Surviving another day


We, us survivors, are on our own journey. No one can navigate this for us, no one can tell you how long, how hard, how painful, how life changing it will be. The journey of grief and healing is an ever evolving merry go round. I remember when my brother Thomas died, I was terrified of waking up. Each morning my feet hit the floor, I stumbled to the bathroom and I would just cry. The tears came like clockwork. I started to get abit frightened of my own self. I was scared of my own grief. I let them come and truly mourned the loss of a brilliant, healthy young 55 year old man. I could not make sense of his suicide. I could not find peace or the “why” or relief. My siblings and I grieved together. We dissected his reasons. We shared our feelings about why he would violently take his own life. It was so painful, I read a dozen books about suicide. Clinical books, sibling books, loss from a suicide books. I read anything that helped me digest and accept his suicide. The road is very steep, it cuts you to the core and rips your heart apart. Really, us survivors, we just secretly wish we had the magic word. We scream inside, Why didn’t he just reach out to me? After awhile, you realize. He is not here to answer any of these questions. The answers are within the deceased. We may never fully uncover all of them. We eventually comes to terms, realizing, mental illness plays and dictates the tragic ending. You can not read somebody’s mind. You just have to come to a point of acceptance. Then forgiveness. Oh, and you have to cry. A river, an ocean, whatever it takes. For me, it was finding a group of compassionate souls who also lost their loved one. Sharing our pain, our love, our broken heart.
My son Michael died on December 24th. He, my first born, healthy, young 31 year old, he struggled with heroin for over 2 years. The progression of his addiction was mock speed. He lived in a secret hell, trying to hide it from all of us. By the time we discovered the truth, he was deeply and physically dependant. I watched him suffer. I watched him cave. We tried everything and anything to help, save, persuade. He tried 100 times so very hard to stop. To recover, to run from the demon. Unfortunately, Heroin overtakes everything. His mind, body, life, everything he was and could have been, gone..vaporized, all lost to this drug. Tomorrow, will be 4 months that Fenytanol, poison, stopped his life and killed my boy. I can’t begin to tell you the anguish. I can’t begin to pen the pain and loss of losing my son. I do know, without a doubt, a part of me, my heart, went with him that very fated day. The loss and confusion and trauma will always be a part of me. I can share, there are days now, that are so dark, so heart wrenching, I wonder how I make it through. But, I do. I am somehow, still able to breathe. I still have my job. I still cook and clean and work full time. I have dreams of him, tainted with his addiction. I write a lot about my grief, my pain, my thoughts, nightmares, I write a lot to him. It is my therapy, writing, it is my way of figuring out this nightmare. I have a lot of trauma. It is part of the disease of addiction. The parent agonizes daily, nightly, as each day ticks by and they are on the street, relapsing, in rehab, it is a never ending mindfuck of hell. The range of emotions, well, you better get to a shrink. It takes everything to sustain and survive, living in and with addiction. The private hell that a family endures, is like no other. So don’t be so quick to “judge”, how could he? why couldn’t he stop? You haven’t a clue, till you live and breathe it with them each day. All I know is, we would have severed our limbs, burned down our home, to save our son. We, all who loved him, tried. Mikey just could not beat the demon in his body and mind. I read that less than 1% can….he really didn’t have a fighting chance. But, I will tell you, he tried 100 times…praying he would not yearn, crave, go back. He did, over and in shame, guilt, hell, physically beating up his body. I watched Heroin eat away his brain. I can’t tell you the HATE I have for this drug. It doesn’t matter, apparently, it’s killing our kids, daily.
Somehow, I lost the rest of this post. I wrote for an hour…my heart pouring out onto these pages. I will do my best to recover my thoughts.
When I had my son’s service, two beautiful souls entered. I had met them a couple years prior at a support group. They entered the church with a set of beads. A handmade set to hang over your rearview mirror, that said ~Look Up For Michael Anthony ~ a beautiful sparkly set of beads. They gently hugged me and whispered…these are from our group “The Beading Hearts”. We make them and give them to Mommies who lost their son, the very same way we have. They told me about the foundation; ” Look Up For Adam ” is the name, & His Mommy, Linda, started this foundation, in honor of her son, Adam, she lost also to addiction. They said, when you are ready….reach out to us. We are here to love you through this. We are sisters, and we bead together. I was touched, moved, by these two beautiful women. Eventually, I reached out…and Linda texted me.
Come to my house for a meeting…Dinner @ 6:30. We all need each other…we all need the love~….and so, my readers, I will attempt to share with you just how the magic begins… <3 Beading Hearts <3 unite!

