How can one person possibly be filled with such immense and intense feelings all the time. Sometimes I wonder if my heart is simply going to explode. My heart feels so tired one minute and then so completely filled up with love and joy the very next minute. The capacity our heart has to continue to make room for everything we pack into it amazes me.
I feel love and joy for so many things, people, moments, and memories. And yet, this same space holds me when I am sad and lonely.
I found myself spending more time than I care to admit feeling constantly disappointed by people, bitter, angry, and absolutely grief stricken. Yet, my darkest moments of this year were, and continue to be, always overcome by joy. Always.
This year of 2022 brought the death of my dad, the death of one of my dearest friends, and unrelenting grief over the senior year Nikolai would not experience. And yet, I was met with joy on every corner of that grief.
Nikolai’s graduation party.
Summer vacation of all vacations.
Memorial Day garage sale.
Strangers in the cemetery.
Random acts of kindness.
Love. Pure love.
Godwink after Godwink.
Are you looking for the joy? Because as much as I didn’t want it this year, joy filled my every day in some capacity, big and small. Thank God. I wanted to live in heartbreak this year but that isn’t what life is all about. I can be sad. I can cry. I can feel all the grief. My heart can take it, but it also doesn’t want me to sit in it.
I miss Nikolai. I miss my dad. I miss my friend. Yet, someday I will see them again. For now, I have a whole lotta people to wrap up in love right here on this physical earth.
This month began with tragedy in Oakland County, Michigan. For those of you who don’t know, one of our small communities experienced a horrific school shooting in which four young high school students lost their lives, many more were injured, and now an entire school of youth and staff have to figure out a way through trauma and grief. Every community in our county empathizes deeply with Oxford and our hearts are shattered for them.
I simply can’t get these four families out of my head. These teens were children, babies really when you look at the average life span of a human. And I know this pain, this deep grief all too well. Loss of a child. It is a pain like no other.
This is our third Christmas without Nikolai. And to say it’s been weird is an understatement. I don’t know if it is the pain I carry for these Oxford families has made me not realize my own grief or if it’s all mixed up.
Putting up our Christmas tree for the past two years has sent me spiraling. Pulling all of Nikolai’s ornaments out of the box and hanging them on the tree usually brings me to tears. This year, I decorated the entire tree by myself and never shed a tear, like it was any old year. Nothing. Zero emotion. This scared me. Have I placed my grief somewhere else with other families to the point that I have misplaced my own grief? Or have I somehow come out the other side?
The answer is neither.
I believe I have compartmentalized my feelings, as if I can only be sad about one thing at a time. I wonder if it is my way of protecting myself because too much grief may destroy me. I will feel all the things for these other families because I truly ache for them and at the same time, I will ignore my personal pain. It makes me feel stronger. Look at how much I can endure and not fall apart.
I mean how emotionally unhealthy can you be? Sad is not bad.
I have been to the cemetery more in the last eight days than all of October and November combined, like almost every single day. And I cry every single time. It’s time to accept that I can’t compartmentalize my feelings, nor should I want to. It’s time to accept that my feelings are real and not bad. My feelings are valid and shouldn’t be closed off behind a door somewhere.
All those things I tell everyone else… maybe I should start taking my own advice.
The more days that pass since the Oxford tragedy, the more absorbed I find myself back into my own grief. And this is hard. It’s easier to grieve for other people’s loss; however, when you flip it back around, well, it hurts and at a much deeper level because it’s your pain.
I miss Nikolai.
I miss his smile and his laughter. And it’s difficult because it’s getting harder to hear his laugh. Will there come a day when I can’t hear it at all?
I will miss hearing him get up in the middle of the night, even at 14 years old to sneak downstairs and look at what Santa brought and then begrudgingly stomp back upstairs because it was too early for everyone else.
I will miss watching him try and crack open his crab legs at Christmas dinner and sending shell flying.
I will miss him trying to burp like Elf and say “did you hear that?”
I will miss him singing “Dominic the Christmas Donkey” with me in the car because it’s silly and fun.
I will miss watching him hug his grandma and grandpa.
I just miss him.
I sit here in Dragonfly Central (my office, his bedroom) and know that he surrounds me every day, giving me support, guiding me, and making sure that while I miss him, I still find and choose joy. Because he was joy.
