I fight for you…because he couldn’t

I am sharing my heart here, my last post was and is by far, the most difficult for me to write and share. Today’s post, I hope brings that little drop, that small glimmer of hope that I search for daily. Our beloved son, Michael had a child on New Years Eve a little over 2 years ago. Our little angel girl came into this world and hope and faith were restored the moment I laid eyes on her. She was a tiny baby, just 6 lbs, and as far as I know she was born healthy. She came a week after my brother died, so her silky velvet skin and soft sighs and suckles just made my heart swell. I saw hope and renewal. I saw big dreams and beautiful moments of love, and family. I swear, the moment I held her, I felt an overwhelming love. This child was not planned, they only knew each other a few months. I remember my son bouncing upstairs with his new girl, smiling and nervous. He announced they would be parents and I remember him saying, your dreams are coming true Mama! I just stared at this waif of a girl. I didn’t know much about her. They both said they were In Love! She was happy about her pregnancy. I immediately asked, are you planning on getting married? Well, not right away, but maybe after the baby is born. Hmmm, I said. I am somewhat a traditionalist, and hoped they would plan a wedding. Something in my gut, stirred, and I quickly pushed that aside. I remember his father’s face, his concern and worry. I prayed that my son would mature and handle all of this responsibility. I admit, I was secretly Over The Moon, that I was to be a Grandmother. God was paving a new road, and I intended to support and love them all. I remember my son telling me for 6 months daily, that the girl was sick. She didn’t feel well. I didn’t see much of her or him. Again, my gut questioned the isolation. He just protected her and said she was throwing up and tired.

She also announced she would have a scheduled cesarean birth. I asked why, and she replied. I have a vein in my head, and the doctor does not want me to push. Strange, I thought, but I did not want her to feel uncomfortable. She promptly moved into my home. She continued to work and he was starting his new career in the city, working for my brother’s electrical firm. When it came time to plan a shower and get prepped for a new baby, she was adamant about having it at a restaurant. She did not want her Mom to stress. She did not want a low key event. She basically told me, she would pay for it herself? Strange, I thought. But she was standoffish and quite strong about what she wanted. She informed me, that her Mother had no money, and no means to pay for anything. I offered to chip in, cook, make favors, be involved. Her family seemed upset that she left her childhood home, the one she financially supported for her brother and Mother. I remember asking if she registered for gifts? Over and over, they did not have time, they were going to register. I asked about invitations and a guest list. I tried to get involved and be supportive. She was always secretive and vague.

The shower happened, she got so many beautiful gifts. My husband ran and bought a $400 stroller she chose. I remember her family speaking Greek at the shower, although, they spoke English. Fast forward, she is getting ready to deliver. She planned on returning to work and having her mother care for the child. The crib was assembled at her old house. I didn’t see them much. I did not see friends or family come by. I remember how controlling and cruel her mother and brother were. Things were slowly starting to unravel, lots of whispering and covering…I just prayed all was ok. She scheduled her delivery date, and suddenly moved it back, they wanted it before the New Year, for tax purposes… Strange, but ok, the Doctor approved, so it must be safe.

She gave birth on New Years Eve. We were there, to meet our Granddaughter. Anna Lisa, was born by C Section, 6 lbs 12 oz and had the most beautiful healthy rosey coloring. I remember my son putting her in my arms, I remember her family, frantic, rushing around her, stating she had an aversion or condition that caused a blockage to pain medication. I found that odd. Needless to say, I watched the nurse IV morphine into her and within a few minutes, I asked if she felt the relief, she said Yes!, ahhh She was ok. The baby seemed peaceful and perfect to me. We all held her and bonded with her. We fussed over her in the hospital. I will never ever forget that moment. The love my son had for his new baby girl. The absolute joy and it was a moment, that a parent never forgets. On the 2nd day, Joanna announced that I overfed the child (2 oz) and she had a bad night. She also mentioned the baby was going through withdrawals from Cigarettes. I said from what? Cigarettes, the nurses were holding her all night and comforting her. Hmmmm… I got that familiar stir in my gut. I visited and fell instantly in love with Anna Lisa.

