SEPTEMBER 22, 2020: “The Last One Alive” …

… because sometimes the only thing you have to “say” is a song. Make it a good, bright and powerfully POSITIVE day my friends. That’s what I’m gonna do. “Eyes on the prize”.

SEPTEMBER 9, 2020: “Liars” …

… 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.

But this boy I love who “speaks to me in song“? HE’S A LIVING, BREATHING, FUCKING KING! The problem is, he’s having trouble seeing his kingdom through all the weeds and trees. Maybe HE’S that “one last King on Earth“, and I’m only here to help him find his throne before I reach the Brighter Side Of Grey with this crown I wear of my own. He just has to step out of the Circadian rhythm that’s pulling him in to the abyss, and away from the shadow of the people who abuse him as they melt his wings then taunt him for “failing to fly“.

“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 literallydying out loud“. But THIS loss I don’t think I could bare. Which is why this message from him means everything to me … absolutely everything!

AUGUST 24, 2020: “The First Year … In Focus” …

I did it people!

I SURVIVED!

Thank you SO much for all of the love and support! I’m gonna keep on keepin’ on!

AUGUST 10, 2020: “A Tree For All Seasons” …

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DEAR CAT:

Let me remind you of the words to that song he would sing to you:

“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 see? None of this is about you.

It has NEVER been about you.

IT’S ABOUT THEM!

Not just your babies …

… all the lives you’ll have touched before your time is done … if only for a season.

Your greatest treasure and greatest triumph are in knowing just how insignificant you really are in the bigger scheme of things.

Your “valuelessness” is your greatest value!

Your “powerlessness” is your greatest power!

YOU ARE REACHING NIRVANA!

You are EVERYTHING!

Because you are NOTHING!

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.

KEEP CHANGING THE STORY!

THE BUCK STOPS WITH YOU!

Your children’s children may never get to meet you, their “Crazy Grandma Cat“, but your legacy will live on through them! HIS legacy will live on through all of you!

Keep working.

Keep sowing.  

You’re doing a good job.

… and (PS) …

I love you! We got this! I WON’T LET YOU DOWN AS THE SEASONS CHANGE!

~ Me ❤️

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AUGUST 7, 2020: “Of Kings And Queens” …

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KINGS AND QUEENS

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)

How lucky am I to have had TWO kings on Earth? Not just one … TWO! Some women never have one! The “two kings” loved me to the depths of their souls, with every shred of what they had to give – UNCONDITIONALLY. The two of them made me into the true QUEEN that I am and I cannot say it enough! I’M A FORTRESS NOW PEOPLE! An impermeable FORTRESS!

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!

As for the next 50 years? Only time will tell.

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AUGUST 5, 2020: “Open Up Your Eyes” …

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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.

But as they laid him in the ground, her heart would sing with out a sound :: For the first time you can open your eyes, and see the world without your sorrow when no one knows the pain you left behind …“.

I can only imagine what it was like for him that night, “August 22, 2019, “just before midnight, in that split second after he pulled the trigger and his eyes closed for the very last time.

WHAT did he see when at last he opened them?

HE SAW JESUS!

I JUST KNOW IT!

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!

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JULY 3, 2020: “Lucky Charms Moments” …

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JUNE 8, 2020: “Imma Little Bit Off Today” …

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Last night while the unsuspecting world was either peacefully sleeping or maybe even wresting with the Devil, something cool happened in the subculture I live in called “Knucklehead” – the official video release for one of my other favorite songs, “A Little Bit Off”. I just woke up to Christmas in June and couldn’t be any more stoked! PICTURE IT: An almost “fifty ONE-derful”, seemingly “normal” woman sitting in bed singing along to a ridiculous music video, swaying back and forth and waving her fist in the air! THAT. SO. HAPPENED!

IMG_2912If you haven’t figured it out by now, much like the leader of this crazy Pride I’m in, I too am an “oxymoron”, and in being honest, my Knucklehead card is one of the most powerful things I own. “THE REAL CAT WILLIAMSON”: Loves “people”. Hates “humanity”. Loves “Light”. Hates “dark”. Loves “love”. Hates “hate”. Loves being “broken”. Loves “being whole”. LOVES JESUS! Loves Five Finger Death Punch! And yup, there are MANY days I just wake up feeling “a little bit off”, and guess what? THAT’S OKAY! I spent nearly an entire lifetime being ashamed of the train wreck I’ve emerged from BUT NOW I FUCKING EMBRACE IT! Leave it to this gang of creatively genius, beautifully DISASTROUS “oxymoronical” MANIACS to help me finally figure out that not only is it okay for me to be a jacked up effing mess some times, it’s also okay for me to yell, scream and holler it ANY DAMN TIME I WANT! So, with that, make it a great day everyone! Here’s to hoping YOU can embrace your “little bit off” days too!

… {PS} …

If you really want to know more about me and what goes on inside my crazy little head? Listen to the words of this song! Then if you really, REALLY want to know what goes on inside my crazy little head? The Charlie “The Engine” drums at :55, 1:39 and 2:30 manifest actual metal butterflies inside my heart that give me flipping chill bumps. No, really!

THIS IS ME: “A Little Bit Off!”

Would you have me ANY other way?

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MAY 11, 2020: “When Someone Dies And You SMILE” …

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Yet another bittersweet day for me with the passing of one of my favorite comedic actors, Jerry Stiller. For those of you who know me well it’s no secret that one of his best known sitcoms, “The King  Of Queens“, is, was and probably always will be my favorite TV show! Williamson and I watched it every single night from the beginning of “us” to the end, and “Arthur” was one of his best impersonations. We all spoke fluent “King Of Queens” in our daily banter (as well as “My Cousin Vinny” and “Birdcage”) and Gia and I still do. Lol, Zack had always promised her that when he was old and if I was already gone he would move in with her family and be their “basement Arty”. 

It’s also no secret to those who know me that cooking is not my thing! Are there are some decent dishes I manage to pull off from time to time? Sure. No one has ever starved on my watch, but there’s not a person who I’ve cooked for who’s a stranger to my “interesting dinners”. I fondly remember an “episode” set at our table as if it were just last night: “The Night Of The Hot Pink Chicken!” It was the first meal I’d made for our brand new little family on the third night we were married. I’d marinated some chicken in raspberry dressing, which chicken ended up literally turning pink. As I set the plates down, Gia turned to him as discreetly as she could with her hand on her little forehead trying not to let me see the look of fear in her eyes. Then just as sweet as he could be with nothing but appreciation for the effort I’d made, he quickly came up with the perfect line: “Well, have a biscuit then. Some of them turned out PRETTY well!” From that night forward throughout the entirety of our decade together there were SO many times he would chime in with that line, his very favorite “Arthurism”, at every one of my mealtime flops! Every time he spoke those words I fell in love with him all over again!

So, what was my thought behind the title of this post, “When Someone Dies And You SMILE”? Oooooh but let me tell you! While I was waiting for Gia to wake up this morning, anxious to share the news of “Arthur’s” passing, I just sat in bed thinking and smiling. That funny man brought SO much into our world … laughter, hilarity and true joy! Which man you ask? BOTH ARTHUR AND MY HUSBAND! I thought about crying, especially given the torrent of “first Mother’s Day without him” emotion I ran the gauntlet with yesterday, but honestly? I simply couldn’t. Instead I just sat there with my thoughts and countless memories cherishing the most beautiful ride of my life!

While I’m saddened by the loss, especially for his loved ones, I’m again encouraged that death is nothing at all. He was so much larger than the life he lived itself, just like the “King” of this very lucky Queen, and their legacies both I will treasure! Zack once said that if he could have met any particular actor it probably would have been Jerry Stiller. “I can only imagine what a riot it would be to shoot the shit with that guy!” Well, if God is the God I know in my soul He is, perhaps now he’ll get the chance! Godspeed Jerry. The comedic spirit and “crazy old man” you infused into the fabric of our lives will remain in our hearts and “Arthurisms” forever!

…”PS” …

IMG_1994Our hands down favorite KOQ episode was “Spicy Sausage & Peppers”! I cannot tell you how many times Williamson asked unsuspecting waitstaff who were taking his order at restaurants: “How’s your spicy sausage and peppers?” Most often they looked at him absolutely dumfounded, as if he were a actually crazy, but the ones who got the joke always got an extra tip from him! This clip is a go-to on any of my “down days”. I CANNOT watch it without laughing until my sides hurt, so ENJOY! As for me? I’ll be spending the entire rest of this night binge-watching The King Of Queens in tribute to both Jerry and my husband!

What We Leave Behind

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MAY 10, 2020: “Mother Love” …

While I am more than thankful to claim the highest honor of “mother” of two living children and one angel baby in Heaven, I am ever so mindful as I end this bittersweet day with the heart-breaking awareness that not every child “celebrated with their mother” today. As you’ve already read in the admonishment to “her”, on this day one year ago the abandonded and motherless man that I was also honored to call “mine” began his painful descent into the darkness she left him in that literally devoured him alive and indeed ended the most beautiful chapter of my life.

