Tag Archives: Grief



…..Abandoned by his parents at a young age, The Young Pope daydreamed about the perfection of that first love, of a particular day in Colorado by a lake when life was all good and he basked in the love of his parents for him and for each other.  The unmet expectation of this everlasting love from a child’s point of view ultimately broke his heart.  His parents dropped him at an Orphanage telling him they had to go to Venice.  They never came back.

As a young adult, Lenny was filled with anger, shame and despair.  He prayed to and sometimes yelled at a God he was not sure existed or heard him.  He was able to perform unexplained miracles for others when he could not mend the pain of his own aching heart.  He lived his life through the eyes of that pain. 

As he gave his first public speech, and perhaps his last, he caught a glimpse of his parents turning their backs on him once more and disappearing into the crowd.  This unhealed pain, still living within his heart took him to his knees……

As Christians we are told from a very young age that God is love. But God, the unsolved mystery, is not a concept we can possibly fully grasp. The Young Pope movie gave me pause to think a little more about how God’s love is so often experienced and refracted through the lens of love we are shown, (or not shown) by the people who raised us initially, our first Gods.  As children we could feel love if love was present; but few of us can claim to understand love, especially unconditional love, any more than we understand what God is, where he is or “who God is”.

Lenny was like so many of us who have perceived abandonment, in some way or another, during some point in our lives.  But, for Lenny or kids who are adopted, it’s an entirely understandable and blatant form of abandonment. The only thing a child can “think” or intuit is that they are not worthy of love. Ironically, we were taught conditional love by others and then we grew up to love ourselves just as conditionally as did our parents.  Until we can choose differently, going forward, we will bring others into our lives who rarely are capable of loving us more than we are able to love ourselves.  And, we are unable to love ourselves until we first accept the light and shadow sides of our existence; until we can integrate our subconscious and conscious minds.

Infants presumably have been imprinted with the love vibration of God but must feel the jolt of being thrust into this altered dimensional reality. Ultimately, they will be bombarded and impacted by the introduction of a plethora of lower frequencies during their infancy. Few of us, as parents realized that we were imprinting in our children our own emotional neuropathways (and baggage) just as our mother had imprinted her’s while we were invetro. With emotion our first and only language, we felt the emotions of others as if they were our own.

While we may have been too young to process the things that happened to us in our first seven years, egocentrically we knew it had everything to do with us. The love we experience as a human being is conditional, sometimes more in some cases then others. I can’t imagine that there is one among us that has not felt the sting of abandonment at some time in our life.  Most times these feelings of abandonment are perceived by a young mind, too immature to process what is really happening.  Because emotion is our first and only language during our first few years, we were incapable of profound or mature rationalization.  This is why Lenny, a grown man, was reduced to a flood of tears not unlike that of a child when he was rejected once more by his parents.  This is why when emotions become raw, many times we respond from the perspective of our injured child, throwing an irrational tantrum.

You were probably told somewhere along the way that you were bad.  You may have felt that you were not the perfect child or that your sibling was loved more than you.  Maybe you felt stupid or clumsy or ugly.  Maybe you coped by soliciting trouble, whining or complaining in order to get attention from your parents, teachers, or peers.  Even though, ashamed, you knew it didn’t make others want to be around you, at least you got some form of attention.  I’m guessing that unworthiness undermines love, to some degree, in every experience of being human.

As we grow older, we play out these same imprinted underlying beliefs over and over; attracting different situations and people into our lives that will provide us yet another opportunity to see that we are worthy of acceptance and love after all.  The only one that we ever needed to prove it to all along was ourselves.

While we may not even remember most of the circumstances that undermined our beliefs about love and ourselves growing up, rest assured, they are indelibly recorded, every word and every image. We are like puppets on a string being played by a master puppeteer who knows things about our lives that we may not even know exist because they were so deeply suppressed.  That puppeteer is our subconscious self.

Perhaps we came to this incarnation to experience the exhilaration of being rich, madly in love, powerful and/or famous. Even though I doubt we stood before God on the other side and said, I want to go to Earth to experience being a Pedophile in the Catholic Church, or to feel shame and helpless against addiction, anything is possible.  As intrepid Spirits who wanted to learn the fast way, perhaps this is exactly what our higher self needed to experience.  These difficult experiences may be just the catalyst necessary in order to truly know and love ourselves inside our human experiences.

