MAY 17, 2020: “There Was Jesus” …

"There Was Jesus"
~ by Gia Embach ~

THERE WAS JESUS

Every time I tried to make it on my own. Every time I tried to stand and start to fall. And all those lonely roads that I have travelled on. There was Jesus.

When the life I built came crashing to the ground. When the friends I had were nowhere to be found. I couldn’t see it then, but I can see it now. There was Jesus.

In the waiting. In the searching. In the healing and the hurting. Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces. Every minute. Every moment. Where I’ve been and where I’m going. Even when I didn’t know it or couldn’t see it. There was Jesus.

For this man who needs amazing kind of grace. For forgiveness at a price I couldn’t pay. I’m not perfect, so I thank God every day. There was Jesus.

In the waiting. In the searching. In the healing and the hurting. Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces. Every minute. Every moment. Where I’ve been and where I’m going. Even when I didn’t know it or couldn’t see it. There was Jesus.

On the mountain. In the valleys. There was Jesus.

In the shadows of the alleys. There was Jesus.

In the fire and in the flood. There was Jesus.

Always is and always was.

No I never walk alone.

You are always there.

In the waiting. In the searching. In the healing and the hurting. Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces. Every minute. Every moment. Where I’ve been and where I’m going. Even when I didn’t know it or couldn’t see it. There was Jesus.

 ~ Zach Williams & Dolly Parton

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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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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 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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NOVEMBER 27, 2019: “I Think I See Gold” …

1THANKSGIVING EVE

98 DAYS SINCE LOSING MY KING …

… and as I’m here now on doing everything within in my power to make this castle he left behind for us as merry and bright as possible under the circumstances I find myself very much alone, but then again not so much. Every day I’m faced with choices, some easier than others, and today I just had to work things out on my own, as in this conversation I had with “me” in the bathroom mirror: “Take a hot bath, blow out your hair, put on some make up and a warm, chunky sweater and leggings, fire up the Keurig, set out the peppermint Coffee Mate and a big bowl of candy, turn on some music, KNOW THAT HE IS WATCHING AND LET’S JUST DO THIS! And oh, REMEMBER THAT YOU’RE A QUEEN! His ONLY Queen, STILL your son and your daughter’s Queen, the Queen of your own heart, and guess what other King you belong to Cat Williamson? The GREATEST king of all, since before you were even born, so yah, YOU GOT THIS!” So guess what I’m doing today? EVERYTHING NOTED ABOVE!

Twenty something years ago I was sitting in the first Bible study I’d ever been to after I finally met Jesus in my friend Dee Holley’s living room and I will never forget the first time I heard a few of the most impeccably strung together words: “These lonely hours like a fire refining, something that’s precious, something that’s shining. There in the darkness surrounded by coals, it’s starting to glow … and I think I see gold! I’ve listened to this song daily for well over 20 years now, EVEN ON MY GOOD DAYS, as one of my many “survival” tools. Much love to all of you. Make it a good one and I will too! ~ Cat

 

I THINK I SEE GOLD

“I see you struggling every day. You think, How long Can I go on this way? On and on, again and again. Oh when will it end? You think, “I just can’t go on much longer”. But inside my friend your faith is growing stronger! You feel the fire burning deep in your soul. But I want you to know – that I see gold! I think I see gold in the fire! Right there in the ashes is all you’ve desired. Oh, it’s hard as you press toward the goal. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Don’t stop now. I think I see gold! Until this moment you’ve always believed when life grew darkest by faith you could see. Open your eyes – look for The Light. You see? You were right. These lonely hours like a fire refining something that’s precious. Something that’s shining! There in the darkness surrounded by coals is starting to glow.” ~ Ray Boltz

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NOVEMBER 25, 2019: “Shining Through Our Darkness” …

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Tonight after “Batman” lit up our roof for the holidays Gia and I went to Walmart to get more lights for the shrubs in our pajamas, slippers and messy buns, looking quite ridiculous! We were “play arguing” over whether to get “all white”, “all red”, “all green”, or multi-colored. Before we knew it we were giggling up a storm and I said, “Man, this is tough. Do we match the shrubs to the roof, do a contrast, or what? Hmm, what would Jesus do?” Ever the consummate smart ass, my daughter says, “Well duh mom, He WAS Jewish so I’m thinking He’d go with blue.” (And she meant no disrespect by the way. Gia loves Jesus!) Meanwhile, this couple standing nearby started giggling too and the lady says, “You two are so sweet together, like a mother daughter comedy act! You just made me miss my two girls who are on their way home from school right now and I can hardly WAIT to hug them even tighter. I miss those days when it was us being silly at Walmart. Thank you for lighting up this aisle with holiday spirit!”

That was perhaps the greatest compliment either one of us could have gotten, esepcially considering our circumstances, and as they walked away from us she turned to hug me and said, “Mom, I think we’re gonna be okay!” Then I looked up at him and whispered, “Yes, we are!” And then we left just knowing what we know. Those people? They didn’t see it – all of our pain, grief and sorrow. And there’s no way they could have imagined that three months ago she was in a psych ward and I was laying in my bed, barely breathing and praying to God for the strength to walk yet again out of another living hell.

So yes we ARE gonna be okay. Never the same. Never EVER the same! Life without him is going to be, just, different. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be okay, and one day maybe even better than okay! In the meantime, we’re allowed to be excited and play argue and giggle about Christmas lights at Walmart, and if you knew anything about Zack it was this: He demanded nothing but the BEST for “his girls”! Did he throw us one HELL of a monkey wrench that was the exact opposite of “the best”? Um, yup. God’s grace has that covered though and he’s received mine as well. I’m so thankful for those people tonight. And my daughter. And my life. And the King who helped build me into the resilient woman I am today who’s still able to “shine” through all this darkness.

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NOVEMBER 21, 2019: “No Apologies” …

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~ by The Phoenix Collaborative Project ~

TruthTruly though… NO APOLOGIES whatsoever for my “breakout verbal vomit” presentation. It’s just that as you can now clearly see with the creation of my Highway 82 Survival Project, “secrets will make me sick no longer”. I’m gettin’ ready to get ready, and oh, by the way …

Dear Angelina Jolie:

THANK YOU for inspiring ME to “live a life of use to others”. I listen to your Jean Hershold Humanitarian Award acceptance speech every single day of my life now and have made my daughter listen to it as often as possible as well. Nothing will have meant ANYTHING if I leave this planet without having done just that, so that’s what I’m gonna do. You truly are one of my hero’s, and not because of “who you are” – because of “what you are”: A “Warrior. Motivator. SURVIVOR!” just like me. It is my sincere hope that before my lifetime is over I will be able to thank you in person. ~ CAT WILLIAMSON: Warrior. Motivator. SURVIVOR;

Secrets

NO APOLOGIES

“Holding your breath. Holding your tongue. You’re only holding yourself back. So much to say. So far to run out from the shadows you have cast. Girl the best days of your life have yet to come. It’s okay, it’s alright, to open up. You don’t owe anybody anything. Life is yours to live anyway you please. No apologies. No promise left for you to keep. You can be whoever you want to be. No apologies. Closing the door. Closing your eyes. You’re only closing yourself off. So much to see. So much to try. Don’t be afraid of what you want. Girl the best days of your life have yet to come. It’s okay, it’s alright, to open up.” – Trapt

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NOVEMBER 20, 2019: “Because Suicide Is ALWAYS Dead Serious!” …

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~ by The Phoenix Collaborative Project ~

… that moment you get this call from a friend who’s son has been openly and actively talking about suicide :: “Cat, someone just basically told me that I shouldn’t take him seriously … I need to toughen up with him … he’s probably NOT really going to do it. In your opinion and based upon your own personal experiences of having both tried it and survived it with Zack, do you think I should believe her?” REALLY? WHAT IN THE ACTUAL HELL? I am just beside myself right now. Need to digest what I just heard and surely there’s rant to follow because A SUICIDE THREAT SHOULD ALWAYS BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY!Can

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NOVEMBER 9, 2019: “From The Ground Up” …

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WHERE DO I BEGIN MY POST FOR TODAY?