So, with that, if you are a mother who has truly abandoned her child, know that you have left them with an unfathomable wound that will never truly heal. If, on the other hand, you are a child whose “mother” abandonded you? Know that I, like so many mothers in who understood the magnitude of the job we were given to have children, am crying and praying for you tonight. It wasn’t your fault! You didn’t deserve it! YOU are a gift to this world! I’m so sorry that happened to you, from the depths of my soul I am, but remember this always PLEASE: Our Father in Heaven doesn’t make trash! So, “Chin Up! Knuckles Out!” You are loved and needed here.

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MAY 10, 2020: “To His Mother: WHY?” …

MomnTO “HIS MOTHER”:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, your “son” stopped living the day he was born, but it was a year ago today that the hands of Fate threw the very last spin of the wheel that ultimately led to not only his demise, but the end of the most beautiful chapter of my life. Looking back now, I can honestly say that the very first hint of change in him was June 5, 2014, as that was truly the day the “rock” that was our Zachariah began crumbling inside himself. Slowly, subtly, yet ever so steadily, he began slipping down the black, dead hole that devoured him alive, but it wasn’t really until May 12th last year that he started coming apart at the seams. I remember that morning as if it were now, right down to exactly where he was standing, the look of angst upon his face, what he was saying, the tears falling from his eyes, what he was wearing, and even how he smelled. Sufficed to say though, indeed it was “Mother’s Day 2019” that earmarked the beginning of his end.

So, with that, today is bittersweet, as not a Mother’s Day had passed since he walked into my life eleven years ago that I wasn’t cherished, celebrated, and placed so high upon the pedestal he built for only me there are literally just no words. It was no secret to anyone that knew us well that your “son” was hell bent on making sure that I was abundantly aware of exactly what my role in all of their lives meant to him, especially on Mother’s Day! As I’ve also said before, when we first met, he appeared to be a solid rock. He’d told me about his past and how not just you, but his entire “blood family” abandoned and rejected him (for what reason only God knows). He was so matter of fact about the awful things you’d all done to him, which was always so perplexing to me because even I couldn’t wrap my own head around it all. It angered and outraged me to the core of my being to not only hear the stories of his maternal abandonment and fucked up beyond reason childhood, but to have watch, live and experience the abundance of bullshit his “family” did to and put him through which was unacceptable, gross and disgusting. As for those other “Williamsons” you spat upon this Earth who still live here in the city where their “brother” slipped right through the void? If any random stranger were to meet a single one of them and not know who they really are they’d be more than impressed with the charming personas they present. But his truth is the truth, he spoke it, I witnessed it, and God Himself was watching IT ALL! Congratulations dear “mother”! You made self-consumed narcissists who get all dressed up with the plastic smiles and shallow hearts only you could possibly be proud of!

On the surface he seemed to have made peace with it all as he moved on down the road. We met, fell in love, made our own little family, and he left you all behind in his dust. “Their loss, not mine”, he would say, and he couldn’t have been more right, as none of you were ever good enough to be graced by my husband’s presence. Trust me when I tell you that because of our professions we knew plenty of people who “know them”. The general consensus about your other Williamson children? You know, the ones you actually managed to want? Selfish, shallow and greedy social climbing, wanna-be’s in one of the greatest shows on Earth. Everything about his character was so far removed from and above all of theirs that no one that realized their connection could fathom it. Those were amongst the highest compliments he received, and he absolutely reveled in them. But I’ve digressed. Sufficed to say, it was “every Mother’s Day” that hurt him the most, even more so than all the birthdays you forgot as he waited for you year after year, phone in hand, checking to see “if she’ll remember and just show up”. There is still much to say about my husband’s final descent and all the ways he was driven to insanity, not the least of how he hurt Gia.

In the meantime, all you REALLY need to know, “Mother” Of My Fallen King, is this:

It’s Mother’s Day 2020 and 264 days ago your “son” shot himself in the head with a Springfield handgun and a hollow point bullet at just before midnight on August 22, 2019. To him you were a stranger, and what a shame that you will never know what a truly amazing man you threw away and the priceless gift he was to this world (though unfortunately he never believed it).

Only God knows what was going through his mind in the very last moments of his life, and yes, “what that may have been” will break my heart forever. Alas, he’s at rest now, finally at peace after the “legacy of abandonment” you knowingly chose to burden him with. But here’s what I do know in concrete fact “was going through his mind” in the years I was lucky enough to give him the only real home he ever had and the only real love from a woman (other than his Grandma) he’d ever known …

Your “son” hurt us all with a broken mind and heart that were jaded beyond human comprehension. “He must have had mommy issues” is what some will surely say, and sadly? That was true! He wasn’t quite two when you left him behind, him, and only him, and not your “other babies”, because for what good reason he could never understand you just didn’t want him like the others! Then you never turned back to see the tears that burned through his heart every day for the rest of his life.

When your “son” was just a boy he had to sit with all his classmates making “macaroni Mother’s Days cards” that he never knew what to do with, so he would tear them all up and put them in the garbage as he was leaving the school grounds watching all the other kids being greeted by their mommies as he walked home to nothing all alone!

When your “son” was just a boy he would go to his friends’ birthdays while his heart physically ached because you apparently couldn’t remember the day he was born. (It was October 5, 1982, in case you forgot.)

When your “son” was just a boy Mother’s Day broke his heart into little tiny pieces that none of us who really loved him could ever put back together. He cried for you. Ached for you. Longed for you. Dreamt about you. He disappeared inside himself just waiting for you to want him!

Despite these words and my more than apparent anger, I have forgiven you and yours for all the ways you destroyed my beautiful husband. But never will I forget the last ten years watching him try so hard not to break because none of you gave a FUCK about “the Zack of shit”, your “son”, their “brother”. So, with that, happy Mother’s Day to you, “mother” of my fallen king. May you sleep well this and every Mother’s Day going forward that you’re able to enjoy the Williamsons you somehow managed to “mother”! Hold your hand over your chest now and breathe in what you feel … it’s the still beating heart of the one woman in this world that was supposed to love my husband forever.

Signed truly … “Daughter-In-Law”

Mother

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APRIL 20, 2020: “… And Realize You’re Living In Your Golden Years” …

“Ed” (From “ashes to art”, Circa 1990.)

WASTED YEARS

“From the coast of gold, across the Seven Seas. I’m traveling on, far and wide.
But now it seems, I’m just a stranger to myself. And all the things I sometimes do, it isn’t me but someone else. I close my eyes and think of home. Another city goes by in the night. Ain’t it funny how it is? You never miss it ’til it’s gone away. And my heart is lying there and will be ’til my dying day. So, understand. Don’t waste your time always searching for those wasted years. Face up, make your stand! And realize you’re living in the golden years. Too much time on my hands, I got you on my mind. Can’t ease this pain so easily. When you can’t find the words to say, it’s hard to make it through another day. And it makes me want to cry and throw my hands up to the sky. So, understand. Don’t waste your time always searching for those wasted years. Face up, make your stand! And realize you’re living in the golden years.” ~ Iron Maiden

Last Friday while I was doing a live concert in my car I mentioned that I play a little game every morning wherein I just leave it to Destiny’s magical roulette wheel to see “which song” my cue is going to land on to find my groove for the day. It’s kind of the best game EVER and one of the little nuggets in my life that I enjoy the very most. So, this morning? Wow. Just wow. FIRST SONG UP? Iron Maiden’s “Wasted Years”, and I just couldn’t …

I remember vividly that Saturday afternoon in June of 2008 as I settled into my seat on Flight 438 and listened to this song as we took off. Thirty-eight seemingly “wasted years” in my rearview mirror and ZERO idea how many more were yet to come. Little did I know that an actual angel would show up in the seat beside me and change the course of my life forever, but, he did, and here I am, “So Far Away” from the person I used to be who was then indeed “just a stranger to myself”.

That being said? Not a single one of the years laid behind me were wastednot a second, or minute, or hour. They were the best and worst parts of every single thing I’ve become and why I’m still alive to tell you about it. This morning as I listened to it I was inspired, yet again, to KEEP “facing up and making my stand” because YES I AM truly living in my Golden years! Have I ever told you what an incredibly blessed woman I truly am? Okay, well then, let me say it again: I AM A BLESSED WOMAN.

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APRIL 2, 2020: “With Silver Bells And Cockle Shells” …

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This morning I was “daydreaming” again and making plans for a future I’m really not “planning” as much as I am “visualizing”. It’s this whole thing that Williamson taught me: “If you want it, SEE IT, THEN GO AND MAKE IT HAPPEN!”. Now, I’m sure some of you may be thinking, “Well, then why the hell didn’t he just SEE himself out his darkness?” Unfortunately, mental illness doesn’t always work that way, especially when a human mind ends up literally splitting in two. But I’ve digressed.

