Published Again!

Thanks to Project Semicolon that chose to publish this book:

 

with Harper Collins, I’m published once again. Project Semicolon called out for contributors to share their story in the book Project Semicolon: Your Story Isn’t Over gearing towards 18-25 yr olds, ages where people are more susceptible to mental illness and contemplating suicide.

For those who know me, know that I’ve been on a journey after losing my husband to the completion of suicide as a result of mental illness. I’m happy to share my story because my motto states: “if I can help one person then I know I’m doing my job.” My story appears within the pages 18-19 of the Project Semicolon book. It shows my name and lists the story as “In Memoriam.”

20170907_202404-1

Please consider purchasing this book for anyone you know who might find it useful and want to discover stories of courage, strength, and perseverance. Because like the ; stands for; their stories aren’t over yet.

Published Again!

Thanks to Project Semicolon that chose to publish this book:

with Harper Collins, I’m published once again. Project Semicolon called out for contributors to share their story in the book Project Semicolon: Your Story Isn’t Over gearing towards 18-25 yr olds, ages where people are more susceptible to mental illness and contemplating suicide.

For those who know me, know that I’ve been on a journey after losing my husband to the completion of suicide as a result of mental illness. I’m happy to share my story because my motto states: “if I can help one person then I know I’m doing my job.” My story appears within the pages 18-19 of the Project Semicolon book. It shows my name and lists the story as “In Memoriam.”

20170907_202404-1

Please consider purchasing this book for anyone you know who might find it useful and want to discover stories of courage, strength, and perseverance. Because like the ; stands for; their stories aren’t over yet.

Thoughts vs Memories

We all have them. We all have thoughts. We all have memories. Having a thought can lead to creating a memory. Reflecting on memories creates more thoughts. Can you have one without the other? Would you choose to? Would you care to?

One day, I had a thought to write a story. After I complete the story, I read it to people and someone thought the story could become a book. I thought, “yeah, right”. I wrote the book. The book contains memories, good and bad, but it also creates thoughts in others. Thoughts that can help other people heal and gain knowledge. When you have knowledge, you have the power to educate and when you educate others you can help change the world and yourself. Now some people think that me writing the book postponed my forward progress when in reality it pushed my progress forward. Writing, That’s All I Got!, promoted healing in a relaxed and therapeutic way. I wouldn’t have been able to write the book if I hadn’t moved forward in my healing. I wonder if the people who think I haven’t moved forward are the ones who haven’t whether they’re attached to my journey or not.

I’ve come to enjoy the song, “The Magic Store” in the finale of The Muppet Movie. The song talks about creating your story with your own ending. If we’re lucky our journey doesn’t end until God calls us home. Keep creating memories that build from thoughts and take your journey far beyond what you think it could be.

Seasonal Support

For many people, the holidays aren’t very joyous, but difficult. While normal holiday stresses exist, other not so normal unseen stresses appear. For people who have lost a loved one for whatever reason, grief joins in for the holidays. With winter settling in, the gloomy and cloudy days, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and depression become part of some people’s days. They require sources that can aid them: books, friends, and support.

Do you know someone who has been or is going through a tragic situation or life event whether or not related to this journey? Do you know anyone this holiday season that would benefit from reading, “That’s All I Got! A Widow’s Journey After Suicide”?

Why not give the gift of healing this holiday season. Why not direct them to sources that may assist in their grieving. Reach out.

Why I do what I do

If someone asked me: why do I write? why did I write a book? and why do I share my journey? I’d tell you the following.

Everyone at some time in their lives has required healing. Many people have qualifications to assist in healing. I help to heal from experience.

Some may think it’s difficult to discuss my journey and at first, I thought so too. It took a long time to talk to people without crying or getting into a lot of detail. I remember it took over a year, to utter the word widow and that’s when I was in counseling. The second time I used widow was during a discussion I had with my first chiropractor, Dr. Drew, and he was the first male stranger (at the time) that I shared my struggles with and I didn’t shed a tear. Talk about a milestone in my journey. Even now, while discussing certain topics I may become teary-eyed, but that’s almost always due to memories.

