Friday, July 31, 2015

An "Easy" Day

Some days, like today, it's easy to talk about you, to vocalize our feelings of guilt & question each other about what really did & didn't happen during your childhood. I hate the your dad carries this heavy burden of guilt over things you claimed he did that never happened. I hate that he doesn't question your stories, but instead, questions his sanity because he lacks the ability to remember events that never occurred.

I hope that one day we'll be able to actually talk about your childhood & smile and laugh & hold all of that close to our hearts, but right now, it's just too much, it's too painful.

I find myself living in dread of the mail, knowing that your death certificate should be coming soon & with it we'll know what you died from. Right now, I can still make myself believe it was something medical that we didn't know about, after it gets here I will know for sure what it was. I'm not sure if my heart can break into pieces smaller than its already in.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

So Loved

I am always blown away to realize how loved you were by people. A potluck was put together in a very short time for your funeral, easily, no drama, with food you'd have loved. Word was put out to try to include people who'd want to know & I tried to explain what was going on & ended up looking like a fool, but whatever, things like that don't matter to me anymore. What matters is doing the things that comfort me & make me feel like I can keep going every day.

Some days are easier than others, some days are still filled with tears & pain. Today has been pretty good. It's been easier than a lot of my days. Having your ashes near me all the time has been a comfort. I wear them with Darby's Thor's Hammer (he gave it to me at Salt War). When I miss you I can hold the vial & know you're close, that even if I can see you, you'll always be a part of me.

This missing you. This pain. It'll never be "better" and I'll never be "done" but I can live with it, the alternative us to hurt everyone who loves me in the same way I'm hurting & that is unacceptable.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

It's All Ashes

Your sister is finally out & back home, so maybe she can start to heal & learn to live without you.

I finally opened the box your ashes were in today. Just opening it & seeing that all you once were was sitting there in a plastic bag broke me again, but I powered through & opened the bags & started separating pieces of you to give to people who loved you, who still love you & will miss you always. I always thought that all cremains looked like they show on TV & the movies. You know, gray, powdery all if that. Not yours. Yours are almost white & grainy, almost like sand. It would be easy to convince myself that the bits of bone in there are seashells, but I won't do that to myself.

So. One more step on the path of letting you go.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Getting it Together

I'm almost ready. I've created, printed, cut & folded. If that was all a funeral was, I'd definitely be ready. It isn't. It's more than that. It's a symbol of something I'm not sure I'm really ready for, yet. I'm not sure I'm ready for that final step - giving you back, to start your journey anew. To let the earth & the ancestors have you. I know it's time - past time - but I was supposed to get to keep all three if you, you guys were supposed to be the ones giving me back, letting me start over again. It's not fair. It'll never feel fair or just or anything else close to it, but it is what it is & all of my tears aren't going to change that. I guess I'll be as ready as I can be when that day comes. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Little You

I found pictures of you today. Little you. Before you started hating us and went away. Before you loved us again & came back, wanting your life back. Before you decided that drugs & booze were everything & you decided you hated us after all. Before you grew up and died.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

It's Just Hard

I've been trying to get ready for your funeral rites over the past few days, at times it's almost easy & other times, like today, I can't stop crying. I'm making the memorial cards today & trying to decide on a picture that captures who you were is almost impossible. The quote wasn't quite as hard, but no less painful. 

I found the Amtgard video you made for Sindari last night. I was so happy, because I knew it had your voice on it & I couldn't remember what you sounded like anymore. It broke me, to see you just being you, doing your thing, but it was so good, too. Jaden made a tribute video for you last night, I saw it this morning & cried for a long time before I got out of bed. I'm sure it will get harder the closer we get, but it needs to be done. Maybe it will give us all a little more closure, I don't know.

Friday, July 24, 2015


I bought several necklaces that have tiny urns in them for your ashes, to give to people that we feel would like to have them. They came yesterday & of course, I've been putting off the inevitable; getting your ashes out of the cabinet that I hid them from my view & actually opening the container. I'm not sure I can do that yet. I'm not sure that I can do that ever. I know I have to, but I'm not sure I can.

I'm very tired of people who lived on the fringes of your life bothering me every couple of weeks, asking me if we know your cause of death yet & if we do, could I please tell them. Why does anyone who wasn't your family (actual or chosen) or your girlfriend really *need* to know? Why do all of these people you barely saw anymore & in some cases, weren't all that fond of, think they own any part of you? Where were they when you needed friends? Where were they when you were spiraling out of control? I mean, besides enabling your addictions, were they trying to help you in any way that might actually do anything for you? Do they need a reassurance that it wasn't their fault? That there wasn't anything they could do? I'm not sure I feel like giving the majority that absolution. Is that selfish? Probably. Do I care? Nope.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


I couldn't stop crying today. I'm not sure if it's because people are starting to post about their feelings over Gage, now that the funeral is over & people are back to their "normal" lives or if it was posting your obituary to the family Facebook page, typing out your funeral rites or a combination of the above. It was what it was.

