What If You Inspired Yourself?

What If You Inspired Yourself?

Well, June was quite the month in the Koenes house! We welcomed summertime in Texas, hammered out a new routine, hit the pool a lot, collected a few ear infections, got rocked by a few pockets of grief, cried a lot, and ran over some family firsts (like full on boxing matches and screaming sesh’s) and made it out with only minimal collateral damage! Whew!

… I’m glad it’s July.

I have restructured my parenting plan after the ridiculous month we just had. I decided to cut back my work hours and tune into my kids more. When they hit that first grief pocket in early June, it nearly knocked me out of the game. I was unprepared and completely caught off guard. And, while I can expect my kids to get hit with these tidal waves of grief on a regularly irregular basis, periodically, and randomly over the next… well, forever… I cannot be so surprised in the future. I took this as an opportunity to regroup, lean in, and change the game plan moving forward. Even though I was already giving 110% effort to love, parent, and support them, it was all falling flat. Something was missing. And, dammit, I will figure out how to reach my kids hearts if it costs me everything. Luckily, children are simple (not easy) and resilient (not necessarily adaptable).

It’s been about two weeks of less working from home for me, less babysitter time for them, and more “being in the moment” for all of us and the kids are responding beautifully. Even though I was working from home and very present physically in their lives, I was very detached from any cues for attention, emotional connection, and heart bonding opportunities. This is what I am working to change.

Yesterday I “slept in”… you know, because if I’m giving so much emotionally, I need “me” time, right? It was a no-plans type of Sunday morning and I decided to take advantage of the rare occasion by staying in bed till almost noon. Now, I don’t want you to think silly thoughts like, “Oh, she was actually sleeping,” or something. No, no. Of course not. I awoke at 7am, as usual. However, what made this such a glorious morning for me was that I was able to finish a little work, catch up on some meaningless (but hilarious memes), watch some motivational videos, and do some reading… all before I rolled out of bed! It was a beautiful morning! Around 11am the kids came bouncing in for about the fifth and final time. They catapulted themselves onto my previously tranquil bed and plopped down on either side of me as closely as humanly possible without becoming part of my body. We all giggled and I started showing them some old home videos I had posted on Facebook over the years. We spent about 20 minutes cracking up, reminiscing, missing Tyrel, and enjoying the old family memories. Then they bounced off in Tigger-like fashion to get ready for the Sunday “morning” breakfast that was coming for them just as soon as I rolled my-thousand-pound-self out of bed!

Something unexpected stuck with me from those videos as I hobbled down stairs to prep brunch for the loves of my life.


I was behind the camera (a.k.a. phone) on every single video queuing, coaching, commenting, and cackling. It was a glimpse into my “old life”, and I was reminded of the kind of mom I used to be: always present, always accessible- physically, emotionally, mentally- always involved, always nurturing, always providing, always giving, always happy to serve. It’s what I was made to do. I loved every minute of it, even in the times I felt sanity evaded me… I remember telling myself, “It’s okay. This is my job. This is all I have to do today. Nothing else is expected of me other than to keep them alive and loved. And this phase won’t last forever.”

Watching myself with my own children actually inspired me! It was a reflection of a season where I was giving life my all, I was holding nothing back. I was rocking motherhood, and I remember the feeling of the priceless reward of pride and a full heart. So, I thought to myself as this all dawned on me yesterday, I can do that again. Sure, there are a few more responsibilities I have to think about now (you know… like being the only parent and providing for the family for the rest of our lives!), but it’s all doable. I feel very inspired!

Then I paused.

Wait. Did I just inspire myself?!
Yep! A previous version of MaryBeth- the simpler, younger version- has come back to inspire the new version of me- the older, more jaded version. What a crazy thought!

Well, it happened. And now, I am not trying to be someone else, nor am I trying to live in the past. I’m choosing to fight for the best version of myself in every stage of life. I’m fighting to be the best mother I can be. I’m fighting to keep my own life and my littles lives afloat after losing their dad. I’m fighting for my dream to be published. I’m fighting to give my kids opportunities to grow, play, and enjoy the world. I’m fighting for the kind of life and family I’ve always dreamed of having.


