NOVEMBER 19, 2020: “Carry On” …

If you didn’t already know this by now, my daughter isn’t just any regular kid. She is an actual superhero and I cannot say it enough. No one, and I mean NO ONE, will ever really know exactly what she has been through the last five or six years, or just how bittersweet this night is for us both. It’s the long-awaited series finale of her favorite show EVER … “Supernatural“.

There aren’t really that many words I have to write at this moment, because not only am I literally a raw and open wound after having watched it, I literally just don’t “have” the proper words. What I can tell you is that if you click right here you will be taken back to a post I wrote just over a year ago, “OCTOBER 23, 2019: Supernatural”, wherein you will catch a glimpse of what this show has meant to not just her survival journey, but mine as well … because … if I had lost her too the night Zack ended his own life? Well, I just don’t know where in the actual hell I’d be right now.

This show is the reason she was brave enough to reach out to the ImALIVE crisis helpline on August 22, 2019, when she began to realize that Zack (her “Bobby Singer“), was indeed going to end his own life that night, and THAT’S why we still have her with us. Because of this “silly show”. So, yes, this night is bittersweet for both of us. But, as I’ve told her all along … and as we’ve already “gotten” to learn … sometimes endings really are just beginnings.

Heaven ain’t just re-livin’ your golden oldies anymore … it’s what it always shoulda been – everyone happy, everyone together. It ain’t just Heaven, Dean. It’s the Heaven you deserve.

{Bobby Singer to Dean Winchester}

So, with that, I leave you now with the last two scenes from one of the most impactful eras of our lives. If you know our story? Zack’s story? You’ll understand exactly what these two fictional, yet poignant moments in time mean to me and my girl.

“Carry On” my friends … CARRY ON!

FEBRUARY 25, 2020: “Thank YOU For Helping ME Change Tomorrow” …

img_9238CHANGE 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 darkness. 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!

The Diary Thank You

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 wi-fi 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 wrote these words:

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 is now 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).

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

Frog

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 all 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

FEBRUARY 17, 2020: “He Told The Stars About US” …

"I Told The Stars"
~ by The Phoenix Collaborative Project ~

STARS

You spoke a word and life began. Told oceans where to start and where to end. You set in motion time and space. But still You come and You call to me by name. But still You come and You call to me by name. If You can hold the stars in place, You can hold my heart the same. Whenever I fall away. Whenever I start to break. So here I am, lifting up my heart to The One who holds the stars. The deepest depths, the darkest nights. Can’t separate, can’t keep me from Your sight. I get so lost, forget my way. But still You love and You don’t forget my name. If You can hold the stars in place, You can hold my heart the same. Whenever I fall away. Whenever I start to break. So here I am, lifting up my heart to The One who holds the stars. If You can calm the raging sea, You can calm the storm in me. You’re never too far away. You never show up too late. So here I am, lifting up my heart to The One who holds the stars. Your love has called my name. What do I have to fear? What do I have to fear? Your love has called my name. What do I have to fear? What do I have to fear? {Skillet}

Gia and I watched “The Shack” again last night, which by the way, if you haven’t ever seen it, I highly recommend that you do! It’s the story of a fictional tragedy that causes a father to crash into a dark depression and question everything about his faith until he receives a mysterious letter that insights his journey to “a shack” that reignites his bludgeoned soul back to The Truth.

When it first hit the box office in March of 2017 we went as a family to watch it – Zack, me, Gia and Christian. I had already read the book when I was at The Meadows and then again on one of my truck-driving scoots up to Kansas, but when I heard about the movie release I immediately secured our tickets because I just needed them all had to see it. It was a powerful night for the four of us together and like many others in the theatre that night we all just sat silently in our tears until well after the lights came on and the clean-up crew started their sweep. It seemed to hit Christian the hardest of all and at one point the three of us were all huddled around him in his seat just holding him as he literally was sobbing his eyes out. So yes, it hits you, just like that, and again, I can’t say it enough: If you haven’t seen it? GO SEE IT!

Meanwhile, one of the most powerful parts of the movie for me was this song I love called “Stars”. It’s about blind faith and how if you are a true believer, you trust that God is in control of everything. Hands down. Without question. Without hesitation. Without a doubt. HE’S GOT THIS! But not just the big things, the little things too, which I’m not gonna lie, even on my strongest days in The Light I too “forget to remember” that nothing happens by chance. Well, I take that back. I used to forget to remember. The old me. The scared and scarred me. The “I know He’s here but why is He just so mean” me. (Yes, that’s really what I used to think.) It took a long time for my mustard seed to grow into tree, which too was perfectly okay, because a mustard seed is all He ever asked for.

Whether you know me well or have just joined my journey, by now I’m sure you’ve noticed that am a gamut of emotions that can often mimic a gauntlet. I can be kind and loving, empathetic and caring, and fiercely protective of those who are in my bubble. I can also be a raging, angry, LUNATIC of a bitch with a vicious tongue that will take you to your knees if you’re the one facing the truth behind my words in a mirror. I will forgive anything 200% of the time but never forget those who hurt me or mine. My point being that although I can appear dark at times, and as God Himself is my witness, I live, breathe and will die by the message of Hope in this song. So please don’t let my dark side poke holes in my testimony. At the end of the day I’m still just a broken person who wants to live a life of use to others and tries her best to be as “Light” as possible under any circumstance but still screws up and gets bitter.

