Top Ten Signs I've Yet to Enter Adulthood

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I keep waiting to grow up and it hasn't seemed to happen yet.

While the two kids, the home, the vehicles, the husband, the mom hair cut, and the insane number of keys on my key chain might lead one to believe I am, in fact, an adult, it just isn't so.

Top Ten Signs I've Yet to Enter Adulthood

1)  When someone blazes past me going 20 mph over the speed limit and cuts me off, I mentally map out a master plan to cut THEM off at just the right moment to ensure they get sandwiched between several law abiding citizens that forces them to go 10 mph under the speed limit thereby making them late to their stupid meeting or whatever it was causing them to be morons.  Ha!  I win at life!

2)  My choice movie night?

You better believe there will be sing alongs.

3)  Bad hair days genuinely make me want to go back to bed and hide from the world.

4)  Speaking of hair, I still cry over bad haircuts but I am also, in spite of this, still convinced that I have some hidden skill of cutting my own hair.  I don't, by the way.  Doesn't stop me from trying though at 11 o'clock at night after watching some tv show where the lead actress had a super badass short style.

5)  When my son catches me sneaking some icing straight from the container with a spoon I tell him it's okay because I have grown up teeth, if he does it though his teeth will fall out.  He also thinks this will happen if he doesn't brush his teeth every night.  I don't actually think that one was my doing...

6)  I like to headbang while driving.  Even if it's to Taylor Swift.  It's a thing.

7)  I really want to dye my tips hot pink.  I have resisted this urge numerous times on the account of, oh yea, I'm over the age of 12.

8)  My favorite shirt is my Ramones tee (who I still think are super awesome) and I like to drink my coffee out of an Eeyore Mug.

9)  When I finish my food before Conor I declare majestically "I BEAT YOU!!!"

10)  This is my husband and this is how we roll.

I Will Remember You.

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What do you think of when you think of suicide?  Angsty teenager?  Antisocial psychopath?  Dramatic loner?  Failure?

I battled depression for a long time.  I don't have very many fond memories of being a teenager or young adult, every day was a battle, every day I longed for relief.

My brother, 15 years older than I, also fought a life long war with this disease.  And let me tell you, he gave one hell of a fight.  I am nothing but proud of him.  He changed his lifestyle, he went to the doctors, he tried the different medications, the various combinations, he prayed, he gathered all the information he could regarding his condition, he devoted his life to his faith.  All for that one goal, to be happy.

I think that is most people's goal, happiness.  We all seek to achieve this glorious prize in different ways.  Some of us look for it in romance, in friendships, in possessions, in money, in beauty, in peace, in family, in God.  It means something different to everyone.

But to someone with depression it means only one thing, the opposite of miserable.

A couple weeks before his death, my brother had a conversation with our mother.  He mentioned how good I looked, how happy I seemed.  He said how, often times, when you look at someone there was that one thing that stuck out about them, but that when he looked at me everything just seemed to fit.  I was at peace with my existence, my life.  He said it appeared that I had triumphed over depression.

Then he wondered what was wrong with HIM.  Why he couldn't do the same, why he couldn't just be happy, be healthy, why he couldn't just BE?

Isn't that what we often wish on people who constantly seem to be wallowing in sadness?  Can't you just be happy already?

To say suicide is a selfish choice is to make this disease into something simple.  We often try to do that, we try to rationalize that which we can't understand because it makes us feel more comfortable.  It makes it easier throw people into a mold and chastise them when they don't fit.

I am haunted by imagining my brother's final moments.  I don't believe there was anything narcissistic about his decision to end his life, nor was there anything rational about it.  I believe the disease he battled daily overcame him and his ability to reason.  I believe there was nothing going on in his mind but desperation, confusion, and a sadness so intense it clouded every part of his being.

Do I think he was out of options?  No, I believe depression is a disease that may never fully go away but it can be cured by controlling it.  I am proof of this.  There was a time in my life when I truly believed happiness was a joke.  Or perhaps a fairy tale meant for a person far better than I could ever be.  I looked at my future, hell at TOMORROW, and all I saw was pain and a darkness so vast I would surely be lost in it.

But I was wrong.  There was hope and there were better days ahead of me.  I thank God every day I held on just a little longer because though I may not always have a smile on my face, I see the beauty in life every single day I am blessed to be on this earth.

I believe he could have gotten well again, but I don't think his decision was based on a selfish desire to give up.  Depression claimed another victim that day, a son, a father, a husband, a brother, a good man.

