I’m thankful

I have quiet time with God about half of my mornings… The plan is every morning but my busy-body self has other ideas. 

My quiet time consists of several topics but one that’s consistent is thankfulness to God. There are hundreds of things to be thankful for… From hot coffee to His Son and everything in between. One thing that’s always at the top of my list is to thank Him I’m no longer working. Well – no longer working on someone else’s terms. 

Last week, two people asked me if I missed it – Cheryl’s and corporate life in general. “Not at all!” sprang from my mouth before I had a chance to consider my response might be hard to hear to a corporate person. I miss many of the people… I’m blessed to have had awesome bosses, peers and teams. My face lights up when I see them. ­čśŐ

And I miss the money – kind of. I know it sounds weird but money plays a different role for me than it used to. Of course leading a start-up non-profit organization requires money. And God has been providing in His timing. Money isn’t a source to get my entertainment anymore… now it’s a source for brief respites from the emotional work. It’s an opportunity to soak in a warm tub full of God’s grace that smells like lavender. The difference between the two – entertainment vs respite – is subtle and I imagine it’s not noticeable to most people. That movie, that long weekend in NOLA… 3 years ago they were entertainment now they’re respites.

It’s an attitude adjustment I wish I could’ve grasped without the cost. 

I Can Choose My Attitude… Sometimes

Since Drey died I pout a lot. If I’m not feeling guilty or angry… There’s a good chance the feeling of choice is selfpity.

Sometimes I have no choice but to sob and yell at God, “it’s not fair!” But as the weeks and months have somehow turned into years… Almost 3 of ’em… I’m learning that part of integrating this grief into my life means choosing more and more often to believe something other than what my feelings are telling me. 

My son, my only child, my favorite dude, my sweet pea, my Dreyster. He’s dead. My heart will remain broken until heaven. Trying to fix or change my feelings will never work. Instead I’m learning to exercise my “knowledge muscles.” They not only need strengthened but they need maintained because atrophy can set in within minutes.

I KNOW I am blessed. I don’t feel blessed very often. And sadly I don’t act blessed very often. But that doesn’t change the truth: I AM blessed. 

I can choose to ask God “why.”

I can choose to dwell on what could’ve been – what should’ve been.

I can choose to continually throughout the day again and again ask God for the strength, wisdom and discernment I need to cultivate a grateful heart.

I can choose to acknowledge my feelings rather than justify them or deny them.

I can choose to remember I am the creation and not the creator.

I can choose to push myself to attend events that leave me sad, fragile and vulnerable in order to prove to everyone I’m just fine. 

I can choose to say “no” to plans and sit on my patio, crying, letting God’s Word do its thing, free of guilt.

I can choose to believe I’m “too much” to be around. 

I can choose to feel isolated and misunderstood.

I can choose to let God lovingly work on your character.

I have nothing to prove. I’ve been placed in these circumstances. I ache and I am broken. Sometimes there’s just no point in fussing about it. 

Forever Young

Forever Young came out when Fred and I were just dating. I knew when I saw the video and listened to the lyrics that it would be a song I somehow sang to my child at their high school graduation.

Well, my singing was – and is – horrific so instead it was Rod┬áStewart’s voice that went┬áwith the video full of happy memories of watching you grow up.

A song inspired me a handful of years before you were even born and it was indeed a part of your high school graduation.

That song softly played in the background of my mind while you were growing up. “Whatever road you chose I’m right behind you, win or lose…” That song reflected the unconditional love I had for you. It reflected my delight in you. I don’t know if you ever even heard that song. The sound to the video was turned down at your grad party – but I knew it was playing. Did you? How about 2 months later at your funeral? Did you hear it then? Did you hear that song that by God’s grace reflected His love through me to you all those years? Those short 19 years?

I don’t want to feel sorry for myself. But the “it’s not fair” sobs are never far from the surface. I miss you. Do you see the love in my heart, baby?

Forever Young by Rod Stewart


Happy Boy. Proud Mom. 5 years old

Happy Boy. Proud Mom. 5 years old




I still have days where all I can do is assess the damage, look at the devastation and ruins around me. Sometimes I’m too tired to get up out of it. Things that used to be effortless for me still take hard work and concentration even after nearly 3 years. Please won’t You take the lead? Can’t You insist on prying the reigns from my hands? Just tell me what to do, where to go, what to think. I don’t want to make anymore decisions. Free will is overrated. I’m tired. I want to rest my mind. A respite. A reprieve. A day where I don’t cradle my head in my hands.

