Saturday, December 19, 2015

Writing and erasing

Writing and erasing...more writing and more erasing what I wrote. That seems to be the story of my life..wanting to go back and forth to change the past. I can't change what I've been through in the past 10+ years, but I can share it with the world in hopes that it will help someone speak up and reach out to those who love them.
They say the pre-teen/ teenage years are tough..your body starts to grow and change and your hormones go up and down, you start high school where having big or small boobs suddenly matters, friendships end and begin, you start trying to figure out your feelings and who you're meant to be and what you're meant to contribute to the world.
What they don't tell you about the pre-teen/ teenage years is that suicide becomes the second leading cause of death. According to The Jason Foundation, more teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.
What they don't tell you about the pre-teen/teenage years is that sometimes you fall victim to a devious depression who tells you that your worth is equivalent to the scum on the bottom of your shoe.  
What they don't tell you about the pre-teen/teenage years is that sometimes you find yourself in the school bathroom, razor in hand, and blood swiftly running down your arm as you attempt to gain relief from the demon in your head telling you that you don't matter to anyone. You're wearing long sleeves but the shit hits the fan when the blood starts to seep through your gray school shirt. 
"Oh, that? It's just marker residue from art class..I'm such a klutz!"
What they don't tell you about the pre-teen/teenage years is that sometimes Google isn't just for researching school projects. Sometimes its used to desperately search for "painless suicide methods", "how to successfully kill yourself", "why to stay alive", etc. You breathe a sigh of relief that there are hundreds of posts from others who seem to be in your shoes, wanting to end their pain like you.
What they don't tell you about the pre-teen/teenage years is that sometimes you get on the school bus at the end of the day hoping its the last time. You're going to go home and try to take your life with a method you researched on Google..and it better work because you're tired of living a lie.
What they don't tell you about the pre-teen/teenage years is that sometimes you need to go back to school wearing a turtleneck only because that damn rope left you with burns and nothing else but a weary beating heart and a dizzier head than before.
What they don't tell you about the pre-teen/teenage years is that sometimes methods work and kids die before they're able to drive a car, fall in love, go to college, or even go to that family party they seemed so excited about.
What they don't tell you about the pre-teen/teenage years is that sometimes these signs aren't clear. Even though many sufferers show signs, some do not until it's way too late.
The first time I thought about taking my life I was 13 years old and getting ready to graduate into high school. The last time I thought about taking my life was last week.
What they don't tell you about the pre-teen/teenage years is that sometimes suicidal thoughts don't end at the pre-teen/teenage years.
What I am telling you right now is that suicide is preventable. It's not always as clear as falling grades, increased/decreased sleeping/appetite, or any of the signs something may be desperately wrong. Sometimes it's a smiling face, sunny disposition, good grades in school, and what looks like a bright future ahead. To them, it's bleak and unimaginable to take another step through a world that has brought nothing but struggles and tears. 
Depression is a brain disorder. If you've lost someone to suicide, you need to remember that what plucked them so suddenly from your life forever was most likely a chemical imbalance in their brain. Depression is just like cancer--it can go into remission with proper treatment or it can take your life. If someone told you they had cancer, would you dismiss them and tell them to "get over it"? Would you laugh and tell them so many others have it worse than them? I hope and pray that you wouldn't, so why say those things about an illness that mirrors cancer in so many ways? No one chooses depression, just like no one chooses cancer. But why shower one disease with rallies, support, gifts, fundraisers, etc. and turn your head to the other? 
This is called stigma and if you fit the bill for turning your back on something as severe as depression, you are part of the problem. You are part of the reasons why some people don't reach out and ask for help. What our job as people is to help, not hurt. Your words can cut like a knife or help to heal a broken brain. Which would you choose if it were your child or loved one?
Together, we can help stop the stigma. You can help stop the stigma right now. 
Share this blog with someone new today. Ask a loved one how they're feeling and really listen. Make it clear to them that they can tell you if anything is wrong and you won't turn your back on them or judge them. Remember, a smiling face does not equal a happy heart. Take the pledge today to be willing to help and remember that SPEAKING UP does save lives!!
This entire post was written by a young lady named Melissa Ann. We connected on Facebook and I asked her to share her story. She had such an impact on my life after just a few short conversations. She took time out of her day to make memory pages of Sara for me. She is talented with photos. She listened and reached out. She struggles and fights every day with her own battles. She is brave in sharing her struggles. We are blessed to have her in the fight for breaking the silence. Speak up!!!! Know that you are not alone. Special thanks to one beautiful young lady -Melissa you inspire me and thank you for being raw and transparent in your words. Much love lady and to making a difference in the world. Also there is a donation link if anyone is interested in memory or honor of Sara. All proceeds will go towards suicide prevention and things in her honor. In lieu of Christmas presents, we have started a scholarship that we hope to roll out next year, all you have to do is donate through the blog or the paypal link. Thank you for ur support. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Holidays are coming and I am trying to prepare myself for what feels like the apocalypse. I feel like I should be stocking up on food and weapons for the war inside my head but I struggle to when I can’t find the strength.  It’s this pending doom that is thrown in your face. You stand up and something kicks you to the ground. You go to protect yourself but your usual tools are defenseless in this battle of grief.  Christmas was our favorite time of year…the one time of year everything was about our want to make others happy and our excitement for truly spending time making other people smile but most of all our traditions and our time together.  15 years of the same things tweaked and perfected. Holidays were something that we would look forward to and planned out months in advance now seem like to the most horrible and traumatizing experience one could face after the loss of a child/loved one. While everybody wants to be happy and cheerful and do good things for others while grieving parents are left feeling lost, broken, envious, jealous, angry, frustrated, and filled with more emotions than one can really handle. For the last 15 years that Sara was alive, we have built traditions upon traditions. My earliest memory is of her and I during the holidays. More than half my life, I was a mom. Now at the young age of 34, I no longer was a mom.  I feel as though someone has taken that from me. Now I am faced with holidays and first….but how can this be how can my beautiful smart daughter be gone…..Some of our holiday traditions would be to go to the Oak Park mall and pick out ornaments with our names on them…one for her, one for me and one for us it usually turned out that there would be five or six in our cart before we left the mall but we didn't care we loved Christmas ornaments and we love spending time together. We loved personalizing the tree with things that we liked. Another tradition lost is that every year we would make hundreds of chocolate covered pretzels, tons of pumpkin fudge and hundreds of cookies to deliver to everyone we knew. We would even ship yummies to people.  While we were baking, I was Mrs. Clause, costume and all.  She was Elf 1 and my very dear friend was Elf 2. We have hats and aprons to match. There hasn't been one Christmas Eve that I've spent without her.  There hasn't been one Christmas morning that I haven't seen or experienced with her. She was my other half…my mini me…she was everything; she was my world, as I grew up as an adult she grew with me. She made me a better mom and a better person. Christmas Eve- we would have Grandma’s special recipe hot cocoa and open up a few presents that were always new pajamas.  