So, I wonder… does this happen to other people? Surely it does. Have you ever looked back at younger self and thought, “Yeah! I remember when I was like that- free, courageous, carefree, living in the moment- I could use a little more of that in my life today!” I’m not saying I wish I was 28 or 29 again, because I sure as hell DO NOT! But there are parts of me that were working in full potential that are only working in percentages now. And I don’t think it has to be that way…I’ll let you know how this little theory pans out in a year or so…

What do you think, can you inspire yourself?




As always, if this particular sequence of words moved you in heart, mind, soul or spirit, please follow my DrinkerBelle Blog and FB page, comment, and share the post.  My story is not just for me, and neither is yours. #everymindmatters

Hashtag #everymindmatters and share this blog, your story, or how you’ve seen mental illness.  Join the fight against ostracizing those who suffer where you can’t see.  Let’s learn how to create a safe place in our society for truth, help and support.  We are not alone.

My New Forever

My New Forever

*Disclaimer: The content in this article may be too graphic for some readers*


Can I just say that I have some pretty fucking phenomenal friends? (Side note: almost all alliteration by me is intentional.)


Tonight’s blog is brought to you from a sobering glass of… water, perhaps a bit of dark chocolate candy, but mostly by a text I just sent a friend of mine who was checking in on me after what she knows has been a less than winning 10 days of parenting for me. Her text read, “How is everything? Is this week any better?” My response was this:

It’s a little better. I’m choosing to not wallow in all that is daunting and completely out of my control. I have to adapt and adjust and learn how to love and parent my kids in a different way. I am no longer a society norm, as just another single mom… so I’m forcing myself to make the curve so I don’t take the kids down with me if I was to choose to give up trying… which is exactly what I really want to do.


I went into this weekend still reeling from a horrific weekend with my kids last weekend. We fought. We threw jabs. We screamed. We cried. My parenting ego was gravely wounded. It was the worst of times. And I was looking forward to this weekend being busy with MaryBella’s dress rehearsal (Saturday night) and dance recital (Sunday night). Surely we wouldn’t have time to bicker and throw legendary tantrums if we had so many places to be and people to see! My dad and his wife (Opa and Oma) were coming in town for the event, as well as Tyrel’s mom, sister, and our nieces and nephew, and my sister’s and their people. It was the social spotlight of the month!

So, it was all going swimmingly until around bed time Saturday night. As I cuddled my very sleepy 7 year old in her bed, she started sobbing. “Mommy, I didn’t like seeing the daddy/daughter dance at dress rehearsal. I was standing backstage waiting to do my jazz dance, and I saw all the daddys dancing with their daughters. (sob and sniff) And I wanted daddy to be here so I could dance too. (sob, sob, tears, tears.)” And that heart I always refer to as “crying, but never breaking,” did indeed, break right in half. I cried with  her. Wave after wave of deep sadness and heartache met us in that little twin sized bed all covered in pink. She fell asleep with wet cheeks.

Then I rolled out of that twin bed and with a deep sigh, walked across the room to the other twin bed where my sweet five year old lay waiting patiently for a song and snuggle. But first! He wanted to have a chat (like he does every night… pouring his soul out as he drifts off to sleep). However, on this night, the subject matter was of a different tone. He was sharing a few of the ideas he had about how daddy died (nails in his arm or head, maybe splinters, or something heavy that broke his chest open), when I stopped him and asked, “Beckam, do you remember when we talked about how daddy died?”

“No,” he said.

My heart sank. What?! You don’t remember me telling you your dad killed himself?! You are going to make me have this conversation again?!

Heart pounding, all my previous props I’d given myself for handling the whole “Tell Your Kids How Their Dad Died of Suicide” nightmare was sucked out of my body, that room and my soul. I was humbled. Broken. And panicking about how the next moment… and 10 years were going to go.

I gave him a brief recap: “suicide = when someone kills themself. That’s what daddy did.” It was slightly more gently worded than that, but I’d like to see you make suicide sound gentle… or remotely “child appropriate”. You can’t. It’s not.

He gasped… again. Just like he did the first time I told him. Then, it all went to shit so fast I don’t even know what was said when.

“Oh, yeah. When I get sick in my mind like daddy and I kill myself too, you’ll be old and MaryBella will be older…but not as old as you…”

Trying to control the involuntary shaking that has taken over my body and not show my utter fear and devastation at what I just heard roll off of my innocent, precious five year old son’s tongue, I respond.
“Wait, Beckam. No. You aren’t sick in your mind, and not everyone gets sick in their mind, and…”
“No mommy. I’ll kill myself so I can be dead with daddy and you will be old, so it’ll be OK…”

Fighting back the urge to freeze this moment, walk away, and never have to pick this conversation up again… ever, I scramble for words.