I imagine there are always going to be days like this, when the waves of missing you are trying like hell to drown me, and I guess I'll figure out a way to handle them eventually. It might be that I have to just keep to myself at that point or something, but I'll figure it out.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Coming Together

Your funeral rites are coming along. All of the roles are filled by people who loved you & considered you their family. People are working on getting the tattoos situated, and seeing that stuff gets done as it should. I don't know what I'd have done without them over these past couple of months. Probably joined you or been no use to even myself. I never imagined that dad & I would truly be in the position to where we were grieving the loss of one of our kids, and when I thought about it at all, I always assumed it would kill me. I was right to a certain degree, because the person I was before? She died that day, too, but only the people who know me well even notice that I'm different. 

Sometimes, I miss me as much as I miss you.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Stupid Back!

Well, my back is fucked today. I can't bend, it's hard to change from sitting to standing & vice versa, hard to get in & out if the car. Fun times and I'm getting nothing done because I hurt too much.

The happy news is that your sister will be out in about 8 or 9 days. I'm so excited to be able to spend time talking to her & not worry about being cut off by the computer voice telling us we have one minute left. I'm also really looking forward to seeing her. I think I've proven to myself that I need to be around the kids I raised, the ones who understand me & whom I understand. Since I can never be around you again, I guess I have to spend twice as much time with her now.

Things just aren't ever going to be normal again, are they?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Funeral Rites

I've been typing out your funeral rites today. I'm doing surprisingly well, no tears over that, yet, I did start crying over something completely unrelated to you or the funeral & it was hours before I started it. I don't know. Sometimes the grief just hits me & there's no preparation for it.

Some days I just don't have a lot to say, I guess today might be one of them. I'm working towards letting you go, of making it formal or official. Maybe it will give me some peace. Maybe it won't, but it needs to be done.

Friday, July 17, 2015


I feel better today. I'm not so angry. I still feel a little hurt that a big deal wasn't made over the amazing ban you were. I guess a lot of that was my own fault, in wanting to do things the way you'd have wanted them done & insisting it be done where you lived & grew up & as quickly as we could.  I didn't make a big deal out of any of your accomplishments, because it felt like bragging I guess, so by the time you were grown, no one here knew much about you. I feel like a I may have done you a disservice, but I didn't know any better - it was how I was raised.

Anyway. I'm getting things ready for our trip back, to see your sister. To finish saying goodbye. To scatter some ashes. To get the remaining detritus of our lives there & try to start over again. I miss you. So, so much. I miss the things we used to do together - just you & I, things I may never be able to do again without bawling my eyes out. 

We aren't going to Gage's funeral. I can't even talk about it out loud without crying because it brings back all of my pain over losing you. We wouldn't do them any good by being so torn apart by our own pain. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Reflection & a Little Anger

Gage died on Tuesday afternoon. 

He was an organ donor, so his parents get a little relief knowing that part of him lives on. Erin was an organ donor, too, but people who die at home in their beds don't get to donate. 

Gage was an awesome guy who worked with Special Olympics & was going to be a psychologist and was kind and loving and great with a smile that lit up the room & there have been at least two news articles about him so far. Erin was an awesome guy who cared about people, the homeless, animals and changing the world, but people who die at home in their beds & are still working through their addictions & problems in life don't get articles written about them.

Gage was a great athlete, who knew what sportsmanship was all about. Erin was an amazing foam fighter (and if you don't think that takes athleticism, then you've never done it) and had amazing honor. He was always striving to help people become better, safer fighters & to feel good about their own abilities.

It hurts me that who Erin was & all of the great things he did are getting lost. So, I will remember what a light he was in my life, how his smile lit up my world, how he could always make me laugh, even when he was trying to aggravate me & I will never stop dreaming about what he could have done with his life if he had been given enough time in his life to do it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Not Another..

We got the bad news last night. The lightning strike was considered a global strike & Gage has suffered 95% brain loss. His parents now are faced with making a terrible decision - keep hoping & praying, or let him go. We haven't heard anything today, we are waiting & wondering what to do, knowing that there is nothing that can ease their pain & sense of loss. Your dad & I are heartbroken to see another member of our family passing much too soon. I hurt for his siblings, like I hurt for yours, all of them should have been allowed to grow old with the two of you. 

