I cannot believe I haven’t written  a blog in almost a year. Wow. And I suppose there is nothing special about 14 years. So Im not sure why I was called to write now. Fourteen years to the day that a deer jumped out into a mountain highway near Vail, Colorado and my Dad hit it while on his motorcycle. Fourteen years since his two close friends had to witness that awful scene and wait with him for a very long time until an ambulance and eventually a helicopter came. Fourteen years since a nurse from Saint Anthony’s Hospital in Denver broke protocol and told me over the phone at 4:30pm that my Dad didn’t survive. Maddie had Kindergarten orientation that afternoon. Her Dad took her because I couldn’t function. Fourteen years is a long time. And no time at all.

And so it goes, Dad….Maddie is off to her sophomore year of college. Crazy. Andy is doing well and about to take on Junior College. You would like Dave. He’s funny. And reminds me of you. He’s 54. Which is weird because that’s older than you were when you died.

I feel like Im supposed to feel something. I felt like I was supposed to write something. And Im not saying Im forcing it….but I dont think you should have to force ANYTHING. I feel like I should wake up on August 7th every year and be sad. Sometimes Im not. And does that make me a horrible person? Some August 7ths I am sad. No August 7th has gone by without me thinking about that day. But the thing is…after all these years…it really isn’t about August 7th anymore. I miss you on Fathers Day. I missed you at Maddie’s High School graduation. I missed you when I married Dave. I missed you when I went through my divorce. I miss you during every Dallas Cowboys game. I miss you when random songs come on- especially Charlie Robison. It doesn’t take a certain date on a calendar. It sometimes happens for no reason at all. I see some Andes mints, see a friend post about their Dad on Facebook, hear a Harley, see an RV with a family in it….

I am almost 48. I was lucky enough to have a Dad for 33 years. Lots of people don’t even get that much time. But to this day Im still angry & feel cheated. Ive accepted that that never goes away. I am happy, living life fully, saying yes to adventures, loving hard, saying what I need to say to those who need to hear it, and living life. But the feeling of being cheated doesn’t go away. The feeling of celebrating my Dad’s 60th, 70th, 75th birthdays wont and didn’t happen. Cheated. And my kids not knowing you is the biggest cheat of all. That one stings. That one makes me mad.

Your death changed me. Changed everything. I suppose there are some events that are life altering and there’s just no getting around that. I don’t know who I would be today if you were still here. And that’s a funny thing to think about. Because I know I wouldn’t be who I am now. And I don’t really know how I feel about that.

Fourteen years. Not a special number by any means. Just another trip around the seasons without you here on earth. I promise, again, to live full. Every day. I found this picture I’d never seen before. You had just had surgery on your thumb so you couldn’t swim. But you were watching me from above. I like that.

I don’t know that I’ll continue acknowledging this date. I don’t want that to upset you. I don’t think it would. Time has healed it a little. Time has taken some power away from a date on a calendar. Time has marched so very quickly and so very slowly all at once. Dad, if August 7th comes and goes next year without a blog, or a picture, I haven’t forgotten you. I never could. I think a heart just needs to protect itself. I think life moves on. I think writing those words puts a lump in my throat for I am grieving the end of grieving. I think grieving goes on forever. But I am whole now. The sadness doesn’t take up my entire heart anymore. And the irony is that THAT makes me sad. I think the sadness shrunk to make room for the kids & Dave & hiking & rock climbing & my cabin & adventures & the love I give to my job. Grief doesn’t owe anyone an explanation. I don’t owe anyone an explanation.

Fourteen years.





I think this is the blog where I’m supposed to write about how amazing Maddie is doing at college and how she’s thriving and loves her major and her classes and is more independent than I ever expected and more capable than I ever thought and that I’m thrilled about it all. And I am. All of those things. And more. Proud doesn’t begin to describe how I feel. She’s so smart and I saw her homework and wanted to cry. I couldn’t tell the chemistry from the calculus. There are many who talk so poorly about her generation and how they are “soft” and cant handle life like “we” did. And eat tide pods. This usually comes from old football players I went to highschool with who I saw drunk surfing in the back of a moving truck so Im gonna just ignore it. They are idiots. Seriously. What I saw on a college campus made what my generation live through look like a cake walk. It’s not the YOUNGER generation I’m worried about. At all.