“No Beckam, daddy wants you to live a long life here with me and MaryBella and all the other people who love you…”
“But mommy, I won’t do it now. When I am older and like, I have kids and MaryBella is older too…”

Horror. Just flip-your-soul-around-like-a-chopped-up-pancake-horror.
“Buddy, mommy would cry forever if you died. We would all be so sad if you weren’t alive…”
Patting his chest with his small, dimply hand, he said, “Mommy, stop talking. I feel sad. If you say anything else about daddy my heart will cry two tears and I don’t want to.”

“…Ok, but just remember you aren’t…”
“Mommy, STOP!”

I granted his request. With eyes wide, heart pounding out of my chest to the ceiling, and using every ounce of willpower I had left, I pushed the raging storm of tears back and sang him his favorite song as he fell asleep.

I love you forever, I like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be…


Surely Heartbreak herself visited me on Saturday night. She is a fucking bitch. And I hate her guts.

I spent the next day (Recital Day) fighting off tears so hard my throat and chest felt like they would explode, then I cried in front of my kids (they were very concerned-one said “stop” the other said, “cry as much as you need”- I was confused, so I stopped), then I cried on my dad’s shoulder, then I cried during that stupid fucking daddy/daughter dance that I knew my baby was watching again from backstage, then I cried during each of her four dances on stage, and finally I cried myself to sleep.

A couple people knew what was going down in real time. And one of them threw a lifeline: “Come over.” So, Monday I peeled myself out of my pillow of tears and dragged my ragged ass to a 2.5 hour gymnastics class (because I had to, I’m the only parent, and no one else will keep this rusty old machine running if I decided to sleep in/not be so damn adult all the time), I punished myself further with a cardio workout at the gym (apparently I am a glutton for punishment), and then headed to my Lifeline’s house… she had a pool and I had the booze. The kids swam. They were happy. All of Death and Heartbreak’s lingering stinch only surrounded me, and evaded them altogether. I was, at a minimum, thankful for that.

My friend and I talked the night away. Her husband took our kids out to eat and for ice cream while I tried to process what the fuck happened this weekend.

And, with a friend, some words exchanged, a couple spiked sparkling waters, and a little sleep, here’s what I came up with:

I am not the same. My sweet children are not the same. We never will be like we were before September 15, 2016. I am not just a single mom. I am not just raising kids on my own. I am not just a widow… or just a divorcée. I am in a different boat… category… sector of society. While I can still intermingle with all people, my view of myself must change. Because if it doesn’t, I will not make it. I will succumb to the overwhelming desire to throw in the towel and call-it-quits. Because I can’t. I can’t keep up with the other categories of parents and families. I can’t pretend I’m the same… we’re the same. We’re not. We overlap with some other sectors in society: single parent homes, daddy’s not around for whatever reason type of situations, we’re all just trying to raise our kids and be happy, our family looks a little different than most, etc. But we have this other one… no, these other two parts of us that are very truly different and very much never going to change: the other parent is dead. And that’s because of suicide.

If I can finally just absorb these two differences, then I can alter my gameplan/parenting strategy. Because what I was doing before was not going to be sustainable if Death and Heartbreak can apparently visit whenever they please without notification or invitation.

So, my mind and my heart are changing. Softening maybe. Or hardening. It depends, I guess. But, more than ever, I am determined to intentionally and lovingly lead my kids through a childhood without their dad: all the stupid fucking daddy/daughter dances we will get slapped in the face with over the years, all the other disappointments that comes with not having a dad on earth, every memory, sad moment, tear, and most of all… every grief pocket that is sure to come for each of us.

To my babies:

I gotchu. I won’t ever leave. I won’t ever quit. I won’t ever stop fighting for your hearts and spirits to be free to love and be loved. I won’t ever give up on you. I won’t ever give up on me. I will always hold you in my heart and in my arms. Nothing… nothing is too big for us to overcome. You will always have me on your side and in your corner. I will slay dragons and fight demons for you. You are not alone. You will always have a home with me. So, chin up, lovies, for there are brighter days ahead for you both, and I’ll be right beside you the whole way.

