Monday, December 19, 2011

11 Months

Today marks 11 months since the day my Daddy took his life. 11 months without him. 11 months of waking up every morning realizing it really happened and that he's gone. 11 months of tears, nightmares, unanswered questions, and pure torturous heartache.

Looking back at the past 11 months, I still wonder how the hell I've managed to survive all of this. Where has this strength come from? How could I possibly have made it through the last 11 months without landing in the loony bin? I don't have an answer. More importantly, I don't need one! Instead, I continue to be thankful for the strength and ability to push on.

I look forward to what the future has to bring, but I can't help but hope that this will be the worst year of my life. That the years ahead hold only good things and that I have a lifetime to watch my children grow. I know it's naive to think that I am free from any hard times, but I continue to feel that if I've survived the past 11 months, I can get through anything.

11 months ago I woke up thinking it was just another day. I never thought it would be the day I'd come home and find a note that would forever change my life. "Please DO NOT go outside, Call the Police, I'm sorry" 

10 words that will forever be burned into my head. Did he really think I wouldn't go outside?? This is one of many questions I will never get an answer to. I did go outside, and what I found, is now the nightmare I fight daily in my head. No horror movie could even touch what I saw. Not because of the blood, not because of the chunk of his brain next to his body, but because it was the man I loved most in this world. Dead. Gone. No child should EVER have to see their parent in that manner.

Thankfully I have millions of amazing memories of him that I can focus on. Our relationship was one for the record books. I wouldn't have changed a thing!

11 months down...a lifetime to go!

Friday, December 16, 2011

He should be here!

With the Holiday season upon us, I can't help but keep thinking "he should be here". He SHOULD be here! To see how big both of the kids are. To see how amazingly well Landen is doing in school. (Papa would be SO PROUD!!) To see what a character Nora is...HE SHOULD BE HERE!!!

Last Christmas was the last time I remember seeing my Daddy really happy. Everything kinda went downhill after that...

It's been difficult forgiving my Daddy for leaving us, very difficult! But I don't view his suicide as selfish. I know how much pain he was in, both physically and mentally. I know with 100% certainty that he didn't do what he did to hurt me. He did it to free himself from pain.

I have been there before. In May and June of 2010 I was hospitalized due to my Crohn's Disease. First for 5 days and then again for 11 days. In a month I went from being a skinny 120lbs to an emaciated 96lbs. At 5 foot 9, I was literally skin and bones. I sat in a hospital bed unable to eat, sleep or get through a day without 15-20 trips to the bathroom. By day 3 of my second stay, I was put on 19 pills a day! 19!!! On day 9, when my Mom came to visit. I told her I was done. That I wanted to be discharged so I could go home and be at peace. I was prepared and wanted to die. I prayed for God to take me and spare me from anymore suffering.

I decided to give it a few more days hoping the Doctors would find some sort of miracle for me. Then after having a great conversation with my Daddy, I told the Doctors I refused further medication and wanted to be sent home. My Doctor told me to make sure I had a will and that my personal affairs were in order and wished me luck.

Thankfully, after stopping the 19 pills a day, I slowly started feeling better. I had a glimmer of hope, and that little glimmer got me to where I am today. 130lbs and doing better than I have in YEARS!

This experience helped me understand how you CAN get to the point of suicide. How when you feel there is ZERO hope, suicide seems like the only option. How if feels to be in constant pain and emotional anguish. I've been there.

My Daddy was 60 years old, and after being hit by a car while riding his bike 11 months prior to him taking his life, he lost his ability to do most of the things he loved. He knew that since he couldn't afford insurance or the knee replacement he desperately needed, he had to just deal with the pain. My Daddy was a very proud man, I think I've only seen him cry (other than tears of joy) one other time. When his best friend Russ died. But after his accident, I saw him cry often. I saw him wince in pain every time he put weight on his leg, saw tears roll down his face when he tried to play with the kids and couldn't. He was miserable, and for 11 months, he stayed strong and dealt with it. But after 11 months of pure torture, he gave up. I don't view that as selfish.

My Daddy was an AMAZING man, and I will always view him that way. Nothing will ever change that.

I wish he was here. He SHOULD be here!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Negativity NOT welcome :)

"When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile."

This quote has gotten me through so much this year! 

I could keep dwelling on what I saw, what I've been through, or the pain that I've had to deal with...but what good will come of that? 

Instead I continue to focus on the GOOD, the POSITIVE! It won't make up for what I've lost, nothing will, but it keeps me in check! 

From as young as I can remember, I wanted to be a Mommy and a Wife. I have always found great joy in taking care of others, and knew there was no greater gift than having children and a family. So instead of being sad about those that choose not to be a part of this joy in my life, I'm instead happy and thankful for those that ARE in my life. 

I could also dwell on my Crohn's Disease and the difficulties that come along with having an auto-immune disease, or I could be thankful for being alive. 

It is not in my nature to be negative, or to succumb to depression, so when I'm not my normal happy "annoyingly optimistic  self, I feel like someone has taken over my body. It's so unsettling. This is when I turn my focus to the GOOD, the POSITIVE. Soon, I am back to being ME.

I have overcome so much this year, and it only gives me more motivation to keep on going. If I can get through what I have, there is NOTHING that can bring me down. I am stronger than ever, and learning to love life to the fullest again.

YOU can choose your thoughts the same way you choose what clothes you wear every day. This is a power you CAN cultivate. If you want to control things in your life, work on your mind!!!!"

Monday, November 21, 2011

Taking charge of my life

After finally reaching my breaking point, both physically and emotionally, I came to the realization that I needed to take charge of my life and make some changes. I prayed, I spoke with my Bereavement Counselor, talked to Todd, and then prayed some more. Keep in mind, I am not a religious person AT ALL. I have my own beliefs, and I guess desperate times call for desperate measures. Anyway...I was finally visited in my dreams by my Daddy. Not a nightmare, not him after he shot himself, just HIM. Sitting next to me having a conversation like we always used to. It was so vivid and, well amazing.

The next morning I knew what I needed to do. I decided to step away from Forever Photography. Not because I don't love doing it, but because I need a way to simplify. To lessen my stress levels. My health has to be a bigger priority. So I had to sadly cancel all the appointments I had schedule in the next 2 months. It was not easy! But I truly believe that if I am meant to be a Photographer, then I WILL be. Just not right now. I don't have the heart for it.

This weekend was AMAZZING. My step-son Fyodor was with us and he just adds to the joy in our house. He is such a great little man! The kids really really really love having him around too! So that in itself is awesome. I planted flowers, we sat in the driveway and let the kids ride their bikes with the neighbors kids, it was just one of those days where I knew I was exactly where I am supposed to be. More importantly, I am PROUD of where I am.

After a lot of hard work, Todd and I are stronger than ever. The kids are thriving, and HAPPY. Our home is still a fairy tale/wish-come-true. Most of all, I am proud of myself. For overcoming what I have, for growing as a person, and for doing all I can to better myself as a person. Everything else at this point, is just a bonus.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

More firsts

With the Holidays approaching quickly, I am preparing myself for an absence this year. This will mark the first Thanksgiving and Christmas without my Daddy. Harder, is thinking about him not being around for the kids. Their "Papa" meant the world to them! While we lived with him, he made every second he was at home all about the kids. We all played out back, went to the pool, went to the park, on walks, out on "adventures" as we called them. He was always bursting with pride when it came to them. He changed diapers, bathed them, fed them, stepped up in anyway he could while I was so ill. I am so very thankful for the 3 years we all spent together. Memories I will cherish for a lifetime!