Nope- this blog is about me . And how unprepared I was. I have NEVER been a helicopter Mom. Ive let my kids learn things the hard way. Never been great at being in their business- and fully aware that things could go south placing as much trust in them as I have. I got lucky. And blessed. And I know this. So I THOUGHT I was this type that couldn’t WAIT for mine to go off to college or leave home and I’d have my “life” back. Ive never been a proponent of living vicariously through your kid or making your kid the center of your life. Its not healthy, in my opinion. I have a life. I have friends and work and hiking and my own things. My job as a parent was and IS to raise productive, kind humans who don’t rely on me for everything. So this whole situation right now is a bit foreign.


I am sad. I have cried almost every day since my daughter left for college and I cant get a grasp on why. This is all I ever wanted for her. Its strange to be simultaneously excited and happy for her and sad for me. I went to visit her yesterday at college, just for the day. I cried when I drove away. For a brief moment I felt like I did when my Dad died and it SHOCKED me to my core. No one died. No one died. There hasn’t been a tragic death. My kid went to college. That’s all. Barely 3 hours away. So what the fuck is this MOURNING? And that’s EXACTLY what it is. I feel like Im mourning. And I see the other women who’s kids have just left handling it so well. So much differently than I am. I feel crazy and odd and like something is wrong with me.


And Im trying, today, to accept that THIS is where I am and I need to honor the MOURNING. I was her Mommy, hands on, next to her, for 19 years. She was here every day. Every night. Every birthday. Every holiday. And this is fucking weird. Its weird. And no one told me it would be weird. Or this sad. Or lonely. Or that it would feel like there’s a hole in my home. And I realize, logically, not everyone feels this way-so it makes me feel even weirder.


I know it will get better. You don’t have to tell me this. I know no one died. I know she will be home for visits. I know she’s happy and growing and capable and starting her amazing life. And Im so crazy grateful she is where she is. I wouldn’t change a THING, in fact. Not one thing. It doesn’t mean Im not mourning. And maybe its ridiculous. Maybe it is. Maybe Im ridiculous. But Im as surprised by these feelings as anyone. I never expected this sadness. Never. And I will navigate it the best way I know how. And Ill cry. I miss her face. I miss football. Watching her cheer. Having the noise of teenage girls in the house. Living with her for 19 years was my privilege.  I GET to be her Mom. Just in a different way now. And Im sure that displaying my crazy here for all to see will make her thrilled. But this blog has always been about the REAL. And it ain’t always pretty. I hated that anyone ever compared ANYTHING to the sadness of death after my Dad was killed. But its where I am now. And I cannot ignore that.


It will pass. It will get less intense. It will get better. But this transition is hard. And Im a little  irritated with myself that I didn’t realize HOW hard it would be. Honor it. Sit in it. Cry through it. Being a Mom was something I decided to do a LONG time ago. Its been the best decision I ever made. The hardest, saddest, most beautiful, painful, glorious, magical, rewarding thing Ive ever done. I did a good job. She’s this PERSON I like. Im sad she doesn’t live with me anymore. When I brought her home from the hospital after she was born- I left her in the car seat for an hour because I felt ill equipped and had no clue what to do with a human life. Maybe on some level I knew as soon as I took her out the time would start ticking quickly. And it did. And it does. And life…she goes on.



While you wake up in your freshly decorated dorm room & head to your first day of college all excited and nervous and more dressed up than you’ll ever be again in the next 4 years….I’ll be remembering all the fist day of school pictures and wishing I had one of you today. You are 19. But you will NEVER not be my baby going to her first day of school.


When you are in line to get that amazingly delicious cafeteria food at the dining hall I will be remembering making 2,124 lunches in a Tinkerbell lunchbox with little notes scribbled on napkins to remind you I love you.


While you pile up the laundry from your floor and head to the laundry room in the dorm shoving everything from jeans to bras in the same wash load- I’ll be remembering going up to your room and finding all of the dirty clothes you forgot to bring down so I could have your cheer uniform ready for the next game.


