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My Personal Opinion

One thing in particular that’s mentioned from people struggling with grief is how people start to avoid them. Not like a polite kind of slow fade out either. I’m talking like cut off…no easing out…no explanation (not like we need one)…they just disappear. If you think about it, that’s pretty fucked up. On the other hand, I can’t say I get it but…I think I may know why people do it. Not that it’s right, it’s still 100% the shittiest thing to do to someone. Hopefully, explaining this from my POV and personal opinion makes sense… For me, I’ve noticed how I seem to always try to explain my pain of losing Jace. It probably seems so repetitive that people are afraid to ask how I am or even cringe at the thought of mentioning anything that might remind me of him…not that it would matter because eventually something about how I’m struggling will be mentioned. It probably seems like I am looking for pity or…pathetic attention…constant sympathy I guess. Believe me….that is the very last thing I want! When I’m at a loss for words or trying my best to explain what this is like for me…inside it’s a feeling of desperately wishing for an answer almost. I’m turning 45 years old this week and I am so lost. I mean, unimaginably and completely lost. Now I know I’m going to sound like a lunatic when I say this but, when has that ever stopped me?? And this will probably not make sense to anyone…I sure as shit know it doesn’t make sense to me…. And please, keep in mind how incredibly difficult it is to explain something that I know is impossible. Besides the disparity of wanting some sort of answer, I also just want Jace back. When it seems like I’m rambling on to everyone else, I’m hoping the more rambling will wake me up from this nightmare. I’m never going to apologize for being brutally honest about my feelings. I’m just sorry that there’s such a lack of compassion and support from people who don’t understand. The sane part of me knows I’ll never get an answer for my pain, Jace isn’t coming back no matter how hard I wish, ramble, plead…no one will ever truly know how I struggle or feel. And that’s ok. I’d rather have someone say nothing at all and just listen or let me feel it than to be cut off. Shit…I’d rather have someone be as brutally honest with me and tell me…”Look, I cannot deal with you anymore because I don’t fucking get it. You’re depressing, hot mess of a disaster and other people have problems too”….I would much more respect the honesty than the cowardly cut off. Obviously that would mean one less person in my life. Ha…I almost have to laugh at the thought of anyone thinking I’d even care at this point. Other than my family, I can count on one hand the number of people I trust and talk to. No matter what anyone may think, I’m completely fine with that. It reminds me of something my grandmom said…”I’d rather have 4 quarters than 100 shiny pennies”…I was 5 years old when I heard her say that. Forty years later, I get it.

I am repetitive with certain things I say. Losing a child is unnatural, unbearable and something a mother will ever get over. I always feel like I’m walking on eggshells, trying not to offend other grieving mothers when describing Jace. It’s the main reason I usually make sure to always say….”I know I sound like every other grieving mother when I say…blah, blah, blah…” I would never disrespect a mother whose lost a child but, I’ve decided to stop using that phrase. Every mother should feel the way I do when I say MY child was special, MY lose is different…because it’s an individual truth. For me, Jace was so unique, so different. Not only because he was transgender…because he impacted so many lives in only 25 years. He was meant to be here, there was a purpose for him. I so believe that! I can’t count how many times I’ve told him that. The letters I found last year in one of his folders was proof that I’m not just sounding like a grieving mother, there WAS something special and different about him. Over 20+ letters, all from different people throughout the years would all say how crossing paths with him made them better people, made them feel that knowing him made their lives better, made them more positive about life and achieving their goals and dreams. Some only had known him for a few weeks or months, others for years. Now there’s no convincing me otherwise with why I say he was different, special, meant for so much more. The world should’ve known him…it sure would’ve been a much better world to live in.

May 6, 1995

The day I had my first child changed my life. Everyone says that 😒🙄… well, because it really does. For most teenage mothers I think a baby becomes either life-altering or life-awakening. Having Jace awakened every chamber in my heart and soul. It was like feeling my heart beat for the first time. My life had meaning, goals, positivity to thrive and prove the world wrong about the stigma of being a teenage mom. That day the term ‘unconditional love’ had a whole new meaning. Because of him I became who I was. Because of him my heart opened up the doorway to love even more as a mother (3 times more lol). I was an 18 year old who had no idea what or where I wanted my adult life to go…that was before I became a young mother. The only people who had any faith in me were my Mom and Dad, Donna and my sister. And even my Mom and Dad were probably losing circulation with crossed fingers at first lol. I had soooo many people who doubted me…and that’s just putting it nicely. I didn’t really care. I was so blinded by love of that baby that I would’ve moved Heaven and earth to make something of my life. And I did. My life changed on May 6, 1995 and my life changed again on September 5, 2020. Another thing I often repeat is how I’m a stranger to myself now. Of course I love my 3 girls and grands more than anything in the universe! Just as I described about Jace, I’d not only move Heaven and earth but, mountains and rivers for them as well. That will never change…just everything else has. My heart is so shattered, so broken that I honestly feel it. I’m so different. I remember a few weeks after Jace passed I looked in the mirror and I had aged 10-15 years overnight. I don’t smile the same, I don’t laugh the same, I don’t think the same…I don’t even love the same (excluding my girls and grands…expressing it just changed…it’s harder). It sounds cliché but, my physical body is just a shell over hollowness. I feel nothing about anything anymore. I know life changed for all of us when Jace passed. No one loved us the way Jace did…or ever will. His heart was his gift and a curse. It’s nauseating that 18 months has passed since he’s been gone. I feel like everyone is dealing or at least masking their pain a whole Hell of a lot better than I am. Everyday feels heavier. I feel like there’s an overwhelming amount of pressure for me to be handling my feelings and pain better but, all that’s done is make me hide it to the point where I just overflow…and I even hide that and do it alone. My heart will never make it for too many years. This is going to kill me. Whether I am crying uncontrollably alone or in the middle of the street for everyone to see…it doesn’t matter. I can truly say there’s no way my heart can do this year after year after year. I just don’t know how other grieving mothers are able to do more when it comes to grief and positivity. I almost want to reach out and tell them it is okay to say how heavy this is. As much as I admire those women and the strength the show…it’s got to be breaking them down or it will eventually. No amount of will power, faith, religion, positivity is stronger than the love and pain we go through after losing a child. Next time…whether it’s me or someone else you know…is desperate and vulnerable enough to trust you by trying to put their pain into words…don’t think of them as weak or looking for pity/attention. Hug them tight, hold them for however long it takes and allow them to feel it, to cry those tears out. Most of all, be there and be present because you want to be. If you don’t, be honest and tell them.

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Finally Getting My Chance To Be Heard

It’s been really hard for me to keep up on here. I feel like I’m regressing with my grief…going backwards maybe?? It’s been 18 months since Jace passed. Just writing or saying that brings instant tears. I know everyone grieves at their own pace but, I know this is something that I will never get over. My sane mind knows he’s gone…yet, there’s still the thought of…”When will this be over so he can come home”…my heart really breaks more everyday. The truth for me is…the more time passes the harder it gets.

So, I guess it’s been about a year ago that I started emailing/messaging congressmen, the White House, The DOJ, ACLU, ect…(yes, I seriously sent the president and just about anyone who has some sort of political seat tons of messages) of what happened with my Jace. Sure, it sounds crazy…maybe. I really don’t care. I just want someone, anyone to acknowledge or hear me…give me some answers or something. Of course, I’ve heard back zero times. Well, I did get a couple of automated bullshit responses that basically tell you…Thanks, we’re not interested. That was until last week. Senator Bob Casey emailed me. He actually read and responded! He sent condolences and requested my phone number with dates and times that I will be available to talk and tell him more. It doesn’t take much for me to get overwhelmed. After reading that email I was floored! I just cried because someone finally took the time to hear me. Now that I’ve replied with my info…emotions I haven’t realized until now, anxiety…have officially taken over. I don’t know how I’ll get through this phone call with him without breaking down. I think I should write down everything so I don’t leave anything out. I’d say I’m nervous but, it’s so much more than that. I’m just thankful that someone is willing to take the time to listen and help who actually has significant rank to actually…maybe do something.

Now if I’m being completely honest, I’ve been thinking a lot about what happens next. Reality…that’s what happens next for me. Not that the reality doesn’t slap me in the face everyday…waking up and knowing Jace is gone. The reality of fighting for answers, for justice…and that Jace will still be gone. That may not make sense for most people. For me, I feel like this battle is giving me something to fight for…to still protect my first born in a way. In the end, the outcome inevitably is the same for me. Justice or not, when the fight is over that reality is going to feel heavier.

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The Truth About Grieving An Adult Child After One Year….

Well, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I know it probably seems that way for a lot of people. Sometimes it feels that way myself. I’ve never really been the type of person to hide my feelings. Since Jace passed, I am more than uncomfortably honest when anyone asks…”How are you doing?”…. Imagine asking someone that question and them answering…”Not good would be an understatement. I’m a fucking disaster but, I seem to keep waking up each morning”….Uhh, YIKES! Right? Well, it’s the truth. Every single day I tell myself that I’m going to do this or that, not put things off, work on my coping mechanisms before I’m overwhelmed with anxiety or sadness. Every single day I think is going to be the day I work on motivating myself and put on a brave face and conquer the simple ass to-do list I make every night before I go to bed. I try to convince myself that a year and nearly 5 months has passed and maybe I should put forth more effort into feeling human again. Well I got some shitty news for everyone…it really does get worse with time. There are two women who were up front and honest with me after Jace passed. These two women each lost a child in their 20’s also. They told me the first year is brutal and it’s hard as Hell but, it’s also numbing. The second year will be even harder than the first. Boy, they weren’t kidding. A few people cringed and thought they shouldn’t have told me that. I don’t like surprises and I am so thankful that they were honest. One of those women lost their son 18 years ago. She said it took her over 10 years to grieve her son less. I don’t think my heart can manage this pain for 10 years. I know everyone’s grief is different and unique but, not everyone had my Jace as their son. Since the milestone one year mark has passed all of my anxiety and pain has intensified. I remember feeling as though I was starting to come out of my shell more about leaving the house in August. Now I struggle just to go to the store. On top of everything….pre menopause has joined my grief party. As if I need more help feeling like a freak show. Yay me…😩 I’m so extremely irritable all the time. Like, every second of the day I become more irritated and annoyed that I can’t even stand myself. I’m super cranky or I’m crying. You would think people would be avoiding me. Instead, my kids and husband seem to want to be around me more than ever. After I shoo them away and my head stops spinning like the exorcist, I start crying because I feel bad. Honestly, it takes all my strength and effort still just to survive one day to the next. I can’t push myself mentally to do more than the little to nothing I do each day…even if surviving feels like an accomplishment for me. No, I don’t sit in a dark room and cry all day. I manage to function and even laugh and smile with my grandkids. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of needlework crafts. It’s calming and my main coping mechanism. I do have one thing I want to work on more which is this page. I’ve mentioned in a previous blog that I have a bunch of unfinished posts that I seem to have gotten distracted from. I’m hoping to work on them very soon and get them posted. Other than that…I’m just doing the best I can.

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Talking & Sharing About Grief

I have to admit that I am extremely picky when it comes to the people I actually do speak with about my pain of losing Jace. Shit, I’m pretty damn picky who I talk to about pretty much everything. The last 10 or 11 years of my life has been quite a roller coaster. So much has happened…good things, bad things, surprising things. I hate to say it but, those years brought me more pain that the bad things outweigh the good. It would take forever to talk or write about so, I’ll just save that for another time. The one thing that stands through those years are the people I keep close to me, the ones I know I can trust, talk with about certain things. It ends up being mostly family. Although I’ve weaned out a lot of bad seeds, I do still consider others I’m not always in touch with my friends. It’s hard to keep in touch with people as life takes us all down different roads. I’ve always had such good intentions to always want to keep up with different people but, I guess I’m just not that great at it. Definitely one of my flaws, I guess you could say. Maybe this isn’t a great excuse but, that’s what happens when you have a big family. Since Jace passed, keeping in touch with people outside of my extremely small circle is just not at all one of my priorities. I may sound mean by saying that even though I don’t mean to. I just don’t have any desire to reach out. And there’s many reasons for that.

I don’t really know how to explain this (just like everything else) but, I have my “Go To” people when it comes to talking about Jace. They’ve known me forever, they listen…I mean truly listen without judgment, without advice, without suggestions. When I’m at a loss for words or if I just get a little quiet, they’re not jumping in with telling me about something else. They are just present and there. Those few people are so important to me and I appreciate them more than words could ever express. Right now I’m just not someone to rely on when it comes to being a friend. My mind drifts…it’s still going through the fogged with what therapist’s call Grief Brain. Sometimes I’m not as clouded as others and that’s usually when I’m in touch with…hmm, I don’t want to say my “Not Go To” people lol. I guess I just try to keep up with the other few people…the ones I talk to when I just don’t want to feel so…griefy lol. I’m just as grateful for them because they don’t expect much from me. They understand when I can’t always be as supportive, they know I’m still struggling. They are also the ones who can usually make me laugh when I want to cry and can distract me on my bad days without even knowing they’re doing it.

So, yes…I am very picky because this pain of losing Jace…with everyone I’ve lost (my parents, Donna, Gail, even my Ozzy) is now part of who I am. Obviously, losing Jace is my greatest loss that’s changed me. As much as I do love talking about him, it hurts too. I don’t want to feel undermined by hearing how someone is also suffering. I’ve lost a lot too. I don’t mean to come off so mean and bitchy. Who I am now I’ve decided to protect. This journey is so personal and I don’t feel just anyone is allowed in. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about the friends I’m not always in touch with. I care a lot about them. I just happen to care more about me and how much a can handle.

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January 13, 2022

I have about 3 blogs that I haven’t posted because I can’t seem to focus on finishing them. Today I really couldn’t get my shit together and I’m convinced that I’m just losing my mind…kinda. My head is always all over the place. After Jace passed, I think my brain stopped…like someone pressed pause for a couple months. Then all of a sudden it clicked back on and went ape shit! It hasn’t stopped since. It is non-stop going at a speed that can’t be calculated…day and night. Today I think it sprung and blew a fuse. What triggered it?? Well, I think anything would’ve since I’ve been bottling up a lot of emotions….and not really using my resources to express them. Anyway, my Lauren told me that her and Jace’s dad’s mother died today. Without getting into it (or completely off track), they didn’t have much of a relationship with that side of their family. Jace tried to as an adult and tried convincing Lauren to do the same but, Lauren quickly saw the red flags and never really wanted to have much to do with him. After Jace passed, Lauren called him out when she found out he was collecting money from people donating to Jace’s funeral expenses but pocketed the money for himself instead ($600 roughly)….Lauren was done with him. A cousin of hers got in touch to tell her about her dad’s mom dying. After she told me I texted my brother and every negative thing I’ve felt towards Jace and Lauren’s dad started pouring out. Well, a lot of it poured out until my brother finally texted me and said I needed a good soul cleansing lol. After that text, I figured I better keep the rest of my fucked up thoughts to myself. I know how this is going to sound but, I don’t even care…I meant everything I feel towards that piece of shit. And I really don’t care that his mother is dead. She enabled him to be the piece of shit he is today and will continue to be for the rest of his pathetic life. Sounds terrible, I know but, if I were ever to tell that part of my life it would be understood why I feel the way I do about him.

Obviously, I hold a bit of anger. I also have an abundance of pain and sadness. To be quite honest, I seem to be ignoring or, trying to put those two emotions on the back burner as well. I know it’s not mentally/emotionally a healthy thing to do. I try to justify my reasons of why I put them off by telling myself…”It’s ok because I let it all out on my own time when I’m alone”…which isn’t 100% true. I was sort of scheduling time to deal with grieving Jace every night before going to bed. I guess that got off track once my mother-in-law got sick and eventually went on hospice. Now when I settle into my “Cozy Grief Spot” I subconsciously distract myself by doing other things. So after my brother’s advice of a soul cleansing, I went to my Madison’s room told her the death and how I wondered if Lauren would have a change of heart long enough to attend the funeral, blah , blah, blah…. Then I mentioned something about Jace and out of nowhere….BAM! I just started to breakdown. Without looking, I knew her and her boyfriend had that deer in headlights look. I hate how it will just hit me out of nowhere. This grief battle is truly a battle. I don’t know any other way to put it. I thought it was hard after losing my parents and then Donna but…what it’s doing to me since losing Jace is completely different. I’ve got to say, Madison was really good about it. She agrees that it’s felt harder since last year and it’s something none of us will ever get over. It was good hearing her say that even if I already knew it. But…letting a little out didn’t end there.

