Friday, July 29, 2011


Well, today is another milestone on this journey. I have finished settling Michael's estate.  I hope I never see another cheque or letter addressed to "The Estate of.." my son.  That's really all I want to say about it I guess.  It's finished.

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's my bewitching hour or perhaps I should say, these are my bewitching hours.  Anytime after about noon I am most comfortable here at home.  I was up early and down to the coffee shop with my book before I usually get there but I was restless this morning and I've come to count on the ritual to provide the start to my day.  I meet with a friend or two, chat, solve the worlds problems and then seem ready to face the rest of the day in whatever way I can.    Three days ago I decided to increase one of my mood stabilizers (with Dr's okay) as I was really starting to have some very dark times.  And for the time being I've told myself that it's okay to use the drugs prescribed to do what they are supposed to do..which is really keep me functioning. 

Today is the 17 month anniversary of Michael's death.  Although he left us on a Thursday it was the 25th of the month.  Has there been any improvement for us?  No, not really.  We've come to understand the tears and rages and loneliness and regrets more, that's all.  We smile in remembrance more I guess. There was no smiling for the first very long time.  But it still seems such a waste to us.  And we remain convinced that more can and should be done to help people with mood disorders.  We need more research, more education, more understanding, more support, more acceptance.

I've just read a book by Michael J Fox:  Always Looking Up, The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist.
The book is uplifting because it is funny, sad, factual and honest.  It is mostly about his fight with Parkinson's Disease and the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's research.  I have to admit that I read this book because in part of 1964, 1965 and 1966 my best friend was his sister Karen and a friend who had read the book before me knew this and told me she was sorry to have to tell me but that Karen had passed away.  I can't remember any of Karen's family although I know I've been to their house on the base. But at our 30th school reunion we met up again and what I remembered about her, her smile and giggles were the same as when we were 15.  Now, the Michael J Fox foundation raises millions and millions and millions of dollars and I wondered how people who don't have connections to wealthy and famous people do the same.  The Michael Cuccione Foundation in Vancouver does the same for cancer.  Michael Cuccione (the uncle) was a co-worker of mine.  Maybe I can ask him for suggestions.  I don't know...but my son can not have died for nothing.  My girlfriends boys cannot have died for nothing.  The youth who are dying from suicide every day here in our province...because there was no help for them...something must come from those souls who have left us here without them. 

I have joined the Mood Disorder Association of BC and will join the Mood Disorder Assocation of Canada as well as the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention.  But I'm just one grieving mom.  It's going to take more than just me. 

I'd love some feedback on what others are doing.  How are you managing? Are you moving on with your lives? 

For now I'm going to curl up with a book and spend the afternoon with my boy. 
Take care.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Sunday morning and the first morning in a couple of weeks that I have felt the edges around my emotions starting to smooth out a little bit.  The sun is shining and we are going out for a drive.  I will write later but today I can take a deep breath and am so thankful.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thursday thoughts

These past few weeks have been reminiscent of the months following Michael's death.  I'm not able to "get a grip" on my emotions.  Trying to figure out what's caused this and the only thing I can think of is: nothing.  I'm guessing it's part of the path of grief. Maybe not, does anyone have any ideas?  Even my garden isn't offering consolation because all the bits of empty space are full, nothing is really blooming because we don't have enough sun and my eyes are constantly drawn once again to the spot Michael chose to take himself away.  I can't get that picture to leave my brain.  Thankfully I don't dream that picture so I have respite from it when I'm sleeping but it haunts me during my daytime hours.  It's like someone took a snapshot, animated it so it had arms and legs and could talk and whenever I am doing something or thinking something the snapshot jumps up and down in the background yelling..."Hey, look at me, look at me!!!"    Is this part of the PTSD I'm diagnosed with?  When will it take a quiet back corner and allow me to remember my beautiful son when he was happy? 

My doctor has upped my antidepressant and my anti anxiety meds but I know that meds aren't the only answer.  Prayer?  Yes, I pray: for strength, for peace, but we don't always get what we pray for..we just hold onto the belief that one day we will.  In the meantime what gets us through? 

When I'm out and about I feel like such a fake because on the outside I smile and talk and on the inside I'm curled up in a ball saying "take me home". 

I live for my visits with my granddaughter here and my family who aren't here.  We only get my granddaughter here one afternoon a week unless there is a special occasion and we ask specifically for her.  If we didn't ask for her I don't know if we would ever get her.  Yet those times with her are so special.  I would move from here tomorrow were it not for her.  Too many memories in this small town jump out at every turn.  I hate it.  I really do. But our granddaughter needs to know her Daddy and her Daddy's family so we stay, at least for now.