How about 800 days ago …

AUGUST 31, 2017: The Frog I kissed who turned into a KING wrote the contract for the house of our dreams.

8NOVEMBER 16, 2017: That same king sat in the builder’s office for SIX long hours driving us all bananas over every intricate detail of how PERFECT he wanted this house for “his girls”, and specifically so Gia could have a place for her crew to crash throughout her high school years. A place they could all be comfortable, loved, accepted and at home, with no fear of judgement for simply being human. He wanted for her all he never had, and that was ALL he ever wanted.

7AUGUST 22, 2019: The King fell down but left his crown behind, because …

NOVEMBER 3, 2019: … the Princess and I made the decision to stay in this home he gave us until she graduates from high school. It’s what he would want and he has us set up for nothing but success in the rest of our journey without him. We spoke at length about the pros and cons of “should we stay or should we go”, but at the end of the day both firmly agreed that if he can still see us (and we believe that he can) it would BREAK HIS HEART even more than it did to have to leave us behind in the first place to see us pack up and leave this all behind.

NOVEMBER 9, 2019: As I am writing this there’s an upstairs filled with laughter! She’s having her first party and there are a dozen happy teenagers here feeling comfortable, relaxed and at home, just how he always wanted it. THIS WAS HIS DREAM FOR HER! I thought about crying when this ephiphany washed over me, but instead I could only smile. I too am feeling “comfortable, relaxed and at home”, with OUR daughter, in the castle HE built us, honoring his legacy and putting these shattered pieces together in the MOST beautiful way I can. I know he’s looking down right now and smiling smiling ear to ear as he absorbs all the laughter he can surely hear within these palace walls, hopefully taking comfort in seeing a very happy and thankful Queen.

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Williamson, YOU DID IT! Your dream has come true despite your multitude of mistakes and all the ways that you hurt us. I will remain eternally grateful for and cherish all the things you have given me, and yes, you are STILL my hero.

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NOVEMBER 1, 2019: “In Loving Memory” …

usThis will be my last “sad post” for a while, as tomorrow I start a new chapter of my life and will wake up with the positive perspective I know he’d want me to have as I endeavor onto a path I’ve been heading towards for years. Today was rough, I’m not gonna lie. I haven’t cried so much since I lost my daughter 15 years ago – almost constantly since waking at 7:05am. That being said, I had an epiphany on the way home from my “anniversary dinner” with the only real parents my husband ever had, Rick and Dee, who for the record are the ONLY people with whom I would have chosen to spend this first anniversary without him.

RingsWe got married on a Monday in our friends’ theatre room around 8:30pm, nine years ago tonight. We there “married” but clueless as to what the future held. We didn’t have much to start with, and in fact, it was right around “this time” that night we were sitting in a fast food parking lot in Murphy eating our drive-thru meals, SO happy and in completely in love. We had NOTHING but faith in one another, and that was all! Coincidently, we had very little support from anyone at that time. Zack had no real family to speak of. I mean, he had a “family of origin” – a father, some siblings and this “thing” that gave birth to him as he would always say. But with the exception of just one of his brothers, they couldn’t be bothered with him. But that’s a different story for another time. As for my family? But for my sister and kids, they just couldn’t understand why in the HELL I would marry the poor guy with the ugly truck and commit myself and Gia to what they believed was a life destined to nothing more than an apartment and hand to mouth foolish dreams. “We” were a joke to everyone for the most part, and no one, and I mean NO ONE took us seriously. There were a handful of people however that did support us from the onset, and irony of all ironies, today, my “first anniversary without him”, it so happened that three of those very same people were the people I spent my day with. It wasn’t planned this way, it just “was”. I am so thankful because honestly, it almost seemed cosmically purposed this way. Rick was the “dad” that stepped up for my husband when the father he “got” couldn’t be bothered to do much of anything for him in his lifetime. Rick was the one who stood beside my husband all these years and Rick was the one who stood beside my husband on our “wedding day”, while “father” sat in the audience. That means something, wouldn’t you say? IT SAYS EVERYTHING THAT NEEDS BE SAID WITHOUT WORDS!

I’ve heard NOTHING in 67 days from my “father in law” by the way. Zero! I never saw him again after the service, he hasn’t called once to check on me, and worse yet? HE NEVER CAME TO GET HIS SON’S ASHES, and now that I think of it, neither did his “one brother”. Nope. Both sets of ashes I had preserved for them are still sitting in my closet, as forgotten in death as he was in his life. But I digress. You know, now that I think of it, I don’t think “father” even knew when our wedding day was our what that day meant in the big scheme of things to his son. Certainly not very “fatherly”, but also not very surprising. That’s who and what he was, still is, and probably always will be – a foolish loser who pissed away an amazing son and even abandonded him in his death. At any rate, good night folks. I’m gonna be okay. Just, tomorrow.

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In Loving Memory Of “The Frog & The Butterfly”

“Thanks for all you’ve done. I’ve missed you for so long. I can’t believe you’re gone. You still live in me. I feel you in the wind. You guide me constantly. I never knew what it was to be alone. ‘Cause you were always there for me. You were always home waiting. But now I come home and I miss your face. Smiling down on me. I close my eyes to see. And I know you’re a part of me. And it’s your song that sets me free. I sing it while I feel, I can’t hold on. I sing tonight ’cause it comforts me. I carry the things that remind me of you. In loving memory of the one that was so true. You were as kind as you could be. And even though you’re gone you still mean the world to me. And you’ll be here with me still. All you did you did with feeling. And you always found a meaning. And you always will. And you always will. And you always will.” ~ Alter Bridge

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OCTOBER 25, 2019: “You Can’t Stop The Girl” …

"You Can't Stop The Girl"
~ by The Phoenix Collaborative Project ~

… that moment you and your daughter sit holding hands in tears after finding THE perfect theme song at the tail end of THE BEST MOVIE EVER eleven years to the day you first crossed paths with the one who swooped down and picked you both up for the MOST bittersweet flight of your lives, only to have to leave you behind with not only the ashes he tried so hard not to burden you with but all the strength and courage you could possibly ever need to rise so far above them that only God Himself knows how high you’ll possibly fly, because if you’ve both learned anything in 64 combined years of pain, sorrow, wisdom and beauty, it’s that there is NOTHING more powerful than The Truth, which ultimately becomes The Light, which is the ONE thing that can kill the darkness in us all. Our story might not have ended like the fairytale we always thought it would, but once this book is finally finished it will be the stuff that legends are made of. Goodnight everyone. (And yes, that was the longest sentence in the history of the world.)

YOU CAN’T STOP THESE GIRLS!

“Oh, they tryna shoot down angels. They tryna pull their wings off so they can’t fly.  And, oh, but she’s so brave though. Just like a tornado. She’s taking us by storm! You can’t stop the girl from going. You can’t stop the world from knowing! The truth will set you free, oh! You can’t stop the girl from going! You can’t stop the world from knowing! The truth will set you free, oh. You can’t stop the girl! Oh, they tryna take our voices. They tryna make our choices, so we scream loud, loud, loud! And, oh, I know you feel the lightnin’, and it’s so excitin’. So, here we come! It’s good enough for right now!” – Bebe Rexha

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OCTOBER 24, 2019: “No Easy Way Out” …

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Yesterday I ran across an Instagram post that really struck me (pun intended, lol). It was a super cool canvas rendition of the fight between Rocky and Ivan Drago, and after having thought about it literally all day and night, this is what poignant thought I’ve now managed to correlate (paraphrasing my comment on the post):

Gia and I are both huge fans, as was Zack. Rocky IV in particular is my favorite, because, don’t laugh, in my mind I have always imagined it’s been “me against the Devil” in both the brightest AND darkest moments of my life, and he’s the one always saying to me, “I MUST BREAK YOU”! Yet I absolutely refuse to let him take me down! Consequently, one of my favorite songs of all times, No Easy Way Out by Robert Tepper is from the Rocky IV soundtrack. The Sunday night before he killed himself it was playing in the car on our way home from the gym and he was crying as he squeezed my hand three times (“I-Love-You”). Five nights later he was gone. I’ve listened to it over and over the last 62 days, just thinking, reflecting, remembering and “wanting to know why”. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter, does it? Zack’s fighting days are done. He lost. Went down. Tapped out. IT’S OVER! But mine are not, because I’M STILL HERE, and quite clearly, I’m still standing. Am I bruised? Sure. Fat lip, bloodied nose, black eye, some scars here and there? Absolutely!

