Half-full or empty…

A young person once asked me to say something inspiring to her, because she was feeling low. “Tell me something profound,” she pleaded.

I stared at her and said that’s not how it works. She apologized, but I know she needed help. I’m glad she reached out, but I know I have my limits.

There are days when I am numb and blank. Just staring at nothing, thinking of nothing, feeling nothing but emptiness. It started about a year ago, and it was just one of those things where I couldn’t even think.

Maybe I’m tired. I’m probably spent with all the heartache and tears. Grief is exhausting, and I know I don’t have any more to give. I want my Allie back. I just want her to come home. That is all I want.

When someone tells me how amazing it is that I am doing something for Allie’s honor, I just don’t know what that is I am supposedly doing. Is this comment just empty platitude for the sake of saying something? I’m not judging the person who says it; I know the comment comes from a good heart. I just can’t see what’s going on. I can’t see the good. It is hard to see what good came from her taking her life.

I sound defeatist because I am. Tomorrow is the 3rd year that we lost our girl. I relive each moment. I remember each gut-wrenching second. It feels like yesterday, yet so long ago.

I hope everyone who knew her is going strong. I pray that everyone around her will continue to grow bigger and better. It’s such an awful experience, and I know those in the midst of their despair can’t think of anything but to end it.

I have nothing profound to say here. I am just a bit lost these days. I’m praying and hoping this will pass after this weekend. Maybe my life just will hum along at a pace, and I will make the best of it for my surviving kids. I want them to grow and blossom. We are not defined by suicide. Allie is not defined by suicide. She leaves behind so many memories, and I hope I will be able to only focus on the good.

Lead me through my faith…

I’m excited to share with you that I have been allowed to become trained and certified as an instructor for the Mental Health First Aid program for our local Catholic Diocese. Such an amazing program, and I am truly honored to have this chance to be a more active member of the mental health ministry for our community!!

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a prevention strategy that teaches how to help people developing a mental illness or in a crisis, including:

  • Signs of addictions and mental illnesses
  • 5-step action plan to assess a situation and help
  • Impact of mental and substance use disorders
  • Local resources and where to turn for help

My work will entail leading at least 3 classes a year. That’s the minimum. I hope we can reach as many people as we can – teachers, parish staff, parents, etc – those on the front lines who see our most vulnerable neighbors. I’m so very honored to get this chance, and I truly will not waste this gift.

It’s been almost three years since Allie took her life. I still can’t believe she is gone. I don’t know if I will ever come to terms with this fact fully. I will, however, keep praying that I will get to see her again. I just need to keep trying to be better so I can get to heaven and be with her again.

I miss my girl. I miss sitting next to her. I dream about her – brushing her hair almost felt so real that I woke up still feeling the touch of her hair on my fingers. I miss hearing people talk about her. I just miss her.

I keep this sadness in check, and I use this energy to do something. If you knew my daughter, you would remember her boundless energy. It was cooped up all the time, and she rarely sat still. She worked out every day. She went out and did something every day. She was a people person and could never be alone.

It’s this energy that I used to be in awe and wonder. She was all over the place and had friends all over the place. Maybe she hid her sadness with her activity. I suppose at one point she could no longer keep it in check.

I see now how so many mask their feelings. I’ve learned to treat every person I meet with patience and space. I’ve learned to listen. That is hard.

I pray each of us continue to try to listen. We all want our voices heard. But listening is a gift, one that so many will cherish when you give. It is in giving that we receive, and the receipt is a feeling of peace within your heart that you touched someone in a good way. It only takes one touch to make a difference.

Prayers & Support For the Faithful – Suicide Awareness Month

We pray that families and friends experiencing the loss of a loved one by suicide may find healing and comfort, we pray to the Lord.

We pray that those living with a mental illness, depression and suicidal thoughts may find the help and support that they need, we pray to the Lord.

Thankful for God’s eternal mercy, we pray for the repose of the souls of those who have died by suicide, we pray to the Lord. 

We pray that our parish may be a place of hope and refuge for persons experiencing suicidal thoughts.

“The future is so much in the hands of God, I find it much more easy to accept today because yesterday has gone and tomorrow has not come, and I have only today.”

Sr. Teresa of Calcutta

Watch Responding to Suicide featuring Bishop John B. Dolan, Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego and Deacon Ed Shoener, founder of the Association of Catholic Mental Health Ministers 

Watch Reach Out, You Are Not Alone featuring Fr. Fred Cabras