The bubble will pop

The bubble will pop

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past 45 months after Ted took his life is, as parents, we won’t be able to protect our children from cruel realities of this world.


We can educate them. We can even try to prepare them, and that’s not always enough. The Universe, God, or whomever you believe in, or don’t believe in, is going to throw you a nasty, curving fastball that going to knock the wind out of your kids, and I hope that you as their parent will be there to help them navigate through the ugly storm they will go through to process what has happened.

Don’t run away. Don’t hide them away. Face it with them. Talk about it. Sit with them in the ugly and the uncomfortable. You Will Conquer It. And it will take TIME.

Ted and I had made a silent pact that we would never get a divorce. We were protecting our children from having to experience a divorced family, where there were so many possibilities of things that could go bad.  For me, I wanted our kids to know the joy having two parents at home every night because that’s what I had during the younger parts of my childhood. I didn’t want them to experience any of the stories they shared about their friends in divorced families. They didn’t understand why divorce happened, even when we tried to explain it to them.

Only, times had changed as we became adults and parents.  Not a lot of families had a stay at home parent with their kids. We both worked. I missed my kids. I missed my husband. As the kids got older, it seemed we were both trying so hard to be more involved in their lives. Only, fears of not being able to pay bills or have health insurance for our family, our kids,  kept us both in places we struggled with mentally and emotionally.

There were bad days. Days where it felt like a divorce would be better for him and for me. Yet, we didn’t want the kids living in a single parent lifestyle, split between two people. And I did love Ted. I knew he was a good person. A good person struggling to find himself amongst the chaos of living. I was struggling, too. And we both dealt with it differently.

And what we had set out to do – give our kids two loving parents who were there for them always didn’t happen.

I missed most of our children’s childhoods to a job I ended up hating and being let go from. I wasn’t home those nights they needed help with homework, and Ted was. And there were so many other things Ted and I regretted and resented because we made decisions that took us away from our children and away from each other.

Ted ended up taking his own life. I couldn’t protect our children from that. Nothing we had done raising our kids prepared any of us for that.

I made decisions that I thought would protect them. I tried to prevent things from happening. I promised Ted I wouldn’t tell anyone. I told two people, silently hoping that their knowing would help change Ted’s suicidal thoughts. I didn’t tell Ted I told them. I helped Ted find a counselor. I started seeing one.

In secret, we both sought counseling. I didn’t hide the fact I was going to counseling from anyone , except our kids. No one knew Ted was in counseling except me & the two people who I had told, and Ted didn’t know I had told them. Secrets. I hated secrets, and here we thought we were protecting others from something – pain and fear. Keeping it secret wasn’t the right thing to do; only we only did what we thought and knew was best.

This post has taken me several days to write. For the second time in 45 months of Ted’s suicide, someone special and loved by us took his life. It hurts. It’s a different hurt, and it still hurts. My motivation for having started this post was to encourage others to talk. Talk. Talk. Talk. Don’t sugarcoat the ugliness of this life. While you think grass is greener on the other side and that one person is all peaches and cream, you don’t know the turmoil and hard work they are going through to keep it up. There isn’t always safety in putting our heads in the sand, or building a wall around our families. Eventually, they will find out…..

An Individual Journey

An Individual Journey


One of my best friend’s sent me a TikTok video of a gentlman who is sharing his grieving journey of losing his wife to cancer. In the video, he said it was a hard day,and asked for support, encouragement, and advise on how to keep going. She wanted him to be safe. I love her heart.

I commented on his post, as did hundreds of others. I took a look at his other videos, and I commended him on sharing his healing journey as well as how he and his two little girls had gotten there.

Loss is hard. Doesn’t matter what kind of loss. Loss is hard. And we learn how to handle it. Or at least a lot of us try to.

Losing somone in your life is a different kind of hard than any other loss. Then, there’s how you lost that person that can contribute to the pain, and how we carry our grief the rest of our lives.

Prior to Ted’s suicide, the only other suicide experience I had was a friend having hung himself while I was at college. I heard from one of the guys from the group I hung out with whenever I came home from college. I wasn’t super close with him, and he was still someone I really did care about. I had guilt, “I wish I hadn’t said that to him. I was joking.”; “What could I have done differently?” This particular event wasn’t traumatic for me. I still carried the guilt for awhile.