There have been so many days this last twenty years, EVEN when I was in my most broken, lost, bent out of shape, completely incoherent, mangled and twisted of mindsets, that I have looked at myself in the mirror and said, “Good grief woman, how in the HELL are you still standing? Why HAVEN’T you given up yet? WHY HASN’T THAT MISERABLE EFFING DEVIL BROKEN YOU?” The only answer I can ever come up with is this: “It’s Him. Not me.” And PLEASE fully understand that I do NOT believe I am more special, gifted, blessed or talented than any other person. It’s God. I just know it. There is NO other explanation as to why I have NOT taken the “easy way out”, other than, IT’S HIM! I just feel it. In my heart. In my bones. In my soul. All around me, everywhere, all the time. When I’m happy. When I’m sad. When I’m angry. When I’m grieving. When I’m crying, smiling, laughing, screaming or just feeling like punching someone in the face. It’s. Just. Him.

God just handed me this heavyweight belt I wear for what reason I will never understand. Zero did I earn it. Zero do I deserve it. But damn am I honored to have it! It’s the best and most valuable thing I possess that cost Him everything, and me NOTHING, other than complete and total blind faith in “the process”. I realize of course that some people don’t understand this, and, in fact, actually think its lunacy to believe in something you cannot touch or see. But hey, you can’t touch or see the wind, can you? Nope, you sure can’t. But it’s real just the same, and we sure CAN see the effects of it. I mean, hello? We KNOW what a strong windstorm can do, do we not? So, with that, I am Rocky. The Devil is Ivan Drago. The God I serve is the referee. And I? Am. Winning. Even when I’m losing. Have a good day everyone.

~ Love Cat

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OCTOBER 23, 2019: “Supernatural” …

JUNE 23, 2019 …

Perhaps one of the most powerful days of her life, and his. Zack had purchased the Supernatural fan convention ticket package for her a year in advance, including photo ops with her favorite actors, Misha Collins, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki andBaby”, the ‘67 Chevy Impala (probably her FAVORITE character on the show)! I wasn’t with them but heard that when they pulled into the parking lot that morning and she realized where she was going, she almost fainted. You see to her it’s not really about the show, the fandom or the “stars”. It’s about the storyline (which she correlates a lot to her own life for so many reasons) and the way these guys have used their fame and fortune as a platform for what’s truly important to all of them – mental health awareness and suicide prevention! She has read about, studied and followed their many valiant works and deeds to make this world better than they found it, and to her, THAT is what makes them all truly “fan-worthy”. She wrote an essay about them back in January for a school:

“SAVING PEOPLE, HUNTING MENTAL ILLNESS & THE SPN FAMILY BUSINESS”

by Gia Embach

What makes a hero? It is their immense strength, bravery, kindness and selflessness. They inspire and save the lives of people for no other reason than to help. For me, I found my heroes because of a TV show that I had no clue would be as special as it is to me. By telling his story and launching a campaign giving support to those in need, Jared Padalecki, alongside Misha Collins and Jensen Ackles, has inspired thousands of people, and myself, to never give up and to always keep fighting!

In March of 2015, Jared launched “Always Keep Fighting” with different T-Shirts with the slogan. All the money gained from the over 500,000 products sold were given to the charities To Write Love On Her ArmsThe Wounded Warrior Project and Attitudes In Reverse – Student Suicide Prevention. Later, he gave the reason for him starting the campaign in the first place. That previous New Years Eve, one of Jared’s best friends lost his battle with depression. Jared stated that this was not the first time he had lost a personal friend to suicide. Using this new campaign, he said that he hoped “that this campaign, while raising money for a wonderful charity, can also raise awareness about issues that affect more people than we know. I hope it inspires people battling depression, addiction, mental illness and suicidal thoughts to be vocal about their struggles. I hope it helps people realize that they shouldn’t be ashamed of what they are going through, and I hope it helps people meet and find new friends that they can relate to. I hope it helps people take pride in the fight that they have been fighting, and gives them a push to never give up or give in. I hope it helps inspire people to keep fighting. no matter how hard it is.” Through his actions, he showed a level of kindness and compassion that is superhuman. Later, however, he reveals something that gives the “Always Keep Fighting” Campaign an entirely different depth.

Living with a mental illness by itself requires an immense amount of strength and bravery. I have witnessed first hand that kind of wear and tear it can do (and yes, there is a REAL “super hero” in this regard that I am lucky enough to call my mom). Opening up to the public, to millions of people that you have suffered through the same battles as the people you are fighting for? That requires unbelievable bravery. Jared did just that. He said how he has suffered from anxiety and depression. He said that he did not understand why he would be depressed. “It kind of hit me like a sack of bricks,” Jared told reporters. “I mean, I was 25 years old. I had my own TV show. I had dogs that I loved and tons of friends and I was getting adoration from fans and I was happy with my work, but I couldn’t figure out what it was; it doesn’t always make sense is my point. It’s not just people who can’t find a job, or can’t fit in in society that struggle with depression sometimes.” Misha Collins, a best friend and co-star of Jared, also suffered in the same way that many fans and readers alike have. Misha had been self-harming for years. Since he was only around 12 or 13 years old. Misha won his battle. He stopped cutting himself and started loving himself. Later, he and his co-star/best friend Jensen Ackles started something of their own.

On February 12, 2016, Jensen and Misha launched the You Are Not Alone fundraising T-shirt Campaign with T-shirts that used the slogan “You Are Not Alone”. The SPNFamily Crisis Support Network has been established by Jensen and Misha in partnership with Random Acts, TWLOHA, and IMAlive. This project created an online support network to help fans cope with mental health issues such as depression, self-injury, and addiction and included training for fan volunteers who wish to be crisis responders in their spare time, provided immediate access to support lifelines for fans in crisis, and local community resources for those needing additional support or information.  Together, they save lives and create warriors in the process. They have shown people that there are people who care about them. They save lives as any hero should.

Through words and actions, they have shown far more than bravery, courage, and compassion. Just like the ‘S’ on Superman’s chest, what they have done means hope for people. On February 9th, Misha Collins, who plays Castiel on Supernatural, posted a video on his social media accounts. Misha’s message? He told his fans without speaking that they’re not alone. To people outside of the Supernatural fandom, this video may not seem like much. But to people who know Misha, to people who watch him every week on The CW, these four words, “you are not alone”  mean so much more. Fans see that the actors that they look up to and love not only care about them, but believe in them. They continue also to bring the three-word sentence, “always keep fighting”, up fairly often, constantly reminding their fans to not give up.

“Jared, Jensen and Misha”. To people not in the fandom these names may mean nothing. I promise you, however, that these names have meant life for thousands of people, mine included. They have not only saved lives, but taught people how to save lives themselves. To look around, at complete strangers, and help those who are struggling, and make sure that they win their fight. They have created an army that fights the demons that live in all of our hearts and minds. An army that is fighting every day for one another.

