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Rose Garden


Today, would have been my mother’s 86th birthday.

Thankfully, today also marks the official end of the last three months. A lot more melancholy this year. But each year is different, and one thing I know is that each year gets better in its own way.

But this year had a lot more rain falling.


You Raise Me Up


Glenn went missing on July 20, 2011, and was found following Hurricane Irene, I last saw Glenn a few months earlier, at a training, we went out for lunch together, and Glenn was as full of life as he usually was.

This one seems to be the one that affects me in more than one way. Glenn was a friend, and mentor. When I was just getting started in this work, he was someone that I could look to for inspiration. He was what I wanted to be when I grew up, in this work. He had the impact that drew me to do everything that I’ve done in the past decade. Glenn was someone who had the ability to raise up everyone who had the honor to meet him.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been six years, since you’ve been gone. When I go to trainings and conferences that Glenn would normally be at, I still expect to see him come around the next corner.

You can help keep Glenn’s memory alive by donating to the scholarship in his honor which is provided by the Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers’ Association and the Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania.


In The End


In the end, as you fade into the night,
Who will tell the story of your life?
And who will remember your last goodbye?

Two years ago, I came closer to joining this list, than I would have ever liked to have gotten.

It actually started a week and a half earlier, on the morning of the anniversary of my father’s death. I woke up at my normal morning time, started to get ready for work, then felt faint as my blood pressure started to drop.

I’ve learned how to minimize the impact of falling, so I hoped that when I was feeling better, the worst would have passed. Unfortunately, something happened beneath the surface that would keep brewing for the next week.

Apparently, when I fell, bacteria that was healthy on the outside of my body, found an opportunity to get inside, and developed a deep-tissue skin infection which covered approximately 30% of my body.

So, as I began a week of long commutes, a long march on the streets of DC and the Washington Mall, and a strenuous week of conference and training, I started feeling physically different, but I was able to identify potential causes for everything that should clear up, so it wasn’t something that worried me.

I learned a lot of interesting biology information through the experience.

Infection feeds sugar, sugar feeds infection, and the stress hormones associated with being sick feeds sugar even more. So, by the time I got to the Emergency Room, my sugar level was through the roof.

In all, I spent about two and a half weeks in the hospital, and a week on bed rest.


American Pie


A long, long time ago, when I first started college in 1991, we had an orientation-type program where we were given the opportunity to ask questions about adjusting to college. One of my biggest questions was how to risk getting hurt by loss, to make friends in this new environment.

Soon after, I began to take those risks, and was friends with a majority of my floor.

They were with me during the ups and downs of that year.

From weeks that we spent on the slopes of Whitetail Resort to the one week where I was listening to nothing but Goodbye Cruel World, and the theme from M*A*S*H (which is called, “Suicide is Painless” for those who haven’t seen the original movie), 24/7.

The song that epitomizes the floor and our relationship together was American Pie.

A year later, as we were coming back to classes. Not all of us would be lucky enough to make it.

Geoff was loved by everyone, in many ways he was the glue that kept us together.

He is the third person who I remember during this week that sometimes seems to contain more loss than I would have thought possible, but it also contains the memories of skiing with friends who were more like family and regular late-night dinners at Denny’s.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years since, we, as a floor traveled to Quantico to say goodbye and to sing together to Don McLean’s American Pie, one last time.


The Wind Beneath My Wings


5 years ago, was the end of what felt like one of the longest weeks in my life.

A week earlier, I received a call from the rehab facility that my sister was in, asking to take her to the hospital. She had a severe infection that spread. The hospital did everything that they could over the course of the week to give her every opportunity to find her strength.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. Through the week, the hospital was preparing me for the call that I never wanted to hear, the call asking me to give permission to take her off of life support.

Thankfully, when the call came, I was with friends who could support me through the time immediately after the call.

For most of my life, she was my closest supporter.


The Living Years


31 years ago, today, my father passed away. 2 years later, Mike + The Mechanics released, a song that has forever epitomized my feelings.

This year, is slightly different. Depending on your personal spiritual perspectives on life, and death.