In the movie, Juana, a young blessed saint told the children, “God does not allow himself to be seen, God does not shout, God does not whisper, God does not write, God does not hear, God does not comfort us”. Although we may want to believe that God exists, loves us, hears us and will save us; in reality all we really have is our faith.  So perhaps, the answer to “who is God?” as given by Juana is as good as any, “God smiles.”  Maybe that is as close as we ever come to God …. the feeling that we get when we smile through the eyes of our soul.




“That day was like the Perfect Storm, and like a Perfect Storm, it took just the right elements all descending down upon him at once. Tragedy isn’t always some random event that as (bad) luck would have it, just happens one day…”


I have a lot of thoughts to share that I believe could make a difference in the lives of others; things I wish someone could have shared with me as I went through the frustrations of trying to figure everything out for myself. Sometimes you don’t have the luxury of time to “reinvent the wheel.”  I know I didn’t! 

I’m grateful to have this opportunity and encouragement to update the statistics concerning the topics initially published in Chad’s Website. With the research I am now gathering, you will see that more, not less, people are struggling every day.   While there is significantly more awareness around the individuals who have been labeled Bipolar, ADD/ADHD, Autistic, and Depressed (hereinafter referred to by me as “Sensitives”), the statistics don’t support a proportionate amount of healing.   I’ll publish them later this week.  I think they will surprise you.  They did me.

I freely admit after my personal experiences with the Medical, Educational, Governmental Control Agencies and Rehabilitation Industries, I have some rather strong biases with regard to their Disease and Disorder Models and Treatments. I believe that individuals who are  “Sensitives” and, the people who love them, have many times been exploited. I can see the ways that these industries are or can be self serving, i.e. the “patient’s failure”, lines their coffers.  While I believe their initial intensions are good;  all they really have to do in order to be successful is to have better success rates then the next place.  As we all know, statistics and success rates are easily skewed. 

In Iowa, where I was raised, we used to have a saying, “you can’t make a pig dance.”  At the same time, these industries can’t do what they don’t know how to do.  Although there is no easy answers, the best solutions that we currently have to offer are clearly missing the mark.  Even though it’s challenging to see it with the “old ways and powers holding on tight”, we are evolving very quickly now.   I believe we are right on the cusp of a Paradigm Shift and the “Sensitives” are the way showers.

Since Chad’s story ended with Suicide, I may as well start there. I will work my way backwards to the beginning, where all stories begin (see potential forthcoming topics at the bottom of the page).  I would like to urge you to take what resonates with you and research it for yourself to see what you discover.  As always, I’m open to comments, questions and discussions.



Chad will be speaking for himself from the “He Said” part of each story. I will copy excerpts from his Life Story, not necessarily in the order it was written, but as it may shed light upon a given topic.  From the “She Said” part of the story, I will be writing from my point of view. 

Chad’s story will give you a better idea of what it was like to walk in his shoes or perhaps what your child or teenager may be going through. There are so many things I found out after the fact, things written by Chad, and yes, things that were channeled.  Chad’s Story was only eight pages long, and was channeled just months after we found his body. His lifelong best friends said it was eerie because it sounded exactly like him and it shared things no one else could know.


  • The Beginning: Imprinted emotional Neuropathways during the first seven years of life;
  • ADD/HD: Behaviors and being sensitive to being victimized; 
  • ADD/HD and Learning Challenges: Education the critical part that learning and self esteem issues play with regard to successful integration of “Sensitives” into Society
  • ADD/HD Brain chemistry/imbalancespros and cons of Pharmaceuticals, holistic treatments, and self-medication
  • Addiction:   AA and Rehabilitation Methodology and Success rates
  • Grief:  The process of Grieving and Surviving the Legacy of Suicide and losing a child
  • Spiritual Growth-There is Life after Death
  • The Other Side:  Stories of connecting with Chad on the Other side






The Rest of the Story

Chad’s body was discovered by a couple of hikers from California who were lost.  I will always be grateful to them and appreciate so much the price they paid so that I might one day seek peace in my life once more.  It was clear that Chad didn’t wish for anyone to find him as he had hidden his truck and managed to find a place so remote it would take the police two days to be able to recover his body.