My husband sent me a text reminding me to get an oil change which I totally forgot about until 3:30…ish. Lauren and Gracie decided to tag along because I also had to stop at a couple stores. I think Lauren was just worried because she walked in on me crying in my room after I left Madison’s room. I still can’t go anywhere without making a list. While the girls got ready I scrambled to get my shit together, make a quick list, figure out where I was going for the oil change and also aimlessly walking around trying to figure out…something…. Yeah, I felt the hot mess brewing and didn’t even think twice about it before leaving the house. Needless to say, my car will get an oil change tomorrow since I almost went to the wrong place I had a $25 off coupon for. Then I got confused by thinking the Jiffy Lube was somewhere it wasn’t. So off we went to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions and the grocery store. Well, there were 2 new people working the pharmacy counter that probably think I’m crazy. I’m so used to seeing the regular staff that I normally don’t have to say anything. So I tell the new girls I’ll take everything there for all the Nekoranik’s and if there’s anything for Berry or Acosta I’ll take theirs too. 😐😐😐 Awkward stares is what I saw back at me. Luckily, my friend was working and took over. After that I realized I didn’t put my list together with what I actually needed, went to the next store, got overwhelmed and quickly payed for a few things. That’s just the short version. Lauren noticed a few of my tweaks I tend to have when I’m feeling overwhelmed and frustrated….thank God! It’s still a bit of a blur but, she calmed what could’ve turned into an embarrassing flood of tears and got us out of there. What would I do without my girls??

I’m still all over the place emotionally. It’s late now and I’m finally starting to calm down…somewhat. I don’t know if my anger I still keep locked away with Jace and Lauren’s dad triggered these waves of emotions…I don’t know if it was just a matter of time by holding back everything I’m not letting out…I just don’t know if there’s an actual “Right Way” or “Wrong Way” when it comes to this grief battle. I do know I have to start utilizing my resources to find a healthier way to deal with these emotions. I just feel like everyone expects more of me…like I should be handling things better. I can’t explain it but, it just doesn’t or hasn’t gotten any easier. Yes, it’s over one year now…ugh. That doesn’t mean grieving changes. It means my heart breaks more…I’m struggling more but differently now. I wish people took the time to educate themselves with grief. Not people who are struggling but, our loved ones and friends in our support circle. There are many great websites for people on the supportive end that give pretty decent advice. Please, if anyone reading this isn’t struggling with grief that has completely changed your life or, if anyone knows someone who is…find out how to genuinely be there by going to any of the websites below.

https://www.compassionatefriends.org/blog/7-things-learned-since-loss-child/

https://themighty.com/2019/10/grief-adult-child-after/

https://athealth.com/topics/the-death-of-a-child-2/

https://healgrief.org/grieving-the-death-of-a-child/

https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2012/03/when-adult-child-dies-resources-for.html?m=1

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2022

Time just keeps going on without you. All I thought about whenever 2022 or New Year’s was how long it’s been since I last saw you, hugged you, kissed you, talked to you. It just keeps getting further away from me. The sane part of me knows you’re gone. Then there’s a part of me that waits for you to walk through the door. Some nights I think you’ll walk up to the porch and scare me like you used to. By the way, Jeff carries that legacy for you lol. One night I for sure thought I was having a heart attack! I even miss all the millions of times you drove my crazy. I hated thinking about this NYE…2022…ugh! I wonder what songs you’d be listening to over and over like you used whenever you discovered your new favorite. I wonder what style you cut your hair this week and how many times you’d go back to shape it up just that very day. I wonder how many times you’d sing to me. I wonder how many journals you would’ve had…what you’d be writing about…what weird things would be drawn in them randomly….what beautiful things you have drawn in them with Bible verses below. I wonder a million different things…we all do because it gets harder to believe that you’re really gone. I wish you could ask God why did he make you so incredibly special, why he would send me someone who loved me so unconditionally and like no other love in the world…and then take you from me after 25 years. This is just slowly killing me. Everyone, even other mothers who have lost adult children, say my pain and grief will never go away but, it will get different…lighter. I know they think it will but, I know it won’t. You were different in every single way. Having you in my life was like a reward and punishment. I miss you so much that it could never be described. Xoxo💛

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My 2021 Year End Boo-Hoo

Sometimes I feel like my luck gets shittier by the minute. Just like Donna used to say…”If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all”…lol. Looks like I’m carrying her legacy with that one. Not only has losing Jace gotten harder since the 1 year date that he passed, my entire house seemed to have been plagued with every possible ailment floating around. My husband had Covid after his mother passed (September). Luckily, no one caught it…then. The heat in our house makes the air so dry that no one knows whether or not they have a cold…which was how November went for us. December 1st hit and all Hell broke loose. My Gracie and Noah tested positive for Covid. Since they were positive everyone was now back to remote schooling (Gracie, Noah and Bella). My Madison got permission to stay with a friend and still physically attend school since she was vaccinated. I’m almost positive that she would’ve bought a hazmat suit if she hadn’t been able to get that permission. While Gracie and Noah were sick with Covid, we quarantined to the best of our ability and stayed in our “assigned” rooms. Not long after, my Lauren, my husband and I were all starting not to feel well. Thankfully, we all tested negative for Covid. Lauren and Rich had colds with pretty terrible coughs. I ended up with Strep Throat and Bronchitis. Yup, I felt pretty darn shitty. In fact, it seemed like Gracie and Noah were feeling better after only 2 days while it took about 3 weeks until I started feeling somewhat human again. Finally, just as everyone started getting better and ready to go back to school….Bella got sick and was positive for Covid. I guess no matter how much you try to in-home quarantine or use 146 cans of Lysol, Covid will find its way to you. As much as it sucked, I guess you could say we were lucky that no one ended up severely sick or in the hospital.

I was even more bummed out for Christmas this year than last year. I feel like everyone expects more from me or for me to not be as heavy in grieving. Actually, it feels quite opposite. I’m struggling more than last year. A ton more! Because I get the feeling that everyone expects more from me, I hold back the pain until it pretty much erupts. Of course I try to let things out when I’m alone but, it’s even been hard to do that. Sometimes it feels like the tears will never end. Christmas Eve hit me like a tsunami. I just don’t know how I can keep doing this. I’ll never feel whole again. Yes, I still have 3 kids with me and 3 grandkids but….losing a child is like losing a part of yourself. I lost 25 years and 4 months of my life when Jace passed. Everyday gets a bit harder. I miss him more than ever and can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve seen, touched, heard him. It’s truly agonizing. Christmas Day, also Gracie’s 15th birthday, was even worse. This time I expected too much of myself and ended up breaking down and disappearing to my room for almost 2 hours. I ended up so angry with myself because we had my sister-in-law’s family here. I really wanted to spend time with everyone. I wanted to make sure Gracie had a great birthday too. My husband keeps saying how proud he was of me for doing my best but….I think he’s just trying to make me feel less disappointed with myself.

Pretty much how I feel about the new year

Now New Year’s is creeping up…ugh. I wish I could just stop time. The only thing going through my head is how it’s going to be 2022 and Jace passed in 2020….wtf!!! It’s like I keep getting reminded how much time is passing. And to make it feel worse is how a handful of people have suggested that I make my New Year’s resolution to be less sad and more grateful. Uh-mmm…I feel like a “Go fuck yourself” is an appropriate response. It’s becoming harder to ignore the ignorant. I don’t even know how to feel or what to think or say about anything anymore. I guess I’ll just see what happens…I mean, I don’t really have much of a choice.

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The Acceptance Letters Just Keep Coming!

The last few weeks have been crazy! My Madison has been accepted to every school she applied to. Not only accepted but, offered academic scholarships as well! I think I’ve said I can’t believe I’ll have a kid in med school a thousand times just this week. I’m so happy and proud of her. I really wish my parents, Donna and mostly Jace were here for this. Of course, everyone says “They are in spirit”….it’s just not the same. All four of them were always the best when it came to celebrating accomplishments. Something about the way they could make the smallest goal feel like an Olympic gold medal. It didn’t matter how big or small…if you had a goal, they were the ones cheering. And you could feel it. I miss that. I can picture their faces if they were here to see Madison’s acceptance letters for these colleges. It makes me happy and sad. Especially that Jace isn’t here for it. Oh my, he’d be over the moon! He always bragged about his sisters. I know he’s proud of Madison wherever he is up there. I can hear him now saying…”My sister is going to be the best doctor”. This year has been more than just a struggle. It’s killing me, slowly. It literally takes every ounce of me to get by most days. What makes it even harder is how alone I feel with my grief and pain. I feel like I have to hide it because everyone expects me not to feel it as heavy. Just because a year has passed doesn’t make it any easier. In fact, it feels much harder. Thank God Madison is bringing something that she’s worked hard for as some excitement. I wish she knew how much this means to me and how proud I am of her. How proud Jace is…along with Mom-Mom, Pop-Pop, Grandmom Donna and Way Mom-Mom are too.

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Guess Who Won Something??

Well, Hell must’ve froze over yesterday because I actually won a contest/challenge I entered last week! I don’t have much luck winning…or anything else for that matter ha. Anyway, I was on Instagram and one of the many grief support pages that I follow was having a Grief & Gratitude Challenge. I wanted to do or try just one positive thing this month since it was Thanksgiving and feeling really down. So, I entered a video clip that I made a week after Jace passed with the message: “I’m grateful for the 25 years and 4 months I had with you. 💛”

I deleted all of my social media accounts a few years back. When I started this tribute webpage I realized I never closed my Instagram account. I’m not a fan of social media and I only use my Instagram (and Twitter) to draw more traffic to this page. I rarely scroll through or read and look at people’s posts. But I did last week and tried something new. It felt good. Honestly, just having my Jace noticed was worth more than the win. 💛

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Holiday Dread…(sigh)

I’ve been trying to write this blog for almost 2 nights…trying to think of the best way to put into words how I’m feeling. To be quite honest, there’s no other way to put it than just saying….I’m still not ready to celebrate the holidays. I feel really bad because I was talked into spending Thanksgiving with my one sister-in-law at her house which is an hour away. It’s not that I don’t want to. I mean, I’d love nothing more to have all the kids together and spend time with my husband’s sister and family but….it hit me like a ton of bricks the other night that I really don’t think I’m ready. I told my husband to go with the kids because it’s not fair for them or his sister’s family. The combination of being an hour away and the heaviness of Thanksgiving being my Dad’s and Jace’s favorite holiday….I could feel my stomach twist with anxiety. If I’m already feeling nauseous, doing my deep breathing thing and every other ridiculous anxious ticks 2 whole weeks beforehand, imagine how I’ll be the day of! I get that it’s been too many years since we’ve done any holiday with my sister-in-law and she just wants to start those traditions regularly again. Believe me, I do too. She has gone above and beyond to let me know I’ll be surrounded by caring and supportive people who love and understand that I still struggle. And I appreciate that. It’s just very hard explaining what I go through or what this feels like. It’s frustrating for me most of all. Then let’s say I go…who knows if I’ll manage to muster through it or sob uncontrollably. I don’t want to do that there…not in front of everyone in an unfamiliar house. What if I just want to sit outside and chain smoke and do my crosswords? She has a huge no smoking at all anywhere rule. My point is, I know I’m uncomfortable to be around sometimes. I don’t like making people feel that way or feel as though they need to comfort me. Most times I’d rather just be alone if I’m really struggling to fight off the tears. On the other hand, it may be harder for them than they anticipate since it’s the first holiday without they’re mother. I don’t know what the answer is for anyone. I just hope she doesn’t feel offended if I don’t go. I was invited to spend Thanksgiving with my “Other Family” lol. It’s my friend I’ve had since I was 6 years old. Although she lives in California, the majority of her family lives less than 5 min from my house. I see her mom as often as possible. Her two adult sons visit me regularly too. Even though I’m not in the holiday spirit, I know I’d be more comfortable there and I’m only 5 minutes from my house. I’m sure people probably think I’m crazy to let this get to me. It does. A lot of little things do. My entire life has been flipped inside out the day Jace passed. I can’t explain what’s it’s like. Below I posted a link that my therapist sent me. As helpful all the information sent to me is, what good do they do when people who don’t understand her upset?

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Thanksgiving 2019

This year seems just as hard, if not worse, than last year. Thanksgiving hasn’t been the same since my Mom passed. I guess if I had to choose which holiday I struggle the most with I’d have to say Thanksgiving. Christmas is just as bad but, the month of December is pretty much terrible altogether.

Thanksgiving 2019 I really like things were finally falling into place. Everyone was happy, positive and making plans for better things to come. Jace gathered everyone up for a photo shoot and must’ve taken 100+ pictures that day. That wasn’t unusual for him to do. This time he and the girls really looked amazing. I never knew anyone who loved family more than Jace. Those pictures are now worth more than anything else to me. I really hate how everything in me has changed. It’s hard to pretend that I’m excited for the holidays. Especially when my Bella cheerfully counts down the days. Believe me, I try with everything in me to find some enthusiasm. Instead, I end up almost physically sick. There are countless reasons why I struggle with anxiety leading up to the holidays. The main one that I can’t seem to shake is how I’ll disappoint everyone. I even end up disappointing myself the most. Looks like another “Maybe next year” will be better….ugh.

To my Rinny….It’s been a really long time since I’ve written you. Missing you grows by the minute. Send my love to Mom-Mom, Pop-Pop, Grandmom Donna and Gail. I’m always looking for signs that you’re with me…that you’re all with me. I love and miss you more than you could ever imagine. Love you always, Mommy xoxo

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2021 Thanksgiving Edition: Talking A Little Of This & A Little Of That

I tend to go off the grid from time to time…not only with my blogs but, in real life too. Never got too, too long…kinda like 10 days to a few weeks spurts lol. Maybe my spurts can last longer than I think. I still have no recollection with time or the date or which day of the week it is. When I am reminded of the date it usually hits like a bee sting right before a holiday or other significant date. And that’s exactly what happened to me this afternoon. My sister-in-law sent me and my husband a text asking what time to expect us on Thursday…Thanksgiving!! Ugh!! It’s not like I didn’t know it was quickly approaching. I mean, that overwhelming angst I start to subconsciously feel prior to important dates has been reaping havoc with my colitis flare the last 3-4 days. I’ve tried my best to explain to my husband that I’m feeling uneasy about going to his sister’s more than a couple of times. Those conversations seemed to fall onto deaf ears…😶 I was kinda hoping he’d get the hint to mention something to his sister…something like…”Hey, don’t take it personal but, Aimee is still undecided”….or…”Just a heads up, we’re all coming on Thanksgiving. I know Aimee’s struggling with her decision still so, she may not come”…. The other night Rich finally said I should just do what feels more comfortable for me. Now I tend to hear that a lot but, I can’t help noticing the look of disappointment that follows. As cliche as it sounds, I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t…..not just about Thanksgiving…basically that’s how I feel with 99% of every decision I seem to make. It could be something as simple as deciding whether or not I should go to the store or call someone instead of sending a text. Ridiculous, yes I know. Honestly, I’d love to go to my sister-in-law‘s on Thursday. I wish I didn’t have these issues since Jace passed. I’m always reminded by my therapist not to worry about what people will think or feel because my decisions, my feelings, how I cope and manage are all part of my self care. It’s so hard not feel bad. What’s even harder is knowing I can spend Thanksgiving with people I’ve known my whole life (practically), only 5 minutes from my house, where I feel comfortable. Again, my husband and kids tell me it’s ok and not to feel bad by doing what I feel would’ve best but….always BUT…I will feel bad either way. This fucking sucks!

I always feel like my blogs are so blah…depressing. There’s no doubt a huge mood shift in everything I do and feel since last year. I’m still a stranger to myself. I’m sure it may sound like I live in a dark hole somewhere, isolated from civilization, just lost in misery and grief. I’m not. I’m not because I can’t do that to my kids and grandkids. Believe it or not, I think I mange a lot better lately. Well, I feel like I’m masking my emotions better so that I can manage to be more normal day to day. To be 100% truthful, I’m struggling this heartbreak of losing Jace more and more with each passing day. Masking and coping mechanisms are just becoming more regular which is good and not so good. For example, starting with the ‘good’…I didn’t back out of a dinner date with 2 friends. That’s a huge fete for me. What was even better, I’m so glad I went! Now an example of the ‘not so good’…my coping mechanism with my OCD has been going ape shit recently. I realize it’s also an avoidance mechanism to distract me from grieving. I’ve done this before but, not as long as I have been the last few weeks. I was doing good with a nightly routine of some alone time to talk, write, pray, cry to Jace. I know I could breakdown if I don’t get back into that routine. By avoiding the pain just makes me more vulnerable to have an unexpected breakdown. I rarely go out and with my shitty luck that’s probably when it would happen.

Sooo…I met two friends for dinner recently. I know I’ve posted about my feelings about friends or people who I thought I could reach out to this past year. I guess I just expected a different response. Not that I actually go out of my way and reach out to anyone…hmm, maybe I should think of a better way of explaining that. I know how I can be when it comes to talking to anyone about Jace and the circumstances of his death. It’s hard for me so I know it can make others uncomfortable. I don’t like doing that. On the other hand, it would be comforting if I was genuinely asked how I’m doing or mention Jace. I’ve only gotten that from two people other than my family. Two people that I wouldn’t have expected to go out of their way to be as supportive as they are. I’m so grateful for that. I don’t think they even realize how much that means to me. I’m not looking for sympathy or for someone who thinks they can relate but also expect me to be there for them. It just feels a little less heavy when I can say how I feel, get it out of my head not hear any advice or a story of comparison. Just hearing someone say….”I’m here for you and will listen but, I don’t have the right words to ease your pain”….is by far the best response. I’m sorry but…No, no one knows how I feel. It may sound mean but, I don’t care who or how many people you’ve lost it still will never come close to what I feel everyday. And to my two friends who graciously and unexpectedly stepped up, Thank You!