“But, he wasn’t Ted,” some might think. And that’s true.Yet, someone still lost a child, someone lost a love, someone lost a brother, someone lost a grandchild, a nephew….And each one of those loses were individually experienced.

I can logically tell you that I understand Ted’s parents, step-parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends each hurt from his death. I can also tell you that I don’t know their pain because I’m not them. I’ve been blessed to witness or hear how Ted’s suicide has affected those who had him in their lives.

That’s one thing about loss. No one is going to know your pain. There will be those that can relate, sympathize, and empathize. Those who have gone through a similiar situation can identify, and they still won’t know your pain. We all process loss differently.

I had a friend who lost her brother to suicide about a little over a year after Ted’s suicide. I basically told her that I had no words that would give her any comfort in her loss. I told her none of us, even those who experienced a suicide, would know her pain as she moved through her loss. I offered her what I could in the time she needed support – an ear, an eye to read what she typed or texted, a shoulder to cry on, etc. I reminded her she is loved and there will be those who will be there to help support her when she and her family needed it.

And honestly, that’s all one can do. Is just be there to support and love those moving through a loss.

My grieving and healing journey is different from our son’s and from our daughter’s. And each of our chlidren’s journeys is different from their sibling’s. Not once in the nearly four years after Ted died have we been on “the same page” of our grieving. I’m not sure we ever will be. And that’s okay, too. While we each grieve and heal, we will learn from one another hwow to support one another.

Random early morning thoughts

Random early morning thoughts

Soooo, I haven’t written in quite awhile. I’ve been doing a lot of writing in my numerous journaling notebooks. Yet, some times, I have the urge to post something on Instagram, which also get posted on Facebook. Here are a couple of recent posts:

Posted Saturday, February 13, 2021:

Remember when I was posting about cleaning up the decluttering the basement?
Well, it’s still cluttered, and it’s still so much better than it was.
The original motivation behind it was to clean up the backroom and the basement so A could turn the one corner into his space. Eventually.
I’ve been spending more time downstairs in the corner where the couch is and a TV is. I’m going through a phase where it’s hard for me to be in a room that Ted spent a lot of time in. Other than the drum set, there really are no reminders of Ted in the basement.
I use his bathroom now, and I’m still sleeping in our bed. Yet, that space in that corner is mine right now. Even with the new furniture upstairs in our family room, it hasn’t felt right to be there and spend time there for too long, even if the kids are with me. I feel haunted upstairs.
At one point, people were asking me if we would move after Ted died. I saw no reason for it. He didn’t kill himself in our house. We had a support system where we were, and I think a part of me felt I’ll be damned if I let this shit scare me away. Plus, having to sell our house and ally hat other stuff that goes with moving was nothing I wanted to, or even could mentally and emotionally, handle on top of everything else that was going on after he died.

I’m not quite sure why I started this post. Apparently, I needed to write. There is a lot that goes on with me that I don’t share, even though I want to. I want the world to know about my pain, our pain, our journey…and yet, I don’t even understand it at times. Am I even ready to expose all that haunts me? Are you even ready to know what haunts me?

#LoveInOurStitches#Randommorningthoughts#wtf#babbling

Posted Saturday, February 06, 2021:

I miss you. Then, I realize I also miss what we were and what we had and the parts of being partners.
I’ve been hiding my panic, my sadness, my fears, my stress, my anxiety, anger, guilt, resentment….all of it. All of it has been underneath this mom exterior. Mom worry and Mom guilt make for convenient covers of my own emotional and mental struggles as I somehow want to deny my own grieving and processing of your death….your decision….your suicide.
This blue-black ocean of foam and storm suffocates me internally as I try to grasp everything in me wanting to be let loose.
I’m scared to let it all go and let it release because I don’t know what will happen in the havoc the emotions might leave behind.
And yet, I’m exhausted. Exhausted from holding it all together for everyone else. I have no one whose arms I can crawl and sob into. I have no one I can cling to who will understand my loss. I have no one to hand over the reigns of parenting for an hour so I can take time to myself and just let it all out.
It’s been weeks of late night or early hours of random thoughts and random tears…and sometimes, the tears don’t even come.
The nightmares wake me up, and I’m afraid to go go back to sleep to have them come again. They remind me of the hole in my life. Remind me I can’t go back to how it used to be. Remind me that I have to rethink and relearn how to live and raise kids and love myself again and move forward.
I’m bruised and scarred, and it’s so easy to hide it all behind the worry and want for our kids to grow up emotionally and mentally stronger than you and me.
The tears come silently and in the dark. I lie in bed or stare at a blank piece of paper trying to make sense of the mess inside me. Why now? Why am I feeling all this now?

