Saturday, September 10, 2016
I lost Heather to suicide on October 26, 2015 and my life has not been the same since. Some days are good, some days are unbearable, but each day, I try to go forward and figure out who I am now. You see, I died that day too. The pain that ripped through my soul killed me. There is no other way to say it. I have 3 beautiful daughters, and that night, my youngest, my baby, decided that she didn't want to live in this world anymore.
Heather was not alone. Each day, there is news of more death around us. We hear the news stories of young teenagers deciding that they don't want to live in this world either. Is that what we are leaving behind as our legacy to our children? Our grandchildren? Are their lives not worth it? We need to wake up and make some changes, or the headlines are going to increase.
I'll be honest. I fear that we are going to see a revolutionary war in the near future. More and more of the people that live here are hurting. More and more are living hand to mouth, if that, as the economic divide widens between us and them. When they were talking about raising the minimum wage to $15, I know that Heather was ecstatic. Heather was a hard worker. She worked in a group home taking care of Mentally Disabled adults. She, and many other people, taking care of those that really need a loving hand, were being paid peanuts. They were being paid poverty level pay, but no one wants to raise the minimum wage. She was also taking classes at the local college to become an EMT. Again, another very worthwhile and caring job that pays ... poverty level - way below the cost of living.
Heather and I talked about some of the large corporations, with all their tax breaks for hiring people and giving them jobs. While the citizens were being charged income tax, these corporations were being given a free ride with tax credits. They are paying their employees wages that are below living standards, and using the taxes paid by other citizens, to give them benefits, food, rental assistance.
If the minimum wage kept up with the productivity levels, the minimum wage would almost be $22 an hour! People could live on their means by working. They wouldn't need your tax dollars to help them get the food they needed, medical care, etc. I don't want to go on and on with this, but people need a wake-up call. We need to make this a world that people who are willing to work, can live, comfortably. Working a full-time job should not be able to equate with living in poverty.
We've all heard the arguments. The big box stores can't afford that. They will lay people off. Yeah, so what? Remember the days when you had Mom and Pop stores all over? You went to those stores and the owners knew you by name. Customer service was excellent - you were neighbors. Want customer service back in your own hands? I sure do. Anyway, enough ranting.
We need to make some serious changes in our world. We need to put a stop to suicide and one of the best ways we can do that is to work together to make this a world that more and more people love being in. Work towards that.
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Heather loved her dinosaurs. She would rawr at us now and then, because Rawr meant I love you in dinosaur. Needless to say, Jurassic Park was one of her favorite movies. The other night, I had such a vivid, weird dream, I actually woke up more tired than when I went to bed. It was a very restless sleep.
For some reason, in my dream, we stopped at a convenience store. No big deal. But the size of the store was like a Super Walmart but also 3 floors high. Okay, so that is a little weird, but it was so vivid. Oh, I forget to mention the really scary part. The place was full of velocirapators. Now some of the raptors were friendly (was very scary when one tried to hug me), but, some were not so nice but we made it out ok. Well, I don't really remember getting out, but I do remember the fear of being in there. I do remember the one big craw running down my back, adrenaline soaring as I thought I was about to be ripped in two and it was very gentle.
Anyway, as I said, it was very memorable so I decided it was time to have a Jurassic Park marathon, at least with the 3 that are on Netflix. While Heather loved the movies, well, I never thought I would go search out the movies. I'm very glad I did. They are on Netflix, but only until Sept 1st! So, yes, I took this as a sign from Heather that she wanted to watch them.
I was really tired from the dream, so I only got about 2/3 of the way through the first movie before I was heading to bed. The next morning, I was talking to Carol about it and she said, Mom, you are probably driving her crazy. (Heather loved her movie marathons.) She is probably telling you to hurry up so she can get thru her marathon. My answer to Heather is if she was relying on one of us to get the message and follow thru on a quick marathon, she should have chosen someone else to give her hint too! LOL
The movie marathon was (is) very good for me. I am on the 3rd movie, and I am enjoying watching it and remembering how much she loved those movies. I probably needed it, because to be honest, in the days before, I wasn't doing very well at all. I can't say that it was the same as when Heather took her life, but in it's own way, it was just as painful. I've talked to some other parents that lost their child to suicide. No one can really answer the most important question though. "When will I be normal?" Well, I don't think I will ever be that person again. That person, the one that was me, has altered. I don't really know who I am anymore.
They also tell me that everyone has a different story. Everyone deals in their own way. Everyone, while being the same on some very elemental level, is so very different. They tell me that 10 months is very early yet. I didn't write last weekend, I just needed some time to me. Now, I think that was a mistake. Time for me is good, but I also need time to share with Heather. Today was not about the pain, today was a happy (but very frightening) memory that I got to share with my baby, 10 months after she chose suicide.
Sunday, August 14, 2016
No matter how much I wish things could be different, Heather is gone and there is no going back. Every day it's a struggle not to spend my day in tears. But, each day I get up and try to function the best that I can. She's my baby, and when she was with us, I loved her so much. While she is gone, I still love her. I still miss her and I still worry about her. Has the pain left? Is she really at peace? I have to trust that she is.
When you lose your child, whether from suicide, overdose, an accident or even a serious illness, it is just so hard. Your heart still has all the love, but we can no longer hold them. We can't pick up a phone and ask them what's going on in their lives. They have no more life. They are now our angels.
I got to know Heather before she was even born. She was inside of me and I grew to love her more and more each day. I am still growing to love her more and more. Death doesn't change that. When I had Heather, I was so scared. Imagine, my third child scared me so much, most of my pregnancy was in fear. You see, we almost lost both of her sisters. Carol was a newborn, not even a day old, and she stopped breathing. They got her breathing again, but that was the first time I learned that the fear of something going wrong could scare me that much. Then, when Amy was just about 11 months old, she caught a very bad virus. 10 days in ICU and for months, she was on meds every 2 hours, around the clock. Amy finally got healthy, but those days in the ICU scared the daylights out of me.
Then the news came. I was pregnant with Heather. I was so scared. I didn't think of the joy of having her, I thought of the fear of possibly losing her. I was so scared. You know what? She was born so healthy. I thought all my fears of losing a child were over. How wrong I was. Now, I can't do anything more with her except talk with her and tell her in my prayers and thoughts that I still love her and wish the best for her.
You can't fear life or it won't be complete. You can't fear the unknown but try your best to overcome any challenges you may encounter. One of my greatest challenges is waking up each day and looking for the good in the day. Every day I want to show Heather that we are doing ok. We can function in life with her beside us as our personal angel. She was an angel to so many in life. She helped those that needed her, even if she really didn't care for the person that needed the help. We all need to be more like Heather and help those that we can. It's not always easy, and trust me, I am far from perfect here, but each day, we all need to be more like her.
Heather is gone. As parents, many of us have lost children. It's a pain you never want to know, but it's a pain that you can live with. The pain in my heart is a constant reminder of the beautiful woman that Heather grew up to be. So, please, do me a favor. When you see someone grieving for their child, keep this phrase out of your conversation, no matter how long it has been. Never, ever tell someone to "Get Over It." That is the cruelest thing to say - there is no getting over the loss.
Yes, function, live your life, make your child proud of the person that you are. They may be our angels now, but that will never stop the love that we have for them in our hearts.