If you are struggling with brokenness, depression or “darkness” of your own please listen to this song. God may have His hands full with all the big stuff, but He does know who you are. He does know your name. He does bear your pain. He does cry when you cry. Look at me people! Shouldn’t I be curled up in a ball right now? Been there. Done that. I’ve run off and hid in “my shack” too many times to count, but He comes looking for me every time. He always has and always will. HE’S GOT THIS PEOPLE! And that, my friends, is The Truth.

FEBRUARY 9, 2020: “Be Like Good Cat And NEVER Change” …

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“PICTURE THIS”

… AND NEVER CHANGE!

There’s a thousand things I’ve wanted to say but I’ve never been brave. No, I’ve never been brave. And you deserve the whole world. An island to yourself. You’re an island in yourself. And I think its time that I tell you how I feel. This is how I feel. And I get lost when I’m with you. And you’ll hear me say never change, baby. Stay the same, lady. Did I know for so long? Never change. There’s a hundred places I’ve wanted to see. Would you see them with me? Would you see them with me? And I don’t care where we go ”cause you are home. You are my home. And we can stay in cheap hotels. Lets just pay to entertain ourselves. And I get lost when I’m with you. And you’ll hear me say never change baby. Stay the same lady. Did I know for so long l? And I’m your man; hear me scream your name daily. Who I’ve known for so long. Never change. And I will take you with me everywhere I go. Pack your bags and leave it baby. I want you to know that loving you is easy. I thought I’d tell you so. And I want you to know: Never change baby. Stay the same lady. Did I move for so long? Never change baby. Stay the same lady. Did I move for so long? And I’m your man. Hear me Scream your name daily. Who I’ve known for so long. Never change.”  {Picture This}

PICTURE THIS: You’re a cat just trying to take a nap on a lazy afternoon, minding your business, doing your thing, which “thing” just happens to make perfect sense to you. For no apparent reason, the very place you’re taking that nap happens to be the very place you’d firmly decided was the perfect place to always take your nap; in the quietest room of the house, just off the beaten path of the everyday chaos that otherwise ensues, which very same chaos you quite often not only participate in, but almost enjoy. Every day you hop right up onto the same exact spot and curl yourself up into the perfect little ball, then close your eyes and nap. Because? It’s what you do!

BACK TO TODAY: You’re just trying to take your nap, only this time your crazy mom is snapping pictures of you for what apparent reason you just don’t know, all the while chirping at you in a sweet and loving voice, “Oh, Good Cat, what are you doing you silly girl? Can’t you see that nice cozy bed there I’ve put there for you to lay in? Why then are you lying beside it and not in it? This bed that I got for you is just so much … better.”

MEANWHILE: You’re thinking to yourself as you try desperately hiding your frustration, because after all, in the big scheme of things, where you’ve chosen to take your Sunday nap doesn’t really affect her, and more so than that, doesn’t really affect anyone or thing. This is the spot you’ve chosen, because it’s the perfect spot for you, and you’re not really appreciating the being woken up of it all for either this crazy women’s picture or what was probably her very well-intended advice about “where you should take your naps”. So, you say to yourself in as kind and gentle an inner voice as you can under the circumstances, “Ummm, thanks Mom. Yes, I did see the nice cozy bed that you left here for me, and while I do so appreciate the gesture, I just want to lay here, in my spot, the way I always have and the way I always will, unless or until I decide to change it, because, ummm, YAH, that’s what I want to do! Thank you, drive thru please. Now can I please just take my nap for crying out loud? Go on and leave me the Hell alone!” So, with that, I’m saying this …

LET’S ALL BE LIKE GOOD CAT! If the “thing” you’re doing is working for you and not hurting anyone else? Yah, you shouldn’t have to change it unless you decide you want to just because someone who “thinks they know what’s best for you” tries to make you. Advice and opinions are kind of like, well …. YOU KNOW! “Everybody has one!” We’re all entitled to live our lives in the manner we decide is best, and Hell, even at that, if indeed what we are doing isn’t the optimal or best thing ever, it still has to be our choice and nobody else’s to “change”. Everyone gets a vote. Everyone gets their journey. Everyone gets to choose their bed, be it good, bad or somewhere in between. It’s called autonomy people, and like it or not, we are all very much entitled to it. Today? Although my heart was quite obviously in a very right place, this Momma Cat needed to stay in her own lane and just let Good Cat take her little nap where she wanted to.

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What’s great about this “love song” is you can sing to yourself whenever you need a reminder that you should never change who you are unless you flipping want to, and more so than that, if you are lucky enough to be surrounded by people who allow you to “just be who you are”, well, that’s just pretty cool. Been there. Done that. I’ve slept on both sides of this “bed”. Despite his many imperfections and the wretched way he chose to exit, never once during our love story did he force or even ask me to change. He loved me, “good Cat, bad Cat”, despite my own self, and just look who I’ve become. Thank you all for listening to this. Now, be like Good Cat and go take your Sunday nap wherever you damn well please!