Months later I would find a typed message on my home computer that simply said, “Death before Dishonor to my Family,” six words that spoke volumes. Always the spontaneous one, Chad was not much of a consequential thinker.  Knowing my son, it may not have occurred to him that spending the rest of our lives looking for him would have been a living hell; he just didn’t want anyone to have to find his body. At the same time, learning your son had killed himself gave hell a whole new meaning. Even now, I still have dreams of him driving up with that big ole grin on his face. I go wild with every emotion imaginable. Waking up is the hard part; and you realize your life is the nightmare.

Chad became a man the day he took care of things his way. He didn’t show us any signs of his intention. In retrospect, I still cannot fathom how he could have felt that things were that bad, unfixable, unbearable and hopeless; that he didn’t have anyone he felt he could reach out to. I did understand it a year and a half later, however, when I took a walk in his shoes. This experience would become one of my greatest gifts, an insight that would set me free.

My physical, spiritual and emotional recovery has provided me with so many insights.  I realize that everyone must find their own truth in their own way. Maybe, just maybe, we don’t all have to learn every insight the hard way like I did.  Because writing has become the salve that heals my wounds; I write and I share. For some reason, I feel passionate about sharing our story so that perhaps others may not have to feel so alone and isolated in their own story. 


From my Point of View

A View from the Edge is the story of the worst day of my life. For years I peered anxiously from that edge where my son had lived precariously most of his life. While I admired that he never drank from the cup of mediocrity, I now see that view a bit differently than before. I will continue to write, and share (in parts) concerning a few circumstances that I believe significantly contributed to that day, the day that Chad hung himself.

That day was like the Perfect Storm, and like a Perfect Storm, it took just the right elements all descending down upon him at once. Tragedy isn’t always some random event that as (bad) luck would have it, just happens one day. It’s as if the Cosmic Tumblers clicked into place and nothing could stop the momentum already in place, that would become Chad’s Destiny, and ours. Like waves that ripple across a still lake, devastation would reach out to touch all of us who loved him so much.

Today, these same waves continue to ripple through the lives of people all over the world who, for whatever reason, happen across my website. Maybe they are people who are “Sensitives” (ADD, ADHD, Bipolar, Dyslexic, Autistic etc.), unable to express themselves or to feel heard. They may have feelings of being all alone in their world and/or hopeless or apathetic about their lives. Perhaps they too became addicted or heard the voice of Demons. Or maybe they are a parent worried sick about their child. Maybe they can’t understand why their loved one hates the flat line feeling of the pharmaceutical prescribed drugs and they have no idea what their options may be. In some small or huge way, my hindsight awareness just may be able to change their view or the outcome of their own story.

There is still so much pain in the world and with these kids who are being born as “Sensitives” in increasing numbers. We are missing the mark in so many ways with archaic systems and beliefs. My hope is for a major Paradigm shift that I believe can happen, if only because of our great love for our children.

As John Lennon sang, “Imagine!”






This prayer is one to remember in times when your challenges seem so large that you can’t find your way out.  Go back to the heart and be grateful for the simple things that matter, your loved ones and the gift of another day

Prayer at Time of Adversity


I think over again my small adventures,

My fears,

Those small ones that seemed so big,

For all the vital things

I had to get and to reach,

And yet there is only one great thing,

The only thing,

To live to see the great day that dawns

And the light that fills the world.






 Finally I heard his truck at four A.M. and with tears in my eyes, I raced down the stairs and hugged him, and begged him profusely to forgive me.  He pushed past me and that’s when he said he nearly froze to death.  So no, I was sure he wouldn’t kill himself.  He didn’t even like being cold…


Over the next seven months that Chad was missing, the Sheriff on our case would become one of my closest friends. Jeff and I worked together daily, brainstorming and always trying to figure out new places, leads, and ways.  He was by my side and gratefully I leaned on him for hope and strength.  I knew that he had seen some horrible things during his previous job, under cover in a rock band.  After awhile, I respectfully asked him not to share those experiences with me anymore.