This year there will be no pajamas under a tree. This year there will be no tree full of ornaments that we picked out together.I just cant find the energy to do any of it. This year every tradition is broken and tainted with regrets and what ifs. Memories are replaced by flashbacks.  Sara had a huge heart and wanted to make other smiles with treats. We would do everything we could to give back to others.  One year we even dressed up as Mrs. Claus and an elf at Wal-Mart as bell ringers, we raised over $250 in 2 hours. We just wanted to make an impact on people’s lives. She was always baking and cooking.  We were always trying to do for others and help people see that there was good in the world.  I am struggling to hold on to that good in the world. When I tell people I'm not doing holidays the look at me shocked or decide to tell me 10 reasons why they think I should do them. I try to explain that the world is not as bright right now for me anymore. That this world has lost someone so great it's doesn't see the full impact of the loss yet. Usually I get asked how did she pass, I do not feel ashamed to share my story and she is worth every bit of effort I have left and I often say I am not doing holidays this year which prompts people to ask why. I explain that I lost my daughter this year and I’m just not feeling it. Then the “oh I'm sorry. Was it cancer?”  At first I would struggle with this question as it creates an uneasy feeling when I say nope, I wish. And then say no she died by suicide. It’s then that I could see the stigma associated with suicide cross there face. So now when someone asks me how…I say she lost the most courageous fight against her brain. She lost the battle in July because she didn't tell anyone. She fought in silence and finally succumbed to her illness. She died by a self-inflicted wound. She died by suicide. As I'm telling them this, I see their eyes change. It's at this point that usually they want to share a story of their struggles or someone they love lost to this epidemic called suicide. It’s a small win when I can see a bond made between two people sharing a heartfelt moment and bringing light to suicide.  While I will never agree with her choice and I don't agree with her remaining silent. I also don't agree with somebody pre-judging the situation or the little girl they may not understand. So I will be happy to educate them. So as you are preparing for your holidays, remember that it’s about the moments and memories, not the gifts and the greed. 

