Glimpses of Drey

Those eyes. Oh my goodness those eyes. I’m staring at him. He’s talking to me. No, he’s talking at me. I’m not listening. He looks at the cash register then he looks back at me and I’m still staring at those eyes. What am I supposed to say? “Don’t mind me staring at you. You’re about the age my son should be and you have eyes just like his?” Instead I just stare at him.  He probably thinks I’m some creepy old lady. I let my imagination go it’s own way for just a minute… what if’s, what should’ve beens. 

Why do these experiences happen at Panera so often? Damn you Panera, damn you. 

James, Ed, and Drey

I’m sitting here at an ed sheeran concert… no, he’s not on stage yet. I love music. I love going to concerts. As I scan the audience I see twenty something’s everywhere. Drey’s. It’s not upsetting to me tonight. That’s nice. Maybe it was that extra Wellbutrin I took an hour before the concert? 

James Blunt opened tonight. He called ed sheeran the little ginger engine. Flippin hilarious. 

I love lots of ed sheeran’s songs but one in particular is especially dear to me… photograph. I love you drey. 


Ed Sheeran


Loving can hurt, loving can hurt sometimes

But it’s the only thing that I know

When it gets hard, you know it can get hard sometimes

It is the only thing that makes us feel alive

We keep this love in a photograph

We made these memories for ourselves

Where our eyes are never closing

Hearts are never broken

And time’s forever frozen still

So you can keep me

Inside the pocket of your ripped jeans

Holding me closer ’til our eyes meet

You won’t ever be alone, wait for me to come home

Loving can heal, loving can mend your soul

And it’s the only thing that I know, know

I swear it will get easier,

Remember that with every piece of you

Hm, and it’s the only thing we take with us when we die

Hm, we keep this love in this photograph

We made these memories for ourselves

Where our eyes are never closing

Hearts were never broken

And time’s forever frozen still

So you can keep me

Inside the pocket of your ripped jeans

Holding me closer ’til our eyes meet

You won’t ever be alone

And if you hurt me

That’s okay baby, only words bleed

Inside these pages you just hold me

And I won’t ever let you go

Wait for me to come home

Wait for me to come home

Wait for me to come home

Wait for me to come home

You can fit me

Inside the necklace you got when you were sixteen

Next to your heartbeat where I should be

Keep it deep within your soul

And if you hurt me

Well, that’s okay baby, only words bleed

Inside these pages you just hold me

And I won’t ever let you go

When I’m away, I will remember how you kissed me

Under the lamppost back on Sixth street

Hearing you whisper through the phone,

“Wait for me to come home.”

World Suicide Prevention Day ❤️

After a very well attended all day LOSS training I’ve spent the rest of the weekend without plans and taking care of myself. 

Last night I sat in our new hot tub on the back patio and thanked God for His blessings. It’s not lost on me that our peaceful back yard space was paid for with the money from Drey’s college savings. I look at it from the new view of our hot tub and reflect on it. I thank God for it and I let tears roll down my cheeks. I miss my baby. It’s been more than 5 years since he parked in “my” space off the alley. A space I gladly gave up when he was at the house because I knew he loved his car. It’s been more than 5 years since he’s walked up the stairs to the back door and said “hi mom.” 

I wish I could have saved you drey. It’s still so hard to know that my love was not enough for you to just chose life. I’ve got a slightly better understanding now. I’ve had suicidal ideas a handful of times since you died. A few times it’s been very intense but thankfully brief. In those moments nothing else is in focus except the pain. What feels like permanent, all consuming, PAIN. It doesn’t matter how much Robbie or Grandma & Grandpa love me. I just want the ache, the images, the last words you shared to get out of my head. I’ve learned to tell Robbie how I feel. To breathe deeply. And to recall I have felt that way before and it does pass. 

There’s a new thing I’m going to follow up on next week, baby. It’s a big step… one I haven’t been able to engage. Nationwide Children’s is willing to look into requiring their dermatologists do a brief suicide assessment of patients as part of their normal routine visits. Favorable feedback from kids and parents as well as an endorsement from Dr Bridge may be exactly what’s needed to roll out this assessment at all local dermatology offices… then Ohio… then across the country. I don’t know how much of a role that stupid acne medication played in your suicide, baby, but I’m chipping away at any potential “holes” in the system regardless. I didn’t understand how much AW’s suicide had impacted you. I didn’t understand the importance of postvention. Hell I never even heard of the word. But I get it now. And LOSS is up and running. It seems that now the time is right to find my voice – and to help other suicide loss survivors find their voice – in the prevention space. 

