Interrupted with hope

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UPDATE: Tonight, February 14th, Frontline (on your local PBS station) is airing a special about ‘The Interrupters’. I hope you’ll watch it or record it to watch later.

One night, while driving in my car, I tuned into National Public Radio’s Fresh Air. Terry Gross was interviewing Steve James and Ameena Matthews about the documentary film titled “The Interrupters”.

Directed and photographed by Steve James, and produced by Alex Kotlowitz and Steve James, “the documentary tells the moving and surprising story of three dedicated individuals who try to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they themselves once employed. These “violence interrupters” (their job title) – who have credibility on the street because of their own personal histories – intervene in conflicts before the incidents explode into violence. Their work and their insights are informed by their own journeys, which, as each of them point out, defy easy characterization.” [The Interrupters’ Press Kit.]

Though I heard this particular radio program days ago, the story is in my heart and on my mind. Continue reading

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Documentation

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FYI: In case you are following my journey, know that this post is unrelated to my journey posts.

This is a post about what I realize is one of the many reasons I write: Alzheimer’s disease. Well, I’m not writing about Alzheimer’s, rather I am writing about why I want to document my thoughts and experiences about life. In the future, should I be diagnosed with a memory stealing disease like Alzheimer’s, I want my kids to know what I thought about friends, family and life. I want my kids to know I loved them. (And, I’m okay with them finding out what annoyed me.)

I started writing this post several weeks ago. I was inspired by at story I watched on CBS Sunday Morning, ‘Jan’s Story‘. Because I was afraid many would find the post too depressing, I held off making it public. However, because of some news I received today, I have decided to publish this post.

What news did I receive, you ask? I know, you didn’t ask, but I am going to share some of it with you, nonetheless. A friend of my nephew was murdered yesterday. Her life was taken away by her Mom, who then turned the gun on herself. My nephew is grieving. This 19yr old was murdered by her Mom, and then her Mom committed suicide. Her Mom committed suicide. Suicide.

Me and my favorite guys - the ones I love the most.

I’ve considered suicide. I have seriously considered suicide. I’ve planned suicide. I know what it is like to be in the black hole that is all encompassing. I know what it feels like to believe wholeheartedly there is no way out but death. And, by the grace of God (and the support of friends and family), I held on to my life; I found my way out of the black hole.

Because I am alive today, I can look back and recall very recent memories of laughing fits that left me with a belly ache. I can recall recent warm fuzzies where Joe and Charlie gave me ‘around the neck’ hugs. And, I can remember many nights this Summer, helping Joe and Charlie catch fireflies. These precious moments were inconceivable to me, while in the depths of despair; but, because I faced the black hole, I was left to live in the light.

As I type, my youngest has a pillow propped up on my arm, and he is lying beside me watching a movie. Soon, I am going to give both him and his brother a bubble bath. We are together, and I am thankful I am still here to be with them.

I want my kids to know the good the bad and the ugly in life. I want them to know when they experience moments, hours, days or weeks that suck, there are more moments, hours, days and weeks that don’t suck. I want them to know that just because you yell at someone at the top of your lungs, it doesn’t wipe away the intense love you feel for the person. And, in case I am not around, mentally, to tell them my take on all of the above, they can read about my thoughts and experiences.

Regardless of how it happens, death will find me. However, death will not find me by my own hand. Suicide is not the answer. Suicide is not the answer. Suicide is not the answer. Yes. Sometimes it is pitch black. Sometimes death seems the only way out. I get that. I completely get that. But it is wrong. Death is not the only way out. It is not. Someone will lend you a hand. Someone will hold your hand as long as it takes and as often as it takes to keep you going. Just reach out. I will hold your hand. Even though I don’t know you.

Do not commit suicide. You will hurt more people by leaving than you will by staying. Killing yourself will do more harm than good. Suicide is a cruel and selfish act. You are not cruel. You are not selfish. Do not do it.

Going back to Alzheimer’s, my hope is that I recognize and don’t forget who my loved ones are as death approaches. But, just in case, Joe and Charlie, whether or not I remember your face, your name or your role in my life, I don’t want you to ever forget that I love you. You will always be in my heart, even if my head forgets.

