourself-awake thing.

Memorial Day it was a kind of a tradition for many years to visit Betsy in Louisville. Good times, for sure. 

Today I am just hoping for some quiet peace to do nothing, or anything, maybe some conversation with Calvin before he goes back to Lincoln, watch Game 7 of the NBA Western Conference Finals. JK on that last one. Maybe a little, though. 

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Candlelight Vigil

By all accounts, this was an exemplary young man: honor student, athlete, musician, FFA, 4-H, brother, friend, son, grandson, sophomore. Yes, sophomore in high school. What possibly went so terribly wrong?

The vigil was completely organized by his friend and prom date, Brianna. With poise and courage she lovingly spoke of Cole and introduced all the other speakers she had organized. The gym and stage looked absolutely amazing, his framed football jersey, saxophone, FFA jacket, red flowers. Leah and I played our part in speaking about suicide awareness, and connected with the counselors and social workers who introduced themselves and are left wondering what to do. This was the second suicide this year in this tiny school. One social worker has set up a "Check and Connect" weekly over the summer. What a wonderful gift. A young man approached me and is organizing a suicide awareness event in September as his senior project.

I didn't have the guts to approach the grieving family, though I was feeling so much for the mom in particular. I gave my name and cell phone number to the counselor to share with her when it was appropriate. We left a bag of resources for the school including our support group and Out of the Darkness Walk information. My young colleague was inspired to get more involved in suicide prevention as a result of doing this.

I hope it was enough.

When will it end?

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

April seemed like such a long month, probably because winter reared its ugly head, making normal spring activities non-existent. May finally came and it's already 2/3's over. Wow.

This week, my supervisor asked if anyone was interested in speaking as a mental health professional at a Candlelight Vigil for a young man (high schooler) who had ended his life last week. This is the third young life lost to suicide in our local area that I am aware of since February. Despite my intense reservations about my public speaking skills, I feel called to do this. Who better?  If I can touch one life, make one contact, reach out to a grieving family, I want to be there.

I said I would do it if someone else accompanied me. Guess what? Another caring co-worker offered to go. After figuring out some short and simple things to say, I am strangely looking forward to this.

I went to a Mental Health Story Slam a couple of weeks ago and was very inspired. In some ways, mental health is coming out of the closet and being talked about. In other ways, it feels like suicide is becoming all too common. AFSP has set a goal to reduce suicide by 20% by 2025. With deep breaths and all the courage I can muster, I will do my part, willingly and with gratitude.

Friday, May 18, 2018

My History Lesson

I've been learning some things from a program called Drunk History. I know, all my sobriety years, and I find this amusing? So this chick tells the story of Ponce de Leon...I have kind of a fascination (but not enough to study actual history) with King Franz Ferdinand. This might make me sound really dumb, but Eli liked this band in high school named Franz Ferdinand and I LOVED their music and I had no idea who this guy was. Eli's probably the only kid whose parents loved the music he discovered.

So anyhoo, here's what I know about this Ferdinand dude (poorly remembered from a novel I read years ago, and watching drunk history last night) and how this relates to Ponce de Leon.  You'll eventually see where I'm going with this. It's all an elaborate ploy to post some pictures.

This guy King Ferdinand of Spain somehow got assassinated by some important people, and it triggered World War I.  But before that, he sent out...

OMG, I just realized this King was on the throne in the 1500's which does not at all relate up to WWI. And I'm not even drunk.

Back to the story. The King sent out Christopher Columbus to discover the new world, and then Ponce came along and wanted go out and take over Puerto Rico. He was a cool guy and he got along with the indigenous people great. But this other guy, can't remember his name, got mad and wanted Puerto Rico and he was a real douche. He booted Ponce out, and Ponce then went to to "discover" La Florida. What I'm guessing is he might be the one who founded (?) St. Augustine, as the earliest settlement in the US of A.

Here's Eli and Hannah strolling the quaint streets of St. Augie in August of 2017

Here's Eli and Me in front of a canon in St. Augustine in the park.
Can anyone read the plaque? We sure didn't...
Pretty sure it doesn't say anything about Ponce de Leon.

And that concludes my ignorant history lesson of the day. The End.

PS. No Google Search was used in the making of this informative piece.

Saturday, May 12, 2018


I've found watching Adam's old mates (by mates I mean class mates, high school and college) turn 30 a specially poignant process. Social media makes this a public event for those who choose to share this way. It's a milestone year, and it's nice to see the growth and maturity in their faces, activities and words.

Nice, but cutting, too. June 11 Adam would have been 30. Maybe finding himself and putting the puzzle pieces of who he was into place. Instead, he exited two plus years short of making this milestone.