I really wish I could be a bit more tech savvy lol. I make a list every night of simple goals that I hardly ever accomplish each day. One is to get my ass on my laptop instead of using my phone. Not just about blogging or to finally get this page better organized…with literally EVERYTHING! Since it’s a holiday week I’ve decided to give myself a break on the goals. Yup…those 3 simple ass things I write on my to-do list that I consistently fail to achieve…🙄😐 So, starting on Monday I plan on using the laptop and finally try my best to organize this page. Maybe by the new year it won’t look like a 5 year old started these blogs ha.

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Experiencing PTSD: From Lauren & Gracie’s POV

Today my Lauren had a scary PTSD moment that won’t be easily forgotten. It’s a little hard to explain since I wasn’t there. Also because Lauren was afraid to say anything to me right away. She was worried more about my reaction and decided to handle the situation on her own. I’ll do my best to describe what happened (first from Lauren’s POV and then Gracie’s)…. My Gracie and Lauren were talking in Gracie’s room on her bed this morning. Suddenly, Lauren noticed Gracie started looking really pale in the face. She asked if she was ok and Gracie said she was fine. About a minute later Lauren said Gracie’s lips turned white and her pupils were dilated. Again Lauren asked if she was ok, Gracie again said she was. Lauren took a picture of her with her phone to show Gracie and that’s when things got worse. Gracie told Lauren she couldn’t see the picture on the phone….couldn’t see anything…everything was going black. Lauren was still asking her questions, Gracie was slow to respond as Lauren tried getting her up to walk. She wasn’t able to walk and for about 1 full minute Gracie was unresponsive…breathing but…blacked out. Lauren was instantly taken back to the morning we found Jace and just started hysterically crying as she held Gracie close to her. She said Gracie looked completely lifeless for that minute and it scared her to death. Finally, Gracie slowly started talking and begged her not to tell me right away. The whole incident lasted about 5-8 minutes. Lauren said those minutes felt like hours.

Now I’ll do my best to explain how Gracie described how she felt. She said she started feeling really nauseous out of nowhere as she was talking to Lauren on her bed. That’s when Lauren started asking if she was ok. Gracie said she kept telling her she was fine the whole time even though she didn’t feel fine at all. She started to get a tingle inflamed feeling from her left ear that moved along her jaw over to her right ear. Right before Lauren took her picture, Gracie said she felt dizzier and dizzier then everything started to go black. The last thing she remembered was telling Lauren that she couldn’t see. She barely remembers trying to walk. Now Lauren seemed to think Gracie hasn’t actually passed out because her eyes were open the whole time when in fact, Gracie had passed out completely for that minute…or so. Gracie said the next age thing she remembered was seeing Lauren crying and telling her not to tell me what happened right away because she was scared.

Lauren didn’t wait too long to tell me. I can’t even explain what that was like to hear because I think my body went numb. Thankfully, Gracie is doing fine and feeling better. I took her to Urgent Care and they checked her oxygen levels, blood pressure and did an EKG….everything was normal. Tomorrow she’ll have blood work done and will follow up with her doctor. I’m sure they’ll want to do more tests. Gracie said this happened before but, nowhere near as bad as this morning. Of course, I made it very clear to both of them that they must tell me right away if anything serious ever happens ever again….don’t worry about me getting upset or scared…I need to know!! I’m telling you, my nerves are just completely shot! I seriously don’t know how I haven’t had a heart attack by now.

As worried as I was about Gracie, I realized she was experiencing symptoms that happened to me from time time. I think I was about 20 years old when I was told I had hypoglycemia; low blood sugar. When my sugar is very low I start feeling faint and on a few occasions couldn’t see anything. Then when I was about 34 years old I found out I have hypotension; low blood pressure. My symptoms can be quite similar when my bp is low. It’s hard to explain but, I can tell the difference if it’s my bp or blood sugar that’s low when certain symptoms start. My poor Gracie. I just hope it turns out that everything’s fine and it’s nothing serious. On the other hand, I’m devastated that the girls could suffer with PTSD from our traumatic experience of finding Jace and losing him last year. As a mother, you want to protect your children from anything that could hurt them…mentally, emotionally, physically…no matter how old they get. The day Jace passed, I instantly felt like I failed all 4 of my kids as a mother. Today, seeing and hearing the fear from Lauren and Gracie….I’m so crushed and upset…it’s hard to fight back my emotions and tears. I feel like I’ve failed all over again. It just seems to unfair for them to have to go through this. Then to think they want to also protect me and my feelings also. The last thing my kids should have to worry about are my feelings.

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Remembering Matt

It’s hard to believe that 18 years has gone by since one of my husband’s best friends was tragically killed in an auto accident. The best way to describe Matt….hmm, he was like a huge burst of bright energy. He was funny, had a huge personality and once you met him you can never forget him. I actually met Matt before I even met my husband. My friend and I would go to a local bar after our 10:00pm shifts where Matt liked to play pool. We would joke with him and tell him he looked like a mini Vin Diesel lol. He would buy us a drink or sit and talk with us. I don’t know how I knew Matt when he saw me at the bar with Rich (now my husband). I remember me and Matt saying how weird it was that I just happened to be dating his best friend. Of course my husband looked confused and asked how we know each other lol. Back then we were all so young and our lives were just starting. That night who would’ve thought only a few months later we’d be at a church saying our last goodbyes to Matt.

Matt has a twin brother who my husband and I are still close friends with. In fact, he lives only a few blocks from us with his mother, Angela. Now let me just say how much I love Angela! There was an instant connection the moment her and I met…we just seemed to click. I can’t even express how grateful I am for that….especially since Jace passed. She’s always been a wonderful friend throughout the years I’ve known her but, her and Matt’s brother have gone above and beyond with their support this last year. Although everyone’s grief is individually unique, her and I relate with a lot of the same heartache and pain we live day to day. We think it’s because Matt and Jace’s personalities were quite similar. They both had huge hearts, big bright beautiful smiles and gave a love so different…so genuine…there’s really no words to describe that type of love.

Today I wanted to give me support and show my gratitude by remembering Matt. I also wanted to Angela and his brother know that Matt is not forgotten and his big, bright spark of energy still lives on. 💛

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It’s The Little Things I Love Most

Have you ever met someone who you’ve instantly connected with? Almost as if you’ve known them your whole life? Up until 2 years ago I’ve never met anyone that I instantly felt comfortable with until I met Jen. We met at work. It’s a small place that is across the street from my house. At first, we really only saw each in passing since I worked very part time. She reminded me to much of Donna (who I miss so much) so I knew we’d get along. Who would’ve ever guessed just how much we had in common? Or how she’d be by my side through the darkest time of my life…and never leave? All the trust issues I struggle with just seemed to disappear with her. She’s confided to me about her struggles and I’m always glad to lend an ear or shoulder for her to cry on. A few nights ago we ran into each other and she gave me a gift. The picture above is a friendship Angel with a poem that she got me…for no reason…just to show her appreciation. I was speechless! In fact, I was so touched that I cried the whole way home….(she lives 1 min from my house lol). I’ve never had anyone do that before. It felt really good.

The poem reads:

Best Friend

We all have special people in our lives who come and go~

But what your friendship means to me you’ll never, ever know~

All my dreams and my fears, in you I can confide~

Knowing you’re always there to stand by my side~

You let me be myself and I never have to pretend~

I thank you for your wonderful ways and being my “Best Friend”.

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One Of My Coping Mechanisms: OCD

As I’ve probably mentioned before, my OCD has gone a bit ape-shit since Jace passed. I’ve always had OCD in that I describe as a unique attention to detail with order/arrangement that makes sense to me…maybe not anyone else. I’ve noticed it’s become a coping mechanism with stress and anxiety. After Jace passed, I’m easily overwhelmed which is an understatement. I don’t necessarily have panic/anxiety attacks. It’s more like a jittery, needing to constantly take deep breaths feeling…it’s hard to describe. For months I was so frustrated over how little I could handle when it came to getting anything accomplished. It’s hard to say exactly how long it took for me to get over the feeling of defeat and when the OCD driven motivation kicked in. The one thing I have noticed, it kicks in when I’m trying to overcome the stress of feeling overwhelmed.

Yesterday was an overwhelming day for me. It’s still ridiculous to me that with only two things to be done triggers my OCD into overdrive. My youngest, Gracie, had her first orthodontist appointment yesterday. I knew I was picking her up a little early from school so, I started off pretty prepared…until time got the best of me. The office and school are no more than 2 miles from my house (give or take). Somehow, I got side tracked with something of no real importance (no, I wasn’t arranging the hangers…yet). Next thing I knew the unsettling jittery feeling was in full effect. Although we were actually a few minutes early for the appointment, I started the deep breaths every 3 minutes (it’s something I do because I feel like I can’t breathe or catch my breath), felt a little anxious and my mind was starting to race. Gracie’s orthodontist is so sweet and friendly that my nervous tweaks didn’t overwhelm me. I felt relieved because I still had to vote after I took Gracie home. As I was about to schedule her next appointment, the billing manager wanted to confirm an issue with our dental insurance….wtf. After 30-45 minutes confirming we had coverage and $4000 deducted from the bill, I was sure I’d fall on my ass down the stairs as we left. The anxiousness completely exhausted me. Once I got home my day was done. I felt like I had this better controlled over the summer. With my mother-in-law passing away only one year after my oldest passed has come back with much more intensity. There was a time I could manage a full schedule of 4 kids and activities along with working, everyday home life responsibilities and still find time for the unpredictable. My OCD then was barely noticeable. It’s mind boggling how something so traumatizing has turned me into a completely different person.

Here are some OCD facts that resonate with me.

The minute I woke up today all I could think about was how I felt yesterday. Even though my mind was racing, the crippling physical feelings passed. This is when OCD becomes a coping mechanism. I’m avoiding anything that might bring on any physical anxiety issues….subconsciously. I don’t realize these things probably because there’s no way of planning them. I guess I just become transfixed on things that become a domino effect. I’m doing my best to describe what it’s like…it’s very hard to explain the unexplainable. Days like this seems to turn everything into a project….an unusual, attention to detail project followed by another…or 2 or 3+. Needless to say, arranging my already arranged hangers is how my day started lol. It’s never a one project event when my OCD seems to be in overdrive. Whatever I’m transfixed on always guides me in another direction and just like that….the domino effect begins and doesn’t end until the day is over. I guess it’s better to say my frustration is more about the physical/anxiety I go through with OCD. Other than feeling that the day was wasted when I’m in coping mechanism mode, I can’t say every project is unnecessary or unusual. The bathroom has been deep cleaned and reorganized over a dozen times this year, furniture moved, rooms rearranged, kitchen cabinets also reorganized over a dozen times along with the pantry, fridge/freezer and mini fridge…all deep cleaned as well lol. I can manage what I call my “Stereotypical OCD” tweaks that have intensified since Jace passed. And the reason I call them “Stereotypical” is that’s how people who don’t suffer with OCD, Anxiety Disorder or Traumatic Grief Syndrome seem to think that’s all there is to it. There’s so much more that doing things repetitively that people are unaware of. Recently, it was suggested that I go to http://www.iocdf.org to learn more about my particular symptoms. I’m the worst with following through when something is suggested but, a few weeks ago I actually went on the website. I have to admit, I only quickly read through bits and pieces (I assumed I’d be reading what I’ve already learned through websites/information my dr had given me in the past) but, it explains much more about OCD that’s easier to understand. Personally, I would highly recommend people without OCD/Anxiety Disorder go to this website to learn more. I only posted a a few facts of the symptoms I have. The best way to gain knowledge is to research and self educate and advocate!

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Friends Should Be Support Always…Not Just In The Beginning

Maybe I’m just going through an angry phase but, I HATE how people avoid or ignore what I go through every single day. I’m not blind or oblivious. I am fully aware that people don’t want to ask how I’m doing because of my brutal honesty. No, I’m not fine or ok. Life fucking sucks and nothing will ever be the same. Believe me, I know I can be very uncomfortable to talk to or be around sometimes. Do people think I like that?! I HATE it!!! I mean…at least others around me get to walk away from me. I’d like to walk away from it too….run away from myself. Instead, I’m just stuck having to deal with this….every fucking day. What I really hate even more, how people just disengage whenever I talk about Jace…as if I’m not talking at all. Or how no one mentions him first, shares their feelings, memories…that really rips a bigger hole in my heart. And I really should say no one…an extreme few actually care and listen or talk about him. Not many though. Definitely not the people I thought I could lean on or the ones who knew him his entire life. I’m done acting like it doesn’t hurt. I hurts! All I have left are memories and talking about him. I refuse to let that be taken from me too. TALK ABOUT HIM!!! ASK ME HOW I’M DOING! Not because I’m mad and calling everyone who doesn’t out…do it because you care. At least this way I can ween even more people out of my life this way…seeing who steps up to be here for me. Lord knows, I’d be there for them.

Look, the fact is I’m going to cry everyday for the rest of my life. If people think by not talking to me about Jace is going to prevent that…they are wrong. In fact, I cry more because I feel abandoned and alone. I don’t like walking away from friendships. Too many times I’ve valued people way more than they valued me. It takes a lot for me to call someone a friend. I don’t trust people. I don’t like anyone knowing too much of my personal business. I keep a very small circle. I can’t remember if it was my grandmom or my Uncle Mickey who I heard say….”I’d rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies”….when it came to trustworthy friends. I should get that tattooed! Don’t get me wrong…I’m incredibly grateful for my therapist and family I can talk to. Especially, when I talk about Jace or if I’m overwhelmed with all my feelings. Then there’s my Lauren….omg…there’s no way to describe everything she’s done for me. Some people seem to take that the wrong way and think she has somehow taken over my responsibilities in the house….another assumption that infuriated me. Lauren has been my main comfort of support. We can talk about anything. Although I don’t intentionally go to her, she’s walked in on me several times when the pain of losing Jace has just worn me down to tears. No matter how many times I tell her she doesn’t have to stay with me, that I’ll be fine…she has never left. She encourages me to talk it out, she listens, she talks about her grief and feelings and we go through it together. Afterwards, I beat myself up with guilt. I feel like it’s so unfair for her to feel like she has to be there for me through this (even though she promises me it’s because she wants to). She is my daughter. She and Jace were so close as if they were twins. I shouldn’t feel shunned away by friends when I need to talk it out but, I do. I remember one of my neighbors whose son grew up with Jace and Lauren (he passed away about 3 years before) came over the second night Jace passed. We talked for at least 2 hours and the one thing I remember the most was….”The first year won’t be the worst, believe it or not. It feels like it at the time though. It’s the second year when things start to really hit you. Mostly because people aren’t there like they were in the beginning.”…..boy was she right.

Maybe I’m just angry now because I’m having a really hard time. What people don’t seem to realize is that I lost 25 years of my life the day Jace passed. I lost 25 years of someone so different, so special, so loving and full of life that I wish the world knew him. I go through times when I can’t even bear to look at pictures because it’s just way too much for me to handle. One thing that I struggle with the most is looking at pictures or videos of him, seeing that beautiful face and one of a kind bright smile and thinking, how is someone so full of life and love gone from this world? He’s just so alive in every picture and video I see of him. Then I wonder how does no one else see that too? I hate this…I would do anything…and I mean anything…even make a deal with the devil to have him back. This pain, this heart ache…it’s going to kill me one day. For everyone who happens to be reading this, be there for your friends going through something they heavily grieve. Be present with intent to just listen…not give advice, not comforting words of positivity, nothing at except your undivided attention. Believe me, knowing someone cares enough to allow us to just let it out is more than enough.

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My Opinion On The “Phases of Grieving”…🙄

I find it hard to believe there are therapists, psychologists and doctors that will tell their patients about the “phases” of grief. Some say there are 5, 6 or even 7 different phases to go through before you come to peace of healing. What a bunch of bullshit!! Professors who teach this should be ashamed of themselves! What happens if someone doesn’t go through these so-called phases? Are people supposed to think they won’t find peace or healing if they don’t? Is there an order to follow? I mean, am I the only one who finds this absolutely ridiculous?? Well, I can definitely answer my last question by saying, No, I’m not the only one who finds these phases ridiculous. Thankfully, I have the most supportive, understanding grief therapist and doctor who find that categorizing grief of any kind in any way ridiculous. I can’t express how grateful I am for those two. I’ve heard horror stories from others who’ve had awful experiences with therapists. I have to admit, this is my first time in therapy. I’ve never considered it before because I don’t really like opening up about what I go through personally to someone I don’t know. Also, I never really thought therapy was for me. I’m not saying anything bad about needing someone to talk to…I just always felt I handled the shitty hand dealt to me pretty well….then I lost Jace. Even then I didn’t consider a therapist. My therapist actually contacted me. She works with the medical examiner’s office and coroner. She helped with Jace’s autopsy. She is also specialized in grief counseling and traumatic grief counseling. She also advocates for the LGBTQ+, Equal Rights, Ending the Stigma of Addiction and Holding Law Enforcement Accountable when they don’t abide by the law. It wasn’t until about our third conversation that I realized it was therapy…in a way. Our first 3 conversations were over the phone. She would call and ask how I was doing and just to listen. She emailed me a copy of the Grieving Parents Bill of Rights (yes, it’s really a thing!), forms to file grievances and where to send them after telling her how the police just dismissed us days before Jace passed and supportive suggestions for self care. I think what makes her so amazing and understanding is that she experienced and went through something traumatic in her own life. She turned that experience into something positive by continuing her education, along with personal experience, to help others. When I hear people talk about their awful experiences with other therapists, the lack of compassion, understanding, validation and emotional support makes me believe those therapists have no personal experience. I completely understand the education behind the degree but, I do not feel that it’s a career path that can be entirely taught. I don’t care if someone graduated top of their class at Harvard. Without personal experience to understand what it’s like and be able to give unbiased comfort and support, you’ve got to have a certain empathy (which is extremely rare) otherwise, that degree is just a piece of paper. As for my doctor, he’s more than a general practitioner, he’s also like a friend. I remember when he took over the private practice and my mother was his very first critical patient he had out of med school. He always goes above and beyond and really takes the time to listen and understand. Thank goodness he’s only a few years older than me so I don’t have to worry about him retiring any time too soon lol.