Last Christmas is the last really great memory I have of my Daddy. But soon after came the little hints of his depression. Hints I didn't see until it was too late. Him forgetting my Birthday, 14 days prior to him taking his life. That week haunts me. Seeing him so down, so disengaged, I just had no clue how bad it was.

I know I can't turn back time, but I still go over and over what would have, or could have happened differently. It is what it is, and life goes on...if only if were that easy!

There are a lot of things that I could let get me down, but I've been down, and down I will keep pushing on and hoping for the best!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The power of POSITIVE thinking

To say this year has been rough is a total understatement...but really it has been rough!

I've done my best to keep my "annoyingly optimistic" persona, but have learned that can be harder said than done.

The one thing I know without any doubt is that there is power in positive thinking! I am the only one that can control my mood or thoughts. Me! So if something is bringing me down, it is up to me, and only me, to bring myself out of the funk.

So instead of dwelling on my loss, or spending my days depressed, I CHOOSE to be happy. I focus on all of the GOOD things I have in my life. The bad is just, well...not welcomed!

The images of finding my Daddy will never be gone, but neither will the GOOD memories we shared. I can assure you there are plenty more good than bad when it comes to my Daddy. He was and continues to be a constant source of GOOD in my life. Even after death.

Those that choose to dwell on the bad, or negative are just not welcome in my life. I don't need any additional heartache! I've had plenty this year thanks! :)

So next time you find yourself upset, sad, depressed, angry. Think about how quickly you can turn around your day if you start focusing on those positives, those GOOD things in your life. Soon you too can see how the power of positive thinking can change your outlook and attitude.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Family Optional??

A friend posted a picture today of this saying. How true it is!:

As we grow up, we learn that the people that weren't supposed to ever let us down, probably will. You'll have your heart broken and you'll break others hearts. You'll blame a new love for things an old love did. You'll fight with your best friend, you'll cry because time is flying by, and eventually you'll lose someone you love. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, forgive freely, and love like you've never been hurt, because every second you spend angry or upset, is a second of happiness you can never get back!

As I've grown up, I've learned that the people that weren't supposed to ever let me down, did. I've had my heart broken, I've broken others hearts. I've blamed a new love for things an old love did. I've fought with my best friend, I've cried because time is flying by, and I lost my Daddy this year. Sooooo, I'm taking too many pictures (though I don't see how anyone could possibly take TOO many??) I've laughed too much (anyone that knows me well knows this ends with tears), I've forgiven freely, and I am finally loving like I've never been hurt, because every second I've spent angry or upset, is a second of happiness that I can never get back! 

Last week was really tough for me. I was an absolute wreck to be honest. I cried till my head hurt, I laid awake at night unable to sleep, It was just such an off week for me. I miss him so much it literally hurts. But the thing I am struggling the most with is the loss of all of the "family" members that have decided to either hurt or ignore me. My entire childhood, and most of my teenage years were spend surround by these people. We had a VERY close  family. We all got together for each holiday, went over to my Grandma's every chance we could. It was so wonderful! I have so many amazing memories with my family. Now? It's become more about lies, money, greed, deception, etc etc etc. 

I think I finally just reached my breaking point. I am beyond hurt by the lack of support from these "family" members. I don't understand, and I never will. I miss each and everyone of them, and always will. But I can't keep waiting for someone to fill me in, or reach out. I am just done with hurting. I'm done shedding tears DAILY over it. I'M JUST DONE!

Instead I will go on loving those who have chose to be in my life, and to be there for me when I've needed them most. To my Mother who is always there ready to listen. To Todd, my soul mate, who has been by my side through all the madness of this year. To my Auntie Jan, who has texted/called almost daily since Jan. 11th, To my Cousin Tim who has been a better Brother than my 2 "brothers" combined. To the amazing friends I have in my life, and to my children, who are my EVERYTHING. THANK YOU!! You are all so so very important to me, and I am so so very glad I have each and everyone of you. 

I'm still hoping for the day when I can make it through an entire 24hrs without breaking down into tears! One day right?? :-P

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Daddy

Saturday is my Daddy's Birthday. He would have been 61.

He would have been...(insert frowny face here)

Another milestone passed, without him. Another day, without him. It just sucks!!

Grieving the loss of my Daddy has to be without a doubt the most difficult thing I've ever experienced. Feeling the loss daily since January 19, 2011. Not a single day has gone by without tears, without hurt. I continue to stay strong, hopeful and positive that time will heal my emotional wounds. It's really the only way I feel I can stay ahead of the hurt. Realizing that as time passes, so will the wreckage that has happened as a result of his decision to take his own life.

Usually on his Birthday I would go over to his house and make him meatloaf (his favorite meal I made for him) and we would just hang out. Something I LOVED to do with him. He was so easy to be around. Even on my worst days he knew just how to make me laugh and forget my problems. Laugh off the tough stuff, and enjoy life! Humor is something I hold very dear, not only because my Daddy was one of the funniest people I've ever known, but because it has the power to change someones day or mood even! Laughter really is the best medicine.

I have a long road ahead of me, a lot of grief to deal with still, but there is nothing I can't handle. I will get past it, and I will continue to be thankful for each day I have on this earth.

I love you Daddy! Happy Birthday!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Little Reminders

A certain song, walking past a photo of you, flashbacks, all these little reminders of you. Reminders that you aren't here anymore, and are now just a memory.

I wish that things were easier, that I could get through just one day without crying. Yet I still somehow make it through each day. If I could just find a way to trade tears for money, I'd never have to work again! ha!

My kids continue to amaze me with their ability to just go on with life. The innocence of a child is priceless. They are both still really frank about everything. Telling just about everyone "my Papa's dead, he shot himself in the head". Kids say the darndest things...

I continue to say hopeful, positive, that someday the grieving will subside and allow for more happy memories. As hard as everything has been, and continues to be, I am still so thankful for everything tucked under our roof. My love, my children and even the animals too! :P

Friday, September 30, 2011

It doesn't get easier

It's been 8 months and 20 days since my Daddy decided to end his life. I wish I could say that life is back to normal, and I'm doing great. But that would be a lie. I still struggle greatly with everything and have realized that it doesn't get easier, I've just become stronger and more able to cope.

I think about him every single day. There has not been a single day that I haven't thought about that day, about what I saw, and most importantly what I've lost. It's a constant reminder of the worst day of my life.

The hardest part of all of this has been realizing how much I've lost. Not only my Daddy, but my Brothers, and several family members. Going through all of this without them around for support has been really upsetting. I've tried to understand why, but I don't think I'll ever get an answer.

It makes me so sad to think that in a time when I've needed my family more than ever, I can't even rely on my own Brothers for comfort or support. It depresses me to no end.

I've become a master at holding in my emotions, my feelings, my heartache, etc. All because I fear that I'll lose more people in my life if I really let it all out. Plus, anytime I do finally cry or get emotional, it's like opening flood gates. It's exhausting.

All in all, I'm getting by, I'm surviving, pushing through, etc. But it hasn't become easier, I haven't moved on, I've just become stronger, more able to cope. But the constant reminders of that day are still as present as they were 8 months ago.

It just sucks.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Happy Father's Day...Without Daddy

*PLEASE READ WITH CAUTION* Brutal honesty takes place and graphic details

This Sunday will be 5 months to the day from the worst day of my life. The day I lost my Daddy to suicide. I have come to learn how shocked people are when I talk so freely when asked how I'm doing, or the brutality of the truth of that day. I really hope that just one person who has thought about taking their life hears/reads my struggle and thinks twice. It's as simple as that. The aftermath if you will. The aftermath of suicide is rarely something someone who is considering suicide thinks about. Something I think would have drastically altered January 19th of this year for myself, my family, and my children.