They brought Anna Lisa home to our house and settled in. My son, seemed filled with anxiety? Hyper? He announced to me that her mother had called her phone over 256 times, and my son was upset about the constant harassment. I remember, me and my daughter waking up the next day to check on the baby and my son bit my head off. He screamed, they are sleeping Mom, don’t bother HER, she was up all night. He was on the couch, and very agitated. I burst into tears and ran upstairs. She came up and apologized and told me he was cranky. Strange..I thought. I was confused, afraid to approach or interfere. I thought he had insomnia. They made many trips to the pediatrician and changed formula’s several times. She was PERFECT to me. I worried about my son, on the couch, isolated? I loved to help and feed and love her. I rocked her everyday, and sang to her in her nursery. I wanted them to “rest”. I noticed, they had no friends or visitors, no family came over. It seemed dark. I also noticed the apartment was filthy and in shambles and the kitchen was piled to the ceiling with dishes and bottles. That familiar stir in my gut again.

He quit his job, stating he was unhappy. The basement was kept dark and closed off. They went in and out and she visited her Mom a couple of times. I remember telling my family. Something seems so strange. I was watching the baby everyday, and we were more than happy to help, but something seemed amiss. The smell of cigarettes permeated into my home upstairs, all night. Darkness loomed below.

When Anna Lisa was 2 months old. Joanna came upstairs and sat down in my living room. She announced she was giving my son 1 week to get his act together. She said, she would leave if he did not. NO details, nothing but, He was acting strange, saying strange things, not helping, isolating, etc.. and he was removed and depressed. I said, well, this is your child, you need to do what you feel is right. I informed my son. Searching for answers, questioning what was happening? I Asked him why would she say that? He promptly ran downstairs in a panic.

One week later, she packed a diaper bag, and told him she was visiting her Mom and never returned. Never spoke to us, or contacted us. He was suicidal and depressed. He laid in his bed for 3 days. Crying, sleeping, and deeply depressed. Suddenly, our life was upside down. I begged him to let me take him to the hospital. I could see he needed help. He refused and became obsessed with getting her back. They had an altercation a week later, and he was served with an order and to appear in court. Sadly, she and my son split and before she left my house, she was very upset and then sat down and admitted HE had a drug problem. That night, was the beginning of the end. We never saw the baby again. Ever.

I can’t tell you the pain, we felt. Distraught, desperate and grieving, quickly, I am discovering and hearing about her hidden addiction and secret. Losing her, is very much, just like a loss, I cried and missed that baby every single day .I kept my distance and did not want my son put in jail. Mainly, our family was devastated, watching our son slowly sink deeper into his addiction. We were in a battle every single day with my son and his addiction. We were desperate to seek treatment, to keep him alive. She never once reached out. She blocked us on social media, they left their home and she hid from everyone. Letters, messages, unanswered, all of them. My daughter bumping into her in the grocery store, she remained silent and hidden. My son, suffered, and was removed from their lives, instantly with a drug test. She however, remained unscathed, not tested and awarded full custody. She claimed domestic abuse, and shut out our entire family. I come to find out, Joanna was a heroin addict, along with my son, the father of this child. She had lots of reasons to hide and escape and try and disappear.

