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Part of Healing

Besides crying everywhere I go in an uncontrollable manner, as if I am so used to it, as if I have allergies, as if like it is just a part of me, as if I have always been this way; I’ve been delving more into art and creativity. The real world is so full of pain, I have created a place of peace and quiet in having peace and quiet.

In this place of peace I have found a strength in Savannah wherein usually resides severe, black, empty sorrow. It just doesn’t feel right to have that energy around her. She did not fill the space of that. Her body did, her suffering did but her soul and the peace she conveyed in living her life did not. Now she has this soft, gentle voice of encouragement and love about her that resonates more deeply with me.

If I go into the past I am in pain. I miss her immensely in this human world. I have my own past of pain, so much so that working through it all, I find that I don’t want to be here most days. My better self keeps me here and keeps me trudging along. My son keeps me here, my friends, my family I have made.

I will be writing more but keeping more private at the same time.

Here are some fresh berries and my morning coffee.

Too Much

Yesterday I went out into the world and did a thingy. I went to NARF for a speaking event and listened to speakers tell us all of the court cases and projects the native communities are doing for Native Americans all over the country including Hawaii and Alaska. Boulder actually has a history of doing pretty cruel and awful things to the native Americans that were here. They do recognize indigenous peoples day and no longer celebrate Columbus Day…which even as a kid I thought was pretty stupid. I have always admired how Boulder has been honest in their plaques at least:

The Indian Child Welfare Association said native children are still being removed from their families and even though only 2% of kids in North Dakota are Native American they are 15% of the foster care population.

If any reparations are made regarding land and money is actually awarded, the government keeps it in a ‘trust’ and then completely mismanages it and no Native Americans ever see it.

There was a photography exhibit at the Museum of Boulder – and all over Boulder-put on by some high school kids and that was awesome. Indigenize Your Eyes. Very powerful.

America has been horrible for Centuries. Native Americans just want to be heard. We can all relate to that. But on NPR today I listened to ‘Witness‘ which reports on things that happened in recent history. And today’s broadcast was about Sweden regarding ‘travelers’ (Romany speaking people) and how the newspaper published disparaging and very racist things about this group of people in the town. Followed by men going and beating up and hurting old people, children and families that lived in that town that were part of that group. So, racism is a worldwide horrendous patriarchal piece of shit that is everywhere INCLUDING SWEDEN.

Today I am down and want to be dead. I said to myself I would write in here every day so here’s today’s entry. As soon as I was done immersing myself in something else besides my own life yesterday, I came home and completely crashed and burned and cried my guts out till I fell asleep. Waking up disappointed yet again that I have to do this another fucking day.

I didn’t do enough for Savannah. I should’ve flown out to Texas and flown out to Utah and flown out to New York (actually I went to New York five years ago after she just moved there I went to Utah in November and she was only in Texas a few months and I never got out there but it was Texas) : ) and I never had any money for that. And fuck everyone who pushed me out of the loop because I don’t have money. Fuck you. I stayed up reading old messages between Savannah and I and feel I never said the right thing but I hate this so much. And now I feel like I’m not doing enough for Anthony either.

Being a mom is a constant losing battle.

Fuck money and jobs and everything we are told we are supposed to have because that’s all I’ve done is try and find jobs so I can have things I want or want my kids to have. I never caught up. I quit jobs and got new ones because it was three more dollars an hour. At the time Savannah was looking for rehab- AFTER SHE OD’d AND WAS BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE BY NARCAN- I was working at that horrendous chiropractor’s office in Cherry Creek. It now feels like I made that more important than my daughter and I hate everyone and everything.

She was upset that her dad was more worried about her phone and that her stupid abusive ex-boyfriend’s mom was helping her. In my mind I thought I was letting her be an adult and choose this rehab and now I just feel like a failure. She was a kid she was struggling surrounded by fucking manipulative crazy people. I was trying to respect her and not do what I wanted which was to tell all these fucks to go to hell. I didn’t know what to do. I stood by her I encouraged her she could be honest and open with me we were warrior women together. But I felt completely lost.

I was trying to do comedy at this time with a bunch of assholes who did nothing but talk me down, berate me and make me feel like a piece of shit. So I told all of them go to hell. I was trying to ‘carry on’. I failed miserably. Now I’m supposed to care? Make MY life? I don’t care. Carry on. Fuck you.

No More ‘At Leasts’

Please read this article by Peg Streep. You Had a Toxic Parent But Your Siblings Say They Didn’t 

It feels so good to know I am not alone. That this is a ‘thing’, a real form of dysfunction and it has been completely crystallized during the most trying time in my life. My mother called me the day Savannah died – did nothing but talk about my siblings and told me ‘everyone is calling (my sister) because they’re so worried about her because she’s pregnant’-(like 4 weeks pregnant btw) (also on this day she decided to tell me this info.) This IS ON THE DAY MY DAUGHTER DIED. (Truly baffling) Not one member of that family called me, ever, and then said only four words to me at the funeral: sorry for your loss. Like strangers; actually strangers have been kinder. But she still wanted to let me know the other sister was getting called and warranted all the concern. I haven’t heard from them since. —-I know I walked away, my children had relationships with these family members, I never cut that off, I did my own thing trying to survive; I just thought the death of my child would open up a little gap of something else to take place in for a little while.

I was wrong.

I am out of shock now, and see this clearly. Most recently my mom informed me she can no longer come to any events regarding Savannah as they are too sad and she has a new grandbaby on the way. -Sick- (This was at the Casa Bonita party which was so fun, but she and stepdad and my ex and his wife sat in a completely different area away from the entire group that was celebrating.)(And yes, my mother has a relationship with my ex husband of 20 years but not with me.)(COOCOO pants anyone???)

Here’s where I get stuck, and where I think I keep falling into this trap.