I love you forever, I like you for always, as long as I’m living, my babies you’ll be…





As always, if this particular sequence of words moved you in heart, mind, soul or spirit, please follow my DrinkerBelle Blog and FB page, comment, and share the post.  My story is not just for me, and neither is yours. #everymindmatters

Hashtag #everymindmatters and share this blog, your story, or how you’ve seen mental illness.  Join the fight against ostracizing those who suffer where you can’t see.  Let’s learn how to create a safe place in our society for truth, help and support.  We are not alone.


I Lost.

I Lost.

Today’s one of those days I feel I am losing the battle. The casualties are racking up and I feel powerless to stop the madness. It’s been building for days now. Tension. Frustration. Anger. Tantrums. Screaming. Fighting. Name-calling. I’m not winning. They profess their hatred of me every time they don’t get exactly what they want when they want it. And it all seemed to be triggered by me finally beginning to organize/purge the house of clutter and chaos. Here I was thinking I was finally going to give my kids a warm, inviting home to relax in, and I unwittingly created a mutiny. One of those “life just fucks you over” type of things, I guess.

I feel broken and empty. I see them hurting each other and reaching out for me, but it feels in vain. I’ve already given them every ounce I have. They already possess it, yet they’re lacking. They have bleeding wounds and I don’t have the strength or training to assist them. They are my heartbeat, my world, and all that I want in life. But I don’t know what else I can give? I have nothing left. My daughter just got done screaming “YOU NEVER LOVED ME! YOU NEVER EVEN WANTED KIDS! I KNOW YOU DON’T WANT ME!”

Oh, my heart! How can thoughts like that even cross her mind? She has no idea that she’s all I ever wanted my whole life. She and her little brother are the reason I still get up every morning and keep taking air in my lungs. If she can’t see that, how could I ever convince her?

Things are getting harder. They were hard, then it eased a little, and it’s hard again. I am trying to figure out my role in that change. Was it something I said or did? Have I been distracted or unavailable emotionally? What’s normal? What’s acceptable? What should I let slide? Where should I put my foot down? Or… is all of this just because we’ve hit another wave of grief? I loathe the reality of children having to feel grief. They should never know such a horrid emotion. But mine are faced with it daily. And my heart is fucking breaking.

I’m so angry. So, so angry today. I am so mad at him for making me do this on my own. They should be able to call him and see him whenever they want. And he should be the other half of parenting. But my kids only get me. They get one-side, one-view, one-perspective, one-opinion, one-method-parenting. And that’s just not fucking fair… for any of us. The truth is, as hard as I try to be both, I am only one parent. I am only their mother. They don’t get their dad’s perspective, ideas, thoughts, words, love, input, and encouragement. They only get mine. And that’s fine for the most part, I guess. But on days like this… it’s just not fine. I don’t feel fine. They’re not fine. Nothing is fine.

And yeah, yeah… it’s not about losing one battle, it’s about winning the war. But what the fuck is the war even, and what is this battle about? Am I fighting my bad parenting instincts, grief, poor behavior from my kids? I don’t know! And if it is grief, how do we deal with that? Because I know enough to know it can’t be an excuse for terrible, destructive behavior. But on the flipside, it’s real and heartbreaking for them. So, as my throat throbs from yelling over the screams, and my stomach hurts from the flailing jabs it took in the tussle, I wonder…

How do I turn this around? How do I keep their hearts open to me and the lies about my love for them from sinking in too deep? How do I fight to control what seems to be an elusive monster growing between me and the precious hearts of my babies? And how much is parenting and how much is grief? And what in the fuck can I do to help them just be Okay?


DrinkerBelle’s Thoughts On: What It’s Like to Date a Single Parent

DrinkerBelle’s Thoughts On: What It’s Like to Date a Single Parent

Ever wonder what it would be like to date a single parent…or, better yet an “only” parent?

Well, it doesn’t really matter, because today is you get to hear in excruciating detail all the glory and horror it encompasses so you will never have to wonder again . . . Let the fun begin!

