It’s all he ever wanted,it’s why he built this house, and this was one of the “firsts” in her life he was looking forward to the most … the very first picture of her all decked out in formal attire on the staircase he built for these moments. I know he was smiling as he watched this entire weekend as she reveled in her Freshman Yearhomecoming festivities. My heart is full as I memorialize this milestone in tribute to the many “wishes and dreams” he had for her!
Did I miss him tonight? Of course I did! Did I cry? Nope. I couldn’t. I was just so happy to finally see her on those stairs living the dream that he designed for us. It would have broken his heart to see either of us crying, and especially taking “the picture”. So then, no tears. Only joy, and smiles, and an abundance of gratitude. Besides, he was here with us in all of this, just like he always is, and always will be!
I struggled as to whether I should even respond to this message, but decided to go ahead let you know how it felt to get your text after being “ghosted” first.
It is more than clear to me by now that you know nothing about my heart, so I’ll fill you in on a not so big secret: I am an empathwho absorbs other people’s feelings and burdens as my own, especially those who are close to me. As such, I have spent the entire last seven months of COVID worrying for my friends, family and strangers, feeling helpless that I can’t just “zap” everyone’s lives into blissful perfection. I have cried endless tears, prayed endless prayers, and done everything in my power to be “a Light” in the darkness, DESPITE the fact that 427 days ago the love of my life not only blew his fucking brains out, but also DEVASTATED me and mine in unspeakable ways that most people don’t and will never know (but YOU do). I am now a widow who has also “struggled”, with not only COVID, but countless other thoughts, burdens and stresses that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone, all the while having still managed to at least TRY to think outside of myself and be thoughtful and mindful of others. I too have been near “a cliff”, and though it may not be as steep as yours, it is real just the same.
I was at a stop light when I saw your post and misinterpreted “your situation”. I’d honed in on the fact that you might have to sit in a 2-hour line to get a Chromebook for your son, which evidently was not the case. My first thought was about the like-new Chromebook that Gia had been trying to sell, so, I either texted or called you immediately. For the record, my intention was NEVER to sell it to you, and I apologize if that’s what you thought. Gia doesn’t need $100 and neither do I. My only thought at that moment was,“Oh no! A 2-hour line for a Chromebook? Maybe I could just bring her Gia’s.”ZERO was I “disregarding” either that situation or any situation you and yours have been dealing with as of late. I was JUST trying to help you be less stressed out.
Keep in mind that the weekend prior, I had made a gift bag to “ding dong ditch” your porch with on your birthday, but when I went to your page that day to write on your wall, I saw you on a getaway with your family and decided to hold off. Time passed and I had neither heard from or seen much of you on Facebook, so I tried to find out what was going on. I texted you two or three times. No response! I even thought about going to your house, but instead messaged your husband because I was worried that something was wrong. Then I got your text and realized that yet again (for the second time in 20 plus years) I’d, been, “GHOSTED”! And why is that? Because my well-intended message to you “kind of came across as disregarding your situation when you were already struggling”. Neither my words, thoughts or intended deeds were good enough and had to be punished!
When I got your text, I all but lost it and beat myself up pretty good! “OMG! What did I do? I hurt her feelings? Made her feel disregarded? What could I have done better? What could I have SAID better?” I felt like a terrible friend and awful person! Did you ever stop to consider that perhaps I did have good intentions and was just trying to help, but because I too am struggling, your assumption that I was “disregarding your situation” was WRONG? Short of that, could you have possibly shown some grace and cut me some slack for failing to regard “your situation” in the manner that you would have preferred? Yah, not so much!
Let me tell you about my “situation”. I had to actually run away to get my broken head, heart and feelings together after coming pretty damn close to falling off my own cliff! What you did to me was beyond unfair, if not cruel, and started cracking my heart in a brand new place. By the time my own birthday came and went and most of my “friends” forgot me, I think I was pretty much done … with all of this! I just survived an entire LIFETIME of walking on fucking eggshells in “relationship gauntlets” where the people I loved and trusted refused to extend grace for my MANY human failures and would punish me with silent treatments or “washing their hands of me”. The irony here is that ALL I’VE EVER WANTED is for“my people” to be happy, feel cared for, and NEVER have to wonder what they mean to me. The problem is that I’m not a mind reader, soooo … all I’ve ever been able to do is the best that I can do, which evidently isn’t good enough people like YOU!
I’m sorry I hurt your feelings and made you feel “disregarded”. If you knew me at all, you’d know that’s NOT how I roll. If this is “friendship”? No thanks, I’ll pass! And I especially don’t need “friends” who profess to be Christian followers of Jesus yet treat others this way. No grace? No compassion? NO THANK YOU! I’d rather be ALONE with my heart in the exact right place than “in the world” with people like you who could take me or fucking leave me. True friendships should neither be conditional nor contingent upon perfect behavior and impossibly high standards, up to and including “mind reading”. Walking on your eggshells doesn’t work for me anymore!