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FEBRUARY 7, 2020: “Why It’s AWESOME To Seem So Small” …

SO SMALL

Yeah, yeah. What you got if you ain’t got love? The kind that you just want to give away? It’s okay to open up. Go ahead and let The Light shine through. I know it’s hard on a rainy day. You wanna shut the world out and just be left alone, but don’t run out on your faith! ‘Cause sometimes that mountain you’ve been climbing is just a grain of sand. And what you’ve been out there searching for forever is in your hands. And when you figure out love is all that matters after all it sure makes everything else seem so small. It’s so easy to get lost inside a problem that seems so big at the time. It’s like a river that’s so wide it swallows you whole. While you’re sitting around thinking about what you can’t change and worrying about all the wrong things, time’s flying by, moving so fast. You better make it count ’cause you can’t get it back. Sometimes that mountain you’ve been climbing is just a grain of sand. And what you’ve been out there searching for forever is in your hands. Oh, and when you figure out love is all that matters after all it sure makes everything else seem so small. {Carrie Underwood}

It was indeed a rainy day here in Dallas on February 5th. The kind that tends to make you want to just shut the world away. But then again, not so much. With cozy pajamas, fluffy slippers, an ox of a German Shepherd named Lord Williamson at my feet and three cats perched strategically out of his reach all around me? Yah, that’s my vibe! The night before I’d been directed to “Quora”, a question and answer style on-line forum that I’d never heard of. So, after taking Gia to school I got home, made a giant cup of coffee and sat down to check it out. At first glance, I thought, “Wow, this could be interesting”, then I threw a quick profile together, circled back around to the home page, and this was the first question I saw: “What are the worst cases of mental illness you have ever seen?” Really? “Well okay then …”, and off I went (with the Twilight Zone music cued up in the background). This was my answer:

My own husband, who I lost to suicide August 22, 2019. He was the Godsend game changer for me and my daughter, larger than life with a heart the size of an ocean, but had been thrown away like common garbage by his mother at birth. She abandoned him permanently at 18 months, and I suppose his father did the best he could with lack of parenting skills he had, but he was then and is still but a child himself. My husband was left alone most of the time from a very young age and his basic needs were never properly tended to.

We didn’t realize his ACS (Abandonded Child Syndrome) even existed until five years into our marriage, but once faced with the sobering truths of his traumatic childhood, every bit of strength and fortitude he’d managed to find and survive with in his life of solitude before finding us, the first and only real home and family he’d ever had, began slipping right out from under him. The abandonment issues that led to his mental illness were further complicated by the fact that his entire family abandoned him; neither the mother, father or three older siblings could be bothered with him. This heartless, selfish, ice-cold brood of people literally broke his heart into pieces that could never be put back together.

There were demons living in the hole they burned into his soul we fought desperately to keep him from drowning in, but in the end, the demons won. The last months of his life it appeared that he was in the early stages of psychosis, if not schizophrenia. He’d been hearing voices, seeing things, missing “blocks of time”, and ultimately just vanished completely within himself. He said he couldn’t “feel anything” anymore, and honestly, we lost him months before he put that gun to his head. It was a living nightmare to witness and the worst kind of heartbreak to suffer. He died of a broken heart that led to his mental illness and then suicide.

I’ve been writing tirelessly about not only his, but my mental health journey as well, in “The Diary Of My Perfection” dot com. I’d be honored if any of you would care to read, follow or share it, as it is now my mission to try and be a Light in other people’s darkness.

Once I’d completed and submitted it, it was time to switch gears to the work day that lied ahead, which I did, and soon thereafter I was out the door with absolutely no idea what, if anything, would become of my answer to the question. Keep in mind that throughout the day I had noticed the “push” notifications on my Quora app were beginning to skyrocket. NOT GONNA LIE … I was nervous! I kept thinking, “Oh no, what’s with all these notifications? 25, 50, 75, 100, 150? Have I upset, offended or pissed someone off? Have I invoked some drama with the masses? Holy shit! What the Hell? What have I done?” But I had so much going on that day that I couldn’t allow myself to open the app and look, for fear that what I may find would somehow distract, upset or topple me. So, I just went on with my day and anxiously waited until I got home to open the “Pandora’s Box” I was worried I had created.

When I finally got back to my desk that night, I took a deep breath and logged back on to the site. I WAS STUNNED! Much to my overwhelming surprise I found that my answer had been viewed upwards of 22,000 times, “upvoted” over 2,000 times, and responded to hundreds of times, with uplifting, supportive and reflective comments such as this:

Thank you so very much for sharing this difficult journey with others. You may have just saved my life by giving me enough information to try to find a path out of my personal jungle.

Until I read your post I had never heard of “abandoned child syndrome”. I now have SOMETHING that points to the root of my problems! NOW I’m starting to understand myself just a tiny bit more than I did 10 minutes ago.

The question is now what can I do to start forging a different future? I am 50 years old and feel like a boat without ears, a sail, and a rudder. Or is it too late to try to move forward? I feel like it’s just too much and I’m way too tired to keep trying.

Thank you for putting your grief into action and attempting to save other’s. I think I’m simply too old and tired …”.