I am now in court, awaiting her arrival for Grandparent visitation petition. Sadly, she doesn’t speak to me, console me, she rolls her eyes and runs away. Her brother attacks me in the waiting room. They show up 2.5 hours late each time, cold, and looking pale and paranoid. Hmmm… I know I am in for a sad, painful battle. They are strange, distant & she denies my petition. I am determined to meet my Granddaughter again. I know I have so much love to share. I know my son could not get well, or be a father to this perfect innocent being, so, for me, I am doing this in honor of him. I feel he is guiding me now. I know, and witnessed how He loved that baby, and she left when she was 2 1/2 months old. I believe, the abandonment and punishment in court made his addiction worse and worse. He had a loving heart, a soft spot for children and he was banished from seeing her. Her 1/2 brother tortured my son. Her Mother abused her and my son. We only gave her love, a warm home and support. She forgets all of that and denies me our granddaughter. Truthfully, he was sick and I understand her leaving. I truly do. She won’t be able to block me for much longer. She did not show up again to our court date (3rd date). One more try and a trial will be scheduled in June. She may be clean, or not. The child appears healthy in the pictures my friends find on the internet. They are guarded and paranoid. She was shaking head to toe on the first date. I wonder if that is nerves or Heroin. I plan on finding out. I have NO fear now. No reason to not pursue my rights. NO reason to not meet her and show her our loving, crazy, Italian family! I am preparing for trial and obtaining an attorney. I only wish to know her, to love her, to enrich her life, to tell her about her beautiful, Daddy. She has the right to know. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, or when I will be able to reunite. I wake up in the middle of the night, wondering what will happen. I don’t really have control over the outcome. I just know, I Love her, we Love her and will do anything to prove that.

Wish me luck and love and God’s speed. Wish that the mother of this child is clean and sober. That her living conditions are healthy and happy. I know my son could not live with himself. He unraveled and sunk deeply after losing them both. He never knew the joy, the most important thing in this world. To love, and nuture a child. I know, Mikey, down deep inside, what your heart was. I know what your loss did to you. I know you tried 100 times over to get well. I don’t forget a moment, I don’t forget you or your baby. Keep guiding me son, we will get there one day at a time. I love you to the moon and back <3. xxxx

leelee

the one blog I never, ever wanted to write, ever!

So, it’s been a hot minute…my last post around November of 16′. I agonized, dreaded, contemplated, thought…How am I going to “blog” openly again? Post this? Share this?….all of it overwhelming, complicated and scary to pen, to share.. But, alas, something inside me, knew I would share my truth, my loss, and in doing so, I was told, I will be able to start to help and heal others that have suffered a complicated and very traumatic death. So here I am. I searched for my blog here…and wondered, did my daughter renew my domain? She asked me some months ago?…Do you still want your blog Mom? Of course! I texted back in 2 nano seconds. I will always have a need and this as an outlet, a passion, a dream, my innermost thoughts. These are exclusively “lee lee moments” & honestly, I will always write. And I do..and I have, and I continue to write, just not so much here. Why? you may ask? Why, don’t you write here. Well, I will share why.

It is with a heavy heart, a grieving mother’s heart, that I share this with you today. I am compelled to speak my truth and my horror here…I sincerely believe in penning these words, only then, can I free myself and begin the process of healing and grieving….one day at a time.

I, we lost my only son Michael, 31 years old, to a heroin overdose on 12/24/16. He died from an acute Fentyanol overdose on Christmas Eve. There. I . Shared. it.

I don’t know where to start, to begin, or quite how to end. But, sadly, tragically, my 31 year old beautiful, loving boy died. I slowly type out the words, so they sound appropriate and well thought and sensitive. I slowly let my fingers type out the reality and I sit with a lump and a pain in my chest. How can I share this devastating news with my readers? What if I choose to silence my grief and my confusion. Will that make it go away? Will it soften the pain in my soul? I think not. Actually, I think just the opposite. I waited till I could breathe again, think again, and put my thoughts and heart in some type of relative order. I waited till I had the courage to speak of my loss, again.