Zack and I always talked about “the little cottage in France” I want so badly, and indeed he vowed to make that happen before my time was done. So, he would make me visualize it: “Close your eyes Catherine. Tell me what you see. Tell me EVERYTHING you want at the cottage.” Then I would close my eyes and tell him:

“It will look like a fairy tale … small and cozy … surrounded by trees … covered in climbing ivy with a stone chimney up on top … SURROUNDED BY HYDRANGEAS, YELLOW ROSES, SILVER BELLS AND COCKLE SHELLS …”.

This morning while I was daydreaming? Once again I closed my eyes and “saw it”. My little cottage, that I’m going to have, with the climbing ivy, stone fireplace up top and surrounded by my favorite flowers. Then all was well and my day progressed.

Twenty minutes ago my doorbell rang. “Who in the world …?” When I opened the door my stomach hit the floor in the best possible way with that all too familiar adrenaline dump I’ve come to know so well during the worst and best moments of my life that consumes my soul then drains right out of my fingertips. It was his floristthe only one he EVER patroned … his “partner in crime” when it came to knowing exactly how to make me smile … with THIS arrangement … for me: “Good afternoon Cat. These are from Diane. She just wanted you to know we’re all thinking of you constantly.”

ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?

Call it what you will my friends: Coincidence. Happenstance. Fortuity, fluke or chance. Dismiss it as just “a thing” if you will, but nope, not me, EVER! Never will I fail to heed the many signs of life that flourish in the darkness! To me, it’s Serendipity. My husband, my future AND GOD HIMSELF all screaming to me in living color! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I am one blessed and lucky biotch! No, Zachariah, not a single one of your years in this realm were in vain. Every gift you gave me and every dream you dreamt is going to carry on. Because that’s how it’s supposed to be.

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MARCH 29, 2020: “If Atlas Falls” …

"If Atlas Falls"
~ by The Phoenix Collaborative Project ~

TO MY FOLLOWERS:

Please Share This!

Love Cat

ATLAS FALLS

“The push is always part of us, and gravity’s never a friend. Deciding on who we can trust and finding our way to crescendo to the unknown. We’ll never make it outside unless we unlock the past and release the future that we’ve left to die. For too long we’ve taken placebos, but the unknown is awakening. Don’t give up now! There’s already so much at stake! If Atlas falls, I’ll rise up and carry us all the way. 

No we can never look back. Return to the salt and the sea. The quiet is only a trial and I will not take the placebos ’cause the unknown is awakening. But I will crescendo. Don’t give up now! There’s already so much at stake. If Atlas falls, I’ll rise up and carry us all the way. It won’t hold me down … the weight of impossible days. I’ll stand tall. I’ll rise up and carry us all the way. Keep moving forward now. Keep your head above the clouds. I’m right with you. I will lift you. Just hold on.”

~ Shinedown

For more information about Shinedown’s collaboration with Direct Relief, please click here:

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MARCH 20, 2020: “Outlaws & Outsiders” …

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If you know me well you know that my history with musicality is, like me, “oxymoronical” at best. Movie soundtrack orchestrals to death metal and everything in between. Well, almost everything. There are some genres of “music” I just can’t. But I’ve digressed, again, as usual. Go figure. Five Finger Death Punch is one of my all time favorite bands. It’s a little rough around the edges folks, not gonna lie, and definitely not for the faint of heart. But behind every raging scream, pounding fist and stomping foot are the tears and still beating hearts of real life Phoenixes. Their brokeness. Darkness. Sadness. Rage. Regret. Vindication. Introspect, and yes, even the distant Lights of their Salvation (if you know where to really look for it deep beneath the surface). It sounds like “hate”, but it’s really “hurt”. It’s the very tragic truth and everything that comes after finding it! This morning I posted this on one of the private pages I follow:

Hello tribesmen. Hope you’re all faring well in this COVID operation. Meanwhile, I’m sitting here locked in my house with only my German Shepherd and my thoughts. When I posted this on my blog today, I went back to read it then closed my eyes and had THE best imaginary scenario about me and ALL OF YOU …

It’s two months from now. The pandemic has desecrated the earth. People are literally insane, like, real life “Walking Dead” martial law civilian chaos. But MY TRIBE is thousands of fed up, pissed off, “not right in the head” but actually VERY RIGHT IN THE HEAD, well-prepared, “life’s been priming us for this shit since the day we were born – how YOU doin” inked up, leather clad, metal in their faces, weapons-ready warriors and bullet-proof phoenixes that the world once thought were just a bunch of angry freaks, losers, weirdos and assholes grinding their axes for NOTHING! Then? We take over the world! It was THE best mini-movie I’ve ever watched in my mind! 

Let’s be ready to pick up our axes and start swinging, and this can be our fight song! Happy Friday everyone. Love all of you angry freaks and weirdos. No, really! 

So, here’s my vibe today: “Outlaws & Outsiders”! It’s this ridiculous life thing for me and yes it’s oh so beautiful! Some day I’m going to meet this band, I’m telling you right now. I’m extremely stubborn this way and when I put my mind to something, well, you can pretty much count on it happening. Ivan Greening (a/k/a “Ivan Moody‘) is the leader of “The Pride” (a literal pack of animals) and although he too is EXTREMELY rough around the edges, he likens himself a Phoenix, which to me is beyond relatable and “human”.

If “Coronapocalypse 2020” is really coming for us all, trust me when I say that you’ll find me and both my kids living in this rogue society. Nothing like an army of once voiceless, broken, set aside, forgotten, hated, misunderstood, shame-filled “less thans” whose lives have been preparing them for “social distancing” from the moment they were born. The best way to survive if the end of the world is really coming is to go find all the other survivors waving their giant axes in the air. Because some of us once lived underneath a rock for this very reason. Just sayin’ …

OUTLAWS & OUTSIDERS

“Got a gypsy soul. I’m a rebel and rogue and I’m always on the run. With a fire inside, I ain’t ever gonna die. I’m a locked and loaded gun. When the matches strike and the gasoline lights, it’s only just begun. One thing I learned, is you can watch it all burn, but the flame ain’t ever done! Ooh … Raise ’em up a little higher, your lighters, outlaws and outsiders! Ooh … Some call me a renegade. The enemy. Throw your hands up if you feel the same. Whoa, living life at the edge. Just say what you wanna say, or walk away! I’ll stand tall when there’s hell to pay! Ain’t no power higher. We’re the outlaws and outsiders! Mm, yeah.

I was born in the dark with a fearless heart and a taste for the other side. I was a crazy-ass kid. All the shit I did. I’m amazed that I’m still alive. They thought I’d change with a little bit of age, but you know I never will. Takes too much time to walk a straight line and I don’t have time to kill. Ooh … Raise your fists up higher, you fighters, outlaws and outsiders! Ooh … Some call me a renegade. The enemy. Throw your hands up if you feel the same. Whoa, living life at the edge. Just say what you wanna say, or walk away. I’ll stand tall when there’s hell to pay! Ain’t no power higher. WE’RE THE OUTLAWS AND OUTSIDERS!

~ Cory Marks (with Ivan Moody, Travis Tritt & Mick Mars)

Knucklehead

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MARCH 18, 2020: “Just Living The Dream” …

6ff7a7bd-c566-4984-9047-585bac6ede2eLIVING THE DREAM

“Captain America, are you off to fight the bad guys? Hey, mighty Superman, can you save us from ourselves? Hey, Mr. Universe, can you lift us up above this? ‘Cause I’m just Iron Man, I’m a ghost within a shell. Take a look around. Just look around. They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Why did they never mention what’s real and in between? It seems the path we’re on was paved with blood and sorrow. No thought about tomorrow. Just part of the machine or so it seems. Yeah, so it seems. We’re all living the dream. We’re all living the dream. Hey there, Your Majesty, is there anyone above you? It must be lonely when you’re up there looking down. Hey, Lady Amnesty, there’s no one that can judge you. We’re all just broken toys beneath your crooked crown. Take a look around. Just look around. They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Why did they never mention what’s real and in between? It seems the path we’re on was paved with blood and sorrow. No thought about tomorrow. Just part of the machine or so it seems. Yeah, so it seems …” ~ Five Finger Death Punch

NOTE TO SELF:

Life is not a game my dear, it’s only just a song, so be mindful and intentional in all you do or say. If indeed you get to see the miracle of tomorrow, do everything you can to make it the most powerful “I’ve got another shot at this” kind of day ever! You’re sitting here writing this, which means you’re still alive, so keep “living the dream” well my little warrior Phoenix friend, taking NOTHING and NO ONE for granted.

(PS) YOU GOT THIS!

(Don’t forget Who’s driving the car.)