The thing about being a single parent is that . . . it’s hard. Not hard as in a difficult task to accomplish necessarily. But, hard, as in-strip-you-of-all-your-ever-loving-worth-as-a-human … hard. Here are a few prized elements we, as a single parent will inevitably and without hesitation, lose:

  1. Energy. the littles have zappers and they zap you all day, even when they’re at school, because they left boobie traps at home to zap you into remembering who you REALLY are . . . which is nothing without them, and a life where you are never free of their hold on you.
  2. The ability to breathe. Or hear your own thoughts. Or have an extended amount of time where you are actually untouched: bumped, scratched, pulled on, knocked in the head, the deflector of toys, etc. And because “tired” is a thing of the past. You live more on the terms of “absolute exhaustion” or “fatigue” all day, every day, with no end in sight. Breathing is labored, hunger is skewed, sleep is elusive and you? . . . Who are you even anymore?
  3. Personal Emotions.Because you’re constantly intercepting, filtering and redirecting tiny human emotions . . . which, are actually not tiny AT ALL. They’re loud, intrusive, uninvited, and very . . . no, extremely untimely. So. Damn. U n t i m e l y.
  4. Brain power. You know, that ability to process, discuss logically, and problem solve efficiently? Yeah, that is a thing of the past . . . and we only hope it revisits in the future, but it doesn’t look promising at this point. Simple tasks, questions, and necessities become looming, ominous points of ridicule.
  5. Personality. I know what every parent is thinking, “We all go through that in the younger years, when you’re restricted to night feedings, nap times and tantrums.” I assure you this is an entirely different game being played. Those innocent little children you’re now raising on your own steal your personality with what can only be called calculated resolve. They are determined to find your breaking point and proceed to wedge you deeper into the black vortex of looming shit you have no choice but to handle with their never ending demands for more snacks, more play time, more toys, bickering with their sibling, whining about clothes they don’t have and can’t find because they put all of the CLEAN clothes in the hamper and somehow it’s because of YOU . . . YOU are to blame.
  6. Oh, but that’s not even near the list, I just didn’t want to take this to the “she’s really lost her marbles with this grotesque picture she’s portraying . . . of her life.” So, I’ll just squeeze in these last few, as one should never forget the demands from: School. Homework, sack lunches, signed papers, conferences, performances you MUST NEVER miss, field trips, play dates with school friends, mean kids, pretentious office ladies who are more ignorant than any middle aged person should be allowed to be, etc. Appointments and activities. Doctors, dentists, orthodontists, occupational therapists, eye doctors-and all the notes, extra trips, phone calls and making sure your little “patient” approves of the healthcare provider you-by a miraculous measures-managed to find time to research, call and schedule with. Then there is gymnastics, dance, karate, soccer, t-ball, and all the sign ups, and the scramble to buy and continually relocate all the gear that is without fail lost into oblivion on a weekly basis. Sexuality. Let’s see, how shall I put this tactfully? They challenge it, that’s for sure. Time. Just in general, time is a continuum you will never reach again. You won’t know it, it ignores you and actually, it hates you. It’s always working against you, even when you wake up 3 hours earlier than you need to leave for a “relaxing” family day event. Doesn’t matter. Time doesn’t see or acknowledge your effort. You will always be late. Holidays. Honestly, can we just wait to shop for appropriate clothing, decorations, take special photos, buy whatever goodies this date demands and meal prep for when these little rascals can actually help?! No? Oh, well, we will suck it up and make their childhood memorable then . . . the good kind of memorable. The kind where they forget the unfortunate trauma they had no say in deciding on . . . you know, the part where their parents split, were deployed, or died? Yeah, that.


So, now that you have a small glimpse of what a single parent may endure on a daily basis, let’s step it up a notch and talk about those of us who are “the only parent”. The only difference is this: we have no one to regularly send our sweet little lovies to on a regular basis (guilt-free) so we can catch a “break”, and we have no one to split the costs of raising children with (like when you get a $2,500 orthodontist bill for your SEVEN year old, like I did this week. Awesome). We are a step up on the “Crazy Ladder” from the regular single parents. We can be very . . . very scary at times. Unpredictable. Flighty. And, well, seriously just crazy.

I feel this is a perfect opportunity to thank and apologize to everyone in my life. Truly, I treasure each of you and cannot thank you enough for standing beside me through these years of uncharted waters!

Back to the point of this blog: What is it like to date one of us? Eeeeee! It sure is entertaining at an absolute MINIMUM. Here’s the thing, while our lives are absolutely out of control, it actually makes us very easy to please . . . initially. All we want is for someone to actually listen to us (so we can remember our voice actually has volume, because little people seem to not be able to hear our voices and we often wonder if we even live among humanity anymore). Time, we only dream of a time where we don’t have to make a decision, fix a problem, clean up a mess, prepare food, plan an entire day for multiple people, or wipe an ass. That’s always nice. Kindness in the most simplistic definition: appreciation, affection, sweet words, thoughtful gestures.

