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