Above is for anyone who is having a hard dealing with something and feeling lost. I had made this picture post specifically for my two sisters-in-law. Losing Gail is heavily weighing on them lately. I know how hard it can feel to go through the pain of losing your mother. Especially when it’s the first time suffering with a devastating loss as it is for them (losing my mother was also my first heart wrenching loss). It’s an eye opening realization how uniquely individual grief is, how all those expectations of how to grieve by others can make you feel even worse. Sometimes just breathing and getting through the day IS enough. Sometimes staying in bed all day IS needed. Understanding that it’s okay to grieve forever is understanding that’s how much you loved and will always miss your loved one. There are no phases in grieving. Surround yourself with people who care, who genuinely listen and most all…people who reach out and ask how you are doing or to share memories. 💛

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A Visit On A Whim…

It’s so much harder than anyone could ever imagine…out of the blue & unexpectedly I hit a wall of emotional pain. Paralyzingly hysterical are two words no one would ever use together to describe how they feel. In fact, it doesn’t make sense…paralyzing hysterical?? For me, those two words basically describe 90% of the obstacles I’ve encountered in my life. Hitting this wall I felt emotionally lost and stuck…as if time stood still except, only for me. My whole life seemed to flash before my eyes and was replayed yet, I wasn’t in a near death situation the way it’s always described. I’m sure reading this will have people thinking I’m crazy or having a mental breakdown. Instead, it feels more like an awakening…a real eye opener maybe. I’ve only shared the details with someone who’s been like a mother to me most of my life. She listened, I mean actually listened to me. Not many people do that without putting their opinion or to sway me into thinking their interpreted version of what I actually went through was what happened…hard to believe I’ve known people who’ve done that to me. One thing she did say to me was that I am a good person and always have been. Sure, I’ve heard it from other people before but, not like this…not in a way that I believed it…. Hearing it from her, she made me feel it, believe it…because she actually believes in me and loves me. As I was leaving, she came over and hugged me…I got a “Mom” hug that I haven’t felt since my Mom last hugged me (10+ years). I may still feel stuck and lost right now but, thanks to this special woman…I know I’ll find a way to break through this emotional wall.

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Giving & Receiving Messages

Did Jace send you? 💛

There’s a bit of a strange connection between the praying mantis and Jace. It was almost as if Jace attracted them. Personally, I never, ever see them. Jace on the other hand….he saw them everywhere since he was a toddler. I remember my Dad telling me how often he’d see them throughout the yard whenever he had Jace outside playing. There’s even a story why Lauren got a praying mantis tattoo in Jace’s memory.

Lauren’s tattoo

About three days before Jace passed…Lauren was sitting on our front step with Jace and the kids and saw a praying mantis. Lauren joked around and acted like she was going to step on it. Jace joked back that he would call a wildlife organization if she did because it’s against the law to kill a praying mantis. Then Jace told her if he ever died that he would come back as a praying mantis to her and that way she couldn’t kill it because it would be him. As they sat on that front step, joking about that…it would also be that very spot where Jace takes his last breath a few days later. It’s also the same spot where Lauren and Gracie would see a praying mantis every night for nearly two weeks from the very night Jace passed. Coincidence or not, Lauren and Gracie name that praying mantis Jace. To them it was a sign that Jace was with them in spirit.

Before my mother-in-law passed, I wrote her a small note. I folded it in a blessed cloth and placed it her hand a few hours before she passed. I also asked that she be cremated with that note because of a special request I had written at the end. I asked my mother-in-law at the end of that note to tell Jace I needed a sign, something that stood out, just anything unique so I know he’s with me. This past Saturday was my mother-in-law’s funeral. After the luncheon we came home and I saw a brown praying mantis on the lid of our trash can. Apparently, brown praying mantises (the species) don’t dwell in PA as they prefer hot, humid climates. My daughter said it was a female which is also rare to see. I never see them and when I finally saw one, it could be rare. It feels good to think Jace and Gail reunited…maybe Gail gave the message to Jace??

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Regrets…We’ve All Got Them

Anyone who says they don’t have at least one regret in their entire life is full of shit! Everyone’s either said or has done something they wish they hadn’t. I’ve been thinking about things I regret lately. If I had to make a list of all of them we’d be here for eternity. Honestly, most of the things I regret are pretty silly, funny (now…years later😬), embarrassing myself, ect. Only a few stand out that makes me wish I did things differently. The reason I’ve been thinking of those few regrets happened after reading things Jace had written. Even when I log into his Facebook account and look through the memories of his posts or old status’s, it just breaks my heart that he had so many. I mean….I’m 44 years old and I have maybe a handful. Jace was 25 years old and regretted almost his entire life it seems. Of course I’m exaggerating a bit…I hope anyway. Let’s just say he had many. Can you imagine, 25 years old and wishing you could start your life all over?? Back then I doubt I had more than one major regret. The hardest part of reading them was how much he was hurting inside. I’ve probably mentioned in previous posts how Jace was so open with telling me things. I’m talking things that almost every kid would never tell their mothers. I can’t count how many times I’d say to him…”You do know I’m your mother, right? Why the hell are telling me this shit?!? I’m going to have a heart attack!!”….lol (I can’t say I laughed at most of it). Thinking back now, when he and I had more serious conversations, he did talk about a lot of the things I’ve read in his journals. I knew certain things bothered him. Things he had done or said. His heart was unlike anyone I’ve ever know…full of empathy, love, life. He always tried to make things right if he did something wrong. He always apologized if he said something and found out someone was bothered by it. Unlike a lot of people, he really, wholeheartedly meant it. I would tell him that’s all you can do, learn from it and then move on. On the outside, that’s what he seemed to do. On the inside, he never did. I hate that. He was so much more than he ever knew. I wish the world knew him!

A few things from Jace a few years before getting sober. 💔
Jace’s journal entries during active addiction.

It doesn’t really make me feel uncomfortable to say things I regret. Especially now that I’ve lost such a huge piece of me since last year, I care even less about what anyone thinks. Plus, it might get me out of this pissy ass mood I’m in.

My biggest regret….every single person I called a “friend” that I’ve cut ties with. I don’t mean the ones I still keep in as touch with from time to time. Mainly the ones I allowed to see my vulnerability, the ones I trusted, the ones who saw that private side of me during Jace’s worst years of addiction. Those extreme few I regret the most. And I’m okay with it now. I like to think those broken ties were perfect timing because it was right before Jace came home from rehab in Altoona. The year before he passed was the best year! Those so-called “friends” didn’t deserve to see or share that journey. I never kept I a big circle of people I considered close. That’s why I regret the one-way friendships in the past. Besides my family, I can count on one hand the real friends I do have. Two of them have been in my life for 38 & 36 years. I just wish they each didn’t live 1000+ miles away.

Some old Facebook posts Jace posted.

My second biggest regret, trying to be more than I am to make someone else happy. I let my insecurities take over instead of putting my foot down and walk away. I’m so far from perfect, most of us are. My entire life, from the day I was born, has been pretty complicated. I didn’t have a bad life growing up but, the dynamic and situations with relatives when I was just a small child made me feel unwanted…that I didn’t belong….confused and hurt. Although I was good at masking how I felt, the feelings seemed to embed themselves into who I became as an adult. Mostly when it came to dating and relationships…which is why I didn’t have many. Honestly, I still have insecurity issues. It’s still no excuse to allow anyone to disrespect you…your friendship, your love, your loyalty. When someone acts or treats you like you’re not good enough for them…walk away. If you feel like you’re begging or forcing someone to love you…walk away and never look back. That kind of heartbreak and treatment will damage your mental health and your self respect.

💔If he only knew how much more he was worth💔

Out of all my regrets, those two are the only ones I wish I could re-do in life. I lived with a hard shell exterior my entire life that made others think I was strong, independent and never took any shit from anyone. I guess I get the academy award when it comes to real life acting. Truthfully, I’ve endured more than anyone’s fair share of shit on the inside that no one even knows about.

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Proud Parent

Madison

It never really hits you until you see the graduation pictures of your child. It’s like proof that they’re almost all grown up and will soon be off to conquer the world. As I mother, I seem to get that lump in my throat and ache in my heart that they’re not babies anymore. It’s like a proud, happy, sad, joyful feeling all in one.

My third child, Madison, is graduating this school. She only needed 1 credit so she’s in a program at school where she leaves after 2 classes and goes to work. Talk about a stress free senior year! I’ve got to say…she earned it. She always worked hard in school since kindergarten. She has a more than decent GPA and scored high on her SAT’s. After juggling between politics and med school she decided on med school. She’ll be going to be an OB/GYN. The tiniest, more sensitive and serious of all four of my children has such a determination to make a difference and shoot for the stars. I know she’ll do great things. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her use her degree politically by raising awareness in women’s health and helping women who struggle financially or with their health. Whatever she does…I’ll always, always be 10000% supportive and help in anyway I possibly can.

I can’t think of anyone who would be prouder than our Jace. No matter what he was going through, good or bad, he celebrated everyone’s accomplishments. When it came to his sisters….he didn’t just celebrate them, he’d do his best to go above and beyond for them. What I wouldn’t do just to see his face of proudness and joy over Madison right now. No one loved like Jace…there aren’t words created to describe that kind of love he gave me and the girls. We miss him more each day that passes by without him. 💛

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Cumulative Grief…Complicated Grief…Anything else?

Not only do I feel crazy, I’m starting to sound crazy. If I’m not cursed then it feels like someone must be enjoying the agony I go through. Crazy, right?? Well, it starts feeling that way after losing so many people who meant so much to you in less than 10 years. My Mom, my Dad, Donna, Jace and now Gail. Oh and don’t forget my 14 year old dog Ozzy. If I’m being honest, I’ve lost other things that I grieve besides death. A little over two years ago, I went through something personal that destroyed me in a different way. I’m not sure I’m ready to even get into that but, someone who I trusted turned their back on me…abandoned me when I needed them the most…then used false accusations against me. The only person I had…and I mean the ONLY person I had was Jace. One year later, after an unresolved reconciliation, I lost the one person who loved me so unconditionally…my Jace. I still struggle every single day with Jace. I’m nowhere close to healing. I don’t think I’ll ever fully accept that he’s gone…ever. Although I’ve managed to cope with what I went through the year before Jace passed, I still haven’t quite healed from it. Now I feel like I’ve hit an emotional wall. It’s like being in a tunnel of confusion or unknown distress that you can’t grasp. It’s maddening. How can I be there for my husband as he grieves his mother when I can’t seem to handle my own emotions? I know he’s having a hard time but, he doesn’t reach out to me for support. It would be a lot easier if he did because I would never turn my back on him. The mental/emotional tug of war I battle makes it nearly impossible for me to initiate that supportive role for him. I know everything takes time…sometimes it takes a lot of time. It’s just getting to be too much. I thankfully have a wonderful therapist and I know where to go if I need more….it’s really not that I need more than talking to someone. I guess I’m just venting. This isn’t easy. What bothers me the most is sounding like a huge pity party. I just hate that!

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Letting Someone You Love Go Is Never Easy

It’s been an excruciating week. After staying with us for a month, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer. After some tests it was determined that hospice would be best. Her cancer was from head to toe by this point and she was also suffering with fluid on the brain. Last Saturday she was given 7-10 days left and came back home with us on Monday. Having hospice experience myself, it is very hard being on this end. It’s even harder explaining to others the process of someone’s last days/hours. Since last evening my mother-in-law has been asking when will it be over or begging for rest. At first she seemed set on the 21st to be her day. Last night she said it no longer matters…she is ready and wants this to be over. In reality there will never be a right time or date. It’s us, the ones left behind, who struggle with letting go. For the one who is ready needs peace of mind. As much as we want them to miraculously get well, as much as we want them to stay….the hardest thing to do is tell them that it’s ok and talk them through their journey onto the other side. Hospice is more than physical comfort care. It’s also about easing their minds, to allow them to let go and be at rest and at peace. This is no longer about us, the ones who remain. It’s now 100% about the one we love that is ready for peace. Be selfless and not selfish…hospice is about not suffering. When we don’t help the transition by talking them through this process…by not allowing them peace of mind…you’re allowing them to suffer anxiety and stress.

To my wonderful mother-in-law,

You’ve been a blessing to have in my life. By telling me this has been the best week to be here at my house…that made it a little easier to allow you to go on…meet up with my parents and give that special message to Jace for me. As much as I love you and wish you could stay….I know that you’re ready for this pain to end. So, I’ll say goodbye for now because it won’t be forever. I will see you again one day.

Love you always xoxo

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A Lady Bug Came To Visit Last Night

I took all 3 of these pictures 💛

Last night I noticed a lady bug sitting on the old table on my porch. It made me think of my Mom. It also made me realize that I very rarely see lady bugs anymore. I remember when I seeing them so much in my Mom’s garden years ago. That’s because I used to buy her a cup of lady bugs every year for $3 from a place in New Hope. My Mother loved gardening and hide quite the green thumb. Growing up I remember neighbors would take walks and stop by our house and ask if they could see everything my Mom did around the yard. Well, that’s all it would take for her to proudly lead a tour from one end of our house to the other before taking them into her sanctuary, the backyard. My Dad and I always got a kick out of her little garden presentations. When people would ask what her secret was to keeping such beautiful plants and flowers she would tell…”My daughter buys me lady bugs”…lol. She swore they were the secret in keeping up her garden. I’m pretty sure it was the constant watering though. 😏

The first Mother’s Day after my Mom passed, the kids and I went to the cemetery with flowers and little stones they painted. We noticed a bunch of lady bugs all over her site. We counted 11 of them. Then the kids started looking and walking around and said no other grave sites had lady bugs on them. My Mom’s was the only one. We went back to my Dad’s house and told him. He said she must’ve known I was coming and was giving me a sign that she was waiting. My Mom has been gone 10 years now. Since that Mother’s Day at the cemetery, I’ve probably seen 3-5 lady bugs…almost 10 years and that’s all I’ve seen since then. Now when I do happen to catch one out of the corner of my eye I like to think my Mom’s Spirit is with me.

September 7th was my Mother’s birthday. That morning I was sitting on my porch with my mother-in-law and a butterfly kept slowly flying all around me. I thought maybe it was hurt or dying because of how slow it seemed to fly. Also, it just didn’t really fly out of my porch area. That butterfly lingered around my porch that entire day….until sunset. Then next morning I saw it again but, this time it quickly flew away.

With so many unexplainable and crazy things that’s happened since both of my parents and Donna has passed, I’m still on the fence when it comes to Spirits and signs or messages. It’s not that I don’t believe…there’s nothing I’d want more than to have my passed on loved ones still with me. I just wish there were a way for me to be certain rather than having that hope. And after wishing to know and still feeling skeptical, I do believe our loved ones are somehow always with us. Crazy…I know.

My Mother was always my comfort zone whenever I was upset or feeling down. Even up until the end, being 34 years old, I’d snuggle up to her when I felt bad. Now with everything going on and September feeling like pure Hell…I’d like to think that butterfly and ladybug is my Mom’s comforting way of letting me know her Spirit it with me. Lord knows I need her more than ever. I miss her so much.

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Taking Advantage Of The Time We Have Left

As if our family hasn’t been through enough, we’re now faced with losing another loved one. We were informed that my mother-in-law doesn’t have much time left. Cancer has taken over her body. She will continue to stay with us on hospice. Nothing means more to her than her family. As awful as it is at least she will be surrounded with love.

It’s an awful decision to be faced with. It makes me wonder what’s better. Knowing the time is coming or not? She seems to be at peace with it but, what about the ones she’s leaving behind? In a way it allows us all to be with her but, it also feels like we’re pre-grieving beforehand. Having years of hospice experience, personally, it’s a relief to know she will not be in pain or have to suffer. On the other hand, it’s different when it’s a family member rather than a patient which brings many emotions. We’re never truly ready for those final goodbyes.

I feel plagued with death. Within 10 years I’ve lost four of the most important people in my life. Now I am losing another. It’s just too much for me. It’s too much for my family. We’re constantly struggling with grief. I’ve got to say that the pain has really opened our hearts up to appreciate and love each other more. Forget the stupid disagreements, forgive and let go, love and care more…no matter how much time you think you have with someone….it will never feel like enough.

Jace,

Mom-mom has been praying and talking to you. She says she knows you’ll help guide her way into Heaven. We need you…to be with her and with us. I know how much she meant to you. Take good care of her. We love and miss you more than words could ever describe.

