End of Year Thoughts


The first thing I want to say is thank you to every one of you who reads my blog! I know how busy we can all be so the fact that you stop to read here means so much to me, I appreciate all of you.

Another reason I'm thankful you read here is because my passion is not a cheerful one. It’s easy to skip my blog posts because they might be depressing. Yet, I feel compelled to share what life is like for people suffering from mental illness, substance use disorder, and grief. Sometimes I mix it up and write something totally off topic - to give us all a break.

This coming year is going to be a big one for me - my book will launch! Estimated arrival time is April. When that happens, I’m going to boldly ask that you help with the launch by spreading the word. I’ll have graphics you can share, but of course good old “word of mouth” is always best.

Now that my book, “Dying to be Free”, is at this point I have so many fears popping up: What if it’s terrible? What if people don’t like me after they read it? What if I offend someone? What if I just wasted $$$$$$$$$$ out of my savings? Only time will tell. If it is a flop, at least I know I tried. But I believe Keven’s story will help others, and if not, it helped me to write it!

Writing has always been healing for me, but this year I honestly think it saved me from descending even further into grief because it gave me a project to pour myself into. Now that the book is done, I can focus more on this blog and improve it. I’ve received suggestions from several of you on what topics you’d like to see covered. I AM ALWAYS OPEN TO HEARING FROM YOU! Please reach out to me for any reason!

Thinking of what lessons I learned this year, I realized it’s not that I learned a new lesson - but I experienced one that I’d known for a long time: Community is vital. Community is about growing with, and providing support to, others. My writing group and all the other parents I know through online communities (especially through Solace for Hope) have given me strength, courage, and the honor of being part of something special. We need each other no matter what we’re going through.

Something else I realized this year is people are even more uncomfortable talking about death, grief and Keven than I originally noticed. It’s not because people don’t care, it’s because they do care and they are so worried about hurting me they avoid the topic. My sweet nephew Ryan hugged me on Christmas and I broke down crying in his arms, he knew why and he told me he thought about Keven every single day but doesn't bring him up for to avoid making me sad. I reminded him that hearing Keven's name is always like music to my ears. But I get it. I have to readjust my expectations and be the one to bring him up as a way of saying "it's OK, to talk about him on holidays."


I wish each of you a happy, healthy and hopeful new year. “Happy” is such a loaded word - I hate to use it because for some of us it’s something elusive that only pops up here and there. But I hope that we, as friends, as a society, as a planet full of people - can get along better this year and focus on what’s really important: each other. Being kind, empathetic and supportive changes things, even if just for a moment. So hold that door open for someone, write that note (or text), hand someone on the corner with a sign a couple of bucks. Small gestures add up.


With Love,

Barbara,

Chester B, Evo, Tortie & Atticus