MARCH 30, 2021: “Because Hope Is A Good Thing” …

The Shawshank Redemption was Zack’s favorite movie of all times. To him, it screamed “hope” in every circumstance, and despite the obviously tragic ending, trust me when I tell you that he tried not to literally lose his mind and fall apart the way he did. Ironically, we watched it together for probably the twentieth time the weekend before he died and he cried the whole way through it. Looking back, I know in my heart that as he was watching it for the very last time he knew he wasn’t going to be able to hang on much longer and all that all the “hope” he tried so hard to find in doing so was fast coming to a screeching halt. We’d talked incessantly about what he was feeling in his heart and mind, and towards the end he just kept saying it felt like he was trapped inside a prison. Five nights later, he was gone.

In here is where it makes the most sense … you need it so you don’t forget … that there are places in the world that aren’t made out of stone … that there’s something inside that they can’t get to … they can’t touch … it’s yours … hope.”

Having done a little investigating, I was able to have a conversation with one of the first responders at the scene the morning of August 23rd, and he was kind enough to answer some of questions I needed answers to. He said that when they found him, the car was still running, and there was opera music playing inside so loud that they could hear it through the windows. I JUST KNOW THAT WHAT HE WAS LISTENING TO AT THE END WAS HIS FAVORITE MUSICIAL MASTERPIECE OF ALL – Mozart’s “The Marriage Of Figaro” – the one from his favorite scene in the movie …

Here’s the thing …

There are so many questions I will never have answers to, and even more things I will never understand. Only God and Zack know what was going through his mind in those dark hours. Even if it’s true that I will see him again in another place and time, and even if I do get to meet God one day. there is still no assurance that ponderings such as these will be part of the beautiful conversations to be had, much less will I even know that I pondered them at all. In “the opera scene”, Red said …

I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don’t want to know. I like to think they were singing about something so beautiful it can’t be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it.

Likewise, I have no idea what Zack was really thinking about or “listening to” in the very last seconds of his life, but I’d like to think …

He was thinking about something so beautiful it just couldn’t be expressed in words, despite how his heart was aching, and it was the Light at the end of the very dark tunnel that had been his life on Earth that WAS the last bit of “hope” he was clinging to.

As par for our course, there are some things He will reveal to me only if and when I am ready to hear them, and so many other things that aren’t meant for me to understand at all. Guess what? THAT’S OKAY! I have the truly blind faith in my mind’s eye to guide me as I’m crossing over and that is all the “hope” I’ll ever need. Indeed it’s a VERY good thing!

MARCH 10, 2021: “My Grey-Aversary” …

On a beautiful Tuesday afternoon one year ago today, “the music wheel of destiny” stopped my world, and my heart, and sent me straight into the breakdown lane of one of the busiest highways in Dallas so that I could literally cry my fucking eyes out. It was as if Zack were singing these most beautifully haunting words himself to me, my daughter, and my son in a message straight from “The Brighter Side Of Grey“, where in our hearts we KNOW he finally is. If you haven’t ever heard this song yet, I cannot urge you enough to do so, especially if you are at odds with yourself over the “legacy” you are going to be leaving behind for your own children and loved ones.

Today I will celebrate!

Today I will be thankful!

Today I’ll stay grey, just like the sky in Dallas as I write this, because if I’ve learned anything in my “fifty-ONE-derful” years, it’s that life really ISN’T a game, it’s a song. and I intend to enjoy every single chord until I reach The Brighter Side of every fucked up, twisted moment of my absurd and beautiful life.

COVID literally crashed our 5FDP concert last year, Gia still hasn’t read the letter he wrote before he left. She knows the song exists, but isn’t allowed to listen to it until she can first hear Ivan singing it to her live. THAT will be the night she gets the words he wrote “in case he was gone tomorrow”. Make it a powerful day, and PLEASE listen to this song. It may just change the trajectory of your legacy and how you look at “grey”.

