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.

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The Problem With Being Strong is That Nobody Bothers to Ask if You’re Okay


With Thanksgiving being tomorrow, I’m trolling my Facebook wall and everyone is making plans to spend the day with family and friends, eating, watching football, and celebrating.  My family plans to do all this as well, but there is a damper on this Thanksgiving, it will be our second one with my brother Pete took his life and the first since Alexandra and Stephanie took theirs in January and October of this year.  On top of having to get through Thanksgiving, Monday will be two months since we lost my sister.  Sometimes it really does feel like the hits just keep on coming.

One thing my family and I decided to do tomorrow is to make sure that we give thanks for the things that we have as well as saying something we are thankful for about the family members we have lost.  It’s funny how all of us in the past 16 months have had the same experience of people avoiding any conversation of Pete, Ali or Stephanie, as if mentioning their name, might somehow make us hurt again (I find it funny that all these people actually think that any of us have STOPPED hurting since they died).

Personally, one of the things that I’m most grateful for is the shower, silly as it sounds, because it truly is the one place in the house where I can go and be completely alone.  I take REALLY long showers, almost to the point of cold, because it is one of the few places that I go and cry as loudly as I want and no one hears me.  I know there have been full days and even one full week, that I can remember where I didn’t cry at all and at first I felt guilty about that, but eventually my therapist managed to finally get me to believe that smiling, being happy or not crying does not mean I have forgotten or that I’m “over it.”  It simply means that I’m starting to make peace with it and moving on a bit.  Once I decided to go back to school and have a specific goal in mind (wanting to use my tragedies to help others either avoid the same tragedy or help them get through it).  The people who know me the best say they haven’t seen me so focused and driven.  I think one of the main reasons for this is because I do not, under any circumstances, want my brother, niece and sister’s deaths to be in vain.  I am going to have something positive come out of this.  I’m moving in that direction as I get more and more involved in groups such as With Hope, the Amber Craig Memorial Foundation (www.withhopefoundation.org) and the AFSP (www.afsp.org) by becoming a policy advocate on the Federal and state levels.  I will be contacting my representatives in the Federal and State branches of government, advocating for the AFSP to get policies added and/or changed to make mental health illness and suicide prevention more public to save lives.

People that I know often tell me how strong I am my family thinks I’m the “rock” that’s holding us together.  The problem with having those “labels” makes it hard for me to publicly show or tell anyone how I’m really feeling.  I do have one friend who will listen to me over and over and over, will spend time with me even if I turn into a bawling lunatic and prays for me everyday.  Now I know there are many, many people in my church family who pray for me often.  But occasionally it strikes me, without any feelings of malice or contempt, that people really don’t ask me anymore how I’m doing?  They may say it in passing because that’s what you ask people, but I never get the impression or feeling that they really want to take the time to stand there and have me tell them exactly how I’m feeling.  I get that it makes people uncomfortable, which is why I’m grateful for my grief support group.

I found this picture last night and it completely summed up what I’ve felt now for a while.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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It’s About Time – Maybe……Depends on Whether or Not the ACA Gets This One Right.


I just found an article online from the New York Post (one of the few papers that I read that I give any kind of credibility to) that the Obama Administration is about to release regulations that will require insurers to cover care for mental health and addiction in the same way as it covers any other type of illness.  These rules will apply to almost all forms of insurance.  In my opinion, this is where it can start to get a little tricky; for example if Medicaid is excluded from having to cover these new regulations, it could be almost the same as having no regulations at all, as many people with serious addictions and/or mental illness cannot hold jobs because of their illnesses, therefore they do not have top rate health insurance in place.  We will have to wait and see once the regulations are released by the administration and scrutinized and over analyzed by reporters, congressman, senators, etc.  Overall, this is the ONLY thing related to “Obamacare” that I have been on board with.  Overall, I’m not a big fan of socialized medicine (for elective items), as it has been proven time and time again that it takes about 10-15 years of REALLY, REALLY BAD, before socialized medicine starts to become “tolerable.”  As it stands now, the roll out has been so botched up, that I find it hard to believe that come January 1, 2014, everything will be running smoothly.  In the meantime, please read the article in the New York Times below.  

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/08/us/politics/rules-to-require-equal-coverage-for-mental-ills.html?smid=pl-share

 

 

 

 

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