The pain I feel for these Oxford families has brought my pain to the forefront. And each time another young person takes their life, I relive this pain again. I want to tell all of these families that this pain will never go away. I’m not going to sugarcoat that. However, my prayer for you is that you remember the immense joy your child brought to you and I invite you to sit in those joyful memories along with your pain because joy and sadness can and do coexist.
This is how we remember. This is how we make sure that the world remembers.
We have hit the two-year, two-month mark of Nikolai’s death. That’s kind of a long time, relatively speaking, I guess. Yet, what I find odd is that, after all this time, it is finally (26 months later) hitting me that he is gone and that he isn’t coming back.
I know he’s gone. I know he’s not coming back. However, I’m just now realizing it. His death is final. It dawned on me a couple of days ago as I stood in front of his gravestone. I kept tracing his name with my fingers and saying his name out loud, like I needed him desperately to respond.
Almost every day, my FB memories reminds me of his life. I can’t stop staring at pictures, like I’m willing that time back, I’m willing him to walk back into our lives.
The depth of how much I miss him is hitting so hard.
We celebrated my granddaughter’s first birthday on Saturday and it was joyful and amazing and I kept thinking how much Nikolai would have loved to be there. How much fun he would have had with her and the things he would have said and done to make her laugh. He would have loved snuggling with Daley’s new puppy.
And yesterday, we had friends over and one of his best friends was playing whiffle ball with all the other boys in our yard and it made me immensely sad that he missed that, while also knowing his friend misses him and also silently wishes he was there.
My sadness lately seems on a whole new level, another level of grief to rock my world and leave me begging for this pain in my heart to stop.
Grief is not linear. It’s a pattern of loops and zig zags and most days doesn’t make an ounce of sense. There are definitely more okay patches than devasted ones, more joyful times than sad; however, this grief thing, this slow healing, is meddling in the way my life is supposed to go.
It shouldn’t take this long to grieve and heal, or so the world has foolishly led us to believe. Grief is tricky. It doesn’t ever really go away. We will always carry it. Some days the load may feel lighter and other days it will feel so heavy you don’t know how you can possibly carry it.
Grief is living two lives. One is where you pretend that everything is fine, and the other is where you want to scream out in anguish. And it’s a constant battle of will to keep that second one from coming out, to fake it until you make it, to convince those around you that you really are ‘okay’.
Until today. Today I realize that you are gone forever. You really aren’t ever coming back and I’m not okay. I grieve the loss of my kid. I miss him being a part of our family. I miss his laugh. I miss his smile. I’m tired. My heart hurts.
And, all of that… all those feelings… that is okay. It’s okay to feel broken sometimes.
“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
In third grade Nikolai had the best teacher. Don’t get me wrong, he had amazing teachers his whole school career; however, one teacher always stood out to me and this was his third-grade teacher, Mrs. Breen.
This was the one year of elementary school that I remember as being his most joyous. While he still had to get the work done, Mrs. Breen wasn’t the teacher that scolded him, made him feel bad for not doing his work, or held him back from recess (which he so desperately needed to burn off his energy). She softly redirected him, used wit and sarcasm with him, and tried to always make tasks a game. I know he was a handful and we talked frequently about challenges. However, his third-grade year was the year he smiled most. This was the year he thrived in school the most.
One particular class project they worked on was called “I Am Great.” The kids colored or painted those words in the middle of the page and then each child’s page was passed around to the other kids in the class to write something positive about that child.
Last week I was sifting through Nikolai’s box of treasures, as I like to call it. Each one of my boys has a box filled with all the things I want to save forever and ever – their first baby shoes, baptism gowns, homemade blankets, report cards, pictures they colored, Mother’s Day cards handmade with love and on the rare occasion, a meaningful assignment from one of their classes. It was through this sifting through his box looking for something else entirely, that I came across this “I Am Great” assignment.
I started reading all of the comments and I laughed and cried. Comments about how nice he was, what a good friend he was, how good he was at athletics, reading and coloring. Yet it was Mrs. Breen’s note that jolted me: “You are a super athlete with an amazing passion for life.”
“An amazing passion for life.”
This was Nikolai summed up in one sentence. The BEST sentence. And as a parent who struggled with this child constantly, I wish I had focused more on that one sentence. As a parent, I focused so much on what he didn’t do or did wrong and forgot to look at him as a person, as a friend, someone who was kind and joyful and who had a zest for life that few others had.
