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.

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day resides this year on November 22, 2014.

Across the world, people gather as one. We all have something in common. We have lost someone to the completion of suicide. It’s a day to share journeys, hope, and healing. I found out Monday afternoon that I’ll be hosting a resource table for my book, That’s All I Got! at the Milwaukee event sponsored by the Mental Health America of Wisconsin. On this day, I am inspiring, sharing, healing, and strengthening.

If you aren’t able to attend a local event, there’s a 90 minute live video feed at 12 pm CST/1 PM EST so you too can take part in this day. Follow this link to join: Survivor Day Live

Survivor Day Website

Milwaukee Event

A simple pair of skates

Years ago, skating as a teenager, I discovered the art of rollerblading for recreation and exercise. I remember purchasing my first pair of roller blades with saved up money from my paper routes. I wore the first set of wheels down to the bearings. The frames became so beat up that Play-It-Again Sports scrapped them for me. I replaced that pair with a better design. I still have these.

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Up until I married, those blades rolled places. Then, tragedy occurred and I hadn’t touched them since, that is until Sunday, July 20th, 2014. A week or two before this I saw someone flying down my street on roller blades. That got me thinking, why don’t I blade anymore? I couldn’t give myself a good response; I had given up. Another time in the garage, I saw my blades poking from a storage can.This must have been a sign.

I dusted them off and located my protective gear after all, a writer doesn’t need a broken wrist. A day or two later, I suited up and started out slowly, gaining my balance on two legs and wheels. Then it was like I had never stopped rollerblading (except for remembering how to navigate curbs. I headed to the quiet park with paved walk ways and an adjoining school parking lot. At first, I straight up skated working my way to downhill squatting and attempting turns. Turns were easy to remember, but harder to do especially backwards. As I practiced and nearly fell on my butt, I had a thought I’ll finish with.

“Sometimes you have to go backwards to move forward. Sometimes you need to fall in order to succeed”.-K.E.Voss