I can hear that voice of the devil’s advocate, or ego, or that ever strong voice that was programmed into me that made me believe the core root of myself is bad, the one that says: ‘at least they came’ (to the funeral/event/thingy) somehow insinuating that I should be grateful and they did nothing.

WHY DO WE DO THAT TO OURSELVES? That ‘at least’ voice? Why does that part even enter in? It’s from being ingrained into me by narcissistic, toxic parents and spouses, that I inherently know I am bad and because of that I am allowed ZERO feelings. It’s the ego chiming in to make sure I don’t get too far from shame. ‘How dare you speak out against these people!’ The ego says in their defense. ‘AT LEAST THEY CAME/called/bla bla bla’. Savannah’s father SHOOK MY HAND at the event. His wife said nothing and didn’t even look at me or interact with any of Savannah’s group of friends, their parents, ANYONE there…despite the fact that she isn’t quiet and didn’t mind having it announced at the funeral show that I was the ‘biological mother’ and named herself as the parent. (Of four years btw) She’s a real go getter. Real upstanding catholic citizen. But ‘at least’ I should be happy for their appearance?

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The mistake I made, the lesson learned that day was not that I am a victim, let me just make that very clear, it is that I am always on the lookout for what I can learn. Always. Every situation. What did I learn here? That I was feeling like I should invite them so they could participate in this happy thing, so they could share in some good stuff at this awful time, be around young people. To be real honest and dig real deep though, I guess I was probably hoping they would see me as a person. Lesson learned. The act of me inviting them was about getting permission and hoping to be validated by the people who have undermined me my entire life. My entire youth. Say WOW THANKS JUDY THIS WAS NICE.

I was 22 when I got married. —-Savannah’s age. Wow.

How dare these people fuck me over during my most best youth. I refuse to let them keep that. I am a strong, independent person. And I have them to thank for that actually. The lesson here is that I don’t need permission. They can have their own events. I don’t need to invite them into my space during very special and meaningful times.

I conceived of this Casa Bonita party to gather up friends for something other than a funeral. In Savannah’s most favorite place ever. That kid. She loved Casa Bonita. I shouldn’t have made it a Shatterproof event either. I thought I needed something to stand on to get people to come. I also have an overwhelming feeling of Doing Something Good. I want to help other families, somehow, in some way. Shatterproof does that. I don’t know. I’m still navigating this.

I am learning a lot here. Regardless, we ran around that night at Casa Bonita, watched videos, went in Black Bart’s Cave, and I got to share some time with some of Savannah’s closest friends. It was amazing. Nothing will take that away. But the eye opening I had, even after 20 some years, was profound and cemented the deal to myself to be true to my heart. It was my heart’s idea to have this party. I like it when I listen to my heart.

Five years ago there was an ‘at least’ when my mom offered to help with Savannah while she was going to the Eating Disorder Program at Children’s Hospital. I had stepped away from them yet again because of their toxic bullshit. However — on the one morning she drove Savannah to the hospital, my mother asked Savannah how much she weighed. On the way to her OUTPATIENT EATING DISORDER PROGRAM.

I’m done with the justifications. I will burn this shit down. I am going to continue to move on. I’m a little angry that not only do I have to go through the grieving process, I have to recover myself from this toxic family shit. At a time in my life where I have to be stronger than ever and I have to dig really deep to find the strength and I keep coming up with handfuls of this toxic family muck. But watch me. I get to live my full life now. Finally. Its such a mind fuck that this powerful movement of becoming is rising up at a time where I lost my daughter, my soul mate. She was always an advocate for the underdog, as was I. I will not stop that crusade. I will not live without her driving me to strive for the life I want. She always did.

It’s crazy too that right now, at my lowest of lows, I can see so clearly. It’s okay to honor yourself and not let this crap in. Stand by your own guns. I made my move, so to speak, as it is stated in this article, and I made it years ago. This time in my life is just a big shining light on the fact that I am on the correct path regarding fleeing these relationships. I spoke out against someone over 20 years ago as well and paid dearly for that too. I am not a quiet soul.

Savannah’s death has made me more fearless than ever. Meaning: LESS FEARS. Life is fleeting, we have to grab it ALL. I fear less and want more. We have to live big. Nothing shows the true colors of the people around you like a complete tragedy will. My son is being an amazing human being. He is inspiring to me. He hates when I post shit like this, but we let each other lead our unconditional and individual lives. I taught him that. It might bite me in the ass one day but I want him to be happy. He is a rock even though I know he doesn’t feel like one.

I opened up wide and offered gratitude and love to everyone during a time in my life where I was at a loss for anything else. A friend of 20 years has also turned away from me recently. Grief is a crazy, crazy thing. It eats you up and you eat it up and you live and you walk around and you don’t and you do and you don’t and you do. This family dynamic is a crazy fucked up thing and it made me feel like I was crazy and bad and not worthy then I married crazy — and then my family carried on a relationship with my ex-husband but not me. It’s truly baffling and completely understandable why I went into stand up comedy.  Jeeze.

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It has taken me 52 years to realize this is not MY crazy it’s THEIRS. I don’t have to participate in it but I did want to let anyone know who’s going through anything similar to this, that it is real and your feelings are valid and that you matter. At a time in my life where I have been stripped of all protections, all veils, all walls, all anything, and have been left standing to weather the storm completely naked with only myself; was I able to see the reality of this.

Please don’t give up on yourself. You are real. You matter.
And thank you to those who stepped in so I wouldn’t be standing alone. I love you.
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This article is truly the most valid thing I have ever seen.
“Physical distance and deliberate low-contact can keep sibling relationships on a simmer or low-boil for years until one unloved adult child makes a move to redefine her relationship to her mother either by direct accusation, challenge, and establishment of rules or boundaries or by going no contact. (I’ve done all of these, in that order.)  In those families where the mother has orchestrated sibling relationships, this perceived threat to her power and control will usually involve retaliation on the adult who is challenging the status quo and, often, the other adult children in the family are required to pledge their loyalty and fealty to one side and one side only. Most usually allegiance is to Team Mom at her insistence..”

