JANUARY 17, 2021: “Dear God” …

DEAR GOD, IN ACTUAL HEAVEN:

I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you. Like, as in, from the deepest places of my infinitely grateful heart … THANK YOU! Thank you for all these beautiful memories tucked safely in the most sacred places off my mind, the overwhelming magnitude of which eclipse even the darkest hours I’ve walked through here on Earth.

For instance, THANK YOU for this epic rant from two years ago this day that has now become one of my go-to picker uppers on those rare occasions that I’m feeling down. It makes me smile, AND remember, that I really WAS married to a KING and I truly AM the luckiest woman on this Earth. To know him was to love him, and yes I still do, and I always will, until I see him again with YOU!

So, THANK YOU GOD! THANK YOU FOR HIM, and that he was OURS, and only ever ours, and for the bittersweet consolation in knowing that the foolish “family” that threw him away missed out on knowing one of THE brightest souls in any room and one of THE best men, husbands and fathers this world has ever known. Her “Zack of shit” was one of our truest treasures, and yes I take extremely twisted pleasure in knowing full well that despite the lies they must surely tell themselves as they look inside their empty mirrors, only WE got the privilege and honor of truly knowing the wonder of everything that was “him”.

Likewise, THANK YOU for this equally epic memory from three years ago this day. You know, the one where I found that ever-loving blanket I snuck onto her bed folded neatly on my desk with this ‘lil nugget of sarcastic wit that could only be served by one of my favorite phoenixes of all …

Yes indeed, I’m a truly blessed queen that I should have this abundance of treasure to propel me forward, never backward, and keep this torch I carry into Your eternity burning as bright as bright can be! I love my life. Every single minute of it – the good, the bad, and even the very ugly.

THANK YOU.

With as much love and adoration as could possibly be put into words from one of your favorite brats of all …

ME.

JANUARY 8, 2021: “Leave Out All The Rest” …

One year ago today we took the first bit of his ashes “home” to the Blarney Castle gardens, so when the memory of our trip popped up on Facebook, it prompted a sweet conversation with Christian. Although both the kids are doing much better now than they were a year ago when everything was still so raw, he’s had a really tough time with Zack’s suicide. Not only were the two of them extremely close, but Christian had always said,

You two HAVE to stay together and happy forever … your relationship is the ONLY thing that restores my faith in love.

As you can imagine, August 23, 2019 jaded him even more than our life before Zack did. It was heartbreaking for me to watch their processes at the onset of this nightmare knowing their “hero” let them down in such traumatic and devastating ways. However, watching the miracle of transformation in each of their hearts and how they’ve both been able to forgive him for so much more than any of you will ever know is truly one of my greatest blessings.

Indeed it is true that I have an “uncanny way of taking the best parts of everything and everyone and leaving out all the rest”. I suppose the abundant and seemingly endless amount of grace I have for others is one of my best attributes, and I truly do always look for the best in everyone. But here’s the thing …

IT’S NOT ME.

IT’S HIM!

He’s the one who has “graced me with grace and forgiveness“, and His grace and forgiveness for the endless amounts of bullshit I’ve engaged in over the years is what I owe to others. Now, does that mean I’ll tolerate bad behavior towards me or mine? NOPE! Those days are gone for good! My boundaries are beyond firm at this point and there is absolutely no going backwards. This is how we choose to remember him … by taking only the joy and treasure he brought to all our lives in the decade we got to have him and leaving out all the rest. Likewise, “when my time comes” I hope that my own legacy is none the worse for the wear despite all the wrong that I’ve done!

LEAVE OUT ALL THE REST

I dreamed I was missing. You were so scared. But no one would listen, ’cause no one else cared. After my dreaming, I woke with this fear. What am I leaving when I’m done here? So, if you’re asking me, I want you to know … When my time comes, forget the wrong that I’ve done. Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed. And don’t resent me, and when you’re feeling empty, keep me in your memory. Leave out all the rest. Leave out all the rest. Don’t be afraid. I’ve taken my beating. I’ve shared what I’ve made. I’m strong on the surface, not all the way through. I’ve never been perfect, but neither have you. So, if you’re asking me, I want you to know …When my time comes, forget the wrong that I’ve done. Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed. And don’t resent me, and when you’re feeling empty, keep me in your memory. Leave out all the rest. Leave out all the rest. Forgetting all the hurt inside you’ve learned to hide so well. Pretending someone else can come and save me from myself. I can’t be who you are. {Linkin’ Park}

DECEMBER 30, 2020: “Shine Bright Like A Diamond” …

Hello my friends from Nashville, Tennessee, USA! We are still here enjoying our holiday in the crisp, clean, cool mountain air! This morning, as I was enjoying my coffee and preparing for our road trip to Pigeon Forge this afternoon, for some reason I was just “thinking” about how excited I am to see all the holiday lights and sparkle and twinkle that surely await us this night. Then, my thoughts turned back to ME once again, and my kids, and my extraordinarily beautiful diamond of a life. I’m just so thankful for so many things that even with “all my words”, I was kind of outta words.

Then, I turned my head and saw him sitting there on my sister’s shelf, because never shall there be a trip near or far that he won’t be going with us. Why is that, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you! It’s simply because after all is said and done, we owe so much of this “diamond life” to him … the fallen king who prepared this wide open path for us to move forward in whatever direction we choose.