And there you have it! Confirmation that every single thing I’ve walked through and survived in my 50 years thus far is going to mean something so much bigger than I could possibly have ever foreseen to someone, somehow, some way, if I just keep on keeping on. Everything my husband had to walk through is going to have meant something bigger than even he was and I am going to make sure of it!

One of the things I loved most about Zack was his unrelenting generosity and heart for others. It was not uncommon for him to “give or do”, if not even to random strangers; the more he acquired, the more he gave away. We shared that in common, which is not to toot a horn right now, but rather, to make this point: Whenever we’d done something for someone else we would always “fist bump” or “high five” each other afterwards and smile. So, yah, after reading that comment above? I actually did pause as I turned to his picture on my desk and sent out my half of our “fist bump” to wherever he is in this cosmos. This is what I’m supposed to be doing! I know it. He knows it. God knows it! I’m just gonna keep staying “small” so all this can become so much “bigger” than either of us could have ever imagined. I feel so extremely blessed, happy, and even more determined to do whatever it is I’m supposed to do than I was before. That is all.

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by Charles Mackesy

FEBRUARY 1, 2020: “Crazy Grandma Cat” …

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

JANUARY 29, 2020: “God Only Knows” …

This one’s for my fallen king. And my son. And my daughter. And myself. And anyone in my atmosphere who is now or has ever struggled just to keep your head above the water. It’s so hard to swim when the entire weight of the world seems to be resting upon your shoulders. This is I know too well! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If I can do this? YOU CAN DO THIS! So, with that: Chin up! Knuckles out! Head held high! Fight the good fight. Just. Keep. Breathing. And remember …

GOD ONLY KNOWS

Wide awake while the world is sound asleepin’. Too afraid of what might show up while you’re dreamin’. Nobody, nobody, nobody sees you. Nobody, nobody, nobody would believe you. Every day you try to pick up all the pieces. All the memories, they somehow never leave you. Nobody, nobody, nobody sees you. Nobody, nobody, nobody would believe you. God only knows what you’ve been through. God only knows what they say about you. God only knows how it’s killing you. But there’s a kind of love that God only knows. God only knows what you’ve been through. God only knows what they say about you. God only knows the real you. There’s a kind of love that God only knows. There’s a kind of love that. There’s a kind of love. You keep a cover over every single secret. So afraid if someone saw them they would leave. But somebody, somebody, somebody sees you. Somebody, somebody will never leave you. God only knows what you’ve been through .For the lonely, for the ashamed. The misunderstood, and the ones to blame. What if we could start over. We could start over. We could start over. Oh for the lonely, for the ashamed. {for King & Country}

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!

JANUARY 25, 2020: “His Wish For Her” …

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MY WISH

I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow and each road leads you where you wanna go. And if you’re faced with a choice, and you have to choose, I hope you choose the one that means the most to you. And if one door opens to another door closed, I hope you keep on walkin’ till you find the window. If it’s cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile. But more than anything, more than anything … My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to. Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small. You never need to carry more than you can hold. And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to, I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too. Yeah, this, is my wish. I hope you never look back, but you never forget all the ones who love you in the place you live. I hope you always forgive, and you never regret and you help somebody every chance you get. Oh, you find God’s grace, in every mistake and always give more than you take.But more than anything, yeah, more than anything … My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to. Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small. You never need to carry more than you can hold. And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to, I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too. Yeah, this, is my wish. ~ Rascal Flatts

Desires

Today was one of the most bittersweet of my journey thus far … her first high school interview, a day that Zack and I had been dreaming of for years. If you knew him at all you knew how important her education was to him and that it was the initial source of inspiration for the lifestyle he was determined to give us. He wanted her to have every “thing” and opportunity he never had as a child and wasn’t going to let anything stop him from laying the world at her feet from the ground up. It was no secret that it was my husband and not her “real dad” who single-handedly paid for every cent of her primary education at St. Mark’s. I fondly recall the very day this journey began …

We were freshly married and still living in our little apartment in Fairview when first grade finally arrived. Since our address fed into in a public school with less than favorable stats and Christian had been privileged with a private education, Zack and I assumed that her dad would be on board with affording her the same opportunity and thus willing to split the cost with us, which, not gonna lie, at that juncture was going to be a stretch. Especially inasmuch that my “wedding gift” to him was: Me, a little girl, a recent stay at one of the most exclusive psychiatric facilities in the world, $35K of unsecured debt, a car we couldn’t afford, a mental health resume about 62 pages long, a less than supportive family that all but despised if not cursed the day he was born, and oh yah, I wasn’t exactly what one would call “employable” then. YET WITHOUT HESITATION HE STEPPED UP TO THE ENTIRE PLATE FOR HER! Go figure, I’ve digressed. The day I called her dad to ask what he thought about sending her to St. Mark’s like her big brother, with a knife through my heart and a shot heard ’round the world his verbatim response was this:

Nope. Not happening. Guess you should have thought about that before you left here. Your gravy train is over honey, so why don’t you let the moron pay for it (then he literally laughed out loud). Have fun explaining to her one day why she couldn’t go to private school like her brother. Good job mom! Good job!