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MARCH 8, 2020: “The Brighter Side Of Grey” …

img_8259TO MY KIDS …

“I’m writing this in case I’m gone tomorrow. I’m writing this in case I’ve moved along. There’s something that I hope you’ll remember: That life is not a game, it’s a song. So take the best parts of me, locked away without the keys, and know that I’m forever by your side. When the lights go down, know that I am never far away. When the Sun burns out, I’ll be waiting on the brighter side of grey. If you’re reading this, I know you’re feeling sorrow. If you’re hearing this, I know you’re probably scared. Just know that all the things you want are borrowed, and all you get to keep is all you’ve shared. So wipe away the tears for me, know that we’ve made history. Remember no one ever really dies.  When the lights go down, know that I am never far away. When the Sun burns out, I’ll be waiting on the brighter side of grey.” ~ Five Finger Death Punch

THIS PICTURE. One I sketched in my early 20’s using the literal ashes from both my father’s and His ashtrays. At the time I had no idea the impact this or any of my 32 Sketches would have on me down the road, yet as I look at them now I can’t help but notice that although I was in very dark place when they were born, something inside me was distantly hopeful. Still, this one. It begs the younger me to stay focused on the very bright future I couldn’t see through the fog I was in, yet was patiently waiting for and calling to me all the while.

If you know me well, you know that grey is my favorite color, which is evident in my predominately “black and white” or grey artwork. What’s interesting about this one is how poignantly it reflects upon the mental illness I fought so hard to overcome for the better part of my life and long before it was diagnosed. My illness imprisoned me in the dichotomy of “black and white thinking” and held me for ransom inside the compartmentalized boxes in my mind where I stored all my feelings, pain and trauma. Before I put my disease into remission, I was unable to accept people, situations, emotions, or behaviors as anything other than “good or bad”, “right or wrong”, or “one way or the other”. MY ENTIRE WORLD WAS BLACK AND WHITE AND THERE WAS NO ROOM FOR THE GREY! I had a defensive view of both the positive and negative qualities of myself and everyone else and there was no way for my broken psyche to allow anything in between to exist in one cohesive space. How did this happen? The general consensus is that my “splitting” was the result of severe emotional and psychological abuse from my childhood, and I do tend to agree. I was raised in an environment of conditionally based reward, praise, affection and acceptance. If I was “good”, I was praised, affirmed and rewarded. If I was “bad”, I was admonished, punished and rejected. They “washed their hands” of me too many times to count whenever I screwed up or simply failed to follow “the rules” and ZERO was the validation or consideration of my feelings. My mind would “split” as I desperately attempted to shield myself from the constant fear of being abandoned, betrayed or eviscerated by anyone who claimed to love me. For the record, I do not believe that these traumas were visited on me purposefully or with the intent to murder my soul, but the trauma indeed was real, as was the effect it had on my damaged psyche. For so many years in the wake of not only my broken childhood, but as much so in the wake of my own self-inflicted destruction and imprisonment, I felt alone and voiceless, regardless of the people who “appeared” to be standing beside me. At this point it is no longer a secret that I myself attempted suicide on November 8, 1996, but thankfully survived to tell about it.  But I’ve digressed …

Music of all genres has been an integral part of my mental health journey and recovery, but one of my favorite bands, Five Finger Death Punch, has been at the forefront of it all. Their songs have not only helped identify some of my lost and broken feelings, but have also given my former “voiceless self” permission to either cry my feelings to the surface or YELL AND SCREAM THEM OUT LOUD! Several months ago I pre-ordered their new album and had been counting the days until it was released. I was stoked when it finally hit my library and just started from the beginning as I headed out for my day. Meanwhile, when THIS SONG cued up I literally had to pull my car into the breakdown lane on the highway as the words began to cut me in all the most bittersweet ways. I couldn’t stop the tears or the physical heartache and I literally couldn’t breathe. It was one of the most cathartic, awful and beautiful moments of my life and it was as if he were singing it to me himself. To me. To her. To Christian. To the very few people he left behind that he truly loved and let into his very private world and who loved him just the same. Someday when it’s time for her to read “the letter he wrote but never gave her I will play this song for her. Knowing God the way I do, when she’s finally able to receive these most beautiful lyrics of both our lives in conjunction with the most beautiful words a secretly dying father could have possibly written to his daughter, they will become as significant a part of her healing and journey going forward as they have been to mine.

HERE’S THE THING: Grey is not just a color to me. It’s everything in between! It’s the “grey-ce” I’ve received that is so undeserved yet given to me anyway by The One who has never loved me with black and white conditions. He “takes the best parts of me and locks them away without the key” and I know He is never far away. He’s the Light that shines ahead of my journey and dilutes the blackness of the abyss into the most beautiful shades of grey. For more than four decades I lived a “black and white life” with no room for the grey I knew I needed so much but didn’t know how to connect with. So, as I look back at this picture now I am filled with the most unbelievable hope, peace, balance and inspiration you can imagine. It reminds me of just how far I’ve come, that it was always supposed to be this way, and there is always a “Brighter Side Of Grey”. I’m not gonna lie … it is now my final wish that when it’s time for me to move along, this is the last song I hear as they say farewell. It means everything to me. Literally, everything

Them

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MARCH 2, 2020: “Winning The Game” …

"And Why Do We Fall Bruce?"
~ by The Phoenix Collaborative Project ~

… THE GAME …

“How have you been? Nice to see you again. How quickly these conversations seem to end. You meet a friend every now and then. How quickly these relations turn into trends. Put all your walls up and open your windows and close all your doors. You catch yourself standing in front of the mirror and now you need more. What do you wish for to catch you as you’re falling. So easy to ignore, but now you hear it calling again. “I wouldn’t want to be you. This lonely game that you play between your walls you confuse. Every heart that you break. So afraid that you’ll lose. Always a void to replace. I wouldn’t want to play you. You try and pretend, the truth is hard to bend. How easy these translations can be read. What if you were led to play a different game instead. How hard these frustrations are to mend. Does it matter to you? Just wait …” ~ Trapt

Dear “Past Me”:

Yes, I know exactly how you’ve been, and no, I don’t ever want to see you here again. Don’t forget to keep those walls DOWN and the windows OPEN WIDE as you stand in your mirror often and marvel at who you’ve become. You don’t need to wish for anything whenever you start to fall, because after all we’ve been through we’ve learned how to pick ourselves back up! No more pretending. No more truth bending. And remember this “game” is not a game – IT’S A SONG. You are a Phoenix. You’re a queen. You’re a warrior and a survivor! Now go and shine that “Light In Someone’s Dark” just as you were always meant to.

I Love You Girl … “Me”

Batman

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FEBRUARY 25, 2020: “Thank You For Helping Me Change Tomorrow” …

img_9238… CHANGE TOMORROW

“For the first time in years there’s a light up ahead. It’s calling. (It’s pulling me closer) Reborn within. Now I’m shedding my skin. It’s falling. (The weight off my shoulders) ‘Cause I can’t stay chained to my secrets. No I can’t stay. I’m bound by my regrets. I can’t erase all of my errors. Those days are gone forever. I can change, I can change tomorrow. I can change, I can change tomorrow. On my knees in the rain with my head hung in shame, just crawling, stalling. (All alone in my ways) Memories I can’t erase. Faces I couldn’t face haunt me. (My life lay to waste). ‘Cause I can’t stay chained to my secrets. No I can’t stay. I’m bound by my regrets. I need a break. It’s now or never. Yesterday’s gone forever. I can change, I can change tomorrow. I can change, I can change tomorrow. For all the years of emptiness. For all of my mistakes. For all the years I’ve thrown it all away. It’s not too late.”  ~ Like A Storm

There is no way for me to properly express the depth of my gratitude for all of the love, support and faith all of you are pouring into me not only here in The Diary, but in other forums (such as Quora) where I am also sharing not only my journey, but the fallen king’s as well. My reach is growing stronger by the minute and I’m consumed by a burning fire in my heart when I open my statistics every morning to find that people literally all over the world are reading my words. I’m getting messages daily, from again, all over the world, and what is resonating loudly is that people are relating to all the best and worst parts of my life and being inspired to try and make some changes of their own and step out of their own silent darknesses. THAT’S ALL I’VE EVER WANTED … for other broken people to realize the power and potential of their own strong warrior hearts and find the courage to not only survive, but THRIVE!

“I can’t stay chained to my secrets …”

…and neither can you! The secret pain, anguish, heartache and trauma we keep buried within our hearts is nothing short of a 30,000 pound anchor that not only keeps our ships bound to the turbulent seas that some of us end up drowning in, but also keeps us from ever reaching safe harbor. As for me? My most life-altering, traumatic and darkest “secret” has still yet to be revealed by the way, because frankly, I’m just not ready to reveal it. I’m working with God directly on that one and together we will both know when it’s time for my “biggest reveal”. But in the meantime …

“I can change. I can change tomorrow.”