Until that day, I would have always carried nothing but good memories of my Daddy.

I always remember him being around, engaged in my life, supportive, loving, just PERFECT. He was 5'7 on a good day, but could have been 7 feet tall. He was one of the funniest people I've ever had the joy of being around. I don't remember a single dance, choir, band, drama (etc!) that I performed in that he didn't attend. I even have the memory of singing a duet with him at a choir concert. He was really as good as they get!

That being said, all of those amazing memories are muted a bit. Those memories are fogged by the memory of that day. Every moment. From the time I woke up to the time I think I fell asleep for an hour. I can remember it was 3:46 when I pulled into the driveway. 3:48 when I red the note on the kitchen counter telling me to dial 911 and not to go outside. The only time that was foggy was the minutes I stood over my Daddy's body. The remains of a shotgun wound to the head. He laid in the kiddie pool we spent most of our summer nights watching the kids play in. I just stood there screaming. I couldn't look away, I wanted it to be a nightmare. I wanted to wake up.

There was NO WAY this could be reality. But it was. It was bloody, it was my Daddy without most of his head. I could go into such graphic detail. But I think I've probably crossed that border already. Like I warned...brutal honesty. I remember telling the female 911 dispatcher that I was more than 100% certain that he wasn't alive. She even asked if I had tried to revive him. I replied "he doesn't have a mouth, or most of his brain. His brain is sitting beside him!!" Poor lady.  I then remember standing at the front door watching the paramedics race to the backyard like they could somehow save him. I remember the detective that came to tell me my Daddy was in fact dead. Yeah I got that, the second I saw him. I remember being on the phone with my Mom. I remember how amazingly strong she was. She really kept her cool, which honestly was the ONLY thing that kept me from totally losing it. I remember Todd being there, he was so strong for me too. I remember the 2 amazing crisis intervention people that came from the fire department. Who had the kids in the room enjoying that whole 4 hour circus. They had no idea about the madness outside. The rest of the night was spent in and out of conversation. I finally fell asleep for a little bit. I think it was like 3:45am...

To my Daddy. Thank you! For always being there, for giving me the wonderful sense of humor I have great pride in, for teaching me patience and kindness to EVERYONE, for giving me my musical talents, for taking me on walks and talking to me with respect, for every second we shared. I love you, I will alway love you.

I will celebrate Father's Day with the Father of my children. The man I love. I cannot believe my Daddy won't be there. It still doesn't feel real. But I can promise you I won't spend the day sad. There's just no reason for it. I had the BEST damn Father in the whole world. So I'm going to celebrate that, with or without him! I am also going to celebrate Todd. He is an amazing Father, Hubby and friend. He was there for me every single minute I needed him since January 19. That alone is reason enough. So to you my love, thank you!

I am still hoping for the day that my graphic memories are somehow magically removed from my brain. But I know that the key to getting through this, is to know that they will always be there, just will slowly become more distant memories. I will focus my time now focusing on my future and my family's future. The past is just that the past, and I have no interest on what has happened, only what is yet ahead. To watching Landen and Nora celebrate another year of life. To Nora's first day of big girl school. To growing old with my soul mate. To the experiences that are yet ahead for me and Forever Photography. It sure sounds better than thinking for one more second about January 19.

Thank you to every single person who has read my blogs, it takes a lot of compassion to read what I've wrote. I appreciate the support greatly! To the people who I've learned are NOT supporters of my life. FUCK seriously...haha...I wish everyone of you well. I just never thought that family or supposed friends could do, say or think some of the things that these nay-sayers have...but that is guilt I thankfully don't have to live with. I was and have always been there for my family. I have supported them, even opened my home to them, I have loved them unconditionally. Then when I need my "family" the most...POOF...they're gone. Over money, bullshit, lies and GUILT. Again, something I won't have to live with.

Okay, that's it folks. My last entry.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

10 Years Later

It’s been 10 years since I graduated from High School. The graduating class of 2001 celebrated 10 years this past weekend and I didn’t attend. Why? I wish I had a 1 line answer, but sadly I do not. Since the day I found my Father after he commit suicide, I have not been the same happy go lucky girl I’d like my graduating class to remember. I pride myself on being friends with anyone and everyone. In High School I was not stuck in one “group” I just loved people, and performing. It was what consumed my entire high school career. Drama, Dance, Choir, Marching Band, Speech & Debate, Student Council, SPURS Club, whatever I could fit into the 5:30am-6pm schedule I held while attending high school. I loved going every single day, but remember I was more than ready to leave when Graduation Day came.

I had always planned on going to the Reunion, I looked forward to seeing my past classmates. But after thinking about it I found myself anxious, almost panicking at the thought of going. Which startled me. I am anything but shy or afraid to see or interact with people, I love performing, how could I be so anxious…
After talking to a few people about how I was feeling I realized that it wasn’t worth pushing it. I was scared to talk about what happened with my Father’s suicide, what I saw, what I’ve been through…On the other hand, I didn’t want it to be a White Elephant in the room either. I just didn’t want to pay money to go see a lot of people I have had the pleasure of keeping in touch with thru Myspace or Facebook. The internet kind of took the real fun out of Reunions…

You already know what most people have been up to. Seen photos, status updates, blogs etc. Not that I wouldn’t want to actually see them, but I don’t know that I would want anyone to see me. That’s sad, but it’s the brutal truth. I was always skinny in high school, I’ve been skinny my whole life. But being skinny and being sick with an incurable disease are two different things. I hope each time I get on a scale that the number will jump up. I don’t have curves, I feel frail, I hate it. I don’t feel like a 28 year old woman that’s for damn sure!

I hope that by the time the 20 year reunion comes I will be healthy, happy and able to speak about all the great things that have happened since January 19, 2011.

I am happy to say that Todd and I are still going strong. He has been there for me every single day since January 19th, and has without a doubt, had the worst of the backlash that has come along with my struggle. We are soul mates and I couldn’t be more sure of that than I am today. I am still loving our home and what it means to all be together again under one roof. The kids are so beyond blissful. It makes all the struggle worth it. Everything I do is for them. We are loving having my Mom (“Gramma” as the kids call her) close by. She is another reason I am able to keep strong. She is always there for me, just to listen, or help anyway she can. I have a few great friends who have been AHMAZING. I feel very blessed.

I am continuing on my Photography journey. It makes me happy, it makes others happy…it’s a win-win. I had the pleasure of shooting my first Wedding. It was at a super cute little Chapel in Gilbert. An old farmhouse with real wood floors, real wood siding, and cute little pops of decorating. The bride was STUNNING, the groom looked very much like Bradley Cooper, they were both very photogenic making my job VERY easy. I was very pleased with the outcome, but sad that I couldn’t share that milestone with my Daddy.

Father’s Day is coming this Sunday and I am trying to prepare for a difficult day. Sadly the 19th is not only Father’s Day but the 5 month Anniversary of his death. This has always seemed to be a hard day each month. Shocking me each time by how much time has gone by, when I can remember it all so clearly like it was just yesterday.

I continue to push forward, focusing on the positive, having hope, and loving life in Maricopa.
I hope those that did attend the 10-year reunion will come again to the 20 year so we chat about what’s happened these next 10 years. I plan to have a happy story to tell. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Life after death

It's been a little over 4 months since my Daddy took his life. I wish I could say that the images of that day are gone, but sadly I know they will never be gone. Instead I am finding room to remember good memories. I spend everyday hoping I'll wake up and he'll be just a phone call away.