So, with that …
this is me …
I was a good friend to you – don’t you ever forget it! Or, DO. I don’t give a fuck. I did my best to support all your endeavors and “situations” and have never been too busy to remember you, regardless of my “struggles”, and trust me, I’ve had some! I am fifty fucking ONE-derful years old now “friend”, and since you too forgot me on September 17th, I opened the candle I got when I didn’t forget you on August 8th and burned it for myself, alone, on my birthday! I deserve so much better than “I can take her or leave her”, or, “let me ghost and punish her because she wasn’t clairvoyant enough to know the exact right thing to do for my SITUATION”.
QUEENS DON’T TAKE SCRAPS FROM ANYONE, soooo, have a nice life “friend”, but LOSE MY FUCKING NUMBER! I’m done with this conversation … and you!
It’s taken 421 days for me to finally wake up to the sobering reality of “widowed and alone” … at which point I think my heart is actually broken even MORE than it was on August 22, 2019. In being honest, yesterday morning I was very close to something that looked like the edge. I thought about checking myself into a “spa” again for rest, but instead I’m just running away for a while to see what I can do to salvage the “Warrior. Motivator. SURVIVOR ;” of it all.
It’s funny how this process has worked. My “closest friends”, the ones who I thought were my people, have all pretty much ghosted me by now. Farewell to every one of them and c’est la flipping vie! The real surprise, however, is the people who have not, some who were once total strangers. It’s the “friends from afar”, both in years and in miles, who have not forgotten to remember me.
You know who you are and I thank you from the deepest and most precious, vulnerable places of my truly broken heart!
For the record, I have and will ALWAYS forgive the people who have forsaken me. I mean … Have you met me?I’ve had to forgive the devil himself for the harm he brought to me and mine … but I will never EVER forget …
Everyone who has checked on me.
Everyone who has asked how my kids are.
Everyone who has invited us for a meal.
Everyone who has asked if they can help.
Everyone who has at least tried to get me out of the house.
Everyone who has remembered that for all my strength (and YES, I am STILL the strongest bitch I’ve EVER known), I am STILL a widow whose king and love of her life shot himself in the fucking head 421 days ago just 1.5 miles from our home and turned my life and my heart COMPLETELY inside out!
… AND …
Everyone who has not!
“But c’mon Cat … it’s COVID! That’s why I’ve been too busy to remember you. We all have full plates and problems of our own.” Yes, that’s right … it’s COVID … and we all have full plates and problems of our own! But guess what people? Even in all my grief, and even in all my sorrow, and even in all my anguish, and the light, and the dark, and the laughter, and the tears …
I haven’t forgotten ANYONE!
As far as I’m concerned, and I think many people would tend to agree, “COVID” is not only devastating the human population physically, emotionally and spiritually, but even more so separating, defining and clarifying exactly who and what people are. Some people are coming together in unity and community. Some people are drifting the fuck apart.
So, with that, as I move forward in my journey alone, some of you have forged a place so deep in the fabric of my being that there are literally not enough words to credit you. When you call on me, I will ALWAYS answer! When you need me, I will always be there! Morning. Noon. Or the wee hours of the fucking night. As for all you “ghosts” who forgot to remember that even the brightest Lights still need a base to plug into and even the strongest people still need support? I will see you, and I will smile, and make all the small talk and pleasantries, and yes, I will even pray for you. But don’t you forget that I will always remember who has been mindful of me and my children now that our cards are down. Someday, when it’s your turn to journey all alone maybe you’ll understand how it has felt to be me … WIDOWED! Actually? I wouldn’t wish this on ANYONE!
Hey, wait! Do I sound a little bitter? Ummm, yah, I think I kinda am! You know me though … always keepin’ it real … and as for now … JUST WAITING FOR THE END TO COME!
Earlier this day I was wandering through the palace in search my daughter, the Princess Gia, and Lord Walter The Williamson, her faithful friend and companion, only to find them “perched at their perch” at the top of the very beautiful staircase my late husband built just for her. She was playing that favorite old album she dug out of a HEAP of old albums at this little treasure shop we found near our home on the Victrola record player she bought with her own money … because THAT is how she rolls! She was BELTING out loud The Bohemian Rhapsody and he was just howling right along with her. Seeing the two of them that way actually took my breathe away, and after I snapped this picture, I slipped quietly back to my room for one of my “sit quietly in the chair” kinda moments I’ve become somewhat famous for in my lifetime with Zachariah.
If you’ve ever seen The Blind Side, you know exactly what I’m talking about. (PS. It’s one of the top 10 favorite movies of my life!) It was that moment in the movie right after she finds out Michael had never had a bed of his own and became overwhelmed with emotions that she didn’t want him to see, at which point she had to go to her room, sit quietly in her chair, and just “allow herself to cry for a minute”. For all all her seemingly endless and stoic strength, even she realized the importance of “allowing herself” whatever self-care was necessary to enable her to take care of her family. The funny thing is that I didn’t even realize I was “doing this chair thing” until he began noticing that whenever I was “flooding” with emotions I would disappear back into our room then reappear a few minutes later. One night when we were watching the movie for like, the umteenth time in our decade together, he finally pointed it out: “You know honey, you do that too — the sitting in a chair thing! Did you think I didn’t know that’s what you do when you run back into our room? You let yourself fall apart so you can keep it all together. It’s one of my favorite things about you. You remind me of Leigh Anne so much.”