#LoveInOurStitches
#earlymorningthoughts#isitreallyrandomthinking
#imissyou
#itstillhurts

Inside Out and All Mixed Up

Inside Out and All Mixed Up

Monday, January 27, 2020

As time has passed, the trigger moments don’t happen as often. What I have noticed is that when trigger moments do happen, some of them are pretty intense.

The latter part of last week and this past weekend were heavy with emotions. Big A had an emotional upheaval of unknown origin and an inability to even describe it. I had my own triggering moments come out of the blue.

I came to realize that I have been avoiding certains kinds of social events because of the people involved. I still love those people, and they will always have a special place in my heart. It’s just hard to be around them.

Just like I’m sure it can be hard for our family and friends to be around Peanut, Big A, and/or me.

It’s the memories tied to them/us. While they may be amazing and beautiful memories, pain is now attached to them.

Just thought of Inside Out. Have you seen the movie? We’ve actually recently watched it several times. Each time was initiated by one of the kids. For me, it was kind of surprising to walk in the living room to see them watching it.

Anyway, in the movie, the four emotions, Joy, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness work together as their han Riley goes through a rough time during a move to a different state. Joy’s the one who is mainly in charge. Only, the move causes a slight disruption among the emotions. Joy tries to keep Riley in a happy mood, no matter the situation. In the end, there’s a lesson that not all memories hold just one emotion, but a mixture of them.

Ted’s suicide has now colored some of our happiest memories with sadness, longing, and other emotions. Eventually, I believe, those memories will hold more joy and happiness. Eventually.

My triggering moment brought up a myriad of emotions. I had to go to the bathroom to calm down. Later, after the party on the way home, I told Big A what happened with me. He told me why he had to excuse himself from the party at one moment. We each have different triggers. He asked me why I got triggered

I told him that sometimes when I see or talk to someone his dad and I both knew, it brings up memories, and I get sad. I sometimes also get angry at Ted. I get mad because he’s not here to enjoy all the amazing moments we’re going through. I get angry because he’s not here to support our kids during important moments in their lives. And I get sad. There are a lot of emotions that come up that I won’t be able to tell my kids because they won’t be able to relate.

And honestly, I probably won’t share the full spectrum of my emtoions with you, dear Reader. Those are for me to work through, and only a select few know of them.

Just know, if you are in this club of loss, every thing you feel is valid. Every emotion that hits you out of the blue is valid and it’s normal and okay. And you are so loved.

I love you.

Our Morgan

Our Morgan

Back in 2004, we bought a house. And some weeks of buying said house, Ted said he wanted a dog.

I had never had a dog. Sister had been allergic to pet dander, and Mom was a bit of a clean freak. I had been known to break out from dog licks. Therefore, I was a little apprehensive.

Ted had a dog. Boots. Ted was 6 months, Boots was six weeks. Those two grew up together. I had been witness to the heartbreak when Ted put Boots to sleep. Ted was pretty damn proud of Boots.

Well, we ended up getting a puppy after days of talking. We had gone to the local shelter and had gone to a local pet store. At the pet store, we ended up getting the runt of a litter of unknown breed mix. A pretty girl, the runt, and the only one with white.

At the house, she slept. Puppies apparently sleep a lot. While I looked up what kind of breed she could possibly be, Ted laid on the floor in kid like admiration while he thought of a name. Two hours he laid on the floor with the puppy. I had never seen so much love for something in his eyes.

Morgan. That’s what he decided on. When we showed her to friends, and told them her name, a lot of them asked, “Is it after Captain Morgan?”

And Ted would either smile, laugh, or nod in confirmation. Captain Morgan was his choice of drink.

Morgan was Ted’s shop dog. She’s get to go with him every day to work, and hang out with the boss’s older dog.

Morgan had many adventures. She was loved not only by the family, but by people who met her. Even the older dog started to get into adventures with her.