Chalk this up with the other millions of mistakes I made with my kids. Raising kids without an instruction manual is just hard.
Yet it got me thinking… why don’t we all have an “I Am Great” assignment posted somewhere where we can see it all the time? What if instead of looking at all of our flaws, we took time to realize all the great things about ourselves and each other? What if we looked at kids like Nikolai and instead of seeing a kid who can’t focus on a single thing and is crazy impulsive, we saw a child who had “an amazing passion for life”? It’s all perspective and perhaps it’s time to change that view for one that shows the light in someone, not the darkness.
Nikolai ended that school year with a “worm-off” with Mrs. Breen. If you have never heard of the worm, just google “Worm Dance Move” and you can watch hundreds of YouTube videos of it. This final moment of third grade was talked about his whole life as one of his greatest shining achievements, as he is convinced he beat her! After Nikolai died, Mrs. Breen messaged me the video of the “worm-off” that another parent had captured. I will forever keep this video and watch it when I need to be reminded that life is full of joy if only we choose to look for it.
Here we are… it’s the Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s holiday season. Again.
Last week I tried so hard to write a blog piece about all the things I am grateful for, a thankful post of sorts. As you can see, I didn’t do it. Let me rephrase that: I couldn’t do that. And not because I don’t have a million things to be thankful and grateful for, it just felt forced. This is our second holiday season without Beans. Throw in some COVID-19 lockdown and limited time with extended family and BOOM, you have a storm of emotions that I simply didn’t have control over.
Grief on a normal day is hard; however, grief during the holiday season is something else entirely. It’s wanting desperately to hang on to the memories and keep everything the exact same, while realizing that it won’t ever be the same. It’s experiencing crushing sadness in the midst of pure joy.
I don’t know if this will help you or not; however, here are a few things that I tell myself, not just through this holiday season, but throughout the year:
Let yourself feel. Last night my family watched “Elf” and if any of you know me, you know this is my absolute favorite movie of all time – like, I could watch it in July it’s that good. This movie brings me absolute pure joy. Last night, while my heart is bursting with joy, I started to cry during the end where they all have to “sing loudly for all to hear” to make the sleigh fly. I don’t know why, it just hit me in the feels. This is the feeling I’m talking about where I literally seem to float between joy and sudden sadness. And that’s OKAY! You have to allow yourself to feel the full range of emotions. The sounds, sights and smells of the holiday season may trigger feelings of sadness, loss, emptiness and anxiety. I read in an article a while back that “time doesn’t heal the pain associated with a loss; it’s what you do with that time that matters. Grief is the process by which you heal.” Rather than try to ignore the grief, we should embrace it.
Set boundaries for yourself. Last year we had plans to meet friends for drinks one evening. The whole day leading up to that singular event was excruciating. I knew I couldn’t do it. My heart hurt too much and I really just wanted to stay home and cry a little, snuggle with my husband and just feel. I tried to bury those feelings all day but in the middle of getting a car wash on our way to meet them, I looked at my husband and he just knew. He texted our friends and cancelled on the spot. This was a lesson for me to make sure that I’m setting boundaries for myself. You are not obligated to do anything, go anywhere or see anyone if you aren’t feeling it.
Honor your memories. Memories are the very thing that keep you solidly connected to those you have lost. It is so critical to continue to talk about your loved ones and cherish all the amazing memories you shared with them. It helps keep them alive so to speak. Christmas was always Nikolai’s favorite holiday and I love that even at 14 he would get up at 3 a.m. to see what Santa brought him and then go back to bed and lay awake anxiously for everyone else to get up. I love to picture his face on Christmas morning. I have a million memories of Nikolai at the holidays and my family will share them, talk about him, remember him and honor all of those memories.
Create new traditions. This one is tough for me as I’m not a lover of change. I thrive on tradition. However, over the course of time, new traditions just start to naturally emerge and someday I will be okay with that.