P.S. Remember Joe and Charlie, do NOT commit suicide. Reach out. A hand will be extended and willing to help.

Rainy Day Rambling

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As I type, the Mid-Atlantic States are bracing for a winter storm. I have several friends and relatives in the area getting hit. Days like today, I wish we had cable, so I could switch between the cable news networks and the weather channel. I am such a geek when it comes to weather.

Wait. What was that I just heard? Ah yes. Several of you just clicked to another blog. *sigh* There aren’t enough weather lovers in the world.

[A friend of mine in Gaithersburg, MD just called me. The snow is starting to fall. She was describing how her youngest daughter (42″ tall) has fun playing in the several inches of snow. Forecasters are predicting 24 – 30″ of snow. This little 42″ girl will be plowing through snow nearly her height. I love it!]

I am trying to focus on something clever about which to write, but my mind is distracted by the pending snow storm. As the insert above makes clear. It is funny though, because last night and this morning, my mind was busy with all sorts of things I was going to share with the blogosphere. Not only am I like Rosie O’Donnell (see post in Observations category), but I am like the fish Dory in Finding Nemo. I am so easily distracted by anything and everything, especially shiny things.

Last night I had dinner with a friend of mine. I know she is breathing a bit nervously now, as she may be reading this post. She really doesn’t want me to tell you about she takes medication daily for depression and trying to rebuild her marriage. Oh wait. No. Sorry. That’s me. You can exhale now friend. (smile) I won’t talk about our views on The Bachelor or Modern Family. Nope, that is strictly between us.

It is becoming clearer to me that being emotionally and mentally healthy requires so many pieces and parts. Now, when you are in the grips of depression it is difficult to take the steps you know deep down will help. But, if you one or two good days and just go for it on a leap of faith, it is amazing how much it can carry you. And, I type that out with a bit of hesitation, because I’ve been so low in the past. And, it is easy for me to talk about taking steps and actually making steps, when I am not in that black hole. If anyone is reading this and they are in a black hole, I hope you will check back here frequently. I will try to light a match for you, in hopes you find one day where you can take that leap of faith.

The medication I am taking has made a huge difference in my life. And, I believe it has really kicked in at this point. And blogging. Wow. Writing to an unknown world is cathartic for me. Couple that with having dinner with my friend of over 30yrs, and it creates a formula for recovery. Plus, the fact that my husband and I are talking actively again, and if we have a spat – it is merely that – a spat. Though, for the record, my voice may be as loud during a spat as it is during a full blown argument. In my opinion, a spat is a spat when the recovery time is less than an hour and the discussion stated on topic.

I called my mum today to talk about our plans for bowling tomorrow. I let her know that my husband may not be joining us for the bowling adventure, but I assured her if he didn’t join us it was due to a welding project he is trying to complete. Understandably, she gets concerned if my husband doesn’t take part in family events. She knows we’ve been struggling. After I assured her that my husband and I were doing better, she provided me with a bit of unsolicited advice. (Moms are good at giving unsolicited advice. All moms. Me included, thanks.)

I was happy to hear her advice. I was happier to let her know how things were going for us and our marriage. And, I was happy to inform her about my blogging, my visits with my bestest friend for over 30 years and my outlook. God willing, this outlook will continue. Much like losing weight, you’ve got to stay active to lose the weight and keep it off. I have to stay active to keep the depression demons at bay. And, I have to stay active to keep my marriage on a good path. So, this blog isn’t going to the wayside any time soon. I’m not sure I’ve shared anything of importance today, nor am I sure if I have entertained. Truth be told, it doesn’t matter. I feel better having shared my rainy day ramble.

NordicTrack

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Dear Diary. Of course, by the term ‘diary’, I do not mean the traditional bound book with a lock and key. HA! That makes me laugh. A blog diary is as if someone has left their traditional diary out and open for all the world to see. What lock? What key?

My husband and I have started writing words of the day on our mirror. He has a word of the day, and I have a word of the day. His word of the day yesterday was ‘Timesheets’, because he needed to get them done for work. Yesterday, my word of the day was ‘Goodness’, which could be used many ways. And today, my word of the day is NordicTrack. I have one. A NordicTrack, I mean. It’s right behind me – over there. See it? Continue reading