Jared, Jensen and Misha have saved thousands of lives, mine included. Day after day they continue to save people. Jared Padalecki, alongside Misha Collins and Jensen Ackles, have inspired thousands of people, and myself, to never give up, and to always keep fighting. They have taught us that no matter what happens, what we do, I keep going. No matter how much we want to give up on anything, little or small, we will refuse to stop. Most importantly, they have taught us that even if we think we have met our match and can’t go on, we will get up and fight harder than ever. We can go on because we are enough, we are not alone, and we have a family of people we have never met, who love us and understand us. Who live their lives loving and helping complete strangers. Thanks to these three men. As Jared said, “Even if there are a thousand small fights, even if every other minute you’re thinking about suicide, or depression, or addiction, or if you have a mental illness, I want people to hit it head on and take action. And to be proud that they’re winning their fight, period.” We must always keep fighting.

How ironic is it that we are now both preparing ourselves to “walk the walk” and “talk the talk” that she had already taken so seriously long before he left us this way? The connection between my daughter, Zack (her “Bobby”), this show, “these guys” and their platforms is no coincidence! One thing you should know is that on August 22, 2019, Gia made the call on her own to the IMAlive chat line in the midst of all the chaos! We have Misha, Jensen, Jared and “Supernatural” to thank for that! One day I hope to be able to tell them in person: “Hey, J2M! YOU SAVED MY KID’S LIFE! THANK YOU!”

Four months have passed since one of the best weekends of her life but then a dark dragon swooped down and changed everything for us both in the blink of an eye. This weekend we face one of the most bittersweet weekends of our life! But we will walk, and we will talk like the warrior girls we are, because I am me, she is mine, and it’s what we’re being called to do.

WE. ARE. SUPERNATURAL!

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CARRY ON MY WAYWARD SON

“Carry on my wayward son, for there’ll be peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest. Don’t you cry no more! Once I rose above the noise and confusion just to get a glimpse beyond the illusion. I was soaring ever higher, but I flew too high. Though my eyes could see I still was a blind man. Though my mind could think I still was a mad man. I hear the voices when I’m dreamin’, I can hear them say: Carry on my wayward son. For there’ll be peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest. Don’t you cry no more! Masquerading as a man with a reason. My charade is the event of the season. And if I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don’t know. On a stormy sea of moving emotion. Tossed about I’m like a ship on the ocean. I set a course for winds of fortune, but I hear the voices say: Carry on my wayward son, for there’ll be peace when you are done. Lay your weary head to rest. Don’t you cry no more! Carry on, you will always remember! Carry on, nothing equals the splendor! Now your life’s no longer empty! Surely heaven waits for you.” ~ Kansas

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OCTOBER 20, 2019: “My Rescue Story” …

Rescue Story… that moment your friend of a million years, who’s known you through some of your darkest hours, finds and sends you THE SONG OF YOUR LIFE. I’m literally thanking God right now for the very kind strangers who picked me up off the floor after losing it in the middle of my workout. LOOK AT THE NAME OF THE ARTIST! It’s like this song was written just for me – AND for my husband. Regardless of how he left us and what many people believe about suicide, I know the merciful God I serve did NOT forsake him in his last breath and was waiting with His hand reached out to finally rescue and take him “Home”. Thank you Dee Holley. I love you!

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OCTOBER 9, 2019: “SOLITARY: Life Behind A Mask” …

ArthurSo, here’s what’s on my mind today. After my sister’s birthday dinner last night, she wanted to go see The Joker. We’d both assumed it was just a Batman prequel, and in a roundabout way it was, inasmuch as it was set in Gotham City and the Wayne’s were front and present. I haven’t been to the movies much lately and was completely uninformed as to the plot, but I’m a “Batgirl” so we went with it.

This was NO superhero commentary. Was there a connection? Absolutely. But within seconds of the opening scene I began to wonder, “Do I stay, or do I go?” Every alarm in my psyche was screaming that this movie could potentially level me. He was “painting on a mask” but behind his eyes you could clearly see that whatever road he’d walked until that moment he had lost connection to both the world and himself. Yet I was compelled to watch this six degrees of separated version of not only Zack’s story, but at times mine and SO many other people I’ve known. As we cringed our way through Joker’s “Hell on Earth” I watched him bring a gun to his head six times, and if that weren’t bad enough, though we’d all anticipated him blowing his OWN brains out in the end, brains indeed were blown out on the screen. And I just sat there like an iron wall. I could see my sister panic every time the gun went to his head as she’d lean over and ask if we needed to leave, but I kept assuring her I was okay, because I was. I don’t know what in my own “Hell on Earth” this says about me, but wait, I think I do …

darknessI AM ONE STRONG BITCH! “Warrior. Motivator. SURVIVOR!” The longer I sat there the LESS I wanted to cry and shake my fists all up to the Heavens screaming “WHY?” I already know why ALL too well and no amount of screaming or fist shaking will change my own plot line or erase the things I’ve “gotten to learn” so far. Do I still cry? Every. Fucking. Day! I’m only human after all. But I believe that every tear I shed is being counted by a Power INFINITELY higher than me and I absolutely trust it. So, I welcome those tears, then simply “let them go”, as my most effective form of mental health therapy.

Here’s my takeaway from both the show and my visceral reaction to it: Much like my husband who often felt isolated in even the most crowded spaces, The Joker eventually lost connection with not only himself but humanity as well. He’d been stepped on, overlooked and bullied by life in general, which process led him to an internal mental madness that most people couldn’t fathom. Like The Joker (and many of us) my husband wore two faces: The very happy “I’m okay” mask he dawned outwardly each day while secretly living inside the invisible, solitary prison where he wore the other “sick, dark, tragic one” that led him to his fate.

One of the most poignant scenes in the movie found the mentally ill Joker sitting in front of “a system” letting him down, just as pretty much everything and one he’d ever known had done, and he said something to the effect of, “Have you even listened to a SINGLE thing I’ve said? All these times I’ve sat in front of you – have you EVER really seen or heard me?” Such is the story of so many of our lives and then we too “slip through the void” into our own darkness. Which is why I think I could NOT bring myself to leave the one movie I probably should NOT have seen in the first place. Last night, sitting through that show like the ROCK I know I’ve become? I did NOT crumble. I did NOT cry. I only became further convicted in my desperate need to touch as many “Joker’s” lives as possible with what time I have left here on Earth. Self-pity, sorrow, screaming and “fist shaking” will accomplish ZERO but “reaching the unreachable” just might. Okay, that’s all. Thanks for listening. ~ Cat ❤️

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OCTOBER 15, 2019: “Angels Unaware” …

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This is NO JOKE but last night Gia and I had a real encounter with an angel! An actual angel named “Cassiel”! I have always believed in angels, and so has she, but this was surreal. The scariest part is that upon investigation as to “who is Cassiel” what we found was beyond! Cassiel is not just any angel, but rather, the Archangel known for watching the events of the cosmos unfold with little interference. He’s the angel of solitude and tears said to preside over the deaths of kings, and the patron angel “of all manner of overlooked people, or those in weakened states, including orphaned children and the downtrodden.” Cassiel is also the “angel of the planet Saturn”, whose protagonist is Zazel, “the demon of Saturn”, most known for infiltrating the minds of the psychologically weak and mentally ill. One last thing. Cassiel’s “planetary number” just happens to be 8, which, turned on its side is infinity. This was not only Zack’s favorite number (he was “supposed” to get an infinity tattoo with mine and Gia’s name on each end on Friday the 23rd had he not left us) but it was also his “Life Path Number”. We have both been seeing the number 8 everywhere, and, lest we forget that he “made the decision to die” on August 8th – “8/8”. Not too weird, right? Gia and I are both home today feeling a bit ethereal, in all the best possible ways. Maybe we are both insane?