And that’s really it! We’re good after we’re given these few, generally overrated things!

Well, done with what I call the Introductory Phase, at least. After we have these few treasured jewels of treatment for a little while, one may notice us falling asleep, becoming more relaxed, and, dare I say . . . happy. When someone else sees us, it reminds us that not only do we truly exist in the world that very rapidly turned upside down on us, we matter. And, this isn’t to say that we don’t know we’re badass and valuable and worthy of love and all of that good stuff on our own. We know that. But when another human jumps on that same train of thought, it is empowering and deeply valued. We soak it up and never, ever take it for granted . . . then we usually fall asleep, because we’re so warm and peaceful inside!

The Conquering Phase is next, and well, umm, that one isn’t quite as cut and dry. This is the phase where one must conquer the mountains of defenses (trust, mama/daddy bear tendencies, fears, etc.) in order to reach that big, beautiful beating heart we carry deep inside the walls built of past experiences, lost lovers, unforgiving tragedies, countless disappointments, and utter heartbreak. But, the real treasure with us [the single parents] is this:

We’ve lived. We’ve built kingdoms and watched them fall. We fought for our dreams and lived through their death. We’ve carried a diverse array of emotion and pain while functioning in life. We’ve been broken. We’ve put ourselves back together. We’ve made our own way out. And because of it, we do not take lightly when genuine care is shown to us. We treasure true love, and we treat others the way we want to be treated. We are strong as nails, and soft as silk. We are masters of living that kind of heart-pounding, dynamic lifestyle where in any given moment we are protector and nurturer, fighter and lover, assertive and compromising, tough and tender. It takes all of that to raise tiny humans on our own and watching over their souls, so we have a lot of practice in caring for other’s hearts, needs, deepest secrets, and biggest dreams.


Best of luck to all you single and only parents out there, and to those who are brave enough to stay the course and discover our true glory!



(By the way, I’m drinking tea as I write this one…)

P.S. Just a note: Obviously, not every single or only parent decides this kind of life for themselves. Some choose to hold on to the past, blame others, place their children in the middle, or put their own pain above their children’s. This article was written to bring a touch of humor to understanding those of us who have chosen a parenting path of forgiveness, empowerment, independence, and love . . . it is a marathon and it is challenging every day. But, oh so fulfilling and always worth it.


As always, if this particular sequence of words moved you in heart, mind, soul or spirit, please follow my DrinkerBelle Blog and FB page, comment, and share the post.  My story is not just for me, and neither is yours. #everymindmatters

Hashtag #everymindmatters and share this blog, your story, or how you’ve seen mental illness.  Join the fight against ostracizing those who suffer where you can’t see.  Let’s learn how to create a safe place in our society for truth, help and support.  We are not alone.

When You Find Yourself On the Upside of the Atomic Bomb

When You Find Yourself On the Upside of the Atomic Bomb

Quick Update from Previous Blog (Hello, Life: You’re Sort of Beautiful): The three of us sat on my bed and I explained to my sweet seven and almost-five-year-old what the word “suicide” meant. The were relatively unphased. Then my youngest asked if that’s what daddy did. I said, “Yes.” And my oldest processed aloud, “…because daddy knew he was sick in his mind and he was going to get sicker and he knew he would see us in heaven one day, so he chose to die now so we wouldn’t see him get sicker.” Picking my jaw up off the floor, I responded, “Yes, that’s exactly right. Daddy loves you very much and wants you to always remember that.” They both expressed their overwhelming relief that I was not dying or sick too (my poor babies…they have already experienced so much more than I could save them from) and then asked to go to the Rodeo.

I realized in the days that followed that children don’t have a reference or stigma to connect to regarding suicide or choosing to kill oneself. And, it turns out, they both walk with a little more security and confidence after the “Doom’s Day convo”. This was completely unexpected, but I’m beginning to understand it. They were wondering…all the time, in play, in their dreams, at school, as they watched movies, “Maybe that’s how daddy died…maybe daddy hit his head and died…oh, yeah! I bet that’s how daddy died-he stubbed his toe so hard, it killed him…” They had nothing concrete to land on when they thought of their dad dying. I gave them something they could hold onto and stop wondering about; with that, their minds finally found some rest. They have something to work with now. We can process, grieve and talk about this in layers for as many years as they need to. We are all a little freer to live on. We found the gateway that will allow us to find our “new selves” after losing him: the truth.