All of YOU are helping me do that and I pray that my words will help you change your own tomorrow if that’s what you need to do. Again, THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR SUPPORTING ME. My best to everyone reading this … MAKE IT A POWERFUL DAY!

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The Diary Thank You

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FEBRUARY 24, 2020: “Life Must Go On” …

IMG_E9728LIFE MUST GO ON

“Sitting alone in the cold of the night. You’re trying to find what you need to survive. You’re so afraid you can’t go on. Left in the silence that tears at your heart. It only reminds you how broken you are. You’ve lost your way, but Hope is not gone. ‘Cause the Sun always sets. The moon always falls. It feels like the end – just pay no mind at all. Keep rolling. Rolling. Life must go on. Do you remember and long for the past? When love was eternal and joy seemed to last? Yesterday. Forever is gone. ‘Cause the Sun always sets. The moon always falls. It feels like the end – just pay no mind at all. Keep rolling. Rolling. Life must go on. It must go on. We have our misfortunes. The darkest of days. We must endure and keep strong. Just look to the morning. The promise awaits. And know that this life must go on ..” ~ Alter Bridge

I was at the Social Security office today handling the business that no one ever really wants to handle: The “widowed” of it all. Meanwhile, while I was waiting for my number to be called I decided to clean out my wallet because not only was I bored out of my mind, there was no wifi there, so, tag, “cleaning out my wallet” was it!

So, guess what I found tucked tucked away in a space in the wallet that I didn’t realize existed? A love note from my husband that he had hidden for me to find! As shocked as I was, I wasn’t really shocked at all. It wasn’t uncommon for him to do things like that and I have a box filled with the dozens of cards and love notes he would hide for me in the decade we spent together. “For richer or poorer. For better or worse. In sickness and in health. Until death did us part … and EVEN beyond?” You see, that was just his way. He wanted me to know I was his queen and how grateful he was that I, and no one else, gave him the love, family and home he’d been searching for literally all his life.

He gave me this wallet on Valentine’s Day last year, and looking back do remember both the referenced back pain and the argument I’d had with my mom. He must have hidden it sometime at the end of March. My husband was indeed struggling at that point and slowly descending downward, but there were still very clear and poignant traces of “him” that existed. Someday when I’m ready I will definitely be going back to revisit “the descent“, which as far as I’m concerned really started in January 2019.

In the meantime, just know this: Yes, I am “an effing warrior”, and yes, I AM “a survivor”. But even warriors cry, and you know what? THAT’S OKAY! What kind of queen would I be without moments like today that I literally cry my eyes out to the point of nausea because I miss my fallen king, who lost his damn mind, and left me all alone on this throne that he gave me with a broken heart and a hurting and traumatized princess? I’d be a pretty heartless one I suppose. One thing I know for sure about myself by now is that my heart is bigger than the ocean, so yah, sometimes I cry. But then I wipe my tears, straighten my crown, and my life must go on! I’m pretty stubborn that way if you haven’t figured it out by now, and also? GOD. Just God. I know He was crying with me this afternoon and I KNOW HE WAS SMILING WHEN I GOT RIGHT BACK UP LIKE I DID: “That’s My girl”, He said, and hopefully so did Zack. I am loved. Still. Always. Eternally.

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FEBRUARY 23, 2020: “Until They’re Safe Inside” …

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SAFE INSIDE

“I remember when you were all mine. Watched you changing in front of my eyes. What can I say? Now that I’m not the fire in the cold. Now that I’m not the hand that you hold as you’re walking away. Will you call me to tell me you’re alright? ‘Cause I worry about you the whole night. Don’t repeat my mistakes, I won’t sleep ’til you’re safe inside. If you’re home I just hope that you’re sober. Is it time to let go now you’re older? Don’t leave me this way, I won’t sleep ’til you’re safe inside. Everyone has to find their own way. And I’m sure things will work out okay.  Always start with the Truth. All we know is the Sun will rise. Thank your lucky stars that you’re alive. It’s a beautiful life. Oh, will you call me to tell me you’re alright? ‘Cause I worry about you the whole night. Don’t repeat my mistakes, I won’t sleep ’til you’re safe inside. If you’re home I just hope that you’re sober. Is it time to let go now you’re older? Don’t leave me this way, I won’t sleep ’til you’re safe inside. If you make the same mistakes, I will love you either way. All I know is I can’t live without you. There is nothing I can say that will change you anyway darling, I could never live without you. I can’t live, I can’t live, no, no.” ~ James Arthur

Facebook “memories” … Dear GOD, how I love them so! Always so bittersweet, especially in the wake of that August 22nd, 2019 “memory” I love to hate so much. Three years ago today I this:

“that moment you become a blubbering mess and thank GOD that you were lucky enough to bear certain crosses, because at the end of the day you may have lost some skin, but definitely ended up becoming real. And after all, isn’t “real” the only mark you want to touch the world with and the legacy you most want to leave for your children? “Please let me reach just one …”. I love you Sheyenne. To the Moon and back, always have, always will, and you will never NOT be one of “mine”. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

Of course I had to “repost it” today, as it’s still one of the happiest memories of my life so far, and as I said, every single time I read what she wrote on the back of that picture she sent it still brings tears to my eyes AND reinforces why it is that I do what I do. This particular kiddo of mine and I share a very special bond (she was my son’s first true love and high school sweetheart). She was then and still is like an actual daughter to me, and so is her big sister by the way. I love them both beyond measure, just as I love ALL “my kids”. No matter how far they go away they always know they have a safe place and another “home” with this Momma Cat. My kids can tell me anything, and trust me when I tell you – I’ve heard absolutely everything! But I “hear and listen” to them without judgment or unnecessary harsh criticism and only offer my honest wisdom and advice when they ask for it. In my halo, my kids and their precious feelings are validated in all things, which, for the record, is exactly what I needed when I was younger, and exactly who I’m trying to be for them now that I’m older. It’s this whole thing and I am just so very blessed.

By the way, “Safe Inside” is a very special song to me in this entire regard, and every time I hear it I think of every one of them – “my kids” (the ones I gave birth to and the ones who I’ve been blessed enough to have call me “mom”. Truth being told, these days when I hear it I also think of my husband and hope that he’s finally made it safely “Home”. Although I clearly fell down (in ways that some of you may never truly now much less fathom or understand), as sick as he was at the very end, he left here having truly known “real love” as well, and for that I am equally as blessed and grateful to have been the one to make that happen for him before he had to go. I will not rest until I know that all of the people that mean the most to me in this world are “safe inside” (both physically and metaphorically).

Okay folks, make it a good night! ~ C

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FEBRUARY 20, 2020: “If That’s What It Takes” …

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IF THAT’S WHAT IT TAKES

“You say you fell out of love with no place to stand. You say your heart’s on the mend from a broken romance. You say you don’t want to trust because it hurts too much. And you think I’d never understand. Tell me what have I got to do to make a believer of you? Do I have turn water into wine? Turn some stones into bread? Do I have to paint my heart across the sky in a blazing shade of red? Do I have to push the Sun into the sea to make you fall in love with me? Oh, if that’s what it takes then let it be. You say, you don’t need my love but I know it’s a lie. You say I shouldn’t even try. Tell me what have I got to lose to make a believer of you? Do I have turn water into wine? Turn some stones into bread? Do I have to paint my heart across the sky in a blazing shade of red? Do I have to push the Sun into the sea to make you fall in love with me? Oh, if that’s what it takes then let it be. You need me to turn the tide of your ocean. Let me set your heart back into motion.” ~ Clay Crosse

Today was a hugely important day for me, if not THE most important decision-making day of my life thus far. I won’t go into details of what exactly this decision was, but trust me when I tell you – it was a big one! As I made the drive from home to Dallas it was a crisp, cold, insanely beautiful morning with a sky bright blue and clear. Yet as sure as I was that the decision I was making was right, the entire drive there I was talking out loud to God, my angels, my husband, and pretty much anyone “beyond” who was listening. “I just need a sign. Someone? Anyone? PLEASE!” I was begging for an answer, “Is this what I’m supposed to do? Is this what Zack would want me to do?” Even after I parked and was headed into the building and up the elevator I was asking the Cosmos, “Please, just ONE sign?” But? I got nothing. It was all good though, because after all, Zack’s best friend of a lifetime was joining me there to help guide me through the process. Rick was his rock, his true confidant, and the only human man he trusted and looked to as a father in all things big or small. Having him with me just set me at ease.

When I finally made it to the office where the woman I was meeting with was waiting, I sat down beside Rick and all the fun began. By the second hour in, our partnership had indeed commenced, at which point Rick had to leave. Research was being done, calls were being made, and forms being prepared for my signature while I just sat there patiently in my chair watching allt the magic. This woman was literally planning my future. As I gazed around at the various “things” in her office it felt like I was in my own little world. Then as I glanced over to a table with a vignette of personal pictures and trinkets she had evidently collected along the way, it happened! THE SIGN I BEGGED “THEM” TO SHOW ME ALL BUT DROPPED RIGHT DOWN FROM HEAVEN! A silver frog with a crown on his head was sitting right before my eyes! I almost came out of my skin!