Then, I smiled and remembered how much I love this song and how he used to laugh whenever I was singing it out loud and literally twirling through whatever space I occupied where he let me be whoever and whatever I wanted to be, hands down, no questions asked, unconditionally.

So, yah, this is my vibe today! I’m gonna rise and shine, as usual, and always, SO bright that it actually does hurt people to look at me. And by the way, this legacy he left us? It only looks forward and never behind (unless we’re remembering all the laughter and joy). ‘Cause I’m a queen, raising a princess and a king, and that’s what I do, and this is my legacy!

DECEMBER 19, 2020: “I’m Gonna Love You” …

James kisses Margaret before he comes to see us. James kisses Margaret before he does pretty much anything.

{The Daily James}

Dear God:

Earlier today I got my saw this video on my Instagram feed, which I’m sure You already knew. Knowing my heart the way You do, You also already knew how taken I was, once again, by the way James literally bows to that Queen he loves so desperately, yet at the same time, no matter how high he places her above himself, he is only ever right beside her. As You and I both know, and as I finally got to learn in the most ethereal way, when a king loves a queen love so deep and so true that each of their hearts but serve the other, the balance of power is never a struggle and there is no “servitude” whatsoever.

As we have already discussed, You know that I know that I trust You implicitly. You and he both made me a queen, and there is no going back to where I came from. I will not and cannot settle for anything less than everything where another partner on this journey is concerned, and I’d rather reign here “alone, but not lonely” if that’s what Your plan shall be. That being said, if indeed there “one last king on Earth” You have waiting for me somewhere, can I please just ask that he really be a king. Like You. Like Zack. LIKE KING JAMES THE RAVEN …

THE RULER OF QUEEN MARGARET’S HEART!

It’s an impossible order, but hey, look Who I am talking to! I’ve had two kings before, and three is the perfect number, so maybe, just maybe, we shall see. In the meantime, I will just have to wait for the moments like these when the image of two love birds washes over me. “Just a chill in a winter breeze, standing in the cold debris that left behind so many beautiful memories.” Like every word that has left Your lips, and those of my beautiful husband, there are fingerprints everywhere to evidence the love that has committed me right back to “here”. I really do only want to be remembered for being that one who will always ever say “I’m gonna love you … I’m gonna love you endlessly” to that one last king who may be waiting to fly the remainder of my heart into eternity.

James almost always positions his head right below Margaret.

{The Daily James}

I’M GONNA LOVE YOU

Something still comes over me. Just a chill in a winter breeze. Standing in the cold debris left behind a memory. Every word that left your lips left behind your fingerprints. Every crime that love commits brings you right back here to this. I only want to be remembered for being the one who’d always say that I’m gonna love you … I’m gonna love you endlessly. I’ll never be one to yell surrender as long as you’re standing next to me. ‘Cause I’m gonna love you. I’m gonna love you endlessly. No escaping this embrace every time I see your face. Around the love I can’t erase. Wouldn’t want to anyway. I only want to be remembered for being the one who’d always say that I’m gonna love you … I’m gonna love you endlessly. {David Cook}

DECEMBER 11, 2020: “One Heart” …

… that moment you get a surprise in the mail from literally out of the blue from a dear friend of years, with not only a precious gift but these sweet words as well:

Watching your love story grow was beautiful. Watching how you honor your husband today is beautiful. Under the surface, I am sure you have experienced a roller coaster of emotion. But you carry on with such grace and strength. Even though I never had the privilege of meeting your husband, I hope this ornament can serve as a small piece to honor him at Christmas. May God bless and keep your family safe during this holiday season.

Of all the things that could possibly reduce me, of all people, “the Cat who never seems to shut up”, to speechless tears? A random act of kindness! And with that, I’m yet again reminded of how blessed I am. I too wish she could have met him. I wish all of you could have met him (the him he was before he got sick). He was a force to be reckoned with, the changer of my game, and the king of my heart. This ornament is so special to me that it will now adorn a lamp in my kitchen year-round. It will serve as a loving, daily reminder of not just him and every bittersweet and beautiful piece of this journey, but most importantly that in all things big and small, God is “turning and turning” this thing with the One Heart that brings hearts like hers close to mine!

ONE HEART

There’s a new church on the horizon, made of light, not of stone. Calling out to all Creation – you are not alone, no, no, no. Lions and lambs. Saints and sinners. Best of friends. Enemies. Woman and man. Losers and winners. They are all in you and me. We are one heart looking for answers. One soul finding our way in the dark. One dream we share together. We are all a part of one heart. Out in the cold, ooh, there are faces hidden by, the wind and rain. Hold out your hand – someone will take it. They’re gonna bring you home again. Around the Earth tonight the fires are burning. Tears are falling from the sky. Still the world keeps turning … turning and turning and turning. {Clay Crosse}

NOVEMBER 26, 2020: “I’m STILL Seein’ It” …

TEN THANKSGIVINGS LATER …

… and I still see the gold smoldering quietly in the embers, as far as my gaze to and fro, shining steadfast like a beacon to The Brighter Side Of Grey that led me to this Light … especially when I look in the mirror.

Golden is the crown that adorns my head, encrusted with all the precious diamonds of my life, not the least of which is me, the Queen I truly am, who was also created under pressure and fire.

The King may no longer reign beside me on Earth, and my sister may have moved miles away, but I still have my fire babies … and so many beautiful strangers … and I’m still so very thankful for these still so applicable words from “ten Thanksgivings later”.