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Not Forgotten

💛

All the same feelings from last year all crept back. Almost like deja vous. The week leading up to the funeral last year I was on a rollercoaster of emotions. Today, I’m back on that rollercoaster. Only this time I worry about people forgetting about my Jace. Maybe not soon but, I’m time. I regret not being able to do something special yesterday for the 1 year date that he left us. I had so many ideas but as the date grew closer my emotions grew stronger. This year was too much to bear that he’s been gone for an entire year. There’s no more thinking or saying….”This time last year I was doing this with Jace”…. That’s a huge deal that maybe many people won’t understand. Now it feels too real…he’s really gone and not coming back. It’s still unbelievable to me.

Above is a picture of flowers that were given to me by a neighbor. She’s my Gracie’s best and longest friend. It made my heart feel so good that a 14 year old girl remembered. Not only her but, her family has been wonderful this past year. Her mother has listened to me as a cried my eyes out or ranted in anger without judgement. I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful for the few who have been there for me. I know I’m not easy to be around or listen to because I sometimes get lost in all of this. I’m not even sure I could handle being supportive with how someone emotionally up and down the way I am. My friends and family that have been here for me through this have no idea how much their support for me through this year.

💛

I took a yellow rose from the flowers given to me today and laid it where we found Jace the morning of Sept. 5, 2020. Jace’s favorite color was yellow. His aura, soul and spirit is yellow. We love you, Jace. Xoxo

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In Memory 💛

http://www.copefoundation.org

Above is a link to a nonprofit organization (COPE) for parents who are grieving the loss of a child. They have many great programs to help the entire family that suffer this painful grief. It’s in Rosalyn, NY where more local support programs are held. I just happened to come across one of their upcoming event walks information that lead me to their website. Since NY is quite a hike from PA, I joined their email newsletter and noticed an option to have a picture displayed on their Memory Wall. Within 2 minutes of my picture submission, I received an email that Jace’s picture had been added. As today is the 1 year anniversary of Jace’s passing, having him honored on COPE’s memory wall was the best thing that happened today.

May 6, 1995~September 5, 2020

In my Jace’s memory I’m asking everyone to take a moment and visit this website and see Jace’s beautiful face on their Memory Wall.

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I Woke Up One Day And You Were Gone

Jace…My Rinny…this still doesn’t feel real. We’ve been through worse than this. Even when you felt knocked down and defeated, I fought for the both of us. After nearly 8 years of putting up one Hell of a fight, you won. You were here for a reason. You were meant for more. This did not beat you. You were unwillingly taken by the hands of pure vile evil. I hope you know that. And I feel your Spirit fighting. There’s no other way to explain the irony of information given to me this past year of knowing the truth of what exactly happened. Thank you for still making me proud of you.

Everyday gets harder for me but, I’m sure you already know that. I feel like I’m stuck in a maze and at the end you’ll be waiting for me. I just can’t accept that I will never see you in this lifetime ever again. It hurts too much. It just doesn’t feel real. It doesn’t make sense. Most of all, it’s so unfair. I hate hearing people tell me that I will see you again in the afterlife or in heaven. I hate that so much!! You should be here. How many times have I told you if anything like this happened it would kill me? Well, one day my heart won’t be able to take much more of this. The day I had you my entire world changed for the better. You opened up my heart of understanding what true, unconditional love is. I know I’ve told you that many times before. I was blessed to be given true love four times. You were and always and forever will be my first true love. I miss you so much that it can’t be explained. I’ll never find my way back to who I was before you left this world. I feel like a stranger in my own body. And quite honestly, that’s not such a bad thing. You even changed me to be a better person (in an unexplained way) as you left this world. If only there were a stronger word to use than love…I love and miss you more by every second of everyday.

Love always,

Mommy xoxox💛

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My Open Letter To Kevin Tramel

This man brutally beat Jace about 10 days before he murdered him.

I bet everyone is thinking that I shouldn’t waste the blink of an eye on you, Kevin. Maybe they’re right but, I will never let you live what you did go, Kevin. Never. I bet you think I don’t know every detail of what went down that night/early morning on September 5th, 2020 when you came to my neighborhood and met up with Jace. Guess what, Kevin? I do. I bet you were pretty relieved when the one other person who also knew exactly what happened ended up dying this past June. You didn’t meet up with Jace alone last year, Kevin. Just know this, Kevin…before that girl died in June, she made sure the ugly truth of what you did got back to me. You’re not so smart, are you Kevin? Did you think being a snitch to the FBI and police would save you forever, Kevin? See, I know they raided you hotel room last October. I know they got you on dealing drugs, selling weapons, selling women…they got you about Jace too, Kevin. I bet you thought that deal they made with you was your way out. Give up the guy they really wanted, the one you and Melissa Torres worked for…get charged a minimal sentence in county jail on drug charges and clear you on everything else only if you agreed to be a CI for them when your sentence was up. They promised to protect you as a CI and wipe your record. I got news for you, Kevin…those cops don’t give a fuck about you because they got what they wanted. Do you think you’ll be protected when dude you snitched on finds out, Kevin? By the way, I know people too….people in prison who will make sure word gets back to him that it was you and Melissa Torres who snitched on him. Just because he’s serving several years in federal prison doesn’t mean your free and clear, Kevin. You should know that. You should know all it takes is for him to let his people on the outside know it was you, Kevin. Now do you really think these piece of shit cops will protect you? I mean, you promised to work as a CI for them but went right back to doing the same shit you were doing when you got raided. Yeah, I bet you thought laying low and doing things differently this time…plus, “working” as a CI no one would notice. Like I said, Kevin, you’re not very smart. But wait, Kevin, there’s more I know. Last August, 2020 after I reported Jace missing after his second attempt to come home…you and Melissa Torres set him up and beat him unconscious in room 225 at The Neshaminy Inn. You two worthless pieces of shit left him in that room for two nights. You didn’t just beat him, Kevin…you brutally assaulted him. His eyes were so swollen that he thought he was blind. He was in and out of consciousness for 48 hours and would wake up laying in his own piss and vomit. Did that make you feel like a real man, Kevin? Knowing Jace was transgender, born female, was the least threatening person in the world yet, you felt the need to beat him? That just proves how extremely little you know about Jace. I would’ve never had to report him missing if you and Melissa Torres hasn’t taken his phone or didn’t lie when I asked Melissa Torres to have him call me just so I knew he was safe. Did you really think I gave enough of a fuck about you or Melissa Torres when I reported him missing to go out of my way to bring you two up?? Absolutely not! I was only worried about my child because I knew he was with you two and would relapse on crack. It must be stressful to be a 51 year old drug dealer/pimp selling guns and shit out a hotel room to be paranoid constantly and afraid of who’s saying what about you to whoever else, isn’t it Kevin? Or were you just being overprotective of Melissa Torres since she was pregnant with your baby then? You remember, right Kevin? The baby Melissa Torres gave birth to last December when she gave the hospital a fake name and info because she left after they took your newborn son to the nursery. Whatever fucked up reason you had in your head for beating my Jace was just that, fucked up. All that beating did was make me become your worst fucking nightmare. Not Jace, Kevin…me! When Jace finally came home for good you were so paranoid of what he might say to God knows who. He would’ve never said a word. He just wanted to move on and have nothing to do with you or Melissa ever again. You killed him over $400 that Melissa Torres owed you and paranoia. You killed him knowing his history with heroin addiction and tried to make it look like an overdose. On September 5th, 2020 around 5:00-5:30am you parked your car by the lot across the street from my house, Kevin. You and Jace were seen near the hair salon by the lot, Kevin. You had a syringe already drawn up, a “Hot Shot” ready for him, Kevin. Once you realized you couldn’t persuade him to buy or use it himself, you injected him with it. He begged for his life, Jace begged you, Kevin. You, Kevin Tramel, injected with a lethal dose of heroin and fentanyl. Then you capped the syringe and placed it into his left pocket, you placed him slumped over on my front door step, you took his wallet and left some items out along my front step, you slid a partially used single bag of heroin in between appointment cards in his wallet, you took his last $11 and put it in your pocket before quickly walking back to your car and leaving, Kevin. There was someone else who saw what happened other than the girl you brought with you that morning, Kevin. Too bad you’ll never know who that person was.

Kevin Tramel drug dealer, pimp and murderer.

Jace wasn’t a threat for you, Kevin. After you brutally assaulted him is when you should’ve been more worried of how I would react, Kevin. You should’ve worried more about me going to the police, not Jace. Now that you’ve killed my Jace…I’m no longer a threat…I am 10000% promising you this…I will never let this go, Kevin. I will never stop exposing you or Melissa Torres or the corrupt cops of what happened September 5, 2020. I will never stop posting, blogging, tagging your pictures, mentioning you by your full name, Kevin Tramel. Never! I will never stop looking for you either, Kevin. Jace might’ve been afraid of you, those dirty ass prostitutes might be afraid of you but, Kevin…I am not even a little bit afraid of you. You’re nothing, nobody, worthless, waste of life, Kevin Tramel. See, Kevin, you’re a bitch ass pussy, a fake ass “Gangster” and you proved that by being a snitch. By now it’s not as if you aren’t aware of how I’ve been exposing you every way possible. I know you’re head is probably ready to explode too. You don’t have to wait for a personal invitation, Kevin. You know how to find me. I guess your only problem is that you can’t do something to me and make it look like an overdose and you’re too much of a punk ass bitch to do anything else, Kevin. I mean, those guns you were selling last summer weren’t exactly “Ghost Guns” now, were they Kevin? You use those guns as scare tactics with those dirty prostitutes and sell them knowing they’re fucked up and defective. I’m not afraid of you, Kevin Tramel. For me, none of this is a waste of time. I want you to know that I know everything you did to Jace. I want you to know I’ll never give up trying to get justice for Jace. Most of all, Kevin, I want you to know that I am not afraid of you. As much as I want justice, I know I’ll never rightfully get it. Instead I’d settle for you to die a slow, painful death and watch you be tortured as you take your last breath. And even that wouldn’t be enough for what you deserve, Kevin.

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Avoidance

No matter how hard you try, how far you run…there’s no escaping pretty much anything especially, your emotions. Sooner or later everything catches up to you. Still, we all seem to have a tendency to avoid something at some point in our lives. Most people think it’s just best to face the music immediately rather than deal with whatever it is we’re struggling with later. In most cases, I tend to agree. In fact, if anyone were to ask my opinion about this a year ago I would’ve agreed to that completely no matter the situation. Last night I really started thinking about this as I noticed my OCD sorta came unhinged within the last 48 hours. Is avoidance ever necessary? What if it’s an unconventional coping mechanism for some people? Is it possible that there are just some things that we’ll have to deal with forever…situations or emotions that won’t have the same consequences as others if we tend to avoid them? Today I have to say, yes there are.

I hate the way certain dates seem to affect me ever since my first devastating loss, my mother’s passing 5/24/2011. It’s as if my body reacts whether or not I pay attention to the date. Almost like an internal alarm clock. It usually starts in my stomach. I get twisted knots of stress and nausea. Then my mood starts to shift. I start feeling anxious and overwhelmed more than my ‘new normal’. Eventually, I’ll realize a significant date is approaching. Actually, it’s not realizing…it’s more knowing I can’t make these certain dates disappear. I’ll try to rationalize my feelings and emotions by telling myself things like…”Stop letting a certain day/days of the year feel so bad. They’ve been gone leading up to it, they’ll still be gone after it”….as if I can toughen myself up. It’s ridiculous and just makes me feel worse.

Losing my parents and Donna were really hard. Although I still grieve them, I’m at peace and acceptance that it was their time. I can remember them and laugh or smile, talk about them, look through the hundreds of old pictures, share stories without breaking down. Sometimes it’s harder with Donna because she could’ve been saved if it weren’t for the shitty healthcare system where she lived and the hoops they made her jump through. She was too young. I always imagined I’d be much, much older since she was only 18 when she got pregnant with me. Still, as shitty as it is to go through, we know our parents will one day be gone. Now I grieve them differently from sadness…more like missing them and remembering all the great times I’ve had with them. That pain hasn’t gone away but it has gotten lighter. I don’t try to avoid their birthdays or the date they passed. And just as I write that I can’t help but to think there’s a reason why now. I’ve been struck with a loss, a devastating grief that never heals or gets lighter over time.

Avoidance…an unpopular, unconventional coping mechanism I seem to use before a significant date of Jace is approaching. The reason why avoidance has been a coping mechanism for me is how I’ve managed using my overdriven OCD rather than shutting myself away into a dark lonely place. I may crash and burn on that certain day but, I have 100% earned that! Since the day Jace has passed, I’ve gotten myself out of bed everyday. I’ve managed to get dressed and presentable everyday. I’ve done more on some days than others. Quite honestly, the little I manage to do takes a lot for me to get done. Those feats I’ve managed since last September 5th may have earned my right to have a day or two or even three breakdown days but…it’s the days or weeks leading up to certain dates, what I go through mentally, emotionally and physically that no one sees…avoidance has earned my right to breakdown days. Inevitably what avoidance means to me is…no matter if I do or don’t use it to cope, whether it’s good or bad for me to do, no matter if any certain date has a significant meaning…everyday I grieve. Since Jace passed I’ve cried everyday. I know there a losses that some people will never heal from that no one else will understand. I know because I’m living that nightmare. I appreciate all the support that I get. I also appreciate the idea of the advice “The pain will never go away but, in time will be easier”…but it won’t ever get easier or lighter to accept. Not when you’ve been given someone like Jace to love, who loved back in a way that can’t be described, who I had the honor and privilege of raising such a unique, loving soul. I wish the world could’ve known my Jace.

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National Grief Awareness Day

It seems like there’s a ‘Day’ for everything. Earlier I was checking my email and came across something that read ‘August 30th, National Grief Day’…ugh. As if I need to be reminded since everyday feels like it’s National Grief Day.

I have been purposely avoiding the date lately. Actually, I’d like to avoid the entire week. Wouldn’t it be nice if you avoid a certain date you could just cancel that day altogether? Yeah, I know…sounds ridiculous. September 5th….writing it, saying it, thinking it makes me nauseous. I still look at pictures and videos of Jace and I think to myself…”How is someone so full of love, so full of life gone?”….it’s still too much for me to take in. Nearly one year later and it’s still too much for me. There’s no doubt that this loss will one day be the death of me. My heart hurts so much that it will eventually give out.

Earlier when I saw that today was National Grief Awareness Day that huge sigh of…UGH…automatically followed. I’d like to try my best to change that into something more positive. Today I’d like to reach out to the people on the supportive side of someone struggling with grief that they may not quite understand. There’s no question that we’ve all been through a loss and dealt with grief in some way. Then there are people who suffer a loss unlike any other…where the pain doesn’t fade, time doesn’t heal and tears never stop. If you know someone struggling with grief, reach out to them today. Call, write, text, email…mention their loved ones name, share a memory. Be available for someone who may need a shoulder to cry on. Believe me, something that simple can go a long way just knowing that someone cares.

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Open Letter #1

To the police officer Jace and I saw on August 27, 2020,

How dare you turn your back on us when we asked for help! You refused us our Right to file a report against Kevin Tramel and Melissa Torres after they brutally assaulted Jace. You laughed at us when Jace said he was afraid for his life. You humiliated him and insulted him when you asked him what he was. You accused him of being on drugs, of beating himself, you ignored crucial information Jace gave you of names, phone numbers, make and model of cars, addresses where to find drugs, weapons and prostitutes. You were ignorant and cocky as you judged him. You judged him from because of a ticket he was issued 4 years prior, when he was struggling with addiction and you judged him being transgender. That is 100% discrimination!! I’m glad I told you off as we left…how it didn’t make sense that you weren’t even a little interested in checking out the information Jace gave you…that somehow there’s some connection or something fucked up going on and I was right! I’m sure you don’t care. I’m sure you don’t feel like you responsible or guilt towards Jace’s death. You should. Despite what you or anyone else may think….you are just as much to blame and equally responsible for Jace’s death as Kevin Tramel! So what if we couldn’t press charges like you told us?? That doesn’t give you any reason not to allow us to file a report. My only regret is not getting your name. But I remember you. I’d know you the second I’d see you. You are disgusting. I hope you burn in Hell! And I know how truly fucked up this is going to sound but, I don’t even care (that’s what happens when you lose a child, your first born…you don’t care…you become a hollow shell)….I hope you feel the pain and agony I go through everyday…I mean that. I hope you lose someone who you love and would die for and suffer the way I do. You’re such a piece of shit!!! I really hope we see each other again some day so I can say all of this right to your face.

I’m sincerely never letting this go, Aimee

I know people say not to hold onto anger, that I won’t begin to heal if I do. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever heal from this. Frustration doesn’t even begin to describe how maddening it is to be in this situation. It doesn’t even seem real that everything happened the way it did. I know I’m constantly judged from people thinking I’m just looking for someone to blame or exaggerating how things happened. Last year was like a whirlwind from mid-August to September 5th. It all happened so fast. I wish I were exaggerating or in denial of these facts. Sadly, I am not. I was flabbergasted as I witnessed it all first hand. For weeks after Jace passed I was paralyzed with shock, confusion and disbelief. Hearing things on tv about law enforcement, corruption, discrimination is one thing. Having it happen to you personally is entirely different. I feel like I’ve been pushed up against a wall and there’s no way to turn because they are never fully held responsible. So many people who go through this know this feeling and don’t speak out. I refuse to sit quietly in defeat. What happened to Jace and our family as I do everything I can to tell our story, expose the officers and people involved…it may not bring the change needed to make a difference but, it will never stop me from trying…or to get justice for my Jace.