#livebig #staygold #youwillbefound #standupandbecounted #healing #grief #soarabove #beyourownhero #breathe #rebel #takecharge #letitgo #breathe #alwayschallengethestatusquo

Recap on #LiveBig

Trying to tie these two blogs/lives/meanings together/and reach out/live thru words/Do Something Meaningful/Reach People Grieving/change the world/make something of this mess.

This is the first blog I wrote after Savannah died. I was writing in journals, in bits and fits and particles of moments in time. This contains the piece I wrote and read at the memorial (show). Along the lines of a song from Dear Evan Hansen (which I finally got to see last week❤️) titled ‘You Will Be Found’ – I had such a strong sense of so many people in the world feeling so alone, and knowing this through feeling it myself, and knowing it through my experiences with Savannah’s trauma with her eating disorder and addictions and her beautiful amazingness which she had such a hard time wrapping her mind around, and seeing how many people filled that room.

Savannah Changed My World

Go be big. The world needs it.

Live or Die: Part Two

This is how I got through the last 24 hours. This is scattered and un organized. I will write my novel another day. This what strong looks like:

I cried whenever no one was around. I had all these grand schemes to Go Do Something when I got off work and I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. I tried to go to a movie and I didn’t have my debit card so I tried to use a gift certificate and it all fell apart. Wrong theater…bla bla bla. I’m so sick of crying in public. I mean, no one really cares…some people smile, some don’t notice, but I’M sick of it. I just didn’t have the wherewithal so I came home. Sometimes to have the sadness full on, full frontal, rip roaring, bawling my eyes out, losing it, attack is all I can do. I cried so hard I made sounds that didn’t sound like me.

I watched a couple of episodes of Sherlock.

I wondered if people who have kids die any other way than from a drug overdose get more support? This is a weird thing to grapple with. It’s messy and ugly and scary to everyone and somehow makes this all ‘nasty. And fuck that. That’s why I worked so hard with Shatterproof. This is gonna be a long road.

I talked to a friend, boyfriend and my aunt on the phone.

I think I did dishes.

I read Savannah’s Instagram from beginning to end. I like to see her be alive. I like to laugh with her, I like to see her moving and talking and being funny and she was so funny. It keeps everything about her not being here anymore NOT ALL ABOUT DRUGS. She was so much more than that and in her videos I can see that. She was so talented. So much stuff on her Instagram I am astounded. And her Twitter and her Vine. All of her creativity is so alive on there. I can see she was at the peak of it when she got to New York for the first time. All of her poetry, her photography, her videos, her writing, so creative and soulful and FUCKING FUNNY and so much love and pain and hope and finding herself. She was 18-20 and really creating so much during that time.

I cried all day today wishing I could have paid for her to be in The American Academy of the Dramatic Arts for four years. She went for a summer program at the school and stayed in NY for three years. She simply loved it there and became herself in that school and with her friends that she made while attending. Surrounded by adult ‘theater kids.’ She was in New York 4 months and got cast in the play ‘Playground’ that ran in NY, London then LA. She found it. She had it. All the ‘it’ a girl needs, she had. She attended Studio 4 after that and always wanted to get back to that.

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I don’t know when the heroin started exactly. Somewhere in there. Maybe before she went to New York. God, I don’t know. I can see when she is clean and I can see when she is not. I’m sure I could pinpoint it if I CSI’d every journal and piece of info that I have here. A lot happened in New York. Good and bad. It was everything that made her happy and everything that ruined her.

She had just left Children’s Hospital Eating Disorder Program..(here’s a blog entry from that time.)graduated high school…and then attended the summer program at AADA then stayed in NY. The eating disorder would never leave her. The damage it does to your psyche never lets up. I’m wondering if this play pushed her over the edge. So much. She loved it, but maybe it was too much. She would go back to eating disorder rehab at The Eating Recovery Center one more time here in Denver, then on to Utah for drug rehab about a year or so later.

Her insight was amazing. What I am reading now in all of her social media, especially Instagram, were things that were helping her recover, and those words are helping me recover right now. Some of the posts brought me to my knees. I was already crumbled up in bed losing my shit but the hits were hard. It’s funny to me how private she was, yet so creative on social media. Her private life tho, was very private.

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I can see now why people choose to not speak of someone after they die. To let it go. Let it pass. Leave it alone. I used to think ‘how could someone do that?’ Now I know. It’s so they can move through the day without wanting to die all the time. It hurts.

I’m trying not to ruminate. I hate that I know that word. I hate that Savannah had so much pain and yet I love that she still offered so much healing to the world. I hate that so many people took advantage of that pain. I couldn’t (wouldn’t?) read into these posts and words and tweets and memes like I can now. I am heartbroken I could not provide more. I am heart broken my son lives so far away. I feel like I shouldn’t waste a minute of my life in sorrow but that is impossible really. I should move closer to him. I don’t know what to do in life. Forever a mom. I spent my young life raising kids trying to have a life and now all I want is that time back.

I hate money. It made me have a hard life with the lack of it. I never really got to be the parent I wanted to be. I was always living just above poverty level in shithole apartments; that I dressed up for us as much as I could. Like in the movies, or in real life perhaps if you’ve ever seen one; how there would be a really old apartment and with old furniture but it is immaculate and everything is shiny and in its place. We didn’t have the best stuff but I kept what we DID have in the best shape. Except that one red couch I bought that felt like the first, living alone, grown up thing I purchased. I drug that around everywhere until I had to move out of an apartment to get away from an abuser and I left it by the dumpster. God I made my life hard. Did it ruin my kids? Can I take all my choices back? This thinking will drive you insane.