I realize this blog serves as emotional purging but it's the reason I started it.  What comes across as quiet typing is actually screaming inside my head.  Seeing what I'm thinking come up on the screen as I type has a calming effect on gives me a sense that I still do have some control.  It means I haven't taken Michael's baseball bat to the walls, the windows, the dishes.  I've gotten through another day without taking my grief out on someone else.  As my oldest daughter would say, I've gotten through the day without making it worse.  It would be such an easy thing to do, to make it worse.  How easily I could cause damage and probably be excused because at times I feel a bit less that in control.  But what purpose would that serve?   I wouldn't hurt any less for having hurt someone else. 
And I need my children and grand children to know that we can all be stronger that those around who are hurtful. 

Mikey, can you hear my rants?  I've talked myself in a circle today but I'm okay now.  I love you.  I'm angry at the things you were angry at, the unfairness and the cruelty shown you, the lack of understanding and the refusal to attempt to understand, the disposable attitude you were shown by some.  But I will be strong for you because for as long as I live I will tell people the beautiful side of you as well. 

Ativan and a cup of tea will get me through this day.

Thanks for being out there for me.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday letter to my boy

Dearest Michael,
Do you remember how you told me you could not live without your daughter? You needed your family to be complete and without them you couldn't face your future.  I understood then and I understand now.  Now that you are in a peaceful place I hope you understand why we tried to encourage you to pick up the broken pieces of your life and start again.  You did try, I know that.  But people didn't understand.  There are some of us, lots of us, who need unconditional and unqualified love and acceptance or we crumble.  I have that in your Dad or I might be where you are - he is a "come hell or high water" person.  I remember reading your blog a long time ago where you said something about being glad your parents hadn't divorced because it gave you a sense of safety. The road was sure bumpy though wasn't it?  I hope there are things about your life that you have looked back on and been thankful for.  Dad and I love you so much.  Dad, like a lot of men, finds it very difficult to go to the dark emotional places and I know the last year of your life was hard but I know now that you will understand.  There was not one second that Dad didn't wish for your life to be easier for you, to see you smile, to laugh with you about something.  But we watched you suffer in a way no parent wants to see their child suffer.  There are times I feel a need to tell some people what I saw.  I believe they need to know what happens when a person is dying emotionally.  It is not easier to watch than to watch someone die physically.  You, like your mom, were never one to be able to walk away from anything you perceived as unjust and SO much in your life WAS unjust.  It broke you.  I'm writing today Mikey because I am so very angry again and feel a need to make someone else understand what has happened to our family.  I'm looking for some guidance from you I guess.  This was an emotional weekend for us all.  So much crying brings all those feelings to the front again.  It's a day I want to scream and smash things and shut out the world, yet I reach out electronically because really, I don't want to be alone.  I just don't want to see anyone and I don't want anyone to see me.  I understand now why you locked yourself away with your computer for the last months of your life. 

My heart is broken and I don't know what to do.  I want my family around me constantly and that's not possible and I have no interest at all in anything more.  Even the weather seems sad, so little sun this year so the flowers don't bloom, the garden seems melancholy.  I went to the Museum today because we are putting your picture up on the In Memory of wall.  You were only 31.  You shouldn't be going up there with your isn't the way things should be.  But we've chosen the's of you on your wedding day.  You said aside from the day your little girl was born it was the happiest day of your life.  Such a beautiful young man.  Only 25 then.  Six years and three months later you would leave us. 

I'm looking for answers today honey.  I don't want to hear that there are no answers.  I don't care if there are none...I want to hear them anyway.  I miss you so much darling boy.  I send you my love and hope where you are you know how very much we ALL love you. 

Talk to you soon,

Sunday, July 17, 2011


This will be a short note today.  I've just watched another E Harmony ad on tv.  I remember my counsellor telling me that she was not too worried about Michael being truly suicidal because he was making an effort to meet people online.  That, apparently meant there was hope for life outside his suffering.  My warning is: ALWAYS listen to your inner voice.  Please.  If you, in the deepest recesses of your heart and soul feel that someone you love is at risk, never ever give up looking for help.  I didn't give up but I think others did.  It's most likely that you know your loved one better than anyone else. Never, ever, ever stop doing everything you can to help.  Write letters, make phone calls, beg, plead, whatever it takes to get someone to stop and listen.  Currently there is very little help available unless someone has already self harmed and trust me when I tell you that admitting someone to the psych ward of some hospital does not keep them safe.  Please write a letter to your MLA, MP, congress person, anyone and everyone you can think of because suicide is preventable.