I was stunned by his callous response! What in the actual HELL? “MY gravy train?” THIS WASN’T ABOUT ME! IT WAS ABOUT HER! How could he be so cruel as to punish her just to punish me? DON’T get me wrong, by no means am I saying that public school is a punishment. I have always been of the mindset that an education is only as good as the student himself and a truly good student can and will flourish in any school setting, be it public, private or home. That’s not what this post is about and hopefully you understand where my heart and mind are in this regard. When I called Zack to tell him what her dad had said he was outraged in every sense of the word. “Let the moron pay for it? Really? He said that? Okay then, I WILL, just watch me! I’ll take care of EVERYTHING and he can ride his selfish gravy train straight to Hell!” It was in that moment that my husband’s relentless fire was fueled with a determination like nothing I’d ever seen before:

Catherine, I can do this! I’ll empty out my savings. I’ll get a second job. Whatever I have to do, I’ll do it. If I have to sell my soul to the Devil, she’ll have EVERYTHING Christian had. EVERYTHING I never had. She’s GOING to St. Mark’s and she’s GOING to a Catholic high school. Trust me, SHE’S GOING!

When he got home that night, he explained how he planned to handle things for the first year and assured me that by the second grade he’d have the rest figured out. Then this is what he did: HE EMPTIED OUT HIS LIFETIME FITNESS CENTER 401K TO PAY FOR HER FIRST YEAR’S TUITION! The very 401K he’d been faithfully contributing to with the specific intention of eventually buying himself that brand new car he’d always wanted. Yes, he did that for her. My husband. Her “stepdad”. HE DID THAT! The rest is merely history and many of you have good sense about everything he ended up “doing for us” in just under ten years flat. And please do not mistake this post as braggard. If you know me at all you know damn good and well that I have never forgotten how this story began: With sterling silver James Avery wedding bands, a tiny one-bedroom apartment and nothing but a pocket full of dreams.

Yes, today was bittersweet. I’ve thought crying so many times since waking up to the cold, hard reality that he’s not here to revel in the triumph, pride and joy of “this day” he’d worked for, dreamt of and looked forward to since the day she bounced into his life, but I didn’t want to rain on her parade. Despite the impossible strength she very clearly recognizes in my process and recovery, the road to her process and recovery from the trauma that was his ironic and tragic parting gift to her is still so long ahead. There’s an unspoken rule between the two of us right now: She knows I’m okay, and that I know she’s going to be okay, but for her sake alone my darker days, tears and moments are best spent in private. At the end of the day however, as I sit with all this emotion, I am once again comforted in this peace: He was with us today! He’s with us every day. Knowing the God Who’s hands are wrapped around my heart like I do? The actual reality is not as “cold and hard” as I first thought. He is reveling in the triumph, pride and joy of “this day” he made happen for her with his legacy of love! He’s simply watching it from “the next room”

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!

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Pain is a gift

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}

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! ~ Cat ❤️

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 another, 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 into the next room” …

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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DECEMBER 25, 2019: “Starting Over As A Queen” …

IMG_8199… IT’S TIME TO JUST START OVER!

Someday soon, I’m gonna pull myself together. Win or lose, I’m starting over again. Start this day like any other day. I fold my hands as I begin to pray. Sometimes we gotta throw the past aside, and come what may, I’m gonna open up my eyes to all my broken feelings. It’s the only road I’ve known. I just wanna say to you: Maybe I won’t feel the pain when you leave me one day, and maybe it won’t be too late when you need me someday. Someone take me away from the one who betrays, but things won’t ever be the same. I’m starting over. In days gone by, I was hiding from myself. In all those lies and the truth was hard to tell. But I will try to turn my life around. I’ll close my eyes so I can finally see the road to all my broken feelings. It’s the only one I’ve known. I just wanna say to you … You were my heart, you were my soul. You were my breath ’til I grow old. You were my blood, you were my bones. How could you ever leave me cold?” {Saliva}

So here’s my parting message to all the people, places and roadblocks that had become me in the four decades before finally opening my eyes to all my “broken feelings” and finding the truths behind the lies that were my former realities.

It’s my Christmas gift to me!

Zack and I first heard this song in 2007, and it immediately became as vital in unraveling the mystery of what had broken each of us before we’d met than actually meeting in the first place. It spoke volumes as to our prior journeys – it was who we were, where we’d been, and why we needed to cut ties with some people in our lives and truly just start over. It was a cryptic message to everyone that had discarded us at virtually every critical juncture in our lives, not the least of which were “our families” …

You were my blood, you were my bones. How could you ever leave me cold?

Today I’ll spend another “first” without him, completely severed from the family that has once again “washed their hands of me”. But guess what? That’s okay! I WAS MARRIED TO A KING! An imperfect, broken, mortal king with a rare and true heart of gold who not only gave me every “thing” a woman could want, but more so his heart, his soul, his eyes, his faith and his love without condition for the first time in my life, all of which truly did make me a QUEEN!