Finding Chad was challenging since he was nineteen and the privacy act would not allow hospitals, rehabs, or even homeless shelters to tell us if he was or wasn’t there.  The ironic thing was, while his brother had no problem travelling all over the world alone, Chad was not the kind of kid to take off on his own.  He must have been petrified; who wouldn’t be if someone threatened to kill you.  I had no idea where he would go; and I knew he didn’t have any money.

In my lone hours I wrote.  It was the salve for my soul, my sanity.  I kept a log entitled “Finding Chad.”  I knew someday I would, but I never dreamt it would turn out the way it did.  I also started writing a fiction story called, “Turning Left at Exit 140.”  I could only hope that even the smallest part would become reality.  I knew it was a fantasy, at best.  Ironically, we would find out later that Chad didn’t turn right.. or left… at exit 140, the exit for our home town.  He headed straight into the back country; a place so untraveled that he was sure no one would ever find him.  Or, as oftentimes speculated, maybe someone else took him there.

At Thanksgiving after a big ordeal, I finally convinced the telephone company to give me access to Chad’s voice mail.  Once I did that, he would not be able to receive any more messages.   I hated to cut off that lifeline but I had to see who was calling him and what they were saying.   The kid who turned Chad onto Crack had left several messages.  They were of the variety of, “Dude, where are you?  Can you pick me up?  Can I borrow your truck?  Call me.”  He never gave up on his self serving needs until voice mail was completely full.  Chad’s real friends left several messages, of course; and I even had to endure listening to the desperation and pleas of my own tearful voice.  But it was his step sister’s message that really c0ncerned me.  She seemed to know something I didn’t and she seemed terrified or was it just overly dramatic?  She pleaded with him, “Chad, if you will just call me and tell me you’re okay, I promise I won’t tell anyone where you are.  Call me! Please!”  There were no more messages and clearly no one had heard from him since he left.  My heart sank.

I stuck my head further in the sand.  I figured Chad needed to run and he was either high on drugs somewhere else or homeless.  I harassed  homeless shelters in Denver and sometimes I could even convince a compassionate soul to give me information even though legally he shouldn’t have.  In my fantasy, Chad had found a job and was lying low to escape the drug dealers.  In retrospect it seems so odd that there were always leads, some kid from out of town who said he saw the kid in the poster.  People who saw his truck somewhere.   A psychic who saw him living in his truck.  Most of the time, except in the dark of night, I had hope.  I couldn’t bear not to.

A friend lined up a private detective for us and I was waiting to meet with him.  In the meantime I had checked in with a few rehabs to get a better picture of what they could offer so that we could be ready when Chad came home.  With the exception of a couple, I was not impressed with their statistics.  Every business knows how to manipulate statistics.  Rehabs always have a fall back excuse that goes like this, “he just wasn’t ready or he didn’t hit his bottom yet.”  The institution never fails, the patient does.

While this may be true, it seems unrealistic to expect addiction to go away in a month by sitting around in a support group talking about it.  I was searching for more than a ‘cold turkey/white knuckle’ approach. And what about long term behavior issues developed by years of dysfunction.  How would that be addressed?  What could be done to help mend the pre-existing as well as post drug chemistry imbalances?  Niacin/Niacinmide and a few vitamins?  Not even close!  And, then there is the real test.  What happens when a ‘recovered’ user returns home to memories and places once frequented?  He drives by a place where he had partied causing hardwired neuro-pathways to light up like a Christmas tree… calling out his name.  What happens when things are all going wrong and he just wants to say  “Fuck it” to the world?  Just this one more time!

My amazing psychologist told me about a kidnapper option.  These kidnappers had some good successes if they could just find the person, extract him from his environment; and then somehow manage the justice system so that a user was unable to get out of jail for several months, their price, $50,000.  Time was on your side if it was long enough for the recovering addict to be able to reason with a jonsing body that previously thought it would die without it’s drug.   I remembered the words of a neighbor who had travelled a similar path.  He said, “You have to get him away from the drug for at least three months.  Rent a cabin way out in the mountains somewhere.”  I was desperate and would have done anything just to know he was safe.  Anything!