I'm done. Finished losing the young people in our family. Finished hurting this much all the time & waiting for the next devastating phone call. I can't keep piling pain on top on pain. It's too much. It's too exhausting. It's too heartbreaking.

Monday, July 13, 2015


Your cousin was out running yesterday evening & was struck by lightning. He was fully resuscitated within 10 minutes & they flew him from SD to Denver almost immediately. He was placed into a medically induced coma to keep him from fighting intubation & other procedures and the last I heard, he's on a ventilator & "for his condition" the MRI looks good - which no one but the doctor knows what that means. 


We wait & hope that we aren't going to lose another young man with his whole life ahead of him, hope that another big brother & little sister don't lose their sibling, hope that you're grandma doesn't lose a second grandson in 2 months & that another of her sons doesn't have to bury his child.

I'm ready for 2015 to be over.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Bella & the Birds

Bella loves it here, she gets to have pigeons any time she wants to, since a bunch of them roost on the house next door & then come swooping down into our yard. She races over to them, barking, with her hackles up, ready to defend her yard from the interlopers. It's quite hilarious. She's taken to chasing all of the birds she sees in the fence away, too. She wants the world to know that this is Bella & Tiny's yard!

She was very nervous during the fireworks (that seem to have gone on for two weeks or more, at least in our neighborhood) this year. There were a lot of firecrackers & we know she hates those & everyone seems to have been lighting something that exploded. We're still getting the occasional *bang* a week later, but it's easy to calm her down. Tiny on the other hand? I had to rearrange the living room twice just to keep her from hurting herself. Now, when. Thunderstorm starts, I just give her a Benadryl & she calms down. (I hadn't thought about doing that during the fireworks)

She's doing much better. Her tail has healed, she isn't quite as clingy, she rarely whines for you, but she still does. She goes to the front door & waits. Sometimes she still looks very sad & lost. Like all of us, she will never stop missing you, she just doesn't know you won't be back, so at least she had hope that you will.

Sometimes when I'm very sad, the smell of roses appears on the wind, there aren't any nearby. I often wonder if it's you, trying to comfort me. If so, it does.

Friday, July 10, 2015


I'm having a hard time finding your sister these days. She had told me she was in Draper, so I got her a letter all ready to go & the Delbert told Morgan that she was at Wasatch, so I sent it there. Yesterday I got the first of my letters (since she stopped calling) sent to Wasatch back in the mail. It was postmarked July 3, and I was told on the 5th that she was at Wasatch.. I don't freaking know anymore. I guess I'll send one to Draper today, just to see if she's there, since the UDOC website says she is. I seriously wish people who aren't directly connected to my situation would stay out of it.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Just.. Yeah.

Made it through yesterday with a lot of tears. Things just aren't right without you in the world.  The pain goes through definite waves, it's very hard as we move towards the 8th every month & then starts to ease off through the rest of the month, to start again on the first. You know, unless there's a holiday or something, then it can come out of nowhere.

I'm really hoping that after we get through this year of "firsts" things can start to ease off, that the pain won't be right on top of everything anymore. That maybe I can look at your pictures & not be filled with regret, pain & disbelief. It's just so hard right now.

I finished drawing & coloring my memorial tattoo yesterday, I'd post it here, but I don't want anyone to take it & I have a feeling that one person in particular might, so I'll wait & post a picture of my actual tattoo when it's done.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

2 months

2 months since my life changed forever.
2 months since your heart stopped beating & mine shattered into tiny pieces.
2 months since the music stopped playing.
2 months since I stopped being the mother of 3 & became the mother of 2 living & 1 dead.
2 months since everything crumbled to dust with one phone call.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Here it Comes

I've been doing better lately, I guess. I joined a grief group online that isn't full of religious platitudes telling me I'll see you again in "heaven" or claiming I'm an "angel mom" now, it's a place to vent my pain & anger to, people who understand my terror and that I'm overwhelmed most of the time, that the things that used to matter really don't anymore.

I can feel the pain coming. I know what tomorrow is. I know how long it's been, I'd know without the help of the calendar, just as I always knew how long it had been since I'd heard from you when you were traveling. My mind still plays tricks on me, with its crafty denial.. making me feel as if that's what's going on - that you're traveling & will visit me soon. Like I'm waiting for you. That's somehow worse, especially when I know you're gone. You are never coming to visit me again. I will never get to hug you again. I will never get to hear you laugh, talk or sing again. I will never see your smile or look of disgust again. 

