Welcome to My Bumpy Ride.......

Before you all read on, I guess it is best to introduce myself to you and let you know a bit about myself. I am Susan, and first and foremost, I am a mother to a wonderful young man. Though he is grown, he will always be that three year old little boy, that asked all those questions and expected answers to them all. Though I will tell you much about myself in this blog there is no one or nothing that is as important to me as him, even if I don't discuss him much, because he kina likes to remain private.

For years I was actively trying to find myself, but that was a big waste of time, since by doing so I was not living. All my life I have always known that I was "different", but was unable to know why that was. I first thought that perhaps it was because I was adopted, but that was not the case. Turns out, I am bipolar and pretty much have been all my life. This was explained to me about nine years ago when I had a major melt down. I tend to be more on the depressive side, but have on occasion been quite manic. My last episode was early thru mid 2008, with full blown depression. For five months, I bearly left my house, let alone my bed. Why am I telling you this? I just want it out in the open and let you understand that I discuss my illness from time to time.

Present day, I am currently a full time student, studying social work. At the end of 2011 I was approached by a mentor of mine, who mentioned a new program that was going to launch here in Rhode Island. This new program called the Peer Wellness Coaching, was something that I had always wished would become a reality and to add even more excitement was the fact that this mentor was inviting me to train for a position as one of the Peer Wellness Coaches.

So currently (spring 2012) I am part of the three phases of training and should be employed by the fall of 2012. What is even more excellent about this program is that they are aware of my education goals and are willing to work with me on maintaining those goals.

Also you might hear me mention NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), because I am actively involved with them. I am a facilitator and state trainer for the NAMI Connection groups (peer run support group) here in Rhode Island, and I also help teach high school and college students about mental illness through NAMI RI's Inside Mental Illness program.

So with all that being said...I hope you read on to my daily activities and thoughts and such.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Alphabe-Thursday – Love and Loss

Alphabe-Thursday through Jenny Matlock’s blog.  Today’s letter is L. So here goes…
Though this entry is part of a prompt, I decided that I would dedicate this entry to those that I have lost and loved.

This first person that I am sharing with you all is not actually someone I have ever met in person; he is someone I have grown up to know through those that had lost him.  I guess you can say he was my Uncle Freddie.  His picture is below.  He died when my mom was around six in 1945 in the Staten Island Bay.  He himself was about nine years old at the time of his death. 

The reason why I added him to this list is because I have grown up knowing the pain of loss of a son and brother, and the guilt that ravaged through those that had lost him.  Gram was his mother, mom was one of his younger sisters, and my Aunt Gloria was his older sister. For my gram it was the guilt that her as a mother could nothing to save him.  For my aunt it was the guilt that she even carried through til she died, (we found journals) that she chose not to go out in the water with him and keep him closer to shore. 

For mom though it was not the guilt, it was more of a fear.  I was a swimmer growing up and basically lived in the water.  Because of her fear, she never could watch me swim or dive.  Honestly, if it wasn’t for my dad, I would have never known the wonderful feeling of swimming. 

The first person that I loved and lost was my gramp.  He passed away in August of 1986 and as sick as he was, he made sure that he attended my high school graduation.  I used to remember how he didn’t say much.  He had a serious speech problem.  Since I did as well, we always felt that we had that in common. Actually my friends were always like, “Huh, what did he say?”  Guess I really didn’t notice it too much because well he was my gramp and I totally understood him.  Anyways, when he did talk, OMG did he totally have wits.  So Here are a few shots of him as I remember him. 

You could always find Gramp on the floor playing anything we were, as long as he could of course!

In the spring of 2000 my sister Tammy (she was the girl in the I Alphabe-Thursday) had a heart attack that left her a coma.  She remained like that throughout the summer, until she passed away that September at the age of 40. 

I had never had a really close relationship with my mother and for the most part, Tammy was the mother that my mother should have been.  She really got me and encouraged me to never change and just be who I was.  For every negative thing I said about myself, she was right there to point out all the positive things about me.

Out of the losses that I will share here, this one was by far the hardest one that I have ever had to live through.  Two years after her death to almost the day, I had a complete breakdown.  I am not saying that it was the lost alone that caused my breakdown, but I believe it was the final straw in a large pile of it.  Even today, I work on climbing those stairs from the pit I had fallen into ten years ago. Below are various shots of my sister Tammy.

This is one of the last pictures I have of my sister before she passed away.

This picture was my mom's favorite.  My brother Tommy, me and Tammy.

Tammy and I really didn't have much in common, but riding was one thing we did.

May of 2008, my mother’s sister Gloria passed away.  I had grown up knowing that my aunt was gay, even though she never expressed it to anyone in the family.  It was just something that we knew and we didn’t know how we knew.  Well everyone except for my mother who was completely clueless. 

I remember loving the fact that Aunt Gloria was free to be a forever tomboy and no one questioned her.  My mother resented the fact that I was never ever going to be the kina girl that enjoyed dressing up or doing girlie things like my sister.  My Aunt though, she like my sister, encouraged me to do what I like and not care what others thought about it. 

