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Maybe I Am Crazy

Since losing my son in October, I’ve often felt like I was losing my mind. There’s the things you’d expect; his lingering scent on a bandana sent me into a complete meltdown just yesterday. Seeing commercials for movies he was excited about cuts down to my soul. I spent Mother’s Day in bed crying and his birthday at the cemetery.

What’s unexpected is the little triggers. A shoe on the roadside reminds he that was wearing new shoes when he died. I spent months hung up and obsessed with shoes. Police and ambulance lights never fail to bring on a panic attack. I have an ashtray hidden in a drawer in my house that still has his cigarettes butts in it. The thought has crossed my mind that his DNA is on them and I need to keep them.

So yeah, maybe I am crazy. A suicidal night in the psych ward certainly made me feel that way.

But I’m coming to realize that I’m not crazy. I’m deeply mired in depression. And it’s normal and natural. And anyone who doesn’t understand and can’t bring themselves to be supportive can suck it.

I know I’m going to catch some backlash for what I’m about to say but I also know that I’m strong enough to take it.

Your hangover and flat tire “bad day” is not even on the same plane of existence as my dead son’s birthday “bad day”. Not even close. A little compassion and understanding is what a friend is supposed to bring to the table. Sorry if I don’t feel like partying, or being around crowds, and especially not around alcohol. Alcohol has the funny tendency to make me suicidal. So I abstain from many things for my mental health and when I know that I’m too deeply depressed to do something, I don’t do it. These are decisions that I must make to keep myself plodding ahead every day.

If that keeps me from being able to maintain important, long term friendships, so be it. I still have one son, the most important person in all the world, and I have to be strong and healthy for him. I have Tim and my dogs, my amazing mother and a tiny handful of friends who love and support me.

I might, hell I definitely, miss people but I’m choosing to be selfish because it’s the right thing for me. So maybe I’m not crazy after all.

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Fish?

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Spilled Paint Project

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Earth Turtle Vintiques

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Time Does Not Heal All Wounds

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Time heals all wounds. He’s in a better place. At least it was quick and he didn’t suffer. That’s just a few of the things people say that I don’t want to hear. So far as I can tell, time hasn’t helped one bit. My pain is as fresh and raw as it was October 2nd. And a better place? The best place is with me, or at work, or hanging out with his friends. Anywhere but underground. Quick or slow, the end result is the same. My son is dead.

But as much as I don’t want to hear those same sad platitudes, its better than the alternatives. The “friends” I never heard from again. The ones who act like nothings changed. The insensitive ones who complain about how busy they are with their kids.

I can count on one hand how many of my friends have stuck by me. I know its not easy. It frequently takes me days, if not weeks, to respond to texts. Some days I don’t have the energy to do more than feed myself and walk my dogs. I’m not the same person I was. But I also don’t have the plague. Grief is not contagious.

While I have a very clear grasp on what I don’t want to hear, its harder to know what I do want to hear. Probably because nothing will help ease my pain. I do know that I enjoy a quick phone call to share a funny story (thanks Joey). It makes me smile to get tagged in a witty meme about books (thanks Amberlee); to be invited on a getaway (thanks Amy and Shae); to be checked on and worried about (thanks Angela and Gail and Mom). Most of all I appreciate being told to take the day and not worry about housework and stay in bed; and being forced out into the world on a regular basis so I don’t drown in my own depression (thanks Tim).

I guess what I’m saying is that its not easy to be a friend to a grieving parent. We don’t let it be. I don’t know how I feel moment to moment but I do know, all the time, that I love and appreciate the people who make a point to stay a part of my life, no matter how difficult I make it.

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My Personal Armageddon

For the seven of you out there who have been following this blog, I’m sure you’ve noted our absence the last two months. Here comes the explanation; whether its for you or myself remains to be seen.

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This is my son, Trey, or Leo as he has wished to be called in recent times. On October 2, 2014, at 1:09 am Trey was struck by a car and killed on impact. He was just 22. The beautiful photo above was taken by Tim just a few weeks before Trey’s death. He had joined us at our retreat in North Carolina after we returned from our cross country trip.

I’ll forever be grateful for that time with him. Somehow he had grown into a man when my head was turned. I’m so glad we had that peaceful, tranquil time. We hiked and discovered waterfalls and just sat around. That time was a gift.

This time is a curse. I’m heartbroken and angry at the injustice. Everything reminds me of him. A crushed Monster can. White tennis shoes. Yellow trucks. Passing a library reminds me of how he never quit pronouncing it Li- Berry. Watching our favorite TV shows reminds me that he will never know how it ends. He will never swim in the ocean, or hike the Appalachian Trail, or take his little brother to Vegas for his 21st birthday. All his dreams, and mine for him, died alongside him on a foggy road, alone in the dark.

This is my Armageddon. My world has been destroyed. I hope that writing about him, and the journey I’m now on will prove cathartic, but that too remains to be seen. For now I’m going to cuddle with Zydeco, who was our dog. I leave you with the last picture taken of Trey, and myself, on the day of his death.

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*Author’s Note:  I originally wrote this on December 2, 2014, promptly had a panic attack and deleted. Now its February 22, 2015, and I feel much stronger and ready to share this with the world.

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Inspiration in a Storm

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Due to the trauma of losing my son, followed by months on medication and the natural passage of time, I’ve been having a very difficult (dare I say impossible) time getting back to writing. My first counselor suggested making writing three times a week a goal. Ha! I wrote one piece on my son, had a panic attack and deleted the whole thing. Turns out all those times I wrote “goal oriented” on applications and resumes was a big fat lie. I’m more nap oriented.

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A funny thing happened this week though. My best friend, Angela, shared this photo.

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It reminded me of her natural talent behind the lens and how we had always dreamed of traveling and writing someday.

Then I went to my Mom’s and along with Trey’s adopted sister, Cayce, made this awesome memorial tree for Trey.

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A few days later Tim was painting a dining room table. Solid white per my request, which had turned a soft robins egg blue. Inspiration struck! I took over the painting job while Tim was out and did this:

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It seemed I was surrounded by art and inspiration and creativity. On Wednesday, I started sessions with a new counselor. She said I should take my time and either the writing would come back or maybe I would discover a new creative outlet. Yay!!! Permission from a stranger won out over pressure from myself.

I found myself and Marvie laughing over my travel tales; running out of gas in the Mojave, getting pulled by a SWAT member in Atlanta, the dogs locking us out of the car. So here I sit two days later writing. Maybe I’ll write again tomorrow. Maybe I won’t. I’m okay either way. Its enough to know that the storm may never end but there are moments of calm in the middle.

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