Monthly Archives: August 2017

22

Twenty -two. That is how many American service members and veterans take their lives every single day. Twenty-two. 

My son lost another comrade today. He posted his farewell on Facebook and by the time the authorities got there, he was dead. A young man, serving our country, took his ew.jpgown life, like so many before him. Caleb came to me terribly upset moments ago. We shed tears together. He said, “You couldn’t tell he was sad, he was always so happy”.

That is how depression works. The world sees a person that is all right. Everything seems fine in their lives, but depression lies. It says, “Everything is wrong, you are worthless, you are insignificant”. Depression lies. Even when you do great things and succeed and earn accolades, it is there whispering in your ear…”you are worthless, the world is a bad place, you will never be successful, everyone is better off without you”… And the circle of negative thoughts and even suicide begin to turn once more.

I didn’t know this young man. I haven’t known any of the men that have killed themselves that have personally served with Caleb. That number is six. Caleb served for six years, that is one member of the Air Force each year of his service that took his own life. With all of the care out there, the resources for veterans and our men and women serving in the armed forces, this should not happen. I am heartbroken. I am heartbroken for his mom and dad, friends, and family. I am heartbroken for my military family.

If you are suffering, you are not alone. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! It is not weakness to ask for help, it is not weakness to fight the demon of depression! It is a battle and you are strong. You have gotten this far. Please call The Veterans Crisis Line  at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, if you are serving or have served. Or text, 838255. Someone is there to talk to you and help you.

If you are not a service member, then please help out by joining The Mission 22 Team. Help spread the word and help our service members. They serve us, it is the least that we can do.

 

 

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Missing Max

     I am not only a mom to five pretty great kids, I am also a stepmom to another pretty great kid. Max came into my life as part of the Richard package. I met them both at a New Year’s Eve party back in 2009. Max was not even one year old. It’s funny, the friend hosting the party told me that she was anxious for me to meet Max and Richard. I thought she was friends with a gay couple and I was like, “okay”. No, it was the man and his son that would enter our lives and make our family even bigger and happier.

Max visits us whenever he is on break. He lives in Indiana with his mom, step-dad, and their son, and he has another step brother in Indiana as well. That kid went from an only child to one of eight in a matter of years. And now his grandparents have countless grandkids!

Max has been on airplanes many times; he has been flying since he was an infant. Now that Max is eight, he can take flights by himself, so we pick him up at the airport. It’s become easier and he always makes friends with the other kids on the flights. Sometimes he is the old pro, even when there is a twelve-year-old on the flight.

He got here at the beginning of June this summer and what a full summer we had! He had swimming lessons twice a week. We got to swim with some friends. He entered the library’s reading program and won all of the prizes easily. He made new friends at Vacation Bible School and they got to come over to our house and play. He and his dad went for many bike rides. And well…it was busy!

He went back to his mom last night. He was choked up on the ride to Houston but I know he was fine as soon as he was back with her and their family. I woke up this morning and as I passed his room, I looked in, the way I do every morning when he is here and he was gone again. I went about my morning routine with a sigh, reminding myself to straighten his room later on.

       This afternoon, I washed his clothes and was preparing to go straighten his room and Richard was in there putting things away. That made me sad but I think he needed to do that. He needed to hold onto Max’s things a little bit longer and remember the good times they had this summer. He needed to put things away and think about what we need to get for Max when he comes back in October and maybe begin to plan for that vacation. We always celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving when he comes home so the whole family is together, which we cannot do in November.

I love Max like my own. He is one of my kids and always will be. Sometimes he drives me a little crazy with his love of weird videos of people playing video games and I don’t know the names of the new Pokémon but I’m learning. I never planned on being a stepmom, I never thought I’d be helping raise another child, even if it is part-time, in my late 40’s but here I am. It’s exhausting at times but I cannot imagine our lives without the little scamp and cannot wait to see him again.