I asked my mom then if I could move back home and she said ‘You can sleep in your car before you can come back here.’

I always thought she treated me like a drug addict; or how we are taught to treat drug addicts who steal and lie and scare you. I never did anything to them. I always paid rent when I went home. I cleaned, cooked, helped with the horses, worked, paid back money when they bought tires. I don’t know what I ever did wrong but I finally don’t care. Fuck them for raising a daughter who hates herself.

Then look what I did. Despite everything I did to fight that. All the art, theater, song, and creativity I brought into our home for me and my two kids so we could all have our personalities and lives and no judgments. The three of us were MY FAMILY. I let them have freedom but I kept our computer in the living room out in the open. We had bedtime and rules and homework and stuff like that. We did so many things outside and biked, played roller hockey, hiked, camped, painted, sang, made videos, danced. I was so shut down as a kid when it came to having my own ideas and personality. I vowed to never shut my kids down.

This is so fucked.

So that’s what I did that last 24 hours. My mind went from past to present to my past to Savannah’s past to Anthony’s past. I dredged my brain for the sewage of answers that come up when you try and figure out why your kid died of a heroin overdose in rehab after seven months of living there. It’s a stinky, horrible maze of tunnels and places you don’t want to go.

I’m starting to think rehab in and of itself is a lie. Why would you take a group of people who want nothing more but to belong in a community and who want to be loved and separate them from their family and friends, give them no contact, have them sit and talk every single day about all of the worst things that ever happened to them in their lives over and over and over again, have to present themselves to the group for forgiveness every time they fuck up and then want them to find a life worth living? It’s like if you had to go to work and sit and tell everyone all of your shit, EVERY DAY, then when you fuck up, have to call them all together and announce the fuck up so you can get your constricted privileges back again. How are you supposed to assimilate after that? Just go find your tribe, you have a community, you BELONG, get a good therapist to go to in private, dance more, you are ok. YOU ARE OK. YOU ARE.

Intervention doesn’t work.

Just have them be a part of a community that helps each other and rises together and sings and dances and maybe has medication monitored and SHOW THEM HOW TO LIVE. Show them how to be a community. Show them how to accept, not demean, pick apart, and devour one another.

It’s insanity.

So I spent hours on this topic in my head and crying my guts out. They will still do what they do I suppose. It’s a very hopeless feeling. Figuring out humans.

Then I got up this morning and went to work.  I listened to meditations for four hours while I made breakfast and lunch for the guys. If I unclenched my brain for one minute I cried. I cleaned up. Good zen work. Ate a little food. Cleaned out my car. Now I’m home on my sofa writing this.

Crying.

Wanting so much.

It’s beautiful out.

I need to stay gold.

My son is having his life. I can’t figure this out. I don’t know how he is having it. It’s such a weird blanket grief lays on a family. I have asked him but he has no words to explain.

I’d like to just shut my brain up for one fucking day.

I have champagne in my fridge! I will make a raspberry Bellini.

That is how I am strong.

I go and go and go like a godamned Energizer Crazy Ass Robot Killer Bunny, then I take a break. Sometimes the break is a hike, painting, or watching tv, but today it is champagne.

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Live or Die: Part One

So, people often tell me that I’m being very strong. And I appreciate that, I do not want to take that away from anybody. But the only reason I seem strong is because I keep living. I figure I have two choices: live or die. And with each one of those choices comes the question: well…how? You want to die? Ok, How? You want to live? How? And every time I think I just want to die, I can’t figure out how. I can’t leave my son, that would be the shittiest thing in the world to do to somebody especially right now. I think about just laying in bed and eventually dying but that would take so long and I can’t stand it. Everything else is just too painful i.e. walking into traffic, driving off a cliff. So then I decide to live. And again the question of how comes up.

If I curl up in bed for days; that’s not living. Lately I’ve been coming home from work in the afternoon and going to bed. Again, not living. I keep thinking of Savannah and what she would probably give to still be here and that doing something as simple as walking in the sunshine would be amazing to her. Getting ice cream, being able to call a friend. Sometimes I do those things. But I am still stuck with figuring out how am I supposed to find reasons to live and reasons to find life wonderful at this worst time in my life. I don’t get it. Then there are the thoughts that drive the idea that somehow she has released me more than ever to be able to do just that. How can that be? That sounds terrible. By having the worst thing in the world happen to me I am now left with the least of my fears and worries and cares. When before I was afraid to be kind and gentle and vulnerable, I now walk into it like it’s nothing. I’m not trying to prove myself to anyone when I feel like I spent a lot of time doing that in the past. Why don’t I write a novel? Lead a women’s retreat weekend? Ride my bike for no reason around town listening to music? It’s like everything is possible right now and it doesn’t make sense.

It’s almost like the best thing I can do right now is to not make sense of anything; trying to make sense of this makes things worse. And even in my brain, when I go back in time, looking for when I want to bring Savannah back and when would I do that? I can’t find the time to bring her back into because she would have to be a different person because if I had her come back I would want her to come back without pain; she was in so much pain. I would want her to have different parents and different situations and all the glory she deserved and to be friends with Andrew Rannells. ❤️

I wanted all of that for her in this lifetime.

It wasn’t going to be.

So here I am.

Being strong.

How?

How do I make my life?

How do I make a life worth living? Oh my god that is the fucking question that that drove her in rehab. Make a life worth living. It was their  motto. Ironically.

And now here I am asking myself THAT question.

I’ll tell you how I did it today.

1. I got up early and meditated and cleared my mind.

2. I got dressed I grabbed my books and paints so I can do something after work without going home – so I don’t go to bed.

3. I came to work. I cried.

4. I set up breakfast for the boys. (I cook for a frat house.)  I cried.

5. I made myself a smoothie.

6. I’m writing in this blog. Crying.

7. The boys are coming down and saying ‘Good morning!’. And ‘Thank you’. And ‘Have a good day’. And ‘I’ll see you later Judy’. Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

And so I am still here.