These lonely hours like a fire refining something that’s precious – something that’s shining. There in the darkness, surrounded by coals … it’s starting to glow.

I think I see gold, and I’m just so very thankful … FOR EVERYTHING.

NOVEMBER 23, 2020: “One Light Burning” …

ONE LIGHT BURNING

All alone in the dark. No walls, no windows. Trying hard to define Heaven from hell. Standing out in the rain with just one shadow. Nothing to see or believe beyond myself. See my life going by each moment I am alive. I keep reaching out, holding on, hoping somewhere in my life there’s one light burning. I feel it like my heart beating inside. Somewhere in my life, there’s one light burning. All alone with my fears. No words are spoken. A story yet to be told locked in my mind. Hope is somewhere ahead shining brightly, but the past is always following close behind. Somewhere in my life, t here’s one light burning leading the way. {Richie Sambora}

If you’re reading this …

… PLEASE REMEMBER …

It doesn’t HAVE to be the dark of night to get out there, Light ’em up and be that “One Light Burning”!

It’s Monday, November 23, 2020! So many kids are home this week with parents and families who are desperately thinking “WHAT THE HELL” – especially where this whole “holiday season 2020 COVID style” is concerned. Yah, it’s really kinda DARK outside, EVEN in the daytime!

Let me encourage you to to THIS …

While you’re out and about living life today, SMILE AT SOMEONE! Be kind to EVERYONE! Hold a door open. Pay for someone’s lunch. HELP where you can (smiles are FREE). Say “have a good day” (and really mean it) to a complete and total stranger and see how truly good and hopeful it makes you feel! Do it for them, do it for you, do it in tribute to loved ones you’ve lost who would WANT you to have learned to value humanity and cherish “the living” with their crossing. DO IT BECAUSE ITS THE RIGHT THING TO DO! Especially because, as we all surely know, NO ONE MAKES IT OUT OF HERE ALIVE! So many people, including our loved ones, do lose the hope they need to keep their feet on this foreboding and shaky ground we call planet Earth! YOU know that I KNOW this all too well! For those of us left behind in the wake of a loved one’s lost battle with the darkness, WE OWE IT TO THEM TO LIGHT THE WAY FOR THE OTHERS!

Listen! Just because you can’t see a burning flame in the daylight, it doesn’t mean you can’t feel a burning flame in the daylight. A flame is a flame regardless of its timing, circumstances or surroundings … IT GIVES WARMTH! So, get out there and make it a powerful Monday everyone …

Chin Up!

Knuckles Out!

LIGHT ‘EM UP!

ONE LIGHT BURNING!

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!

NOVEMBER 8, 2020: “The Day Of The DR Horton Hoodie” …

I didn’t want this day to go by without recognizing this very important “Facebook memory” from one year ago today.

It wasn’t clear WHY Gia was in such a panic getting ready for school today. Until it was. The revelation was just so bittersweet, and let me tell you why …

The Day He Met Don “DR” Horton! (August 25, 2018)

God, please let that hoodie reappear. Like me, one of the things she is most proud to say is “she was in the Horton family”. She knows how hard he worked to create the life he made for us, and knows that company had so much to do with how we got here. Not just materially either. While all this “stuff” is super nice background noise, the best background noise we have is the beautiful reality that his very successful career at DR Horton gave him the sense of accomplishment, belonging and validation he’d needed for so long. Horton was his “other family”, and ours too, and for that we will always be grateful.

So much has changed in both her mind and heart since the day this post was made, and although we never found that hoodie, what I can tell you is this: We have found peace, solace and so many beautiful reasons to be thankful as we keep sifting through the things that make us feel close! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again …

Despite the way this chapter of our story ended, we are still two very lucky girls!

NOVEMBER 1, 2020: “Crossing Over” …

CROSSING OVER

All perched alone he sits there broken. An eldered man with storm clouds setting in his eyes. He counts the sands of time – remembering day’s gone by. It seemed like yesterday before it washed away. Hey, don’t wait for me there – just find your own way. Hey, don’t wait for me there – ’cause I’ll be there soon enough. The widow’s life ticks out like clockwork. A thousand tears she’s cried a hundred time’s before. But now that he is gone, she’s ready to move on. It all just fell away – it seems like yesterday. {Five Finger Death Punch}

Some days I rise with all the words I need to say just pouring out of my soul, and often it’s because of a dream. Like today, which would have been our 10th wedding anniversary. It’s been just over a year of bittersweet healing on this road I never planned to travel, and though I knew it was fast approaching, I also knew it would be a major turning point in my final ascent out of the darkness and into The Light. So, with that, let me tell you how my beautifully shattered life works

To begin, indeed I dreamt last night, but not before closing my eyes to the sound of the Halloween shenanigans of my daughter and her crew. (PS) Did I ever tell you that the one design flaw with Williamson Manor is that her theatre room and living area are directly above the master? Yup! They are! As it turns out, however, it’s not a flaw at all! Believe it or not, especially in this last 438 days, those echoes of stomping, laughing and chaos into the wee hours of so many nights are a lullaby to me. It’s why he built this home “from the ground up” and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Knowing she’s here, and happy, safe and whole, is one of the truths that comforts me the most. But damnit, I’ve digressed!