I had a horrible nightmare last night that kept me up the majority of the night. Thankfully I haven't had a nightmare in a few weeks, when before I was having them almost every I'll take the improvement!

We've been in our new home for almost a month now! It seems like so much longer! I am still so thrilled with every inch of this house! It's stunning and reflects my creativity in soo many ways. It still doesn't feel real!

The hardest part of all of this has been the looming thought that the one person who I know would be the proudest of this home would be my Daddy. I would love to believe that he's been watching over us smiling, but sadly that is beyond my beliefs. Reality is that he left me and us the second he pulled the trigger.

I'll never understand why he didn't fully think through deciding to commit suicide in the backyard of the home we shared, and I think I'll never forgive him for what I saw...but I am at peace with knowing he doesn't have to suffer anymore.

My life, and the people I surround myself with has changed drastically this year, but it was a change that was long overdue! I no longer waist time on petty drama, bad friends or supposed "family" members. Life is much more simple, and I wouldn't change that for anything!

I am continued to be amazed at the people who've stuck by me through the ups, severe downs, and everything in between. To my Mother, Todd, Auntie Jan and Cousin Tim, and other encredible friends, THANK YOU!!! Thank you for supporting me, listening, being a constant source of love and hope...I will be FOREVER grateful and promise to spend every second of every day showing my grattitude!

I look forward to what the future brings, to watching my children grow in our home, to spending the rest of my life with my soulmate and to all of the great memories yet to come!
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

SO SO SOOOO thankful!!!

I keep thinking I'm living in a dream. A good one!!

It's been 3 days at our new house, and I haven't had a single nightmare. When I was having several a week prior to moving. I've been pushed to the physical limit and continue to get up excited to put together furniture, or decorate, or love seeing utter joy spread across the faces of my children.

EVERY INCH of his house is my uultimate life project. The ability to paint, furnish and decorate a beautiful home. Only bonus, IT'S MINE!

I find my self joyfully proud of what we've created for our family.

I owe this all to my Daddy. I know he's proud and I will contine to make him proud untilnthe day that I leave this Earth.

I'm 100% HAPPY and I owe it all to my Daddy!

A huge special thanks to my AHMAAAAZING Cousin Tim, Gerritt and Craig for putting their bodies through hell to help move us. I you guys for LIFE!!!

Then there's Todd and my Mom. They both have been right there for me through EVERYTHING!!


Thank you Daddy!!!!!

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Those little things that creep in

Here is part of an excerpt from an e-mail I sent my Mom today:

My anxiety is OUT OF CONTROL today. I'm not sure what the deal is. I think part of it is knowing that once I leave here, that this is all real. Dad's dead. He's hasn't been on vacation the last 3 months, and I'm never going to see him walk through the halls of this house we shared ever again. Plus a lot of the joy of all the house stuff is muted from this which makes me so upset. I am SOOOO excited with how amazing the house is going to look, and everything. But more than happy I'm just so sad. Life has a funny way of timing when your gonna "deal" with a loss. It's just all hitting me really hard today. Plus these nightmares are really messing with me. I keep praying that once we move that they'll stop, the flashbacks will stop and that I'll be able to make it through one freaking day without crying. 

I was fine at the new house painting for 6 hours straight. But being here, packing up his stuff, knowing I won't be back. That he'll never walk through our house again. Or hug me or the kids. It's just really setting in. Which is difficult.

But I am trying my hardest to stay strong and fight through. I got a lot done with the help of my love Todd. We put out a TON of black trash bags full of trash for the City of Chandler to pick up tomorrow. (A HUGE weight lifted off our shoulders) then tomorrow AM we're heading to the new house so we can check on the floors in person, and start painting Nora's room and finish our Master bedroom.

I go back and forth. Upset about the finalization this move makes my Daddy's suicide, and the excitement of moving into a new BREATHTAKING home that we have NO MORTGAGE payment on. Gotta focus on the good, cause there is a TON of it right now. So excited for Saturday. Putting together furniture and decorating. Then taking photos. OMG! I'm bursting at the seams! 

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Made it through a tough milestone today. First Holiday without my Daddy. It was bittersweet really. I had an AMAZING day with Todd's family, who I adore!! His Sister Tiffany, her Husband Eric and their 3 beautiful children and Eric's parent's whom we've always referred to as Ma and Pa. I couldn't imagine a better group of people to spend this Easter with. I enjoyed every second of the day. We played games, we laughed, we just really had a nice time. It just kept making me think "God I wish he was here" or "I can't wait to go home to tell Daddy about..." I catch myself with that thought a lot.

Regardless I wouldn't change a thing. Actually, I would of applied sunblock! I have a wicked sun burn! Oh boy am I gonna hurt tomorrow! Nora is a lil red too :( But the wind (worst day EVER to wear a dress! btw) was such a nice balance to the warm day. All in all, Easter was a hit! The kids had a blast and are sleeping their sugar highs away.

I find myself with a lot of anxiety over thinking about everything that has to be done before Saturday. Lots of packing, painting, cleaning and organizing. But I know that it will all turn out beautifully! Or at least that is what I am sticking too! :)

I told my Daddy's best friend Robert the other day "I can handle anything" to which he replied "No you can't" In that split second I realized he's right. I can't put myself through just anything and expect my body or mind or heart to handle the pain. But I can...and rephrased my comment to "I can get through anything"

Sexual abuse at a young age, losing my Grandma, my Crohn's battle, the ups and downs of my marriage, the sudden loss of my Daddy, thrush, family drama....

I don't care what it is...I will get through it. Why? Because I can get through anything. That is the one thing I am most certain of. My strength. It's been tested, and tested, and tested...and here I am about to move into my first home, with my family, and I get to spend the rest of my life watching my family grow. I think I've got it pretty good.

I miss him. I will ALWAYS miss him. He was my rock. He was my EVERYTHING. But he is gone and I must move on.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

A 12 year old's poem

My Grandma Johnson was a BIG part of my life until she passed. We spend every holiday and just about every weekend with her. She was one of a kind and I still think about her daily.

While getting stuff organized and packed, I found a poem I wrote after my Grandma died that really touched me, because I feel I can use it with my current situation now.

Saying Goodbye Doesn't Have to Be Sad

We say goodbye everyday.
It's so hard, so sad that she went away.
We weep and weep our tears away,
because no long will she stay.
But in our heart she will always be,
A Mother, a Wife, a friend to me.
We think of death and get so sad,
but why not sit and think of glad.
She's somewhere now happy and pain free.
Where she can paint and play bridge and just be.
We have this person so great and true,
so lets think of happy instead of blue.
How she made us laugh and smile each day.
She may be gone, but not in EVERY way.
She's in our hearts and souls to stay,
forever among us everyday.
So smile and remember the things you two saw,
because always and forever will I have my Grandma

Sunday, April 17, 2011

another day

Silence. It's something that terrifies me. When things are too quite, and I can't hear my kids playing, or Todd snoring, or all of the little joys that come along with being a part of our family.

Thankfully I don't have many silent moments. But when I do, my mind goes a million miles a minute. I start to think about everything that has happened since January 19th and before I know it, I'm crying and in a total funk.

Sitting up at night while everyone is sleeping is so difficult. I feel so alone and things are just too quiet. If I wake up at night I usually don't fall back asleep. Whether it be midnight, 2am, doesn't seem to matter.