While you’re up at 3am cramming for a biology test and wishing you’d taken better notes I’ll remember the endless science projects, hot glue, fake volcanoes and last minute runs to Hobby Lobby to get supplies for a project that’s DUE TOMORROW!


While you’re at that party you probably shouldn’t be at flirting with that frat boy that I could crush with my foot, I’ll be remembering the first time I let you drive and how much I worried and didn’t sleep hoping you’d be ok.


When you don’t feel well and have to go to the clinic with a fever or sore throat and then get your own medication and take care of yourself I’ll be remembering all the nights of teething, colds, coughing, tummy aches and ouchies that I slept on the floor next to your bed just in case you woke up sick so I’d have the trash can ready.


This transition is YOURS. You will be fine. You’ll be more than fine- you’re made for this and its time to fly. But please try to remember this is a transition for me too. I have “Mommed” you for 19 years. In my home. In the next room. Its been my job and my pleasure. And my role in your life is completely changing. Call me once in awhile. Text me. Send me pics of your face because I need to see it. I stared at that little face for endless hours in your first year- amazed that I made something so beautiful. So although this is YOUR time. The beginning of something amazing and beautiful and freeing and exciting. Just try to remember it’s an ending for me. And endings can be hard.


IMG_4719 (1)






I may have stood outside of the elementary playground on your first day of Kindergarten and spied on the 100 kids at recess trying to spot you in your lime green top and little cropped pants and pony tail. I was so incredibly worried they would lose you or someone would hurt you or forget you outside at recess. In hindsight Im lucky I didn’t get arrested for stalking children. But I found you. You were playing with the other kids like it was the most natural thing in the world. It was a relief. My Dad had died one week earlier and I think I needed to SEE you. KNOW you were ok.


When I would drop you off at middle school in Texas Id watch you walk all the way into the building to make sure no one kidnapped you. It was silly. I often caused a traffic jam, pretending my car wouldn’t work or that I was looking for someone so people wouldn’t think I was crazy. But I needed to SEE you go into the school.


When we moved to Colorado I cried the day I dropped you and your brother off at school for the first time. I worried we’d ruined your life moving you guys across country at such a pivotal age. Turns out it was the best thing we ever did. I SEE that now.


When you tried out for cheerleader at the end of your 8th grade year for Palmer Ridge I could’ve gone home and waited the several hours for you to call me back. I didn’t. I drove around town, got a drink at Starbucks and waited in the parking lot. FOREVER. I couldn’t bear to think of you coming out to find me, being all upset if you didn’t make the team and me not being there. You came out. And I SAW you. And the next 4 years became amazing.


When there was an opening for Assistant Cheer Coach I knew it would be a way for me to be close to you. The hours at practice, traveling, games, cold, and very little pay meant nothing because I got to SEE you. Thank you for being ok with that.


In 32 days I move you to college. Three hours away. Not a lifetime. Not as far as some will take their kids. But enough. You will go to class the first day and I wont be there to SEE you. I wont know if anyone is mean to you. I wont know if you get lost. I wont know. I wont SEE. And its a strange mixture of really sad and really happy. A parent’s job is to protect, teach, love. I’ve done ok at these. I will cry when I move you  in. I wont apologize for that. You’ll understand it one day. But on a lonely night in your dorm room when your roommate is out and you feel sad or left out or broken hearted or scared or anxious….KNOW that I can SEE you. I may not physically be there. But I am ALWAYS with you. A mother’s love works that way. You will find happiness, joy, new friends, knowledge, jobs, boyfriends, parties, bad decisions, great decision, cool professors, shitty food, and a million other amazing, wonderful, scary things in college. You will find YOU. And I couldn’t be more proud. No matter how tall or old you get- you will always ALWAYS be that little girl in that lime green shirt I spied on that day many years ago. Love you, Maddie. Take the world.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’
Lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth makin’
Don’t let some Hellbent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance…
I hope you dance






I was cleaning my room and going through clothes that I don’t wear anymore this morning. I have a lot to get rid of. I’m downsizing. SOON. Obviously I was playing music while I cleaned. Eric Church’s “RECORD YEAR” came on. And I listened to all of the words. For those who have followed my blog for years- you know music is very important to me. VERY. I’ve written about how my parents played music all through the house ALL the time. My Dad’s “system” was the center of the living room- not the tv. He also had a radio in the garage that was on all the time.