MARCH 8, 2021: “The Fortress Behind These Walls” …

A dear friend of mine posted this today on his social media and it really hit me hard:

The inability to receive support from others is a trauma response. Your “I don’t need anyone, I’ll just do it all myself” conditioning is a survival tactic. You needed it to shield your heart from the abuse, neglect, betrayal, and disappointment from those who could not or would not be there for you. From the parent who was absent and abandoned you by choice. From the parent who was never home from working three jobs to feed and house you. From the lovers who offered sexual intimacy but never offered a safe haven that honored your heart. From the friendships and family who ALWAYS took more than they ever gave. From all the situations when someone told you “we’re in this together” or “I got you” then abandoned you, leaving you to pick up the pieces when shit got real. Leaving you to handle your part and their part, too. From all the lies and all the betrayals. You learned along the way that you just couldn’t really trust people. Or that you could trust people, but only up to a certain point. EXTREME INDEPENDENCE IS A TRUST ISSUE! You learned: “If I don’t put myself in a situation where I rely on someone, I won’t have to be disappointed when they don’t show up for me – OR – “when they drop the ball … because they will ALWAYS drop the ball EVENTUALLY, right?” You may even have been intentionally taught this protection strategy by generations of hurt ancestors who came before you. EXTREME INDEPENDENCE IS A PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE AGAINST HEARTBREAK! So, you don’t trust ANYONE. And you don’t trust YOURSELF either. ESPECIALLY to choose people. To trust is to hope. To trust is to be vulnerable. “Never again,” you vow. But no matter how you dress it up and display it proudly to make it seem like this level of independence is what you always wanted to be … in truth it’s your wounded, scarred, broken heart behind a protective brick wall. Impenetrable. Nothing gets in. No hurt gets in. But no love gets in either. Fortresses and armor are for those in battle, or who believe the battle is coming. 𝗜𝘁’𝘀 𝗮 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝘂𝗺𝗮 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗲! The good news is trauma that is acknowledged is trauma that can be healed.

{Talon Harris with credit to “Inspired Jamila”}

Yes, I am a queen. Yes, I am healed, risen and SOARING after an entire lifetime of “walls”. Yes, I am thankful for EVERY thing, person, and situation that broke me, because I wouldn’t have had anything to “ascend from” had I not come from all these ashes. I would never have known how to recognize OR receive true, unconditional love, grace, acceptance and kindness from the very few people who have ever offered it to me.

But HERE’S why his post upset me ….

“The fortress” in this post? He was my husband! He’s still my son! She was my daughter! SHE WAS ME! “A fortress” is what so many kids are becoming, even as I write this, and I’m sickened to say that because there are certain parenting and lifestyle choice boundaries that are just not okay to cross, I have to sit silently and helplessly as so many parents I know literally decimate their beautiful children right in front of my eyes!

SELFISH, TOXIC, ABUSIVE PARENTS:

Wake the fuck up and get your shit together! GET YOUR KIDS OUT OF TOXIC ENVIRONMENTS! PROTECT THEM! CHERISH THEM! VALIDATE THEM! HEAR THEM! CONSIDER THEM FIRST IN EVERY SINGLE CHOICE YOU MAKE FOR “YOU”! Worse yet, stop letting the people who hurt YOU continue to hurt your children! By failing to heal yourself and find a way to have healthy relationships after ones that have broken you apart, you only perpetuate that cycle of “victimized brokenness” by handing it down to your innocently jaded children!

In the meantime, I’ll just keep PRAYING that someday I don’t “get that call” that a child I once knew swallowed a bullet because their SELFISH parents “deserved the life they deserved” and I have to show up at their funeral. But mostly, I’ll be praying that somehow they’ll rise above their “life behind fortress walls” and be able to stand in front of a mirror one day and say …

“I AM WORTHY of having support. I AM WORTHY of having true partnership. I AM WORTHY of love. I AM WORTHY of having my heart held. I AM WORTHY to be adored. I AM WORTHY to be cherished. I AM WORTHY to have someone say, “You rest – I got this”, and actually fucking deliver on that promise. I don’t have to earn it! I don’t have to prove it! I don’t have to bargain for it! I don’t have to beg for it! I AM WORTHY!”

