Something we should all think about.

Observe and report

Dear Fellow Humans,

I know it’s been a rough couple of days for Joshua Powell’s friends and family. I haven’t felt too great myself. I’ve been thinking about Joshua almost every minute. Images flash constantly in my mind: his black mesh backpack, the collar of his green school shirt, that math book, his pale wrists. I feel pain as acutely as if I were part of his family.

WTOC shared a photograph.

Look at his sweet face. You know he had a great personality. I just can’t bear it that he’s gone.

I also can’t bear all the comments people have been posting on the stories about the accident: allotting blame to the driver, the bus company, the city and — worst of all — his parents.

This has to stop.

When did we become a society so quick to assign blame? Has this always been a standard reaction…

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I have always wondered why people say that time heals all wounds because it doesn’t. It can’t. It won’t.

I know this because I’ve had some pretty painful “wounds” and time has not healed them. In fact, it made some pain worse and others … tolerable. Healing comes from within and with work. Acknowledging the wound is the first step. Acknowledging that hurt and that someone or something caused that pain in your life.  Acceptance is the next step.  Accepting that it has been done and that wound is there. Accepting that there was no control over those things and that they still need to be dealt with. Time can not do that for you, you have to do it for yourself.

Time can give you perspective though, but only if you’ve recognized that the wound is there and needs attention. This has been difficult for me because my go to “coping”, if you can call it that, is to just stuff it in the “junk drawer” in my mind. That drawer got too full and it spilled stuff out in random memories that were dark and painful because time did nothing for them or me. Life just sucks sometimes and acknowledging it, meeting it with truth head on, while not easy, is better. Realizing that I can not change what caused the wounds, but dealing with how I feel about it … is something that helps to heal those wounds and something that I do have control over.

Time can give you distance from the pain but it will never heal you. Only you can do that. It is a gift to yourself that you can be whole in whatever way is possible. You will be forever changed, but it is how it shapes you that counts. Scream and cry if you need to but remember that in the darkest night, a small candle light can break the menacing black. If a tiny candle can be that strong, imagine how strong you can be. Let time give you distance, but let acceptance and acknowledgement be your healers on the road to a brighter path.



The Broken Pieces.

It’s fair to say that we all carry burdens, our world’s crash in on us. I am sure you’ve heard the saying “pick up the pieces and move on.” I personally use a version of this myself. Actually, I’m a visual person and what I do is picture a glass world that I stand in front of placing the pieces together the best I can. This has worked for me on many occasions but I was so much younger then and what I realized now, is how tiny my pieces are getting.

That’s the burden. Trying to piece it back together so it looks like it makes sense. It will never be round and smooth but the first few times, just seems to work. Add kids to that world. Add autism to that world. Add death to that world. Actually, add a lot of deaths to that world. It can get so difficult to try to keep putting pieces back together while hoping you aren’t totally fucking up your kids. You realize, right then, it’s that the more the world breaks, the pieces get so broken … you no longer recognize them. It’s so foreign that you freeze. Remember that deer do that and it never really ends well for them.

Then it hits me. Who says it has to look like the one I started out with? Who cares if someone thinks my world is sloppy looking? I am still here. We are still living, crying, laughing, loving and surviving. I will admit, that there are days when I think the dam is going to break loose. I close my eyes and I look at my busted up world. Through it, I see my sons. I see them laughing and not even noticing that our world has duct tape on it. I have myself a little cry and then go back to picking up the broken pieces.




I was never big on poetry, in the traditional sense. Like to sit down and read works by a poet. Aside from High School English, the only poet I knew was my Aunt’s cat … T.S. Eliot. Not a friendly cat, either.  I would try to read it but nothing connected. Music is considered a form of poetry so … that’s about as close as I would get to poetry. Until I took a literature class while at college. Mind you, I was what they called a “mature” student. (Just love the fancy way they say old.)

We had to go over poetry and I was dreading it. I never understand the stuff, I thought. None of it ever means anything to me, I thought. Then I came across a poem by Stevie Smith. “Not Waving but Drowning”.

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning;
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.”

“Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.”

“Oh, no, no, no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning”

I immediately felt like someone, somewhere knew my secret but that was impossible for this was written long before me. Yet someone knew how I felt, or that I found someone who felt the way I feel sometimes. The thing I wished I could have said, that I was much too far out all my life … not waving but drowning.  Can you not see me?

I find myself in quite the spot, lately. Things that I have not thought of since childhood … screaming back like a specter in my mind. I think that I forgot to deal with some things. Oops.

I’m from an Irish family. We have a natural, biological tendency to hold grudges, yet are constantly told to forgive.  Odd, I know. I think that the lesson I missed is that forgiveness doesn’t mean that it magically erases the crap from my heart and mind. I guess I just stuffed it and now it wants to be dealt with. Rage and vengeance is just about tripping over each other to get out first, but what is in my heart stands in the way. I feel conflicted and its wreaking havoc with my sleep.

It finally dawned on me this morning, while sitting drinking coffee, staring at my computer screen, feeling exhausted. Forgiveness isn’t just letting go of it because you can’t. What’s done is done and can’t be undone. I will always carry it in some way, but in what way? That’s the key, right there … how I carry it.  It will never be a pleasant memory. It will never be made right. I can acknowledge it sucked. I can acknowledge that when I say I forgive it, that means I have to remember that it takes work sometimes. “Nothing worthwhile is ever easy Joe.” is something my Grams told me, a lot. I guess I’ve gotten to that point in my life where I realize that it’s ok to be good to me.




No matter what … remember that positive requires more effort than negative and negative should never be underestimated due to its’ ease. Look for the light.

I was sitting here this morning, thinking about life. How weird it can be. I remembered, when I was like nine years old, thinking that twenty-seven seemed old. I will be forty-seven this year and I laugh at that. I found my self realizing where I was in my timeline of life, and it seemed kind of odd.

It hits me that this year, my Mom will have been gone for two years. I have no parents now. It feels strange and unsettling at times.

That first year was really hard. Trying to work, deal with Pnut’s health issues and his outbursts at school without her … so incredibly painful. I felt so alone. I needed her really bad, but well meaning, advice. Well, not all her advice was bad. But just that having someone on the planet that loved you and had your back no matter what, made the weight of life somehow easier. I was scared. I was selfishly angry with her. How could she be gone? I felt so ripped off. (that was the selfish thing)

But here I am, almost two years later, still standing. Life has gone on and I have managed. I have more than just managed but have evolved to a point where I stand tall. Ok, tall for a short woman. I have been through a lot and learned from my parents that I could get through anything, if I had to. Like my Mom said, “It’s life Joe. I never promised you a rose garden. It’s more like a bowl of cherries. Sometimes you get pits. Have faith that you’ll get through it and you will.”


Stand tall as much as you can. Laugh as often as you can and as loudly as you can. Cry only when you need to. Love always.

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