So, yah, especially nowadays, that is who I’ve become. Strong, and soft, and endlessly stoic, and a living sponge of emotions all at once. No matter the landslide of whatever it is I’m feeling at any given moment, whether it be good, bad, or indifferent, sometimes I just have to sit down, take a breath, and a minute, AND LET MYSELF ALL OF IT!
The good news is that on this particular afternoon, the search for two of the only loves left in this lifetime for me that led me to find them “perched at their perch” in sing-song was indeed true and joyful rhapsody! I’m not gonna lie … I have truly been struggling with Zack’s suicide as of late. It’s not so much about his death and the fact that’s he’s gone and never coming home again. It’s more so about coming to the sobering realization that although I’m not “lonely” being alone now, I am feeling forsaken and abandoned by so many of the people I once considered friends. It’s this whole thing that is literally trying to level me minute by minute. But, in true “Real Cat” style … I’VE DIGRESSED! This seemingly insignificant moment of Light in the darkness I am trying not to drown in these days helped me set things into a much-needed perspective. And? I’m so thankful …
“… because I’m easy come, easy go, little high, little low. Any way the wind blows … doesn’t really matter to me.”
… because some words are just MEANT to be strung together!
In these seemingly dark and arduous days, the world we live in makes it so easy to resist looking FAR beyond this place, and ourselves, for all the means and methods for mortal survival we could possibly ever know. What do we need God for? We can do everything on our own, right?
I look around and see wonder. And beauty. And joy. And majesty. In all things big and small. Everyone. EVERYTHING! It’s all woven together with promise of hope that fills me with joy and peace in my child-like blind faith and keeps me from “resisting” the path of least resistance!
When I saw “these words” today, this is the song that immediately came to my mind? It’s one of my favorites! Every time I listen to it I am reduced to the most beautiful tears. My heart races. My skin chills. I am enthralled and reminded of the wonder of everything I see … “no matter how big or small”!
… that moment his childhood “ride or die” best friend sends you this little treasure that his own Grandmother dug up from his childhood nostalgia. This is one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. As I look at it, I can actuality picture that little first grade, blonde-haired, blue-eyed husband of mine seated behind his desk at Memorial Elementary drawing this “Superman” … and … I smile … as big and bright as possible! So thankful for this gift today. If only he’d known that one day he really would be “Superman”!
‘Twas a beautiful afternoon that found me happily enroute to my “Saturday circle of errands”, when all of a sudden I spied something on the side of the road, which of course I had to circle back around to, because, that’s just what I do …
Did you see them? Aren’t they beautiful? Meanwhile, in the video you can hear me saying, “God is so good” … “It’s these cosmic intersections with my Creation, and my Creator, and the Galaxy, and this planet we live on … that’s what keeps it real for me!” An hour later, I posted the it to my Instagram with the following caption:
It seems that once again I’d quickly intercepted the message behind that moment: “I too am a strong, confident, badass bitch!”How cool was it that I’d wrapped up that ‘lil juncture in my mind so fluidly, and even more so that I understood that moment to be far more than just “vultures doing vulture stuff”?
THAT BEING SAID …
Another hour later I was watching the video before sending it to Gia, who of course was sure to be as fascinated by my two magnificent, feathered friends as I was. That’s when I spotted THIS:
Ummmm, okay. Just, WOW!
A song I hadn’t heard since last I’d heard it “402 days ago” found it’s way to my cue, thus releasing a bittersweet memory I had no idea I needed that had been buried underneath all the ashes …
It was the Saturday night before he left, August 17, 2019. When he got home from work, we went for a quick bite and to see “Hobbs & Shaw”, which unbeknownst to me was our last and final date night ever. Upon returning home, there was a very special song I wanted him to hear, so we sat in the driveway and listened to it together. Under the circumstances, and knowing what we both knew was happening in his mind, these words cut us deeply as we sat in the car holding hands with silent tears running down our faces:
“I will run alone tonight without you by my side. I guess you had a place you had to get to. I know your eyes. I know inside the walls you hide behind, and I saw the truth inside the real you. Because I know you’re lost when you run away into the same black holes and black mistakes. It’s taking all my will just to run alone. When are you coming home? Even if the sky does fall. Even if they take it all. There’s no pain that I won’t go through. Even if I have to die for you. And when all the fires burn. When everything is overturning. There’s no thing that I won’t go through. Even if I have to die for you. One day the earth will open wide, and I’ll follow you inside, ’cause the only hell I know is without you. Some day when galaxies collide, we’ll be lost on different skies. I will send my rocket ship to find you. Because I know you’re lost when you run away into the same black holes and black mistakes. Taking all my will just to run alone, until I bring you home. Even if the sky does fall. Even if they take it all. There’s no pain that I won’t go through. Even if I have to die for you. And when all the fires burn. When everything is overturning. There’s no thing that I won’t go through. Even if I have to die for you. And if the sun grows cold for you along the way. And if the stars don’t line to light the way. And when you fall away and crash back down below. I’ll search the skies for you and I’ll follow. I’ll be in your afterglow and I’ll bring you home.” ~ Starset
If only I’d known the irony in just how deeply “these words” were cutting us both, but from completely different places. Knowing what he knew about what was happening in his mind? There was an actual monster living inside it that was eviscerating any and all traces of the man we once knew to be our rock. His humanness was becoming darker as every second passed, and his inability to overcome it was steadily severing the very last chords that were tethering “the him he was” to this Earth. As I’ve shared before, his decision to put down that monster he’d been hiding behind the mask had already been made, only I didn’t know how close we were to the end. And, knowing what I know now, I can’t help but wonder what he must have been thinking when he heard these words:
“Even if the sky does fall. Even if they take it all. There’s no pain that I won’t go through. Even if I have to die for you. And when all the fires burn. When everything is overturning. There’s no thing that I won’t go through. Even if I have to die for you.”