Over the months, slowly it began to leak out from more than one source there was a primary drug ring from Romania that had been operating in this valley for years, at least ten at that time, maybe more.  Even the Sheriff’s office knew about it.  I was appalled.  These were the dirty little secrets of a resort town that didn’t want this, or information about drug usage, in our valley to leak out.  These drug traffickers had a couple of store front restaurants to cover their operation.  I wondered how this could be possible.  I never received a good explanation from the Sheriff’s office other than they tried to deport them from time to time but they never seemed to get the ring leaders.

Ironically one of Brandon and Chad’s friends who had troubles with alcohol ended up being jailed long term after several DUI’s. Our friend was our inside connection and with seniority was able to give us some feedback from users that frequented the facility.  He would remain in our local jail as drug dealers came and went like it was a revolving door.  It was a rough crowd and all but one white guy seemed to be from Mexico and/or Romania.  One night a guy came in with a slit throat.  That’s when I began to believe that these dealers were not just bluffing.  They were serious.  Chad’s friend was released from his long jail sentence the day Chad’s body was discovered.   It’s impossible to believe that the timing was some random coincidence.

Another extreme synchronicity occurred when I was asked to handle the real estate purchase of the community drug lord.   By now I knew him by name even though the Real Estate Broker involved had no idea who he “really” was.  He was paying all cash, naturally, for a piece of land and had not retained legal representation.  He was about to miss a deadline in his contract and his large earnest money deposit would have been at risk.  Every cell in my body screamed, “let him lose it.  He deserves it!”  But at the last minute, a small inner voice convinced me that I couldn’t do that professionally.  I later wonder if this was the voice of intuition.  Because I had saved him around $50,000, and he knew it, I got the idea later that I needed to go and confront him about the whereabouts of my son.

I gathered my courage as I walked up the steps to his establishment with Chad’s Missing Poster in hand.  I had been just a voice on the end of a phone line; so I introduced myself.  I held the poster in front of his face and said, “I helped you now I need your help.  Help me find my son.”  He quickly read the words and saw my son’s face.  “Please talk to your guys and tell me what they know.”  He didn’t even try to act like he had no idea what I was talking about.  We had transcended that conversation with a glance.

I couldn’t believe my ears when he said this,  “Crack is a bad drug.”  He put his hand on the back of his son’s head who was about three years old and hanging onto his daddy’s leg.  “I stopped doing that drug when he was born.”  I wanted to slap him….scream at him…”and, what about our kids?”  By an act of God, I was able to control my impulse.  “This is not the time, Jan”, I told myself.  I needed his help to find Chad.  He said he would ask around.  Counting the hours, a couple of days later I stopped by again.  He said, “they said he just went crazy.  They don’t know where he went.”  ….Could I believe him?

I thought he’d come home for Thanksgiving but when he didn’t,  I knew without a doubt nothing would keep him from coming home for Christmas.   My hopes soared with each  passing day.  Brandon and I had been Christmas shopping and had some great gifts under the tree that I knew Chad would love.  As the afternoon turned to dusk, I remember being on pins and needles with every little sound, expecting to hear his truck drive up.  It was loud, just the way he liked it.  I played the entire fantasy out in my mind of seeing him walk to the door and peer in through the glass.  I could see that crooked grin of his.  The door opening.  And everything would be right with the world again.  No problem would be too big for us to figure out if we just had one more chance, more time.

I will never forget standing and watching from the big picture glass window by the front door. The rising moon hung over the mountains like a great beacon, a ray of hope.  Its existence contrasted the darkness of night that lay cold against the glass. Points of light in an expansive black sky twinkled through the atmosphere from stars that probably no longer existed.  I shivered. “Are you out there, Chad?  I can’t feel you.”   I began to lose faith.  The night was so cold and crisp.  I couldn’t bear to think of him freezing in his truck somewhere.  Tears slipped down my cheeks and I had never felt so alone or helpless.  In those moments, the cold hard reality hit me once more, just as it had when I listened to Chad’s message the morning after he disappeared, “Mom, ….I love you…..I’m soooo sorry.”   He’s not coming home.  My heart shattered.  I was terrified and I thought I was going to be sick to my stomach.