Lots of nights with 3 hours, 2 hours, 4 hours, and every so often, 6 hours!! After months, it's starting to REALLY get to me. I just wanna sleep! You know that 8-10 hours a night that my body NEEDS! Hello I've got a family to take care of, a house to keep up! I need more sleep! I don't have an infant anymore, shouldn't the horror of the impending doom of a full day of things to do while I haven't slept more than an hour or two. Nora is almost 4, I think I deserve some sleep now. :)

I'm still having frequent nightmares. They are so vivid and realistic. I always wake up covered in sweat, and shaking. I really wish those would go away too.

I sure am being demanding...haha

The past few days, well this whole week really...okay maybe the last month...alright seriously the last 88 days have rocked my world. I feel so distant from everything and unable to watch TV for very long. Always in the back of my mind is what I found the day my Daddy committed suicide. It's like this flashback that never leaves.

Thank God for Todd! Seriously he has been such a saving grace in my life. He puts up with so much. He takes care of almost everything. He is just...well AMAZING. My love and respect for him grows each day as I witness all that he does for us. We are REALLY lucky. :)

My Mom has also been such a HUGE strength. Always assuring me that I'm doing great, and handling things well. Always willing to do whatever she can to make my life easier, even at the cost of her own sanity.

I just feel so very blessed for those that are close to me. For their support. It means so much to me.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I fall asleep early and wake up at like midnight in a deep sweat after having yet another horrible nightmare. I keep seeing what I saw when I found him, I keep seeing the look on Landen's face when he saw how upset I was, I keep picturing him in the kiddie pool crying as he desperately took his own life.

Now here I am wide awake with thoughts of blood, brains and more blood are flooded in my head. I took an ambien already, but I'm wide awake. What do I do??? I'm starting to feel like this is something I am going to have to deal with forever and that just terrifies me. The image I have so stuck in my head, it's like I could draw a perfect photo of what I found. Where the gun was, how much blood was filling the kiddie pool, the amount of brain sitting next to his body, the blood ALL over the walls. His shirt, his pants, everything. It's all so fresh and real and like it's still sitting out there.

More of the reason I want out of this house.

Here's to hoping I can fall back asleep before I start yet another busy day.

Monday, April 11, 2011

82 Days

It's been 82 days. I cannot even believe that. It seems like just yesterday. I can still close my eyes and see his face perfectly, remember his smell, feel his love.

I keep waiting for this to all get easier, and for it to hurt less. But as time goes by it just becomes more real, more permanent. l am doing my very best to stay positive, to keep myself busy, to just live. But there is always this looming feeling of something missing. My world has been rocked so deeply in the last 82 days that I swear it's like I'm living a whole different life. A life without my Daddy. A life I never imagined.

I had a wonderful weekend with my family. We had both of the older boys for the weekend which was AWESOME.

We now have 3 rescue animals. Hope, Rosen, and now Arthur. A 3 year old Chihuahua that couldn't be any cuter.

I have thankfully been keeping very busy with my glorified hobby of Forever Photography. I still get super bummed when I return home from a shoot because my Daddy always was waiting for me and ready to view all the photos I took. Here are a few of my favorites from recent shoots:

A Commercial Shoot for Lululand Designs

Lastly, these are a few shots for My Fantasy Florals from a wedding my Mom did. She is a UBER talented!!

Photography continues to bring such immense joy into my life. It's something I hope to get better and better at. My Daddy was my inspiration and continues to be. 

We are pretty sure that our close date will be April 22nd. There is still a possibility that it may be sooner, but if nothing else, we get to move into our new house soon!! I could not be anymore ready to get the heck outta here! 

Here's to more good days, good memories and hopefully good photos! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Life is not always easy. I've heard that many times. I'm starting to think it's more like "life is always not easy".

I am currently battling an ovarian cyst that is keeping me awake at night and miserable all day. Normally I can get past the pain and go on with life, but it's not that simple now. I have so much stored in me emotionally that anytime I am physically struggling, I begin to struggle emotionally. I'm on edge, on the verge of tears almost always, and trying my hardest to hold it all together.

I am also extremely frustrated at the fact that I have no energy to do all the things that need to be done. It all just seems so overwhelming.

With the emotional struggles I am faced with lots of flashbacks. I keep reliving the afternoon/evening it happened. What I saw is so clearly visible in my memory. I just can't get past thinking about him sitting in the kiddie pool, barrel in his mouth, toe on the trigger. Then seeing the aftermath of it. Horror movies seem almost comical compared to what I witnessed.

This past weekend we had a garage sale. Which didn't bug me until I walked through the house afterward and saw my Daddy's closet empty, and his stuff...gone. I am so ready to be out of this house. The daily reminders of January 19th haunt me. I HATE being here. I HATE that he isn't here. I HATE that I am gonna have to deal with this pain for the rest of my life.

I want things to get easier, I want life to go back to normal...but no matter how hard I will never be the same. He's gone, and a part of me is gone with him.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My half FULL glass

It's been 3 months. 3 of the most difficult months of my entire life. Losing my Daddy so tragically has put my entire life into a non-stop roller coaster of emotions. Whether learning the hard way who I can really count on, or being a part of the most amazing selfless act of kindness...good or bad, each day, each problem has only made me stronger. I refuse to stop going, I refuse to stop trying, and most importantly, I refuse to be miserable. I could sit in bed all day, I could remove myself from loved ones, I could take my anger out on others...but that doesn't sound like any fun at all. I just want to be happy! I want to continue to build a stronger relationship with Todd, I want to watch our kids grow up, happy, I just want to be happy. Plain and simple.

I am happy to announce that I am officially a homeowner! The best possible news I could think to share!! My Daddy would be so proud. I purchased a HUD property in Maricopa that was a SMOKING deal. A beautiful 2 story, 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath with a loft. Almost 1900sf! (which is about 900sf more than I thought I'd be able to get) in a stunning neighborhood walking distance from school and several different parks. I feel so very blessed and thankful that the money my Daddy left me has allowed me to provide a home for our family. I can feel him smiling about it.

There is a lot that comes along with owning a home, and the moving and packing and etc etc. It's been exhausting, but I wouldn't take any of it back. Nothing good is easy. :)

I still cry, I still have rough days, nights, afternoons, mornings, weeks...I am still hurting, and missing him terribly! It isn't easier as time goes by, I just have become stronger. Or at least that is what I'm telling myself!

I can't say enough about how incredible Todd has been. By my side through thick and thin. He's put up with me for the last few weeks, through the ups and insane downs. He does everything he can to make life as easy on me as possible. Making meals, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, you name it, he's done it. Maybe it took FOREVER for us to get to the place we are now, but it was worth every bump in the road.

All in all things are good. I don't think I'll ever get over seeing what I saw, but I've learned to live with it and will continue to turn this negative into a positive! The glass is half full!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Today's trigger was "Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton. The song my Daddy and I danced to for our Father/Daughter dance.

I listened and cried. I can remember that moment so well. He was teary and telling me how happy he was. A great memory I hope to never forget.

Enjoying a nice weekend away, but missing my family. This week is gonna be NUTSO! Busy, busy, busy :-)
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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Everything DOES happen for a reason...

I have ALWAYS lived my life thinking this. Not in a religious way, not thinking a higher power was controlling it, just that everything in life...good or bad...happens for a reason. Sometimes we don't understand it, sometimes it seems like a cruel joke...yet somehow, someway I keep coming back to the realization that everything really DOES happen for a reason.

