Uncategorized

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.

Standard

image

Uncategorized

Fish?

Image

image

Uncategorized

Spilled Paint Project

Image

image

Uncategorized

Earth Turtle Vintiques

Image
Uncategorized

Time Does Not Heal All Wounds

image

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.

image

Standard
Uncategorized

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.

image

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.

image

*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.

Standard
Uncategorized

Inspiration in a Storm

image

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.

image

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

image

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.

image

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:

image

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.

Standard
travel

Extremely Colorful Colorado

Now that we are settled, not at home but nearby, and I have a little time to relax and reflect on our cross country journey, I find the horror and misery of the trip fading and being replaced with happy memories. I even look forward to travelling more. I cannot wait to visit Montana, my father’s family’s home. The Pacific Northwest beckons. And my next destination is absolutely Maine, home of my idol, Stephen King.

For now though, I am just going to look back on the memories I recently made and the one thing that stands out the most is Colorado.

a0204348_0191793

We woke on a Wednesday morning in Beaver, Utah and set that day’s goal for Denver, Colorado. According to the GPS we would arrive at 7:30 PM. Yeah. Not so much, but we will get to that. Since we had finally dropped our load and the roads in Utah were fantastic, I volunteered to drive. I crossed Utah without incident and made it exactly one mile into Colorado. The change in terrain was immediate and drastic. Suddenly we were on top of the world with no guard rails! I pulled over and let Tim take the wheel again and that was definitely the right decision. We wove our way through the Rockies for the rest of the day and late into the night. The GPS continuously readjusted its time frame. 8:30. 9:30. 10:30. Even Tim, who is a confident and experienced driver, was driving at about half the speed limit. We finally decided we needed to get a hotel room for the night but were unable to find a room, even in Vail! So we forged ahead. And that’s when it started to rain. We pulled into a rest area determined to just sleep in the car until dawn. So naturally, the rest area had an hour parking limit. Again, we forged ahead. Mostly it was a nightmare driving the Rockies at night, but there were highlights we enjoyed; the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel was especially enjoyable because when we emerged on the far side, we had left the rain behind us. Glenwood Springs was lovely and graced us with a beautiful rainbow. And it was really, really cool to cross the Continental Divide (especially since it meant we were halfway home!).

Loveland-Pass-Continental-Divide

We stopped for the last time around 11PM, ate dinner and forced ourselves into making the final push for Denver. This leg of the journey is when I learned that Colorado has quite the sense of humor. As we finally spotted the glittering lights of Denver laying ahead of us, we also spotted this:

truckers_fooled_i70_colorado

And then this:

sign02

It didn’t scare us though; we had finally reached our destination. At 12:30AM, a full five hours later than the GPS had originally indicated. We checked into the first Motel 6 we came across and passed out. We woke the next morning, bright, early and horribly ill. Now if you scroll back up and take another look at the Loveland Pass/Continental Divide sign, you will note that the elevation was near 12,000 feet. Turns out there is such a thing as altitude sickness. Who knew?! The symptoms were mostly flu like with awful headaches. It was tempting to take the day off and stay in bed, but there was something very special awaiting me in Denver.

lynne

Three years ago, my dear friend Lynne set off on a year long cross country trip (she’s tougher than me) and finally settled in Denver. So we forced ourselves up and out and headed downtown. Lynne is the only friend we had the opportunity to visit along the way and it was totally worth it. She took us on a walking tour of her very cool neighborhood; we saw a real life hooker (pretty shocking for this small town girl) and a cannabis dispensary. We spent the afternoon catching up and then headed back to our hotel to “nap”. That nap of course wound up lasting all night and we woke the next morning feeling even worse than we had the day before. So we chose to cut our Denver visit short, in favor of descending to a lower elevation and set our sites on Kansas. Before we left Colorado behind, though, the state surprised us with one more of their uniquely, hilarious signs.

milemarker

On I-70, the mile marker sign for mile 420 has been replaced by mile marker 419.99. The reason? 420 is an iconic number to the many potheads who have flocked to Colorado since they legalized marijuana in the state. After replacing the sign numerous times following thefts, they decided to eliminate it altogether and replaced it with 419.99. Hands down, Colorado has the most clever road signs in all of America. Thank you for that Colorado. Hopefully some day I will only remember Lynne and the signs, and forget the  horror of driving the Rockies at night in the rain and the misery of altitude sickness.

Standard