Christmas 2003, Chad’s last Christmas

To Be Continued tomorrow….




Odd, I never noticed the magazine quote Chad had cut out and pasted to the lamp in his bedroom until after he was gone.  It said, “Marijuana, at least it’s not Crack!”  Drugs were just not an option or something I worried about in my household.  Call it naïve I guess.  It wasn’t a problem until it was but not until he had graduated from High School and was flying high on his new plans for life…

Best Day of Chad’s Life


It wasn’t until after he was gone that I even discovered that he was on crack and that crack was not the same as Cocaine…. not by a long shot. I had talked to the police and other so called “experts” in the valley when my son had become a missing person.   Even then, I didn’t know shit about crack or just how addictive it was.  A complete stranger called me after reading an article I published in the Newspaper called ‘A Monster Lives in our Valley’.  He said, “The only thing stronger than Crack Cocaine is God”.  He had been a ‘poster boy’ in a rich Dallas neighborhood.  He too was ADD and had become addicted at the age of fourteen.  Later we met.  He told me all about the monster that had stolen my son.  All the real information I received came from people who had been addicted to crack, Meth and even Heroin.  I didn’t know at the time that all of this came too late for us.  They all knew firsthand what it was like to make one bad choice, usually while on a gateway drug.  Most of us have made bad decisions while drinking; but these hard drugs, given the right blood chemistry, might result in a problem so big that it would never be solved.  Would a friend really sell you out to the Devil?  Apparently, so.

The week before Chad was to move in with his Dad was when I first realized things were completely out of hand. I sent him for a haircut with my debit card.  He stole $600 from my account over the next two days before he returned my card.  When I discovered this, I came unhinged.  I was furious with him because I did not understand that this was not something you could easily fix or un-will from your life even if you wanted to.  I am not proud how I handled this.  Adrenaline raced through my veins and I struck back at fear with force and said horrible things I now wish I could take back.  His was an act of desperation but I didn’t get it at the time.

In tears of shame, Chad started for the door and I grabbed at his coat sleeve. “Mom!  You have got to let me go!  The drug dealers are threatening to kill me and they said they are going to mess with you.”  I thought he was overreacting, just paranoid.  “Don’t worry about me, Chad.  No one will mess with me!  I want you to move in with your dad.  He can protect you.  Besides, Valerie is always home. Please!”  He walked out the door and I couldn’t stop him.

I had no idea what to do. Who to call or where to go.  I felt all alone.  I lay wide awake, tossing and turning as I so often did before he became sober the year before.  I was worried sick.  Finally I heard his truck at four A.M. With tears in my eyes, I raced down the stairs and hugged him, and begged him profusely to forgive me.  He pushed past me and that’s when he said he nearly froze to death…so no, I was sure he wouldn’t kill himself.  He didn’t even like being cold.


To Be Continued tomorrow….



Just for one second, I thought, “Jesus, did he kill himself?” But my rational mind answered quickly.  No, he wouldn’t do that.  Why would he have said he’d check himself in?  Last week when he nearly froze to death sleeping in his truck in the mountains, he came home and going up the stairs to his room said, “I almost fuckin froze out there.”  No, he wouldn’t do that.


Chad had only been on drugs for four months. For the first two, it was mostly pain killers from back to back surgeries after falling off a roof.  Somewhere during the third month, a friend stopped by the house while I was at work and then called me.  He said, “Jan, something’s not right.  I don’t know what’s going on but it’s not good.  I saw kids I’ve never seen before.  I went back with the dog and a baseball bat and sent them home.  When I cornered Chad, he said it was coke.”

I was shocked. Chad had always been against hard drugs, both of my boys were.  I told his dad and his step mother agreed to make plane reservations, I made room reservations and with a family intervention, we were set to send him to a rehab in Minnesota, one of the best.  That never happened.  His dad disappeared, the plane reservations were never made and the whole plan fell apart.

