Don’t forget

Don’t forget him

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.

Stand up and sing for your life

I choose joy

I choose joy.




I choose joy has become my daily mantra. Do I wake up every day feeling joyful? No. That is a hard and fast no. However, I get up, get dressed, pour my coffee and make the choice to live joyfully each day.

I have a lot of things to be sad about right now – don’t we all? But what happens when you focus on all the sad? All those negative emotions spiral you into a black hole that is very difficult to escape. I’m not saying it’s not okay to be sad – it absolutely is; however, don’t unpack there. Cry for a minute. Grieve your losses. And, then choose joy. Because when we choose joy, when we choose to look at how blessed we are, it changes our outlook and allows us to be more content with our situation.

I have five days “off” from work. This wasn’t ideally how I wanted to use my PTO; however, I’ve decided to use it to further my dreams and goals. I’m choosing to refocus my energy these few days into projects that light my heart on fire. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I can’t think of anything more important to focus on right now than that. It has always been extremely important to educate about mental health; however, these days it has become even more important. People all around us are struggling with one thing or another and how they are able to handle those things will determine much in their lives.

I made it my mission the day Nikolai took his own life to do whatever I could to help educate our community on mental health and suicide. I decided that day to make sure that as many people as I can affect know that they are enough – they are strong and courageous and we need them and the impact they are going to make on this world. Nikolai’s death transformed me in a million different ways. I grieve the loss of my child, yet I have found my purpose at the same time.

Nikolai lived joyfully. I believe he struggled with mental health all his life; however, he always chose joy. The last few years of his life, he desperately fought for that joy. The week before he died I asked him ‘where his joy was’. He said he didn’t know. He couldn’t find it. That was hard to hear. This is when I knew things were bad, really bad. For someone who lived for joy, saying those words was his last ditch effort at this mental health battle. He lost the war.

So when I say I CHOOSE JOY. I choose it for me and for him and for all of you who are battling finding your joy every single day.

Use this time to find your joy – whatever that may look like to you.

It’s time to stand up and sing for your life.