In the end? He did what he felt he had to do, as not only was he in excruciating, “screaming inside his head” pain and turmoil, he didn’t want to hurt us anymore either.
Now here I am, “Saturday, September 19, 2020”. What started out as two vultures on the side of the road, which then led me to remember that indeed I am a “strong, confident, badass bitch”, somehow also reminded me of that August night 402 days ago, that song, and that bittersweet “last”, all of which now lead me to hear “these words” from a much needed hindsight:
“I must run alone tonight without you by my side. I know you had a place you had to get to. I knew your eyes. I knew inside the walls you hid behind, and I saw the truth inside the real you. Because I knew you were lost when you ran away into the same black holes and black mistakes. Now I’ll use my will just to run alone. You’re never coming home. Even though the sky did fall. Even if though they took it all. There’s no pain that He didn’t go through … you knew He had to die for you. And now that all the fires burned, and everything is overturned, there’s no more that you’ll have to go through … because He already died for you.
One day the Earth it opened wide … I couldn’t follow you inside … and now the only hell I know is without you. Some day when galaxies collide, we’ll be lost on different skies. I will take my rocket ship to find you. And though the Sun grew cold for you along the way, and the stars didn’t line to light the way. And though you fell away and crashed back down below … I’ll search the skies for you … I’ll be in your afterglow until I get Home.”
So, with that, I part with this:
“On The 5th Day”, in a far away time and place, God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let fowl fly above the Earth in the open firmament of Heaven”. As well on that day do I think He also said, “… and it’s these cosmic intersections with My Creation, and My galaxy, and My planet, and the two magnificent vultures I created, that she will need one day … not only to help her keep it real … but to help her keep on shining My Light.”
No, just kidding. But seriously though. It IS my birthday today … “Fifty-ONE-Derful” is what I’m calling it! And Indeed I AM “FIFTY-ONE-DERFUL”! With that, I want to share something special that happened in my cosmos in the last 24 hours, and yes, as I’m writing this, I’ve got “Butterfly Kisses” playing in the background, and yes, I’m in tears …
It’s probably not much of a surprise to anyone that I either was, or wasn’t, depending on which moment you’d have asked, looking forward to celebrating myself this year. Although technically this is my second birthday without him, given the fact that at this time last year I was just 27 days post “YOU KNOW” and still being severely medicated to actual physical numbness, I am actually considering this to be my first true “birthday without him”.
Truth be known, as I’ve powered down the road no one ever wants to walk (“Happy Birthday – You’re now a WIDOW!”) and risen so far above these ashes, there came a certain point this year that I was determined to CELEBRATE “Fifty-ONE-Derful” in an obnoxiously spectacular way! I’d even gone so far as to ASK for someone to throw me a party, which was so unlike me that there really are no words … except to say that if you know me at all, you know that I DON’T LIKE TO CELEBRATE MY BIRTHDAY! In my mind, however, I more than deserved an obnoxious celebration, especially given the fact that my my big “five-0” last year was anything but golden! Instead of standing before The Lion Of Lucerne during the birthday trip of a lifetime he had planned and paid for one full year in advance, I spent the vast majority of that day laying in bed alone just staring at the urn on my nightstand.
But you see, if there was just one thing you should know about my husband, it was that both of our birthdays, mine and Gia’s, were all but national holidays in our home. Not a year went by in the ten years we had him “healthy” that he didn’t pour every ounce of his heart, soul and whatever resources he had at to make sure that “his girls” were celebrated emphatically for all that we meant to his existence. Keep in mind that until he had “us”, no one really celebrated him on his birthday, and that, my friends, is one of the most painful, tragic truths that still haunts me to this day. It is a common known fact to those of us that knew him best that the woman who gave birth to him didn’t even remember the day he was born. But I’ve digressed … as usual. Lol!
In light of COVID, of course, and everyone’s busy lives, “Fifty-ONE-Derful” wasn’t really looking that spectacular this year. No big party was planned, nor was there a small one, and by the time I realized that, it was too late to throw something together for myself with peoples’ various conflicting schedules. Keep in mind that I am very much aware that under the circumstances, “birthdays” this year have stunken for EVERYONE, not just me! COVID-19 has pretty much crashed ALL our parties and celebrations. Not gonna lie, I was still a little bummed out though, if not feeling downright sorry for myself. “Zack would never have let this happen”, is what I was crying to myself late yesterday afternoon while I was sulking in my room, once again staring at his urn. “Two years ago today, he had whisked me away to Paris. Some birthday butterfly I am.The days of me being celebrated are just gone!” Then I closed my eyes and fell asleep, praying to God that I could just zap myself back to “two years ago yesterday”, when I know for a fact that we had just gotten settled into our room in Paris, were taking a nap, and he was holding me.