FEBRUARY 12, 2021: “Do You Need Help?” …

HELP!

I THINK I NEED HELP! I’m drowning in myself. Did someone turn the lights out, or is it just another dark cloud in my head? ‘Cause I’m cut deep. My heart won’t beat. Deep down low it’s killing me. If I wanna scratch out yesterday, I’ve got so much I need to say. I THINK I NEED HELP! ‘Cause I’m drowning in myself. It’s sinking in. I can’t pretend that I ain’t been through hell. I THINK I NEED HELP! I’m drowning in myself. They’re preying on my weakness. Believe it. I’m thinking to myself: “No, not again!”, and I won’t keep listening when temptation’s creeping in. If I wanna make it another day, I’ve got so much I need to say. I THINK I NEED HELP! {Papa Roach}

FEBRUARY 8, 2021: “O’er Fodder & Field” …

FODDER:

Indeed it is true that the “I got my heart broken and now I’m afraid to love” struggle is up close, personal and very real! But here’s what I’ve been tryin’ to tell ya folks AND PLEASE HEAR ME LOUD AND CLEAR! If I hadn’t truly believed in the existence and power of REAL LOVE all the while … and even though some of the most “forgettable” people almost destroyed me (one of whom actually leveled me SO badly that I tried to kill myself) …

I WOULD NEVER HAVE MET THE TWO LOVES OF MY LIFE!

That’s right my friends! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I have been truly and deeply loved by TWO KINGS in this lifetime. Not one – TWO! How many women can say that? While unfortunately their fates had to take them Home too soon, the love each of them gave me was enough to last me a lifetime if that is to be MY fate. Nonetheless it remains … TRUE LOVE IS VERY REAL … and the people that hurt you but the FODDER beneath your feet who prepared you for the greener pastures yet to come …

… meaning …

You will never be able to to recognize or appreciate your real king or a queen unless you’ve spent time in the company of an asshole! So, just keep stepping over all that fodder as you walk through to greener pastures towards the Light! Take it from me – the grass really is better on this side! AND FOR THE RECORD: YES, I still love Corey Hart, and YES I still listen to this song AND sing out loud with it weekly! It’s beautiful, and powerful, and if you’ve never heard it before … LISTEN TO THE WORDS!

TAKE MY HEART

Take me to the top again. Take me to the high road shining – ’cause you know I never seen the world like that! You take me to the top again. You take me where it’s slow and easy – ’cause you know I never dream inside like that. I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know. Won’t you take my heart? Don’t leave me here standin’! Take my heart where only you can. Take my heart – there is no resistance. I can only go as far as you can. Yeah, through the leaves of grass I search – and I follow like a soldier, where the battle rages on. Reveal what’s true. And I call to open skies – and I call to high plains driftin’ through the wintertime the Earth shall feed my soul. Discover borderlands that we have yet to run … and you can search forever never reach the Sun. And I can go on tryin’. And I can go on cryin’. Won’t you take my heart … where only you can? {Corey Hart}

FEBRUARY 6, 2021: “The Frog Prince” …

… that moment she walks in the kitchen and says …

Awwwe, look Mom! It’s Dad standing guard at the little cottage in the woods he made damn good and sure you’re gonna have until you can finally get there!

… and you want to cry, but instead you can only smile, because DAMN she’s the strongest, wisest, most gracious human being you’ve EVER met … and (PS) …

YOU MADE HER!

If only you really knew why it means so much that she still calls him “Dad” … well … then you’d really know why it it means so much that she still calls him “Dad”. I’m sure you must be tired of me saying it, and I’m sorry I’m not sorry that I always do … but … I really am the MOST blessed queen in the history of the world.