I know people have their preferences in music. Some hate country. Some hate rap. Some hate classical. I actually, really, honestly DO love it all. Music is life to me. Music is a memory that when a certain song comes on your gut gets tight and your face changes and your heart FEELS all that happened when that particular song became what it became to YOU. The nostalgia that envelops you with a song can be overwhelming. Can take you back somewhere- somewhere sad, somewhere lonely, somewhere beautiful and exciting. SOMEWHERE. Music takes us away.



I grew up with Skynyrd, Zeppelin, Joplin, The Beatles, The Stones, U2, John Denver, Merle, Willie, Cash, Kristofferson, Pink Floyd, Bob Segar, Kansas, George Strait, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Garth Brooks, Cat Stevens, Eazy E, The Beastie Boys and so much more. And I love it all. Ive been known to belt some Britney, dance to Bieber, sing very loud to Timberlake and bounce to Travis Scott. And I don’t really care what anyone thinks of that. I am BEYOND grateful for the love of music my parents instilled in me. My Mom was a little softer, my Dad a little bit rock and roll. I cannot, CANNOT imagine a house without music anymore.


As I build my cabin and work on the electrical planning I am shopping and researching how to have a whole house system that sounds good. In fact- any advice from my friends who know a lot about sound systems would be appreciated. I think my home has been without music too long. WAY too long. I fear I haven’t instilled the same love for music in my kids. I want louder music. More music. Music all the time. And my new house will have it.  The music is more important to me than the rugs I choose, the appliances or the paint color.



I think music, like a good hike in the woods, can fix a lot of shit. I think it’s really that simple sometimes.


For every person Ive been to a concert with, small or big, tiny bar or big stadium, country, rock, pop, all of it…for each of you- please know that those songs, when I hear them, remind me of you. Stevie Nicks, The Eagles, Zac Brown Band, Charlie Robison, Taylor Swift, John Denver, LIVE, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Vanilla Ice, Salt n Peppa, Bruce Robison, The Dixie Chicks, and the million more I cant list….memories that warm my heart.


So if you know a boomin system that’ll be great for a small cabin with very high ceilings- hook a sister up. And tell me your favorite song below.


For Charlie- who can no longer sing…but sang enough to change my life.


“Your leavin’ left me goin’ crazy
I’m countin’ on a needle to save me
I drop it in the groove
And we go ’round and ’round
And down in a spiral
I guess I really oughta call and thank you
I rediscovered Red Headed Stranger
Got down with old James Brown
And found New Grass Revival
If you find your way back, I owe you a beer
For my record year”- Eric Church








I’m sure there’s some psychological term for this transition time. Truth is I laughed off the whole idea that Id be so emotional when my kid graduated High School. I really truly didn’t think it would be that big of a deal. I am so happy for her I could scream. She’s been accepted to the School Of Bio Chemistry within her University. She’s so much smarter than me. With this big beautiful anything can happen world in front of her. She maneuvered a move across the country at 13 years old, entering a middle school where she knew ABSOLUTELY NO ONE. I cried that day I dropped them off after we moved to Colorado. I thought “what the fuck have we done to these kids?”


She made High School Cheerleader, made great friends, made good grades, excelled in DECA, joined a private cheer team and loved all of it, made Varsity Golf Team and is headed to State next week. We made the decision to move for many reasons. I honestly think it was the very best thing we did for our kids. I am beyond proud.


I’ve cried a LOT lately. I go long periods and don’t cry. And then I purge. And Im obviously having a purge period. I just finished a 3 Day Cleanse. I feel good. I got microdermabrasion this week to detoxify my skin, I deleted some “friends” from social media and from life that did not feed my soul well. I got engaged. I got a build date for my new home. I’m going to watch my kid graduate in 14 days and its so many changes at once I feel overwhelmed.