Morgan wasn’t a licker. We trained her not to lick after one day when Ted and her got home from work, I was on the couch, and she started giving me puppy kisses. Ted said, “By the way, I saw her eat her own poop today.” I screamed and pushed Morgan away. Somehow we taught her not to lick. Instead, when she met someone new, she lean in real close and just sniff. She was also a “hugger.” When I was upset, she’d sit next to me, put her face next to mine and then rea her head on my shoulder. She did that with anyone who was upset.

When Alex was born, she stayed near his pak’n’play. When he’d make a noise, she’d climb on the couch and look into the pak’n’play.

As she got older, she became the alpha dog at the shop after T died, and she made sure the younger dogs knew it.

When our family got bigger by one, and as the kids got older, her patience showed, and she was loved. When she didn’t want to be around the kids, she’d go to the basement to be by herself.

She never barked unless she felt there was a threat. Morgan was just loved by everyone she met.

We got Bella the fall of 2015. Morgan was starting to go deaf and had cataracts. I thought getting a dog at that point, and socializing it with Morgan would help ease any pain from losing Morgan to old age. Well, after a few months, Ted made the decision to give Morgan to my mom, who lives three hours away. There was no discussion about it really. Ted said he felt Mom needed some companionship, especially when fishing.

That caused a few alpha problems between the two dogs.

In any case, Morgan grew old and was happy with Mom, and happy when at our house. Content despite her fading eye sight, her fading hearing, and a lump in her right hip. She also developed a cough, but the vet couldn’t find anything wrong.

A few months ago, Mom had me take Morgan in to have her leg looked at. At a recent grooming appointment at a chain, they refused to work on her due to a leg being swollen. Understandable.

At the visit, the vet said Morgan had cancer. That’s what all the lumps were. Mom asked how much it would cost to put her down, and I about flipped. We recently had to go through a loss – Mom had given her boat to my sister and her family, and it hit both kids really hard. In fact, that had happens days before this appointment. I told her that it wasn’t time, and the kids weren’t ready for that. She stated I was going to have to talk with them soon.

We got Morgan on anti-inflammatory meds, and got her more after they seemed to work. Mom called the second week of October saying it was time. After some hysterics, A and I ended up going to GF to bring Morgan back to our house. Back home.

That Friday night was one of the toughest nights of my life. I didn’t sleep much. A had to help me a few times to adjust Morgan so she was comfortable. He had a hard time, too.

A did so well. He cried when he needed to, not repressing it.

It was a countdown Saturday for the time the vet said she would come to put Morgan down. Peanut and I went out to get Morgan some Wendy’s, and thankfully she happily ate the chicken nuggets, some of the cheeseburger, and some of the vanilla Frosty.

The vet was about 30-45 minutes later than the time she told us.

I am so grateful that the whole process didn’t take long. The kids cried. Oh, it was so heartbreaking to see and hear them cry. To hear our son apologize for her pain, and apologize for waiting so long to relieve her of her pain. We spoke to her as she went under. Telling her of our love for her.

When she was finally at rest, the vet and her assistant gave use some time alone. It was A who got them when he felt we were ready. It was A who noticed the left behind fur from when the vet shaved her to put the needle in. He took some and put it in the box holding a small urn of Ted’s ashes. Peanut grabbed herself some, and took the remaining for mom.

As the vet took Morgan, she verified I want three paw prints. A said, “Four.” When I asked why, “One for me, One for Lola, one for Anna, and one for you.”

Honestly, I hadn’t thought of myself. He had.

It took me three more days after she was put down before I could clean the carpet where she had peed. The emotional toll on me hit harder than I thought.

We now have her ashes. The paw prints are beautiful, and the clinic was kind enough to shave more of her fur and put it in a beautiful stamped box.

We love you, Morgan. You’re home now with Dad, and you are both watching over us now.

Fears – Part 1

Fears – Part 1

This week, we had something happen in our family that had been a fear of mine since Ted’s suicide. To be honest, that specific fear isn’t the fear I want to address here. The fear I want to address is one that our son has had since his Dad’s suicide.

Let me give you a little background on what I’m going to talk about.