I clear my mind and clear my mind and clear my mind. I stay focused on what is right in front of me. I need to plan lunch and organize the kitchen for that. I plan a little bit ahead so I can stay focused on the positive. And as weird as it sounds, Savannah did give this to me. By her living her whole life the way she did, she showed me how to be brave and strong and fight for my dreams. And it’s crazy and it doesn’t make sense and I can’t explain it and I’m mad at her for leaving me here and I’m mad she didn’t accomplish her dreams because she could have.

I’m at the point now where the story could end with: ‘Judy was never the same after her daughter died. I could drink my way into oblivion and just die a lonely, isolated death. I could just keep my head down and work. I could shut off and disappear. It would be very simple. In a way, I WILL NEVER BE THE SAME and that is the crazy gift. I’m just changing who I turn into instead of letting it turn me into something. I was already bitter and angry and drinking and fighting with the world. Now I’m making my world. It blew up in my face and I get to make it whatever the fuck I want right now.

I can’t shake the fact that there’s possibly something bigger at work here. I’m too goddamn stubborn to let it go. Whatever it is. I’m just trying to get out of my own way. This ‘something bigger’ DOES know, so I’ll just ride my bike and hang out.

So, I’m strong, because I’m stubborn.

It’s frustrating. And freeing and insanity.

This is as Doris Day as I’m Gonna Get

For those of you who don’t know who Doris Day is…here. She was a singer and actress from the 50’s & 60’s eras. Fresh faced, blonde, ‘All American Girl Next Door’ type. I was raised watching all of these old movies from the 50’s and Doris Day was the peppiest of peppy. (Besides Debbie Reynolds. This subject might just be another blog…) Just watch this. Que Sera Sera. You’ll see. Now that I hear that song…it does actually work. ‘Whatever will be will be” indeed. Just keep moving along. (That or its just about people who won’t commit to anything.) As a kid, she was always the example to me of putting on a happy face, looking up, moving on.

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Look at baby Doris Day! Awe. Boy, life really spits you out doesn’t it? What a cutie.

“To write is to create something that will have its own life, Audre Lorde thought. A writer needs to hold her nerve, conquer her fears and speak out. Her great mantra – and the title of this Lorde reader, which collects for the first time in a single volume a selection of her poetry and essays – was: “Your silence will not protect you.” (Article found here.)

‘Silence will not protect you’. Hmmmm. True. I made my last post private anyway. As much as I am so angry and so hurt…I don’t want to hurt other people. (I do want the horrible, vindictive person who made sure the priest called me the ‘biological mother’ at my daughter’s funeral that she orchestrated to go to hell tho.)(God I wish I would have stood up and just quietly left.)(Stop ruminating Judy.)

On the other hand, I also get very tired of being vague, and taking the high road. I never learned ‘tact’ in my life. I pretty much just stomp through everything verbally after ruminating over it in my head and KILLING it there. Or I just blurt shit out.

Part of me would like to believe that my writing helps other people. Other people who are angry and sad and hurt and in pain. And that seeing my story, my words, or anyone’s, on the subject, lets them know they are ok. That we all have a right to be fed up. We are not being ‘rude’ or uncaring or mean. Just being female disallows us so many feelings. I know men feel that too. A man can go write a blog about that if he’d like, I’m writing this one.

So I felt like my son would be uncomfortable if he read the blog. How do we write about ourselves? Here is where the battle lies I suppose. My self involves others. My grief and pain involves others. Savannah kept me silent for years from talking about her or my experience I was having as a mother via her. I am lost on this. The more I get out of my head the more I write. So maybe I’ll just keep doing that. Getting out of my head that is.

Today was a good day. I played 80’s jams at work. The day I wrote the last blog I was very, very down, and the grief train seems to be getting worse btw. I am coming out from under the shock and seeing the horror of everything that has taken place in a much clearer light unfortunately. My Aunt called me later that day and invited me over or to go do something fun with her. In my state of mind at the time I could not even make a decision about driving, parking, being in front of any people, the word fun…so she called my boyfriend to come and get me. That man drove over 120 miles to take me out and bring me back home. When I arrived at my Aunt’s, she had birthday cupcakes, a little present, and she made dinner. It was wonderful. I am learning how to be a supportive, amazing person who does little touches like that for other people…cupcakes and champagne? How perfect and easy to give to someone!! I am taking what I learn from the people around me right now who are being so selfless and trying to pass that on. I do have family and I am loved. Welcome to the ride of life that so many of us disallow.

Focus on the positives. They do exist. I tend to blast them all out of my life and brain with a sand blaster…but I do come around. Que Sera Sera y’alls.

The only thing that keeps us from reaching out, going beyond, doing something for others, is FEAR. Fear that we aren’t enough. I know I can say I am afraid I will be embarrassed or that I will put myself out there for someone who will take advantage of me or hurt me in some way.  I was taught this. To not trust. I learned it by being vulnerable and getting my heart and ass handed to me on the reg. So I am going to unlearn it.

This is MY LIFE.

I get to choose.

I can choose to be in my cave or I can choose to come out. I can choose my words. I can release all of my emotions all over the place and smear my heart like jelly all over the world. I can walk with my head up, or I can cry in the car with Ugly Distorted Face, so much so, that if people see me driving like this they are worried that I am behind the wheel.

“How can she even see?”

I can do this how I need to do it.

It’s only been 5 months.

It’s only been 53 years.

It’s only today.

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This is how I would like to do this. For a good cause. (And three feet taller and 50 pounds thinner.) (But I digress.)

 

Death… might be coming quickly,
now, without regard for whether
I had ever spoken what needed to
be said, or had only betrayed myself
into small silences…  I was going to die,
if not sooner then later, whether or not
I had ever spoken myself. My silences
had not protected me. Your silence
will not protect you.