And HE WAS MARRIED TO A QUEEN! An imperfect, broken, mortal queen with a rare and true heart of gold who not only gave him every “thing” a man could want, but more so her heart, her eyes, her soul, her faith and her love without condition for the for the first time in his life, all of which truly did make him a KING! Quite clearly he fell, with a tragic twist that some may never fully know or understand, and hurt us in unspeakable ways. But today is Christmas and “who was better at forgiving than Jesus?” Indeed I have forgiven him for the devastation that ended our story …

… but here’s what else you should know:

I forgive you that mocked, punished, laughed at, or burned me alive on a cross every time I let you down, embarrassed or disgraced your reputations when I failed miserably at all the things I failed at.

I forgive you for invalidating, disregarding, and discrediting my feelings as “drama, immaturity, ingratitude or self-pity”.

I forgive you for abusing the trust I placed in you with vulnerabilities and truths by throwing them back in my face and driving nails into my already broken heart.

I forgive you for taking it so personally when I decided to break the cycle and for just standing there watching as I fought tooth and nail to get that God-forsaken Venom suit off my weak and weary body so that maybe one day my daughter’s daughters or my son’s sons will be the first branches from this sick and dying tree to not end up in a psych ward because they too want to blow their own brains out!

I forgive you for only loving me when I was good enough to be loved, but “washing your hands of me” when I broke the rules you decided would be best for me, which (PS), were complete and total double standards of sick and enmeshed BULLSHIT! As it turns out, it’s okay to leave the web, if not the best thing one can do. The wisest spiders are proud of the babies that manage to get out of the webs they may have unintentionally spun and find a way to survive this fucking life in peace!

I forgive you for NOT forgiving me for being an imperfect human being and I forgive you for all the times you abandoned me! But more so than that? Thank you for everything you’ve done to hurt me because that is how I became a Queen! You pointed me straight to both my Kings – the One born today and the fallen. He may be gone now, but I’m still right here with the crown and sword he left for me, charging bravely forward all the days I have left in this realm! There is still so much I have to do with this power my impossibly strong heart now wields.

There’s the Phoenix I made who I’ll fight beside tooth and nail as she ascends towards the culmination of everything my own broken flight was purposed for, and that first born Prince who hasn’t yet realized that he too is a king because he hasn’t yet found the strength to tear off “the black suit” that shrouds his soul in darkness! He’s trapped in a web and has still yet to realize the long-terms effects of the emotional abuse he also is succumbing to and that being repeatedly being told “I’m done with you” for failure to follow the rules is slowly becoming the death of him too. I will not rest until that day comes that he opens his eyes to all his broken feelings and finally walks away with the courage and strength that’s hiding somewhere within himself so the next time he hears “I’m done with you”, he too can say,

NO! It’s ME that’s done with YOU!

If I’ve learned anything in my first fifty years it’s that “real love” shouldn’t cost you anything, yet it’s the only commodity that gets you EVERYTHING! Love shouldn’t make you sad, make you cry, come with strings or conditions, cause you to doubt yourself, want to shoot yourself, or make you want to hide in the shadows of any authentic version of yourself because the people who claim to love you refuse to accept you as you are. Here’s the thing: Once you’ve had finally had it – “REAL love without strings and conditions”? YOU CAN NEVER ACCEPT “LOVE” ANY OTHER WAY, EVEN IF IT MEANS BEING ALONE! I won’t be the last queen that ever reigned alone in her kingdom because she refused to settle for anything less than everything! You see, I’ve been blessed by the unconditional love of two earthly Kings in my lifetime. There’s no going back to where I came from, so I guess it’s time to just start over.

Merry Christmas Queen Catherine!

DECEMBER 22, 2019: “How To Re-Traumatize A Widow” …

BoundariesI struggled this morning as to what if anything to say about “the very first social event without my husband” last night because honestly, I am just so overwhelmed and TRAUMATIZED all over again! So perhaps I’ll just lead with some friendly advice for anyone out there who unbeknownst to them struggles with “unhealthy boundaries” …

To begin, here is what Wikia.org says about “personal boundaries” (and please DO click on this link THIS VERY IMPORTANT LINK for more information when you are either extremely bored OR extremely ready to conduct a quick self-examination as to where you are on the boundaries spectrum):

Personal boundaries are an aspect of psychological boundaries and are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify for him- or herself what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around him or her and how he or she will respond when someone steps outside those limits. “Personal boundaries” define you as an individual. They are statements of what you will or won’t do, what you like and don’t like … how close someone can get to you.

One last piece of advice I’d like to offer against what again I’m sure are seemingly innocent comments and remarks from well-intended people. I appreciate being told “I’m beautiful”. Truly, I do, and I’m not trying to sound like a bitch, but I am in fact aware of “how I look“. Okay, I agree, I not that unfortunate looking. I comfortable writing those words out loud here now in this space because only I know how long it finally took me to find my actual reflection in a mirror! It took a hell of a lot of work on behalf less than a handful of people to get me to finally “see me” the way other people see me on the outside. Eternal is the gratitude for my very first angel, “the Flyboy“. All of “this” started with him, then Zack picked up where he left off, and I will NEVER forget that day in his apartment he grabbed me by the arms and physically forced me in front of the mirror while he stood behind me repeating:

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! LOOK AT YOURSELF CATHERINE, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! SAY IT! I’M NOT LETTING YOU GO UNTIL YOU SAY IT!”

