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What of My Life?

What makes my life so valuable, when my son’s life was not?

I imagine that if I ever were in such a bad place as to take my own life, it would be because I failed my son. I failed him in so many ways that I spend hours debating the value of my life. And have come to the conclusion that my life no longer holds any value.

I loved that kid more than anyone has ever loved their child. I walked through fire just to bring him into this world and god dammit, 22 years was not enough. I want him back.

Of all the wonderfulness that he was and brought into my life, just makes my mind and soul ache. Oh, I put on a brave face most days, but I am really not sure how much more can I stand. As I am in this house, I listen for him. The far away sounds of his computer playing video games and the way he would take the stairs two at a time coming down in the morning. I miss his smell and his voice and his wonderful smile. The way he used to get so excited like he couldn’t sit still. He had such enthusiasm about even the minute things, but it was always there.

I used to describe his smile to people by saying that he smiled with his whole face:IMG_6683

Do you see it? Even his ears are part of his joy.

How do I communicate what an amazing and wonderful person he was? And how it continues to devastate me every second that his is not here with me.

Why didn’t I see it? It had to be there. Was I so hard to talk to that he preferred to die rather than discuss it with me?

And what of my life?

Streeter's Mom Final

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HotWheels and MatchBox Cars

I should know better by now. It is simple too soon to try and throw or give away any of Streeter’s “treasures”. Today, it was his HotWheel and Matchbox collections. I am going mad sorting and trying ever so hard to dispense of this “stuff” and I simply cannot. It hit me about the time I picked up one of his HotWheel tracks that I recall having searched down every avenue for additional “streets” that his cars were to travel upon.

I am getting much closer to actually admitting that I spoiled that kid rotten. But he never acted like a spoiled kid, he was always so outgoing and courteous and helpful and charming. Loved to cook and when prompted would keep his room pretty clean and organized. (Okay, as organized as a teenager can be.)

Today, as I was alone in the house, I had the strongest sense that he was here in the house. And for a moment, I held a singular HotWheel car in my hand, that I knew I would have to keep it. And all of it. I mean, how do you put a price tag on something that was so important to him, and in return, to me?

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Seeing Less of You

Now that I have been writing about Streeter’s death for the last six or seven weeks or so, I think I am seeing the inevitable. The outpouring from friends has been amazing but it is has been waning in the past couple of weeks.

I knew it was inevitable, after all, people have theirs own lives to get on with. Or they still don’t know what to say or do. Or it just isn’t in the fronts of their minds anymore. Or they just plain don’t want to think about suicide in general, or my baby taking his own life or what its done to me.

As for me, my grief hasn’t waned and actually made worse by being in this house alone and really not knowing or understanding what it is that I should be doing. My grief counselor tells me that I am in a stage called “acute grieving” which makes sense as every day I wake up it seems to be worse than the day before. I think the world in general just wants me to “get over it”.

And KC’s finest called yesterday and told me that the case is officially “closed” and I can pick up anything they had previously been holding as evidence. Well, Streeter went in with nothing but the clothing on his back and the gun he used to shoot himself.

I’ve finally found someone (professional) that I can talk to. Just by coincidence and an immediate need to be able to share this with, I would up attending a group meeting in Lawrence. Yes, way out there in Lawrence. For those of you reading that aren’t from around here, its about a 50 mile drive. One way.

Oh and I think I figured out why I am not getting any calls about jobs… I had put a short message on my other blog about being on a hiatus because of Streeter’s death, and never made the connection with the fact that the first thing on my resume is that I am a blogger and I gave that url. People don’t want to hire someone who’s just lost a child to suicide.

I reached out to a recruiter that has been a fairly loyal recruited and we’ve worked together from about the time I moved to Kansas City. I sent him my resume and he called me back almost immediately to remind me that I had that blurb on the home page. Guess I know why no one else was calling.

Which pretty much puts me out of the market here in KC. I either have to leave or change the field of work that I’ve been in since 1985. I guess, since I won’t have anything to tie me to this city, it shouldn’t be hard to leave. It will be difficult to figure out where to go next.