– Audre Lorde

Lost in Crazy

What if I just wrote and wrote and wrote and didn’t care what ‘happened’ or did not ‘happen’? If I just came in here and spilled out my guts? I dream of speaking to crowds like Brene Brown. Then my awful brain tells me YOU ARE NOBODY NO ONE WOULD LISTEN TO YOU YOU AREN’T A DOCTOR OR ANYONE. Then my other brain speaks up…

people just want to hear regular people tell them they are ok.

How can I do this?

I don’t know.

So I will write.

This particular week I have been overwhelmed with grief. This wave is like a Tsunami. Everyday the town is completely destroyed and rebuilt. Like a horrible Groundhog Day of destruction. I am just realizing I am going to miss Savannah for the rest of my life. That I will be an 85 year old woman who misses her daughter with this same hole in my heart that I have now. How can one bear this? I do not know. I have a clock saved in my tabs (I always have about 19 open tabs on my laptop as I fear I will never find that information again as I go down so many rabbit holes. And if I ‘save’ it or ‘favorite’ it, I won’t ever find it again. It’s like keeping post-it notes up.) its more like a countdown clock. Its the day of Savannah’s death so I can remember how much time has passed. It puts things into perspective down to the very second.

I do it because my brain is very scattered and unfocused. I sometimes feel like its been years, sometimes I feel like its been a week, sometimes it feels like I just found out. This countdown clock also helps me to realize just how little time there has been and that I can cut myself some slack. No one is waiting for me to ‘accomplish’ anything. I need to back off of my perfectionist stance and give myself the break to stay in bed all fucking day long if I want to. I am working almost 24/7 on ‘staying positive’. It’s like a nagging voice in my head all the time to ‘do this good positive thing so you will be okay.’ and sometimes I just want that to shut up so I can eat a peanut butter chocolate brownie in bed at midnight. Leave me alone! I did a positive thing! I got up and went to work and did a good job there and I was friendly and open and had fun so leave me alone!

I never look out of my blackout curtains once I get home. I check the weather app before I peek through those. I’m waiting for it to quit being so fucking sunny and beautiful all the time. Why can’t it rain for a week straight? Everyone wants the moisture for Christ’s sake, that’s all people say all the time already…so GIVE IT TO US! Rain for a month!

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See? Nails it right?

It may seem morbid or negative. It’s just a reality. It puts me back into the here and now which is where all growth begins. Sometimes the number of months astounds me. Its barely been any time at all. Zero years. I’m a newbie. How amazing it is that I am still alive. That I moved to a new city, pieced together a life with furniture and dishes so much so that I had a very successful AirBnB, I brush my teeth, I smile at people, I got a job, my shit together (light at the end of the tunnel of getting my shit together) all in four months after my 23 year old daughter died. I’m not repressing anything either. I am deeply, deeply, traumatically sad inside and out. I cry everywhere I go. I don’t want to be on this planet anymore at all, its very awful. I would never do that to my son, I do want to be here, I do want to show him…something…I don’t know what.

I’m saying, I’m stubborn. I do believe we all have to power to live a positive -TO US- life. To make our lives our own and to share love. At the same time I am being faced with opposition of a terrible, shockingly (but not) un-supportive family during this time of horrible loss for me, a past full of abuse and neglect and demeaning criticism, AND STILL I RISE! I’m stubborn.

I am for the underdog. I am for all the people out there who feel shame and distance and think they are not worthy. They are. I will not put up with people who think I AM NOT WORTHY THO. Nope. I’m done doing that. I will be 52 years old in a few weeks and it has taken me this long to realize this awful feeling of self worth IS NOT MY FAULT. That I was abused. That this was taught to me.

I will un teach it.

Savannah felt shame. It’s killing me that as her mother, I have to say my daughter felt shame. It was my job to protect her. I don’t know why or how this crept in. She does. She did. She worked on this so hard her whole life. To get out from under it. I am going to work on it too so no more amazing, young, ambitious women die. Do I have some idea of where it came from? YES. YES I DO. She did not feel shame about her body until she was about 13. Wherein family members criticized her and what she wore and what she ate and belittled her on this one particular vacation. I have been CSI’ing her life. I have all of her journals, and I have all of her words that she told me in conversations. I have her in my heart, every single day, talking to me and telling me more and more and more.

She was a happy go lucky kid until she was about 11 or 12. I can pinpoint the time frame down to the week. I have the page. It’s like two different people from one moment to the next journal entry. It just happens. I don’t know if SOMETHING happened, but it happened. She never got away from it. The eating disorders began, the drugs soon after. I know this is an age for young girls where this depression, anxiety and mental disorders come in to play. It might not be an EVENT that happens. Society makes us feel unworthy, social media, peer pressure under those two things, hell I talked bad about my body and myself all the time even though I built her up all the time. You just can’t escape this sometimes. And some people are just hardwired for pain and mental illness.I will fight it til the day I die.

Most of us live like its normal to feel this way. Its a fucking shame. We just let these girls float along and buck up like the rest of us. I was maybe too hard on her to be strong. To work through it, to find a WAY, to go find her life how she wanted it. To live big. She was so strong and amazing and beautiful and life ate her up. I hate this so much.

I carry on with my life, not in a fake way, for I am repressing NOTHING. I started to cry at work while I was setting up coffee and beverages, crying, which I have not done at this new job yet, and my boss was there and his face fell apart, ARE YOU OK? He said. I said, ‘I am having a difficult morning (mourning) I am crying but then I will not be. I am ok. I will be ok.’ He said ok. And we went on with our day. I was being honest, and he trusted me. I was ok and we kicked ass and made brunch for over 45 frat boys and it was fun. I came home and cried for hours and went to bed at 8:30. I am just living my life WITH this grief. I am not ignoring it. I am having it. I am a different person. I am learning this.