And for me, the load is exponentially lighter and my mind is clear. I am still shocked and thankful for the outcome and all of the support given during this season. To each of you who has loved us, thought of us, watched out for us: You will never know how much you have impacted the course of our journey, thank you from the deepest parts of my soul…


Now for more incredible news! As I was taking a mini road trip with my sidekicks today, I let my mind wander…one of my favorite pastimes….

They were giggling, playing games, and gut laughing for the entire two and half hour drive. My heart was full as I listened to them and realized how precious our life has become. They are happy. They are safe. They are loved. And they know it. We have met tragedy and grief was forced down our throats, but here we are. Happy. Safe. Loved. What more could I ask for?

My mind wanders on…I am completely content. I am stable emotionally, financially, relationally. I have my family, hardcore, incredible friends and rich relationships. My BIG dream career is taking off. I lack nothing in life. How did that even happen? What a difference 6 months can make! And then I ponder love. The cynical, heartbroken, jaded divorcee’ slipped through the back door and ran away sometime in the last several months and I realized this life-altering phenomenon: I’m not afraid of anything anymore. Literally, having moved through the last few months of “weighty tasks” that were put on my plate, I have found that if I could do those things on my own…there really isn’t anything I can’t do. I’m not saying I didn’t have support. I have the best support system imaginable. But I pushed through some pretty fucking brutal moments by myself. I had to manage my terror, handle my frailty, and learn to tap into the well of strength that lies deep within me. It was an absolutely monumental experience.

I rose above the blazing fire and atomic cloud of smoke to discover a different version of myself: the fearless one. And guess what that means? Dreams, risks, and all the unknowns of life don’t scare me anymore. I’m not afraid to get hurt. I’m not afraid to fail. I’m not afraid to lose. I’ve already done all of those things…more than once…on an epic scale. My heart has been shattered. My life has crumbled. My security has been completely yanked out from under me. And, yet, here I am. Not only standing…but happy and well cared for.

I am a severe extrovert. Basically, every day I wake and lie down to sleep with an inner monologue that sounds something like this:

This is it! I am free. I am capable. I have everything I need to be happy, fulfilled and stable. My kids are centered and cared for. I have peace, they have peace. And if LIFE is a party, then I just get to party hop from now on!

Of course, I understand there will be more challenges in my future. But, honestly, I see now that, at a minimum, I will be able to fumble my way through them. I think the word for this whole thing is empowered. But even that word doesn’t seem to scale the heights of what I’m living.

And a little som som I’m now pondering: I believe every human has the potential to discover this kind of “enlightenment” about themselves, so I wonder what brings us to that point? Is it rock bottom? Is it heartache/break? Is it tragedy? Is it chronic dissatisfaction? I think, perhaps it’s different for each of us. I would love to hear your thoughts on this…Comment and Share!





As always, if this particular sequence of words moved you in heart, mind, soul or spirit, please follow my DrinkerBelle Blog and FB page, comment, and share the post.  My story is not just for me, and neither is yours. #everymindmatters

Hashtag #everymindmatters and share this blog, your story, or how you’ve seen mental illness.  Join the fight against ostracizing those who suffer where you can’t see.  Let’s learn how to create a safe place in our society for truth, help and support.  We are not alone.

A Parent’s Nightmare: The Suicide Bomb

A Parent’s Nightmare: The Suicide Bomb

Disclaimer: (I know, always with the disclaimers! I’m just trying to protect you from the big, bad world of life gone wrong.) If the “F” word makes you wince, if other people’s pain scares you and if you don’t know how to handle hearing really stupid life stories about how life can take some pretty terribly horrific turns, well, consider this your very strong warning to stop reading now…it’s been “a day.” And if I normally “don’t hold anything back,” well, tonight is gonna be an absolute throw down.