Ask for help. Last December I was in the absolute darkest of places, a black hole of sorts that I literally could not pull myself out of. I have a dear friend who literally said to me one day, “either you make an appointment with a therapist, or I’m making it for you.” We need these people in our lives. No one ever likes to ask for help. And this is one of the biggest hurdles we as humans must jump over if we are going to make change in this world. We need to admit that we can’t do everything ourselves. It’s okay to ask for help. People, by nature, want to help – it’s who we are. It doesn’t have to be a therapist, it could be a friend or family member. The point here is to reach out. Make the call. Ask for help.
This holiday season is no different than my every day, in that I will always choose joy while recognizing that I won’t always experience joy. I have much to be grateful and thankful for; however, I can also sit in the space of sadness once in a while and grieve my losses. We all feel broken sometimes. Just hold on, joy will always eventually shine through.
People keep telling me that the second year is actually the worst. Why they would tell me this I don’t know. I mean, I guess thank you for the head’s up? It has something to do with the fact that you are mostly numb the first year – sort of in a state of disbelief, like your loved one just went on a vacation for a year and you suddenly realize they aren’t coming back. I’m sorry, but that’s just dumb. And don’t anyone say that to me. Ever.
We have been through all the holidays that start with “happy”, Memorial Day weekend, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day tomorrow, your birthday… yep, we’ve done them all, without you. We finished out last summer with hot baseball tournaments and mini vacations. We entered Fall and then winter. We did snow hiking and snowball fights with the dogs. We have been through the rainy spring, the blooming of new flowers and buds on the trees and a quarantine. And today, ironically, is the first day of summer. Another summer.
Throughout this past year it has become painfully clear to me that life moves on. We still have jobs we have to go to everyday, bills that still need to be paid, and other kids to parent. The world continues to move around us as if nothing has happened. Only something did happen. Some days I want to look at people and ask them, “don’t you know what has happened to me?” I still have this pent-up scream stuck inside of me that I swear someday I’m going to let loose and it will be unholy from the bottoms of my toes.
June 20, 2019 was a normal day. I came home from work and had to leave at 5:30 to volunteer at an event in the park near our home. You were hungry, so we had a quick dinner together, just you and me. You sat across from me. You had strawberries – those were your favorite. We talked about our days. You asked if you could have ice cream for dessert and I said how about you wait until I get home and we can have some together. You agreed without a single complaint. That should have been my first clue that things weren’t quite right. You had cleaned the kitchen and loaded the dishwasher before I got home from work that day. It’s my biggest pet peeve if that isn’t done, and it never is, and I always have to yell at you and Reilly to take care of it. This night it was all done before I got home from work that day. That was another sign. You did all the things to make me happy that night.
I wish I had known that was the last time I would see you alive. I wish that I would have hugged you tight instead of yelling out as I walked out the door for the two of you to be good, see you in a bit and I love you. At least I said the last part.
Your oldest brother stopped by the park that night to bring me a coffee because it was cold and rainy. I bought him some food. And I bought him an ice cream cookie sandwich to give to Reilly. I wish that I had bought you one too instead of deciding to wait and have ice cream with you at home like I had promised. You might still be alive if I had. The ice cream would have been melting and your brother would have given it to you right when he got home. If I had only bought you an ice cream.
Your brothers were amazing. They did all the right things that night. They can’t unsee that night and I can’t imagine the pain of what their vision of that night looks like. All I know is that the call I received and the urgency in which I drove home, and the remainder of that whole night was a parent’s worst nightmare.
We held your hands when you slipped away at the hospital. I brushed your unruly hair out of your face and whispered I love you one more time. Your dad talked to you gently in your ear in a long-distance call from California. It’s surreal, even today, I cannot believe it. Yet, I can still relive every single minute of that night in my mind. The screaming when I got to the house, the tears, the doctors trying so hard in the ER to revive you, the look on your brother’s faces. Images I wish I didn’t have.
That was the worst night of my life. And every “first” we have hit since that night is so hard. Every 20th of the month is so hard.
I will live the rest of forever without you.
I will live the rest of forever wondering who you would have become.
There are a million things I would have done differently. But it’s too late and I can’t change anything. All I can do is live joyfully, as you would have. And I promise you that I will do what I can to make a positive impact on the lives of others. I will be kind and empathetic. I will listen and I will love. And I will be an instrument of change we so desperately need in this world.
A year. One full year without you.
We miss you.
God may have you in heaven, but I have you in my heart. Always.