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OCTOBER 5, 2019: “37 Years Ago Today” …

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… to this very day and minute, October 5, 1982, 9:51am, not only I and my children, but this world as a whole received one of the most beautiful gifts I never knew I would have until that moment our eyes locked so many years later in October 2008. “It was written in the stars, on the pages of my heart, oh that someday I would find the love I feel for you … On the ocean of our dreams, like a prayer you came to me. And the longing that had been found its ending in your eyes …”. There are no words to describe the bittersweet emotions I am raw with at this moment. “One man’s trash really IS another man’s treasure”, and God Himself knows this is true. She may have thrown you away, but you were indeed my greatest treasure, other than those I have given birth to myself. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ZACHARIAH.  Your battle is finally over.

Until your in my arms again …

Zack

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SEPTEMBER 25, 2019: “Things That Matter” …

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I remember this post so well. We closed our eyes that night feeling so grateful for all the ways we had learned the very hard way which “things” mattered, and which did not. The bittersweet irony is that today the principal behind this post still rings true, and in fact, resonates even louder. On “August 22nd at just before midnight” he had every “thing” a man could ever want and had positioned us such that not a single dream was out of reach. But as you can see, no number of “things” could fill the gaping hole in his heart left by “the thing” that gave birth to him that he ultimately ended up drowning in. It’s a sad and sobering truth. “Things” are nice, I’m not gonna lie, and as of this moment I too have more than an abundance of “things” in my possession. BUT I WOULD GIVE IT ALL AWAY IN A SECOND IF I COULD GO BACK AND CHANGE THE WAY OUR STORY ENDED! I’ve said it before and will say it again: I could have lived in that little apartment in Fairview with him forever … that’s how much he meant to me. It wasn’t about all the “things” we got; it was about the life we made. The heart, soul, love and devotion he put into everything he did for us without any strings or conditions for the first time in my entire existence. No amount of money in the world can buy such a treasure as that. It was priceless. 

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SEPTEMBER 22, 2019: “Forgiven” …

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Exactly one year ago this morning Zack and I were sitting in a hotel lobby in Paris waiting for a shuttle to come schlep us to the airport for our flight home to Dallas. “So, where are we going next”, he asked me. One trip to Europe and literally could NOT wait to plan our next adventure. He was hooked! After having spent the entire morning considering the possibilities, we were split down the middle: Ireland? Switzerland? Kids? No kids? What to to do, what to do? BEFORE WE’D MADE IT TO THE AIRPORT he had already called Globus to book “our trip” to Switzerland for my 50th (which as you know didn’t happen) and within a week of getting home he had the Ireland trip for “all of us” booked as well. My point is this: Life just threw us a curveball that no one ever “really” saw coming. And this my friends, IS LIFE. Each day, wait, no, each second we are allowed to spend here with our souls in these flesh and bone bodies just turning and burning, living like there’s no tomorrow and making plans for the future is a gift. So I beg you all: If what happened to our family hasn’t already made you “stop, look and listen” and take serious stock of your life, please, DO IT NOW! One month ago today? Although, yes, there had been signs, and yes, we had been fighting for months against the demons that were devouring him, I THOUGHT WE HAD MORE TIME!

Unfortunately I have learned all too well by now that everything can change in an instant but I think the most important thing I’ve ”earned” through it all it is in knowing that at the end of the day? It’s all about forgiveness. And acceptance, empathy, understanding and grace. Not to mention those four other most precious rules that I’ve tried so hard to live by to the best of my ability since first reading them some years ago: (1) Be Impeccable With Your Word. (2) Don’t Take Anything Personally. (3) Don’t Make Assumptions. (4) ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST! My husband hurt me and my kids so badly. His actions spoke louder than the even the angriest words I’ve heard in my lifetime, and trust me, prior to “life with Zack” I’D HEARD MORE THAN MY FAIR SHARE OF ANGRY WORDS!

There are things that will be revealed throughout the course of time in both my and Gia’s journey that may surprise, confuse and anger you. Zack wasn’t “Zack” the night he left us. He was someone else. Some “thing” else. Two beings in one body … an angel battling a demon. And as dramatic as that may sound, please understand me when I say this: Yes, I am telling you the truth. HIS CHOICES, ACTIONS AND FINAL BLOW HURT AND DEVASTATED US IN UNFATHOMABLE WAYS! But in case you haven’t figured it out by now I have forgiven him FOR EVERYTHING and did so within seconds of knowing he was gone, which, for the record, although his death certificate reads “Found August 23, 2019”, I FELT HIS LIFE LEAVING MY OWN BODY on Thursday, August 22, 2019, at just before midnight. I know with every shred of my being, and will NEVER be convinced otherwise, that was the moment he pulled the trigger.

The forgiveness wasn’t just for me, by the way, it was also very much for him. And what I mean in adding this is that so many times in life we are put in positions wherein there is “forgiveness that needs to be given”, but for whatever reason the circumstances are such that the person that hurt us is either UNDESERVING OF OUR FORGIVENESS or otherwise “unavailable” for being forgiven (i.e., they are dead, in jail, otherwise absent from our life, OR, simply unwilling or incapable of validating or acknowledging even a SHRED of the pain or suffering they have caused us. In some cases, as in mine and Gia’s, it could be a little of all of the above. These are the times, therefore, when you may perhaps have heard it said, and, IT IS SO TRUE: “Forgiveness is for us, not them.” It releases us from a self-inflicted prison of anger, hate, toxicity and resentment when we become victims of the unkind acts of others. In our case? Some could argue (and probably have) that what he did to us was indeed “unforgivable”. But you see, I have known all too well since the day that precious man’s eyes first met with mine that he was suffering within himself all the days of his life, EVEN DURING HIS VERY BEST YEARS WITH US, and knowing that he lived each day with that constant ache inside his heart tortured me too. There is a line from one of my “top five movies of all times” that has been resonating in my mind daily since I lost my husband: “That boy, Frank, he lives inside of his own heart. That’s an awful big place to live in.” The movie was Slingblade, and we watched it together often. I cannot tell you how many times I saw tears rolling down his cheeks when he heard those words being said, as that is exactly where he lived the majority of HIS life – “inside of his own heart”. And, yes, it truly was an awful big place to live in. I am so thankful that my husband is finally at peace now, and I absolutely know that he is.

One thing I want to say before wrapping up this morning and getting Gia up and ready for what we are going to try to make as good a day as possible in this life “that we get to live today” with people who genuinely love and care about us both is that last night while at dinner with a dear, true friend of mine a miracle started happening. Gia is starting to talk about him. Finally. For the first time “since that night”. Up until yesterday, SHE DIDN’T WANT TO HEAR HIS NAME! And not only was she talking about him, but my friend later pointed something out to me that I didn’t really pick up on until she said it: “Catherine, in all our conversation tonight I couldn’t help but notice that she kept referring to Zack as her dad and her dad as her father.” And that my friends, is probably the most absolute and defining moment of this whole process of HERS. As time goes by it is becoming very clear to me that somehow she too is going to forgive him FOR EVERYTHING HE DID! The bond they shared? The daddy that he “was” before he lost his fucking mind? Nothing is going to erase it! SHE IS HER MOTHER’S DAUGHTER and so I guess with that something I must be doing is working. I know exactly what I want my own legacy to be one day when I too have to leave, and from what I can now clearly see, it is already living out loud through her. It’s one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given.

Have a good day everyone and PLEASE take a moment to stop and look around you at everything and EVERYONE. What you are looking at could all be gone tomorrow so please go and live your best lives. AGREEMENT NUMBER FOUR: “Always Do Your Best”!