I wish you could have given this world another chance.  But I hope you have found the peace you always sought, my dear brother.  I will not remember you as defeated, I will not remember you as another suicide statistic, I will simply remember YOU.  I love and miss you more than you could have ever imagined Robbie.

Between the Tears, There Are Moments

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Explaining death to a 4 year old is no easy task. I explained to him that Uncle R's body was no longer working so he wasn't with us anymore.  I explained that we missed him very much and were very sad but were comforted in knowing that he was with God in Heaven now.

He thought about it for a minute then responded with, "Aunt L too?"  In his little mind they are a set, Uncle and Aunt, Mommy and Daddy, Grandma and Grandaddy.  All sets part of the bigger set, his family.  How could one part go and not the other?

I think maybe life would be easier if it worked the way preschoolers thought it should.  Instead of losing a loved one, we would all be called home by God together.  No parent or spouse or child or sibling would be left behind to figure out a way to survive, to continue living day to day.

He didn't fully understand but he touched my face gently and said, "I'm sorry mommy."

Amidst the pain, the confusion, the anger, the depression since the police found my brother's body this weekend, there are moments like this.  Moments that give me that little bit of extra strength I need to get out of bed, open the curtains, and face the day, even while every part of my body is telling me there's no way.

Top 10 Signs You're Probably Falling Below Middle Class Average

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Dealing with finances and budgeting is the bane of my existence, unfortunately it's a large part of my life.  It usually ends with me crying into a tub of peanut butter.

But after a lot of prayer and thought I come to the same conclusion.  If a rocky road when it comes to money is our lot in life, I will count us blessed. If that's the biggest cross my family has to bear, thank you Jesus!

Top 10 Signs You're Probably Falling Below Middle Class Average

1)  As you do the dishes you dream of the day you have a matching dishware set.

2)  Your idea of a spa day is washing your hair and removing the 10 day old chipped polish from your nails.

3)  You often wonder what you were doing with your life before you lived in an area that had a Dollar General.

4)  Paper towels are a luxury.

5)  Your excitement over new sponges for the sink rivals that of your 4 year old's reaction to Chuck E Cheese.

6)  You've youtubed how to cut your own hair.  And followed through with it.

7)  Krazy Koupon Lady is your idol.

8)  Your child thinks Taco Bell is "going out."

9)  When it comes to your cars you use a lot of phrases like "it doesn't smell that bad," "just turn the radio up and it sounds fine," "I don't see any wires poking out yet so I'd say that's as good as tread in my book," and "I think I can do that myself."

10)  Speaking of cars, you often find yourself imagining what the inside of a car manufactured in the last decade looks like.  I picture something from Stargate personally.

And The Days Keep Coming


It has been 5 weeks and 2 days since my brother disappeared.  It has been 3 weeks and 4 days since our friend's 9 month old baby girl (only 6 weeks younger than my own daughter) was diagnosed with leukemia.  It has been 1 week and 6 days since I lost a friend to alcohol abuse.

I have struggled to see the light in the world lately.  I've wallowed in the senseless sadness this world seems to bring every day.  I've searched for a reason, something to make sense of all this darkness.  I've questioned God.  I've lay awake at night wondering what's next.  Surely the next tragedy cannot be far off, surely my little family has been blessed for far too long.

How am I suppose to get up and rejoice in another day?  How can I find joy in the "little things" when the "big things" seem to be taking over?

I've realized something this past month.  It's not about tomorrow, it's not about how many blessings we can accumulate, or how much more happiness we can experience.  Today truly is an amazing gift.  It seems so simple but its not.

I get caught up in the pressure of living life to its fullest.  What can I do to ensure I experience as much joy in my life as I POSSIBLY CAN?  I get so caught up that I realize I've spent another day sucking the life out of myself in an attempt to get the most out of everything.

Thank you Lord for today, for another day with my beautiful family, for another day we are in good health with a roof over our heads.

I'll never understand why things happen the way they do.  It's not in my nature to not put a reason to an event, to not justify the nature of what has happened.  But once the anger, guilt, depression, and confusion fades away I am left with a feeling of contentment.  Today is enough, everything else I put in God's hands.  How much better it is there than in my own.

It has been 5 weeks since I had my last drink.  I will not numb the pain, or the joy, or any other emotion life brings with alcohol.  It has been 1 week and 6 days since we celebrated Conor's 4th year on this earth with good friends and family.  It has been 2 days since C and I got married.

Through the sadness, I've seen so much more.  I've seen a community come together and selflessly give financially to support the young parents of the little girl fighting leukemia.  I've seen the kindness of strangers as my own family struggles to come to terms with the disappearance of my brother.  I've seen far more love than there is darkness.