Today is your birthday. Your sweet 16. Or for boys is it more like stud 16? I don’t know.
Remember that birthday when you begged for hot dogs for your birthday dinner and I decided to make it extra special and go to the A & W Rootbeer Stand in Ortonville for a coney dog and mug rootbeer? And then we get there and everyone orders coney dogs BUT you – lol! Seriously a burger? I couldn’t believe it. I think I brought this story up every birthday thereafter because I was so annoyed and you thought it was so hysterical. Guess what… today we are going to that same A & W Rootbeer Stand and I am getting a burger. Just for you.
Quarantine or no quarantine, we probably wouldn’t be going to Secretary of State today for a license. I know you were so mad at dad and I for not allowing you to start driver’s training when you turned 15. I needed you to show us more responsibility and maturity before I was ready to risk your life and those of other people on the road. I know you get it. I also know you were mad as a hornet about it.
I miss you.
I wonder what you would have wanted for your birthday gift this year. New bike maybe. You were really getting too big for the one you had, although I know you loved it. Maybe some new kicks for summer? I bought you a dragonfly for your grave. It’s really more for me than you, I admit.
Your favorite birthday treat always seemed to be a slushie, whether from Mr. C’s or Dairy Queen. You weren’t huge on ice cream, but an ice slushie was high on your love of yummy things. And the brighter the color the better so you could wear it as a mustache for days!
I miss you.
I wish we could take you to ride go carts and play mini-golf today. Or maybe a friendly family tennis match or bowling. These are all things you loved to do on your big day.
I love birthdays. I love celebrating people and the amazingness they bring to the world. You brought a lot of amazingness Nikolai. I wish you could have seen that. I wish I had told you that more often.
Thank you for letting me pick the movie on your 13th birthday. You wanted to go to the movies and that was the day that Wonder Woman came out – June 2, 2017. You knew how much I wanted to see it. I think you did too; however, I also know you let us see it because of me. You were selfless. Always wanted people around you to be happy.
I miss you.
When you turned 12 you had an orchestra concert on your birthday and your teacher called out your birthday on stage. It was awesome! You turned three shades of red but I know you secretly loved it.
Are there birthdays in heaven? Make sure you whoop it up no matter what. Make some noise, as only you can.
I’ve been thinking about Beans a lot lately. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him a dozen times; however, the last few weeks have been consuming. I don’t know if it’s the season I’m in right now or if it’s because we are coming up on the milestones of all milestones… his birthday and his death date, all in the same month. All I know is that my heart seems to hurt a little bit more right now.
Did you know that Nikolai’s favorite color was red?
He loved tacos and donuts.
His favorite cake was white cake with white frosting.
His favorite author by far was Rick Riordan and he read every single book of his a million and a half times.
He doodled more in school than he did actual work.
He struggled his whole life with math and writing.
He had a frequent flyer card to the ER because he was so curious and literally fearless!
He loved riding his bike more than just about anything.
He could burp the entire alphabet.
I write these things out because I am afraid that we will forget who he was. I don’t want Nikolai to be forgotten. I have big memories and stories that I love to share. Yet some days I feel like the everyday “normal” moments that we often take for granted are starting to slip away – memories lost. Little things like how he used to meet me in the garage every single day when I got home from work to ask me how my day was. Seems ordinary, but to me, looking back, those were special moments that I can’t ever get back and I don’t want to ever forget.
The world around me has moved on from Nikolai’s death. I know this. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but he wasn’t part of your day-to-day so I get it. That’s why these memories have become so precious. Things I can share with the world so no one forgets him. Nikolai isn’t just another suicide statistic. He was a 15-year old kid who lived and loved. He was my kid.
And while I could live the rest of my life with what if’s and coulda, woulda, shoulda’s, I can’t change anything. So instead of focusing on the things I can’t change, I choose to focus on the memories of an amazing kid who lived with more joy in his heart than any single human I’ve ever met.
If you knew him, keep talking about him. Keep his light on for the world to see.
For those of you who don’t know what that means, it’s the day the court in Kemerovo, Siberia, Russia gave Joe and I full custody of Kola. We always knew adoption was part of our plan, yet it still amazes me that God knew that halfway around the world there was this little baby boy destined for our hearts and our family.
This wild, goofy, smart, funny, kind-hearted, frustrating, loveable, handsome, force of nature child that we so desperately needed in our lives. Nikolai was full of life.