The Seniors had what’s called a “Bridge Dance” last night. I helped decorate and chaperone. It was the last time Ill ever be at that school. It was my last school event as a Mom of a kid in school. I watched the kids laugh and dance to music and hug each other and sign yearbooks and be stupid, exactly what they are supposed to be….kids. And I cried on a bridge at how quickly time flies. In that moment I missed my Dad so much it physically hurt, I thought about my High School experience, the friends I had, the ones I’ve lost, the completely unsullied body and mind I had at 18. So much had not happened yet. At 18 there is LITERALLY endless possibilities. You aren’t hardened by the world or politics or mean people yet. You don’t carry many preconceived notions. You don’t have regrets yet. You don’t know. YOU DONT KNOW. And its the most beautiful thing I can even think of.


I could see myself on the bridge at 18. I saw her and wanted to say…so very much. Don’t cry over boys that don’t love you, hug your Dad more, bring your sister along more, stay out of the sun, date more boys, write more, love more, argue less, be more patient, you’ll have 2 BEAUTIFUL children after all the heartache of miscarriage so don’t worry, kiss him sooner, tell him sooner, be more approachable, go home more, GO HOME MORE. Don’t wish the toddler years away, take MORE pictures, say yes more, be less reactive, love every minute, don’t buy that stupid fucking $2,000 sofa…go to Spain instead! FORGIVE. Then FORGIVE some more. Don’t be an ass. Wash your face more. And be ACUTELY aware that even in the moments that time seems to stand still, and you are frozen and wishing for time to pass faster……it is passing. So quickly that you cant grasp it. HOLD ON. Hold on to the moments. The boring, long, never seeming to end moments. HOLD ON TO THEM. You will blink. And you will be watching your own girl on this bridge.


But you know what- it all unfolded the way it was supposed to I suppose. And as I watch my child transition to adulthood and leave grade school, I am honoring the fact that its not just HER transition. I am 46 years old. Divorced. Almost empty nester. Building a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Newly engaged and doing things now I’d have never done at 26. Life is funny. Life is unpredictable. Life is sad and tragic and beautiful and happy and joyful and goes so fucking quickly. I look in a mirror now and see wrinkles and crepey skin and age spots and a lifetime of experiences. Transitions are hard for me. Very very hard. This feels like the biggest one Ive ever had. Im a ball of emotions lately. Just gonna roll with it. I don’t know what else to do.


“Landslide” has always been one of my favorite songs since I was a kid. For all of my life the lyrics ” I’ve been afraid of changes cuz I built my life around you” were completely about the end of a romantic relationship. As I’ve grown older, stronger, I’m blown away to listen to it so differently now. I built a life around my children. I have no regrets over that. And I admit now- Im afraid of what my life might look like without a kid at home. But here I am. And I’ll be fine. And she’ll be fine. And the world turns.


“Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older, too”

S.N., ‘Landslide’









I remember when we were discharged from the hospital and the nurse walked us out to our car to check that the car seat was installed correctly. Then she handed us the carrier with the 3 day old baby in it and said “have a nice day”. I looked at Patrick and looked at the baby and looked back at Patrick and said “holy shit…what the hell do we do now?”


And the following 18 years have been full of “holy shit…what the hell do we do now?” Any asshole can become a parent. There’s no application process or background check to see if you’re stable enough or able to calmly and responsibly raise another human fucking being. I’m proof of that. I have messed up, misspoken, grounded the wrong kid, not followed through with threats, let them watch too much tv, cussed too much, yelled too much, let too much slide, helped them on homework when I shouldn’t, let them skip school when they were “kinda sick”, ignored them, hovered over them, and a plethora of other horrible awful shit that parents are not “supposed” to do. I’ve also done a handful of things right. I think.