~ Love Cat

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SEPTEMBER 22, 2019: “The Birthday Gift I Didn’t Know I Needed” …

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Dear Dee:

I AM ALMOST AT A LOSS FOR WORDS! Seeing you for the first time in so many years was so much more than a blessing. My daughter is already in love with you and seeing her open up and share with you the way she did was an even greater blessing, as she simply doesn’t do that very often. As for my birthday gift? Again, NO WORDS! The best gift you gave me however was something even more precious than this quilt. It was in how you pointed out that somehow, buried deep beneath her STILL burning ashes is her DAD, their memories and the countless unconditional gifts he gave her after HER own dad made the conscious, selfish, decision in his very stable mind to “throw her away” as well. He didn’t put her in a trash can, and yes, he is still physically present for her. But he emotionally abandoned and vacated both of my kids’ lives in favor of some pretty face five years ago, as did he abandon ME when I needed him the most 20 plus years ago. I know it. Her brother knows it. SHE KNOWS IT. Her “dad” is gone now, having left her in the most egregious way. But, he’s not. Last night every fear I’d had that she was going to “forget the truth” faded into the wind just like he did. “My dad” she said. My. Dad! Their bond will somehow survive through all her pain and suffering, I just know it will forever. Thank you for paying attention and THANK GOD she felt so comfortable talking to you. All her walls came down and she was just “Gia”. It was exactly what I needed and the BEST gift I got for my 50th birthday! I love you. 

Dee

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SEPTEMBER 17, 2019: “Happy 50th Birthday To Me” …

CatZachariah Lucas Williamson:

If you can hear or see me from wherever you are, and I’m surviving right now due in large part to my true faith that that you can, I want you to know that I love you. I Miss you. I FORGIVE YOU. I would NOT have made it to this crossroad in my journey without you, and you and I both know it’s true. I will never forget you, or replace you, nor dishonor, disgrace or disassemble the infinite trove of tools, gifts, strengths and beauty that you and ONLY YOU had the patience, courage and foresight to help find buried deep within myself. You helped me find my reflection inside a mirror where I once only saw a faceless monster, and that, my prince, is something you and ONLY YOU shall get the credit for. You refused to give up on me no matter how hard I made you try, and not a day will go by while I’m roaming this earth without you that I won’t pray to God that you’re STILL behind me silently pushing me like only you can do. There is so much work to be done here now, and I’m GOING to make you proud. Every day for the rest of my life I will count these darkened ashes piled beneath our feet and rise so far above them that it will be IMPOSSIBLE for them not to hear “our” voices.

If my wish has come true, you’ve safely made it Home now with your broken heart in one piece to The One parent whose intention was never to forsake you through all the lonely pain and heartache you suffered in your lifetime. And last but not least, I’m hoping that not only have you gone and found my daughter by now but that you’ve also caught up with that handsome Cajun boy you heard so much about who stole the first real piece of my heart and rode off with it in “the blaze of glory”. Don’t think that I will EVER forget how you not only welcomed him and everything he was but even more so embraced him for all that I was because of what he’d brought into my world and let me carry him on our journey together. Few are the men that are capable of such selflessness and “living with my ghosts” the way that you did was one of the things I thanked God for the most every day of our life together. I just know that you’ll all be waiting for me hand in hand when I get there … I can picture it in my mind! So, until that day comes when I can see you all again, I love you more than words. Forever. Eternally. Unconditionally. ~ Catherine

BECAUSE YOU LOVED ME

“For all those times you stood by me. For all the truth that you made me see. For all the joy you brought to my life. For all the wrong that you made right. For every dream you made come true. For all the love I found in you. I’ll be forever thankful baby. You’re the one who held me up and never let me fall. You’re the one who saw me through through it all. You were my strength when I was weak. You were my voice when I couldn’t speak. You were my eyes when I couldn’t see. You saw the best there was in me. Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach. You gave me faith ’cause you believed. I’m everything I am because you loved me. You gave me wings and made me fly. You touched my hand I could touch the sky. I lost my faith, you gave it back to me. You said no star was out of reach. You stood by me and I stood tall. I had your love I had it all. I’m grateful for each day you gave me. Maybe I don’t know that much, but I know this much is true. I was blessed because I was loved by you. You were always there for me. The tender wind that carried me. A light in the dark shining your love into my life. You’ve been my inspiration.Through the lies you were the truth. My world is a better place because of you.” – Celine Dion

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SEPTEMBER 15, 2019: “One Road Leads To Another” …

Highway 82So a friend of mine of 20 years urged me to get out and meet her at Choctaw in Durant last night. I spent all day going back and forth as to whether I was going or not and must have picked my phone up at least a dozen times throughout the course of the day and started texts that looked like, “Hey, I’m not sure I’m going to make it …”, but then kept deleting them and walking away from the phone.

Eventually I made the decision to go for what I thought would be overnight, so I packed my bag, took Walter to my mom and headed north up 75. The quiet drive was nice and I hadn’t really cried yet all day, as I was planning on trying not to. But right around the Highway 82 exit in Sherman I just about lost it. Zack and I had this whole “Highway 82” thing that I won’t go in to, but let’s just say that if you’ve ever heard the song “Take Me There” by Rascal Flatts, that road was a part of his story, and thus ours too. So yes, it was a moment, and yes as I began remembering all the times we’d taken that exit for our Oklahoma adventures I was flooded with emotions. I swear I could feel the “one, two, three” squeeze (I-Love-You) that we would always share to quietly express the deep connection between us, and EVERY time we made that exit? He always squeezed my hand.

It was an out of body experience drifting through that venue without my husband, and my friend didn’t arrive for a while so I was solo for 30 minutes. Several times I looked up and whispered, “Umm hello? You of all people KNOW how much I fucking hate this! What are you doing to me Williamson?” I kinda wanted to kick his ass, but not in a violent way. It was more so, “This is ANNOYING and it kinda really sucks and I wish I could punch you in the face”. It seemed like people were staring at me, which was probably all in my head, but it was just so extremely uncomfortable. I haven’t taken my wedding rings off by the way, and don’t foresee that happening any time in the near future. To be quite honest, I don’t know that I ever will. First of all, even though “death has parted us”, in my heart we are bonded for life, and also, I just don’t see how it’s possible that any other man on the face of this planet could possibly live with the immensely profound shadow that Zack has cast behind me eternally. No one will EVER be able to fill his shoes. Zero. Not that it’s a competition, and not that it’s even of relevance at this point because the thought of giving “all of me” to another man ever again makes me want to vomit. Aside from Christian and Gia there has been no other person who has had 100% of all I am. It was only him, and maybe it was only EVER supposed to be him, just as I was HIS “one and only everything”. I was Zack’s first love, and his last love, and everything in between. We were eachother’s miracles and the answers to the prayers we’d both been praying since probably before we were born. So what are the chances that a love like ours could happen twice in a lifetime? Right now I just can’t see that happening, but whatever. My focus at this point is my kids, me, and my steadfast determination to take whatever steps are necessary in the direction of improving the human condition. I’ve decided to become a life coach people. It happened on the drive BACK from Oklahoma, right around that Highway 82 exit. It just hit me. Not like a ton of bricks, but a mountain of them. I’m GOING to become a life coach, and I’m GOING to get out there and start talking to people about all the things I’ve been through and all the ways I’ve survived.

Now I remember where I was going when I started this post. So let’s go back to the end of the night when we were sitting in Gilley’s listening to the band. Two guys walked up to check out our situation and asked to buy us drinks. I rolled my eyes SO far in the back of my head that I’m still not sure how I couldn’t read the signs on the wall behind me. I said to myself, “Oh God, here we go. I FUCKING HATE THIS! I don’t want this guy, that guy, or any guy EVER to buy me a drink EVER! I just want to go home, and for my husband to be waiting for me when I get there, and for this to all not be real!” My poor friend was doing all that she could to protect me from this scenario. After all, her intention in getting me out was never to get someone to buy me a drink, only to get me out of my head. And I’m glad she did because THIS is what led me to my “Highway 82” life decision …

So the one guy asks about the drink, I was rolling my eyes, and my friend put her arms around me and turned to look at him and said these EXACT words: “Look, we sure do appreciate you but I’m going to kindly ask that you give us some space. Without going into details, my sweet friend here just lost her husband and I needed to get her out for the night which is the only reason we’re sitting here. This week is her birthday, it’s just not a good time for her, and I need you to leave us alone now.” “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that” he said then he turned to me. “Do you mind if I ask what happened?” Really? Ummm, yes, I do mind, but since he had the nerve to ask, I turned to look him straight in the eyes. “He shot himself in the head 23 days ago.” Then I turned back around and rolled my eyes again. To which, he then replied, after five or so awkward seconds of silence, “Oh wow. Just wow. How could he do that to you? Why would he? I just don’t GET IT! Such a permanent solution to a temporary situation. It’s just so selfish when people go and kill themselves. Man that’s just a shame. I’m so sorry for you darlin’. Really. Good night.” Then he left. Thank. GOD.