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}

If you are interested in supporting the causes closest to “The King & Queen’s” hearts:

<<<CLICK HERE>>>

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 because of a dream. Like today, which would have been our 10th wedding anniversary. It’s been just over a year of 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. 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 my bedroom? 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, a single tear fell from his eye, but it wasn’t Ivan’s face. It was Zack’s face, on Ivan’s body, holding that legendary 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!

Am I bat-shit effing delusional? Perhaps. 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, just after waking from that most ethereal dream, this was beside my bed. It’s nothing, really. Nothing at all. Just one of Gia’s bracelets that either Good Cat or Bad Cat must have found and deposited at the exact spot my foot would hit the ground. “C’mon Cat, it’s just a bracelet.” Umm, ya think? But why did it show up in the endless twist of “F8” this way? Hmm. I think I kinda know …

IN CLOSING …

Ten years ago today, I kissed a frog who turned into a king. Five years ago today, that king turned me into a princess. Today I woke up from a mysterious vision on the edge of literal “eternity”. With that, I was then am reminded of the endless joy he brought to my life that I get to keep until it’s time for me to see The Brighter Side Of Grey. There will never be a day that I’m not eternally grateful for the true love and immeasurable gifts he left me with, not the least of which is the fire he lit in my soul that will light my way through every darkness.

Today is 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 …

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” …

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DEAR CAT:

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

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

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AUGUST 7, 2020: “King Of Dreams” …

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KINGS AND QUEENS

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

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

{from The Diary Of An Outlaw Music)

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

My King in Heaven is pretty smitten with me by the way … I can feel His loving hands wrapped around my heart every second of every day. My truly blind faith in Him only pales in comparison to the faith He’s had in me since before I was even born, and He has loved me like the QUEEN He intended me to be long before any man on this Earth ever did. Is there to be “one last king” in this realm for me? Only He knows that and He’s got this! If there is, there is. If there isn’t, so be it. I’ve been there, and done that, and the legacies of love the two of them left for me are more than enough to fill my heart for the NEXT fifty years without them if that is to be the case. My standards are obnoxiously high now, and as I’ve said before, it would take one HELL of a powerful presence of a man to stand with the shadows of the two loves of my life that came before him. I know who I am, EXACTLY what I’m worth, and EXACTLY who is worthy of my attention and affection, much less being put on a pedestal. I will accept NOTHING but a king again. “Everything. Nothing. ALL OF IT!” 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” …

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

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

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

WHAT did he see when at last he opened them?

HE SAW JESUS!

I JUST KNOW IT!

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

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

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

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

Death Is Nothing At All

MAY 30, 2020: “The Pain Is A Gift” …

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” …

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

Ivan

This is Ivan. He’s the lead MANIAC for the band of my life, Five Finger Death Punch! Ivan isn’t your run of the mill guy, and to some he may seem kinda scary. Covered in tattoos as he serenades the world from the darkest depths of his being, he’s the living embodiment of alchemy, and one of my very few heroes! He level’s up his “Phoenix” to an entirely different vibration if you can just look past the scars on his bleeding soul. “What you see is what you get.” Nope! Not with Ivan! 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 yet again.

Ah, yes, “the video”. Earlier this week he posted a clip of himself “TikTok-ing” with his daughter which immediately cut my heart in a brand new place that I never knew needed to be cut. 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, what do you think that beautiful little girl of his will tell her about her daddy? “Grandpa Ivan was a rock and roll star” or “Grandpa Ivan danced with me in the living room”? I’m betting it’s gonna be the latter.