Some readers, may recall, I lost my brother Thomas to suicide on 1/7/14. He was 55 years old and shot himself and died on a freezing cold morning. The pain and the trauma we suffered is nothing like I had ever experienced. I never thought my brother would take his own life, never. The pain of losing him to suicide was so unreal, surreal, I spent the last 2 years in support groups and therapy. I slowly started to understand mental illness, and I slowly was beginning to heal from him dying. I thought…somehow, I can slowly recover, slowly accept and ever so slowly heal from his painful & traumatic death. I believe I was, healing that is, accepting my grief and sadness. I wrote a lot about Tom here. I wrote about his 5 children, wife, my family, my pain and anguish. I wrote a lot about missing him, I still do, miss him, ….and then, in the midst of my grief, shortly after Tom’s suicide, I discovered a dirty little secret. Living in my basement, with a girl he was to marry and have a child with… I discovered my son was painstakingly hiding a secret addiction. A man who (from what I know and witnessed) never had an addiction, never really liked drugs or even alcohol. He, my son, I thought, I assumed all along was lucky, he was spared and surpassed any “addictions”. I swear, I recall thanking God, many, many times, that my children were intact. Blessed and relieved daily, that neither had strayed or been persuaded to abuse any substance. I felt, I was a really lucky Mom, and I would often pray and give thanks that they were healthy, and well, “somewhat normal”. To be completely honest, I never thought my son would become a heroin addict, Ever. Sadly, I never even entertained that my child could or would die from it. The sad truth is, he did. My son died from the disease of addiction.

So, I sit here before work, contemplating how to share and send this. How to deal and not be ashamed or dissuaded to lie or fabricate any of it. My son, spent the last 2.5 years of his life, hiding his addiction from me. Well, from all of us here. You see, his shame, guilt and dependence made him even more sick. I remember the 12 step meetings saying…You are as sick as your secrets. I so can relate to that slogan, forevermore I will.

My son’s story…his reason, his ultimate demise…goes like this: He claims, after he got addicted to pain killers, prescribed pain pills…. (Vicodin/Oxy) prescribed by a doctor for an injury at work. I can trace it back to an altercation at an old job he held. A patient went ballistic and slammed him to the ground. He suffered a shoulder injury. I remember he healed well, no surgery was needed at that time… I don’t even recall him taking pills at that time. He lived in an apartment in our house. The rest is history I guess. My son quickly found the silent killer…Opiates.

So, honestly, if I blink and fast forward two years or so. My brother dies suddenly. My granddaughter is born a week before that, and like a blur, my son is thrust into a new relationship, a pregnancy, and a new baby. Yes, that quick. I am cautious, concerned, but praying he finds his way. Praying he is truly in love and can handle this responsibility and new life? I am confused. He had just gotten into the electrical union and I was hoping he could handle all of it. My son, always suffered from ADHD. He was a hyper kid, definitely had some impulsive tendencies, definitely had difficulty focusing and sticking to it. Well, I believe in my heart, his disability just increased his addiction 10 fold. In other words, his brain, could not handle the intensity of a drug, the most powerful drug of them all, Heroin.

His baby was born healthy. We all celebrated and embraced this beautiful little baby girl, Anna Lisa. He pretended to be in control, and very very, quickly, he was losing control, sinking so fast into heroin, that he had no control over his addiction. I come to find out, they both were heroin addicts. Abruptly, his girlfriend fled our home with her baby at 10 weeks old. Honestly, the rest is sort of a blur, but not really. We seek help, we put him in rehabs, detox’s, meetings, we put him on the street. In homeless shelters, in jail, you name it, Michael was suffering. We were suffering. Heroin was ruling his brain, his body, his heart. it was destroying all of us, daily. He called me Mamabear, that is my nickname from my son. This Mamabear was determined, desperate, I would have sold my soul to the devil himself. I really wasn’t aware, that Heroin would become the devil in our home. It imprisoned his mind, his thoughts, his body, it was painful to watch him slowly unravel and slowly start to die. We were in a fight to save his life. This beautiful man, was dying before our eyes. Oh, yes, we tried to “help”, to stop, beg, connive, threaten, carry, enable, disable, tough love, soft love, crazy love….none of it was working. He would come out and relapse multiple times, hiding it every single moment. It was a horror, a nightmare. I would have given my arms, legs, anything to get him clean. I just couldn’t keep him sober. I sought help and support for parents who are suffering and living with an addict. I was in new terrain, unknown waters, but I wanted desperately to find the magic word, the one thing that would jolt him back to reality. His last stint was out east in West Hampton, he had been to 10 different facilities, all 12 step based programs. Everyone, loved, adored Michael. The addicts and counselors, easily attached to him, couldn’t believe this beautiful man was struggling with his addiction. encouraging him to attend outpatient treatment. This last time he went to a sober house. Monitored and structured. He wound up in the same town he bought his drugs in. Well, you probably know what happened. He tried his best, each and every time. He wanted so very desperately to erase his truth, his secret and be “normal” again. I want my old life back! I said, you can have it all back, one day at a time. Michael relapsed around his birthday in November, he said, his pain, drove him to use, after all, it was his murdered friends anniversary, ya know, addicts, any excuse. I get it. That’s what they do!