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I Get On My Own Nerves…

There is no one who annoys me more than I annoy myself. This is nothing new. I’ve been getting in my own nerves probably my entire life. I know it sounds funny and it usually is….or was. Now I just feel like I overreact over things I shouldn’t. I know it’s stress which doesn’t help. And most of the time I’ll ponder over and over in my head how I wish I hadn’t said something or reacted a certain way. For instance, my last post. I actually thought about deleting it the next day. I felt like I wrote it in the moment, which I did, and because I left quite a few things out that I should’ve mentioned.

For one, I am attending an Overdose Awareness walk on the 28th. My grief therapist sent me info and asked if I’d like to have Jace’s name mentioned during the memorial lantern service and a song played. I filled out the form and when asked how many will be attending the walk I put 10…give or take. I have a big family and thought I’d ask a couple others to come. This is a big deal for me. I don’t think many understand that. I also can’t quite explain it either. I just wasn’t expecting that I might be going to this walk alone. I know my therapist will be there but, I’d really like to have my family or a close friend or two to be by my side. My Lauren said she’ll come with the kids but, what does that mean for my mother-in-law? She really depends on Lauren and can’t be left on her own very long. One good friend of mine said she’ll come if she can. My other two girls aren’t sure if they can make it because of work. My husband has something to do out of town. And quite honestly, I don’t want to ask anyone else because I feel like I’m bothering them. I just feel like I’m always reaching out for support and am becoming a bit of a burden.

Another thing that I feel I’ve noticed from others…I don’t know how to really explain it…how I’m still really struggling with Jace and still heavily grieving. It’s not so much with what anyone says. It’s more of the facial expressions or body language or how they’ll change the subject completely. Hey…I get it…I know how I am, how I sound, how depressing I seem. Believe me, if I could run away from myself…I would. Unfortunately, I can’t and have to live with this nightmare. It’s not an easy thing to go through. Especially since the most dreaded day is just around the corner. I have colitis and the anxiety and stress has caused me to have a flare. As if I don’t struggle enough with emotional pain, I now have to deal with the physical pain of my stomach issues. Unless you’ve experienced or have colitis then you have no idea how excruciating flares can be. Then there’s the exciting part of never knowing how long a flare will last! Could be weeks or even months. Since it’s been over a year since I’ve had one I’m hoping it doesn’t last too long. So…on top of my ‘complicated grief’, imagine how many people want to hear that I’m doubled over in pain? None. That’s how many.

Before I end this post I do want to say that I am really glad to have my mother-in-law with us. I know she likes being here and the kids make her happy. She’s a wonderful woman and I’d hate to see her unhappy somewhere else. It’s been almost 10 years since I had taken care of my parents. Things have changed quite a bit in those years. I’m not only trying to survive the loss of my oldest child, I’m also going through the early years of pre-menopause…yay 😩, I’m not in the same physical shape or as quick as I was. And as much as I don’t want her anywhere else, I hate that things tend to stress me out and overwhelm me and can’t be 100% with her needs. Luckily, I do have a big empathetic family and everyone loves her and they all have gone above and beyond. Hopefully I can get back on track and cope with my stress and emotions a little better.

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Sucking It Up Through A Meltdown

So…I LOT has been going on that I haven’t blogged about. I mean, if I’m using this page as a journal and outlet to deal with my feelings maybe I should let out more than how I’m grieving. Besides Jace passing, this year has been one thing on top of another and another and another…. I hate to sound like a big baby or constantly whining but, two meltdowns within three days…I need to figure out how to manage it all. What bothers me the most is actually….me.

Previously I mentioned that my mother-in-law needs around the clock care. After staying with us for a few days and sending her home just to have another fall we decided to have her stay with us full time. My Lauren has taken on the role of her primary caregiver although, everyone does their share. I have to admit the timing couldn’t be worse. I guess I didn’t realize or expect to be hit with a storm of emotions and anxiety to this extent I’d go through leading up to the one year date of Jace passing. Of course, the whole pre-menopause mood swings seem to add that extra dose of crazy on top of the crazy I already feel. It’s hard to explain but, I feel bad for feeling bad. My mother-in-law is a wonderful woman and I really am glad to have her with us instead of her feeling uncomfortable with someone else or somewhere else. And I’m so proud that Lauren loves her enough to everything she’s doing. And this is where I feel like a big cry baby but….I feel really pushed aside…a little forgotten. Unless you’ve lost a child you have no idea how hard one day to the next can be. Even one hour to to the next some days. I’ve been really lucky to have my girls by my side as they try to understand even though they don’t. I’ve been trying not to be so hard on myself this entire year. It hadn’t been easy but, I’ve learned how to stop putting pressure on myself when I can’t do certain things no matter how simple they maybe. Now that someone is here who physically isn’t able to take care of themselves, I feel like everyone expects me to push myself more or feels the same frustration I feel with myself when I can’t emotionally or mentally get things done….if that makes sense. It’s hard to explain. I feel like everything I do is wrong, if something isn’t done that I should’ve done it….I really just feel like I don’t fit in somehow. I’m not saying that’s how my family feels. It’s how I feel. It’s easier to accept that someone needs help when it’s physical because you can see physical struggles. When it’s emotional or mentally challenging no one sees it except the one feeling it. I’m sorry but, that’s the best way for me to put it. Now I’m really unhappy with me because I broke down twice feeling like I’m unwanted and unneeded. It sounds so selfish when I say it that I’m just embarrassed about it. I have never wanted to just disappear more than ever than I have this past week. My mind is in overdrive of how to talk to my kids and husband about this. I just don’t want to be misunderstood and have everyone mad at me or feel the way I do about myself. I need a time out on life for a few days I think….ugh.

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My First Huge Step

My grief therapist sent me an email with information about 3 different events coming up this month for overdose awareness. Three walks are being held within the next few weeks. This is something Lauren and I had talked about doing months ago. Jace’s best friend, Becky, has attended these walks before and does so much to promote awareness for addiction and recovery. When we realized how close these events are to the date Jace passed (9/5/2020)…we thought it might be best to wait until next year or so since we’re all still struggling and heavily grieving. Now that it’s been a few months since talking about this, I feel like this is something Jace would really want me to do. I almost feel like something is sort of guiding or pushing me (in a positive way) to step outside of my comfort zone to support Becky with her remarkable recovery and honor Jace’s memory. So, on a whim I filled out the form for the walk on August 28th and sent it. I’m going to do it and oddly I’m not feeling those anxious, overwhelming feelings of leaving the house like I normally do since Jace passed. At least not yet ::🤞🏼::

I chose this specific walk because there will be names read aloud in memory of loved ones and the option to have a special song played after their name is said. Everyone who knew my Jace knows there’s only one song that would suit him. Whitney Houston’s ‘I will always love you’…lol. Not only did he always sing it to me and tell me this was our song, he sang it terribly to everyone lol. Also, this walk is the closest to my house. It’s being held in the evening at an outside track. We will be a DJ and families will be given complimentary shirts. Out of all 3 Overdose Awareness walks, this one seemed to have more going on that might help distract me from getting too emotional. I know it’s a huge step and it might still be hard but, thinking of it that way is like a coping mechanism (I guess) that’s helping me. Plus, it feels good knowing that I’m doing something that Jace would be proud of. One of his main goals was to help others with addiction and recovery by telling his journey and speaking at local rehabs and recovery centers. I promised his spirit that I would do whatever it takes to make sure those goals are still achieved by making them my own in his memory.

Although his death was taken by the hands of Kevin Tramel and not his own, Jace suffered numerous overdoses throughout his years of activity using and relapses fighting for recovery. I know I haven’t talked much about those years, the struggle or the years of being stuck in the never ending revolving door to recovery yet. I know I will…sooner rather than later. Not only to fulfill his goals…but to do it because I am proud that he was able to live a year as a clean and recovered addict. The year leading until he passed was the best year….for all of us. He always had a gleaming aura that shined even through his darkest moments. 2019 that aura was blinding and beautiful….his infectious smile was broader…everything about him glowed. Getting to see that and know how much he appreciated all the love and support from me by never giving up on him makes it so much harder for me. People have said how lucky I should feel or I am to have that year, those times and memories. I’ve got to say on the grand scale of the top 3 things that are said to me….that is definitely #1! One year of celebrating how far he had come after almost 8 years of the life and death struggle it took….ugh…I can’t even find the words to describe how ridiculous in comparison that is. I should not be appreciating memories, I should still be making memories with Jace right now until the day I die. Instead of treading off topic with my feelings (yeah, too late I know…I had to get it out of my head I guess 😬)…I’m going to use my emotional energy to focus on his goals. August 28th will be the first of them.

A funny oldie of us 💛

To my Jace…my baby Rinny…I promised your spirit that I’d make your goals come true. I miss you more every second that passes of everyday. This is killing me to do without you rather than by your side supporting you. I need your spirit to give me strength more than ever. I love you. I miss you beyond words. Love always, Mommy xoxo 💛

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The Best Support To Give Is Keeping Your Mouth Shut!

I know I sound depressing when I write on here. Most people would probably think I sit in a dark hole and shut out the world. Believe it or not, I manage and push through the pain a little more each day by playing with my grandkids and I’m enjoying my family. I’ve found my private space when I need to grieve or just feel like having “Jace” time. I’ll admit, it doesn’t seem like much but, these things are still a huge feat for me. This webpage has become a great outlet to let out my feelings as well as tell Jace’s story. One thing I still struggle with is the advice from others. It’s always from people I least expect. Every time I’m given…actually, scolded with ‘advice’ it’s from another mother. The difference…these mothers have never lost a child. Yet…they seem to have all the answers. What’s even better….they’ll say how they’d handle losing a child. It doesn’t happen often…thank GOD! But when it does, it makes me feel like shit. Listen, I feel bad enough about myself every single day. I don’t need anyone to add more salt to those wounds. Is it really that hard to just not say anything??? Especially knowing the sensitivity of the next couple weeks. Self care is hard enough through grief. Do you have any idea how much harder it is after listening to repeated ‘scolding advice’??

Besides all the bullshit cliche crap people say, I’ll just mention the one thing that seems to sting the most for me….”You need to be there for your other children”….”They need you”…. Guess what?? We all need each other and we’re all being there for each other. Please, someone tell me when I haven’t ‘BEEN THERE’??? There is nothing wrong for me to need my kids some days and vice versa. I know I shouldn’t let these things bother me when others are just insensitive but, they do…their words hurt and their body language and tone saying it all fucking hurts. I’ve managed to bite my tongue. I’ve even repeatedly tried explaining it’s all easier said than done. I have even come outright to say that those things make me feel worse. It all falls onto deaf ears apparently. Now if I start sassing back with…”Let me know how easy all your advice is after you’ve buried a child”…. Well shit…tables would turn so fast and I’d have people jumping down my throat!!! No one sees how those cliche tips of advice and how I feel like replying go hand in hand. Equally insensitive to a grieving mother.

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Responding To Ignorance

Big time! 🙏

Well, I knew it was only a matter of time before I’d hear backlash from Pro-Police Supports or conservatives. People who’ve never experienced discrimination in anyway with provocation love to belittle people who have. These are people who only see things black or white, closed minded and ignorant and refuse to realize there’s situations in the world that are surrounded with gray areas. As I’ve mentioned many times, I’m not completely active on any popular social media outlets. I do have a few open accounts that I use to gain more traffic to this webpage. I recently opened an account with an app similar to The Patch called Next Door. From what I’ve noticed, it seems to be more interactive than The Patch…more conversations and groups, ect. I’m not interested in any of that chit chat nonsense or interested in knowing more people better that live near me. I’m quite happy with my itty bitty circle. Still, this app has an automatic feature that sends out a brief “Hello, I’m new to Next Door…” blah, blah, blah…and adds your beginning sentence of what you’ve written in you ‘About You’ section. Since that’s what everyone will see I decided to put….’Go to http://www.jaceslegacy.Wordpress.com to find our more. I recently started exposing Bensalem Police Department of discrimination…’ ect…. A 70 year old man named, Ed (yes, I’m using his actual first name but, I’ll leave out his last…he doesn’t deserve complete privacy in my opinion) replies with a sarcastic comment about being a resident for 70 years and would just love to hear how the local police have ever discriminated. I replied suggesting he come to my webpage or can read more from my Google Review post. That was followed by another sarcastic comment from him. It’s hard to not reply “Fuck Off Old Man” and other nasty things I had racing in my head so, I just ended that conversation by “Your opinion doesn’t matter. Have a great day”…..ugh!!!! I decided to skim through this app to see a little more. Let’s just say, I don’t think they’ll keep me an active member for too long lol. It’s very conservative, mostly people who have same political opinions, people looking to interact and meet, closely monitored by members of the community. After dinner I checked some emails and received 2 from two members who must be in charge of monitoring posts (making sure the listing guidelines are followed). They both begin very welcoming and end it by suggesting I read their posting guidelines because I was reported for abusing them. Apparently, freedom of expression or Right to tell the truth of a situation regarding local law enforcement or personal opinions outside of the majority isn’t allowed….hmmm. Well, there’s nothing in the rules/guidelines that says that. I met all the standards by being truthful, polite, non-argumentative so, what’s the problem??? I’m not changing or editing. Hell, I barely even said much. I posted a bio and replied to a comment. I am going to use this outlet the same way I do all other ones. Lately I’ve been sending basic posts to each media outlet after I write I new blog on this page. It’s pretty short and simple like….”New Blog Post on ‘this webpage’ Please, don’t forget to read, Follow and Share”…. And I will include The Next Door site with those little messages and if they don’t like it then they can kick me out. Seriously, what is wrong with people?? Especially people old enough to know better. I know not everyone likes what I’m doing by speaking out. I know things are being said and people’s opinions and gossip go around and truths to stories get manipulated. It happens all the time everywhere. I know it’s happening with me and Jace’s situation. It’s easier to ignore when it’s behind your back. Usually people who won’t say it directly know it’s bullshit or lies or just simply have no balls. And the people who do directly say something are just ignorant and live in their bubbled black and white world unaware of reality. I need to remind myself of that every single day otherwise I’ll end up snapping with something much different than I did this time. Pray for me people. My nerves are shot and I can’t take much more.

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August Is National Overdose Awareness: They Do Recover

This was very emotional for me…looking through his old social media account and the pictures. There were many pictures he took of himself that he kept in a private folder through the years he was actively using. They broke my heart even more than missing him. I never saw him looking so awful, so unfamiliar, so broken. He made those pictures private for some reason so, I’ll respect his privacy and keep them where he left them. The two I posted weren’t from that folder. One goal he made was to speak to addicts and tell his story. He wanted to tell people struggling with addiction that it’s the longest road traveled yet, the most rewarding. Above all, recovery IS possible! With faith, compassion and support is how Jace was able to find sobriety after nearly 8 long years of battling addiction. He openly admitted that heroin was is drug of choice but, abused all drugs as well. Please, find ways to help in your community by donating or volunteering. Believe me, you ARE saving lives. Below is a powerful poem that Jace posted a while back.

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So What…I’m Having A Temper Tantrum

Yes I am!

I’m just going to get to the point about a few things that makes my head want to explode. And yes, I know all the cliche advice about not being angry. I don’t care. I’m aloud to be angry and mad…everyone is for whatever reason. I need to pity party it out. I’m sure I’ll get over it eventually because what choice do I really have anyway?? So, hold onto your hats and I’ll do my best to keep my rants brief…..

Go FundMe…You Go FailedMe

I still owe the funeral home for Jace’s Service and the interest is killing me!! I’ve tried asking if we could come to a better arrangement so I wouldn’t have that 30% interest added each month but, they are not willing to do so. Okay, fine. I mean, my husband and I paid the majority (about 95%) of it. I’m not thrilled but, I’m not going to complain. It is what it is. What makes me mad is how Jace’s biological father told my Lauren that he was collecting money from his family and friends to give the funeral home to help out. A few weeks after, he tells Lauren he gathered a little over $300 and decided to instead donate it….which is BULLSHIT. He kept it. All I’m going to say about him and his non-existent relationship he had with Jace and Lauren is 1. $300 wouldn’t have paid for the pillow in the coffin. 2. I NEVER kept him from having a relationship with them. He did that himself. No one in his family ever tried getting in touch with me about seeing the kids or to ask how they were. 3. Years later, he finds them on social media (Jace & Lauren were roughly 14-16 years old) and messages them. Not asking about them or how they’ve been or school. Instead he decides to tell them horrendous lies about me and not to believe whatever I said about him. Well, he’s a real piece of shit to do that. Looks like I ended up being the better one when they asked about him. Honestly, they asked once…that’s it..only one time when they were around 5-7 years old and never asked again. All I said to them was “When you guys are older and want to find him that’s fine. I just want you two to be mature and old enough before making that relationship decision. I just can’t be involved”….they even told him that and of course, he doesn’t believe them. 4. A while back Lauren and I found out that he actually made a GoFund Me about Jace also. People gave to it and guess where that money went? Right into his pocket! Let me just end by saying this to him or any of his family (just in case they read this ever). I don’t care what any of you say or think because we all know it’s true. But before you even think about trying to get in touch with Lauren to bad mouth me keep in mind of the enormous favor I’m doing by not revealing his name. Be mad, that’s fine. Just remember after all these years I’m still being the better person by not stooping (maybe a little bit by this post)…at least not stooping all the way down to his level.