The process of international adoption is often long and when you decide to adopt from a country like Russia, you are also dealing with massive expenses and a corrupt system. However, that being said, Kemerovo was surprisingly pro-American and truly wanted what was best for the orphans. And, considering I was also pregnant with Reilly, we needed a region like this to push the adoption through with some urgency.
We traveled for the second time to Russia in April of 2005. Armed with a few bribes and a great translator, we stood before a judge on April 7 and asked to formally adopt Nikolai. The judge approved and we drove straight to the orphanage to pick up our second son.
GOTCHA day! It’s incredibly special for adoptive parents and children. Every April 7 Joe would go to a local Russian market and pick up all the fixings for a Russian dinner, complete with candy specially from Russia. We always let Kola decide on a special dessert – usually yellow cake with white frosting and sprinkles.
This GOTCHA day is different.
We are still honoring you today with your special Russian dinner and your crazy sprinkle cake. But instead of spending the day doing fun things with you, we will visit your grave and pray. I will talk to you as I do every day. I will remind you how very special you are. I will tell you again the story of your GOTCHA day and how on that day you were not born from my body but from my heart. I will tell you how desperately we all still love you and how much we miss having you being a physical part of our lives.
There will be tears of sadness that you are gone yet tears of joy for having had you in our lives for 15 years.
We love you Kola! Happy GOTCHA Day – celebrate huge in heaven with Jesus today.
I am tired of being bereaved. I want my life back.
“I’m tired of being bereaved. Tired of my son being dead. I want out. I want to go back to being a “normal mom” who didn’t make decisions about end of life, or what to do with ashes, or how to celebrate birthdays for a child who isn’t here to celebrate. I didn’t sign up for this life, and I’d like the one I planned for back, please.
Give me the uncomplicated small talk, the easy play dates, the simple family photos. Bring on the joyful holiday celebrations.
Return me to that place where sad stories were sad stories, not triggers reducing me to a pile of tears one day or a disassociated robot the next. Make me strong again, in the way only the ignorant can be.
Paint the world in black and white, in simple colors and shapes. Good things happen to good people, bad actions have consequences. Restore order and balance. Make sense of things.
Because this randomness, this roulette wheel of tragedy, it is heavy.” – Elizabeth Thoma
This is exactly how I feel. I could not have said it better
than she does.
This isn’t how my life was supposed to go. I had other
dreams and plans and all of those included having Nikolai physically part of my
I was not unfamiliar to grief before Nikolai died; however,
the death of my child is vastly different than the losses I have experienced.
For 15 years I raised this child. I read books to him, we ran together, went to
the park, Pontiac Lake in the summer to swim. As a family we did vacations,
camping, hiking, movies, hanging out at home. We laughed, we cried, we argued,
we loved. And all of that is over. There will never be another day with him,
another hug, another stupid joke.
I just want my life back.
I am tired of this pendulum between grief and joy. I’m tired of having
a day full of amazing dissolve into wracking sobs for what feels like no
apparent reason. My anxiety is at an all time high. I worry every time Joe
leaves on a business trip that something bad is going to happen like it did
that day in June 2019. I fear every day the loss of another child because I
honestly don’t think I could live through another. I am a colossal mess of what
if’s and worry and damn it, it’s exhausting!
I have built up walls and I’ve mastered the fine art of pretending. I’m
an extrovert that has slipped into an introvert. My circle has significantly
shrunk and very much on purpose. I need to feel safe and I don’t mean
physically (although that’s important to) – I mean in groups of people and
conversation. Self-care and protecting my family is at the absolute forefront
of my mind at all times.
I am a self-proclaimed hot mess! And yet, as much as I fight against
this new life I have been forced to live, I know that this too shall pass as I
evolve into God’s plan. The goals and dreams I had for my life were clearly not
God’s. He has a different plan for me. In Genesis 1 – “His plan is good because
of the purpose it will serve. It is good because of the hope it will give. It
is good because of the lives it will save.”
On a dragonflys wings and a prayer, I find myself living on faith.
Faith that the advocacy I am doing is educating people, bringing more awareness
to grief, suicide and mental health. Most days I am full of hope and know that
even in those moments of desperate heartache, I cannot quit.