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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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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.

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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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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

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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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My Dad Was The Best: Happy Birthday/Father’s Day

My grandparents adopted and raised me from birth and they are my Mom and Dad. They had 3 daughters of their own, Eileen, Donna (my biological mother) and Patty (who I call my sister)….then they got me….☺️ I don’t think anyone would deny that I was the “Daddy’s Girl” out of the bunch. Not saying he had favorites, I was a lot like him. Stubborn, loud (sometimes lol), short fused/tempered, fun, liked joking around. My mom would often say “Lord, you are your father’s daughter”…..lol. Plus, we liked all of the same things…sports, TV shows, food, cards, ect. We may not have always agreed on everything. My Dad had strong opinions that could lead to some intense debate. He could be difficult when he stood his ground…he wouldn’t necessarily be mad or angry. Let’s just say, when he wanted to get his point across to someone, oh boy did he make sure of it lol!! My Mom would tell me I was one of the only people that she’d ever seen him compromise with or give his opinions a second thought. Maybe he had a soft spot with me since I was pretty much a little Tom Boy most of the time. I mean, he was surrounded by girls lol.

My Dad only had 1 other sibling, an older brother (Uncle Mickey) unlike my Mom who was the youngest of 10 & also a twin. Growing up, his family didn’t have the financial struggle like my Mom’s family but, he decided to quit school after 8th grade and join the military. Yes, at the age of only 14 years old my Dad enlisted into The Marines! Back then many boys lied about their ages to join the military usually because their families didn’t have much. My Dad on the other hand, he just hated school lol. Since he lied about his age, his driver’s license said he was born in 1930 instead of 1933. Thankfully, it never caused him too many problems. Could you imagine these spoiled kids trying that theses days??? Ha! I always loved looking at old pics of my Dad when he was a young man. He always looked so happy and fun. And he really stayed laughing and joking literally up until that very day he passed. Ohhh boy, do I miss him. 😥

I have to admit, I feel very lucky to have been both of my parents caregiver as they grew older. We enjoyed each other’s company and they loved having my kids around. After my Mom passed away, my Dad say he didn’t know what he’d do without my kids around. Then he’d add…”They might be real pains in the ass but, they keep an old man like me feel alive”….❤️

Oh Dad…we all love and miss you terribly. I wish Noah could’ve met you. We tell him stories about you every single day and he loves hearing them. He wants to be just like you too. Give Mom and Donna hugs and kisses from us. Most of all, I know you have our Rinny (now our Jace). I feel like you’re spirit would’ve been the one that guided my baby that awful morning. Dad, please…wrap your arms around him since I can’t and never let go until I get there. Love you so much….Aimee xoxoxo

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June 16, 2021: Was it Jace’s Spirit Who Saved Me From My Anger??

Defeated…the only way to describe it. For the last week or so I’ve busted my ass by using every ounce of strength to get Jace’s story recognition. I filed countless grievances and complaint orders to The Dept of Justice, The Civil Rights Justice, ACLU, ect…. I started a Twitter acct, posted more on Instagram, anything to draw more attention to this page and tell Jace’s story. It was exhausting, emotionally and physically. My spark and drive all came from knowing there was someone who knew what happened, had details that no one else knew about that day…that person was my key to opening what a called Jace’s Pandora’s box the morning he passed. Although Kevin and Melissa were cleared (after making a deal with the shady BPD), if I could get someone from any of the places that I contacted then maybe…I know it’s a huge MAYBE…something could bring us justice. Then Wednesday Lauren and I get news that made my heart break into millions of shattered pieces. That person with all the answers had died.

It’s hard telling this for so many reasons. For one, it doesn’t even seem real that this is happening. It’s like a never ending movie that people would not believe. Trust me, I’m living this and I can’t even believe it myself. The hardest part, telling what I know without giving too much info about certain things…I know that may not make much sense. I’m not sure how to describe who had knowledge of what Kevin did and his plan with Jace so, I refer to them as “person” rather than “he” or “she”. I’m also not sure how to say where this person had been residing so I’ll just refer to it as “facility”. Let me fill in the gaps up until now. This person had been in a facility for a decent length of time. This place, facility, apparently decided to test the person for drugs and COVID-19…they tested positive for both…ugh. I knew that a couple weeks ago and all I kept think was…”they better freaking live”. Honestly, I didn’t think they would actually die. With an already weakened immune system they probably didn’t have much of a chance. Also, that’s just how my luck works out for me.