He decided he would leave Long Island , a new start,and chase his new girlfriend around up in Maine. I remember him telling me he was going to move to Portland. I said… Portland? Oregon? Why? is there a new facility there??.. silly me. No, Ma, ummm, Portland Maine.. where his girl was living in a sober house for 9 months. Ahhhh, my son, never without a girl, a babysitter, a lover, he was determined. Again, the ADD, kid, impulsive man, was used to getting his way, and refused to do it any other way…me, well, I wasn’t so convinced. He lived home for a couple weeks. He was physically sick. His health was starting to fail, his body, his mind, his teeth, yet he had insurance, but could not function very well and take care of himself. I think he was actually clean, because he had to be clean to enter a sober home. He was white knuckling his addiction everyday. He counted the days till he could convince his Dad to lay out more money for rent at a sober house. I remember his Dad and I arguing over yet another plan, escape. His Dad said.. well, do you want him to remain here in the basement? Or perhaps TRY a fresh start there? He was gone on a Saturday….I packed a big lunch, I remember running outside and giving him a container of sauce and meatballs….I remember him smiling at me kindly and lovingly. Be careful, I always told him.. NO MATTER WHAT…if you are in trouble, in need, CALL ME 24/7. Keep in touch! Don’t flake on me, I worry so much. I will Mama.. I love you… he packed all his momentos and clothes. He sold everything and anything of value, he packed and took everything that meant something to him…& we hugged, I had a huge lump in my throat. My gut didn’t feel “right”.. but then again, for 2 years, it hadn’t felt right, not ever. They drove away, slowly…I remember praying, please keep him safe. That was the last time I saw my beautiful boys face. 3 weeks later, my son, travelling to see my in laws for Christmas dinner, decided to buy some random “heroin” off the streets of Portland. He died a few hours after he arrived at their home. My sister in law found him, hours later, dead from an apparent overdose. At 9:36 a.m., she called me on Christmas Eve. Her voice sounded shakey…& upset, sad. First thought.. Oh No, my mother in law is sick or died. I said.. Is everything OK? Hello? She said.. No…it’s not ok. I remember her saying.. he’s gone, Michael is gone. I said, is this a JOKE?…she said, no, it is not, he is gone. My son died next to my mother in laws bedroom around 3am. They found a needle on the dresser. A track mark on his arm. He died from an overdose. I don’t have a lot of details, I wasn’t there. She did tell me, she held him and rocked him. She did tell me, he was gone. There is my nightmare, my biggest fear, a mother’s worst thought & that dreaded phone call. My boy succumbed to his addiction and none of us could stop or save him. The world darkened. My light, his light dimmed and I was in a state of shock. Suddenly, Christmas meant absolutely nothing. In an instant, my whole world, our life, here, would never ever be the same. Heroin won and stole my son. ….tragically. He, our beautiful 31 year old son, is now a statistic in this crazy insane epidemic, Opiate addiction. I’ve studied it, followed my community stats, and shared articles with him, showing him daily, how it was killing our youth daily. I remember many conversations about getting “clean” and relapsing, only to o’d from it instantly. The body heals and the drug leaves your bloodstream, the moment you decide to use again, the risk is very fatal. He promised me.. MOM! I am not stupid, I would never shoot it after I am clean. Truth is..my gut told me, he might, or better yet, he was impulsive and would forget. I believe, with all my heart, his one second lapse in judgment, his one fatal mistake, took him swiftly. I also know, he bought the dreaded bag of bad heroin. Truth is, there was NO heroin in it, just poison, just pure Fentyanol. My sick, addicted, beautiful son, from what I am told. Never felt a thing. He just fell asleep and his heart stopped. He was gone for hours before anyone found him. God, I wish I could have held him, kissed him, comforted him. I will wish that forever. I will suffer here, without him near us, sick or not, addicted or clean. A loss of a child, it does not go “away”. It remains deep in my soul. I grieve everyday, and I work and immerse myself in self help, support groups, meditation, anything to escape the pain of losing my boy. I surrender everyday, like I was forced to surrender to addiction. I can’t even write how much I hate heroin. I can’t express how I know, thousands of people are addicted, & suffering and dying on a daily basis. I can tell you the nurses in these rehabs and detox’s, say it is almost impossible to get off this $5 for a bag drug. 1% of IV users are able to stay clean. I believe that The hospitals have waiting lists, months long. The stories of overdose, and relapse are astounding. Congress knows, Trump knows, Albany knows…but honestly, The Mexican drug cartel is WINNING. Never mind the rhetoric about immigrants being deported. Mexico is shipping deadly amounts of Heroin to the USA….straight up to your neighborhood, Daily. It is so “good” so pure, that they now are cutting ALL of it with Fentyanol. Yeah, it’s even more powerful and deadly today as it has ever been. I speak to parents daily, who are crusaders now. They travel in groups to Albany to seek more funds for long term treatment. They beg and plead with our senators to wake up and DO something. Something? This is bigger than you or I or even God. This is stealing and killing our youth, our children, spouses, siblings.. at a rate so rapid, it will surpass AIDS or cancer. I dream about the “wall” Trump speaks of. But that wall for me is to execute the Mexican drug cartel in its entirety. It has nothing to do with deportation. I loathe Donald Trump. But, he is a smart guy. Maybe he will take this monster, demon, or maybe it may somehow effect his family or relatives and he might take a stand against this. Rid this nation of the poison we allow to cross our borders and kill our kids. Like, I said, it’s a dream of mine, but the reality of it is petrifying. I was terrified for 2 years. I had a premonition, deep, bleeding inside my gut. My son, could not beat this! It was too easy, too strong, it controlled him completely. We watched a healthy, young man, slowly die. The flashbacks are still fresh and gruesome. I share today, that my biggest fear, and at times it immobilized me, & tragically, it indeed, became our reality.