So here’s what’s wrong with what that guy said: ALL OF IT! Honestly, for a split second I really wanted to punch him in the face, like, violently, not the other kind of “funny” way I wanted to punch Zack earlier that night. And I wanted to scream at him, “NO! YOU’RE WRONG! He didn’t DO THIS to me. He didn’t even DO THIS to himself! He was sick. And in pain. He’d been seeing things. And hearing voices. He had split apart at the seams. He was suffering. And tormented. AND WAY TOO MANY THINGS YOU COULD EVER POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND BECAUSE YOU NEVER WALKED IN HIS SHOES!” But selfish? HE WAS NOT! And I refuse to let that be his legacy. Yet therein lies the problem. The stigma. The misgiving. The untrue truth that so many have to speak to make “the S word” easier to digest.

And thus my “Highway 82 Life Coaching” decision! So many people just don’t get it. THEY SIMPLY DO NOT UNDERSTAND! Because unless you’ve lived it, survived it, or have watched someone dying this way out loud? You CAN’T! It’s “only been 24 days” since my husband died by suicide, and by no means am I professing to be an expert. But I know what I know, and frankly, I’ve BEEN down that dark road Zachariah never made it off of. so I’m GOING to help people understand.

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SEPTEMBER 14, 2019: “The Lion Of Lucerne” …

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SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2019: At 8am this morning we were supposed to be taking off on our flight to tour Switzerland for my 50th birthday. Lucerne was to be our first night, and our last, and one of the things I was most looking forward to sharing with him was ”the lion in the wall”. The very one that I myself stood before some 14 years prior while having the first of my many to follow “moments”. At that time, I too was trapped inside the dark and lonely prison of my own mind, a secluded chasm where I was alive but not quite living. So many of my realities back then were nothing more than lies and I but a walking farce. I vividly remember that day as the group I was with headed up this tree-lined path towards something magnanimous our guide was excited to show us. I was looking down at my schedule, not paying much attention, and almost ran in to the person standing in front of me when the group suddenly stopped and turned to look across the pond at “him”. My Lion.

The Lion of Lucerne is rock relief carved into the cliff face of a sandstone sculpted during the early part of the 19th century to commemorate the Swiss Guards who lost their lives in 1792 during the French Revolution. But as I paused to gaze upon him, I saw more than just a fallen soldier. It was in that very moment that I began feeling the plethora of emotions I’d been suppressing behind a fraudulent smile to protect not only myself, but my children especially, from the wreckage to come when I finally started letting it all go.

The Lion. Just look at him lying there slain inside that wall. A beast of many burdens, lifeless and alone with only the precious secrets he’d been carrying within his heart. Weak and weary. Tired and spent. Worn out, solemn and vacant. Life had its way with him and now he’s but a corpse of some unknown past he’d once lived, the demons that had devoured him and the countless private dreams he’d dreamt that never were to be. Despite his years of his perceived magnificence, he is, ”no longer”. Connecting with him in that one still moment screamed to me in ways and volumes that I have yet been able to fathom, but what I can tell you this. That was indeed the turning point when I truly began to “feel” the pain from the broken, jagged pieces that had been cutting me within all the while. Both my stomach and my heart were aching so badly that I literally couldn’t breathe. But to be very honest, it was without question one of THE most beautiful moments of my life.

The Lion is me. And he’s my husband. He is any and everyone who is now or has ever had the daunting task of wandering lost inside their own lonely head and heart just waiting for the day that they’re finally allowed to die. So, with that, as I finish this post, I think that I’ve made a decision: Soon I will go on to Lucerne and offer some of his ashes to that pond beneath my Lion. It’s what I need to do.

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SEPTEMBER 13, 2019: “Until The Day He Died” …

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UNTIL THE DAY I DIE

The waters rise. The light declines. But I’m not turning back from here. Voices are crying. Corpses remind that most don’t make it to the end. Look to the sky. Take back what’s mine. This life can be a cemetery. This life can be a shallow grave. I’ll never be a casualty. I’ll never bow before I break. I’ll stand and fight. Until the day I die. I left the known to walk alone ’cause to remain was suicide. The “could’ve been”. Stood up again ’cause not to try was just to die. Maybe I’m wrong. But it’s my right. I’ll face the night. I’ll find the light. Look to the sky. Take back what’s mine. I’ll stand and fight. Until the day I die.” – Like A Storm

As you can see I am desperately trying to be as transparent as possible as I journey through this nightmare I’m living out loud, as I refuse to sit back and let the broken roads each member of this family have traveled thus far have been in vain. My story? HIS story? Gia’s? My son’s? They WILL have made a difference somehow in the life of least one other broken human soul that is lingering in this world somewhere if it takes my own last dying breath to do it. People. Matter.

rOBINI have often likened Zack’s personality to that of Robin Williams, one of my favorite comedic actors and icons. Like Robin, my husband was so much larger than life itself. Always smiling. Always positive. Always the biggest presence in the room! He couldn’t stand to see anyone sad, so, he would make us laugh until our effing sides hurt. Yes, he was the biggest clown I’ve ever met! At the same time though, he was “all in serious” about everything he tackled in life, and as witty as he could be, his timing was always perfect. With him? There was a time to laugh, a time to cry, a time to play, a time to dig in deep and get to work, but always a time to just “Good Morning Vietnam” it! 

Thursday, August 8th, 2019 things truly seemed to be looking up. It was Zack’s day off, but we’d decided to split for the afternoon so that I could take Gia for school shopping and lunch while he went and ran some errands of his own. When he walked out the door he seemed to be in genuinely good spirits, and as you can see from our credit card statement we’d had a productive day. Me? Shopping. Having lunch with our daughter. Living life in the moment and excited for the double date later that night with our sweethearts. We were happy. We had a family. A home. And a daddy and king waiting for us back at that home who loved us more than words could say. He was. Our everything. Our ROCK.

But what about him that day? What DON’T we see in this picture of him smiling at Pinstack? “Our rock” was crumbling right before our eyes and had already made the decision to end his life. The charge you see at “CAB STORE ALLEN”? While we were eating lunch he was at Cabella’s buying the Springfield he put to his head 14 days later. The Parker police have it on video … 

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So, there you have it. What you see hiding behind another one’s smile isn’t always joy, peace and happiness and these two pictures are a sobering example of this truth. Although we knew he was struggling, no one knew JUST how close to the end of the story he really was. He was dying a slow, painful, agonizing death within the confines of his mind … we just couldn’t see it. He tried not to fall, trust me when I say this, and I’m sorry, not sorry, if this post upsets anyone because perhaps it’s “too transparent”. But there’s a poignant statement being made in these pictures that I felt was too important not to share. “The saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy. Because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anybody else to feel like that”.

ROBIN WILLIAMS

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SEPTEMBER 12, 2019: “The Power Of Tribal Abandonment” …

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So, you’re wondering, “How is Gia”? Well I’m sitting in front of her new school waiting for her to come out, and if today is anything like the first three days this week, she’ll have a smile on her face from ear to ear. The entrance ramp you see in the picture is the same one Zack traversed when he too went to Bowman! The little house he grew up in is just beyond the park in my rearview mirror, and as I sit here now, I can see the faint traces of a younger Zachariah barreling out those doors headed straight for that park. A sweet, innocent, blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy lost deep in a world of solitude, ever so unaware that the feet that were carrying him were already set upon a dark and broken path of “left solely to his own defenses”. But I digress.