Now I'm not justifying my Daddy's suicide...nor could I if I even tried. But I understand his decision I guess. I understand he was in unbearable pain, was too proud to ask for help, and couldn't bare thinking he had to wait 5 more years to get Medicare to get the knee replacement he so desperately needed.

I was always able to know what was on his mind. Even suggesting dinners that he was just thinking in his head sounded amazing. Getting something at the grocery store that he had been craving but never said anything. So I knew how badly he was really hurting. He didn't have to say a word.

That great pride that he always had kept even his best friends and co-workers (for the last 30 years) wondering why he did this. He was so good at sucking it up and pretending like everything was no big deal. When I knew that he was suffering greatly. He just always told me, "It'll work out, everything always seems to do that..."

Now, after his death, I couldn't be more thankful for the past 3 years here with my Daddy. If my marriage hadn't of been struggling, I would have never had the courage to leave and come live here with the kids. During those 3 years, I got to spend EVERY day with my Daddy. Watch him as a Father figure and Papa (that's what my kids call him) and a Daddy all in one. He amazed me. Changed diapers, helped potty train Landen, would offer to watch them so I could go run errands. He did it all. He told everyone who would listen about us. He LOVED having us around. Getting upset if I even brought up moving elsewhere. Then when I was unable to work, he financially took care of all of us. He never accepted money I tried to give him. Always told me to go spend it on myself, that it would make him happier. I always usually used it on the kids...but still. Just another example of why I have and always will cherish my Daddy. He was one of a kind!

I look back at my decision to move in with my Daddy and realize that I could have missed out on the past 3 years.

With that being said, the last 3 years have been very up and down with my ex-husband. Starting out okay, ending up getting back together, then eventually I filed for divorce out of anger. We took our anger out on each other, did stupid things, hurt each other greatly, and did things that we both regret. Then, about a month before my Daddy passed, I suddenly had this weird overwhelming eye opening day. I found that once I let go of all the small stupid shit, and really started to think about everything, I wasn't mad anymore. I called him and we spoke for about 3 hours. We both let it all out there. Talked about our issues, really just opening up to each other in a way we never had before. I found myself after that phone call questioning everything.

After that we decided to just try to hang out, and try to develop a relationship again. In the beginning I guess it wasn't romantic, it was us as adults trying to work towards a good co-parenting relationship. Soon I found myself overwhelmed with how much I missed it. Being around him, having us all together. All of it. I can't explain it really. It just feels "RIGHT". I guess...that sounds corny. But my Daddy soon saw the change, before I even really told him how I felt, he just knew. He told me he had always hoped things would eventually work out between us. My Daddy LOVED him. They were so cute. They would go out and do things together, just the two of them. They were always really close. Apparently they spoke on the phone a bit  during the 3 years we were apart.

So that brings us to the present. I am back with my soul mate. I couldn't be more sure of that fact. It something I can feel so deep in my heart/head/soul. The past few months with him have been amazing. There are still conflicts and little things, but now we have such open and honest communication that we are able to nip it in the butt before it becomes and issue. It's really refreshing actually. No we didn't go get married again, and aren't planning that in the near future. With just both know how deep our love for each other is and that we really are meant to be together.

The past 3 years changed me, they changed him, and somehow through all the crap we've been through we came out on top. I couldn't be happier about it. I have my family back!!! Those 3 years gave both of us time to get ourselves in order, and the time apart has given me such a great appreciation for the time we spend together now.

Everything happens for a reason! It really does!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Learning to live again

I feel like each day that goes by I am slowly getting back to "real" life. The smiles are taking over the tears, the joy is taking over the sadness. I was lucky enough to spend some time with my Auntie Dorothy, Uncle Cole and Cousins Brittany, Carson and Alaina. Not only do they have a spectacularly beautiful home, they are just so much fun to be around. The kids (My son is 6 weeks younger than my cousin Carson) have sooo much fun together. We had a great time together and I even got a chance to play with my camera again and take some photos of my STUNNING Cousin Britt. She signed with a modeling agency and has a shoot coming up, so she showed us one of her "looks" for the shoot and explained she wanted to do kind of a pin up thing. So we went in her backyard and behind her house and in front and got a couple neat photos. At 16 years old and 5 foot 11. Something tells me she'll have a long and successful modeling career!

Spending time with family, watching my kids play, hearing them laugh, seeing the smile, all things that are helping me to learn to live again. Day by day, things WILL get better. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The two little angels keeping me going

That is what I focus on, and will continue to focus on.

What I know I have, is 2 amazing children who amaze and inspire me daily. I cannot say that enough. They're not perfect, they have their moments, as all children do...but they are everything I could have ever hoped or wished for.

Meet my son Landen. A 5 year old who has a heart of pure gold. He is kind, and makes conversation with ANYONE. He is a really great big brother. He loves puzzles, coloring, riding his bike, playing with friends, and is a total Mama's boy.

Then there's my 3 year old Princess Nora Rose. A total Daddy's girl! She is so sweet, and bright, and funny! She loves Tinkerbell, Disney Princesses, Barbies and dressing up. She is such a girly girl. Loves stealing Mommy's shoes, and always wants lip gloss. But when it comes to putting up with her 3 big brothers, she can hold her own! She loves to wrestle and run, and do what her big brothers do. 

I've known from a very small age that I wanted to be a Mother. I have always ADORED children. Working in Preschool for so long, I still LOVE kids. They are so innocent and full of joy. I have two amazing kids who I get to love and adore for the rest of my life. I could not be anymore blessed. That I am sure!

They are the reason I am still making it through each day, and I will do everything in my power to make their lives as amazing and close to perfect as I can. They deserve nothing but the best!! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I need a vacation!

I found myself awake all night last night. Even after taking a sleeping pill. :( I have a lot going on in my head right now, a lot of life changing decisions to be made and well, to put it simply, I can only handle so much right now.

To keep this brutal and open and honest, I started taking Cymbalta 14 days ago. An anti-depressant that my PCP thought would help me greatly. So 14 days after starting do I feel??? Better. Much better than 14 days ago. I'm able to get through each day, I'm smiling and laughing again, I'm hopeful. Is it the medication? Right now, I could care less. If it is, great, thanks Doc! If not, then what's the down side?

I was very against taking anti-depressants because I've heard such horror stories. It changing someone's personality completely, and stories of people who turned suicidal. Which after what's happened, is the LAST thing on my mind. So I've asked my Mom, Todd and a few others to inform me IMMEDIATELY if they see any negative effects. So far so good! haha

Back to last night, I was informed yesterday of a decision my Daddy made regarding his life insurance that didn't shock me (as he made his wishes well known) but just further complicated life for me. I soon found myself feeling like no matter the choice I make, there is going to be backlash. Which just sucks. My Daddy was ultimately the one who decided how he wanted things...but it just puts a GIANT load of pressure on me. Which right now, is the LAST thing I want.

My only intention is to do my Daddy proud and provide a life for my family, because I know that is what he wanted.

I cannot believe it is March already. Where have the last 2 months gone? It seems like January 19th was just yesterday...

I did my first official shoot back after my Daddy's passing. It was a beautiful 9 day old baby boy named Bentley. He was not really in the mood for photos, but I did manage to capture a few beautiful moments:

I found myself really happy after the shoot. I know it means a lot to my Daddy that I'm back taking photos again. He LOVED to see each and every photo I took. Always giving me tips and telling me how proud he was. I am so thankful for everyone who has supported my glorified hobby. :)

Next weekend I get to have a nice little mini vacation!! Looking forward to a nice weekend away, and as much as I adore my children, a few days away would do me some good. Not gonna lie. Haha.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The POWER of Positivity

Yes, I am annoyingly optimistic, and you know what, I LOVE that about myself. I can turn any situation into something positive. I couldn't be anymore sure about that than I am now!!