That’s when it happened!
THE BEST GIFT I NEVER KNEW I WAS GONNA NEED!
In the midst of my nap, in the darkened room, with my husband’s ashes right beside me, the angel I call daughter had quietly found her way to the side of my bed, where she adjusted my blanket and leaned over to gently kiss my forehead. As I’ve said so many times before, there are so many parts of our parts of this journey we are on that no one will ever truly understand. So many delicate conversations that we have yet to have, and maybe we never will. Things she knows. Things I know. Things we both just have to be okay “knowing” may never be spoken at all. The complications with Zack’s insanity have forced us to have to nurture some of each other’s wounds quietly. Her checking in on me yesterday in the manner that she did was the most precious “unspoken” nurturing possible.
She didn’t know, and still doesn’t know, that I was aware of what she did, but it happened nonetheless. And just like that, my former perspective of sorrow and worry at the thought of “never being celebrated again” hit the floor in all the best ways possible … kinda like my heart did when she gifted me exactly what I needed at exactly the perfect time! Perhaps the greatest irony here is that even as I’m writing this, she too is a little disappointed that, because she’s just a kid, she “thinks” she wasn’t able to do anything special for my birthday. Gia, I’m not quite sure when you will finally begin reading all these words I’m leaving here for you and your brother, but when that day finally comes? PLEASE KNOW … THAT I KNOW … EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID YESTERDAY WHILE YOU THOUGHT I WAS ASLEEP! You DID do something “really special” for me. It was one of the most touching moments of my last “Fifty-One-Derful” years!
This morning I intersected with another mom who has alsoburied a child, which turned out to be fascinating! By now I hope you realize that my intention with this Diary is never to make you sad. “Sad” just isn’t for me, and although like anyone else, I have had more than my fair share of “sad”, I have chosen to walk a road wherein I do not to dwell in … or on … “sad” for too long.
With that, my intention now and as always is to remind you yet again that within each one of us is the propensity to EARN our very own “invisible cloak” just like that beautiful, flowy black one my favorite “not REALLY a superhero SUPERHERO” dons! You KNOW who I’m talking about … RIGHT?
Always, EVER, BATMAN!
We are ALL SUPERHEROES my friends … some of us just don’t know it! I mean, let’s be honest … NO parent should EVER have to bury a child. It’s just not natural. None of us should have to bury anyone! But having done so myself, then lived, survived, RISEN and THRIVED to tell about it? I’m here to tell you that although I didn’t quite realize it at the time, my tiny angel’s death was the catalyst to all the best and most endearing parts of what my human spirit could truly withstand and become.
I’m a living, breathing “Dark Knight Of LIGHT” who has found the strength, courage and sheer determination to rise above the uniquely personal demons, challenges, conflicts and chaoses I’ve internalized at different points that tried so hard to take me down, which for the record, is EXACTLY what makes Batman so relatable to me. He’s the only superhero of the historic thousands whose secret identity IS his mask. Wherein, for example, Clark Kent and Peter Parker “wear the masks” of Superman and Spider-Man? Bruce Wayne is the disguise for his real identity, “Batman”. He’s a mortal SUPER-HUMAN “hiding in plain site”, with a list a mile long of perfectly matched villains that took him toe to toe against personal weaknesses that eventually became his strengths. Two-Face challenged the duality of his personality and the two different paths that were offered him by Fate. Poison Ivy challenged his struggle with lust and temptation. Scarecrow challenged his struggle with fear. The Riddler challenged his intellect and the power of his mind. And the Joker? Fuhgettabout it! The greatest fictional anarchist of all times held Batman for ransom against his longing for justice and order.
So, with that, I end with this …
How awesome is it that a simple cosmic collision with another “grieving person” not only made me smile, but also reminded of how effing proud I am of the cloak I wear that no one sees!
“The Dark Knight Of Light!”
And it’s YOU!
Never forget to remind yourself that YOU’RE a bad ass superhero who has triumphed over SO many things – regardless of whether anyone’s ever noticed or acknowledged it! We gotta keep shining our OWN Lights over our OWN heads … because … it’s the right thing to do and we’re allowed to!
… and besides …
The God I serve doesn’t make anything less than “super-humans”. It’s our job to find the hero hiding within ourselves, lest we become the antithesis of all we truly stand for. THAT’S why He has to let us fall — so we can learn to pick ourselves back up!
… when the only man left in this world who’s ever really loved you (and perhaps the only one left who ever will) sends you this song. You’d have to know what my prayers look like every hour on the hour to know how much it means to me.
“I will not let you down. I won’t be cause for harm. So, today I will do better, and I sure hope this can heal …”.
I have suffered and risen from MANY losses that would have devoured most by now. I had to watch the best human man I’ve possibly ever known literally “dying out loud“. But THIS loss I don’t think I could bare. Which is why this message from him means everything to me … absolutelyeverything!
