Thursday, August 28, 2014


I was a in France when I heard the news of Robin Williams.  I read it first on Facebook and even though I was in the gorgeous French Riviera with my new love, I couldn't help but to feel saddened by his death.  Ironic that he never came to mind when I thought about my favorite actor, as he was the lead in two of my most favorite movies, Dead Poet's Society and Good Will Hunting where his role was just as inspirational and moving as the movie themselves.  However, the sadness came from feeling a connection.  A connection that I feel now when I hear of a death by suicide.  I feel an utter sadness for the person who chose to take their own life, not because I know that how that pain feels, but I have seen it.  I've started it straight in the eye and it's a horrific monster.  I also feel a connection to the people left behind as they begin their journey of grieving, healing, and understanding.

There have been quite a few suicides since Dale's that have affected me.  The first one came about a year ago when a man a few years younger than me, from my hometown took his own life.  I can't say that I knew him growing up, but I knew of him.  Our mothers worked together for some time years ago.  My cousin was close with him and his wife.  And I knew his wife when I was very young when we played on the same softball team in elementary school.  I felt for her.  I thought of reaching out.  But I felt very far removed and the best I did was to tell my cousin that if she thought her friend needed someone to reach out, I would be there.  It's hard.  For me.  Other than the safe confines of this blog, I don't speak about it often.  On a day to day basis, it doesn't come up very often anymore.  But even when it did, it was hard to speak of.  And that, makes it hard to reach out to others.

The other one hit closer to home as it happened just a few days before this past Christmas.  He was actually my dad's friend.  I knew him pretty much my whole life.  He was never married, no kids, and had no family living in town.  He became sick a few years ago, diabetes, and since this man didn't drive, my father took him as far as an hour away to his doctor's appointments.  That's how close my father was with him.  I remember I found out the very day that I arrived at my parent's house for Christmas.  I found out, not from them, but on Facebook.  I don't think they knew how to tell me because not only was it a suicide, but it was done the same way as Dale.

So I couldn't help but to be affected when my USA Today app decided to update me while in Nice, with details about Robin Williams' death.  He had hung himself with a belt.  I remember reading that message and just stopping.  My heart sank.  It sank because I didn't need to know that and I especially didn't need to be updated with that news via text message because if I had, how many countless others did as well?  That is the way Dale chose to end his life, exactly.  This is actually the first time I have ever mentioned this on my blog.  My blog of nearly three years.  My anonymous blog.  To me, the how seemed too private.  Too intimate on a whole different level.  The how shouldn't and didn't really matter, what did was the result.  So my heart sank a bit deeper and I felt even more connected with people I've never met and knew nothing about.

I've started to find and read widow's and widower's blogs lately.  I've browsed in the past, but none ever stuck with me.  Now that I have come so far on my journey, I am curious how others have journeyed through healing and into a changed life.  It's nice to find a happy ending once in a while.


I can't help but to leave with some of those memorable scenes from Robin Williams, may you rest in peace.

My Favorite Scence from Good Will Hunting

What Suicide Isn't... This is very well said.



I recently started to watch Breaking Bad on Netflix.  I am not going to go into elaborate details on what this show is about other than to say that the main character has lung cancer.  He's a husband and a father to a teenage boy and a daughter soon to be born.  He found out alone and had made the decision alone that he didn't want to treat it.  During the episode that I watched tonight, the family had an intervention because they want him to make the "right" choice and chose treatment. 

When it was Walter's turn to speak, he said that he had lived most of his life by choices that he hadn't made for himself.  He said that even if treatment extended his life a year or two longer, he questioned what kind of  life that would be after all of the side effects from chemo and all of the stress that it would cause his family.  He didn't want to survive off of the pill after pill he would need to take each day.  He's not curable and he's very aware of that.  So instead of prolonging his life he chose to continue to live life as it is and to avoid an "artificial" life.  

There are arguments for both sides.  However, when it's terminal... when there is just a slight sliver of a miraculous chance that you will live well beyond the few months or year extension and live so relatively normally... I feel like that's a different ballgame.  Dale used to tell me it was selfish for others to want someone to continue on when they couldn't fathom the pain they were in.  Some would say that suicide or even this man's choice to avoid treatment is selfish. 

As a person who knows what it's like to have lost, it's a horrendous place to be.  Would I have wanted Dale to choose differently?  Absolutely.  But, I do wonder if that's how Dale viewed himself at the end, terminal, and he chose to go out on his own terms.  In many ways this is different than a cancer patient, but in many ways it's very similar to anyone who has a painful, killing disease and there seems but little hope.  I'm certain that Dale did feel that he had very little control over his life at that time.  Did he grasp what he thought was the little he could control and make that choice then?  I hope that there was a moment of pure clarity, where his mind stopped racing and the demons quieted, and he was able to make his choice with a sound mind.  Just as Walter wanted to do for himself. 

I've been angered, saddened, and hurt by his decision, but I never thought of Dale as being selfish in the choice that he made. 


For those of us lucky enough to be living without a sickness or a disease, I think back to what Walter said about not living a life based on choices that he made (prior to getting cancer).  That's depressing.  But I am sure that is true for so many people.  Even people who feel liberated.  Or those rebelling... is choosing the opposite really choosing?  I know that I didn't always feel like I had much control over what was happening in my life.  There were many choices that I didn't make, rather I let fate/destiny/life, whatever you want to call it, make decisions for me.  It is a helpless feeling. 

There are many things that I have no control over.  I can't control my landlord and stop him from raising my rent.  But I can choose to move.  I can't control what I am asked to do at work.  But I could choose to apply elsewhere.  We can't control the choices that others make.  But we can control our reactions and decisions that we make.  That's what choices are.  But whether we consciously make them ourselves or let outside forces make them for us, we are still individually responsible for whatever that choice may be and we need to own it.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles

Where do you begin when you finally felt like you were ready to really start writing and posting again and then... you don't?  You start with the best excuse you can come up with.  9,500. Nine thousand five hundred, that's about how many miles I have traveled in the past 20 days.  That's an average of nearly 8 hours a day and even though I have not been traveling 8 hours a day, I assure you that if I added up the time it took to travel those amount of miles, it would equal way more than that! 

Perhaps I should have reworded the title and called it "Automobile, Train, and Planes" instead.  I definitely used all three.  My adventure began with driving my son across the state to visit grandma and grandpa.  I took a train back home from there so that I wouldn't have to drive back alone, yes alone without my son and also so that I could leave my car behind since I wouldn't be using it back in NYC.  Instead, I returned back to NYC alone so that I could fly off to France with John.  Our first getaway together... Paris and Nice!  It was awesome to say the least. 

So busy, busy and tired, tired.  But so worth it.  It was energizing in its own way.  I have much to write about and so many pictures I'd love to post and share.  This post however, is my ice-breaker.  I'm out of tune and this hopefully will help me get back in sync.  :)