Where was I? Oh yes … my dream! I was front row center at a Five Finger Death Punch show, but instead of a mainstream concert venue, it was a very intimate gathering where Ivan was singing to me:

The widow’s life ticks out like clockwork … a thousand tears she’s cried a hundred times before. But now that he is gone, she’s ready to move on …

As he was singing he reached out his hand and a tear rolled down his cheek. But it wasn’t Ivan’s face! It was Zack’s face, on Ivan’s body, holding that legendary, spike-encrusted mic stand in one hand while reaching out the other to me like a muse. It was the most beautiful insanity imaginable! In the dream, I was thinking, “This means something. What does this mean?” Then I woke up and I knew.

In order to fully appreciate where I’m going with this, you must understand that I am led solely by intuition and feelings. Call me spiritualist. Call me a “good witch”. Call me whatever the hell you want. It’s my truth just the same and it’s never gonna change!

In every thing there is a meaning, in every moment a message, and something means everything, even if it’s nothing!

This is what I believe! Am I crazy? Out of touch? Insane? Delusional? Perhaps! But at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter, and let me tell you why: What if I’m RIGHT? What if it’s true? What if the Cosmos really is trying to speak to me. What if it really is him “communicating with us” through the fog and the crows and the lights in our bathroom? That, my friends, is the “crazy” blind faith that costs me nothing but gains me everything. Sooner or later I too will cross over, and either I’m right or I am wrong. Meanwhile, directly after waking this morning from that most ethereal dream, this was at the foot of my bed. It’s nothing, really. Nothing at all. Just one of the girls’ bracelets that either Good Cat or Bad Cat must have found and deposited at the exact spot my foot was supposed to hit the ground. “C’mon Cat, it’s just a bracelet.” Well duh, I already know that! But why did it show up in the endless twist of “F8” this way? Hmmmm. I think I kinda know …

IN CLOSING …

Ten years ago I kissed a frog who turned into a king. Five years ago today that same king turned me into a princess. Last night I had a dream, then woke up “on the edge of eternity”, at which point I was then was reminded of the pure and endless joy he brought into my life that I get to keep until it’s my time to touch The Brighter Side Of Grey. In the meantime, today marks the day. It’s time for me to move on, whatever that actually means, and I’ve asked God to show me what’s next. Sufficed to say, my heart is completely open to anything and everything … but this is the beautiful picture of the me I’m always going to be … thanks to him …

Happy Anniversary Williamson!

I don’t mind you hanging with us as long as you feel it’s necessary, but hey – don’t wait for me here. I’ll be there soon enough.

OCTOBER 30, 2020: “A Better Version Of Me” …

PEOPLE WHO TAKE SELFIES ARE NARCISSITIC AND VAIN!

~ By The Former Mislead & Completely MISINFORMED “Not So REAL” Cat Williamson

Yes, these are the words I used to say about “selfies”! Upon further deliberation, however, I have since changed that narrative to something more like this:

Selfies, self-acceptance, self-appreciation and self-LOVE are okay in appropriate doses, if not a necessary evil.

Here’s the deal …

If I don’t love me, 100% unconditionally, and value, see and treat myself as the QUEEN I KNOW I AM, why on EARTH would anyone else? We treat others as we wish to be treated, right? Well, today I’m treating myself with the utmost of appreciation and importance. I am literally my own biggest fan these days! Well, me and the Big Guy that is … and HE DOES NOT MAKE TRASH! If He adores and values me above all things …

SO SHOULD I!

Look … I’m the one who “gets” to spend the most time with me of all, so, isn’t it a damn good thing that I’ve finally reached this place in my journey? Hell – if I had to be stuck with that “old me” I DESPISED for the next fifty effing years? NO THANK YOU — I’LL PASS! She was her own worst enemy, not a fan of me at all, and didn’t deserve to wear the crowns that once adorned her jacked up little head, because she didn’t believe she deserved them!

Hi everyone, it’s The Real Cat Williamson! I am Fifty-ONE-Derful years old and fearfully and wonderfully made!

~ By The New & Improved “Better Version Of Me” REAL Cat Williamson

Now then …

Excuse the mess – I didn’t see you from behind. I caught a glimpse, but the reflection’s only mine. It’s almost like I’m paralyzed and locked outside myself. I don’t need to concede, because I won’t be someone else! I am not perfect and I don’t claim to be, and if that’s what you wanted, well then I’m so sorry! How about a better version of the way that I am? How about a better version that makes me understand? How about a better version of the way that I am? The way I look … the way I speak … HOW ‘BOUT A BETTER VERSION OF ME? Excuse the wall I put it up from time to time. A silver shade, and the design is all mine. It’s just a maze that everyday I seem to be stuck in. It never seems to fade away but I pray for the day it ends. {“Better Version” by Shinedown}

To call it one of my favorites would not do it any justice. It’s so much more than just a song to me – it’s an entire way of life! I will never forget the first time I heard it. I was at the gym in the middle of a workout with the King who insisted that I already was the best version of “me” whatsoever. As I listened to the words, they ripped me to shreds in a hundred different ways. It was good, and bad, and beautiful, and awful, and absolutely AMAZING all the same! After that, I would listen to daily, sometimes over and over and over, until it actually became one of the processes that completely rewired my broken self-image and head. Truth be told, if I wasn’t pretty much out of space on my body to ink out any further mantras in as dignified a way as I have thus far (if there is such a thing, lol), I would have every word of this most empowering song tattooed in its entirety onto my body! You’ve heard it said before, “we are what we do, say and think”. I’m FINALLY the BEST fucking version of “me” that ever was and ever will be. Thank, You, GOD!