And just like that I was yet again reminded that this God I serve is so faithful. “Do I have to turn water into wine? Turn some stones into bread? Do I have to paint my heart across the sky in a blazing shade of red?” No Sir, You don’t. You’ve been making a believer out of me since I first realized I was broken, and while I’ve clearly already known this all the while, this moment between us was unbelievable. You just keep showing me, and showing UP for me, in every thing big and small. I want You to know that I’m thankful for ALL OF THIS and I know You’re planning to use it all for Your glory. Thank you for never letting me down and never letting me go. I love You.

Frpgg

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FEBRUARY 1, 2020: “Crazy Grandma Cat” …

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TO FIND OUT “WHAT HAPPENED” THE NIGHT BEFORE I MADE THIS VIDEO <<CLICK HERE>>!

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JANUARY 30, 2020: “The Love Song From Heaven That Took Me Down” …

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HOLD HER

“She was holdin’ on so tight, but I had to say goodbye. She’s all alone tonight. There’s nothin’ I could do to make it right Is it ever gonna be, ever gonna be brighter? Is it ever gonna be, ever gonna be easier? Hold her tonight. Oh, God, would you hold her tonight? ‘Cause I’m not there to stay close Keep watch, tell her she’s not alone. Hold her tonight. We’re apart but not alone. My love for her is more than she could know. A secret place only we can go, and we’ll laugh while we will hope until we’re home. Is it ever gonna be, ever gonna be brighter? Is it ever gonna be, ever gonna be easier? Hold her tonight. Oh, God, would you hold her tonight? ‘Cause I’m not there to stay close, keep watch, tell her she’s not alone. Hold her tonight. Steady on, steady on, my love. This shall soon pass. Steady on, steady on, my love. This shall soon pass. Steady on, steady on, my love. This shall soon pass. Steady on, steady on, my love Hold her tonight. Oh, God, would you hold her tonight? ‘Cause I’m not there to stay close, keep watch, tell her again she’s not alone. Hold her tonight. Hold her tonight. Oh, God, would you hold her tonight? ‘Cause I’m not there to stay close. Keep watch, tell her she’s not alone. Stay close, keep watch, tell her she’s not alone. Hold her tonight.” ~ King & Country

I’ve been doing so well in my journey. I know you all can see it, and indeed what you see real. Still, I heard this song for the first time tonight at around 5pm while driving through a parking lot, at which point I fell apart so badly that I had to literally pull my car into a space and just sit there and cry. And cry. And cry. And cry. For about two hours, I literally cried my eyes out. I then made myself go to “get it together” and go the gym and get on the treadmill thinking that would “force me” to calm down. Which it did, for one hour and ten minutes while I was on the tread mill. I turned on the Five Finger Death Punch and made myself stop being sad. Thankfully, the three friends I reached out to all reached right back to me, which helped keep me grounded. But when I got home and walked into our closet it started all over again. I’m not gonna lie. This is hard. I miss him. So much. Every second. Every minute. Every day. Every night. Sometimes I just walk to his side of the closet and “hug his clothes” that are still hanging there. And smell them. One half of my person and everything I used to be is literally, just, GONE. One of my friends pointed out to me that I probably “needed” this. To cry. And cry. And cry. She was right. I think I did. But you know what? GRIEF SUCKS! It makes no sense to me whatsoever. It’s as if he went to God and actually said these words, to Him, about me, because, these is exactly what he would say to anyone right now if he could actually say something. “Hold her for me.” Tomorrow will be a new day, of this I’m sure. But in the meantime: GRIEF SUCKS! I know God is holding me, I do. Right now. This minute. As I’m writing this. I can feel Him. Zack is here with me too I can feel him. Goodnight everyone. Please keep me in your hearts and prayers tonight because I am really struggling. 

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JANUARY 27, 2020: “A Lion’s Roar About A Father’s Love” …

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A FATHER’S LOVE

“Three feet tall and full of questions. You must have thought I was the smartest man alive. I didn’t always have the answers to every little how and where and why. Like “Daddy, why’s the sky so blue today?” “Does Jesus really hear me when I pray?” “When I grow up, will I be just like you?” “Will I be tall and strong and brave?” There’s no power on earth like your fathers’ love. So big and so strong as your father’s love. A promise that’s sacred, a promise from Heaven above. No matter where you go… always know You can depend on your father’s love. Especially when it’s cold, especially when you’re lonely. When your little heart is lost trying to find it’s way. I know the world is always changing, but, remember son, that some things never change. And even when my life on earth is through there will still be a part of me in you. ‘Cause some things are forever. Nothing’s ever gonna take my love from you. There is no power on earth like your father’s love. So big and so strong as your father’s love. A promise that’s sacred, a promise from Heaven above. Did I hug enough? Did I care enough? When you most needed me, was I there enough? Enough to make you feel the power of our father’s love?” ~ Bob Carlisle

SeanThere’s a guy I’ve been following for a few years now, Sean Whalen, “the Lions Not Sheep Guy”. He’s one of those influencers that so many love to hate, with unfiltered “truth bombs” that pummel us with supersized doses of reality. He’s been there, done that, had it all, lost it all, made gazillions of dollars, and changed the lives of those who are wise enough to face his sobering messages in the mirror for the so much very better. Some people call him an asshole. Sometimes he can be an asshole. He’s also one of the greatest men I’ve never met! Let me tell you why by sharing last night’s “truth bomb” in the wake of the Kobe Bryant tragedy:

“Didn’t know him. Never met him. But as a father I can’t think of more terrifying reality than to leave my children. Men, hug them tighter. Text them. Write them. Call them. Dance with them. Smile with them. Lay with them. Snuggle them. Talk to them. No amount of worldly success will EVER be able to buy back this moment or this day. Nothing you do in the next hour will be more important than connecting with them. Nothing will replace today. Make it memorable. Make it one that if you never had another, you’ve had said and done it all. Honor this man by honoring what is right in front of us.”

… and thus a Lion’s roar about “a father’s love” and the reason so many of us love him. HE’S ANSWERED “THE RIDDLE” SPOT ON! This was my comment to his post:

“To any “dads” out there following Sean’s post here. Let me echo and highlight his message. I’m a new widow here – 158 days old. Lost my king to suicide. The wake of devastation for the people Mr. Bryant just left behind is NOT for the faint of heart. Please DO hug your kids tonight. Do everything listed above. A daddy’s last thoughts, words and deeds for their children can either be the MOST powerful or the MOST devastating things they carry to their OWN graves one day. Choose well and leave ONLY a legacy of LOVE …”

IMG_9044I’m not gonna say I was a Kobe Bryant fan because that would be a lie. Basketball is not my scene, and honestly, professional sports and the athletes that play them tend to impress me ZERO. The people that impress me most are the ones like Sean – the influential, motivating, “living a life of use to others” pride that lead their packs with the truth. More so than that are the INFLUENTIAL FATHERS who are the stars in this self-professed Queen’s sky, which is not to say there aren’t some pro athletes who are using their celebrity as platforms to motivate others and are indeed influential fathers. But as an aside, if someone were to ask me, “If you could choose just ONE famous person to meet, who would it be?”, I can’t think of any athletes I need to know. But I’ve digressed again, and now that I think of it, what little I did know about Kobe wasn’t exactly stellar. It seems he might have made some terrible choices along his way.

IMG_9045But here’s what I do know: He was an imperfect, mortal man. Someone’s husband. SOMEONE’S FATHER! Regardless of his mistakes, HE’S DEAD! Now there is another broken family waking up to an actual “living nightmare” today whose lives as they knew them just ended. Been there. Done that. It’s NOT a reality for the faint of heart and regardless of who he was or “what he did”, I’m aching for those he left behind. Judging from the pictures in the media of him with his kids it appears that as flawed as he may have ever been, he did have good connections with his kids. Perhaps he had been doing “that stuff on Sean’s list”, in which case, thank God he left his kids with a legacy of LOVE!

If you’d had the “fathers” in your life that I was once married to or raised by, or worse yet, had a truly good father in your atmosphere whose less than favorable departure left a smite on his otherwise beautiful legacy? Yah, you’d know exactly why Sean’s “PAY ATTENTION DADS” truth bomb meant so much to me. There are THOUSANDS of men following him and this tragedy was the perfect opportunity for him to use the power he wields to influence and motivate them with the most important message a father can hear. I pray to GOD they took his loving message straight into their hearts because there really is no power on earth like your father’s love. A good father can build you into an impermeable fortress. A bad one can bury you alive in wounds that never heal. Kudos to all the fortress building KINGS in this world and long live your legacies of love!