I just got back from voting (special election here in Missouri) and my first inclination was to tell Streeter.

Everything is just as painful – maybe more so – than the day I found him dead.

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Lego Man Urn for Streeter

I found this great place online that builds urns for children. I knew after searching, I had found the perfect urn for Streeter’s ashes.

And for those who know that I want to spread Streeter’s ashes in Alaska, I am still doing that, I am just not spreading all of them.

The company is called Fenix3D. The idea was derived from the need of the founder to find an urn for his young son and not finding anything that looked appropriate. You can visit the website here and their Facebook page here.

Here are some of their Lego Man creations:

Yes, these are urns. And once I saw them I knew this would be what I do for Streeter (well at least half of his ashes). The one being made for Streeter is grey (sweat) pants and a red shirt and then same face as in both photos (smile with glasses). IMG_3527Streeter’s favorite clothes were grey sweats and a red coca-cola t-shirt. I will have to find a way to get the logo for the t-shirt and I will top it with an actual cap the he used to wear all the time.

Yesterday as I was working on the minifig displays, I needed some more black 2×2’s so I headed down to the Lego store. While there, I managed to put together a real Lego man with the same colors (in addition to picking up a couple more small Lego sets.

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The young lady working there helped me find the right pieces, and after I said, “Now all he needs are his own little Legos” to which she disappeared into the back room and came back with those teeny tiny little Lego guys. She mentioned that they originally were ‘awards’, a la The Emmys. Aren’t they adorable?

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I might try to paint one so that it also looks like the bigger Lego man and the urn that is currently being made.

God I miss him so much. I am closer every day to my Alaskan trip, the last one we will make together. It certainly isn’t going to be the same trip that he and I were planning.

I had thought that I might take someone, but in the end, its all about me and Streeter. I will give updates on the trip.

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A Little Bird

No, this isn’t about a little bird telling me something, but rather a real little bird:Little Bird

The momma bird was in the tree next to the driveway squawking at me the entire time. She must have figured out to rescue this little guy or he was able to get those little wings flapping. But he was gone a few minutes later when I went back out to put water in the birdbath.

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Is There Such a Thing as a “Crazy Dog Lady”?

Well, here I sit in this big house all by myself. I think this is the first time a long time that this has happened. And absolutely since my son died.

There is so much to do and yet I have no energy or direction to do anything. I stand up and make an effort but in less than 5 minutes time, I am restless and don’t wanna do it or my back starts hurting. Ever since I got that massage, my back now hurts. Sigh.

I know it sounds weird – it sounds weird to me – that my son is no longer here. It seems impossible that what happened, happened.

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I think how much my life has and will continue to change without him. Mostly since it doesn’t seem that there is any real reason to continue. I mean, everything – and I mean EVERYTHING – was extensively was the meaning to my life. Now that he is gone, I cannot think of one thing that I would like to do or see or accomplish. Nothing.

All of my old hobbies hold no interest for me. I don’t know if I should even bother packing them to move. Sometimes selling it all and moving far away sounds like a better idea. Re-invent my life somewhere people don’t know me.

Maybe I could become a version of the old lady with cats, ‘cept they would have to be dogs. Not really a cat person.

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Time Continues to Pass

Yep, day by day continues to come and then go. Some days are easier than others and some start really bad and end on not a happy one, but that something was done to help the healing.

There are days when I cannot get out of bed. There is nothing ahead of me but sorrow and loss and heartache and loneliness. I miss him so much yet my inclination to call for him to help me or give me a hug or anything. Its that routine and repetition hasn’t been erased just yet.

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We’ve put the sorting and sorting and selling of Streeter’s treasure on hold for now. I just couldn’t handle the idea of selling of the things that made Streeter so happy. His military uniform collection and his Legos. For now I am keeping it all. Later, probably years from now, when I am feeling stronger, then maybe – just maybe – I can let some of it go.