I want to challenge ALL OF YOU to post a selfie very soon. Because … YOU ARE PERFECT … and it’s OKAY to love YOU … as long as you’re doing it from a truly humble place and always keepin’ it real!

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

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

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

I did it people!

I SURVIVED!

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

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

NBKB0485

DEAR CAT:

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

“There’s a light in you that tears me down to nothing. There’s an angel in your eyes. There’s a hope inside that you can make it better. You see right through my disguise. When it rains it pours, and everybody stumbles. I won’t let them bring you down. I won’t let you down when the seasons change. I won’t go down. I’ll fight through the pain. I’ll be there right by your side. I’ll never let them bring you down when the seasons change. There’s a hope in me that I will die for something. Was the fire in my eyes? All this pain inside. Will it be this way forever? I can run but I can’t hide. When it rains it pours, and everybody stumbles. I won’t let them bring you down. When the seasons change and we’re in for colder weather look for me on The Divide. {Five Finger Death Punch}

You see? None of this is about you.

It has NEVER been about you.

IT’S ABOUT THEM!

Not just your babies …

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

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

Your “valuelessness” is your greatest value!

Your “powerlessness” is your greatest power!

YOU ARE REACHING NIRVANA!

You are EVERYTHING!

Because you are NOTHING!

You’re NOTHING but a pebble, to be dropped into your ocean, making ripples and waves of outward change for everyone whose path you cross on your journey.

Your purpose is to keep working the roots of this new and healthy family tree you’re now growing — free from the black toxicity that suffocated and broke all the branches of the tree that we came from.

KEEP CHANGING THE STORY!

THE BUCK STOPS WITH YOU!

 

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

Keep working.

Keep sowing.  

You’re doing a good job.

… and (PS) …

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

~ Me

img_2468

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

GHVZ5582

KINGS AND QUEENS

I saw these words posted on the Instagram page of a friend of sorts. He’s a musician, an inspirer, a widow, and also a pirate that I follow whose posts I adore:

… listen to her thoughts … adore her like no one could ever do … be more than just a text message … be the air they breathe, future they plan and smile they wear everywhere … live to have her hug you from behind … write her letters and hold hands while kissing … love until your heart is empty … and then love some more … BE HER EVERYTHING.

{from The Diary Of An Outlaw Music)

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

My King in Heaven is pretty smitten with me by the way … I can feel His loving hands wrapped around my heart every second of every day. My truly blind faith in Him only pales in comparison to the faith He’s had in me since before I was even born, and He has loved me like the QUEEN He intended me to be long before any man on this Earth ever did. Is there to be “one last king” in this realm for me? Only He knows that and He’s got this! If there is, there is. If there isn’t, so be it. I’ve been there, and done that, and the legacies of love the two of them left for me are more than enough to fill my heart for the NEXT fifty years without them if that is to be the case. My standards are obnoxiously high now, and as I’ve said before, it would take one HELL of a powerful presence of a man to stand with the shadows of the two loves of my life that came before him. I know who I am, EXACTLY what I’m worth, and EXACTLY who is worthy of my attention and affection, much less being put on a pedestal. I will accept NOTHING but a king again. Nothing. No one. EVER! Unless and until that day comes that “the last king on Earth” comes to find me, I’ll continue to reign here in my kingdom “happily alone”. THIS CROWN ON MY HEAD IS GOING NOWHERE!

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

AUGUST 5, 2020: “Open Up Your Eyes” …

IMG_4652

Yesterday morning I woke up to another one of those magical music moments I have come to love and cherish wherein my son, Christian, communicates what he’s feeling by simply texting me a song. As I’ve said, his music messages are one of my greatest treasures, and ironically, Zack would often do the very same thing, which of course I treasured just as much. But once again I’ve digressed. Sufficed to say, today my own eyes are open wide and I’m beyond thankful that my beautiful King FINALLY found the peace he could never find.

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

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

WHAT did he see when at last he opened them?

HE SAW JESUS!

I JUST KNOW IT!

God had His hand on my husband’s beautiful head at all times, even while he was roaming this Earth like the motherless and forsaken “trash can boy” he always saw when he looked into a mirror. I am still the most blessed woman I have ever known to have roamed this Earth as well. How is that even possible? Because God has had His hand on MY head at all times as well, be it during my greatest triumphs and joys or darkest tragedies and traumas. And too, this …

MARK 2:17 :: When Jesus heard this, He told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

Make it a good day everyone and always keep the faith! Remember, “this is our temporary home“, nothing more, nothing less. The best part of all of this is still yet to come!