“Happy” world suicide prevention day my love, my baby, my drey. 

5 years


College graduations


New jobs

New apartments

You’re missing it all. I love you I love you I love you. The years are distancing us but you will always be part of me. Every day. Every. Fucking. Day. 

You’ve become more abstract. I used to hear your voice, your laugh, more readily. I could feel your hug and I could smell you. But it’s fading.  I guess that’s yet another layer of the grief. 

Father God, thank You for carrying me every day. Thank You for all Your blessings. Thank You for loving my boy even more than I do. Please tell Drey how much I love him.

Grief, Pride, and Scraping

One definition of scrape: to push or pull a hard or sharp instrument across (a surface or object) so as to remove dirt or other matter.

I feel that God is scraping away a thick layer of pride from my heart. I don’t like it and I am also grateful for it. I’ve sensed this now for several months. I don’t usually cooperate with Him when He’s teaching me humility. That’s when the painful scraping begins… when I’m fighting against Him. When I’m not trusting Him. He wants me to hold still and trust Him – if I submitted, the scraping wouldn’t be painful at all. Instead I’d begin to see glimmers of something lovely underneath. Something I’d know was clearly not of my own making. I’d even get excited and say, “take it all! Remove it! I want to be rid of this filthy layer of pride, autonomy, and judgement!”

Two of the best books I’ve ever read about humility are Andrew Murrays “Humility” and Thomas Jones/Michael Fontenot’s “The Prideful Soul’s Guide to Humility.”

Chapter 9 of the Prideful Souls Guide says God will bless my humble response to biblically based input from others even if the input I am given should turn out to not be the best. If he/she is missing the mark, that will become evident without me having to be defensive. I would be wise to listen, pray and seek to learn something about myself. 

I have found my grief and my loss are something I take pride in. Gross, right? There are many loving, wise, well-intended friends who try to journey with me but I dismiss them because “they just don’t get it.” What would it look like to respond to their loving attempts to journey with me in humility? It’s easy for me to be defensive and justify why it’s okay to dismiss certain people… they’re condescending, they think I’m weak. I’ll show them how capable I am! Often, usually, okay maybe even 99% of the time, their words are well-intended. Can I set aside my pride? Rather than dismissing them can I listen with gratitude? When needed, can I gently correct or clarify in love?

Eph 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” This scripture is for people I snap at, right? They should be patient and humble if I’m hurtful. But this scripture doesn’t apply to me, right? I’ve been wronged in a big way – my boy is gone. So that means I have “the right” to not be patient and humble with others as they attempt to journey with me? Well shit. I don’t like this scraping of my pride.

Integrating suicide loss into my life

I was with a survivor at Panera this morning. It was the first time we had met. She greeted me by saying, “I don’t want to be here meeting you.” I remember that feeling and I ache for her.

I remember the day. I remember the last hug, the last text, the last laugh, the last meal, the last I love you. It’s all seared in my mind just below the surface. Sometimes it pops out sideways and a reaction I have to a situation is disproportionate to the circumstances. Other times I sit in it… I may listen to The Fray to make myself cry because it helps me stay healthy or maybe sometimes just to torture myself. Sometimes it’s not even clear to me why I make the choices I do.

Telling someone safe about the “lasts” or about the signs I had or about the day he died is still helpful – even after nearly 5 years. Sharing was a big part of my processing in the first few years. It’s a smaller part now but it’s still important. I’m blessed to have dear friends who want to listen.

I shared a precious video with a few folks a few weeks ago. I had one friend I shared it with at lunch. She knew Drey and texted me later that night because she had been re-watching it. “He was so alive.” “This isn’t how it was supposed to be.” I had a hard time making sense of her text messages because there were so many typo’s… it was clear she’d been crying. Praise God for my dear friend who’s journeying with me.

I need my friends – my old ones who knew my boy and my new ones who are suicide loss survivors too.


Only the minority will understand this… the importance of making myself cry.

Drey died 8.8.12. I cried and often wailed daily. I had a constant headache, couldn’t eat, couldn’t make decisions, and took pills to sleep only to wake up to the same nightmare all over again. Then in January – 5 months after he died – I went 2 days in a row without crying. This wasn’t a bad thing and it wasn’t a good thing. But it was something I took notice of.

As the months and now years have marched on I experience longer “dry spells.” But I learned sometime during year 4 that I can only handle so much internally. It’s not that I deliberately hold in the tears. It’s a passive decision if it’s even an actual decision at all.  It just kinda happens at a subconscious level.