Now that this person is dead I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter much but, some people worry how I got the info and how much of it I am willing to share. I’ve had some family members reach out because they fear for my safety since I hold back nothing by constantly and consistently naming Kevin and Melissa. The numbness of losing a child brings a sense of having nothing to lose. Especially when the death could’ve been prevented and involves corruption with law enforcement. I feel like my back is against the wall and all I have has for justice is exposure by telling the facts. I just can’t help it because I am so mad about everything that’s happened.

Back to Wednesday, I was dropping Lauren and Gracie off to go grocery shopping when we heard the person died. I instantly just hit my steering wheel out of anger and disbelief. I know my Lauren was worried about me so, I told her I’d be fine. I absolutely was not fine. I drove back home in complete silence, no radio, just my fucked up thoughts….and they were racing. I stood in my driveway and I was leaving someone a voicemail and noticed a girl taking a walk (unfamiliar to the neighborhood) and saw a few neighbors outside. I thought to myself, I better go inside and have this breakdown so I don’t look like a maniac. Instead, I walked to the front of my house where Jace was that morning. My girls have made it a little memorial garden for Jace. My legs so trembly and weak as I knelt by the steps next to Jace’s little area. It’s been a while since I’ve spent time at that spot…a long while. But at that moment, I couldn’t move…I just felt stuck and tears just filled up. I was just about to tell Jace I failed him when I heard someone behind me ask if I was ok. It was the girl walking by that I noticed a few minutes prior. Normally, I’d brush it off and not engage in conversation with a complete stranger but, before I realized it I blurted out…”No, I’m not ok”…and started crying. I started telling her about Jace passing. Trying to give the main idea of events leading up until now in a matter of minutes isn’t easy to do. I remember pausing at one point (about 5-10 min into it) and realized that I’m talking to someone I don’t even know and this poor girl is probably regretting ever asking if I was ok. I apologized and told her I’d be ok and she didn’t have to listen anymore. She just said I looked visibly upset and she didn’t mind listening…even if it took all night…she genuinely cared and wanted to help me anyway possible. Like I said, it’s not like me to reach out to someone I don’t know. Hell, I don’t normally reach to people I do know lol. So, I got the gist of what happened out and after another pause I told her how much Jace’s faith meant to him. Unlike anyone else in our family, Jace regularly attended church. He loved scriptures and reading the Bible and quite a few of his journals were just letters to God. I don’t think I ever stopped sobbing as I talked to this girl…she asked if she could give me a hug and then she took my hands and said she’d pray with me. My husband and I were both raised catholic but never became regular church goers. I’ve prayed before but never had any religiously defining moment of feeling anything powerful or anything at all. I’m not saying that it happened this day but, something was different. This wonderful girl prayed aloud, not any specific prayer but, from her heart and feelings from hearing Jace’s story. It was powerful! If there were ever a time that Jace was with me (or Donna’s Spirit), it was at that very moment. I almost felt as if Jace’s arms were around me as this girl held my hands in prayer. It’s almost as if Jace sent someone to save me from something…from those fucked up thoughts driving home, from an intense rage that the person who knew everything was dead, from having a breakdown that may have been too deep for me to handle…I don’t know but, it became more unexplainable. Afterwards, we went into the house because I wanted to show her pictures and some religious things Jace kept that were recently found. Jace’s Bible was cremated with him but he also had another one…I called it his back up Bible lol. She, we’ll call her Kati, read a random passage from a random page of Jace’s Bible. Very oddly, since I’m not super religious, I recognized what she was reading from a post that I saved a few days before. I don’t ever save prayers and for some reason I saved a blog post from someone I follow that recently posted different verses from the Bible. Kati and I exchanged numbers as it was time for me to pick Lauren and Gracie up. Kati was telling me that she regularly attends a Christian based church, recently lost 3 loved ones within 6 months and has never approached anyone like she did with me before. She wasn’t trying to push religion or church on me as she told me her reason for turning around and coming back to make sure I was ok. She said she never felt or had an experience like this. She described it as a higher power, possibly Jesus, telling her (in a way) to help me find some sort of salvation or peace because I was struggling. We both couldn’t explain the how’s or why’s and agreed is was a bit weird but, we both felt that maybe Jace’s spirit had something to do with it. Who knows?? What I do know….Kati helped me, saved me from feeling lost in anger. I honestly felt the heaviness had been lifted. I was and am still very upset about the turn of events but the intense rage isn’t there. I can’t say it’s gone completely…hopefully it is. Then the most ironic of it all, I asked if she lived nearby since I’ve never seen her before. She actually does but she’s also a K-6 Spanish teacher at the school 2 blocks from my house where all 4 of my kids have gone and where my grandson Noah just finished kindergarten. She immediately knew who my Noah Bean was and said she just lives him. Well, who doesn’t love the most handsome little boy ever born?? Lol…sorry, not sorry…I’m a bit biased when it comes to good looking kids and I’ve got 4 of my own followed with 3 grands lol.