I attended my first meeting last month. I am greeted at the front doorby this infectious energy, the founder, Linda. I must share this truth. Linda gave me the most warmest, longest HUG, I have ever received in my life? IT's true…and immediately, I felt the magic…and I was surrounded by incredible loving energy. We ate, and chatted, cried and laughed. Then we all do a guided mediation.. incredible, loving, gently guided healing meditation..and she even has a Masseuse on hand! For the first time, in my grief, I felt at home. I found my person, my angel with the blue eyes…I had been searching, clawing, desperate to connect with other Mommies. I needed this bridge, this love, this hope, if you will, I need them. She held me, and whispered, we are all sisters, we NEED each other to get through this. We make these beads. Come back..and I did. I made my first set of beading for Nate. I don't know Nate or his Mommy, but I heard Nate loved blue. So I wanted it to be beautiful for her, with shades and hues of blue and sparkles. I was so proud and honored to do it. I felt "good" for the first time in months.
A few days later, Linda called and asked me if I would like to present a set of beads to a Mommy at a funeral service. I just knew…immediately, I would meet her and give a set of beads to Sean's mommy. I met her and few other members at the funeral parlor and we gently made our way to Sean's Mom. She seemed grateful and moved by the offering. We shared with her, we all lost our child to addiction and overdose. We listened to her, comforted her and gently told her, we are here to love you, when you are ready. Ahhhh..can you feel the magic? I sure did. When she casually pointed out another Mommy who recently also lost someone to overdose, we were guided over there…and we comforted her, and she shared her pain and loss…and then, we met a Dad who lost his son 3 years ago, and there you have it…~Beading Hearts~ is growing. My heart is growing with each bead we give…Truth..I think we are on to something here…

Mikey, my love, my heart, guide me with these beautiful women. Make me an instrument and a comfort to all who need and suffer…like we have suffered losing you my son. Eternally, loving you & honoring you
One bead at a time ~ Love, Mamabear

Peace & LOVE to all

I’m still standing…

Spring has arrived, and the tulips and daffodils are sprouting and the earth is preparing for sunny, warmer days. My heart, iced, distant, removed, tries desperately to appreciate the signs. Grief has a way to block, abolish, remove any joy. I push myself to the surface, very much like a bulb. Forcing myself on the daily to produce, to perform, to show up. I am acutely aware, that every part of me wants to cave, to hide, to retreat. Grief is isolation and sadness. It is like a dark cloud, that looms, and it often grows if you focus on it too much. Sometimes, grief can be felt, but, off in the distance, just over the horizon. In other words, it may fade for a brief moment, but it is always there.
As this Easter weekend approaches, my anxiety heightens. I feel a mix of emotions and a sense of not knowing, not feeling, not belonging. I share in my grief group about my feelings. I don’t want nor feel any reason or need to celebrate. It feels strange, having or thinking about a holiday without my son. Our holidays center around the food and menu. That was one of his most favorite things, food. So, I hesitate in cooking and preparing dishes he liked most. I don’t see the purpose really. I also can’t bear sitting at a dinner table, just 3 of us, without him. It just feels wrong and I am torn about it this week. I had a dinner for my daughter and her boyfriend a few weeks ago. We had a lovely evening getting to know him. I especially felt a very loving connection between them and it did my heart good to feel that for her. I remember feeling sad throughout the night. I remember mentioning my son a few times during dinner. I have struggled over the last two years with holidays too. My brother dying, left a vast hole in our family. It left an empty place at his table, the house where we all gathered to celebrate holidays. Now, he was gone, what should I do? His wife, my heart hurt for her. I did not want to leave her alone. I made every effort to be with his wife and kids as I felt very bad for his children. Now, I am the grieving Mother, yet, no one seems to take much notice. His wife was invited to dinner somewhere else. I get it, almost everyone has avoided me like I have a disease. Thank God for my sister and for my daughter, they realize how wounded we all are. She suggests a walk on the beach, and catching the sunset. I wonder, what do I do with the 8 hours before the sun sets? Then I remembered the memorial tree.
We received a gift when my son died. A few co workers of Mike’s sent a memorial tree kit. It comes in a box. I briefly remember how touched I was by this gift. How thoughtful and meaningful we all thought it was beautiful. I tucked the box in the spare room, as it was the dead of the winter. I awoke this morning remembering the tree, and maybe it was time to be planted. I just have to find a place for it. I think for me, it is about honoring and remembering my son. Perhaps, this will be a way to do that. I will still be sad, and lost and missing Michael. I don’t expect to feel anything else. Nothing feels the same, because it simply isn’t anymore. I won’t be spoiling his baby with Easter baskets and dresses, at least, not yet. I will be thinking of her and her Dad, my son. I recently was reading how important it is to try really hard to start to live in a “moment”. It can be small, the sunlight, a new flower, a baby laughing, sweet sounds of nature, just try and take it in and allow yourself to enjoy it, even if it is only for a few moments…I can’t help but smile, afterall, this blog was created and based on “leelee moments”. I shall do my best to find one. I am certain, without a doubt, that my heart will be thinking and loving and missing him, and perhaps dreaming of him…

Love to all