Lately I cry for no reason. I blame it on hormones. Menopause. Being stressed from the build. But honestly…some of it is this overwhelming feeling of loss. I “raised” this little person into a human and she’s about to fly. And the grief I feel is overwhelming. And I didn’t expect that AT ALL. I am an independent loud mouthed strong woman. I am also a Mommy. And its what I’ve been to her for 18 years. It has literally defined me, right or wrong, for 18 years. It’s such an odd juxtaposition to want your kid to go AND stay. She’s ready. Im ready. She NEEDS to fly. It’s time. We are both women now in each others’ way. And at times we are snappy and irritable with each other. And I wonder how that happened…that my little girl became a feisty, opinionated, hard headed, capable woman. And then I realize that’s EXACTLY what I wanted. How funny it is that sometimes when we get what we want it’s bittersweet. And how funny that I’ve never meant the word “bittersweet” more than I do now.


Did I hug her enough? Did I fight for her enough? Did I help her enough? Did I help her too much? Does she know how to do laundry correctly? What if a boy hurts her? What if she sleeps through class? What if…..


There’s no fucking warning label or book that can prepare a woman for going through menopause, building a home, running a business and preparing for her first born to move away to college all at once. And Im far FAR from gracefully navigating this time period. More like stumbling clumsily while an emotional roller coaster wages in me.


When she counts the days down, each day, as to how many days of school until graduation it’s like a knife stabs me in the gut each time she announces it. I am unbelievably proud of her. And happy FOR her for all that’s ahead. Excited really. The sky is the limit when you’re 18. But I also need to pause and honor my feelings…of loss, of transition. Im transitioning from band aid giver, taxi driver, form signing, lunch making Mom to one who calls a time or two a week. And that’s scary for me. But as I type…I realize…its been a minute since I’ve put a bandaid on her, driven her ANYWHERE, or signed anything or even made her lunch. And I guess that’s part of growing up. I can honestly say this is, so far, the hardest part of parenting….the shift in roles, the transition, the change.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I was never meant to be a PERFECT parent. I was meant to be HER parent.
“Oh very young
What will you leave us this time
There’ll never be a better chance to change your mind
And if you want this world to see a better day
Will you carry the words of love with you
Will you ride the great white bird into heaven
And though you want to last forever
You know you never will
(You know you never will)
And the goodbye makes the journey harder still”

~ Cat Stevens “Oh Very Young”




I haven’t written as much lately as I used to. I’m not sure why. Busy. Business. Building a home. Life. Or maybe it’s that the topic I’m called to write about is too hard to write about and putting it off means it wont happen. My oldest child graduates from High School in less than 3 months. And it is hitting me like a ton of bricks. This past summer when we were taking her Senior pictures I remember being so grateful that I had another football season, basketball season, competition season to watch her cheer. Those have passed. She has her last cheer banquet this Thursday. And there will be no more cheering.


There will be turning in uniforms, passing on warm ups to the younger girls, passing on the duties of Captain, picking up a cap and a gown, mailing graduation announcements and some last final exams. There will be a Senior Sunset event and then she will walk across a stage and into the world. And you can say she can visit. You can say I can call her, facetime her, text  her anytime. And I can. But it isn’t the same. And we all know it isn’t the same.


I miscarried several times. Many times, actually. At the age of 27 when I discovered I was pregnant AGAIN I just cried. I truly didn’t know if I would ever be a Mom. It was an incredibly stressful 9 months. I don’t think I believed she would actually be born healthy until they laid her in my arms. And every little picture in my head of a fair skinned, blue eyed, blonde haired little girl went out the door and was replaced with the most beautiful olive skinned, green eyed baby will a full head of black hair. And in that moment I knew that things don’t come as we WANT them to. They come as they wish and often bigger and better than we could’ve dreamed. I technically became a Mom that day. She made me a Mom. But I’ve become a Mom every day of every year that I’ve woken up for over 18 years.


I taught her to walk, talk, and brush her teeth and drive. But she taught me more than I could ever type. Mostly she taught me what unconditional love is. There is no love like that of a Mother and Child. I never knew how fiercely protective I could be. I never knew how hard I could love, how angry I could get, how anxious and nervous and worried I could be….until I became a Mom.


She is MORE than ready to tackle the world. I’m not worried about that. I’m also very happy for her. What’s ahead. Its so exciting. College, new friends, endless possibilities….