At some point, I wrote down an Etsy shop on a scrap of paper, so before I could throw it out, I checked it out. I found this sweet little art that sums up my feelings, if not my reality. I wasn't able to copy the original, but drew this in my sketchbook. Close as I could get.

Mother's Day 2018

The day got immeasurably better when Cal surprised me by coming home Saturday night!

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

A few things have combined and got me with a case of the sads. I'm working hard on the 2018 Out of  the Darkness Walk. Somehow I take the success or failure personally, so I have to really work on not attaching to the outcome. We had support group this week. Today a patient mentioned "you had three kids..." I don't even know how he knew that and if he knew one is gone. It's our anniversary and it felt really obvious that I got messages from two children and not three. One of those days where you really notice you are the mother two living sons instead of three. Sometimes it feels like one of my limbs was cut off.

And Betsy and I are planning a July trip to Denver, where Adam was born. Little things like a song or Dancing with the Stars are making me cry.

Random pictures. There will be no more pictures...

Friday, April 06, 2018

I thought about Adam a lot today. I thought I needed to cry but didn't. I watched his whole memorial video without crying which was a first. I looked through an old yearbook from 2006 and saw a class picture taken behind the WIU Union. I don't remember ever seeing it before, but there he was in the top row on the far right next to some kids who looked kinda fringe. When I saw something about Probiotics in a magazine I tried to remember the conversation with Adam telling me I should take them; they helped his stomach. But honestly those last holiday photos he was so thin and gaunt, nothing was obviously working...I wish to god I had noticed and intervened in some way. Here come those tears. 

Thanksgiving 2015
Pat, Bella, Adam 

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Dream Weaver

I asked for a dream about Adam last night, and I got it, early this morning. After a couple of hours of middle insomnia I fell back asleep and dreamed we were at Grandma Nell's. I was trying to discipline Adam for something and he was being defiant strong willed. So instead we went upstairs and played Pogs. It's funny, even the floor was the same as Grandma Nell's upstairs, that common gray linoleum tile. As we were setting up this elaborate game scenario on the floor, I saw ants crawling around, so we went downstairs to fix some ant bait (Borax, sugar and water). We were then deciding what to get for dinner as there were lots of little cousins around, and Adam suggested making our own hot dogs instead of getting Happy Meals, and then everyone could get an electronic that they wanted (instead of the cheap toy in the meal).

Strong Willed Age 12

The Suicide Support Group met last night. There's a core group of us who all experienced our loss around 2 years ago, one couple 18 years out, and there was a newbie. I can actually say I felt good leaving that meeting last night for the first time. The veteran mom of the group never fails to say this one line, there will come a time it won't be the last thing you think before you go to sleep or the first thing you think of in the morning. This used to make me feel kind of angry because I didn't want that to be true, because that would mean I cared less. Again, for the first time last night, it didn't bother me so much as I realized it was true, and my assigned meaning, wasn't true. Does that make sense?

Defiant Age 14

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Easter Weekend

I'm not an Easter person, never have been. Most likely has to do with my lack of specific Christian beliefs, literal Biblical theology, distaste for commercialization and materialism of holidays, and the oddness of some people that show up to church only on this and other holy days. But why would I care??

Maybe I'm jealous because I never got a fancy Easter outfit, or a basket full of toys on Easter as a kid. Yes, we dyed Easter eggs and had chocolate, a nice family dinner and even went to church most of the time.

My favorite Easter memories are of Betsy and me scavenging in the church dumpster for palms after Palm Sunday and acting out The 10 Commandments and Pat's famous Golf Ball Hunt for our boys.

So I guess I should stay off  Facebook until next week and wish you a Grouchy Easter.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Today has been a rather weird day. I got to sleep sometime after midnight (late for me) and woke up an hour later than usual, with the time change back to daylight savings (or off daylight savings- it makes no sense to me). I just know I have been looking forward to more light in the late afternoons and evenings. Especially when I get out of work at 6:00, it is nice for some light to be in the sky again.

This time change necessitated a nappy this afternoon, and I don't actually remember my last nap. Sometime before Florida. And I am a nap addict, so that says something. I took a walk after a late nap and it was gloriously sunny out. There were crocuses poking up in some yards. I was thinking about how much more active Hannah and Eli seem to be in Florida, and I think the warmth and weather has something to do with it. I do go to the Y in the evenings during the winter, but it's so much more fun and energetic to ride a bike or walk in the evenings when it can be done outside. So, my plug for keeping the time like this year round. Or moving to Florida.