I could sit and cry, and never get out of my pajamas, I could refrain from all outside social activities, I could just be alone and grieve...if I wanted to. But I don't. I want to be surrounded by those that I love, and I want each day to be another opportunity to do GOOD. To spread my positivity, to make my Daddy proud, to make someone smile. There is just too much in my life worth living for.

I have two of the most beautiful children. Inside and out. They amaze me daily. I cherish every second I am with them. Yesterday Todd, the kids, my Mom and I went to the Wildlife World Zoo. It was such a wonderful day. Almost perfect actually. The weather was beautiful, the animals were awesome, and the kids had a BLAST! I found myself at the end of the day feeling guilty. Guilty for spending an amazing day with my family and loving every second. Also wishing nothing more than being able to come home and tell my Daddy about it. That's when I kind of lost it.

I found myself back remembering that he is in fact gone, that I can't call him, talk to him or hug him. That is the hardest part. So I sat in the backyard where he died and cried and talked to him. I told him about our day, I told him how much I miss him, and just talked to him. Crazy? Maybe...but it helped. After the tears stopped, I felt relieved. I went inside and enjoyed a wonderful evening with my loved ones.

I miss him so much it literally hurts, and I still have nightmares, flashbacks, and find myself crying at EVERYTHING...but...I am smiling, and laughing, and ENJOYING life.

I love you Daddy, and there is not a second that goes by that I don't wish I could hug you one last time.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Another bump in the road

Monday evening Channel 12 aired my story, and I thought it was very well done. I wish they would have stressed that Farmers was also responsible for the denial of medical coverage that eventually led him to his decision to commit suicide. But all in all, I thought Veronica Sanchez of 12 News did a great job with our story.

Here is a link if you haven't seen it:

After the story aired a man reached out, trying to find a phone number for us, ended up coming to my door. It was odd, but very kind of him to offer his assistance. He is the President of ABRA ( American Bio Recovery Association. His main concern was if the clean-up was done properly. He soon informed us that due to loopholes and badly written laws, companies who specialize in clean-up from floods, fires etc are now adding bio-hazard cleanups to their list of services offered. The problem, they aren't licensed or trained in bio-hazard clean-up. They are simply doing it because they can, and because it's a huge opportunity for more revenue for their company.

I knew after the first "clean-up" done by Servpro that they didn't do an adequate job. But had NO idea what they had left behind after their 3rd visit. After I filed a complaint with their corporate office, and after the Production Manager from the branch of Servpro personally came out to "inspect" their final "clean-up"...there are still DOZENS of spots of matter, because they didn't do the clean-up properly there are fluids seeping through the rafters of the side of the house, the neighbors house also had splatter and God knows what else...

This wonderful man offered to do whatever he could to help us. He was disgusted with Servpro and the poor job they did with the "clean-up" Even offering to come and clean himself if needed.

Now I am left knowing that it is still NOT clean out there...our neighbors have NO idea what is in their yard (they are NEVER home, I've actually never even met them)

I cannot begin to explain how this is all affecting me emotionally, which in turn effects me physically. The fact that all of this has been such a nightmare, and now 30 days later, the backyard is still a bio-hazard nightmare.

Monday, February 21, 2011

News Story

Tonight Channel 12 will be airing my story at 6:00pm.

I am NOT going to stay quiet about how Farmers treated a 45+ year customer.

After the crew came today, I got a call from the reporter who is doing the story. She told me that she had to inform me of something Landen said to her camera woman. He was asking her why she was here, and got to talking about Papa. Then he told her "Don't tell my Mommy, but I saw everything"

The only thing worse than what I saw is the thought that my 5 year old son saw it too.

I sat him down and talked to him. Asking him what he saw, and he just gets defensive. Afraid that if he admits he went outside he'll be in trouble because he knows I told them to stay in there bedroom. I reassured him that if he did in fact come outside that he would in NO WAY be in trouble. That I'm sure he was scared and wanted to check on Mommy. He just said "I'm sorry Mommy" and then started crying. He kept telling me he didn't see blood. Which is something I've never mentioned. I never mentioned blood. So I have no idea if he really did or didn't see...

Hopefully with the help of his school counselor and his therapist we can get to the bottom of this.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I think that is a common question when a suicide happens. Not that I wrote the book, cause if I did, I wouldn't buy it. I'm barely hanging on here. How? I have no friggen clue!! Well that's not entirely true...I like to think that hope is getting me through. Hope that I can make a positive out of this negative. Hope that I can make every day that goes by a day to make him proud. Even in my darkest days, I am still an optimist! THE GLASS IS ALWAYS HALF FULL!

I struggle with knowing exactly why my Daddy did this. No note was needed (although the one he left for me was my last little random "i love you" note from my Daddy")

Earlier last year my Daddy was hit while riding his bike by an uninsured driver. So guess who was asked to pay for his treatment...FARMERS. They paid for a few weeks of physical therapy and sent him on his way. Slowly becoming less and less mobile. He went from riding his bike EVERYDAY (even in 115 degree weather) for miles and barely walking with a cane. His right knee was the problem. When he would stand up, you could hear bones crunch. It was horrific. Living with him this past year watching him suffer, I have NO DOUBT as to why he did this.

He contacted his lawyer who helped him get the little medical care that he did get, and told him that his knee was getting worse and worse. They told him he'd have to pay out of pocket to see a doctor, and then pay out of pocket to have an MRI done of his knee. Maybe a $100 doctors visit $2000 scan is doable for some people...but not my Daddy. He knew that Farmers wasn't going to pay for the knee replacement that he needed from being hit by that car. So he gave up. After almost a year of unbearable pain, and slowly losing his ability to walk, he couldn't bare to go on any longer.

My Dad was a VERY proud man. Too proud to ask for help, too proud to even complain. So not even his best friends knew how bad things were. Granted even living with him, I never fathomed he'd do something like this. Especially knowing he wouldn't want us to be going through all of this aftermath. I need no reminder of how much my Daddy loved me. He told me every second of every day. Always leaving random notes, giving me sneek attack hugs, or looking me in the eyes and reminding me what an amazing person and Mother I am, and how proud of me he was. He was my ROCK. At 5 foot 7 he was a 10 foot tall man of steel. Always knew just what to say, always respectful, always HILARIOUS, always kind, always Dougie. As most who were close to him called him. I've called him Daddy since I was 9 months old. Never referring to him as anything else. He was the BEST Daddy I could ever hope for. I have ZERO regrets in our relationship. He was always AMAZING and I did everything I could to return that.

So I can say with 100% certainty that the reason my Daddy spent 5 days planning his demise was because he couldn't bare to live in pain and losing his ability to walk. Thanks again Farmers. I don't mean to point blame, but if this company would have paid the claim to get my Daddy the medical attention he needed and DESERVED as a 45+ year customer of theirs....

He had his Renters, Business and Auto Insurance with Farmers for decades. I'm not good with math...but somehow I think he's more than paid for the knee replacement on monthly premiums alone. AND THEN SOME!!! His Father always had Farmers, my Mother, whole family!! Decades of loyalty....just to deny a claim to save them some money.

Then to find out that they won't cover the clean up costs because "there wasn't damage to personal property" and "because it was an intentional act". That's such...excuse my french...BULLSHIT.