JUNE 16, 2020: “Day 300, And, Death Is STILL Nothing At All” …

Death

Death Is Nothing At All

 

MAY 30, 2020: “The Beautiful Dance With Pain” …

THE DANCE

Looking back on the memory of the dance we shared ‘neath the stars above, for a moment, all the world was right. How could I have known that you’d ever say goodbye? And now I’m glad I didn’t know the way it all would end – the way it all would go. Our lives are better left to chance. I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance. Holding you, I held everything. For a moment, wasn’t I a king? But if I’d only known how the king would fall? Hey who’s to say? You know I might have changed it all. {Garth Brooks}

MAY 15, 2020: “Back To The Castle” …

IMG_2084

Okay people, I’ve been SHOOKEN by a “Ghost” again in ALL the most beautiful ways …

IvanYou see this guy? He’s Ivan Greening, some know him as Ivan Moody, but his people call him “The Ghost”. He’s the lead vocalist and MANIAC for the band of my life … and PLEASE say you already know this … Five Finger Death Punch. Ivan’s not quite your “traditional” man, and to some he may be downright scary. Not only is he a recovering alcoholic with a somewhat colorful rap sheet, he’s also covered from head to toe in an array of tattoos and his voice is as ominous as thunder. Most of the time he rages and screams, but sometimes he serenades us from the most tender depths of his soul. He’s the living embodiment of the word “oxymoron” and actually one of my heroes! King Ivan takes “Phoenix” to an entirely different level if you’ll look past the scars on his inked-up, fleshen sleeves. “What you see is what you get.” With this guy? Not so much! He’s a completely open book and a total mystery, as on one hand he seems to be telling us everything about himself, while on the other no one really knows him. That’s how I feel about myself by the way, but where in the HELL was I going with this? It seems I’ve run amuck with yet another of my digressions as my “thought chaos” leads me to somewhere.

Ah, yes, “the video”. Earlier this week he posted a clip of himself “TikTok-ing” with his daughter which immediately struck my heart in a brand new place I never knew was broken. It was one of the sweetest things I think I’ve ever seen, while also one of the saddest. You see, I am a daughter who cannot help but wonder, “What could have been if my larger than life dad had danced with me in the living room”?

HERE’S THE THING: He’s probably worth a gazillion bucks and has a cult-like following worldwide. But when the lights go down at his final show and he reaches the end of the road? What do you think that little girl of his will tell her own kids about her daddy? “Grandpa Ivan was a rock and roll star” or “Grandpa Ivan danced with me in the living room”? I’m fairly certain, as hopefully you are too, that it’s going to be the latter.

HEY DADS …

Now about that legacy you’ll be leaving behind … WHAT’S IT GONNA BE? You may not be perfect, because no one ever is, and there’s NO such “perfect parent”. But trust me when I tell you that it’s NEVER too late to change the ending of a story. This, my friends, is what us “knuckleheads” call “The Brighter Side Of Grey“, and I’m here to tell you IT’S EVERYTHING! Despite the mottled undertones here of the struggles with my father, I really want to end this now with a “brighter side” I’ve found …

My daughter had two dads to take her to the balls, which I find rather amazing. My husband escorted her in many of those carriages while her real dad escorted her in others. Neither of them was perfect and each of them hurt her in extremely complicated ways, but at the end of the day I just know in my heart that she’ll treasure their dancing days forever! She’s an incredibly lucky girl, but I’m an even luckier mom, so beyond thankful for both of the Princes who danced with their Cinderella!

MAY 10, 2020: “In His Remains” …

Momn

The fate of a mother is waiting for children. You wait for them while pregnant, you wait for them when they return from nursery. Wait for them when they leave school. You wait for them when they start their life when they come home after a party. You wait for them when they come back from work so they can always find a hot meal. You wait for them with love, with anxiety sometimes with anger that immediately passes when you see them and you can hug them. So make sure your elderly mom doesn’t have to wait any longer. Visit her, love her, hug the one who loved you like no one else ever will. Don’t ever make her wait. Because they age limbs but a mom’s heart never grows old. Love her as you can. No woman will love you like a mother.

{Author Unknown}

TO HIS “MOTHER”:

I recently stumbled upon the most beautiful passage about “the fate of a mother”. I couldn’t have said it better myself, except that I wouldn’t have chosen the word “fate”. Rather would I have said, “The destiny of a mother is waiting for her children.” Stumble as I may have countless of times in my imperfect motherhood journey thus far, the gift of all my children has been my highest calling, purpose and honor. But what about you? What do these words mean to you? You never waited for him …. he only ever waited for you, because you left him, like trash in his own remains.

YOU LEFT HIM!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, your “son” stopped living the day he was born, but it was a year ago today that the hands of Fate threw the very last spin of the wheel that ultimately led to not only his demise, but the end of the most beautiful chapter of my life. Looking back now, I can honestly say that the very first hint of change in him was June 5, 2014, as that was truly the day the “rock” that was our Zachariah began crumbling inside himself. Slowly, subtly, yet ever so steadily, he began slipping down the hole that devoured him alive on January 11th this year, but it wasn’t really until May 12th last year that he started coming apart at the seams. I remember that morning as if it were now, right down to exactly where he was standing, the look of angst upon his face, what he was saying, the tears falling from his eyes, what he was wearing, and even how he smelled. Sufficed to say though, indeed it was “Mother’s Day 2019” that earmarked the beginning of his end.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

… “Daughter-In-Law”

IN [HIS] REMAINS

Separate. He sifted through the wreckage. He couldn’t concentrate – searching for a message in the fear and pain. Broken down and waiting for the chance to feel alive. Now in his remains are promises that never came. Set the silence free to wash away the worst of him. Come apart. Falling in the cracks of every broken heart. Digging through the wreckage of your disregard. Sinking down and waiting for the chance, to feel alive. Now in his remains are promises that never came. Set the silence free to wash away the worst of him. Like an army, falling one by one by one. {Linkin’ Park}

Mother

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

IMG_0559This morning I was “daydreaming” again and making plans for a future I’m really not “planning” as much as I am “visualizing”. It’s this whole thing that Williamson taught me: “If you want it, SEE IT, THEN GO AND MAKE IT HAPPEN!”. Now, I’m sure some of you may be thinking, “Well, then why the hell didn’t he just SEE himself out his darkness?” Unfortunately, mental illness doesn’t always work that way, especially when a human mind ends up literally splitting in two. But I’ve digressed.