HEY DADS …

Now, about that legacy you’ll leave behind. WHAT’S YOURS GONNA BE? You may not be a perfect parent, because no parent ever is, but trust me when I tell you that it’s NEVER too late to change the ending of your 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 about the struggles with my own father, I very much want to end this entry with a “brighter side of grey” I’ve found …

My daughter had two dads to take her to the castle, which I find rather amazing. While her “step dad” escorted her to most of them, her real dad escorted her to a couple too. Neither of them was perfect, and both of them hurt her in complicated yet delicate ways, but at the end of the day I just know in my heart that she’ll treasure those 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: “Why?” …

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

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

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. Stumble as I may have countless of times in my motherhood journey thus far, the gift of all my children has been my highest calling 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, to die 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 one 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, 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. 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, 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 that I wasn’t cherished, celebrated, and placed so high upon the pedestal he built me that there literally are no words. It was no secret to anyone that knew us 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! When we first met, he did appear to be a rock. He’d told me about his past and how not just you, but his entire “blood family” abandoned him for what reason God only knows. He was ambivalent about the things you’d all done to him. 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 truly awful things 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 a stranger were to meet a single one of them and not know who they really are, they’d be so impressed with the charming personas they present. But his truth is the truth, he spoke it, I witnessed it, and God Himself watched it all! Congratulations “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 the way his “brothers and sisters” dumped him too, so he moved on down the road. We 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 good enough to be graced by my his 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 Williamsons? You know, the ones you actually managed to want? “They’re selfish, shallow, greedy, social climbing wanna-be’s in one of the greatest shows on Earth.” Everything about Zack’s character was so far removed from and theirs that no one who realized their familial connection could fathom it. Watching strangers literally scratch their heads and hearing the things people said about them were amongst the highest compliments he ever received, and he absolutely reveled in knowing that no one could correlate him to “them”. But I’ve digressed. Sufficed to say, it was indeed “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, for you “to remember him”.

Here’s all you REALLY need to know, “mother” Of My Fallen King:

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 just before midnight on August 22, 2019. You were nothing to him but a stranger, and what a shame that you never knew what an amazing human being you threw away and the 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 chose to burden him with. But here’s what I do know “was going through his head” 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 comprehension. “He must have had mommy issues” is what some will surely say, and sadly? IT WAS TRUE! He wasn’t quite two when you left him behind – him, and only him – but not your other kids, because for what good reason he could never understand you just didn’t want him like the others! You 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 in classrooms making “Mother’s Day cards” that he never knew what to do with, so, he would tear them 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 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” …

This morning I was “daydreaming” again – making plans for a future I’m not so much planning 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.

Zack and I always talked about “the little cottage in Europe” 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. 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?

Dismiss it as just a fluke if you must, but nope, not me, NOT EVER! Never will I fail to heed the signs of life that flourish in the darkness! To me, it’s all serendipity! My husband, my fate, and even God Himself all screaming to me out loud! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I am one blessed and very lucky queen! No, Zachariah, not a single one of your years in this realm were in vain. Every gift you gave and dream you dreamt is going to carry on, because that’s just how it’s supposed to be.

MARCH 10, 2020: “The Brighter Side Of Grey” …

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TO 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 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 “nothing but 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 long before it was diagnosed. My disease imprisoned me in the dichotomy of black and white thinking and held me for ransom in the compartmentalized boxes of my mind where I stored all my pain and trauma. Before I put went 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 a conditionally based system of 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 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 these traumas were visited on me purposely, but the trauma was real indeed, as was the effect it had on my damaged psyche. For 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 and lived 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. 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! I’d pre-ordered their new album months ago and had been counting the days until it was released, so I was stoked to finally get to listen to it, starting from the beginning, as I headed out of the house today. Meanwhile, when THIS SONG cued up, I 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, 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 let her hear the song. 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 impeccable words a secretly dying father could possibly have written to his daughter, they will become as significant a part of her healing 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 grace 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 existence with no room for the forbearing grey I knew I needed but didn’t know how to connect with. As I look back at this picture now, I am filled with the most unbelievable solace 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 bid me farewell.

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!