I am no stranger to Grief… I’ve lost many many people over the last decade or so. I’ve learned the tools, the steps, the need for support and mostly, I learned that time, and counseling and sharing your grief with others who have lost someone the very same way will lessen your burden and pain. I’ve learned that this life…this precious, beautiful, life we are blessed and given can change in a blink, a second, a weak moment. I always quote, that in this life… nothing is guaranteed, we are all born to die. That moment you are born, the miracle of giving birth, life to your child, never leaves you. No one is supposed to bury a child. It seems quite unnatural. We are to decease before them. My life did not unfold that way. I sit here and contemplate my new life, my new existence here. Loving and honoring and speaking about my son Michael to whoever will listen. He is very much alive in my heart. He is embedded in me. I often tell people. It is very hard, difficult, impossible for me to tell you how much I Miss Him. I cry every time I try to convey that feeling, that loss, that reality, that he is physically gone from me. I remember telling my children, I love you to the moon and stars and beyond. I told him, he was my Sunshine…he lit up a room and had a heart so big, so giving, wherever he went, or met, they were simply drawn to his beauty and kindness. Addiction stole everything from him, and I can’t begin to explain how hard, painful it was to watch him suffer. I know above all, how much he loved us. We said it often, always, and he knew he was loved and cherished, even during the worst of his days. I grieve often about how ashamed he felt about his addiction, his daughter, his dirty secret. Today, I feel only love, deeply saddened, but it is true…Love Transcends Death….and that is how I get through today. I will do my best to honor my son and his struggle and his brave fight to beat addiction. I will admit, I am working on my faith, recovering it, and, if there is a heaven…and it is as beautiful as those who have seen it, or visited heaven. I pray, when my time comes, that he is waiting for me, smiling, arms wide open and those beautiful sparkling blue eyes clear and healed. My Mikey…my beautiful boy, a part of you is always with me. Please visit me, and show me a sign again.