I have just finished reading a psychological thriller today (All Is Not Forgotten), and started Lincoln in the Bardo. Both kind of address the idea of what this thing called life is and the possible finality of it. I suppose that has been a human question since humans started recording their thoughts and ideas.

I don't think I can articulate this properly, but the first book has a psychiatrist narrator masterfully orchestrating a series of events around a brutal rape. He does talk about our motivations and the unknown thing called death and whether it really matters what we do here on earth. The bardo is the transitional state between life and death and this book deals with young Willie Lincoln who died at age 11 being caught here. So we shall see if this novel is as good as its recommendations.

Friday, March 09, 2018


My brain didn't get the memo from my body that it needs rest. I call it "activation" or my brain is activated. Probably the main reason is Cal wrote and shared on Facebook a song he rapped as a tribute to Adam last night. It's Adam's life from his perspective. Raw, emotional, sad, yet hopeful. Very brave of that kid to put himself out there like that. This morning he texted me back that he wouldn't have finished it if I hadn't told him to keep at and it will come when it's time. At least I think that's what I said, as I do believe creative endeavors will come to fruition if you are patient and open.

So here I am, coffee in hand, heart full of love, and enjoying the silence. A couple of other songs have touched me this week. They were both up for Academy Awards and so were performed Sunday night. One by Sufjan Stevens, that dude's music is so haunting yet heavenly. This song was featured in "Call Me By Your Name" a film I would love to see. The other was "Remember Me" from Coco, and it just brought back all the beauty, emotion, and tears from that beautiful movie. I absolutely loved that movie. I've always been fascinated with Day of the Dead and that aspect of Mexican culture. A must see for all ages. As much as I hate Disney, well, they do some things right.

Because Cal put his rap together with a collage of images (music video) which I wasn't expecting, I was quite stunned. It reminded me of the bizarre but wonderful experience of being at a group meditation and seeing Adam's life in reverse from age 27 back to his birth, like a movie. One of my all time favorite pictures Cal included is of the three boys in our bed in Lockport, snuggled under the sunflower comforter we had for many years. I think part of Cal's project is reconciling the Adam we knew with the Adam we didn't know, especially as an adult. He had a whole other life we knew nothing about, not to mention the inner turmoil we were likewise ignorant of.

Writing, music, art, whatever form gets us out of our head is super important, and gives us insight and perspective on this thing we call life, and the other thing we don't like to think about, death.

Sunday, February 25, 2018


I didn't bring my camera to the beach, because, you know, you just want to not have to worry about that. The ocean was about the same temp as the apartment pool, around 72. We all got in and walked the beach. Jellyfish were washed up in the quieter stretches of beach. Fascinating creatures.

Pat and I went to the movie Annihilation while H and E went to an organ recital last night.

Sunday I went to church with the kids. My second time there. We're really just chillin'.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Day 4

Two entire days left here in sunny Gainesville. The distinguishing feature of Gville is the Spanish moss draping most all of the trees, and the gators of course. We have already seen many of the most famous Gators including loud Dennis who shouts angrily at passers by in the UF crosswalks, poor Ivy who is a 'business associate' of Dick Butkus, and the Friday afternoon dancing  Krishnas on campus.

We got a little lazy and a little pink yesterday at the pool, then met Hannah downtown for dinner. I am glad to say our Illinois flu bug has passed out of our systems.

On to the main event, the Gainesville Orchestra with Eli sitting in on La Mer movement 3, where five trumpets were needed. He had a stunning three note solo! The program theme Majesty of the Sea included Eli on Rapture, a contemporary piece, selections from West Side Story (?) and Pirates of the Carribean overture. They performed to a full house in the concert hall at Santa Fe College. Pretty imptressive. Afterwards we went backstage to meet Dr. Randolph Lee, Eli's trumpet professor. 

And just for Betsy, there was yet another Musical Chris Vick Doppleganger on second violin.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Nothing like waking at 3:22 when you don't have to be up until 6 or it anticipation, excitement, or just old vanilla insomnia. Maybe we will make an earlier departure for Florida than we thought.

Getting right with myself means leaving work behind, being grateful for all I have, and apparently stocking up on decongestant and Kleenex. Here's hoping we leave our colds and our worries behind and enjoy a week away from cold, frozen Illinois. 

Hello You Two

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

All I can say is, I wish you were here. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Bucket List

In honor of Adam's life, I am hereby declaring my intention to fulfill my Bucket List. First things first: come up with a new and better name for bucket list. How about Dream Execution? Nah, sounds like I might be wanting to kill someone. Fantasy Rendering? Too kinky. Passion Inventory? This is not a business proposition. Joy Manifesto? Ted Kazinski anyone? Now I am attracting the attention of the FBI. Jiminy Christmas, let's just start over...