So, through the course of this and that and all the shit that follows life after a suicide occurs, I have known that one day I will have to dish my innocent, precious babies the cold, heartless truth that their daddy hung himself. They know that he “hurt himself really badly and died…and he chose to die,” and the god’s honest truth is I thought that would “hold them over” for at least a couple of years. I was naively wrong. It actually needed to happen months ago. Before you all go up in arms about child-appropriateness, timing, waiting “till their ready,” and everything else I threw at the 5 different child therapists I’ve consulted, I’ll teach you what I now know. They need the truth. The cold facts. If they don’t get it now, they will grieve what they perceive surrounds his death instead of what it really is. If they carry on without knowing, they will have to re-grieve the truth of his death when they find out. And that, my friends, is one of those- over my dead body will they have to rehash anything on accord of ME being too chicken to face the fucking horrible reality of my life and theirs-kind of moments. So, today I decided I must sit my two, innocent, bright-eyed, beautiful, thriving, lively children down at some point in the next 2 weeks to let them know that, not only is their daddy dead…he hung himself.

I already have PTSD from having to orchestrate the whole “breaking the news” ordeal of his death to them, and now…round fuckin’ 2. I cannot imagine having to tell your child anything worse than what I am faced with (perhaps there are worst things, but I’m right in the middle of the biggest adult-sized tantrum you can imagine, so naturally, I cannot think of another situation being worse). How, I mean, HOW do you walk into a moment where you are knowingly traumatizing yourself and even worse, the 2 most precious things in the world to you? How do you do that?! I am constantly calculating worse/worst case scenarios: should I tell them before they go to gymnastics (their favorite thing in the whole world) so they have something “positive” to distract them after the dose of reality I shove down their throats or will that ruin the best thing in their life right now and possibly forever? How am I supposed to know? It all feels like a lose/lose.

I just made an observation the other morning: Man, I haven’t cried in a few weeks…the tears must have weaned away. That’s kind of nice. Well, guess what? That thought bit me in the ass hard this week. I have cried my ever loving eyes out for days, and then today. Today. Today I settled within myself to do such an unthinkable thing, I don’t even want to know it, talk about it or bring it anywhere near my children. They are my world. I bend my life inside out for them, to make sure they know every day that they are loved and cherished, wanted and cared for. So, doing what I’m about to do makes absolutely NO sense. I risk everything here. I risk breaking their hearts, crushing their spirits and worst of all, losing my heart connection with them, which is what I have given everything in life to maintain since the day they were born. And, here I am, actually considering giving it all up, for what? Truth? Fuck the truth. Fuck suicide. Fuck this whole thing. I hope, oh God, how I hope, that people who suffer from any silent disease will read my words and try to find more fight within or outside of themselves to NEVER take their own life. Even if you think not one single person on this twirling, swirling world would notice your disappearance, I assure you with one thousand percent certainty: at least ONE person will notice, and you will literally fuck up at least ONE person’s life. So, if nothing else motivates you to get help, please, let that.

The shockwave of Tyrel’s suicide is miles and states and continents long. He had no freakin’ clue anyone would notice or care…well, we do. And his family, friends, students, and his babies and me are left to scramble to pick up the broken pieces of the “bomb” he lit himself up with. We all have limbs, organs, and pieces of us missing now. There is shrapnel everywhere. Worst of all, my children, his mother and his sister. Let me make this even more clear than it probably already is: a person is not something one just simply “gets over.” There is no getting over this. There is only moving through it. And holy God almighty, it is nothing close to doable. I can’t. All I’m doing is trying my best to love my kids in this moment and keep those hearts open to me.

So, as you kiss your babies, your parents, your siblings, your spouse or whomever you love goodnight tonight, just remember how fucking precious their life is to you. Do not hold a sweet word, a gentle hug, a loving touch or wink of the eye back from expressing.

While you put my very wise words into action, I will continue to scoop leftover mashed potatoes into tupperware and wipe tears and snot off my face with a dishtowel (you may or may not want to accept a dinner invitation from me after this). This is never what I imagined being a parent would entail, but guess what? You have to man up when shit breaks the fucking fan. But seriously, maybe I should plan a beach vacation a few days after I drop the bomb Tyrel handed me to pass along to our children.

I do believe I have moved into that one stage of grief they call anger.


As always, if this particular sequence of words moved you in heart, mind, soul or spirit, please follow my DrinkerBelle Blog and FB page, comment, and share the post.  My story is not just for me, and neither is yours. #everymindmatters

Hashtag #everymindmatters and share this blog, your story, or how you’ve seen mental illness.  Join the fight against ostracizing those who suffer where you can’t see.  Let’s learn how to create a safe place in our society for truth, help and support.  We are not alone. 



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