Love, forever,

Mama Bear <3 …xxx

We, us, survivors

Good Morning Lovely Blogland.

I hope life has been treating you well. I hope you are smiling when you read this blog today. I got an email from my sweet daughter…it said  “Mom, do you want to renew your blog domain”???  & so here I am. I feel a tad guilty that I neglect you…(the blog) not my child. I was gifted this blog from her, and, she supported my interest in penning my thoughts, ideas, loses, triumphs and cockamamie analogies. She even mentioned she liked my style of writing.  It’s funny though, I never exposed this blog publically to my family. A few, very few don’t even know I write. A couple of people, maybe,  have read a post or two, most no nothing about it.  I didn’t start out to discover notoriety or fame. I admire the women bloggers, who seem to even earn a decent living doing this! Brilliant and talented women, who have a purpose.  I have a purpose, a thought, an  experience, everyday even.  I manage a full time job, so perhaps my dreams of being a “serious, badass, blogger are on hold…for now at least.

So, just this morning, I am  so, totally, avoiding taking some online quizzes for my job. I have like 6 of them to complete. I put it off to the last minute, being totally overly stressed and pressured at work. I’m in sales, so it’s all about sell, sell, sell.  I try my best and it really takes a lot of focus and time and effort to close deals.  Honestly, my mind and heart are in a different space. I am grateful to have a job. I am grateful to wake up and breathe and see the sun rise. I am amazed that I still wake up and I am able to function. Self realizations, lots of self care has gotten me where I am for today.  Life, and the realities of living with addiction and being a survivor of a suicide loss, well, it changes you….in many ways.

So, this morning, I read a few blogs and was making a Egg frittata/soufflé and it dawned on me. See, LeeLee, your amazing secret talent..like.. you can take 5 ingredients in your fridge, leftovers, veggies, whatever,  and turn it into something awesome. WHY don’t you blog about this recipe? Take a pic or two?  Ahhhhh, how good am I at avoiding the quizzes today!  It’s in the oven, it smells good, I’m feeling accomplished here.

I have been sleeping extra long lately. I read many moons ago, how imperative, important, SLEEP and rest are for grieving and healing. I sacrifice an old movie re run, or reading some articles and dive into my warm bed. Sleep comes easy and I feel better when I sleep soundly.  I don’t recall many dreams, so I am sleeping deeply and restfully. That is a huge part of healing. I always feel for people who have insomnia.

I also try daily to meditate. Practicing breathing is the key to relieving stress.  Same with Yoga. I try and squeeze time every morning to practice both. It centers me, and reminds me to set a daily intention. All of this helps with grief, with moving forward, with acceptance and self awareness. It keeps you mindful, and honest. I seek out women who are gifted and crafted in their practices and dedicated in finding your true self, your inner voice, inner peace, your center.  Women, who care and show me how to self love and self care for my body and mind. I am grateful for my coach, Tina, she has helped me the last year with severe stress and anxiety and healing my broken heart. Her technique in massage, and hypnotherapy and meditation have literally been my life boat. She is now a certified life coach.  My daughter gifted me a couple of sessions for Mother’s day, and I met this angel of light and mercy.  I can’t ask for much more today than that.  I do have a wish list, I do have secret hopes and prayers.  I am seeking answers and along my journey, I am learning to let go. For me, it is the most challenging and most painful process.