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JANUARY 26, 2020: “My Ghost Gang Is To Blame” …

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GHOST

“There’s a ghost. There’s a ghost inside of me. Not like those draped in old bed sheets. Saying “trick or treat”. Different. Oh, this ghost is different. Not one that leaves me scared to death. But one that puts my fear to rest. Oh, holiness keep haunting me. Oh, you’re my hope, you’re my peace. Ironic in a way.  I’m no longer afraid. And the ghost is to blame. There’s a ghost. There’s a ghost inside of me. Not something from some campfire story. Where I’m terrified to sleep. Opposite. This ghost is quite the opposite. He came just like a welcomed friend. And I was comforted. Oh, holiness keep haunting me. Oh, you’re my hope, you’re my peace. Ironic in a way. I’m no longer afraid. And the ghost is to blame. I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid. No longer afraid.” ~ Mercy Me

… because who else could I blame for the current state of my badly broken but still beating heart and how else could I explain what isn’t happening to me in the wake of all this devastation? While driving home yesterday it hit me yet again that YES, I AM A WARRIOR! And let me tell you why …

Most of you probably know that my husband ended his own life at “just before midnight on August 22nd”, but what you probably don’t know is where: Exactly 1.5 miles from the throne he abdicated in a field that separates the abutting subdivision from ours, which entrance which lies upon the main thoroughfare between Parker and Allen where a lot of my time is spent, so unless I make a consorted effort to avoid the intersection I love to hate I have no other choice but to face these sobering facts often multiple times a day: “This” was the last road he traveled. “That” was the last turn he ever made. “Those” were the last visions that befell his dying eyes as he headed towards his fate.

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In the immediate weeks that followed his death I avoided that place at all costs and vowed NEVER to go near it again. What person in their right mind could? Many were concerned for my well-being in this regard, and since the first 30 days after I was highly medicated, when someone had to drive me to Allen they’d go as far out of their way as possible to keep me away from “there”. Greater was the concern as to whether we’d even be able to stay in this house for any prolonged period for fear that what happened was way too close to home.

Yet as the weeks passed my heart just made me go want to go there; I honestly don’t know why. Time and again I wandered down that path with the barage of questions that still cycle through my mind: WHY did he do it? Why WOULD he do it? Why that spot? Why this town? Why so close to home? What was he FEELING alone inside that car? Was he sad? Was he angry? Was he scared? Did his heart ache? Was it pounding? Or was it already dead and numb? What was he DOING the second before he left? Was he crying? Was he screaming? Thinking about his life? His childhood? Me and her? DID HE THINK ABOUT WHAT THIS WOULD DO TO US? Did his hand shake as he held the gun to his head? Did he wrestle with it? Bring it up? Then bring it down? Or just old it up ONCE and pull the trigger? What did he HEAR as he made his final decision? Was it a song? WHAT SONG? Or was there just deafening silence? Was it “the voices in his head” that told him to “just do it”? DID HE REACH OUT TO GOD? Look for His hand? Beg forgiveness? Did he repeat his prayer of Salvation? PLEASE GOD, PLEASE … JUST HELP ME UNDERSTAND! Then the questions stop, I start breathing once again, and the constriction of my heart that always proceeds”the cycle” fades to black AND I SURVIVE!

Here’s what I need everyone to know: I’m fiercely protected 24/7 by a “Ghost Gang” in my mind and these are a but a FEW of its members: A handful of a baby girl with a presence the size of the Cosmos, a Cajun Blaze Of Glory, and the Frog I kissed who turned into a King. My Guardian Angels serve full-time posts as lieutenant commanders and God’s Trinity lords over them all! My ghosts are not just ordinary – they’re THE TOUGHEST ONES AROUND. They’ve yet to let me down as they hunt the many monsters that feast upon my soul and have slayed them to the ground one by one! Each of them have made me who I am today, don’t leave me scared either “to death” or “about it”, and they do put my every fear to rest. If I start going dark? They turn on all the Lights! I pray incessantly they’ll keep haunting me with the abundant hope and peace that has now become the echo in my battle cry: 

“Their deaths have neither broken me, nor stolen from or vanquished me, and everything they were is every wondrous thing I’ve become. They’ve but “slipped away into the next room” with countless other loved ones I’ve lost along the way and they’ll all be waiting for me when I get Home. They continue to survive with me in every shadow before and behind with their presences forever locked inside what are now the even deeper chasms of my mind with an ensemble of angelic voices still filling my heart with the memories, joy and laughter.”

Ironic in a way? I will NEVER be afraid and it’s my “Ghost Gang” that’s to blame! They’ve got their territory marked from here to Eternity and it’s every single road I travel. Thank you for listening to me again. I love all of you.

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JANUARY 24, 2020: “I’d Rather Be Dangerous” …

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“I could stand behind my barricade. Do what I’m told and be afraid to change. While isolated by the mainstream. With the current up against me. Well maybe if my arms were ten feet tall I could finally reach that crystal ball. ‘Cause I still find inside there’s something braver. And I, I won’t be, I won’t be the silent damnation. I will never be voiceless. My weapon of choice is I’d rather be dangerous. I won’t be left defenseless, as God is my witness, I’d rather be dangerous. I’m not making conversation. But I’ll state my observations. Well I could buy my faith like a plot in the ground. But I was never lost and I never had a doubt. ‘Cause I still find it’s not my imagination. And I, I won’t be, I won’t be the silent damnation. I will never be voiceless. My weapon of choice is I’d rather be dangerous. I won’t be left defenseless, as God is my witness, I’d rather be dangerous. Everybody is somebody, and anybody is you. I own my story. I won’t say sorry and neither should you.” ~ Shinedown

… when it’s 9:19 in the morning, 156 days since you’re life took a turn for the “you know what you have to do now”, you get this message from the “Second Phoenix Rising” and are reminded once again that all this pain has only ever been a gift. To you. To her. To the world! She gets it, I can feel it, and she really is going to be the final game changer for this story once and for all. It’s moments like these that keep me locked, loaded and DANGEROUS!

"Your Pain Is A Gift"

Pain is a gift

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JANUARY 22, 2020: “The Convictions Of My Heart” …

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…  are the people, places and things I choose to surround myself with at every little turn, because if I’ve learned anything in this gauntlet we call life it’s that memories are made of moments – the sweetest of which are our convictions – which are all that really matters! If I leave here tomorrow, it’s “things like this” that will be in the forefront of my mind as I head toward The Light that brought me here in the first place. I choose to surround myself with love and Light in whatever way, shape or form they come to me.

“Where are the dreams that we once had? This is the time to bring them back. What were the promises caught on the tips of our tongues? Do we forget or forgive? There’s a whole other life waiting to be lived when one day we’re brave enough to talk with conviction of the heart.”

~ Kenny Loggins

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JANUARY 21, 2020: “Answering The Riddle” …

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“THE RIDDLE”

There was a man back in ’95 whose heart ran out of summers but before he died I asked him, “Wait, what’s the sense in life? Come over me. Come over me.”  He said, “Son why you got to sing that tune? Catch a Dylan song or some eclipse of the moon. Let an angel swing and make you swoon then you will see. You will see.” Then he said, “Here’s a riddle for you. Find The Answer. There’s a reason for the world: You and I”.

Picked up my kid from school today. “Did you learn anything cause in the world today? You can’t live in a castle far away. Now talk to me. Come talk to me.” He said, “Dad I’m big but we’re smaller than small. In the scheme of things, well we’re nothing at all. Still every mother’s child sings a lonely song. So play with me. Come play with me. And hey dad, here’s a riddle for you, find The Answer. There’s a reason for the world: You and I”. I said, “Son for all I’ve told you, when you get right down to the reason for the world: Who am I?”

There are secrets that we still have left to find. There have been mysteries from the beginning of time. There are answers we’re not wise enough to see. He said, “You’re looking for a clue: I LOVE YOU FREE!”

The batter swings and the summer flies as I look into my angel’s eyes. A song plays on while the moon is high over me. Something comes over me. I guess we’re big and I guess we’re small. If you think about it man you know we got it all cause we’re all we got on this bouncing ball and I love you free. I LOVE YOU FREE!” Here’s a riddle for you, find The Answer. There’s a reason for the world: You and I. ~ Five For Fighting

There have been days in my life when the most unassuming things have had the most profound effects on my humanity and spirit. Take yesterday for example …

I had to leave the house today but it was Martin Luther King Day, so Gia asked to stay behind and relax on her day off. I’m just now getting accustomed to leaving her alone in the wake of all she’s been through, but she had to complete the last of her high school applications, and, she is going on 15, so I agreed to let her stay. As I was headed out the door I found her at the computer typing away at the application. Mind you, I hadn’t yet looked at the questions and had no idea what she was writing.