But I’d be lying if I said I’m not mourning the end of a period. And I’m just gonna let myself do that. It’s the cliché-ist thing in the world to say “time flies”. Because there were moments when I had a 3 and 4 year old that the days seemed endless and long and exhausting. But I’m telling you….time FLIES. She grew into a beautiful ,funny, intelligent, capable human. An adult human. Not just BECAUSE of her Dad & I but also in spite of all of the mistakes we made. And we made our fair share. I don’t think I could prouder. I truly don’t.


In addition to being addicted to Schlotzky’s while pregnant with her, I also played a few songs over and over- Eminem’s “Slim Shady” (which I credit for her obsession with rap) and Leann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance”. She’s definitely danced. And experienced and done all of the things she wanted to do. And that is what life is about. Not things, not money, not titles….its about friends and fun and experiences and going for it. It’s about moments. Lots of little beautiful moments. Madelyn as this stage ends, look back and be so grateful for all of the things you got to see and do. Then turn around, face forward, and RUN to what’s ahead. It’s my experience that nothing WONDERFUL ever came from standing still. Climb some mountains, travel, love, do your best, be kind, stand up for what is RIGHT even if you’re alone, turn the music up, and make a difference. And DANCE.


maddie dance


I haven’t written in 2.5 months. I haven’t wanted to. Truth is I do not like the Holidays so I just hope to slide through them each year. It’s like I take a deep breath the day of Thanksgiving and don’t let it out until January 2nd. Been that way since my Dad died. And I have no other explanation than that. I slid through these Holidays. It wasn’t bad. It was my first Christmas away from my kids in 18 years. That is not easy. I suppose it never will be. But I saw family and traveled and touched the ocean and that’s good.



When I was 15 and a Freshman in High School my friend came to live with me for a few weeks. Her Dad was entering a rehab facility for addiction and her Mom was under a lot of stress and had a younger child and it was just good to have my friend with me, in a routine, away from the ugly for awhile. She did not talk much about it.  I hadn’t yet had my first sip of alcohol and thought “wow why can’t he just stop drinking, what an asshole to do this to his family”. I remember it was the first real encounter I had with addiction. I did not understand it at all. Had no clue really what it meant. And 31 years later there’s not a lot more I know. Except that it still hurts people. Destroys families. Breaks relationships. Causes un-mendable fractures. And kills. It kills.


I partied in High School and in college. And by partied I mean drank on weekends. Drank too much. Got drunk at parties. Tried pot, acid, ecstasy. Didn’t like any of that. So I just stuck to alcohol. Then I got married and had kids and rarely, if ever, drank. And for 20 years I’ve partaken in the occasional girls night out obligatory Cranberry & Vodka. It makes my tummy hurt. Wine gives me a headache. A cold beer is ok once in awhile. But I just don’t care much about it. So when I began dating a recovering addict a year and a half ago it was no problem to give up drinking. He didn’t ask me to. I wanted to. I’ve had a few drinks in the past year but if you told me I could never drink again I wouldn’t give two shits. So I have ABSOLUTELY no fucking idea what it means to be an addict. What it feels like. What it does to your own body and soul and ego and life. I cant possibly understand. But sharing a life with someone who is a recovering alcoholic (with 8 and a half years clean and sober) has exposed me to more than I ever thought I’d be exposed to about addiction.


I cannot write from Dave’s experience. I cannot write from the experience of the MANY amazing recovering addicts I know now. But I can listen and I can learn and I can try to empathize. Dave and I have had MANY talks about addiction. What it did in his life. The effects it had. The damage it did. The fact that after more than 8 years without a drink he knows there is no cure and once an addict, always an addict. Truth is, Dave lived a very different life than I did before we met. Truth is, I judge a little. Truth is, I am human and I cannot help the way I feel about some things. I think the biggest thing I have learned from Dave is that it was a choice to pick up the first. It was never a choice after that. And the shame, guilt, embarrassment, hurt and regret come in big fat wrapped up packages that you cant return.


Two people I knew died in the past few days. I don’t know all of the details about one of them. He was funny. I hadn’t talked to him in 25 years but he was too young to die. The other was my friend. We hadn’t seen each other in years since she lived in Dallas but we talked a LOT over Facebook. She sent funny videos of drums and hilarious memes and cussed a lot and made fun of people and I loved her. Such a dry sense of humor. Quick witted, intelligent, bold, and easy to talk to. But I suppose those are the things she wanted the world to see. It’s not my story to tell. So I wont. She has three wonderful children who I hope know how cool she was.