PS.  I thought I had created a link to this last time.  I guess I don't know how to do that check on    Also...the next time you go to buy Canadian stamps, please ask for the Support Mental Health stamps.  They don't cost you one cent more..but a (very small) part of the money goes to support mental health in Canada  and also, perhaps someone receiving a letter with one of these stamps will notice and thus, awareness is raised.  It's a starting point.  Thanks. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Just living in different places

I fully intended to climb back into bed this morning after my husband left for work.  But it didn't rain last night and it seems like a waste of the morning to do so.  My cold is getting worse and I'm grumpy. I'm going to have to do something today to get rid of the grumpies.  I'm afraid the cold has a mind of it's own.  I've been looking a pictures of the kids when they were younger, and pictures taken since Michael died.  I hope he can look down from Heaven and see his beautiful daughter.  She looks so much like him but her little personality is a combination of her mom and her daddy.  I think back to what Michael was like when he was four and a half.  He was another beautiful child.  But that was a bad period in my life and I was struggling with life.  What difference would have been made in my children's lives had I been more emotionally stable I'll never know.  But gut feeling, the little voice I think is always right, says that was a crucial time for Michael.  That's not to read as self-incrimination but fact.  I did the best I could as a parent but the truth is I came up short at that time.  It has nothing to do with love.  My love for my children was and is unconditional.  It had to do with life circumstances and abilities and inabilities of coping.   It also had to do with what I now understand is a major mood disorder..then called manic called bipolar.  Periods of deep and intense sadness often followed by sort of bizarre behaviour..anything to get myself cheered up. 

I've included a link to a website about depression.  It's a Canadian Website but I know there are such helpful resources world wide.  Thoses of us who have lost someone to suicide have seen first hand the devestation that can be causes when the mind and soul's ability to cope with what life is giving them, has been surpassed. 

I have also joined the Mood Disorders Association of BC.  I hunger for a better understanding of the illness that took my son and affects millions of people.  I believe mood disorders need to be brought out into the open and understood. They are after all, illnesses.  No one chooses to suffer with depression, loneliness, manic behaviour, out of control rages, inappropriate behaviour.  We are still a very closed minded society in regard to mood dysregulation and suicide. 

It's almost 8:00 and I want to go out and finish the lawn and weedwhacking and then take my cold to bed and lay down with the baby blanket on my bed.   Today I pulled out Michael's baby blanket.  I remember crocheting it as I worked nights as the switchboard operator and the hotel I worked at when I was expecting him.  What a great day that was...the power had gone out so I packed wood from the garage and kept our little house warm with the fire and by leaving the oven on all day.  I felt like such a pioneer woman! I think my husband was scared because it took about three phone calls to get him to finally get home from work...I made him supper..can you believe it?  What was I thinking??? Contractions while I cooked peas, rice and chicken. We packed up our little '72 VW and got to the hospital just after 7:00 pm.  Mikey was born at 10:00.  He weighted 9 lbs 2 oz and was beautiful from the moment he was born.  Back then we got to stay in the hospital for a few days.  I was there three or four as Michael had to go under the lights for a couple of days.  That moment, the moment I heard him cry, my life became complete.  The piece of my puzzle that had been missing, had been found and life was perfect.  God had forgiven me anything I had done in my life and given me this beautiful child to love and protect.   

And I am grateful for the 375 months and 3 days and 21.5 hours I was allowed to have him with me here on earth.  He is still my son, he will always be my son.  We just have to live apart for awhile. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Today marks another tiny milestone along the way; I have completed everything to do with Michael's estate.  This has been a difficult process.  I really dragged my feet on it, I  admit.  When Michael died he didn't leave a will so it turned out that I had to apply to administer his estate.  The lawyers suggested I use a lawyer to do this and their estimated cost was between $3 000 and $5 000.  I felt that the lawyers had already taken too much money and I felt and still do that they contributed in their way to the terrible stress my son was under.  So, I went to Staples and bought a Probate kit ($39)  After 16 months,  a few mistakes, about $500, and with help from a friendly woman at the probate office, my local notary, and a wonderful girl at our's all done.  But it saddens me because I feel like it's a thread that held me to my boy and it's been broken.  This feeling will pass I know but it's a sad feeling nonetheless.

I've put on a movie, lit Michael's candle, closed the blinds and shut out the world for the rest of the day.  This is self indulgence, I know but I have a wicked summer cold and it feels right to sniffle and shuffle about in big clothes.  It's mid-July, and I want to turn on the fireplace.  I might.  One of the things I'm learning  is that it's okay for me to do things to make myself feel better. 

Here' s something else I've been doing the past few weeks: taking movies out from the library and watching them during the day.  Such a peacful way to take my mind off myself and the dark thoughts that persist.  Today I'm watching Julie and Julia and I love it.   It reminds me how much I love to cook..but I've really gotten out the habit.  The focus of my day is still, then, to get through it without making it worse.  I've had a couple of days over the last few weeks where I've not been successful at all.  I have made them worse. It's such an easy thing to do...far easier than you'd think.

