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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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! A “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 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 you’re in my arms again …

Zack

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SEPTEMBER 20, 2019: “Lullabye” …

"Please Don't Get Tired"
by The Phoenix Collaborative Project

… that fourth Friday night in eleven years without him and “God only knows how many Friday nights” since Friday, November 8, 1996 when I attempted suicide myself. There’s no telling “how many more Fridays” will have to pass by before my baby girl will be out of the danger zone with “ideations” of her own after the virtual Hell she is still living through for reasons I cannot say! So from this point forward I will be here for as many nights as I’m allowed to live to faithfully remind the masses THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE TO LISTEN by doing exactly as Zack would say: “Catherine, USE YOUR WORDS!” Goodnight everyone. ~ Cat

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LULLABYE

“I know the feeling of finding yourself stuck out on the ledge. And there ain’t no healing from cuttin’ yourself with the jagged edge. I’m tellin’ you that it’s never that bad, and take it from someone who’s been where your at. You’re laid out on the floor and you’re not sure you can take this anymore. So just give it one more try with a lullaby and turn this up on the radio. If you can hear me now I’m reachin’ out to let you know that you’re not alone. And you can’t tell I’m scared as hell ’cause I can’t get you on the telephone. So just close your eyes … Well honey here comes a lullaby. Your very own lullaby. Please let me take you out of the darkness and into The Light. ‘Cause I have faith in you that you’re gonna make it through another night. Stop thinkin’ about the easy way out. There’s no need to go and blow the candle out. Because you’re not done, you’re far too young and the best is yet to come.Well everybody’s hit the bottom. And everybody’s been forgotten. Well everybody’s tired of being alone. Yeah everybody’s been abandoned. And left a little empty handed. So if you’re out there barely hangin’ on … just give it one more try with a lullabye and turn this up on the radio …”

~ Nickelback

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

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… when it’s been 21 days since the king of your heart fell off his throne and you’re finally able to open his phone for the first time looking for any answers you can find. Then, there it is, right in front of your sobbing eyes … his “daily affirmation”. He really was “doing the best that he could”. I know it in my heart. God please let him finally be resting in peace.

BEST I CAN …

“Tonight I feel like the world won’t miss me. So much to say but there’s no one listening. If we’re alone are we all together in that. I threw a penny in a well for wishing. Prayed for all the things I think I’m missing. A little time is all I really need. I am doing the best I can with everything I am. Don’t you know nobody’s perfect? Do you understand how hard I’m trying to do the best I can? A second chance to give you something. It takes a lifetime to come from nothing. I refuse to believe in running away. No, I am doing the best I can with everything I am.  Don’t you know nobody’s perfect? Do you understand how hard I’m trying for you? I am doing the best I can with everything I am. Don’t you know I think you’re worth it? Do you understand how hard I’m trying to do the best I can? I got a picture of what matters and I keep it close to my heart. It’s a little faded but so am I. ‘Cause I am doing the best I can with everything I am. Don’t you know nobody’s perfect. Do you understand how hard I’m trying for you? ~ The Art Of Dying

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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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