Our son cut himself on his upper body Monday evening, after coming home from Scouts and after we had all gone to bed. Wednesday, after a talk about suicide in his Health Enhancement, our son went to his friends to admit what he did. They then walked him down to the 7th grade counselor. I received a call from him, full of tears and emotions. He then stated he wanted to talk to LC about what happened. I gave him her number, telling him he would need to leave a message as she was probably in session at that time. I waited about twenty minutes before I called and left her a message. He called me a back a while later, and we decided I would pick him up to talk.

We went for a drive, and talked about what he was feeling, about how my feelings since Ted’s death, and about possible things we could do to help each other. During the drive, LC and BK called. We arranged to meet with LC on Thursday to talk and come up with a plan. Later that evening, we went to a show, and during intermission, LC came by to check in with us.

Thursday, we met in the afternoon. During this session, we talked about what led up to him harming himself. The week before, I had lost my temper on him. Before he left the house, I knew it had affected him negatively. He said that argument, the smaller fights, and just missing Dad led up to wanting to hurt himself. He said he missed Dad and wanted to see him. He was so angry at Dad, and wanted to hit him. He wanted to feel something other than the emotional pain he’s been feeling. We talked about other things. About how brave he is for having gone to his friends. How amazing he is that he can talk about how he’s feeling, even if it takes awhile. Our son is very articulate. We talked about how he was and wasn’t alike his father. I told him stories about his father that I saw he was taking in and processing. I told him things about myself that I hoped would give him some perspective.

We talked about a plan on what he should do when feelings of anger and sadness boil over to a point he would want to hurt himself. Before we left, LC asked him how he was feeling since Monday. She gave him a scale to use, and his answer was lower than we expected. He spoke about how school will go okay, and when he gets home all he wants to do is eat and go to bed. He doesn’t like doing his chores (who does), and he know he has to. He then went on to say he hated going to school.

Now, it’s normal for kids to usually not want to go to school for various reasons, right? Well, his comment caused a pit in my stomach. He’s made comments before about not wanting school to end and not wanting to go back to school. Only, last year, near the end of the school year, A started saying he didn’t want to go to school, and before school started this year, he started to say the same thing. When I asked why, he replied it was because it was boring and he hated the repetition. Yet, when he said it this time, it was something else. I asked him why, relaying my thoughts to him as to why I was concerned with his statement.

After a moment, he said it was because he was scared. We asked him why he was scared. He said he had this feeling, all the time, that something bad was going to happen to someone in the family while he was in school. Some thing bad was going to happen to Peanut; something bad was going to happen to me. And he won’t be able to stop it and/or help.

He’s afraid that when I’m not home, an officer is going to show up at the door and tell him something bad has happened to me.

This is a very valid fear. LC said it was and went on to state that the fear was also from his Brain Bully, and the Brain Bully lies. He couldn’t stop Ted’s death. He didn’t know where Ted was when it happened. He was in school when it did happen. And if he’s in school, he can’t do anything.

It’s a sense of helplessness for our son. If A is in school, and something were to happen to me, he can’t stop it. He feels like he needs to know where I am during the day,and even at night when I go out. Sometimes, he will check in on my when he gets home from school. If I don’t reply immediately, or within a certain time frame, he becomes worried, and sometimes panicked. He’ll start to send me multiple text messages or call repeatedly until I answer the call or text back. His Brain Bully causes that. It tells him things that cause him to worry, panic, and feel helpless.

This is the fear I wanted to tell you about. It’s a fear I knew he had. Only, I didn’t take it upon myself to hold onto it, and check in with both my children to see if that fear is healing or what I can do to help them let go of that fear. Sometimes, it takes dark moments for us to recognize and acknowledge other people’s fears, and help them process and work through them. We’re all still learning how to support each other when these fears rise up. My own fears have prevented me from acknowledging their fears. My own grief has prevented me from supporting my own children when they’ve needed me more in moments than compared others. My own fears have prevented me from checking in more with my children, thinking they are strong enough to do certain things on their own. I forget from time to time that they aren’t always strong – just like I’m not always strong.

I’m learning to forgive myself in these moments when I feel I have failed my children in their healing journey. We’re all learning to forgive ourselves when we become scared and feel helpless. We’re learning to reach out to each other and reach out to others.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Have you heard the saying, “When it rains, it pours.”? It was used the other day when talking to a mom friend. She’s currently going through a divorce.