I'm just going to go with the working title: Zesty Index of Life Wishes to Complete Before I Die. Nothing to do with crackers, though.

So last week I knocked a couple of items off...I spent 60 minutes in a sensory deprivation isolation tank. Lest this sound too scary, these are also known as Relaxation Floats. You actually pay money to float in a closed pod of body temperature salt water. It is supposed to be sterile, sound proof and lightless. I found only the last component to be completely true.

I took a friend who happens to be a germophobe, so I can attest that the "perfectly clean" claim is questionable at best. You see, there are supposed to be two hours between one hour floats, plenty of time to filter and replace the water, right? But when we arrived, someone had fallen asleep in one of the tanks and was just getting out, and we were told the proprietor would have it ready in just a few minutes. Hmmm, no way were they replacing that water before we climbed in. I gallantly volunteered to use that tank, so that my friend could at least pretend like the other tank had been genuinely cleaned and filtered. It actually didn't bother me that much once I got in and had other issues to contend with.

The pods each have the option to keep the light on and meditation style music playing. I turned the music off almost immediately as wanted the full deprivation experience. Problem there was this location was on a busy city street and I could hear or maybe feel when heavier vehicles were passing by. Not really too distracting though, and only occasional.

The light is initially a pretty iridescent soft blue that makes your body look pretty amazing. Of course, you're in there by yourself so who really cares? I shut the light off too and it was truly pitch black. I couldn't tell if my eyes were open or closed.

Two things initially grabbed my attention and those were that I forgot to dry my face off before getting in as Molly suggested, and I forgot to put ointment on a small blister on my foot, and 1000 pounds of Epsom salt is pretty stingy to even small open wounds. After letting those thoughts go and consciously attempting meditation, I began to worry about haggling over the price when we got out- the posted signs in the spa didn't match what the internet said, so I worried there would be a debate. I worked that out of my head, using my masterful skills, telling myself this is all part of the process. I felt my shoulders and neck not cooperating with the relaxation, and I later realized I forgot another tip Molly gave us: to raise our arms above our head. That might have helped. Eventually I began to feel like I was submerged in a jelly mold. So I began swaying ever so slightly. This was a pretty cool feeling.

Towards the end of the hour, the humidity in the tank was feeling pretty heavy to my breathing. I had the faint thought I might be literally using up all the oxygen. But I didn't want to stir so much as it would take to open the door, so I just settled into that as well. Before I was necessarily ready, the soft light and music gently came on, and I got ready to exit, pleased that I enjoyed it as much as I did. I was absolutely thrilled that we were charged $10 less than we expected due to being referred by another customer. All in all, it was an interesting experience, but I am not dying to repeat it.

This is not me, but gives you an idea what the process looks like.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Feb. whatever

The days have really been flaking off since the anniversary of Adam's death, 2/2/18. A week goes so fast anymore. I always start the day off feeling great, and by the end of the day, somewhat like a walking zombie. A shower or a walk or ride at the Y usually helps.

I have to admit, I've been counting down the days now to our Florida trip and we are down to 11.

A little over one year ago, I was on this beautiful beach in Destin. This year the destination is Gainesville, which has no beach. No beats the heck out of Macomb. We are lucky that it worked out so that we are going to be able to see Eli play with the Gainesville Symphony Orchestra. Whatever else happens is icing on the cake.

This was my sand castle tribute to Adam on the beach last year, when I came back to check on it a day later.  He loved his sand castles.

My sweet daughter in law posted this on February 2:

I'll never forget seeing "Alice Through the Looking Glass" just a few months after Adam departed from us 2/2/16. Alan Rickman had also passed away recently, and his voice inhabited a butterfly at the start of the film... very poignant. When I think about Adam now, I remember what the Mad Hatter says to Alice at the end... "In the gardens of memory, in the palace of dreams, that is where you and I will meet."
Alan Rickman said "if only life could be a little more tender and art a little more robust." I agree with him.

Some of Adam's friends posted pictures, memories and thoughts of him. It meant the world to me, and made the day a bit sweeter. 

Friday, February 02, 2018

February 2

I have been grieving more in the days and weeks leading up until today, making this day feel pretty okay. I have gotten several messages, cards, and texts, and it is nice to be remembered, and that Adam is remembered. Some wonderful Facebook posts; social media has the power to do good!

I took a casserole and some treats to a co-worker whose grandson died (age 3) on Monday. I don't know her well, but it definitely affected me, being so close to Adam's. I know how much it meant to me when people did anything really, but having plenty of comfort food available was really nice.