I felt it coming on over the weekend… the leakage. I had once again become so saturated that I started to leak. I told my new friend who lost her brother to suicide 37 years ago and she immediately understood. I imagine it’s a heavy grief thing – certainly not limited to just survivors of a suicide loss.

This morning my husband unintentionally set my wringing out process into motion. After his innocent sharing then realization of the full content, I shrugged my shoulders and gave him the “it’s ok. It’s just our life now” smile. But I got to wail after he drove away. I couldn’t absorb anymore. I was saturated and it was time to un-saturate.

I’m exhausted now. I may pray myself to sleep. And when I wake up this time there will be room to absorb joy and peace ❤️

Thank You God for Your constant care, provisions and blessings.

Grieving Mom Request

All the time, I just miss baby.

… and then I began praying for him again

I have prayer cards. Just little index cards I started writing several years ago after reading the book A Praying Life by Paul Miller.
Before he died, I prayed for Drey often. One prayer card included Ecclesiastes 1:8 “… The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.” I had been praying literally that Drey would “come to the end of himself.” I believed he was seeking something – unconditional and perfect approval, acceptance and security – from imperfect relationships and material things. I was praying he’d instead realize following God was what would free him from feelings of inadequacy. He knew God… but that’s different from actively following Him.

I also had a card that included Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

For a long time I fought with God to reconcile those prayers with Drey’s death. I would blame myself for praying Drey would come to the end of himself. Did I cause his death? I would plead, “But God you knew that wasn’t what I meant by that prayer right? Right?!” Then other times – or at the same time – I would lash out at God. “Really? Seriously? Are You fucking kidding me? This is Your idea of what it looks like to prosper him and not harm him?! Drey was better off under my care than he was with Yours!”

So my prayer cards for Drey were put away for a long time. Actually they’re still put away along with the memorial book from his funeral, his drivers license, his retainer and toothbrush and other special things I don’t look at anymore.

I’ve felt like I needed to pray for Drey in a different way for a long time. I needed to write a new prayer card for him but had no idea what that might look like. Well, I was finally able to do this last month while I was alone in Hocking Hills over the 4 year annv. And I smile every time I re-read it 😁

“Drey may you delight in Gods Word even now in His presence. Especially now in His presence. May you gloriously love Him with all your heart, mind and strength. May you dance, may you laugh, may you sing. Let your heart be light, carefree and full of worship and praise. Rejoice!”

Rev 5:13 “And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them saying, ‘to Him who sits on the throne and to the lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever.'”

Year 4 is coming to a close

Well… it’s August again.

I didn’t start dreading it until July 27th. That’s pretty good.

I seem to be functioning “okay” today… but it’s only August 1st so I won’t get my hopes up that the next few weeks will be easy.

I don’t have much scheduled this week and I leave town Sunday – no contact with anyone again till Wednesday. I dread it and I look forward to it. Maybe I’m finally learning to walk in these big clumsy grief shoes? I don’t fall so often now. And I know a little better about when to get down on my hands and knees and crawl instead of attempting to walk every day.

I do still hate when I mess up things that used to be so simple. Being organized was like breathing before 8.8.12 but even now – 4 years later – I still get so confused over the simplest of things. But what’s cool about this grief brain is that as I’m typing and looking outside I see our grass needs mowed and the entire yard needs weeded; but the word “needs” is no longer accurate because the yard just isn’t important. I think my husband likes that grief brain also means laid back brain when it comes to many things.

I used to ask God, “Is this as healed as I’ll get?” I don’t ask that question so much anymore. The realization that I’d always carry this pain sunk in sometime during year 2. And I discovered joy more frequently during year 3. And during year 4 I stopped searching aimlessly for permission to laugh and just began to laugh. And most recently I’ve slowly been learning to let tears flow whenever they need to without apologizing to anyone.

It is possible to miss my baby terribly, to sit with another survivor and cry with her, to laugh hysterically at Angie Tribeca, to read a volunteer report about a scene LOSS attended, to pray for those left behind and to smile at the thought of seeing my baby again in heaven all in the same day. How bout that?

Angie Tribeca Trailer – Flippin Hilarious show 🙂


23 years ago

23 years ago I was walking in my neighborhood. 

23 years ago I was digging at the poison ivy on my leg. 

23 years ago we were making phone calls. 

23 years ago I was taking one last look at the room you’d soon call your own. 

23 years ago I was packing up a bag. 

23 years ago I was deciding which onesie you’d wear home.

23 years ago I was clueless. 

Would I do it all again? Yes. Again and again and again. Being your mom is a blessing, a joy, a privilege.

I miss you baby. I miss you so very much. ❤️