This will be the first anniversary that my parents are spending together.

I don’t know if this is good or bad.

If you believe that death brings restoration, then it will be the first time since long before I was born, that my parents have been, as they were on their wedding day.

I prefer to believe that death brings healing, and this can be the beginning of them to be back in happiness.

That the challenges that my father and I endured from my mother’s illness are behind them.

That the pain that led my father to drink is healed.

And that the pain that led my father to attempt to take his own life are healed.

These are the imperfect thoughts on the crumbled bits of paper laying on the floor of my mind.

The most valuable lesson from the song…

Say it loud, Say it clear.
You can listen as well as you hear.
It’s too late, when we die.
To admit we don’t see eye to eye.

The bitterness of the conversations that we never got to have really does last. Try not to have crumbled bits of paper filled with imperfect thoughts rolling around on the floor of your mind.


One Of My Turns…


Today, takes me back a long while. When I was growing up, my aunt was my refuge from the dysfunctions of home. She lived just a few doors down, so I could run down there when I needed to escape the toxic atmosphere of home.

Now, if you go back, way back, in our family’s history, my aunt, was more like a grandmother, just not on paper. When my father (and his brothers and sisters) were young, their parents passed, and my aunt and her husband took them in.

Without knowing the full story, I always knew that my aunt, was more than my aunt.

When I first learned about WRAP®, I recognized that her birthday was always the beginning of a period that I could feel one of my turns coming on.

Over the years I tended to expect the worst, and hope for the best, and usually I was pleasantly surprised that the day went better than I could have imagined.

This year, I wasn’t sure what to expect, since a new dimension was added to this day.

A year ago, my brother passed. It wasn’t expected. And in many ways our relationship was complex; including the fact that he was always in denial about how our family was functioning, until after my father died.

So, in many ways, today is a new twist on the old theme. What’s old is new again. The good news, if you can say good; is that in many ways, I’ve been preparing myself for today for the last six weeks; when his birthday fell. And there was enough time between his birthday, my sister’s birthday (a month later), and today to lessen the blow, ever so slightly.

So here’s to the promise of a brave new world unfurled beneath a clear blue sky…


Bermuda Triangle


To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Nine years ago, when I was writing my first Wellness Recovery Action Plan, I noticed a special trigger that I referred to as my Bermuda Triangle.

August was a month where I had a birthday and a week with two anniversaries. So the month had a lot of triggers in a close period of time.

Five years ago, it extended a few weeks farther out. So that it began today, my sister’s birthday.

All told it encompassed a lot more loss, over the past nine years.

This year, it started earlier than ever before, a month ago, on my brother’s birthday, and will go a few weeks later, up to my mother’s birthday.

The last year, was one of the most challenging, I never expected to lose my remaining family so close together. But I also realize that this is a normal response to loving others.

There is a time to live, and a time to die…

There is a time to dance, and a time to mourn…

And a time to love…



Independence Day


America is still a government of the naive, for the naive, and by the naive. He who does not know this, nor relish it, has no inkling of the nature of his country.
Christopher Morley (1890-1957)

241 years ago, our founding fathers met in the Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall) to declare our independence from England. The 56 men who signed their names to our nation’s charter could have been killed for committing treason.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That thought is continued:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Our government has repeatedly demonstrated that it is beyond destructive. The party of the majority is repeatedly trying to figure new ways to murder more than 20 million of its citizens through causing a new medical genocide. Despite the expressed direction of the people from whom they derive their powers.

Our president, has repeatedly stated that the constitution which has guided our country for more than 200 years is archaic, because it was designed by the same founding fathers to protect our country from becoming controlled by a dictator.

What did the wise men who drafted the Declairation of Independence say about that?

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

Our system of government was created to have a checks and balances for a very specific reason, our founding fathers knew what came from having a monarch rule by their own whims, without having to answer to the citizens.

The mantra of the original tea party was simple; no taxation without representation. The system of checks and balances was created to ensure that our government truly was a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, so that our country would never have to endure a government that imposed its will over the will of its people.