On Wednesday evening I attended a free Big Band concert in town. Most of the members were WIU faculty and students, and some talented community members thrown in. They played jazz standards from the Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey "chart" (don't I sound fancy?). John Cooper, director of Jazz Studies and trumpeter, was the conductor. He also wrote a composition they played. He introduced it like this:

This piece is about the inevitability of
life, and sometimes you don't get
to say good-bye. So if you're missing someone 
tonight, this is for you.

It seemed really personal to him, but I'm not sure who he had did feel uncanny that I happened to be present, and it was so close to Adam's death date, and gosh it was a pretty number. I couldn't help the tears running down my face through the whole thing. It started with a piano solo, and John featured himself on trumpet. 

I had a really good workout in Spin class this morning. Thank you, buddy. However, as I was sitting in the stylist's chair no more than an hour later, I started to feel a head cold coming on, and my bones are slowly starting to ache, even in my hands. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Adam was right there in my dreams when I woke up this morning. He was living at home and for some reason had brought home a white bulldog looking thing with a pattern on it's fur like colored confetti. It was walking down the front steps and I was afraid to touch it. He also had a bull on the porch and had built a little pen in the front yard for it. Pat goes, "You should really have that in the back yard." Then Adam said, "Don't look under the front porch, we put something there, too, it's not snakes."
That's about it folks. It was good to see him but left me feeling more bereft this time. Either today or tomorrow is the actual day Adam probably died two years ago. We don't know for sure.

Monday, January 29, 2018

January almost February

It feels like Adam's suicide is becoming a fact of my life- not a foreign, unknown, surreal event. I hate that it is. As the two year mark approaches ever so slowly...who invented January anyway? my mood is decidedly crabby, the tears are closer to the surface, and everything seems to be a reminder from the waiting room at work, to Grace driving Adam's old car, to any song that was played in 2016.

OMG- Mozart's Moonlight Sonata is so where I'm at.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Day of Giving

I spent a very busy afternoon at the food pantry. Did not expect to see so many people I know. That cheered me up. Some remember me, some do not. I always let them speak first, so as not to embarrass anyone. The flow was just insane today, with three of us working until everyone was served, past the closing time. The other two left more or less on time, leaving me to clean the tables and vacuum. I had to hunt down a new vacuum bag, and make do with paper towels and water for cleaner. It was good.

This evening I will pick up my little sister. She wants to know what we're eating and doing. She wants "choices." I said "Cheesy breadsticks or tacos, baking whole wheat bread, and a spa night." To which she replied, "What can we have with breadsticks?" I figured we could do nails and facials after dinner while the bread is rising and baking. I'm in the mood for a new nail polish color; everything else I have, so I will stop at Walgreens on the way there.

Pat was on his way to visit my folks (that's a folksy term, isn't it?) when I came home between events. That is nice for both of them. I know they really appreciate visitors, expected or unexpected.

I think I will take a long shower before bed tonight. I'm quite grungy from the day already. I deserve it!

Monday, January 15, 2018

My e-mailbox was full again at work. Cleaning it out, I found some messages from 2/2/16 when my world changed immeasurably. I can feel the heavy weight of winter and loss as the anniversary approaches. My thoughts are turning more and more to that day and what led up to it for Adam and myself. It is painful but necessary work.

I was very busy over the holidays, a distraction really. Now, I get ready for another day of work and hope to God there is never another day like 2-2-16. Two weeks from Friday will be two years. Some say the second year is harder, but I wouldn't say that. There is more a sense Adam being left behind, but also happy moments when acceptance and peace fill my heart.

I keep certain things the way they were that day, like those messages in my saved file. His chapstick, Aveeno lotion, a book on my dresser. One day they will change and be gone, but never, never will my best boy be far from my thoughts. One day I will be where he is, we all will. Life is given and taken in its own time.

Monday, January 01, 2018


I thought I was going to write my reflections of 2017...but that was so LAST YEAR.

Up at 4 a.m., I am struck with my New Year burst of energy: energy to organize my spaces, clean my cabinets, write things down, and start new self help books and practices. Yes, I think I always start a new year with the hope of change, renewal, and growth. That's what all this cleaning, writing and reading is about.

My latest read is called 10% Happier by Dan Harris, a journalist who struggled with anxiety and drug abuse and his journey to enlightenment. Now I want to go on a 10 day silent meditation retreat or at least add it to my bucket list.

More practically speaking, I have a few resolutions for 2018.

  • Be there more for my clients
  • Live in the moment
  • Let go when it's time
  • Pause
  • Be a Warrior Woman and meet my challenges with grace