In case you haven’t heard this story, I’ll post a link. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/public-safety/story/2021-08-05/im-not-going-to-let-you-die-deputy-overdoses-after-coming-in-contact-with-fentanyl%3f_amp=true

I’m sure everyone is baffled wondering why this angers me. First let me say that I’m glad the officer did not die. It has nothing to do with this particular law enforcement department. It’s the use of Narcan and every debate behind its use and distribution of it that makes my head want to explode. People who are ignorant towards education with addiction and epidemic crisis with drugs, people who have never experienced a loved one suffering addiction or suffered themselves, conservative side of politics, ect…are the ones who want to limit the use and distribution of Narcan to addicts during an overdose. That’s simply…just fucked up! Certain states or counties have a 2-3 dose protocol for emergency responders when on an OD call. I’m not sure what or if there’s any limited Narcan protocol where these officers are from so I can’t say if their particular protocols weren’t followed. I can 100% guarantee if this event happened in PA, where there are limited Narcan protocols, law enforcement would find a way to be excluded in this case. Still wondering why I think this is bullshit?? 1. For one thing, Narcan is cheap!! I have over 20 years of pharmacy experience from inpatient hospitals, retail and home healthcare. Ive done purchase ordering everywhere I’ve worked. I know the unit price that these places pay for certain medications and what it’s retail value is worth. Narcan is not costly by any means. That’s a lame excuse the government tried to use. 2. Narcan’s chemical compound is used for many reasons. It’s most commonly known to treat opioid overdoses. This does not promote addicts to keep using because they will be saved every time. The most ridiculous misconception I’ve heard from the uneducated is thinking once Narcan is given and reversed the overdose that the patient somehow becomes completely coherent and angry because their ‘high’ was ruined. Absolutely ignorant and completely wrong! These are the same people who also think an addict can self administrate Narcan during an overdose….😶😶😶….are you freaking kidding me?? I came across an ANON blog quite a while back and parents were talking about something called “Narcan Parties”. Supposedly, people who liked to party and get high would all bring their own Narcan to drug filled parties, get as high as they possibly can or as long as they could until they OD. They would be given Narcan and then continue partying. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? I can tell you from personal and professional experience that is not what happens….at all. Not even close! When someone is OD-ing, they are unresponsive completely and almost immediately. They aren’t physically able to self administer Narcan. Once Narcan does take effect in a patient OD-ing, they are still suffering to recover and confused…sometimes even unaware they were OD-ing. The abused drugs are still active in their bodies making them impaired. They do not just suddenly come to a state on consciousness. I’ve never seen an OD patient angry that they’ve been given Narcan because their ‘High’ was ruined. In fact, it’s quite an opposite reaction because the shock of being so close to death made them grateful….even if it’s just for that moment. 3. Another misconception is Narcan will be effective in every overdose when given in a reasonable time frame. Let me try to explain this as easy as possible. Let’s say an addict suffered multiple OD’s and was treated with Narcan each time (no matter how many doses). His internal reaction starts to build an immunity to this continual treatment and response. Eventually, there will be a point his body’s reaction will become resistant to the Narcan. 4. And for all those people who love to use “How come Narcan is free but chemo is so expensive”…. Because Narcan is CHEAP and chemo actually is very expensive! Despite what most people think, chemo is not life saving treatment. All chemo…and I mean ALL chemo treatments are made up of extremely toxic compounds. Every time I’ve prepared chemo I have to wear a special sterile gown, a pair of chemo gloves overtop of a pair of latex glove, a mask and a face shield and shoe covers. Chemo is prepared in a special hood away from all other IV preps. It is so carefully packaged or bagged to prevent exposure to everyone handling it. Does that sound cheap and safe?? And without getting into more details, patients who have beat cancer after chemotherapy are at great risks of many health complications from the chemotherapy for the rest of their lives…usually. The number of patients who do suffer those complications are far greater than patients who haven’t. Back to the news article above, they don’t mention the exact number of doses given and I’m sure if they ever have to…for whatever reason down the road….they’ll fudge how many actual doses the officer received. If there’s going to be restrictions of how much Narcan can be given then there should be absolutely no exceptions! I don’t care if it’s God himself…NO EXCEPTIONS!

Yes, Jace suffered drug addiction. His death with drugs was not from self infliction.

I’ve never denied Jace was an addict for many years. There was a time years ago when I was grieving a living child because of his drug use. In fact, the number of overdoses, situations he had been in over those excruciating years should have taken his life many times before last year. It was a long, agonizing, emotional battle for him…for me…for our family. Accepting his death as an accidental overdose would’ve been something I’d eventually heal from if that would’ve been the case last year. I am absolutely not looking to blame others, point fingers, exaggerating how law enforcement discriminated all because I’m in denial of Jace’s cause of death. Believe me, at this point I wish it were as simple as an accidental overdose. I’d be advocating much differently if that were the case. He was murdered plain and simple…period. Yes, in a sense overdose deaths are murder by drug dealers…I 100% agree. Jace was murdered by a drug dealer/pimp/weapons selling piece of shit’s own hands! Kevin Tramel, himself, injected a lethal syringe of fentanyl/heroin into Jace’s body. That’s murder. It makes me mad! It makes our e tire family mad! So, don’t think I’m completely unaware of what is said about me behind my back…”She’s in denial. Jace was a drug addict and overdosed”….”What did she think would happen to Jace after years of on and off again drugs?”…”She needs to stop blaming everyone else for Jace’s death and accept what it actually was”…. I’d like to end this by point blank response. To everyone who feels like I’m just trying to blame others for Jace’s death….FUCK YOU!

💛 Yes, I am angry. I have a right to be. People expect others to maintain peace and calmness while struggling difficult situations. How can anyone find peace, calmness, healing without expressing or feeling anger?? The expectations of others is too high a demand to a lot of people. There is no one person the exact same as another. We all feel, deal, love, tolerate, struggle differently. We are all uniquely created and individually/chemically created that way. What works or helps one person doesn’t always help another even if circumstances/situations are the same. There’s nothing wrong with choosing your own path to overcome something traumatic. There’s nothing wrong about feeling anger or feeling peace. Everyone who promotes Self-Care and Mental Health need to also promote Self-Validation and Support People with Self-Validation. Just because I feel this way now doesn’t mean I will feel this way next week, next month, next year…. All I’m trying to focus on is how to manage and cope from one day to the next without Jace. 💛

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I’m Just A Ball Of Blah!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like I do right now. That feeling of everything piling up all at once. I mean, why can’t we just get through one thing at a time?? You would think I’d be used to this sort of insanity by now. I swear, story of my life when it comes to….well, just about everything. My brother and I once joked how fucked up we are to make jokes and laugh at what we’ve been through. Honestly, I think it’s the only way to get through a lot of what we’ve gone through. I don’t know what I’d do without him. I hate that he’s had it way harder than I have growing up but, I’m so incredibly proud of the man he turned out to be. He’s an amazing father, loving husband, goofiest uncle and the most over-protected brother in the world. Although he’s 2 years younger than me, he’s been twice my size since he could walk lol. He’s really my best friend and I can tell him everything and can always depend on him. I just wish he didn’t live 600 miles away. I feel like I overload him with everything I go through. Lately, I’ve been holding a lot in and now I feel really emotionally overwhelmed.

Me and JR. My “little” brother.

As I’ve probably mentioned a million times…I just don’t want to deal with August or September. It’s killing me that September 5th will be one year that Jace has been gone. On top of that, my mother-in-law isn’t doing well. She’s just not physically able to live on her own with out some assistance. My Lauren went to her apartment to clean recently. That’s when things were brought to our attention that something must be done ASAP. She lives in a senior community. Some buildings are people who require assistance and others buildings are for the more independent seniors. I’m not sure if there’s a way or what the time frame may be to see if she can be moved to have assistance but, she definitely can’t be alone any longer. Her legs are just not strong enough anymore. She uses a walker but, that’s getting harder. I bought her a shower chair about a year and a half ago. Recently, she’s fallen twice getting out of the shower. She’s quite stubborn…which I like to think is a good thing…usually lol. She’s a smoker and has been given many warnings from her apartment manager that there is no smoking unless you go outside. Well, she can’t make it outside on her own and got a notice that she will be evicted since she’s exceeded all warning notices. We’ve had her spend a night or two at our house but, since Lauren and my grands have moved back in we just don’t have much room. My husband has 2 sisters. One lives in South Carolina and helps as much as she can. His other sister I think lives about 45 min from us. She’s been offering help as well. Since we live the closest (about 20 min from her) my husband asked if I could help her. I know I’ll probably sound awful (because I absolutely feel awful) but, I’m not sure I can do it. Believe me, I whole heartedly want to. I’m just not myself since Jace has passed. I’m not sure I can be dependable, I’ve been having issues with my arms, timing right now is extremely difficult. I’ve been so upset and depressed about this that I spent days in bed crying. I took care of my parents until their dying day. They lived less than five minutes from our house which made it easier to go back and forth for me. I know none of those are good excuses and it’s killing me. I love my mother-in-law so much and hate to see her this way. I’m just so afraid of breaking down if I agree to take on such a huge responsibility to care for her. And it’s more than grieving Jace…it’s the memories of when I took care of my parents as well. I still grieve them and miss them so much. Of course my husband says he understands and that his family would too but, no one knows what this is like for me…..Especially since Jace has passed. I feel like I’m constantly slapped in the face of realizing just how much different I am.

My wonderful mother in law

Sometimes I feel like I can barely take care of myself. As open and honest I am about losing my oldest child, my parents and Donna…it still doesn’t describe the pain that I feel. I feel like each month that goes by is a new struggle for me. I feel like a constant pity party. I feel like a huge burden. My head is just filled with things I struggle with that used to be a breeze for me. It’s like defeating one hurdle and stumbling over the next constantly. One thing no one tells you about grief….it’s just an endless nightmare.

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Coping With A Heavy Heart

Easter 2021

I am brutally honest with my feelings of losing Jace. I don’t try to hide that I struggle every single day or how broken I’ve become. I am aware that it’s been nearly 11 months and my grief is overwhelming. Probably more than what people expect even. But only the people who truly knew who Jace was and how much he loved with his entire soul understand…or at least they try to understand why I struggle the way I do. The one thing that I know for certain…it’s my 3 girls who get me by. My Maddie and Gracie have learned so much from my Lauren about patience with me through this. Lauren is my only child with children of her own. I think that’s where the compassion of losing a child comes in. She was able to talk to them about it better than anyone else could’ve. In the beginning, I think Madison and Gracie didn’t quite understand or realize how much this loss would affect me. I know it’s affected us all tremendously. One way it’s changed in a positive way is how much closer it brought us together….especially my 3 girls. We’ve always been pretty close but now…it’s unexplainably different. I would do just about anything to have Jace here to be apart of that. Although, he always had a special connection with all 3 separately anyway. Whenever my 3 girls bickered over who took the others clothes or make up or chores, Jace was the glue that held them together. Of course, my 3 grandkids makes my days brighter and want to smile even if I want to cry….it’s my Lauren, Maddie and Gracie who are my rock.

Lately it’s been too much to bear to even look at pictures of Jace. This seems to happen in waves. I’m not exactly sure why. I’ve noticed it starts right before significant dates…holidays, birthdays, ect. Sometimes I think it happens when I’ve tried holding everything in. I seem to have many different waves of emotions I go through. When I’m going through my waves of holding things in I think it just builds up until I can’t hold it any longer. I try not to do this, I don’t know why I tend to. Even though I make time every single night alone to either talk to Jace, look at pictures, write in my personal journal, cry, hold something he last wore…there’s still things I seem to keep stored away. I think I do this because I know how uncomfortable and depressing it can be for others to be around me. I don’t want the extreme few to feel that way. Mostly, I don’t want my kids to see me like that all the time. It’s really frustrating for me to go though my waves. I already feel bad, not only with Jace’s passing, I generally feel bad everyday because I feel like I’m failing, like I’m holding everyone back, like I’m a huge disappointment for my family because I’m just not strong enough to handle this.

I do have to admit that somehow, some miraculous way, I manage….I just manage is the only way to put it. It’s not always easy. Some days are much harder than others…even though everyday just seems hard. That probably doesn’t make any sense to anyone but me. I’m sure there are times when it may seem like I’ve accepted or am healing…believe me, I haven’t….not even close. What I manage to do is just survive. Lately it’s been weighing pretty heavily though. I think I’m struggling that it will be a year on September 5th when Jace left us. It could also be that last August 3rd was when Jace slowly started trying to come home and very slowly started telling us his struggles. Last August was stressful and hard for all of us. Even as I write this I can feel my emotions tightening in my chest. Seeing him go through such abuse and his confusion and frustration wasn’t easy then and it’s not easy now. He deserved so much more than he settled for. As proud as I am to have raised such a beautiful, accepting soul with a heart bigger than any universe…I wish he would’ve loved some people a lot less. Instead he chose to love and accept everyone.

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Believe Me, It’s Not Complicated

I deleted my Facebook page about 2 or so years ago and haven’t been active on any other social media accounts in my name. I probably would’ve deleted them too but I can’t remember my passwords and find it to be too much trouble to reset them and all that stupid nonsense. In a way I guess it helps that I didn’t delete some of them since this page has the wonderful option of automatically sharing my blogs/posts to those sites. Except for Facebook…I’m just not a FB fan, I guess. The irony of even saying that is how I’ll sometimes go on Jace’s Facebook page just to look at his pictures and the ‘Memories on this day’ feature. Plus, so many people still leave messages on his Facebook page of stories or pictures…it’s humbling to know how much people miss him and how much he meant to so many. It’s also sad sometimes to see his old posts about feeling insecure because of past relationships and that desire for true love. I wish he knew he deserved better than most of the people he dated. There are also a lot of religious posts and prayers. He loved going to church. Then I noticed he posted a lot about death and how he hoped to be remembered. And those posts weren’t just throughout his harder years with addiction. I wonder if he had a sixth sense that he wouldn’t be here to grow old. Sometimes I think people have that sense of knowing when time is running out. I came across one post in particular the other night that brought on instant tears….

1 year ago

How does someone who is so special and unique not see their value…not see how much they mean to everyone around them…how?? I still fill up reading that post. My god, if that’s all he wanted well…he got that wish and a thousand times more. I have a stack of about 30+ letters from people who wrote and kept in touch with him over the years. Every single person, in every single letter say “crossing paths with you has made me a better person”…or they tell him how they now strive to be better, that because of knowing him they’ve found the strength and courage to do things for themselves, ect. Everyone! I wish I could show or read those letters to the world. It’s just so unfair that he’s gone.

This is the only therapy you can count on.

Complicated Grief Disorder….hmm. So, I have this complicated grief disorder and a form of PTSD now. I was given links to sites that explain what this is in a lot of lengthy detail. In fact, there’s about 6 different categories of grief, maybe more…I don’t know because all the info started turning into a cluster of confusion. At least that’s how I felt reading it. Then again, a symptom in complicated grief is not being able to concentrate…among many others. I don’t want to me misunderstood when I say this but, isn’t grief complicated and extremely hard to accept when you lose someone who was your entire life?? I won’t get into my opinion or thoughts with this now. That will have to be a blog all of its own…one day…maybe. All I will say is that I am never going to accept that Jace is gone, never! I don’t even think I’ll find a way to heal from the pain in my heart. September 5th will be one year and I find it more difficult each day, I cry harder every night than the night before…and the weight of missing him and grieving him gets heavier by the minute. Sometimes it hurts me so much that I can’t even manage to look at pictures of his beautiful face. If that’s considered complicated or traumatic grief, I fully accept and own it. I don’t know how every mother or parent doesn’t feel the way I do. I can’t even try to sugar coat it when someone asks how I’m doing. My pain and heartache is too much…I am struggling with my loss. Thankfully I have a doctor and therapist who let me know that there’s nothing wrong with how I feel and there’s nothing wrong with me…this is a path that I’ll only know. There’s no right or wrong way to go through it and no timeline until it stops.

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My Favorite Boy Is 7 Years Old!

Noah Bean

The day Noah was born, I was lucky enough to be there and cut his umbilical cord. Since there aren’t many boys on either side of our family, Noah’s arrival was like announcing royalty lol. Now I can’t believe how fast 7 years went by. I thought time flew having kids of my own but, it goes by even faster with grands. No matter what, being a Mimi is the best thing. I describe it similar to how I felt becoming a mom. People often think their first true love was a teenage sweetheart. For me, my first true love was the day I had Jace. I never knew I could love so much, so deep, so unconditionally. Having Jace opened my heart up to what love is truly about. Because of him, it made me love having Lauren, Madison and Gracie. It was impossible to think I could love like that again…..and then came my Noah Bean.