Me? Well, I’m now unemployed after working for a company for nearly 19 years. As much as it came as a shock, and honestly, a blow to me self-esteem, the discharge/firing/relieving of my position is a blessing. I hadn’t been happy in that company for at least 6 years, if not more. At some point, I began to question a lot, not just with myself, but also with the company.

And one could also say the axiom applies as I am a single mom of two tweens, a widow, and now, unemployed. On the day of my discharge, I had received a call from my son, explaining his bad day, and a text from my daughter, stating she was missing her father.

Yet, this was coming. Yes, it might have been better if my employment had ended on my terms. Only, I can’t tell you what my terms would have been. Unless, what all those people who have said that to me mean having put my two weeks in, knowing I had a job ready to take me as soon as I put that notice in.

Only, I didn’t. I let fear run my life for a long time. Not only my fear, but also the fears of my late husband, and the fears of my parents, namely my mother. There was the fear of not having a steady paycheck. I was getting paid a nice hourly wage, and there was the fear I wouldn’t be able to find another job that paid not only that hourly rate, but also provide the health benefits the lab paid for. There was the fear of not getting or having health insurance if I were to leave and/or find another job. There was the fear I wouldn’t even find a job. There was the fear, “How are you doing to support your family?”.

Fear. Fear. Fear. I’ve heard so many different acronyms for fear. All of which can be applied to certain circumstances. And in my case, some of them have been very true. A lot of them have been false events appearing real. We are very good at telling ourselves stories of what might be the outcome. Sometimes, we let those stories become so real in our minds, and the power we lend to those stories can actually cripple us. It certainly crippled me from pursuing my dreams and my intuition.

So, now I’m here. Unemployed. I’ve applied for massage therapy school for the fall of 2020. In the meantime, I’m looking at jobs. I’ve had to re-evaluate things, and revised beliefs and things. And it hasn’t exactly been fun or pretty. I just might be a little picky, even though the terms of receiving Unemployment Benefits be I apply for at least one job weekly. I’ve had friends suggest jobs in the science field. Why not? I was in a science field for nearly 19 years. I’m burnt out, and at some point I realized that I had done all of it for someone else.

Yesterday, I attempted to re-do my resume. I looked at it, and no matter how much I tried to adjust it or revise it, all I saw was failure. Failure after 19 years. Failure of not following my gut. A failure as a parent for not keeping my job. A failure as a child, wanting unconditional love from my parents.

See? Those were just stories I was telling myself, and they were extremely real to my emotional state. I could logically tell myself I wasn’t a failure. I had reached out to a friend, telling her how overwhelmed I felt looking at my resume (which hadn’t been properly updated in months, years even) and all I could see was failure. I am so grateful she went on a text bomb of what I good person I am, and reminding that this is just a bump in my life journey. That I’m being broken to be rebuilt into something completely spectacular.

In counseling, I really let it go. It was a crying mess. We addressed some issues I’ve been bypassing, and also been trying to heal from. Lots of tissues and tears. I was given some action steps, and today I did one.

And today, I’m better and I love myself a little more.

Transitions

Transitions

Over the Labor Day weekend, Peanut was distracting herself. She asked if we could go to the local pond, and could she invite a friend.

At the last minute, my mother, who had been visiting since earlier in the week, asked where I had gone fishing with BK earlier in the summer. I decided to take her for a drive, and invited Peanut in case we could go down in the river.

During the drive, I could tell Peanut was antsy. The fishing access was packed, so we didn’t go explore. On the drive home, she kept texting and calling her friend to give her minute to minute updates in when we’d be home to go to the pond.

At the pond, she asked if her friend could spend the night. I said as long as her parents okayed it.

We made plans to go to a lake, and she asked if her friend could come. Again, as long as her parents okayed.

While at the lake, she was a bit clingy with her friend, being unintentionally bossy. Later, she asked if her friend could spend the night again. I said as long as her parents okayed it.

Yesterday, after her friend went home, she was restless. We went grocery shopping, and she admitted to having “that empty feeling” again. She didn’t know where it was coming from.

Now, the kids’ grief counselor had called earlier that yesterday. I told her I felt like Peanut was struggling with something, and had been distracting herself all weekend. There had been a few other things that had happened earlier in the Labor Day weekend that had caused some emotional triggering.