I want to educate others on what I know about traumatic grief. It’s important that I share my journey to reveal there’s a light at the end of a dark tunnel following tragedy. Part of my “job” consists of preventing innocent lives from being lost due to the completion of suicide. I would like other people to learn about mental illness because education is a life line.

The other day, a friend of a friend posted on Facebook about losing a friend to suicide over the weekend. I know what she’s dealing with so I reached out to her. I let her know that she could reach out to me because grief and emotions take a long time to heal.

This afternoon/early evening, I hosted a spot at a health fair sponsored by my chiropractic clinic, along with my book, That’s All I Got!. While I only sold one book, I shared many more conversations. Almost everyone I spoke with knows someone who lost their life to the completion of suicide. Some conversations were about mental illness. A few people knew today is World Suicide Prevention Day or that this week is National Suicide Prevention Week. I shared what today meant with a few vendors and each said, “I should know this” and “why don’t I know this?”. I opened their eyes to something they didn’t know. Yes, I wished I had sold more books, but a conversation I had with my current chiropractor that revolved around what really matters, reminded me why I do what I do. Thank you Dr. Steven for the reminder.

Climbing Higher

In the last few weeks, I’ve personally sold book numbers 101 and 102. Book number 102 went to a friend of mine after we watched the South Shore Frolics Fireworks at South Shore Park last night. Book number 101 has a story to share.

I attended a Sunday morning yoga class at the Downtown Milwaukee YMCA. We had a sub for class that day. I really enjoyed the class and talked to the instructor after class ended. We started talking about journeys and I shared the concept of That’s All I Got! with her. She became interested in my book and told me she’d buy a copy. I always travel with a few copies of my book in the car and since we had parked near each other and she had the cash, she bought a copy. I handed her a small stack of postcards for her to put out at the gym she works at and then she suggested having a book signing event at the gym in Cedarburg later this summer. Wow! Talk about a great encounter!

There’s always opportunities to share my journey available, but you never know who cares enough to listen. They did, will you?

One Year Ago…

On March 28, 2014, I obtained the first copies and the first order of That’s All I Got! from my publisher. With life bustling around me, I almost forgot the one year anniversary of becoming a published author. A definite milestone in the publishing world. I’m two copies away from personally selling 100 books (I have a home inventory that’s yearning to dwindle).

In the past year, I’ve traveled locally for many book events and one event out-of-state near my college alma mater, Ferris State University. It’s been quiet for a while now, but since spring has arrived, new life and energy grows branches leading me to new possibilities.

Voss front cover

Saying goodbye to save a life

Today, March 1st, has been emotionally charged as we said goodbye and bid peace to someone whose life ended too soon from the completion of suicide. He suffered from his own demons, which included depression. I know this story too well, our neighborhood grieves again. In December 2008, the neighborhood grieved the first time after my husband, Russ, passed away from the completion of suicide as a result of mental illness: bipolar and auditory hallucination, which associates with schizophrenia.

My neighbor, Michael, passed away on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 as a result of a gunshot after dealing with troubling times in life. His life has me reflecting back to the date and time of Russ’s death and how far I’ve come since. I not only survived, but I thrived.

As I sat during the funeral, I pictured Russ and now Michael Goetzinger in Heaven sitting in the yard and talking. They’re both released from their pain and looking down on their families and friends giving encouragement and making sure we’re all healing and moving forward. One of the songs played at the service, Wideness in God’s Mercy, hit home because it played at Russ’s funeral six years ago. Even in death we’re all connected.