But for now, uh uh…

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Oh, It Was Fun

Looking back on the totality of my life, I’d have to say that my life was more fun and adventurous rather than sad.

True, what I wanted usually seemed so difficult to make happen, in the end it usually worked out. But everything always seemed to come with a price, be it stress, money, frustration and disappointment. Or something more.

I enjoyed a long and productive career making more money than many of my male colleagues… and this was unusual during much of my thirty years in technology. I had many men who looked to me for the answer, who sought out my counsel and relied on my expertise.

I’ve owned two brand new houses, the second being a “semi-custom” home (we found it while it was in its last stages). I’ve enjoyed new clothes, dinners out, new cars and the latest technology. Both with work and personally, I traveled all over the country… up to 48 states visited. I will soon make a final trip to Alaska (number 49!), but somehow that last state will elude me (Maine).

I had wonderful lovers and been married, although I lived in a very non-conventional lifestyle. Although I never completed my studies, I am well read and have certain favorites I return to again and again.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet many great and intelligent people. Many of them, I call ‘friend’ and am very proud to be able to do so.

I was fortunate to be born into a world where progress is being made with those who’s lives are a little different. I was able to see same-sex marriages happen and strides with others’ issues to be accepted for who they are.

After nearly five years of testing and surgeries and guesses and IVF tries, my son was born. There was nothing more precious and wonderful than the 22 plus years that I was proud to call him my son. More than proud. He was my beautiful baby boy.

Streeter Playing

Its been a good life. When I look back….

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The Dreaded Question

So, it finally happened. And I was no where near ready to answer the question:

“So, do you have any kids?”

The kind of question asked hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of time a day every day. An innocent question 99% of the time.

I really hadn’t thought about it. It wasn’t a stranger exactly, not someone I’d never meet again, but someone I would have to spend a not less than significant time (at the moment). I stammered something, something that wasn’t yes but wasn’t no. I’m not sure what I said, but she stepped in elegantly with words, I too, don’t recall, but were so very tactful and she let slide by my non-answer.

The past two months have been so difficult but I thought that I had told everyone that I thought of. It hadn’t dawned on me that there would be strangers in the world that would crack the door on my life and ask me personal questions. I guess there always has been and in the past, I would gladly and joyfully told them all about the perfect son that I had and how wonderful a child he was and how much he brought to my life.

But how do I answer now? “Yes.” “No.” “I did.” “I don’t.”

I did manager, however, not to cry. Came close, but held it together. She was working on my hair, cutting, coloring, etc., and finally the question came back around in another form. I finally told her that he had passed away. Nothing more was said and nothing more was asked.

No doubt this will occur again, and probably many times. Perhaps the next time it won’t be so raw, this hurt and pain I feel, and I will be ready to answer the question. But what will the answer be?

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Erasing His Memory?

Wow, I wondered if this day would ever end. Yesterday they finally replaced the carpet from his bedroom and of course, they screwed it up. So now they have to order more carpet to replace it, once again.

But I started in on his video gaming systems and the games themselves. He has been collecting them for years and at one point it hit me that it seemed that what was happening was that I was simply erasing everything that is left of my son. It hit hard and honestly, between crying jags, I simply could not really even get started. All these ‘things’ were precious to him and I want to keep them all, but I simply cannot.

How do I get through this? It is just killing me inside to have to go through all of his things and try to make decisions about keeping and selling. It doesn’t help that all day long I kept thinking that tomorrow marks two months since he died. My mind knows that he is gone, but my heart keeps wanting him to just appear. God, this is killing me.

I consider myself a strong, level-headed person normally, but how does that help me now? I am falling apart and usually barely ahead of just breaking down in tears and it takes all my strength just to keep going from day to day. And most days I really see no reason to get out of bed.

I honestly don’t know how much longer I can continue this madness. This grief is literally tearing me to pieces.

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Such a happy kid… what happened and why didn’t I see it?

Streeter's Mom Final

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