At Peanut’s session, we talked about a few things. Paintings she had brought for LC to look at. I had her show LC a Sharpies picture she had drawn, and from there we talked about how overwhelming the first three days of school had been, about a friend being told her parents were getting a divorce, about said friend getting into a fight with the girl who had called Peanut ugly (damn Mean Girl crap), and at one point, LC commented about how Peanut was sitting.

She was protecting herself and holding something back.

As LC and Peanut talked, it occurred to me that all the changes – transition to Middle School and all the stuff that had been thrown at the kids in the first few days, a friend’s sudden change in family dynamic, and the struggle of feeling as deeply as she does – she was missing something…or rather someone.

I spoke up, recalling a drive into town where her brother said he wished Dad was here. When I asked him why, he replied, “I’m turning thirteen. He won’t be here for that. He won’t be here for a lot of important things.”

And from the backseat, Peanut replied, quite passionately, “Yeah. I know. Me, too. It sucks!”

She didn’t remember that conversation, and the tears on her eyes only confirmed what had been bothering her.

The kids miss their dad. That isn’t going to stop. Ever. There will be moments where the missing gets stronger, and even overwhelming. And sometimes, they won’t know it or even know how to express it.

So, we kindly ask if we are missing Dad or kindly remind each other it’s okay to miss Dad. We sit and hug and tall about it. We support each other in it, even when it’s super uncomfortable.

It’s heartbreaking to see them like that. Only, I also feel proud when they are able to speak out loud of it.

They’re scared. They are scared to feel what they feel. They are scared to express how they feel. And one big reason is because no one they know has experienced what they have. Who can relate to their anger, guilt, frustration, and sadness?

Even I get scared to express how I’m feeling, even beyond our shared suicide experience.

A came back from his camping trip with a friend and his family. He felt off, and eventually, he said he was missing dad. It started during the first week of school, and kept going through the camping trip (there’s a lot more I’m not divulging right now that contributed to this).

They miss him. Rightfully so. He’s not here to see them grow, to see them succeed, to help them up when they fall, to love them when they need it more than other days. He’s not here when he should be.

The Unsung Song of the Strong Ones

The Unsung Song of the Strong Ones

A friend shared this weekend the obituary of someone she lost to suicide. As I read the beautiful tribute, my intuition began to buzz.

Mind you, I speak from a place where many people have yet to experience suicide in any form in their life and from a place where people who have experienced suicide aren’t speaking out for their own reasons.

I also speak from a place of self-inflicted and held on criticism, a wounded child, a wounded heart, and a healing soul. I also speak from someone who has been called “strong.”

The beautiful soul I read about suffered from an internal dialogue of:
“I’m not doing enough.”
“What I’m doing, providing, contributing… isn’t good enough.”
“I’m not making an impact.
“My life isn’t making a difference…”

My friend told me her friend had everything going for him, and he never seemed depressed. She and her friend’s circle of family and friends will dwell upon the questions suicide survivors torture themselves with:

“Did he show any signs?”

“What signs did I miss?”

“Why didn’t he say something?”

“What could I have done differently?”

And other questions and scenarios.

And to the “he had everything going for him,” that’s when you should really check in with those kinds of people. We don’t know the internal dialogue they are having with themselves as they outwardly behave with admirable strength and talk such inspiring words. They are holding everything together with fraying threads.

These are people who push themselves to a physical and/or mental and/or emotional exhaustion because they feel they aren’t doing enough, what they do isn’t good enough. They have an inner dialogue that continually lies to them, and is louder than the love being given to these beautiful souls.

These people have perfected the mask of “Everything is fine. I got this…”

Because they’ve accomplished so much, because they’ve helped and inspired so many, because they have become so accustomed to the “keeping going” lifestyle/mentality, the thought of failure is fucking scary. The thought of letting others down is unthinkable and unspeakable. They no longer give themselves permission to rest, to falter, to fail, to stop…

When all they really want is to stop. The pain they are hiding from you is pain that they no longer want to live with. It’s a pain they don’t want to be responsible for sharing with you. If they share it with you, then they are also responsible for giving you pain, which they believe they are protecting you from.

They aren’t weak. They just believe they are when they aren’t functioning at the level the inner dialogue has repeatedly them they have to be at in order to be worthy and loved.

So check in with them, and check in with them often. Do it with love, and do it with respect.