Shame on you Farmers. I cannot say it enough.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The actual aftermath

***Caution***This post contains photos that are EXTREMELY GRAPHIC

Last night my Mother came to stay with me. She brought her dog who loves to come over since we have a yard. My Mom was sitting outside reading when she noticed her dog chewing at something very aggressively. What she removed from his mouth is shown in the first photo. I don't think it needs further explanation...

Next we have the side yard where it happened and my lame attempt at trying to keep it blocked off. 

Next we have the far wall that separates the front yard from the back yard. A good 15+ feet from where it happened. I don't think I need to point out the 2 areas that you can clearly see did not get "cleaned"

These are the photos of the side of the house. Everywhere there is white spray paint, there was blood...

So 26 days later, after fighting with Farmers to get them to cover the "clean up", there are still pieces of bone and matter in our yard. After the homeowner paid CASH so that we didn't have to wait any longer in our home without someone coming to do "clean up". Then to find out that the renters insurance (through Farmers) denied the claim because "there was no damage to personal property" and the homeowners insurance (also through Farmers!!) gave a denial, stating that the renters insurance should cover it since it was an "intentional act".

Four hours stuck inside our home, while people in biohazard suits were out in the yard "cleaning" Yet I can walk out there and see from 20 feet away a large splatter mark...and then the piece that my Mom's dog found..

So now I feel like we're back at square one. The yard is NOT "clean" and it's the last place I want my kids. I saw the aftermath shortly after he shot himself, I saw the aftermath before the cleanup crew came, and now 26 days later to still know that it's not clean....SHAME ON YOU SERVPRO AND FARMERS!! 

I am so utterly devastated, disgusted and utterly emotionally exhausted by all of this. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Be the change you wish to see in the world...

**DISCLAIMER** Please do not read if you are in ANY way squeamish. This blog and my writings are real and extremely graphic.

Ever heard the quote "God doesn't give anyone more than they can handle" umm...I beg to differ thanks!

It's been 24 days. 24 days of lots of downs and very little ups. 2 trips to the Emergency Room for severe dehydration and PTSD. Then add some unbearable anxiety and stress, fear of EVERYTHING, every noise, every knock on the door, every phone call, AND...if all of that isn't fun enough, constant nausea and violent vomiting. OH! and the 4 teeth I had extracted on Tuesday. Top it all of with some ridiculous drama last week, trying to get DES coverage, trying to finalize everything for Disability benefits (2 years later!!), the emotional damage, and about a million other stupid bumps in the road that seem to seep into each day....and you have the most difficult 24 days I think I could ever even fathom.

I keep wondering when I'll be able to have just one normal day. One day where I can eat, where I slept more than 4 hours, where I don't get sick, when I don't jump at stupid things, when I don't see the image of my Daddy laying in our backyard without a head.

I had a horrible nightmare Thursday night. I was standing in the backyard over my Daddy and was frozen. I couldn't speak, I couldn't move. All I could do was stare at the madness that the shotgun had left behind. All the blood, and the one thing that I cannot stop seeing and thinking about is the large piece of his brain sitting next to him. Then (in the dream) his eyes opened and looked at me. I woke up drenched in sweat trying to catch my breath. I spent the next 4 hours shaking, vomiting and trying not to lose it.

Just as bad as things are, I am soon reminded of the things I DO have, the people that support me, the selfless acts, and finally, my Daddy. I know he would want me to be happy, and all I want to do is make him proud.

I promise to use every single day as a chance to change my world for the better...and maybe spread that as far as it will go...

My favorite quote of ALL time:
"Be the change you wish to see in the world" -Gandhi

Thursday, February 3, 2011

This is just WRONG

This is a letter my Mother typed up hoping to bring attention to SOMEONE

If you read this and think you can help in anyway, our family would REALLY appreciate it!!:

It seems that every night on the news we hear of someone shot to death. I wonder, after what my family has experienced the last two weeks, if anyone understands the aftermath.

Two weeks ago we had a tragedy in our family. My ex-husband and father to our three children committed suicide in the backyard of the home he shared with our disabled daughter and her two young children. He used a shotgun. My daughter found him. The word “tragedy” does not go far enough in describing this horror.

But what happens after the fact? I think the news stations should do an in-depth story on the aftermath. It’s not enough to tell the viewing public that someone has been shot or that someone committed suicide. They need to hear about the horror that follows. Reporting a gunshot death has become so mundane that we don’t even hear it anymore. It (sadly) takes a madman and the shooting of a young person and a politician to gain our attention nowadays.

Four and a half hours of questioning, pictures, fire, police, medical examiners, detectives and crisis teams kept my daughter with Crohn’s disease and her two young children trapped in the home where this happened. When they finally took his body away, we were told that a company licensed to do biohazard cleanup had to be contacted as soon as possible. We were told that the renter’s insurance would pay for it - after deductibles. We called the Farmer’s agent first thing the next morning. It took another 48 hours before we found out that the renter’s insurance was denying the claim and we needed to contact the homeowners. Nine days later, after a pissing match between the two insurance companies, the homeowner finally paid for the cleanup - out of pocket. That was nine days that my daughter and her children could not go out into their yard. That was nine days of blood, bone and brain matter baking in mid-seventies heat. And after the cleanup finally happened? Imagine the horror when my son decided to cut down the bushes (that we thought had been thoroughly cleaned) only to find that he was covered with his father’s remains. Imagine the horror of seeing spots of blood still left behind on the block fence ten feet from where this happened. That any of us even had to deal with any of this is incomprehensible. The cold and uncaring manner with which we were treated is unfathomable. My daughter ended up in the emergency room the day after we found out that the renters insurance was denying the claim. With Crohn’s, stress is the main catalyst for a flare. She was exhibiting all of the signs of PTSD along with the severe effects of her disease. How does a 28 year-old disabled single mother of two go on with her life after an event like this? The tragedy of losing her father in such a horrific manner is bad enough, but she is left to try to figure out how she will survive financially, where she will live, how she will manage to take care of her children and on and on and on.

The estimator from the cleanup company told us that in 30 years of doing this he had NEVER heard of a renter’s insurance denying a claim like this one. This was the insurance company that my ex-husband had used for auto, homeowners (and later) rental insurance from the age of 16 to the age of 60. And one of the main reasons for his suicide was the physical pain that he was in after being struck by an uninsured motorist while riding his bike. This same insurance company refused to cover anything but basic treatment.

There is a story here. Whether it’s a story about the after-effects of a shooting, the horrors of suicide, or the complete disdain that insurance companies have for their customers, there is a story. If your viewers were aware of the aftermath of a shooting, maybe it will make one person think twice about using a gun. Sometimes we need to be shocked and horrified before we think beyond the mundane reports that are all too common on the nightly news. Although I know that my ex-husband was not in his right mind when he decided that this was the answer to his problems, I honestly feel that if he had seen a report on the horrors that follow an event such as this, maybe he would have thought twice about doing this. Maybe not, but it certainly seems worth reporting.

I can GUARANTEE that my Daddy would have NEVER done what he did if his Insurance would have done what they should have, and my Daddy would haven't of had to live in unbearable pain, to the point he could barely stand. Someone needs to be help accountable for both of these situations. It still just makes me sick. The fact that had the Insurance company (that my Daddy was a client to for 40 years!!) refused to pay for the biohazard clean up and making him go through ridiculous hoops to get care for his knee after he was his by an uninsured motorist.

Shame on Farmers Insurance. SHAME ON YOU