Suicide grief is complicated. Sometimes I wish I could adequately explain it. But that desire for others to understand it is just for my benefit. I can’t help but to wonder if my friends think I’m stuck in my grief. And I can’t have anyone thinking I’m not grieving perfectly can I? Geez – we take pride in the strangest flippin things. And I certainly can’t let anyone know how fulfilling it is to be serving others who are bereaved by suicide either. What would they think of me as a Mom?

I can understand why suicide rates are higher for those bereaved by a suicide loss. It’s complicated. Survivors need each other’s encouragement. It’s so flippin lonely sometimes.

Getting a notification today from FB that Drey Meine had tagged me in a picture was torture. Thanks spammer rayban┬áidiot fucknut. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what I’m in the middle of – I’m thrust unexpectedly into facing this grief head-on. I go from happy and smiling to deep sorrow within seconds.

I cried – but this time not for me or you.┬á

I am not blessed with the gift of mercy. I’ve become more attentive and sensitive to others situations since you died – but still mercy is not my strong suit. 

So this evening as I find myself crying for a friend and a situation that has nothing to do with suicide, it feels foreign. I’ve done that very few times since you left. Finding myself wanting to comfort and make things better for someone other than myself is giving me a peaceful feeling. I love my friend.

So you and I live our lives separately now. You’re in heaven where there is no pain, no tears. I’m here with plenty of pain and tears. Is it okay with you that I’m learning to live again? That my tears aren’t always because I miss you?

Oh… Never mind. A movie just came on that’s pushing me back into the pain of you. Remember? We saw it in Cincinnati at your soccer tournament. It was nice to spend a whole weekend just the 2 of us. Everyone says that in time the memories will make me smile, not cry. Hmmm. Not so much. Not yet.

A suicide survivors vacation

Tomorrow I leave on a week-long vacation with a friend. I will rest. I will laugh. I will relax. But first I have to get there…

First I have to get out that suitcase. (The one with the Orlando tags on it from our last vacation). 

First I have to pack those travel-sized toiletries. (But try to ignore Drey written on one of the toothbrush handles).

First I have to go to the bank. (And use that same bank card I’ve used for years).

First I have to hear the engines roar, and feel the pressure as I’m pushed against the back of my seat at take off. (But try to forget the look on Drey’s three-year-old face on his first flight).

I have to try to forget the 18-year-old that slept on my shoulder on our last flight together. For Drey, I was his home. He slobbered on my shoulder while he slept. I was his safe space. Didn’t you know I was here with open arms and shoulders no matter what? Why couldn’t I save you?

I know I had plenty of happy times before you were born. So why can’t I just try really hard to focus on what made me happy back then? I’ve done it before so it’s only logical that I can do it again. If I could just live without the pain for one day. Suppress the memories of your life. Forget how you chose death. 

The stupid mind games I try to play with myself are pointless. Sometimes I have to experience the intensity of the pain. I have to cry it out. SCREAM it out. My son is dead. My son is still dead. 

God how I wish I could hold you.´╗┐´╗┐

Family vaca May 2012


49 and 3

My birthday. 

You’ve even tainted that. Which is damn hard to do because I’m a princess that loves attention. 

Each birthday is now a remembrance of how many years it’s been since you and ally surprised me with a cake.

The tears flow freely.

The confusion remains.

How was my love not enough to choose life?

I live. I take steps. This new life of police academy visits, sharing at twhs, and suicide scenes.

“What did you do in the war?”

“Before or after 8.8.12?” Those are very different answers. Very different times.

Priorities have been rearranged.

Pace is slower. 

Mercy is no longer a foreign spiritual gift.

Dependence is no longer weakness, it is strength.

House isn’t as clean. 

Bank account’s not as fat. 

Marriage is stronger. 

Vacation more often.

Pain deeper than I ever thought possible. Surely no suffering can be worse than this heartache, can it?

Don’t kid yourself Denise. Things could always be so much worse. Drey knew You. I am blessed. 

To hold you. To hear you laugh. To scratch your back.

Learning to live with the pain brings out a strength. 

And the strength brings joy. 

The joy fades and turns to quiet peace.

Peace that lives alongside the pain.

I have no choice. You took that from me.