…. when it’s 365 days later and your formerly “shattered heart” has healed in ways that are still yet to fathom, such that now as you’re sifting through “9 years of joy in his eyes” you are simply and unspeakably THANKFUL.
Thankful for the highest honor of getting to be the ONLY two girls he EVER gave his heart to and that we were his first and last of EVERYTHING.
This HAS been possible to digest and nope, I’m NEVER going to be able to turn a corner or look in any direction and not hear the sounds of their laughter, the traces of their smiles or feel the bond that they shared in the atmosphere.
He was our miracle, but the joy in his eyes was the only true joy that king of ours ever had. WE were his miracles too.
This was a super early morning for us as we awoke to a 4:30am alarm for a 5:00am departure to her 5:30am volleyball practice. While Gia was getting ready, I popped on to Instagram to find the picture above posted by a musician I’ve been following who I very much admire and consider a friend. His name is Angel, he’s a pirate of sorts, and an interesting character to say the least. His “Diary Of An Outlaw” and “The Diary Of My Perfection” were meant to cosmically collide, as more so than anything he too is a recent widow who seems to be hell bent on rising above his past and meeting each day of the rest of his life with a headstrong lust for spreading Light and Love into the darkness. Every one of his posts has resonated with me deeply.
His post this day hit me like a ton of bricks, as I had just spent an enchanted slumber with my husband conveying a message to me in the MOST surreal way. It washim; I just know it! I could smell his skin, sense his touch, and feel his breathe on my neck. And while I won’t go into detail, because believe it or not there are still so many things I keep tucked inside the most private places of my heart, what I will say is that he was shadowing me during a move. By the end of the dream we were tightly embraced and I asked him “that most important question”. I didn’t hear his voice, as he never said a word, but indeed he answered by grabbing my hand and squeezing it: “I know where you are. I believe it in my heart. But I just need to hear you say it. Am I right? Are you There now? WILL I SEE YOU AGAIN SOMEDAY?” His reply: “One squeeze for yes” as requested.
As this first year without himhas all but flown by I’ve made absolute peace with his suicide. The heartbreaking pain of his many tragic truths was so far beyond sobering it still reduces me to tears when I think of it, and trust me when I tell you, he too remembered everything! I’ve said it before and will say it again; Unless you’ve born the cross of seeing a person dying out loud in such an egregious way, you couldn’t possibly understand the magnitude of relief you feel upon the release of their mortal shackles. He held on for dear life as long as he possibly could until the day he died, but when the end of his darkness finally settled in, Fate delivered the last, cruel blow.
…but I’ve digressed … AGAIN …
Let’s go back to how my morning with Gia started. We backed out of the garage to find ourselves greeted by a bright orange moon on fire and ethereal setting in the field that meets the end of our driveway. We were in such deep tangent it was alarming, but comforting just the same. The intrinsic conversation that began tapped directly into our like understandings of “all of this” far beyond our simply dimensioned minds have yet to fathom. “She knows what I know” … “I know what she knows” … and that is all EITHER of us needs to know! It’s just … POWERFUL! Not to mention the fact that the first song that cued up when the engine started was “Remember Everything“. That meant something! Exactly what? I wasn’t sure. But sufficed to say that neither of us can listen to it now without being ever so painfully reminded of everything we remember about not just our own lives, but Zack’s and Christian’s as well.
But here’s where things get really interesting …
After I dropped her off and headed back home, “that other song” I love to hate so much found it’s way to my speakers, which of course was no mystery since it’s from the same album as “Remember Everything”.
The Tragic Truth.
Wait! What just happened? It didn’t make me cry this time! Instead, I smiled peacefully as I rolled on down the road with my gaze fixed hard into the sky from which I heard his voice serenading me with those tragically truthful words:
“It’s the demons I’ve created for myself … the Tragic Truth … it’s hard for me to understand myself, so it has to be hard as hell for you.”
All I can tell you is that my intersection with the Cosmos this morning was EVERYTHING to me. Even as I write this I’m smiling again, because while on the surface it may appear that the demons that devoured him won, nothing could be further from the truth.
The rare few of us who knew him best and were honored to both love and be loved by him know a “truth” that’s beautiful: He’s Home now! I just know it. No more heartache. No more sorrow. No more pain. No more tears. No more longing for the mother, father, brothers and sister who abandoned the “trash can boy”.
Exactly one year ago today, Thursday, August 22, 2019, at 6:45pm EXACTLY, he hugged me tight and kissed my forehead while I was standing in the bathroom near my make up table. I can still see it. Feel it. Smell it. Taste it. And I can still “hear” the last words he said: “Have fun and be careful. I love you Catherine Williamson.”
This is a sobering truth.
DON’T take anyone, or anyone, or any moment for granted.
One hour from now, you’re entire world could look, taste, feel and “sound” very different.
“There’s a light in you that tears me down to nothing. There’s an angel in your eyes. There’s a hope inside that you can make it better. You see right through my disguise. When it rains it pours, and everybody stumbles. I won’t let them bring you down. I won’t let you down when the seasons change. I won’t go down. I’ll fight through the pain. I’ll be there right by your side. I’ll never let them bring you down when the seasons change. There’s a hope in me that I will die for something. Was the fire in my eyes? All this pain inside … Will it be this way forever? I can run but I can’t hide. When it rains it pours, and everybody stumbles. I won’t let them bring you down. When the seasons change and we’re in for colder weather look for me on The Divide …”.