This is how grief is, its up and down and heavy and light and invisible. It’s relentless and never ending and sometimes the world hates you and sometimes you hate the world and sometimes there is just love there all around you and you still hurt. It’s like being crazy. Or pregnant.

We are just expected to walk through this CRAZY. Just keep going. The bereaved. Like zombies. We wear clothes and carry on like our lives before we were dead.

Grief is traumatic. But get off yer butt!!!! GET A JOB!!! DON’T CURL UP IN A BALL!!!

fuck.

I want to be the light in this tunnel of crazy for other people.

I’m stubborn.

I’m stubborn and sad. The name of my new one woman show.

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A very sad woman decorated this apartment. Then she hung blackout curtains.

Introspective or Isolation?

I just can’t ‘put myself out there’ anymore. Social media is a nightmare. Even though I wish I had thousands of readers; it’s an evil catch 22. I also feel very vulnerable after posting my guts in here and then linking to facebook and all the links. It’s so weird. I can see my writing reaching people but I see the process push me further away from the world and in to my SELF.

The shit I want to write about now is how SHITTY PEOPLE ARE WHEN A CHILD DIES. (Or they were always shitty and now you are just in GRIEF BRAIN so you see it clearly.) Some of these people have been historically shitty. Dumpster Fire Family…Is it because it was a drug overdose? Is it because she wasn’t a baby? (I’m sure those people get treated even worse.) Is it because the grief is so fucking awful and the fucking scariest thing in the world for anyone to imagine? Do they get sick of you being sad? I have no earthly clue. I do know, that I owe zero explanations. My daughter died four months and eight days ago, go fuck yourself. Also this is a thing. Read this. The blog itself is amazing…and the comments in the post are worthy as well. Very powerful.

Taking the ‘high road’ is isolating and sucks as well. These are horrendous people who now feel like liars to me. Like maybe they should have billed me for their time. I will not devils advocate this shit either. I am barely bathing and cry every single morning and every single night and in spurts throughout the day out of nowhere like a crazy person, so sorry I am not ‘there for you.’ It’s the people you don’t expect who are awful as well. Very shocking.

Part of me wants to think its because I have had to motivate myself SO MUCH, to even do the smallest of things that most people take for granted, and that I am supposed to be the saddest person in the world right now but I am crazily, unbelievably THRIVING. Like for reals. When you’ve got nothing to lose, but you want to live a life, and live BIG, and live up to a promise, its amazing what can be accomplished. I’m wondering if I just surrounded myself with angry, bitter people and DESPITE them, have fought my way to a positive life, so they no longer see a use for me. This does not have to come with grief, but in this case it has.

I remember writing, ‘how can the death of my daughter be a new beginning to me?’ or something like that, ‘How does that work?’ ‘How can I find anything worth any kind of good now?’ It would be like I wasn’t sad or like I wasn’t ripped apart if I became the person I’ve always wanted to be. It would be like I was defying her. In reality though, living other than my best is what would be defying her. Savannah never wanted to be on this planet to begin with. As a baby she was just pissed. She hated games people played. She went against society in so many ways, and she also loved her friends so much and made so many. But she told me, however babies can tell you things, like through mind…that she came here to save me. I thought, ‘oh, you have it backwards. I’m going to save you.’ and she simply said ‘No.’

I always knew she was an old soul. And we DID have that conversation and I always treated her differently, like I had an understanding with her, that I knew this world was ridiculous, and tried to show her how to get along in it and still be herself. It was okay not to love this place. You can still have fun.

So for her to come here to this planet in this human life ANYWAY, FOR ME; it would be defying her greatly if I were to just give up, be angry and sad and bitter and hide away. It would be a total waste. I’m sure my neighbors hear me wailing, I’m sure they hear me lose my shit. And I do. This IS the worst scariest thing ever you can ever imagine. I will verify that. In fact, don’t imagine it. That is a horrible thought and your brain actually doesn’t let you go there. Believe me. Savannah danced with death for several years, and I always thought ‘my kid is trying to die’ but I, even then, could never imagine her actually being dead. Dead is forever. It’s permanent. It’s the most permanent. It’s so final and harsh and unforgiving but you still can’t imagine it. I still forget sometimes.

I used to have horrible, horrible nightmares as a kid, and as an adult. So I taught myself lucid dreaming. I needed to control some of this shit so I could get some sleep. I noticed I dream about Savannah sometimes and I wake up and I would be so sad. I’m so sad because I just let her be in my dream and acted like I get to see her everyday. So then I started to tell myself next time I ‘see’ her I’m going to run to her and hug her. And it works. It’s so incredible. And we hug and hug and hug until I wake up. Then I’m in this life again and I have to start all over.

So I’m real sorry I didn’t come to happy hour.

You know what I did do? I walked, every.single.day. I went on hikes. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I rode my bike. I lost my mind. I stayed in bed. Hung blackout curtains. I ate chocolate, and edibles and smoked and drank and quit smoking and made smoothies and walked and walked and listened to mind changing books on tape and meditated and did yoga and found a job and put my head down and worked without a peep and lost my shit and trashed my apartment and decided to move and broke completely open all over the place.

It worked.

When an opportunity arose, I SAW IT. AND LUCK. That’s all you have to do in life is SHOW THE FUCK UP for both of those things to come together. I didn’t do everything right. I just cleared my mind and knew from the bottom of my soul, that I needed to change my track and I worked and worked and worked and that’s all I can say. I did not ‘attain’ anything. Just the ability to go forward. And with the attitude that the worst has already happened, WTF. Go for it. It’s all I had.

I got a raise.

I got rent paid.

People reached out that I didn’t even know knew me.

I got a promotion and a raise when I went in to quit my job. (See? I was still fucking up.)