The Diary Thank You

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

IMG_E9728LIFE MUST GO ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

SO SMALL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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by Charles Mackesy

FEBRUARY 5, 2020: “The Worst Case Of Mental Illness I’ve Ever Seen” …

Quora Question
Quora 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 discarded and abandoned by his mother like common garbage. She left 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 grown child himself. He was left alone most of the time from a very young age and his basic needs were never properly tended to. Eventually, even the father and his three adult siblings discarded him away as well.

We didn’t realize his ACS (Abandoned 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 for some unknown reason the mother was able to manage to have a maternal relationship with the older siblings she’d had with the same father, just not him. And again, his entire family abandoned him on the proverbial “curb of life”. Not just the mother, but neither the father or three older siblings could be bothered with him whatsoever. His two older brothers would often refer to him as the “Zack of shit”, and although he would laugh about in their presence, those words tortured and haunted him incessantly. This heartless, selfish, numbingly ice-cold and shallow 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 suicide, but not before he hurt not only me but even more so our daughter very badly. The trauma that he bestowed upon her in his final psychosis and “separated from self” state of mind is beyond comprehension, barely fathomable, and one that may unfortunately take her own lifetime to heal and overcome.

I’ve been writing tirelessly about not only his, but my mental health journey as well, in “The Diary Of My Perfection”. 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. Thank you for the kind words and vast support of this post. It means everything to me. I cannot let either his lost battle with mental illness or anyone else’s have been in vain.

To View The Original “Quora Q&A” Click HERE!

FEBRUARY 5, 2020: “Can Childhood Trauma Be Reversed?” …

Quora Question
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Quora Answer

Although I do believe it’s “possible” for childhood trauma to be reversed, I do not believe that the resulting residual or collateral damage can ever be truly reversed. Under optimal circumstances, and with a healthy support system, if a person can first revisit, acknowledge and accept the trauma itself, they can then attain the coping skills and mechanisms necessary to carry them through their adulthood “if and when” the trauma rears it’s head. “You can forgive, accept, acknowledge and even make peace with it ”, but, “you can never forget or erase it”. As an adult survivor of childhood trauma of my own, I speak from experience in this regard. It took me 40 years to overcome my childhood demons. Thankfully, however, I did.

Unfortunately, I also have first-hand experience on the flip side of this coin; that is, “irreversible childhood trauma”. My husband (who I recently lost to suicide this past August 22, 2019) suffered from extreme childhood trauma that sadly proved to be the death of him. He was larger than life with a heart the size of an ocean, but had been thrown away like garbage by his mother at birth. She abandoned him permanently at 18 months, and although his father did the best he could, he was and still is nothing but a child himself. He was left alone frequently from a very young age and his basic needs were never properly attended to.

Unfortunately, he never even realized that his “Abandoned Child Syndrome” existed until five years into our marriage, but once he was faced with the sobering truths of his traumatic childhood, every bit of strength and fortitude he’d managed to muster and thus survive with in his “life of solitude” before finally finding us, the first and only real home and family he’d ever had, began to slip right out from under him. The abandonment issues that led to his mental illness were further complicated by the fact that not just his mother, but his entire family abandoned him; a father and three adult siblings who couldn’t be bothered with him whatsoever. The entirety of this selfish, heartless and cruel brood of human beings literally broke his heart into pieces that could never fully be put back together.

There were demons living inside of the hole the “mother” left inside his soul that he tried desperately to swim out of it. We both tried keeping him from drowning in it. In the end, the demons won. The last few months of his life it appeared as though he was in the early stages of psychosis, if not schizophrenia. He’d been hearing voices. Seeing things. Missing tremendous “blocks of time” and ultimately ended up disappearing inside 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 watch and the worst kind of heartbreak to witness. I appreciate any of you who are reading this by the way. It’s tough to digest, much less conceive. But it’s the truth nonetheless. His “traumatic childhood” indeed broke his heart.

To View The Original “Quora Q&A” Click HERE!

FEBRUARY 1, 2020: “Crazy Grandma Cat” …

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

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

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MY WISH

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

Desires

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

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

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

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

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

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

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