When my mother and I drove to Ipswich, MA to go to my Aunt’s memorial service, my mom told me that only a couple years earlier, my aunt told my mom that she was gay.  When my mom said that she had no idea, I had to laugh, not because my aunt was gay, but because my mom was way clueless or wore some really big blinders on her eyes.  I think about the courage that it must have taken for my aunt to tell my mom and the others she shared with.  I couldn’t even imagine the turmoil that was going on inside of her having been born in such a time as hers and I thank God that women and men today can be open and not have to go through all that Aunt Gloria had to go through. 
Here a picture of my Aunt as I remember her.

This was my Aunt Gloria, Me and her son David

For years my gram suffered from Alzheimer’s and on my son’s birthday in November of 2009 gram passed away.  It was also while my mother was in the hospital for her first surgery for lung cancer.  It was one of the worst months of my life.  I was in Florida already and having to clean out my grandmother’s things was not something that I had planned on. 

Gram was GREAT!!!  I loved her to pieces and I know, most people totally love their grams, but I am telling you, gram had a true heart of gold.  Gram used to be the one to express to me that mom had her own issues and that a lot of the things that mom said or did to me was because of issues she herself were dealing with.  She always reminded me that mom never gave me a chance to really get to know.  Gram also reminded me that mom loved me and honestly it was hard for mom to look at me and kind of see the things she didn’t like about herself in me.  Now I am not saying that gram would sit me down and tell me these things, because we really didn’t.  Actually I can only pinpoint one time there was an actual sit down discussion with gram.  It was more like I would be walking passed her or helping her cook and she would shot out something that really made me think. 

Gram used to take a grandchild a week during the summer and boy did we totally look forward to that, because that meant alone time with gram.  Since I was the youngest, my time was extended at the years rolled on.  Often I got to go to Bradley Beach, NJ with her and it was such a good time.  One day I will write much more on my gram, but sadly this is extra-long and well I am not sure anyone is still reading.

As sad as I was of her death, it was so much easier than my sister’s, because it was something that we were fully aware was going to happen.  We had time to gather our thoughts about it.  Below is a shot of gram as I remember her.

This is me, Gram and Tammy.  We were trying to get her on our horse Storm, but she chose the other one instead.  I never could understand that, Storm was a much easier ride.

This past January mom finally lost her battle with cancer.  This was something that figured was going to happen.  Though I was not over close to my mother, I did love her and part of me thinks she knew that, or at least I would like to believe she did. 

When I went to visit her for the last time, her friend asked me to ease my mother’s guilt on her parenting.  I really had a hard time with this and thankfully her friend asked me before I made the trip south.  After some serious thought about wanting to make her feel better and me not lying to her, I came to a very good thing to say to her.  I basically thanked her for being the best mother that she had the ability to be.  I was scared that she might take it the wrong way, but she didn’t, in fact she looked at me and asked if I was sure and I said yes as I watched a small smile cross her face.

That is pretty much all that I am going to say about my mother, because, well there are many blogs where I have expressed my feeling about her.  Below is a photo of my mom during my life time.

There is only two pictures of just me and my mom and I think I like this one best.

Lastly is my dad.  Dad has not passed away yet, but he is in hospice care, and well he is not doing well at all.  I added him to the list here because in a way I have lost him already.  He is not at all the same man that I grew up with.  Like my gram, my brother and I have come to terms what is going to happen soon and basically we both have begun the morning stage already.  It has been a very sad year for the both of us and honestly we have a cloud of sadness hovering for both our parents.  Having lost my mother and the near loss of my father, my brother and I have realized that there really is just the two of us and my son left. 

Below is a picture of my dad in better times.

Me and Dad at his 50th birthday, wow like 28yrs ago.  

God bless you if you got this far.  I know it was long, but it was something that I wanted to do anyways and since the letter was "L" I figured, why not.  Anyways have a good one.


  1. wow, that is a lot of loss. I cannot imagine how you feel but I hope in time, you find some peace in their passing. I know people all says that but I mean it. it's a circle of life, you know, sometimes you just have to accept it and move on.

    thanks for sharing this. have a good day.

  2. Hello Susan, I did in fact read your post all the way to the end. Was it sad? Yes, but also, it was a very loving and understanding post about the people in your life who may not have been perfect but were still lovable. I think you have much wiseness in you. Also, I love the way you write. You write in a style that is as though you are just sitting and talking with a friend. I think it is great!. Thanks for sharing your family and photos with us.

  3. Ahh...I love that God allows wonderful people to pass through our lives. THey all have influence and in the end make us better people.

  4. That's a lot of losses for oe person. Sounds like your relationship with your mom was much like mine...I finally understood her and why we weren't close in the last years of her life. I'm glad that I was able to forgive her for the things I thought she did wrong as a mother. It gave me a great deal of peace and allowed me to be more compassionate towards her.

  5. I am not close with most of my brothers and sisters, and there are things some of them do that I just plain don't agree with. To stay sane amidst the chaos, I decided some time ago that I didn't necessarily have to like in order to still love them. That was, for me, a liberating moment.

  6. You have tremendous memories--thank you for sharing them and the photos.

  7. Oh my dear.

    You have endured so much loss.

    The passage of time does make some wounds easier to bear...but it never heals them, does it?

    I hope writing this helped a little bit.

    Sometimes sharing our pain diminishes it...just a tiny bit.

    Thank you.

    Bless you.