You’re NOTHING but a pebble, to be dropped into your ocean, making ripples and waves of outward change for everyone whose path you cross on your journey.
Your purpose is to keep working the roots of this new and healthy family tree you’re now growing — free from the black toxicity that suffocated and broke all the branches of the tree that we came from.
AUGUST 8, 2019. It started out as a beautiful day for our family. We all woke up to a beautiful sky. Ate breakfast together. Worked out as a family, then split up for the afternoon so Zack could go to his therapist and Gia and I could go run errands on our own. He seemed happy. We were both working SO hard to keep his head above the water, and I, ever the eternal optimist, was counting on the fact that everything was going to be okay and we were going to get him out of the darkness he’d been succumbing to. Little did I know how the darkness was truly settling in around us as Fate was spinning the wheel …
At just after 2pm, while the rest of the world was just turnin’ and burnin’ and Gia and I were out shopping, playing, and getting ready for our “double date” with the boys, the love of my life and one of the MOST beautiful souls I’ve ever known (and might possibly EVER will have known) was standing at the Cabella’s counter just a few parking lots away buying the Springfield handgun he used to shoot himself in the head just 14 days later.
!!! PLEASE !!!
Wherever you are …
Whatever you are doing …
Take a good look around you NOW!
One of those “happy, smiling faces” you see either standing right beside you or faded into some crowd may be the face of a human being who is silently dying inside.
ESPECIALLY NOW DURING THESE TURBULENT TIMES!
Current studies show that social isolation, anxiety, fear of contagion, uncertainty, chronic stress, and economic difficulties have led to the development and/or or exacerbation of depression, anxiety, substance use and other mental illnesses. Given that stress-related psychiatric conditions including mood and substance use disorders are associated with suicidal behavior, IT’S NO SURPRISE THAT SUICIDE RATES HAVE SKYROCKETED!
!!! PAY ATTENTION !!!
Eyes wide open!
Take nothing and no one for granted …
NOT EVEN THE “HAPPY FACES” YOU SEE!
Be mindful always!
You just never know!
For the record, this post wasn’t meant to make you sad. It was meant to make you MINDFUL of others … and more so that everything isn’t always what it seems.
I am going to do everything I can to stay peaceful, joyful, and hopeful today and keep my feet on the ground, BECAUSE … I CAN! While “August 8, 2019” is indeed a huge part of “my story”, it doesn’t mean I can’t let it play out for the better. This fucked up, fate-filled day in will NOT have been in vain and will not define me as a victim. I am choosing to do something else with it. I am choosing to spin it as “Destiny” … NOT “FATE”!
I am passionate about raising awareness of “mental health mindfulness” and this one blog post that I wrote last September is one of my most clicked, read, and shared pieces so far. That’s a good thing! Please share it if you can so that perhaps more people will remember to be mindful of this other “mask” problem in our world right now.
Make it a good day everyone. HUG your loved ones and take care of one another.
I saw these words posted on the Instagram page of a friend of sorts. He’s a musician, an inspirer, a widow, and also a pirate that I follow whose posts I adore:
“… listen to her thoughts … adore her like no one could ever do … be more than just a text message … be the air they breathe, future they plan and smile they wear everywhere … live to have her hug you from behind … write her letters and hold hands while kissing … love until your heart is empty … and then love some more … BE HER EVERYTHING …”. (from The Diary Of An Outlaw Music)
My King in Heaven is pretty smitten with me by the way … I can feel His loving hands wrapped around my heart every second of every day. My truly blind faith in Him only pales in comparison to the faith He’s had in me since before I was even born, and He has loved me like the QUEEN He intended me to be long before any man on this Earth ever did. Is there to be “one last king” in this realm for me? Only He knows that and He’s got this! If there is, there is. If there isn’t, so be it. I’ve been there, and done that, and the legacies of love the two of them left for me are more than enough to fill my heart for the NEXT fifty years without them if that is to be the case. My standards are obnoxiously high now, and as I’ve said before, it would take one HELL of a powerful presence of a man to stand with the shadows of the two loves of my life that came before him. I know who I am, EXACTLY what I’m worth, and EXACTLY who is worthy of my attention and affection, much less being put on a pedestal. I will accept NOTHING but a king again. Nothing. No one. EVER! Unless and until that day comes that “the last king on Earth” comes to find me, I’ll continue to reign here in my kingdom “happily alone”. THIS CROWN ON MY HEAD IS GOING NOWHERE!
Yesterday morning I woke up to another one of those magical music moments I have come to love and cherish wherein my son, Christian, communicates what he’s feeling by simply texting me a song. As I’ve said, his music messages are one of my greatest treasures, and ironically, Zack would often do the very same thing, which of course I treasured just as much. But once again I’ve digressed. Sufficed to say, today my own eyes are open wide and I’m beyond thankful that my beautiful King FINALLY found the peace he could never find.