When I started to write today and had things I wanted to say but it was mostly just to check in.  I'm going to take my cold and curl up under a blanket and watch my movie.  I miss my boy. It's almost 17 months.  It can't be that long.  How have we survived without him?  God what I would give to see him smile once again or to hear him laugh. it comes...the wave.  But it will pass as it always does.  The sun is trying to shine so I'm going to open the blinds and try to brighten my thoughts. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011


This will be a short post because today is one of the days my emotions have gone a bit south.

I am overwhelmed.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Standing upstairs ironing just now I was listening the radio, a station called "The Crooner's Lounge" from somewhere..and "I'll Remember You" came on.  Naturally I was thinking of Michael and it came to me that people shouldn't have to remember their children in the sense that those of us who have lost children remember them.  To me, remembering  means recalling from somewhere in our memory and I wonder if any of us every have a moment when we feel that our child is actually gone.   Remembering incidents, funny and sad things..that's different. My feeling is that the soul of our child is always with us, especially the mothers among us. 

On a different thought:  I don't read back through my posts to I don't know if I've done this already but here is a list of books I have found helpful over the past 16 months.
  • Touched by Suicide, Hope and Healing After Loss, Michael F. Myers, M.D. and Carla Fine
  • No Time to Say Goodbye, Carla Fine,
  • Suicide Survivors Handbook, A guide for The Bereaved and Those Who Wish To Help Them, Trudy Carlson
  • Healing After the Suicide of a Loved One, Ann Smolin, C.S.W. and John Guinan, Ph.D,
  • Night Falls Fast, Understanding Suicide, Kay Redfield Jamison
  • An Unquiet Mind, Kay Redfield Jamison, and
  • A Brilliant Madness, Living With Manic-Depressive Illness, Patty Duke and Gloria Hochman.
Three books given to me by close friends, but ones I've not read yet are:

  • Peace Begins With Me, Ted Kuntz, M. Ed
  • Overcomers, Inc.  Lynne Klippel, and
  • Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert.
In the first group above, the last two are specific to dealing with Manic Depressive Illness as well as some about Borderline Personality Disorder.  The first five deal with the aftermath left when a loved one chooses to end their life.  I still read them because at times when I question my sanity it helps to hear/read that these are thoughts many of us have. 

Last September just before the start of the Suicide Awareness gathering in Vancouver, we met a couple vacationing from the US.  We were wearing our t-shirts with Michael's picture and Suicide Prevention Week printed on them and they came up to us and asked if the picture on the t-shirt was our son and then asked when we had lost him. Then they told us they had lost their boy a few years ago. He had only been 12.  Only twelve years old..and they had been blindsided because they'd had no indication of the degree of his despair.  At my darkest times, I know that I was allowed to "prepare" myself for my son's death.  Although it made for years of worrying because it has  been my deepest fear for years, it also gave me a bit of an emotional overcoat I think.  Because of this I've never asked myself  "Why, where did this come from"..not in the true sense of the question.  I think I've asked myself "why MY boy....why no help?"...but those are different questions. 

Each of the books on suicide that I've listed above has a  comprehensive reading list and  support groups directory  There are many online support groups.  I have tried a couple but feel too disconnected from the ones I've tried.  Sadly, that is only because there are so many of us who have lost friends and family to suicide.  So very many. 

I'm working on finding meaning in Michael's suicide and in my own life.

Friday, July 1, 2011

July 1st.

It's Canada Day.  We don't usually do anything special for Cananda day but today we rode our bikes uptown to listen to an essay written by a friend's niece.  Lots of people uptown but we came home right after hearing the essay.  Well done Lauren by the way...anyway...the flag was piped in by three pipers and a bass drum...and right now..they are next door "celebrating" Canada day and playing.  I'm itching to peek through the cedars to see if my husband is playing.  They sound like they are having fun.  I'm glad...

Trying to keep occupied before and after the festivities today I've done laundry, baked scones for the "band" and have Q-tipped the area where the patio door slides...Q-tipping inspires me so I'm going to do more laundry.  Two people shouldn't have so much I don't think...but I've been helping a friend this week so have gotten a bit behind.  As long as I can keep busy today will be okay. 

Michael visited me in my dreams last night.  He was younger..and I remember asking him if he was okay.  He just looked at me at smiled..not a big smile..just one of those smiles you give people when there really is no answer to a question.  Any time I've dreamt of Michael the question is the same, "are you okay?"...I wish there was someone to answer these questions. 

So, today is just a level day and a level day is okay with me.  I love you Michael.  xx