If That Hadn’t Happened……


IF THAT HADN’T HAPPENED:

If that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be sitting here feeling guilty because I was the last one to talk to you and I never had a clue.  I should have picked up something in the tone of your voice or in your  words that would have indicated what you were planning to do almost as soon as we got off the phone.

If that hadn’t happened, the rest of us wouldn’t be planning a trip to say goodbye.

If that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be so pissed off at you for not talking to me and telling me what was going on and what you were planning, when that had to be the point of your call to me in the first place….why wouldn’t you talk to me? Why didn’t you let me get you help, you knew I would know what to do and would have moved heaven and earth to help you.  Why didn’t you trust me enough to tell me?

If that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be missing you so much.  I wouldn’t be dreading every breath I had to take and praying that every one would be my last.

If that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be staying away from everyone because I can only hide what’s going on inside me for very short periods of time, and to those who know me really well, I can’t hide it at all.

If that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t regret having made the promise that I made to the one person who has helped me most through all of this, the one person who has always had my back, the one person I believe truly cares about me.

If that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be feeling like this……I would not be thinking about jumping into the abyss.

Volunteering: An Unpaid Job Than Can be More Rewarding Than A Paid Job


Hello all,

So here it is,  my fourth blog for my journalism class.  So far I’ve included 2/5 things that I generated and one that someone else generated.  I’m on the right track.  Maybe….we shall see.

Today was a hard day for me.  I had class this morning – I still want to hurt the person who scheduled me for a 7:00 a.m. class after a class that ends at 10:00 p.m. Monday night.  However, with everything that has gone on in my family for the past year plus, I’m afraid that people who know me might take that action the wrong way.  Plus every time I try to hit myself, I flinch. Family suicide survivor humor?  At least it was my attempt at it.  After class, I came home and studied for the two tests I have next – the same Monday night/Tuesday morning scenario and then I went to have lunch with a dear friend after what seems like forever since we last saw each other outside of church.  That was fun and I always enjoy spending time with her.  She gives great advice.  From there I had to head south on the 5 freeway because Stephanie’s family memorial was this afternoon.  My oldest sister, Angelina just returned from Italy because Stephanie wished to be buried in the family cemetery at my villa in Florence.  It looks like the rest of the family will be going to Italy for the formal service there once all the students are out of school for their break.  I have six weeks off between semesters and I’m seriously considering spending all of it in the one place that I can totally relax.  Despite that the villa is where Pete took his life last year, I was there in December 2012-mid January 2013 and in that time, I can come to terms with a lot of it and before I left the country to come back to California, I was able in the room where ‘it’ happened.  Definitely one of the hardest things I have ever done, but with the help of a kitten who had hung around the villa (her, her mother and her siblings have been indoor residents since I left), I was able to get through that.  When I left, I instructed my cousins, who manage the property for me, to get rid of everything that was in the room and completely redo it.  While I am glad that my sister-in-law and I are getting along better, I hate that it’s because of another loss.  But pulling together as a family is definitely better than being torn apart.

Tomorrow will be a much better day.  I have an interview in Orange at the Mental Health Alliance of Orange County, where I have applied for a position as  a mentor.  It is an unpaid job, but sometimes volunteering can be very therapeutic.  There is something about serving others that takes your mind off of your own crap for a little while.  If I get this position, which I am pretty sure I will, I will be mentoring kids who come from broken homes and have been abused.  Part of the “group” that I plan to focus on after I’m done with school and have the degree that will actually lead to a job working with these kids.  I’m not sure if it will be a county position, or if I will be able to land a job with a foster organization.  I just know that after everything I’ve been through, I have much more empathy for these kids, because growing up, I was one of those kids with an abusive “father” who it turned out was  not my biological dad.  I’m pretty sure that there is no situation they could have experienced that I can’t relate too.  I’m looking forward to being a safe sounding board for these kids and most likely, in some small way by helping them to heal, they will also help me to heal.  That’s so much bigger than any paycheck I could ever bring home.

Boy did I get a rude awakening………


I read a quote once that said “NEVER get too comfortable, you’ll get a rude awakening.  In the past week, I can honestly say that truer words have never been spoken.  For those of you who have followed my short lived blog so far, and if you’re not, please start, you know that on August 1, 2012, my family and I lost my brother, Pete, to suicide and less than six months later, in January 24, 2013, we lost my niece, Alexandra (Ali), to suicide.  That has been a struggle for those of us left behind, as you can imagine.  On October 2, 2013, 14 months and 1 day since my brother took his life, and 8 months and 8 days after my niece took her life, my youngest sister, Stephanie, took her life.  To say that it shattered mine and my family’s world (again) was a major understatement.  We were all still seeing various therapists and were just barely starting the scratch the surface of what had happened to Pete and Ali…But Stephanie?!  NO ONE saw this one coming.  My middle sister, Vittoria found her and I, better than anyone else in the family understood exactly what she was going through and would be going through, since I had been on a Skype chat with Pete when he took his life.  On top of the grief of losing a loved one, she could count on flashbacks, nightmares, and other symptoms of PTSD.  As of the time of this writing, we are not any closer to finding out the “Why” as were on that night. We all know, of course, that we will probably never completely understand the “why” other than at the moment that they took their lives, all three of them JUST WANTED THEIR PAIN TO GO AWAY…which is different than wanting their lives to really end.  At that final second, they were literally not thinking clearly.  Since Stephanie’s death, my oldest sister, Angelina has discovered some unsent emails on Stephanie’s computer, one of which was to me.  She asked me if she should send it and I told her that eventually, yes, I wanted to read it, but I would let her know when.  Until then, it sits in the “waiting to send” folder.  Pete left me a note and I still haven’t read it.  My therapist has read it to me, but it was so soon afterward, that I don’t remember what it said.  No one else seen it.  My therapist keeps it, so no one “accidentally” finds it and reads it.

In the meantime, we all wake up each morning and try to move on as best as we can.  After Pete’s suicide, our family was torn apart, (mainly my sister-in-law and I) but slowly we have been working on our relationship and are actually doing pretty good, considering the issues that were between us.  We all talk everyday, sometimes more than once a day in addition to school, work, and other activities.  My sisters and my sister-in-law and I get together every Saturday for dinner….ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSES.  It’s important to us to keep communicating.  I’ve become very active in the With Hope, the Amber Craig Memorial Foundation since Pete’s and Ali’s deaths and because this blog originated as a journalism assignment, With Hope’s founder/CEO, Annette Craig, was kind enough to tape what has turned into a PSA for With Hope (she will be putting on the With Hope website soon).  After three revisions to get it just right, we are finally happy with it.  Please share it anywhere you feel that it will get exposure.   Until next time, here is the final product.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avd0dwtL6LQ