Remember that there are people out there with holes in their heart and nightmares in their minds. Remember that you can make a difference if you choose to, doing nothing just hurts and makes us feel more alone and rejected. Don’t ask us what we need as we cant tell you. What we need is gone. Maybe ask us what we could use or just do something? It could be really simple or really hard but you will never know unless you try. Trust me Words and actions matter. What difference will you make this year for someone else? Ask yourself what can you do to help the loved one who is hurting…What does someone else need that you could do to help through this rough time…send them a card with a favorite memory of the loved one who was lost (we won’t get any more memories of our loved ones and our memory right now isn’t working, write them down for us so we can read them later), send them a text or a picture, send them something that reminds you of the loved one, say there loved one’s name (we feel like they will be forgotten), prepare them a meal (cooking while your heart is broken is hard, help them out), send them a small token to show them that you are there, make a donation in their name or honor. Just don’t do nothing. Nothing hurts and depression lies to us. It lies to me every day. It tells me that I failed as a mom. It tells me that no one loves me. It tells me horrible things that I know are not true. I have to fight those little lies which I am not equipped for most days.  Little tokens help those who like me struggle. Even if they push you away, that small token means a lot and when they are in a good moment they will go back to that. It will make them smile. Maybe send a grief Survival Kit.  I came across and thought it was a nice token. It included items with little tags attached to each thing. These are just ideas you can do more or less. I read about this lady doing this for someone else and leaving it on their front porch.
A bag of Lifesavers- "To keep you from drowning"
A bag of gold coin candy- "You're worth more than gold"
a bag of cotton balls- "To soften the road ahead'
A package of erasers- "to fix all the small mistakes"
Package of ear plugs- "to block out the things you don't want to hear"
Bag of rubber bands- "to stretch beyond your limits"
Giant paperclip- "to help you hold things together"
Bandaids- "to cover what hurts"
box of Kleenex- "to wipe away the tears
A book by Gary Roe called Surviving the Holidays Without You (any book really would help)
Gas card-“to get from one moment to the next”
Food Card-“to feed what’s been neglected”

The reality is that grief takes different forms on different days. Some days the anger takes over and all I can think about is the anger within my heart. It burns all the time. Other days, the pain of losing her takes over. It's a constant battle of stages of grief, just when you think that you are holding steady, a freaking wave of emotions sets you off. Even when you have a really good support system, you can find yourself struggling to stay afloat. So reach out during this holiday hell to someone. This is the time when it hurts the most and the lack of new memories attacks your soul. Someone one said to me recently that a mother who has lost a child is the meaning of true strength. Just because I am not standing doesn’t not mean I have fallen. I am crawling through hell right now trying to find the light. Extend the hand to someone who is also struggling. Extend a hug...just do something rather than nothing at all. 

Don't forget to share my blog as it's the easiest thing to do. You never know how my story could help someone else. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

4 Months-Scroll to the bottom and cast your vote

Nov 30th- marks 4 months. 4 months of hell since my baby girl ended her life. 4 months of therapy. 4 months of PTSD. 4 months of fighting to stay present. 4 months of the worst nightmare imaginable. 4 months of Panic attacks. 4 months of shakes. 4 months of total devastation for my family. 4 months of blame, guilt and what if demons attacking what's left. 4 months of wanting to crawl in a hole and stay there. 4 months of feeling alone. 4 months....but not one of those moments goes by without Sara in the front of my mind. She is my first thought, my every thought, my last thought, my hopes my dreams have been shattered by her choice. Now I'm faced with nightmares, regrets and what ifs but I choose to fight every day to make a difference. 4 months in what feels like an eternity already. I still have fight left in me. I hope you enjoy my video today to show support for Breaking the silence against mental illness and breaking the stigma. 

Friends and family, strangers who want to make a difference...
How else are we going to change the world...By talking about suicide...
We are selling shirts for suicide awareness. The funds raised/donated will be used for in honor of Sara to raise awareness and break the silence. We are trying to break the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

Shirts are $25 adult small to adult 3X which includes shipping. $20 if you want to schedule a pick up. Bands are 2 for $5

Please email me at to order with the size ans shipping address.

Shirts/Bands must be paid for in advance via check or paypal. You can also make a flat donation as well. to make payment or donation. 

Many many hours of tears went into making this shirt special in her honor. We used Sara’s original drawings and favorite color purple. 

Thank you again for all your support through this very tough time in their lives.

Sara would love that this is helping others and love that it made a difference in the world!!! Just like she did all of ours.

Suicide Prevention Education Awareness for Kids 
United in Partners!!!!!

It's time to ‪#‎CelebrateSara! As you all know, my daughter LOVED the Tennessee Aquarium and visiting the Penguins when she was in Chattanooga. The last day her Aunt and her spent together was at the aquarium, and she even put her occupation as "Loved penguins at the Tennessee Aquarium" on her FB page! Her nickname from her friends was "Bob" and it is time for us to get this baby girl named in her honor!! You can vote daily for each email address at the link below! VOTE BOBBER!!! LETS GET THIS PENGUIN NAMED FOR SARA!!!! Select the link below and go to penguin number 4 and then vote daily for BOBBER!!!!