And then I did, and here I am. Yes, I am beautiful. The irony here is the first time Zack ever saw me in January of 2009 my presentation was “yah, not so much”. If he were still here he’d be the first to admit that I looked like a freaking train wreck. I was in the worst shape of my life, hadn’t been sleeping, was physically disfigured in the most egregious way, and about five minutes away from my final nervous break down. He used to say, “Every time she showed up at the gym she looked kind of like a homeless person”.  So trust me when I tell you – our love story did NOT begin with “wow you’re just so beautiful”. He loved me as I was, scars and all, for the very first time in my life, and for that precious reason my fallen King’s mirror of not only my reflection but most importantly my soul will always be the standard by which I judge anyone’s regard for my “beauty”.

There is probably not a human being on the face of this planet that doesn’t appreciate verbal affirmation from others, and yes, compliments in the right dose are an integral part of how our confidence is assimilated. But over and over and over again? “You’re so pretty. You’re so beautiful. You are such an attractive person.” Okay, so tell me once and that’s it! Anything more is not only overkill, but more so the polar OPPOSITE of what has ever attracted me to a man. Observations, judgments and validations about “my surface” in my life before Zack were more than half of what made me sick in the very first place and nope I don’t care if someone thinks I’m beautiful (at least not on the outside). Quite frankly? THAT REPELS ME! Yes, this is a boundary issue with not only me but quite possibly many struggling people out there. Such an OLD cliche’ but true nonetheless: DON’T JUDGE THE BOOK BY IT’S COVER!

These things needed to be said, and now that I’ve said them, I feel much better. Guess I just needed to remind myself about the boundaries I’ve fought so hard to understand, respect and build in the first place. So, with that, I guess I’ll just have to find a way to be thankful for my re-traumitization last night. It was a lesson for sure, and now maybe a lesson for some of you as well. There is indeed a time and place for everything – EVEN CONVERSATIONS ABOUT GRIEF! If you know someone has been through a trauma of any kind and you want to talk to them about it, just ask them first if they want to talk about it. They may want to. They may not. But the choice should be theirs, not yours.

DECEMBER 20, 2019: “We Survive With Hope” …

CONVERSATION WITH MY DAUGHTER AT SCHOOL PICK UP YESTERDAY:

GIA: Mom, would there be any way we could go to the store after I get out of group tonight and grab a few things so I can put some Christmas bags together for my Hope kids? If your tired I promise I will do all the work and I can even pay for it myself. All I need you to do is drive me to the store and I can take it from there.

ME (HEART MELTING): Ummm, daughter? I think you just gave me the greatest Christmas gift I never knew I needed.

Not even broken wings will stop my little Phoenix from rising so far above this mire! After everything this child has been through (some of which most of you will NEVER know)? She has her mother’s heart, soul, spirit and courage, only, just so much more – BETTER! I am an SUCH an incredibly lucky woman to get to be the one who claims the honor: “Look at what I’ve done … this light I’ve created unto a very dark world.”

YOU CAN’T STOP MY GIRL!

DECEMBER 20, 2019: “Because Queens Get Flowers” …

IMG_8068Yesterday morning while arranging my weekly flowers I found myself smiling from ear to ear as I looked up and said …

Well, you did say you never wanted a day to go by that there weren’t fresh flowers in the house for me, right? Just because your gone doesn’t mean there won’t still be flowers in this house for me always. Not only would you hate that, but as it happens I’m STILL a queen after all has been said and done and I DESERVE THEM!

Then I just kept primping them in my favorite container, with nothing but joy in my heart, all the while thanking GOD for the real life Superman he sent to me if only just for a season to once and finally remind me that I am worthy of all the most beautiful things in this world, not the least of which are any and all kindnesses, no matter how simple or grand, that I so choose to bestow upon myself for all the remaining days of my life. I will treat myself how I wish to be treated by others while I continue to survive in this realm: WITH KINDESS!

I have always loved flowers, and despite the outward appearance and accoutrements of my life I am not a person whose affection can be bought. Quite the contrary actually, and some day when you REALLY get to know me you will understand exactly why. QUICK DIGRESSION: In my lifetime I have had many “things” and enjoyed many material luxuries and comforts, none of which however prevented me from reaching a point in my own journey where the toxic web I was born into and then perpetuated in both marriages to my first husband literally almost cost me my life, did momentarily slay my mental well-being and yah, at a few junctures made me literally just want to DIE. SEE ALSO: “Girl Interrupted” – The Uncut Version. The very last and tragic farewell at my ex’s 12 years ago that found me barely functioning and seriously not okay! The first of my castles left so far behind with only not even a shred of anything that closely resembled sanity, my daughter and what personal belongings I could fit into my car. ZERO “STUFF” DID I WANT FROM HIM! I JUST WANTED OUT!