God had His hand on my husband’s beautiful head at all times, even while he was roaming this Earth like the motherless and forsaken “trash can boy” he always saw when he looked into a mirror. I am still the most blessed woman I have ever known to have roamed this Earth as well. How is that even possible?Because God has had His hand on MY head at all times as well, be it during my greatest triumphs and joys or darkest tragedies and traumas. And too, this …
MARK 2:17 :: When Jesus heard this, He told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
Make it a good day everyone and always keep the faith! Remember, “this is our temporary home“, nothing more, nothing less. The best part of all of this is still yet to come!
“And the men who hold high places must be the ones who start to mold a new reality closer to the heart … The blacksmith and the artist reflect it in their art. They forge their creativity closer to the heart. Yes, closer to the heart … Philosophers and plowmen – each must know his part to sow a new mentality closer to the heart … You can be the captain and I will draw the chart sailing into destiny closer to the heart.” ~ Rush
Once again, I’m overwhelmed with overwhelmingness, which is a good thing of course! Tonight, I’m trying to catch back up with myself here at my desk. So, with that …
This afternoon I dropped Gia and one of her friends at the mall for a few hours to get them out of the house and let her spend some of her weekend birthday haul. When I arrived at the appointed meeting spot, they jumped into the car with the small boatload of shopping bags they each had in their hands. “Whoa, looks like you both did some damage I see! What did you get?” “Oh but WAIT until you see Mom! You’ll have to wait until we get home so I can do an unveiling ceremony!”
When we finally got home, she excitedly started the “unveiling”, but saved the best three items for last. When she pulled them out of their respective bags, my heart literally LEPT out of my chest! Batman, Venom and “A Farewell To Kings” vinyl with one of my favorite Rush songs EVER … “Closer To The Heart”? She is her mother’s daughter! Let me break it down …
BATMAN.Have you listened to anything I’ve said? Batman is and always will be my MOST favorite superhero of all times, although he’s not really a “superhero” at all! He’s a mortal man born with no magical powers or gifts who epitomizes the endless possibily of a triumphant human spirit and metamorphosis under even the most dismal conditions. He’s the benchmark standard for achievement through commitment, discipline, heart, soul, and determination. He’s the juxtaposition of “light with dark”, “positive with negative” and “ying to yang”. BATMAN BECAME WHO HE WANTED TO BECOME BY PULLING HIMSELF OUT OF HIMSELF FOR THE BETTERMENT OF ALL MANKIND! So, yes, HOLY SMOKES BATMAN! My daughter knows what I know, and yes, Batman is her favorite superhero too. She and I both have black capes on our backs by the way. You just can’t see them BECAUSE THEY’RE INVISIBLE!
VENOM.Again … have you listened to anything I’ve said? Well, for those of you who don’t know or understand the “Venom” of it all (or as I often refer to it, “the Black Spider-Man suit of it all”), let me explain by first clarifying who he is. There is much debate amongst the Spider-Man community as to who Venom is. “Is Venom actually Spider-Man? Or is he just Venom? Or is he both?” Factually speaking, the Venom movie has absolutely no relation to Spider-Man. Within the pages of Marvel Comics however, it’s a somewhat complicated storyline.
Venom first made his appearance in 1984 as a new Spider-Man suit the “Secret Wars” storyline when Spider-Man came into possession of a mysterious new black suit that gave him extra powers, which suit is later revealed to be a malevolent alien symbiote that attached itself to Peter Parker. Although Peter soon rid himself of the suit because its inherently evil nature and propensity to channel an inner darkness inside himself that he doesn’t want to channel, the symbiote ended up bonding with Eddie Brock, a reporter with a serious grudge against Spider-Man. Eddie Brock and the black suit then became symbiotically bonded as Venom. So then, no, Venom is not Spider-Man. “The black suit”, however, does to me represent the dark alter ego of Spider-Man. It’s a thick, black, suffocative web of enmeshed, entangled and toxic emotions that overtakes and chokes the life out of its host, much like the black Spider-Man suit I fought so desperately to get the HELL off of me for more than forty years of my life, the one my son still wears, and the one my beautiful husband was wearing as he slipped away into the abyss. So, yes, “The Greatest Battle Lies Within” and the accompanying “Venom of it all” are so much more than words and comic book movie characters to me. And my daughter feels the same way!
… and finally …
“CLOSER TO THE HEART”.I’ve always loved Rush and I’ve always loved this album. “A Farewell To Kings”? Really? No, of course there’s not a shred of irony in my beautifully chaotic life, is there? Lol! No need for me to really go any further with this, as the words to this song speak volumes to the connection between me and my daughter. Her unintentionally “purposed” shopping spree today brought us even closer than we already were.
DEAR GOD: THANK YOU! For everything. No, I really mean it. THANK YOU! For the positive. The negative. The yings. The yangs. The pain. The beauty. The love. The hate. The gifts You sent that I had to give back. THANKS EVEN FOR THAT DAMNED BLACK SPIDER-MAN SUIT I HAD TO WEAR FOR ALL THOSE YEARS! Taking it off and finally being free wouldn’t have seemed so, FREEING, if I hadn’t gotten to wear it in the first place. And thank you for the cape you wove for me as I’m flyin’ through Gotham just tryin’ to be a Light in all this Dark! Every second … every minute … every hour … I’m growing closer to YOUR heart most of all!