I miss you. To the marrow of my bones, I hurt with missing you. I am empty. I don't know how to refill myself.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Baseball, Taos & Regrets

We should have stayed here. We should never have moved away. You could have played baseball, done scouts or any of the things you were always asking us to let you do. You could have spent your life getting to know your big brother, instead of waiting until you were 13 to have that chance - then maybe he could see the impact the loss of you really made on all of us who knew you forever. Maybe you wouldn't have been so restless. Maybe you wouldn't have been bored. Maybe everything would have been different.

We should have stayed there. We shouldn't have gone off on this huge folly, thinking we'd all be a big, happy family here & everything would be amazing. We lost everything to come home & buy a house. If we had waited, if we had been there, maybe we could have been there when you needed us,  maybe you wouldn't have felt abandoned. 

It seems my whole life, no matter what I did to try to make everything work, to make it better, it's been a failure. If I had just let life happen and stopped trying to control every aspect of it, it would have worked itself out.

We visited Taos yesterday, to watch our grand-nephew play baseball. I had always wanted to take you there. I have such fond memories of going there as a child, and even though it's been about 40 years between visits & its charm isn't the same as it once was, I still would have liked to go with you. I think you would have liked it, liked it's vibe. Nothing is as good knowing I can never share it with you. I've never been one, as an adult to bitch & cry about the unfairness of life, but this just isn't fair. I just don't see the purpose of your death. There is no reason or justification that will ever be good enough for me. I thought there were so many years left.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Another First Without You

I didn't write yesterday, it felt like we were a lot more busy than we really were. I think I was really just trying to avoid the fact that it was our first 4th of July without you. I have so many happy memories of the 4 of us celebrating. Going to watch the fireworks, where ever they were doing them that year & then as you got older, you & your sister helping Dad light them, helping me pick them out at the stand. 

That last one that we had when you weren't working, it as almost perfect, it could have only been better if your sister had been there, too. You & dad spent so much time playing music together that day. You got to really be an uncle for the first time that year, too, and you were so good with the girls. It hurts my heart to know that part of all of our lives is over - you were such a great uncle to all of them.

I miss you, Erin. Every minute of every day. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Starting Over

"Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go;
It's learning to start again."

That is so true. I had to let go of you so long ago, I couldn't hold on & let you live life on your terms, I would never have been able to sleep or relax with worrying over you. You lived such a dangerous & toxic life for so long, I always assumed that you weren't going to live through it & I know that for awhile, you had no intention to.

Then you came home & you were getting your life together & I stopped worrying about you, started believing that you would become that person you dreamed of being before heroin & booze. You were awesome to be around, you were happier & more at ease with yourself than I'd ever seen you, I had my boyli back & we all had a second chance to get it right. 

I'm not sure what changed, why you started drinking & drugging again, after 18 months, but you did & things spiraled out of control until you ended up in jail. Things got better for a little while, then you started again, and we went through a roller coaster of using & not using to the end. 

We may never know for sure what happened that ended your life, I have to believe you wouldn't have put all of us through this pain on purpose, that you wouldn't have hurt us all this way, but what if you did? How will we all feel? It's hard enough trying to start my life over without you in it - how will I do it while carrying that guilt & anger?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Maybe No Tattoo Now

Well. I was told other people had made arrangements to make sure our memorial tattoos were paid for. Today I was told that wasn't going to be happening. We have so much debt right now. Part of it from making too many trips to Utah, part of it because of choices we made, I'm just not sure how all of this is going to come together now.

I'm frustrated. I'm disappointed. I'm worried. I just want, for one day, to feel normal - to feel how I used to, when everything that happened wasn't a freaking crisis in my mind.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I Never Realized

I don't think I even knew how many times you crossed my mind every day, in the most casual ways, but since you still do, I'm going to say it's probably always been that way. I'm sure your sister & brother cross it just as many times a days, but because it doesn't hurt, I don't really notice it. I miss your sister & I worry about her, because I haven't heard from her in awhile, but that's different than the sudden realization after thinking, "What should I get Erin for his birthday?" that you're gone & your birthdays will just be another day to remember that you're gone. 

I bought a planner a few days after we got back from your first memorial, it's been really therapeutic while I stagger my way through the loss of you. It helps me see that even though Friday still hurts, that there are other things during the week that don't, and that when I mark the day you died each month, that the month shows me things that I can celebrate and be happy about. I look forward to using it every day & decorating it every week, making things for it and all of that. It's one of the few truly selfish things I'm doing these days. 

So, today's picture is the layout I did for next week, the 2 month anniversary of your death. It's green & black, because you loved those colors. The owls represent the souls of the newly departed dead. The quotes speak to me about your life, how you lived fully & fearlessly, loved to travel & introduced your whole family to Harry Potter.