I also attended the National AFSP survivors day luncheon. A beautiful, warmish, autumn day on the Island.  This event is held nationwide, on 11/19, across our country. It is a day for survivors to gather and connect. They share an educational video, a video montage of our loved ones lost to suicide and then organized  break out groups for survivors to share their story, grief, listen, learn and find love and strength and hope with each other. A powerful lunch, given by AFSP, it is an emotional day, filled with a mix of emotions, but the message that AFSP sends is Hope.  There is hope after a suicide. The complicated grief and traumatic death of suicide is like no other. These support groups and organizations are crucial for survivors. I like to volunteer and take part in the walk and events, it keeps me humble, it honors my brother’s death. & umm…oh, and yeah, it still hurts like hell. Yesterday, the facilitator asked us to close the group with saying our loved ones name,  and if we liked, to send them a message.

My message to him yesterday was:

My brothers name is Thomas, he died 1/7/15 from a gunshot.

Tom:

Love surpasses Death

#lifeisworththefight.

love you, always missing YOU, till me meet again…

 

Peace to all of you

 

Leelee

 

Faith, strength & Life goes on…

Hello BLOG world. I’ve missed you more than you know. I am a great silent blogger these days. I have hundreds of blogs filed in my head. I have 1000’s of pictures of all my adventures, trips and memories. I just don’t have 4000 hours to blog about it.  I dream of hiring someone to just get it done for me. To be my ghost writer/blogger twin. I even hinted as much to my talented graphic design daughter. I think I got a speech AND an eye roll.  So she begrudgingly saved all my pics and asked if I still wanted to keep my website  domain open and renewed (Uh…Hell yes),  and preached to me about her full time job and freelance work. I get it. Everyone is super busy. I however, refuse to become a zombie social media freak. I won’t sit on my phone while I have lunch or dinner with family or friends. I won’t chase a Pokémon cult around town. I won’t post my life on FB or even Insta. I have my reasons right now. I won’t ever close my leelee moments blog. I will just do the best that I can today.  prioritize and to live. I intentionally choose that. I have leelee moments all the time! I just suck alittle at penning them here for you.  Sometimes, I daydream, and I see myself in 10 years being a real true blogger! I guess I aspire to become that.  In the meantime, I have little moments, like today, a quiet, sizzling humid, hot Sunday.  I relish and cherish them so much.

So, over a year ago, I attended a support group locally. It is a non for profit support group, specifically created for survivors of a loss from suicide or loss from a drug overdose.  They have 5 skilled and trained facilitators, specializing in traumatic grief and loss.  It was an 8 week workshop  “Healing through Art Therapy”. Very cool, very safe and comforting after losing my brother Thomas, last January to suicide. The community volunteers each week to cook dinner for every one.  love and compassion. I met a variety of survivors there, and we all formed bonds quickly.  Last evening, 12 of us attended  a wedding reception for 2 members from the support group. It was a beautiful historic victorian in E. Setauket, Long Island. We all gathered to celebrate.  What struck me instantly was everyone was smiling. Genuine and real smiles. There was not a lot of sorrow,  plenty of laughter, dancing, drinks and dinner were enjoyed.  I instantly realized, “Life goes On”…no matter what.  A year and a half ago, that statement would sting me and upset me to the core. I could not connect or feel the joy in celebrations. He was gone, he was the party thrower, he was the center and the glue.  The anchor, my big brother, who did it all, gave his all to everyone was no longer here with us. I grieved. The journey and road is very long and winding. I remember being mentally exhausted. I was grateful to rest and sleep whenever I could.  So, soon it will be 18 months since his death. I still miss him everyday, summer time is particularly painful, he loved it so much.  But, last night was profound. All 12 of us survived a death from a suicide. All 12 of us are breathing, living.  For fuck sake, LIFE does go on. Except, last night, gave me some hope. I saw the smiles and healing. I saw the strength in this group to forge on, even in the worst circumstances. Celebrating a union of marriage was renewing and sweet. We are all able to breathe and accept and find peace, even for a moment. The journey is not easy, but it is so worth it.

Peace & Love to you all

 

~Leelee