The service composed of music, readings, and poems that found their place into people’s souls. From the poems, The Journey by Mary Oliver and The Farewell by Khalil Gibran, to music of Landslide by Fleetwood Mac, Everything’s Not Lost by Coldplay and If You Lead Me Lord I Will Follow, and an anointing of essential oils to aid in healing and hope created voices in song, hugs in hundreds, and tears of sorrow.

I’m thankful to all the neighbors who came together to support each other and for making sure that I’m doing alright and offering lots of hugs. Connected by love, connected by sorrow, all of us have a brighter tomorrow. Rest in Peace Michael and to all of people who have lost their lives to the completion of suicide.

Once again we’re reminded that suicide’s real and we must break the stigma that surrounds it. If you’re contemplating suicide, preventing suicide or support others, please see: AFSP.

If you are in crisis, please call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
With your help, we can all save lives.

5 short of 100!

Today, I personally sold book number 95!

There’s a story on how it came about to sell this special number. On Tuesday, January 13, 2015, an announcement came through the media and mail that the South Shore Y(MCA), the one place that changed my life forever, is closing at the end of day on January 31, 2015. The news hit everyone hard especially those who have been members for a long time (it opened in 1974) or have a success story (like myself) or memories to share (OK everyone both young and old have been affected by this news).

On Wednesday, January 14, 2015, I headed to the South Shore Y for my workout and encountered many familiar faces of people who used to work at this Y. Some were there for CPR re-certification and other helping out this week during week one of chaos. One of the faces turned out to be a friend of mine. As we talked, I knew she hadn’t purchased a copy of That’s All I Got! because I haven’t seen her in a great while. I knew that I’d see her today while I spent time volunteering, so we arranged for her to buy a copy of the book, signed of course. Thank you Tabitha for purchasing the sale of number 95.

There’s a good chance that number 96 will get a home this weekend. Maybe the other four will get new homes too.

Today, I made the bed…

Today, I made the bed…

What may seem insignificant to some represents something bigger to another.

Today, I made the bed. Exactly six years ago today, my husband made the bed that morning. I didn’t sleep in the bed for two months. Not doing so allowed me to hold a piece of him because you see he passed away that morning.

Today, I balanced the checkbook. Balancing the checkbook and keeping track of that account became my job. I always did it and tracked down the missing check or two. I had stopped this. Sure, I knew the day-to-day after all there’s online banking. However, this morning I made sure the numbers were correct and then wrote a contribution check for church and listed the balance.

Today, I changed the plan. My original plan today started with going to church, visiting at the cemetery and arriving home in time for the start of the Packers game. That’s until I received a text from a good friend asking to get together to catch up. I replied sure. We met up after church for hot chocolate, a pastry, and conversation before I headed to the cemetery. I missed the first quarter of the game and that’s OK.

Today, I visited the cemetery. This isn’t unusual for me to do on special days or just because. Today while there, I wrote a bit inspired by God and influenced by my faith for God takes care of us no matter what’s happening in our lives.

Today, I mailed the Christmas cards. This isn’t unusual or something new, but the time frame changed this year from years past. I’ve been good about sending them out early, but this year life got in the way. I realized it’s the same weekend six years ago that we sent out Christmas cards containing our wedding photo. Most everyone received those cards on Monday, the day after my husband passed away; a bittersweet photo.

Today, I heard a siren. The siren stopped on the next block to the south. Six years ago, the sirens stopped at our house. They left with a physical body whose heart stopped beating and his lungs stopped breathing as a result of asphyxiation. There’s nothing anyone could have done.

Today, I watched a movie. Not just any movie, but a special one, The Muppet Christmas Carol. This movie holds a special place in my heart because during this movie, Russ changed the words of the song, “When Love is Gone” to when love is found and then told me that he loves me (less than two months into our relationship and yet my heart knew that I loved him at two weeks). I shed a few tears during the movie and even if parts of it weren’t special, I’d still shed tears. The night continues with a movie he became attached to and to the song, “Hot Chocolate”. It’s time to board The Polar Express.

All this and more, all because

Today, I made the bed.