As I’ve been messaging many mutual friends over the past few days there’s been two sides it seems. Those of us posting and crying and yelling at addiction and pissed and wanting everyone to know how bad it is. And then there’s those who say “shut up, not our business, don’t talk about it”.


If I know you, love you, allow you in my life, then its my fucking business. And if you are sad or struggling or sick…..PLEASE don’t shut up. Please TALK about it. To me, to anyone. Stop the fucking stigma. STOP IT. Stop being polite about it and quiet about it and shameful. Because you can talk and ask for help and live another day to climb a mountain or you can stay quiet and die.


There are 8 million and one opinions and studies and philosophies about addiction. I don’t care right now. Don’t care. Don’t want to hear how YOU think it should be treated. Because right now Im just pissed. And my smile is broken. And I foresee a few more pissed off smile-less days. And that’s ok. After that I’ll listen to the opinions. Im in a funk. I tried to climb it out. I tried to sleep it off. I tried to exercise it away. None of that is working. So Im writing. And Im going to accept the sad and sit in it a few days and then Im going to get my ass up, tell my friends who aren’t strong that Im standing for them, figure out how I can help, and spray paint cuss words on the septic tank on my land….because she was supposed to do that. And now I’ll spend some days deciding the perfect poetic nasty awful curse words I can use.


I will get up tomorrow and the day after that and open messenger to look for her meme of the day. And it wont be there. And I hate that. My heart hurts.

img_1201 looking up



Telling people you have depression is not exactly a fun things to do. I have a degree in Psychology. Ive worked with troubled teens, in a jail, in a high school, and I KNOW what depression is. And yet I still hold this stigma against it. I carry embarrassment. I feel the need to explain that Im on Prozac FOR ANXIETY NOT DEPRESSION. Why do I feel the need to do that? Because I don’t want to admit I have it. I don’t want to look weak or have people look at me differently. Because its not cancer, its not brain rot. Its just plain old , ugly ass, yucky, shitty, depression.


I think I always had it. Several of my relatives do. But it reared its ugly head when my Dad was killed. And it got worse with brain rot. I tried an anti depressant for the first time 11 years go and HATED it. It had awful side effects so I quit. Months went by before my doctor said “hey lets try something else.” When she said “Prozac” I thought I was becoming some silly suburban cliché. I have my physical health, great kids, a job I love, freedom, good friends….what the fuck could be wrong with me that all of that is not enough? And it took me some time to know that I could have everything in the world and it wouldn’t mean I didn’t have depression. I have depression. And Prozac and exercise and sunshine and mountains keep depression from HAVING ME. Im lucky that medication works (most of the time) for me. For some….it doesn’t.


And here’s the thing about depression….it most often doesn’t look like a sad monster in a corner. It is smiles, happiness, joy, health, hiking, friends, a good relationship, great kids, sleeping ok, succeeding at work, and LOOKING like all the shit is right where it should be. And sometimes all the shit IS where it should be. But my mind doesn’t work like others. And sometimes depression looks like anxiety, paranoia, lack of sleep, sadness, isolation, anger, pessimism & meanness. That’s the thing about it. It looks like it looks. And I don’t know what that will be each day. And managing it is what I do. I am acutely aware of how Im one of the lucky ones. Im happy. Im successful. Im good. Most of the time. And I know some aren’t.


I have depression. I have depression. I HAVE DEPRESSION. I treat it with Prozac, exercise, sleep, talking, writing, reading, sharing. So if you had an idea in your head of what depression looks like….you are probably right. It looks like smiles and family and hiking and friends and tears and the Mom next door and the kid at school. It looks like beauty and ugly and loneliness and joy and laughter and all the stuff. ALL. THE. STUFF.


I have depression. And its ok if you do to. Its OK. It can feel like a lonely walk. But you aren’t alone. You aren’t.

I have depression. Depression doesn’t have me.