The worst part was this; with Attention Deficit Disorder any amphetamine (Ritlin is an amphetamine) actually acted the opposite with Chad’s chemistry then it would in mine or most peoples’. He was calm, more focused, and more sociable.  He laughed more and wasn’t as moody or depressed.  I think the Devil stole our urgency.  And besides, from my limited experience, Coke seemed to be fairly benign in that it wasn’t instantly addictive as far as I knew.  It wasn’t Heroin or Opium.  I thought we had time.  We didn’t!

Crack never cross my mind. At the time it was such a ghetto drug and I had no idea just how prevalent it was in our valley or that the impact of inhaling Cocaine was a million times worst then snorting it.  Oddly, I never noticed the printed piece he had cut out and pasted to the lamp in his bedroom until after he was gone.  It said, “Marijuana, at least it’s not Crack!”  Drugs were just not an option or something I worried about in my household.  Call it naïve I guess.  It wasn’t a problem until it was.  How ironic that he was on top of the world when it happened.  He had graduated from High School and was flying high on his new plans for life.

The Rat Pack Snowboarders


To be continued tomorrow….




Why would he have said that if he had no plans of trying?  Why would he have called his boss for a ride to work?  Why would he have stopped to buy cottage cheese for his lunch that day?  So many questions would never be answered….


After the party, I woke up late the next morning to the sudden ring of the phone. Woozy and half asleep I heard my ex-husband’s voice on the other end, “Where is he?  Is he there?”  I heard something like accusation, frustration and anger in his voice.  Maybe all three.  I sat up in bed. “What!?  He never showed up?  What the hell?  Didn’t Valerie call you when he didn’t come over last night?”  He hung up on me, his usual way of handling things.

I was stunned as my brain scrambled to my rescue. What should I do first?  Should I call his best friends, Tyler and Travis?  These three boys had been joined at the hip from the time they were six and seven years old.   I clicked the button on the house phone and called voice mail.  Why hadn’t I thought of that last night?   There was a message, and with a sigh of relief, I realized it was Chad’s voice.  It’s funny how all of these moments, every word spoken, are frozen in my mind.

“Mom,? ….(his voice started to crack)…. “I Love you.”  Then I could hear him crying as his voice became more distorted.  “I’m soooo sorry.”  A click ended the call and my heart screamed.  What did he mean?  My mind rushed in to make sense of the message but my heart knew then what my mind could never accept.  It broke in half and I felt the pain, the darkness and an incredible fear.

Just for one second, I thought, “Jesus, did he kill himself?” But my rational mind answered quickly.  No, he wouldn’t do that.  Why would he have said he’d check himself in?  Last week when he nearly froze to death sleeping in his truck in the mountains, he came home and going up the stairs to his room said, “I almost fuckin froze out there.”  No, he wouldn’t do that.

Italy -2002

To be continued tomorrow….


~Self medicating on adrenaline most of his life, my son, Chad, lived on the edge.   I would find myself on that edge more than once trying to save him~



I have survived abuse.  I have seen the destruction of alcohol and addiction in many lives intimately connected with mine.  I was blessed with two very beautiful and sensitive sons with difficult learning challenges.  I fought like a mama bear as an advocate for their educational needs.  I learned about love, relationships and divorce the hard way.  I have had a broken heart more times then I can count; and yet I have learned how to walk through the ashes of grief, joining other intrepid survivors.  I’ve learned to trust Spirit when I didn’t believe in God for most of my life. Even though there were so many blessings, and great moments during my lifetime, it would be the challenges that would stoke the fires of alchemy that would change my life. While I may touch on many of my stories, the story that changed my life forever is the one I’m about to tell you now.

Part I of VI

It wasn’t until recently when at the Vail Symposium one night I learned of a similar circumstance. I never understood why I could see myself from a distance, like a spectator, one of many, the day I found out on June 8, 2005 that my son had ended his life.

Nearly eight months before that, Chad, at my insistence left to move in with his father. Six Foot three, he leaned over to hug me like any other day.  “I love you,” he said.  I was late for work and have always wished I could have truly engrossed myself in that moment, the moment that I would feel his body against mine one final time. But how can we ever know.