It's hard to see the good in this life when the bad is pulling you down, but it's there.  And I thank God I'm here to see it another day.

My Brother Took a Walk and Never Returned


You never think it will happen to you, not your family.  Even the most paranoid and anxiety ridden of us never truly believe reality could be this cruel.  We hear the news stories, we see the families huddled together, broken and scared, desperately hanging onto their prayers.  We glance at the posters briefly, if we stare too long the picture might become too real and force us to imagine the nightmare.

But then somehow, out of nowhere, everything we once knew is shattered as we're dragged into one of life's horror shows.

The call comes on a sunny Sunday morning, your children are laughing and shrieking in the background as they play with their friends.  Surely nothing terrible could happen when the world is so alive and beautiful.  Expecting a friendly social call or perhaps a quick question about the upcoming summer birthdays, the words you hear instead don't make sense.

"Robbie's missing."

Silence.  It doesn't make sense.  The words can only mean one thing but it doesn't make sense.  So you ask your mother to repeat herself, obviously you've misunderstood the statement's true connotations.  

"Your brother went for a walk to the library yesterday afternoon and he never came back."

The world slows down as you fall to a sitting position.  She continues to explain, no phone calls, not answering, phone's dead, driven all over town, filed missing person's report, words jumbled together explaining something that still Doesn't.  Make.  Sense.

Finally something registers with you.  The taste of coffee, you were drinking coffee, you want another sip.  Do you keep drinking your coffee?  How can you possibly do something so mundane, so meaningless?  

The first day is surreal, nothing sinks in.  The calls go back and forth.  Have you heard anything?  When did you last hear from him?  Did he say anything?  Did you call his friends?  

There are still valid reasons, fathomable scenarios floating through your head.  You cling to a reasonable explanation, you don't dare to let your mind wander, not there.  No, God, please not there.

But the seconds turn to minutes, minutes to hours, hours to days.  And soon you realize the police have nothing, the posters have been passed out, the hospitals have been checked, you've snooped through all his personal belongings searching for an answer, friends you didn't know he had have been contacted, phone records checked, bank activity checked.  Nothing.  You're left with nothing.

You're tortured by that last interaction, or maybe, as in my case, that lack of a last interaction.  Why didn't you call him back?  What if something was wrong and he needed you?  What if you simply missed out on one last opportunity to hear his voice, make stupid jokes, commiserate about life's absurdity, to say 'love you too.'  

Every time you replay that last day you're left with the same unsettling thought, how could you have been too busy to call him back?

It's not rational, it's not healthy, but maybe it's the only coping mechanism you have left.  If you stop obsessing, stop torturing yourself, stop crying, what are you left with?  Nothing.  You're left with nothing but the harsh realization that your life is going on without him.  That you've been left behind to form some new kind of normal.  

Food doesn't taste the same but you find you have to eat again, jokes aren't funny but you find you still try to make them, the tasks you use to find tedious are now unbearable but you still have to do them, you break down in the most obscure places and you still have to keep going.

People who have a loved one disappear are forced to navigate a terrible path.  There is no closure, there are no answers.  You feel every emotion there is, and every emotion feels wrong.

How can you mourn the loss of someone who may be alive?  How can you be angry at someone for leaving when it may not have been their choice?  How can you say good bye to nothing?

You can't.  All you can do is try to find a way to live your life around the hope that your loved one will be returned to you, you find a way to live your life around their memory.  You find a way to push that nagging feeling that you're missing a very important piece of the puzzle to the back of your mind.

You find a way to finish your cup of coffee and keep living, even if it's no longer to the fullest.  Because really, how can it ever be again?

Top 5 Reasons I Love Moving

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Top 5 Reasons I Love Moving (aka looking on the bright side of chaos)

1)  You have a socially acceptable reasons for your house to look like a complete disaster zone.  Sure the boxes might not have anything to do with the fact that yesterday's oatmeal is still stuck to your stove but details people, just details.

2)  You're completely guilt free about the fact that your 3 year old spent all morning watching tv while you attacked the awfulness that is your "storage closet."  It's cool, it was the Magic School Bus so it was educational mommy slacking.

3)  Laundry?  Pfft.  You're moving.  Who has time?

4)  You can use the excuse "we're in the process of moving" or "we just moved" for a solid two months before people start getting suspicious about the REAL reason as to why you have suddenly become perpetually 15 to 30 minutes late for everything.  If you even bother to show up.  After all, you have a lot of laundry to catch up on.

5)  Nothing says best reason ever to bust out the credit cards like hitting the thrift stores for some hardcore re-decorating.  New dining room table?  Makes total sense