I returned to find her nesting peacefully at her perch upstairs working on her latest sketch while singing along to her favorite Beatle’s vinyl. (Yes, she was born in the wrong decade FYI. Her soul is circa 1960 through 70 and she’s THE oldest young lady I’ve ever met!) After settling in I made it back to the computer only to find it left open to the questions and answers she’d been working on, which of course I had to read before submitting:

What do you think adults should know about social media?I think that adults should know that while there are dangers to social media, as there are in many aspects of life, that social media also has the potential to do great things. Social media allows people to support and encourage people not only in your local circle of friends and family, but people all over the world. My personal experiences with social media have been very positive. I have found role models and people who have inspired me to become a better person physically, mentally and spiritually.”

Think about things in your life that bring you joy. How do you ensure time for those people, experiences or moments? “I believe that when something or someone makes you truly happy you won’t need to find time for them – they will come to you and happen spontaneously. If you must sit down and think about how you will find a way to work something you love into your everyday life, there is a bigger issue at hand. Whether it be your schedule or the thing that you are trying to incorporate, it is a very big issue. People, experiences and special moments can’t be planned – they stay in your life and follow you throughout your journey. You will find that the people that bring you joy always manage to be a priority without even trying.  I think that’s part of what love really is – not having to think or plan when you will show appreciation or care because you already do so without thinking. And experiences? Well, I firmly believe are priceless! Be them good or bad, every experience you have teaches you things and makes you a stronger and better person. If you have a chance to experience something you should focus on that moment because you might not ever experience it ever again and you should appreciate it before it’s too late and get caught thinking, “I should have appreciated it a lot sooner,” or “Why did I not live in the moment?”

Tell a story about a time when you made a mistake or experienced failure and what you learned?I have made many mistakes and experienced many failures throughout my life. As a human, I am bound to do both repeatedly. My biggest mistake, however, was allowing all the hardships I experienced have such a negative impact on me. I have dealt with bullying and trauma for practically my whole life and let those things and people bring me down, feel worthless and lose my faith. I got to a very bad place and treated myself horribly, allowing myself to believe all that I was being told and all the bad things I thought. I let those things blind me from the fact that God made me, and He loves me no matter what anyone says or does. It took a lot of hard work to dig myself out of the dark hole I had put myself in, but I prevailed. With the help of loved ones, heroes and most importantly my God in heaven, I’ve survived. I learned that God will put things in my path to strengthen me and that when I hit a bump in the road, I keep going, because I was made to be strong and fight for who I am and what I believe no matter what. I’ve learned my value well and learned how to love people and care for them unconditionally, just like God does. Most importantly, however, I learned a lesson that many people never learn and a lesson that I believe is the most important one to learn: I learned how to love myself just as God made me and just as God loves me.”

So, ask me if I wept after reading these words? Umm, yah, have you met me? LIKE A BABY! I was so emotional in all the best ways that I had to sneak back to my room, shut the door and just sit a while to process through the flood.

THIS IS MY “WHY”? MY “REASON”? “THE ANSWER” TO MY RIDDLE! None of this has ever been about me nor will it ever be! It’s about him. And her. The two living fruits from my branch that will bear the legacy of strength, courage, faith and unconditional love for not only others but most importantly THEMSELVES that I desperately hope to leave behind. It’s about living out loud in the truths I’ve learned in all the hardest ways, no matter the cost, and being the “answer” to all their riddles. It’s about leading by example until my fledgling Phoenix rises above all this darkness, and never losing faith that my first born prince will eventually “fly from the inside” and get that damned black Spider-man suit off his being once and for all just like his mother finally did. It’s about days like yesterday when I come face to face with vindication and proof that I must be doing something right and NOPE, YOU STILL CAN’T STOP THESE GIRLS!

Gia and I spent last night at a movie and dinner with her boyfriend and his little sister, both of who I adore for too many reasons to list and are also living proof of familial legacy shift forward. Their parents have become a true support to me and my daughter and the mom especially is someone who I very much admire as a woman in her own right, such that after hearing THESE words just before the movie started from her daughter (one of my besties), the victory I’d experienced earlier that day became infinitely sweeter than I could have imagined: “Miss Cat, I know I’m just a kid and everything but I hope you know that you are an inspiration to me and you are doing a really good job raising Gia. I notice things about people. You are special and you’re raising a special girl.” 

My heart is just so full today.

That is all.

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JANUARY 18, 2020: “JUST. GET. UP!” …

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Someone out there needs to hear these words RIGHT NOW:

“I know you’re clinging to the light of day to tell you everything’s a-okay. A medication don’t do much. Yeah, it just numbs the brain. Guess you might say I’m a little intense. I’m on the bright side of being HELL BENT! So take it from me, you’re not the only one who can’t see straight. If you were ever in doubt, don’t sell yourself short, you might be bulletproof. It’s hard to move mountains when you’re paralyzed, but you gotta try. And I’m calling out … GET UP, GET UP, GET A MOVE ON!” ~ Brent Smith (Shinedown)

If I can do this, YOU CAN DO THIS! ‘Cause if it doesn’t kill you, it really DOES make you bulletproof! I promise. “I BELIEVE YOU CAN DO MUCH BETTER! Trust me!” Much love all of you. Now then: GO ON, GET UP, and isten to one of my favorite songs EVER!

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JANUARY 17, 2020: “When You Walk With Angels” …

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WALK WITH ANGELS

Love is alive – alive like a new born child. Love is a war – broken and running wild. Love is a thief and it’s stealing our hearts tonight. You give it to me. You’ve given me all I need. You’re all I see. You’re all I wanted to be. Can you take me with you where you walk with angels? Where you walk with angels. Love’s around you now. You walk with angels wherever you are. You walk with angels …” ~ Aaron Hendra

Last night I dreamt about Zack for what seemed like hours, one very real scene after anothe we finally got in the car to go to school she said it :: “Mom, Dad was in my dream last night.” I could have died a million deaths in that moment and actually had an adrenalin dump after she said those words! You know, that feeling you get when you hear something that knocks you over? Like you’re gonna faint, you just can’t breathe and the blood rushes out of your fingertips? It was the same exact feeling I’d felt on August 22nd at just before midnight – “that moment I felt him leave us”. The incomprehensible juxtaposition of our two dreams was absolutely earth shattering, and let me tell you why …

SHE HASN’T DREAMT OF HIM SINCE “THAT NIGHT”! Zero has she seen his face or heard his voice. He’s just. Been. GONE. So what are the chances that he would avail himself to BOTH of us on the same night in such a magnanimous way? It was no coincidence. It was him, and it was real.

Although she hasn’t told me what she dreamt about or the specifics of his presence I could see she that was even more at peace and relaxed today than her journey thus far has found her. Whatever the nature of his visit to her may have been it was clearly also very real! Eventually she’ll share it with me. She always does “tell me EVERYTHING!” I’m so beyond thankful for the powerful bond that I share with BOTH my kids in this regard. It will just have to be on her time frame and not a second sooner. It may be months or even years before she finally does, but it doesn’t matter, because she will! All I know at this moment is HE WAS HERE to finally answer my questions and let me know that he is very much still with me and NOT going anywhere.

For the record, not only did I get answers to my questions, he also told me: “There’s something coming. Something huge. Something bigger than you can imagine. SOME “ONE”. You’re going to be okay. I love you Catherine. I always did and always will. I’m sorry I hurt you both … I’m sorry that I left you this way … It wasn’t about you, it was ME … but you’re doing so good and I’m SO proud of you. Just keep doing exactly what you’re doing and believe that everything is going to be okay. Better than okay. I promise.” There were other very specific things he said about my future, all of which are now written on a piece of paper in my nightstand drawer that I will share with the small handful of people who are closest to me as a solid point of reference and accountability to their validity down the road if and when they do actually avail themselves in the manner in which he said.

So? What do any of you think? Am I just insane? Maybe I am, but hey, it is what it is. I believe in my heart that he’s still walking with me. They all are. My angels will always walk with me and their love is still very much alive. True love NEVER dies … it just “slips away into the next room” …

cassiel

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JANUARY 1, 2020: “I Dare You” …

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TO THE “ME” I’M LEAVING BEHIND:

… “I DARE YOU”!

“Hello! Let me introduce you to the characters in the show. One says yes, one says no. Decide – which voice in your head you can keep alive? Even in madness I know you still believe! Paint me on canvas so I become what you could never be. I dare you to tell me to walk through the fire! Wear my soul and call me a liar! I dare you to tell me to walk through the fire. I dare you to tell me. I dare you to …

Hello, are you still chasing the the memories in shadows? Some stay young, some grow old. Come alive – there are thoughts unclear you can never hide. Even in madness I know you still believe. Paint me your canvas so I become what you could never be. I dare you to tell me to walk through the fire! Wear my soul and call me a liar! I dare you to tell me to walk through the fire! I dare you to tell me. I dare you to …”

~ Shinedown

HERE’S TO ANOTHER HALF A CENTURY OF SURVIVING!

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