Despite the nine plus years we had him “healthy, happy and somewhat whole”, Zack’s spiral descent truly began here at Bowman two years ago when we were searching for proof he’d existed on paper as a child so as to finally get him a birth certificate and passport to travel abroad.

THIS PLACE? Sitting in the very office where Gia and I sat last Friday to “fake enroll her” (with the intention of online school to finish her 8th grade year) was where Zack and I sat waiting to find that, no there was no record of him there. And although we were lucky to find two pictures of him later that day at Memorial Elementary, the brutal reality burned like salt on his soul. But still, the irony. The very place he began falling apart as an adult is where she is coming together as a child. We didn’t choose Bowman intentionally. It just happens that this is the Plano ISD middle school our address feeds to. It was mere coincidence. Or was it? He’s with her here now, I just know it!

Gia’s decision to leave St. Marks wasn’t difficult. It wasn’t the school itself; it’s a great school and I’m proud that both my kids have that legacy. And although I won’t go into the dramatics of it all because honestly, THAT STORY will be an entire chapter to itself, let me say this: The particular class she was with year after year (most notably, the girls) bears the distinction as having one the cruelest and hateful lot of mean kids in the school’s history. To make matters worse, “real dad” began dating the mother of her best friend, which mother and daughter proceeded to embark upon a campaign to quite literally destroy both mine and Gia’s reputations through words and deeds tantamount only to assault: Bullying, belittling, degrading, socially isolating, controlling, threatening, manipulating and even blackmailing and slander. Yes, all true. (PS. “Real dad” is still dating this woman despite the trauma she and her spawn bestowed upon my daughter. But again, I digress.) Gia spent the last five years feeling very alone on that campus, hard pressed to find but a handful of real friends (and thank GOD for those). For the most part, her “friends” saw her as a revolving door, taking or leaving her to best suit their own social needs such that through it all, on her birthday this year? She was checking her phone every ten minutes to see if any of “her people remembered the day she was born (much like every October 5th when Zack would check his phone every ten minutes to see if any of his people remembered him).

Before he killed himself and hurt her VERY BADLY, she was already in such a damaged and fragile state there are no words. Her “tribe”? Those girls she stood by loyally and faithfully, never fail? The ones she always showed up for? Stood up for? Stood behind? The ones whose lockers she made sure were jam packed with treats on their special days? They showed her just what she meant to them on July 18th: NOTHING! No texts. No calls. No cards. NO. THING! Then on the first day of school this year? She cried her fucking eyes out when she got in the car. “Still nothing mom.” You see, she’d decided to err towards the benefit of doubt: “Well, it was summer, maybe that’s why they forgot. Surely they’ll say happy belated birthday when they see me on the first day of school?” You haven’t LIVED until you’ve seen such a beautiful face and equally beautifully heart reduced to such pain at the hands of the people she thought she mattered to. After all they KNEW she’d already been through and after ALL the storms she weathered for and with them? They threw her away like yesterday’s trash and shattered her glass heart into pieces. So, when she was finally released from the hospital and the school decision had to be made, there was NO doubt in her mind: “Mom, I don’t belong there anymore and you know it. Please don’t make me go back.”

So today? I just know she’s coming out smiling. SHE LOVES IT HERE! It’s only been three days and she’s had offers to sit at seven lunch tables. SHE HAS FRIENDS! I. Just. Can’t. I’m telling you people … HE’S WITH HER IN THOSE HALLWAYS, I can feel it in my soul!

(PS) To My Daughter’s “Tribe” AND Their “Trees That The Apples Fall From” Mothers:

Not one of you was EVER good enough for her and thank GOD she finally saw it because QUEENS DON’T TAKE SCRAPS FROM ANYONE! I’d say I’m sorry that her overwhelming shadow kept the light off your bottom-feeder faces, but yah, not so much. She has FORGIVEN YOU FOR EVERYTHING but WILL NOT EVER FORGET! I promise we won’t both be laughing from her perch at the top of EVERYTHING as you desperately flail on the SURFACE LEVEL of the ground as you’re looking UP trying SO hard to escape THIS truth: YOUR GIRLS NEVER DESERVED HER IN THE FIRST PLACE! 😘

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SEPTEMBER 11, 2019: “Doing The Best He Could” …

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… when you open up his phone for the first time looking for anything you can possibly find and this is what you see. His “daily affirmation”. He was “doing the best that he could”. I know in my heart. God please let him finally be resting in peace.

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AUGUST 22, 2019 (Just Before Midnight): “Dear Agony” …

"And Then It Was Done"
~ by The Phoenix Collaborative Project ~

DEAR AGONY …

I have nothing left to give. I have found the perfect end. You were made to make it hurt. Disappear into the dirt. Carry me to heaven’s arms. Light the way and let me go. Take the time to take my breath. I will end where I began. And I will find the enemy within ’cause I can feel it crawl beneath my skin. Dear Agony: Just let go of me. Suffer slowly. Is this the way it’s got to be? Dear Agony. Suddenly the lights go out. Let forever drag me down. I will fight for one last breath. I will fight until the end. And I will find the enemy within ’cause I can feel it crawl beneath my skin. Dear Agony: Just let go of me. Suffer slowly. Is this the way it’s got to be? Don’t bury me faceless enemy. I’m so sorry. Is this the way it’s gotta be? Dear Agony: Leave me alone. God let me go. I’m blue and cold. Black sky will burn. Love pull me down. Hate lift me up. Just turn around. There’s nothing left. Somewhere far beyond this world. I feel nothing anymore …

~ Breaking Benjamin

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NOTE: Although his death certificate says “FOUND AUGUST 23, 2019”, I physically “felt him leave” at just before midnight on August 22, 2019 when in that moment I became physically ill, felt a sharp pain in my stomach and literally could not breathe. When the police captain notified me the next morning that they had indeed found his body at around 8:30am that day, he indeed confirmed that my physical manifestation of his death the prior night was correct: The coronor guestimated that he’d been dead approximately 8 to 10 hours. Someday I will explain to you about the movie that is clipped in the video below, “Seven Pounds”. It was his favorite movie of all times.

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AUGUST 22, 2019 (Sometime Between 8PM And 11:30): “He Refused” …

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I REFUSE

“I don’t wanna die alone. I don’t wanna live forsaken. I refuse to let this go. Because my soul is breaking. I don’t wanna let you know that my heart is just so jaded. I refuse to let it show. I refuse to let it go. Wake me up when this is over. I’m tired of living life like it’s a dream. Please wake me up when it’s all over. I’m tired of living right here in between I refuse. I’ve always walked alone. I chose the path less taken. I refuse to let you win. Life’s a bitch and I’ve been shaken. It’s not a joke at all. Inside my spirits fading. I refuse to take the fall ’cause no one cares at all. Wake me up when this is over. I’m tired of living life like it’s a dream. Please wake me up when it’s all over. I’m tired of living right here in between. I refuse. ‘Cause at the end of the day I’m not you. I refuse. Wake me up when this is over. I’m tired of living life like it’s a dream. Please wake me up when it’s all over. I’m tired of living right here in between. Wake me up when this is over. I’m tired of living life like it’s a dream. Please wake me up when it’s all over. I’m tired of living right here in between.”

~ Five Finger Death Punch

Zack

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AUGUST 8, 2019: “Dragon Slayer” …

IMG_6681Can’t believe I’m finally putting this out into the Universe, but, here I am doing it. As my past mental health issues are multi-faceted, I’m also in my 8th year of recovery from anorexia/bulimia. So on a more personalized note, if you have a daughter or know of a girl struggling with body dysmorphia or an unhealthy relationship with food I WOULD LOVE TO SIT AND TALK WITH HER. No one better understands how to slay a dragon than someone who has done so herself!

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