In hindsight, I noticed and just as quickly dismissed little clues that happened that day. Chad had gotten up early, which was unheard of for him unless it was a night of drugs.  I saw him in the yard, and opening the door I found it curious on that cold November morning that he would be picking up cigarette butts that were lying around the yard.  I was touched.  Rarely would he think of something like that, not that he wasn’t giving and sweet.  He just didn’t think in a consequential manner.

I glanced at the pile of clean work clothes I had laid on the bench by the front door. Shaking my head, I thought, “just like Chad.”  I grabbed the clothes and walked down the two steps as I saw Chad loading a tool chest in the back of his pickup truck.  “Chad, you forgot your clothes!”  I said and then added, “why are you taking the tool box and what is with your truck?  Why is it running so rough?”  I don’t know he said, “I’ll run it into the shop today.”  Chad worked as a mechanic and loved his job.  He had called his boss for a lift into town that morning, as he often did.  “You better get going; Paul will be waiting on you.”

I handed Chad the pile of clothes and he put them in the seat beside him and climbing in, rolled down the window. He rested his elbow on the window sill and the thought crossed my mind that he looked just like he did in his Graduation picture, only the truck was white instead of red.

He bought this truck, a white Dodge Sports with red lettering because he knew I liked it. Everyone would like that truck.  After he left, I must have cranked my neck one hundred and eighty degrees several times a day as there were hundreds of white Dodges on the road….but none with red lettering on them.

With tears in my eyes I said, “Chad, why don’t you come home for dinner tomorrow night. Your dad and I have to go to the Slifer Awards Party tonight.  Maybe you could pick up a few more things.”

Chad nodded and I turned to lock the front door. “Mom,” he said.  “If I can’t work this out on my own, I’ll check myself in (rehab).”  I shook my head gratefully, teary eyed.

Why would he have said that if he had no plans of trying? Why would he have called his boss for a ride to work?  Why would he have stopped to buy cottage cheese for his lunch that day?  So many questions would never be answered.






With a sharp inhale

Spirit breathed in your first breath

I hugged you tight as you cried out in my arms

All shiny new, pink and wrinkled

Your Quantum flesh suit was far too large

Yet infinitely too small to contain you

For you were always bigger than life

In this foreign land of ours


One of a myriad of Indigos

You were an intrepid way-shower of light

You would sing the songs of many voices

And hear silence in Van Gogh’s Starry Night

Standing so close you could touch it

You saw through the ethereal veil

You painted its picture for us to see

God’s love, a love that would prevail


Fearlessly, you lived on the Edge

A destiny you would not survive

It exhilarated and beckoned to you

It was the place where you felt most alive

And as you inhaled the view of your life

Precariously you walked its fine line


Younger, you once saw yourself in a dream

A silhouette teetering alone on the edge

The voice of Demons snarled your name

Caught between illusions of life and death

Life as you knew it crumbled, then shattered

As your silhouette took one last step

The step you couldn’t take back

As your shadow slipped from the ledge


On spinning wheels of sacred truth

You wove threads of Loneliness and Connection

Hand in hand you walked with bliss and agony

An Empath, you felt everyone’s emotions

So young, so many Lovers, so many Strangers

Who you will never meet

Yet your story survives, and you live on

 In a Legacy you can’t supersede


The Devil thrusts forth his greedy claw

Vulnerability and suffering has its price

Shame overwhelms the Hero

And you make the ultimate sacrifice

Sometimes strength is too much to bear

You wrote “Death before Dishonor”

As you reached deep to pay your due share


Spirit would once more come

 To intercept your final breath

You were so young, alone and scared

As you stepped trembling from that ledge

 Flying felt a little like falling at first

But on Elliptical wings you would soar

Diving and gliding on the thermals

Winds of Change carried you home once more


And for me, I’m left sifting through the ashes

Tracing through lifetimes for human truth

Revelers in the face of duality,

Always thirsty for something new

Lusting for delicious ambiguity

We hear Maya’s melodic call anew


This life will end for all us one day,

Hopefully, we gave it our best

It gave us everything we believed we deserved

When we go, what will we leave it?

What is the measure of the gift of life

In-between the two breaths of Spirit