MY POINT BEING …

Of all the beautiful flowers I’ve ever been given from “both my husbands” in my lifetime, it turns out it was actually the less expensive, store bought ones from Zack that I cherished and remember the most. The ones he often had to go truly out of his way to bring to me depending on where in the world he was working at the time. Anyone “married to new home sales” knows what I am saying here: That career path is not for the faint of heart! “To whom much is given” is the mindset you must embrace, as for all the abundance there’s a cost, even when it comes to something as “simple” as picking up flowers for your wife. The subdivisions he worked were often way far off the beaten path and not at all conducive to “let me just stop in for a minute and get her some flowers”. Not to mention the fact that by the time he locked those model home doors every night, ALL HE WANTED TO DO WAS COME HOME! So indeed, every time that man walked in the door with flowers in his hand I knew in my heart what they’d truly “cost” him: Time, energy, effort and thought. Those are things that no man’s money will EVER be able to buy me. Trust me: Been there. Done that. Got the medal AND the scars from that scene AND NOW I’M JUST SO OVER IT!

So with that, I am thankful again this morning for the many gifts he left behind for me. My “Superman” may have fallen with a bloodied, torn and TWISTED CAPE around his neck, but trust me when I tell you, he hasn’t left my atmosphere, nor will he ever! He refused to let me see anything but the best things in myself and I refuse to EVER creep back to that shadow I once lived in where I was only ever as good as as how the other SICK AND TOXIC PEOPLE in my life up to that point decided to judge me. No more shame in this game! I AM A QUEEN! Beautiful. Disastrous. Broken. Whole. Strong. Fierce. Smart. Funny. Capable. Ridiculous. Chaotic. COHERENT AND AWARE OF THE REFLECTION OF MYSELF I FOUND IN THE MIRROR OF HIS EYES FOR THE LAST ELEVEN YEARS! Guess what?  YOU CAN’T STOP THIS GIRL!

If you are reading this, I would like to pose a challenge:

Is there someone special in your life? TAKE AN EXTRA 20 MINUTES TODAY AND GET THEM SOME FLOWERS! And remember, they don’t have to be expensive. If your beloved is worth any of your time, thought and attention they will appreciate the gesture for all the right reasons just as I did all the times Zack brought them to me.

If you don’t have someone special in your life? TAKE AN EXTRA 20 MINUTES TODAY AND GET YOURSELF SOME FLOWERS! You too are royalty, and you can be your OWN superhero! Having a healthy, loving, forgiving and unconditional relationship with YOU is the first step to BECOMING your own “superhero” in the first place! Life is hard people! Giving yourself flowers is a simple kindness you can bestow upon yourself because YOU DESERVE IT AND YOU CAN!

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AMARYLLIS

In a while now I will feel better, I’ll face the weather before me. In a while now I’ll race the irony and buy back each word of my eulogy. All the uninvited tragedies. Step outside. Ask yourself now where would you be without days like this when you finally collide with the moment you cant forget. So do I remind you of someone you never met? A lonely silhouette? And do I remind you of somewhere you wanna be? So far out of reach. Oh, I wish you’d open up for me ’cause I wanna know you. Amaryllis. Bloom. Stay a while now. Undress your colors ’cause they’re like no others I’ve ever seen.I could get used to your company. Step inside. Ask yourself now where would you be withoutdays like this when you finally collide with emotions you can’t resist?”  {Shinedown}

NOTE: This was a particularly special song to Zack and me because when we met we were BOTH an “Amaryllis”!

DECEMBER 16, 2019: “Everyone’s Just Trying To Get Home” …

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by Charles Mackesy

Leave it to my daughter to bring one of the greatest and most impactful treasures of my journey thus far into my world this weekend. Unbeknownst to me Gia stumbled upon this author, artist and creative GENIUS, “Charles Mackesy”, a few months back and has been literally clinging to his vision and mindsets like a buoy in the dead of night. While I was out working yesterday she spent the afternoon with some friends of ours and their daughter, which at some point led her to a Barnes & Noble and the acquisition of THE LATEST AND GREATEST DISCOVERY OF MY LIFE!

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by Charles Mackesy

For the record, Charlie Mackesy is a creative, empathetic and insightful muse and the words he has so ARTFULLY and IMPECCABLY strung together? I. JUST. CAN’T! My daughter and I have now tattooed these mindsets that we’ve already shared for so long onto our hearts forever. This book and it’s wisdoms are our true life song, the depths of all our realities, and EXACTLY “who we are and what we aspire to be”.

EVERYONE NEEDS TO GIFT THEMSELVES THIS BOOK FOR CHRISTMAS! And you can’t just download it – you HAVE to buy the book, hold the book, see the pictures and physically touch and turn the pages in order for it to work it’s magic! It will perhaps be THE kindest “kindness” you will have ever shown yourself and perhaps even the beginning of your own journey “home”.

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by Charles Mackesy

“I think everyone is just trying to get home said the mole.”

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by Charles Mackesy

Dear God: Please tell me I am right and that HE has finally made it Home. That’s really all he ever wanted. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. It’s all ANY of us have ever wanted. It’s ALL I really want for Christmas – to know he’s FINALLY HOME! ~ Cat

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by Charles Mackesy

Charles Mackesy and his soul are kindred to my spirit and very core of who I am and what I stand for. I cannot say it enough! This book is nothing less than a modern day “Velveteen Rabbit” as far as I’m concerned and I will treasure these words, excerpts and GIFTS for the rest of my days on this earth … until I finally make it HOME!