But it didn’t FUCK UP. I pushed and pushed and pushed through this fucking muck of a fog that fills all the space around me. I did stuff ANYWAY. I worked my ass off on the kitchen line with people 30 years younger than me and cried in the walk in and cried walking home and cried and pushed and cried.

I couldn’t have done any of this without the people I DID have around me. So those who have walked away, can keep on walking. I have no space for you now. People are in your life for beautiful, life saving moments, and then they are not. That’s just the way it is. Its crazy to look at it like that.

We have no control. (Number one rule of Death.)

The only thing we can control is our minds. Our OWN minds. And they are brutal sumo wrestlers let me tell ya.

I just can’t fight anymore. I just can’t be angry anymore. I want to live.

I’m learning every day how to do that.

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Out in the World

Last Night Michael and I went on an actual date thingy. We went and got burgers and a couple of beers. We drove up to Red Rocks,

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BEAUTIFUL drive on hwy 93…taken for granted so much of the time…but I love it.

and had a tailgate beer with some strangers…

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  LOVE THOSE ROCKS

and headed in to the show. Thee Oh Sees – WHO CRUSHED IT BTW. Their opening song I swear had an homage to Yello’s Si Senor the Hairy Grill, that screaming was definitely a nod to Deiter and Boris. The Oh Sees are a rocking, punk, California bad ass band with two drummers. I loved them.

And of course we went there to see Portugal. The Man. The band from Alaska via Portland who have a ‘break out hit’ from last year after basically playing together (for the most part) since 2001. I love those stories. They came out and opened with Metallica’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. It was the best opening EVER. And I’ve been to A LOT OF SHOWS y’alls. For reals.

We danced to Unchained Melody, which they played right before the band came out. Also, please read this inspiring story about Eric Howk, their guitarist. It was just so great to see this band and what they are about and who they are and how much fun they had. John Gourley’s wife, Zoe Manville performs vocals, they are beautiful and the whole show was awesome. I don’t write for a music mag anymore so I can use the word awesome as many times as I want.

Before Portugal came out though, they wanted to honor the natives of the land we were on and brought out a Lakota Tribesman and his two daughters. They run an organization that builds skateparks on reservations called Stronghold Society.  One of the daughters also has a music program she teaches and is senior at CU. Stronghold’s calling is amazing, please click on their site and read it. They honored women and said female energies are on the rise on this planet and to honor the feminine and I was IN THE MOMENT of that. I knew I should have written their names down…but I was PRESENT. I loved it that where we were standing was not ignored.

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So there were lots of young people there, a few (dummies) brought their little kids, and a few gray hairs rocked it out. I fucking love Red Rocks and just loved being there in general and loved seeing it PACKED full of people. It’s my church anyway so it was great to see it fully attended. I don’t know if it is because I don’t leave the house much, or because of deep sadness and grief that I appreciate life more, but it truly was a spectacular evening.

I don’t know if its mostly this too: #livebig (read blog post here) This is a piece I wrote and also read at Savannah’s funeral. It’s how I want to live my life now and it’s about adopting a lifestyle that does not waste any more moments or insights nor let you lose sight of intuitions. Living BIG is about really SEEING things, being present with people and situations. Being human and acknowledging humans.

When I was in Utah to view Savannah’s body and retrieve her things; be at the funeral home with her dad, his wife and my friend, I took Savannah’s ashes to Temple Square, her favorite place. She was obsessed with the musical The Book of Mormon and she brought us to Temple Square when Anthony and I visited her last November. So to take MY time and be with her in this way, and (illegally) spread her ashes all over that place was truly special and something I will never forget. (SHE LOVED IT) I knew when we got back, the funeral would be for Sal and his wife and this time WAS MINE. This was my personal goodbye.

On the way to Temple Square that day, the uber driver opened up to me and my friend about his life in Africa before he came to America. That is another story for another day —- but what he did was embody the whole LiveBig theme that was growing inside of me. Savannah wanted such a big life. I was overwhelmed with feeling like I can’t let that go to waste. So when this man opened up and shared with us his loss and grief and horrors of how he lived in Africa, that when we got to our destination, I asked him if I could hug him. It is just one of those things that pops into your head and then we normally shrug it off because it would be ‘weird’ or ‘not normal’. THAT is what I am changing. Going against that thing that wants you to live small, and to LIVE BIG instead. Ask the question, hug the person, say the thing, buy the flowers.

I asked him ANYWAY…he almost burst into tears during our hug. It was very profound and eye opening and we actually had to sit a minute to just absorb what just took place before we could do our profound thing we came there for.

So I explained all of that because last night was part this whole LIVEBIG thing Savannah has inspired in me.

We got great seats. The people never showed up! We screwed up finding seats in General Admission and I said let’s just sit here and move later if we have to. I just knew we wouldn’t have to move. Besides I asked Savannah and she said those people who’s seats we were in, were not coming a WEEK AGO, so sit! I told Michael to keep saying

And it worked.

We took pictures when we got there and when we left and other than that we weren’t on our phones. We danced to Unchained Melody. I danced my butt off and jumped and sang and screamed and cheered. It’s MY life and in my little life I get to celebrate whatever the fuck I want. We lived big. It was fun. We ran into a friend! 9000 people there and he came up to us on the stairs.

It was a glorious night. I don’t care if it might seem simple to others, but the music was SO FUCKING COOL, the night was amazing, I was in my favorite place with my favorite person and I soaked up every second of it.

Today I go to work. I feel directionless and zombie like. I am trying to define myself in so many ways and use that to just get me out of bed. I did my morning meditations and sat down to write this.

Its so hard to be something and try and live up to my full potential in life when something so heavy is in my heart. I give it its time and place and then I try and be in my new life. I will do this til the day I die I suppose.

Today is today. I’m going to revel in my space here. Listen to some Oh Sees and Portugal and Yello and my new obsession QUEEN as well.

today is today