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

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

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

Twenty minutes ago my doorbell rang. “Who in the world …?” When I opened the door my stomach hit the floor in the best possible way with that all too familiar adrenaline dump I’ve come to know so well during the worst and best moments of my life that consumes my soul then drains right out of my fingertips. It was his florist! The only one he EVER patroned … his “partner in crime” when it came to knowing exactly how to make me smile … with THIS arrangement … for me:

Good afternoon Cat. These are from Diane. She just wanted you to know we’re all thinking of you constantly.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?

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

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

img_8259TO MY KIDS …

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

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

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

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

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

Them

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

IMG_8322

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.

IMG_E9348
by Charles Mackesy

FEBRUARY 1, 2020: “Crazy Grandma Cat” …

img_8591

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

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

a2

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

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 … Desires

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 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 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”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

IMG_1737

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 8, 2020: “The Ashes Of Eden” …

Zachariah Lucas Williamson … The Blarney Castle Gardens

So, it’s Day Three here in Ireland. Upon proceeding with this trip after all, I’d also quickly decided that this would be the perfect place to bring the first of his ashes to spread. Not only because this was supposed to be his trip too, but more so because this is truly somewhere he belongs. Although he never actually lived here, a little more than a year ago he’d finally begun his ancestry tracing and much to his surprise discovered that he was predominantly of European descent. Considering the circumstances of his dismal childhood and not really ever knowing much about who he really was, I thought it was only fitting that he should be “here”.

Christian and I had decided that as we traveled here we would set out to find “the perfect spot. When we stumbled upon this beautiful little brook that runs about the gardens at The Blarney Castle … we just knew “this was the spot”. Since his “blood” never came to take him home, I have decided that they don’t deserve to have him anyway. In the years to come, the kids and I will take all of his ashes they couldn’t be bothered with to the many places his ancestors once called “home”. So, with that, I end with my own adaptation of some of the most befitting lyrics for this moment …

Zachariah,

Despite your many mistakes and all the ways you hurt us, I knew your heart AND your faith in God. I cannot and will not discount the unconditional forgiveness and grace that He showed in that moment He reached for your hand. I know your faith was rewarded when you came to your end, and no final warning did you miss. Yes, He called for you, and He saw your soul within, and yes, Zachariah, you were worthy. He was with you after all, and although the demon that was living in your head prevented you from hearing His voice or feeling His presence, indeed He was with you through it all as the ashes of Eden did fall. The darkness is no longer falling upon you. The air no longer grows thin. No more voices haunting. You have nothing left to fear. There is nothing left but the shining Light from Heaven above Who has taken your hand to His everlasting will.

ASHES OF EDEN

Will the faithful be rewarded when we come to the end? Will I miss the final warning from the lie that I have lived? Is there anybody calling? I can see the soul within, and I am not worthy. I am not worthy of this. Are you with me after all? Why can’t I hear you? Are you with me through it all? Then why can’t I feel you? Stay with me don’t let me go, because there’s nothing left at all. Stay with me don’t let me go until the ashes of Eden fall. Will the darkness fall upon me when the air is growing thin? Will the Light begin to pull me to its everlasting will? I can hear the voices haunting. There is nothing left to fear. And I am still calling. I am still calling to You. Heaven above me, take my hand. Shine until there’s nothing left but You. {Breaking Benjamin}

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 8, 2019: “Death Is Nothing At All”…

DeathLate last night I stumbled upon the “memory” of a post I’d made on Facebook around the same time four years prior, December 8th, 2015. It was in reference to an annual visit I’d made to my daughter’s grave to deliver her Christmas flowers, and ironically, take a wild guess what I did yesterday afternoon? I made the annual visit to my daughter’s grave to deliver her Christmas flowers. This was what I’d posted:

I held an angel in my arms for 4.25 hours, who left my world as swiftly as she entered it, thus bestowing me the privilege of seeing her very first breath and then her very last. When her heart stopped, so did mine, for what seemed like an eternity, and in that moment I just knew all the light from my soul had slipped with hers forever. Quite certainly I was wrong though, because I am still right here, with a shining heart filled with joy and peace that has healed where I never knew it was broken. You see, I am a woman who was blessed in the presence of two “departed” at the moment their mortal shackles were released, not the least of which was my precious daughter’s as my hands gave her right back to Heaven. It took me a minute, plus 20 twisted years, but I’ve since found the words “all is well” to be so much more than endearing. For both of them survive with me in every shadow before and behind as I feel their presences fervently locked in all the deepest chasms of my mind. I never got to hear her voice, yet I recognize it clearly, and his are the chords that fill my heart with memories, joy and laughter. Tthe greatest triumph of my bittersweet Earthly existence was that moment I realized I was speaking of, writing about and taking flowers to their graves without a single shed of tear, reveling in the truth that in their crossing my God had not forsaken me, but had all the while been planting the seeds of my truly blind faith and granting my greatest “freedom”. And while of course I do not delight at the thought of our next inevitable relation, no longer do I fear Him, for He is but an Enigma who in one strange paradox both enlightens AND ceases my need to comprehend. For in all my years both broken and whole I have learned to grieve with hope, and with that, all is truly well. All. Is. Well!”