Memories

Now I know I’m going to sound like every other biased grandmom when I say Noah is the smartest, most handsome boy ever born. The only difference, he really is lol. He’s just perfect in every single way. He especially loves hearing me tell stories about my Dad. Of course he loves stories about all loved ones who have passed. My Dad would’ve been head over heels for Noah. And the uncanny thing about Noah is how his personality is a lot like my Dad’s lol. Now when it comes to looks, you would think we had Jace cloned! Noah eerily resembles Jace down to his cowlick in his hair. I can’t tell you how many pictures of Jace we have as a kid that people think are Noah. I love that that’s a part of Jace that will always live on in Noah.

Noah absolutely adored Jace. Today was exceptionally hard for me. No matter how much I tried not to think about Noah’s’ birthday last year…it just haunted me. It was our last good day we had with Jace before everything unraveled. It makes me think of how much Jace is missing. I don’t care what anyone says, I know Jace’s Spirit is heartbroken not being here for theses special days….especially for Noah’s day.

Well, I’m sure Noah had fun today with all of his gifts and time spent with family. I plan on having a special day this weekend with him to make up for not feeling so great today. Wow! I’ve been a grandma for 7 years…these kids are making me old lol.

Noah….I don’t think you’ll ever realize just how special and how much you mean to me. I love how you share memories of Jace with me to cheer me up. The one thing I hope you never, ever forget is how much Jace loved you…and that his Spirit will forever be with you. Love you more than the stars, Mimi xoxo

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No Hard Feelings…I Want To Be Left Alone

Now that masks don’t seem mandatory, looks like I’ll be leaving the house like this.

I’m almost afraid to blink because it will be September before I know it. Last July was Jace’s last good month. Well, as I remember it. For him, it was the beginning of a downward spiral. I really believe he didn’t come to me sooner because he didn’t want me to be disappointed by another failed relationship. He knew better to think I’d be disappointed. I also think he was embarrassed that he allowed his weakness of wanting true love take away everything he finally became. Not only did he battle addiction, he considered battled his self esteem with love. Little did he know, he was always the one who was too good for them and not the other way around. I can’t say how much I tried to make him see his worth. He would always say that was because I’m his mother but, everyone who loved and cared for him felt it too.

My own words above I have said countless times.

It’s very hard for me to explain why I am not in touch with many people. It’s not that I don’t care or have anything against most of them. I just don’t want to be bothered. I don’t want the tension or uncomfortableness to talk about what happened, what we went through. My therapist and my doctor always tell me that it’s my right to feel this way and never apologize to anyone about anything regarding my grief. Still, it’s hard not to apologize because I do genuinely care for some people that I’ve secluded myself from. One thing that bothers me about running into people is the gossip factor. I generally don’t get anxious about leaving the house to run local errands. Anything more than that I’m still not 100% ready…I know, I know…it’s odd and hard to explain. Anyway, about a month ago I was at a grocery store. I normally order online pick but, this time I just needed a few small things. I happened to notice a girl I went to high school with and unintentionally made eye contact…ugh..I still feel the chills as I tried looking away as if we didn’t. I decided to self check out with whatever I had, the rest could wait…I just wanted to get out of there because my gut just had that eerie feeling she was going to approach me…and she did. There happened to be a line to self check out, I was second when I hear…”Aimee, hi. It’s ‘Blah Blablah’ (not going to name her). I’m so sorry about your daughter (not everyone knew Jace was transitioning)”…. I simply nodded and thanked her as I scrambled for my cell phone to look busy hoping she’d get the hint but, of course she didn’t. Then the questions start…”What happened? How did she die? Was she sick?”…. Really?? We haven’t seen each other maybe more than once since high school and you have the balls to ask me questions like this?? Wtf is wrong with people? Here’s one way I’ve change since Jace passed, how I responded…”Thank you for your condolences but, I’m still not ready to talk about it. Plus, I’m kind of in a rush.”….I can’t remember if I said sorry but, I probably did ugh. The way I most likely would’ve responded before grief changed me would’ve been…”None of your fucking business! Do you want the details so you can talk about it to every other asshole I don’t talk to from school? Get the fuck away from me you stupid bitch!”….I wish I still had that in me sometimes lol…not gonna lie. I also don’t feel like everyone deserves to see my vulnerability, my breakdowns, my pain. That is personal for me and I only share my pain and grief with very few people. This is extremely hard on me from one day to the next. I’m picky with who I trust. So, no offense to anyone who may follow my page or read my blogs from time to time…I honestly am happier this way with the extreme few I have allowed in my support circle.

I hate everything about this. I hate knowing that Jace isn’t going to walk through the door or send me a weird text or write me anymore letters saying how much he loves and appreciates me. I hate that I am a combination of anger and sadness due to the circumstances that led to his death. I hate that this is forever for me…grieving him is forever with me. I say all the time that I can’t do this forever. And I can’t. I still can’t bear to let my deep down pain that I have out and allow the heartbreaking grief out. I may sound ridiculous but, it will kill me. My heart will never be able to handle it. If that won’t kill me then it would change me even more. I don’t care what anyone professionally or who’s gone through it personally says, maybe it’s not always better to let this kind of pain out. I’ve dealt with more than I can handle at this point in my life. I’m not about to add anything else to it and if that means having to grieve up to a certain level…well that’s just what I’ll do.

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Why My Heart Will Never Heal…

My most treasured Mother’s Day card.

Dear Mom,

Happy Mother’s Day. Been doing this for 19 years now. Isn’t that crazy. I love you. I really do. I think your the funniest, coolest, most understanding person even if you do get mad, and then I get mad sometimes. I still like you as a mom. I wouldn’t trade you for the world. I’m not just saying that. I hope this is a card you can look back in or take out and read when your upset. I hope you know that in life like as of now and forever til the day you die me, Lauren, Madison, and Gracie will always be there like you were with mom-mom & pop-pop. always a phone call away. Even though your not the richest mom that just buy us anything we want…I truly think you are because rich doesn’t just mean money, spending, and showering people with gifts. Your rich with love, and time spending and awesome communication. We only have one mom in our life and I could never imagine living without you, that’s a fact. I loved you the moment you laid eyes on me and that will never change. I love you mom xoxo forever and always xoxo~ Kflys

Dear Mother,

You prolly open this card and seen two letters. I guess your just that special. But no, I just wanna relive or bring up some old memories. Do you remember when I was real little and every time I’d see you walk in from work or whatever and I’d smile. I want you to know even now seeing you walk in a room or through the door lights up my world and it did then too. You are my best friend, my protector, and my mom. Do you remember when I’d used to call you mommy? But then I got older and it wasn’t cool anymore. But you’re still my mommy. Do you remember all the crazy things you would with your friends and I’d tag along? Those moments made you the happiest and they would make me happy just because I loved seeing your smile and hearing your laugh. Remember Mother’s Day back then with the play-doh breakfast? Your the best mom out. I don’t care what anyone says. But we have so many memories to make still. I can’t wait. I love you til death do us part.

Old Facebook posts from Jace.

Jace was so special and different. His heart was bigger than anyone I’ve ever known. Above are only a few reasons why I struggle so hard with the pain. It’s why I feel my grief is different and why no words of sympathy or advice from others are healing or helpful. I am so lost with him. When I look at his pictures or videos I think to myself…’How is someone so full of life and love gone?’….

Jace, My Rinny….I am still waiting for you to come home sometimes. It’s still hard to believe this is real. If your Spirit is with me then I need you to show me somehow because I’m really struggling right now. I love and miss you so much it’s unbelievable. Love always, Mommy xoxo 💛

The love in his eyes never faded when he looked at me.
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Grief and Corruption: Part 3

****I am re-posting this from last year. It makes me sick that our family nor Jace will ever get justice…that addicts/recovering addicts are discriminated against when seeking help from law enforcement. I posted this last year and never thought I’d follow up with a Part 4 to this. Knowing the truth and details of what happened, how Kevin Tramel and Bensalem Police Department will never be held accountable for murder…well, there are no words to describe the rage and anger within me. Knowing that I’ve contacted every single outlet to fight for answers and justice doesn’t make me feel any better. It’s so infuriating to know there’s nothing more I can do. What Jace went through in only 4 months, what our family went through….is so unreal. Believe me, if someone else were to tell me this story….I wouldn’t believe 99% of it. It’s like a horrible movie that doesn’t make sense or seem real but….it is real. And I live with that everyday. All I can do is expose the truth of what happened. I’ll never stop fighting to get justice for my Jace. I just wish there was a sure way to get it.******

Before I begin, I want to remind all readers to keep in mind there are details I’ve left out….for now. For now I’m telling this part of Jace’s life that sadly led to his death because law enforcement and the justice system continually discriminate and abuse their “authority” without being held accountable. After failing our family once, it seems as if they fail us again. I do understand by dismissing Jace when he wanted help and protection played a part in his death….I do get that. As for the people who set Jace up that actually caused his death….that rage inside is much different…speechless, actually. But I’m not ready to talk about that side in it’s entirety…not yet. In fact, I wasn’t ready to go this far until now (this part 3 will explain why).

One month after Jace passed, FBI detectives came to my house. Keep in mind, my family thought Jace relapsed and suffered a fatal heroin overdose. So, I just assumed this was just part of the process for FBI detectives to come ask the family questions….case closed. Wow, was I in for a complete shock!

Oct. 5, 2020, FBI detectives told me and my Lauren (23 yr daughter) that Jace’s death was not from an accidental overdose and was now being investigated as a homicide. He was targeted and given what they call a “Hot Shot” purposely. Lauren said she knew immediately that morning that things didn’t make sense. Of course I was just in complete shock that morning (and for a few weeks) to notice how the pieces didn’t fit. One thing that stands out the most, the needle was capped and placed in his pants pocket. It is 99.99999% not manageable for an IV heroin user to securely place that cap back onto the syringe and into their pocket during an overdose. A heroin overdose starts almost immediately. Especially, when it’s laced with fentanyl. Also, there wasn’t any bags or items found of how he would’ve mixed it. His wallet was found on open I front of him. Almost everything was left out on the walkway….ID, different cards, bank cards, receipts, ect. Lauren remembered he had $11 in cash which was gone. After almost 2 hours with these detectives, my grief turned into a feeling of rage I felt brewing in the pit of my stomach. As I am leaving bits and pieces out for now, I’ll try to explain what detectives told us.

One thing they made clear….Jace’s role into their overall investigation only plays a small part. They couldn’t tell us too much except they were after someone who is very dangerous and that Melissa and Kevin (refer to Part 1 and 2) worked for him along with others. They also asked what happened the last time Jace and I went to the police department. After telling them that story and how they dismissed us that we never actually made a report because the cop said we were wasting their time. This is when I was told that they were also investigating the police department. They said the day we went there and with the information Jace gave them and wanting protection could’ve been the difference in his death. I can’t emphasize this enough….The POLICE, law enforcement officers, these trained men and women to protect us and the ones we are told to go FAILED Jace. They failed our entire family and the ones who loved him. That is disgusting!

Now, 6 months after Jace passed, 5 months after our first conversation with FBI detectives, law enforcement is failing us again. I’ll give a real quick overview. Lauren and I retraced Jace’s last 24 hours. We went through his phone, messages, bank statements….everything. The detectives also traced his the last 24 hours along with the weeks prior to his death. Melissa and Kevin caught wind somehow that Lauren was learning details that involved them and recently people have been threatening Lauren’s life. Also, it’s believed that Melissa went back to her mother’s (her parents introduced her into this life years back when they lived in Florida and managed a gambling cruise ship with criminal connections). Melissa’s mother is now telling Lauren that she’s as good as dead…basically. Now you would think after what happened with Jace and now being under an investigation that ended in a death, the police would be on top of their game. Lauren saved all these messages…..take a wild guess what she was told. She was told that she probably provoked them and if they find out she did that they would arrest HER! And they added with….”You saw what happened to Jace. Do you want to be next?”…..WTF?!?! I am so done with the cops. I’ve had enough of the bullshit that protects them. Not just here but everywhere. It’s infuriating to know that there’s no fighting or beating them because they are never held accountable. They suffer no legal penalties or reprimanded. I’m sorry but giving them paid time leave is a slap in everyone’s face who have been let down by them. You know, we hear stories on the news how the police discriminate, how they abuse their gun rights, abuse using forceful tact measures, seek out people of color and ultimately have wrongfully killed people. When it happens to someone like me, it really opens your eyes to this reality. It’s maddening and frustrating because in the end, law enforcement is somehow protected and nothing will happen. Now I know they’re not responsible for Jace’s physical death. And it may seem to others that I am a grieving mother and just want someone to blame…I do know how others may think that but….they’re part played by dismissing Jace, the fact that FBI detectives are investigating that….they absolutely played enough into this for me blame. Even now…threatening my Lauren instead of stepping and doing what they’re trained to by protecting her….God help them if anything happens to her or anyone else in my house. I will never go to them ever again. It’s sad to say I feel more protected by my 6 1/2 year grandson….I’m almost serious about that.

Before I end this brief story, I want to make clear that I do ultimately blame whoever or the person that purposely caused Jace to die. The reason I just had to push myself to start telling his story is to expose the police. Since nothing will happen, even after being investigated, not even as little as an apology (which would not be accepted or taken well….AT ALL), the only thing that can be done is to tell the story. My wish is to have everyone share this story over and over again. I will never stop telling what we’re going through because this is a life long nightmare that I live everyday. Losing my Jace has changed the person I once was….I’ll never be the same. No one understands how hard it to have to push myself just to do the simplest of things. It’s agonizing and a struggle.

I hope one day down the road I can tell this one part of Jace’s life and story in more detail. I know he would want that because below is one of his FB posts of him doing just that, telling this story. Exposing people who hurt him and earning others to keep their distance from them after the police refused to step in. I know it might be hard for some to see his beaten face or read his words. Believe me, it was worse since these pictures are over a week after his assault.

Grief and Corruption: Part 3

Grief and Corruption: Part 3

https://jaceslegacy.wordpress.com/2021/03/07/grief-and-corruption-part-3/
— Read on jaceslegacy.wordpress.com/2021/03/07/grief-and-corruption-part-3/

Until We Meet Again

My mother-in-law passed peacefully this past Monday morning, Sept. 20, 2021, with her three children at her bedside.

It all seemed so fast. And it was. Before she left the hospital she knew she was coming home on hospice and given 7-10 days. Can you imagine….7-10 days?? She was in so much pain for so long that we wanted to do everything we could for. My husband and his two sisters were amazing. Whatever she requested they got it for her right away. One thing I was able to do for her was reach out to a friend who plays for The Mummers. It’s a Philly thing and if you don’t know about them….you must look up a video on Google lol. My mother-in-law loved The Mummers. If there was a party or music playing, she was doing her Mummers strut. Last Friday afternoon, a wonderful friend pulled through and played for her outside my bedroom window where we had her hospice bed set up. She couldn’t believe she had a private Mummers string band playing just for her. That night she told me this has been the best week of her life. I can’t think of anything more priceless than hearing her say that.

I don’t have any awful mother-in-law stories because I was blessed with the best one. Before she passed I wrote her a small note to thank her for being in my life. I also wrote something special to say to my parents and Donna. The end of my note I put a message for her to give my Jace and I folded it in a blessed cloth, put it in her hand and asked that she be cremated with it. Rest peacefully, Gail. You will be missed.

Little Miss 4th Of July Baby’s First Birthday

Aliyah Grace

This Fourth of July we celebrated my youngest granddaughter’s first birthday. She’s our newest edition to our family themed holiday babies. Aliyah is truly a little princess in every way. I’ve always been lucky by having content babies…never fussy, sleeping through the night, no issues teething. Same goes for my 3 grands. Aliyah takes the prize though lol. She loves to be pampered and cuddled but also will keep herself occupied. Sometimes it’s almost like you’d forget she was in the same room as you! Her high pitched squeals of laughter and bursts of excitement is her way of letting you know she’s here lol. What’s even better is how much her big brother and sister love her even more now than the day she was born. So far, no jealousy ha.

Happy 1st Birthday Baby Girl 💖

Aliyah had just turned 2 months old the day Jace passed. I wasn’t aware last July that it was the turning point for Jace as he struggled to fix an abusive/toxic relationship and sobriety. It wasn’t until 8 or 9 days before he passed when Jace told me how bad things had gotten. Although he finally came home to us and got spend time with Aliyah, he suffered with mental/emotional/physical health issues from the weeks prior that made him depressed. I wish he would’ve come home sooner. I wish I had just one pic of him holding Aliyah. I wish so many things could’ve been different in those last 2 months of his life. Now I can’t help to think how much he’s missing out on. I know he’s with us all in Spirit but….it doesn’t mend my broken heart.

Birthday Fun

Dear Miss Aliyah….May you always stay sweet and happy. And enjoy the fireworks every year on your birthday. Love you so much, Mimi xoxo

So sick…

I’ve started to write 2 posts but ended up leaving them in my draft tab because I’ve been so sick for an entire week…ugh. It’s not COVID. It’s a combo of a cold, strep throat and allergies…yay ☹️

Hopefully, I’ll be posting very soon. And feeling better soon because there’s a big birthday on the Fourth of July in our house, Miss Aliyah is about to be 1 years old!!

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