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...