Meanwhile, here I am, having danced with Death yet again at what seems a lifetime later. Do you know what has changed in my relationship with either God or Death since my husband’s sudden departure? Not a single thing!

As I was driving to the cemetery yesterday, I was concerned as to how I would handle it, especially in that not a year has passed since Zack came into my life that I’ve go there on my own. He stood beside me through everything and never could I have imagined standing at her grave alone. Yet, as I walked towards her resting place, the most beautiful breeze washed over me. I swear to God I felt so at peace! No tears. No trauma. No aching in my heart or knot in my stomach. Just solace. I knelt down, put the flowers in her vase, took the deepest breath I could, and slowly released it back into an atmosphere that I’m certain they were present in – my first born daughter, my blaze of glory“, and now, THE ONE TRUE LOVE OF MY LIFE!

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

death

As I write this I still marvel at my triumph. Yes I am able to speak of them, write about them and take flowers to their graves without a single shed of tear. And yes I do continue to revel in the truth that in their crossing my God has still not forsaken me, but instead, continues planting and sowing the seeds of my even stronger, truer blind faith. I AM the freest woman I’ve ever known, and while I still do not delight at the thought of our next inevitable relation, never will I fear Him … the Enigma who in one strange paradox continues to enlighten and cease my need to comprehend. It’s been a long fifty years for me living “broken and whole at once”, but I continue to grieve with hope, with my eyes upon The Cross, and all remains truly well.

THE ANSWER

The lightning flashed as angels rode fiery chargers through the clouds. That answer scared me into tears and all the grownups laughed out loud. Now the years roll on, tired voices have all gone. Now they ride their thunder through the heavens. There’s a world in every drop of rain. Embracing oceans sweep us home again. Come along with me, come along with me. Seek the truth, you shall not find another lie. They say for every living thing there’s a guide up in the sky that helps you pass from world to world so you never really die. Then with scythe and cloak Death comes waltzing to your side. As the visions pass you ask if there was meaning to your life. As you strain to hear the answer, spirits sing and devils fiddle as he bends to whisper in your hear, he leaves you one more riddle. Oh, the answer lies beyond the pain. All the questions in our minds, we surely ask in vain. Come along with me, come along with me. Seek the truth, and you shall find another life. And now my life is like a storm growing stronger every day. Like the unrelenting wind that comes to blow our lives away. So I live each day like I know it’s my last. If there is no future there must be no past. Now I know the answers never meant a thing and with each instant that I breathe I feel the joy that life can bring. Come along with me, come along with me. Seek the truth, you shall not find another lie. Come along with me, come along with me. Seek the truth, you shall not find another lie. {Richie Sambora}

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

Tonight after “Batman” lit up our roof for the holidays Gia and I went to Walmart to get more lights for the shrubs in our pajamas, slippers and messy buns, looking quite ridiculous! We were “play arguing” over whether to get “all white”, “all red”, “all green”, or multi-colored. Before we knew it we were giggling up a storm and I said,

Man, this is tough. Do we match the shrubs to the roof, do a contrast, or what? Hmm, what would Jesus do?

Ever the consummate smart ass, my daughter says,

Well duh mom, He WAS Jewish so I’m thinking He’d go with blue.

(And she meant no disrespect by the way. Gia loves Jesus!) Meanwhile, this couple standing nearby started giggling too and the lady says,

You two are so sweet together, like a mother daughter comedy act! You just made me miss my two girls who are on their way home from school right now and I can hardly WAIT to hug them even tighter. I miss those days when it was us being silly at Walmart. Thank you for lighting up this aisle with holiday spirit!

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

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

NOVEMBER 1, 2019: “In Loving Memory” …

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

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

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

frog

In Loving Memory Of “The Frog & The Butterfly”

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

OCTOBER 24, 2019: “No Easy Way Out” …

no easy

Yesterday I ran across a post that really struck me (and yes, that pun was very much 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 I’ve come up with …

Gia and I are huge Rocky fans, as was Zack. Rocky IV in particular is my favorite, because in my mind I have always felt 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, No Easy Way Out, 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. 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? Bloody nose? Black eye and some scars here and there? Absolutely!

There have been so many days this last twenty years, even in my most broken, lost, bent out of shape, completely incoherent, mangled and twisted of mindsets, that I’ve 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 DEVIL BROKEN YOU?”

The only answer I ever come up with is this:

It’s Him. Not me!

Please understand that in no way do I believe that I am more special, gifted, blessed or talented than anyone else. It’s God. I just know it. There is NO other explanation as to why I haven’t 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 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 most valuable thing I possess, that cost Him everything and me NOTHING, other than my completely blind faith in “the process”. I realize, of course, that some don’t understand this, and, in fact, may think its lunacy to believe in something you cannot touch or see. But you can’t touch or see the wind, can you? Nope, you sure can’t! But it’s real just the same, and we 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.)

OCTOBER 23, 2019: “Supernatural” …

JUNE 23, 2019 …

4

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 the kind of wear and tear it can do (and yes, there is a REAL “super hero” in this regard 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, WE 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!

CARRY ON MY WAYWARD SON

Carry on my wayward son, 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}

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!

cropped-cats-metal-signature-logo.jpg