Some of Jace’s old posts that I save.

Whatever it was that happened last week, if it was at possibly Jace’s spirit or any of my loved ones who have passed….I wish it would happen more often. 💛

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Sharing Jace’s Story Wherever I Can 💛🏳️‍⚧️

instagram.com/stories/mrsnekoranik

I am not tech savvy at all but, I’m doing everything I can to attract attention to Jace’s story. Please, help me by sharing too. The more exposure the better. Change has to happen now…not only for Jace but, everyone who has been discriminated against in anyway.

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The Article That Made Me Realize That I Can Breakthrough That Brick Wall

https://patch.com/pennsylvania/bensalem/woman-charged-bensalem-mans-overdose-death

The Patch is a community based outlet that will tell more than you care to know about people in your area, local news, public events, ect. I don’t always go on this app but, today I did and this article was the first thing that popped up. I’m reading this and thinking this article is praising and an ego boost about the police department. Then 2 people comment to congratulate them and add more hot air to inflate their hollow heads. Well let me just say…it made my blood boil! I was feeling that rage that had been brewing deep in my stomach erupt! Today, I used my anger and trembling rage to my advantage to be productive….finally!

Since Jace passed, I haven’t felt like me. I really have become a stranger to myself. Although I will never be that me I was before, today some of that Me felt familiar. I had to keep reminding myself to bite my tongue and focus before I commented on this article. No one will ever know how much strength that took. But after several edits, I did it. Then I realized that I have to do more than this. I filed forms and grievances to the DOJ, the civilrights.justice.gov, the ACLU, state legislature and I can’t even remember how many others. To most people it seems like an unproductive day. For me, this not only took up my entire day, it’s the most productive and accomplished day I’ve had in almost a year. I had to retell and relive my Jace’s passing over and over again. It was torture.

Now I just have to wait. One thing I’ve noticed is how patient I’ve become. Most of my life I’ve been like my Dad in so many ways and his short fuse and no patience. Who knows….maybe I won’t hear anything at all. That just means they’re going to get real sick of me because I’ll be in touch with them all weekly until I die. I don’t care if the only reason I finally get a response was for me to stop as long as I hear something.

I don’t know if it’s coincidence or ironic how I asked if Korynn or my Mom’s spirit would guide me to what to do over and over before going to bed, the cardinal that seemed to fly around my car and porch for hours yesterday, my husband finding another one of Jace’s old journals while re-doing the basement or finding Jace’s old prayer cards and obit cards she saved of my Dad and Mom’s he saved. That all happened within 24 hours. So maybe if there’s a Spirit world out there, they heard me

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I Feel Like I’m Stumbling Over My Words With Frustration

Sometimes I feel like I can’t even grieve because I get so angry. I stumble and can’t find the right words to explain the thoughts in my head or how I feel. I’ve been given so much information of what exactly happened…right down to the minute….the night/early morning Jace passed. And there’s not a damn thing I can do or anywhere to be heard. I know a few people have suggested I go public, contact news media. There’s a few reasons why I don’t. First, I’m not ready, emotionally, to step outside that comfort zone. Second, this situation is too complicated to explain in a five minute segment. Third, between the Trans stigma and Addiction stigma…there’s so much ignorance, prejudice and falsely educated people who don’t want to hear it. Then if there was a chance for Jace’s story to be told I don’t think I could handle how those type of people would come up with their own theory or assumptions of what happened and claim those stupid thoughts as facts. I mean, we all see it happen time and time again. And if that’s not bad…I have the whole fucked up issue with the police department. I can honestly say that I feel like I’ve hit a wall….a dead end with a wall made of concrete and brick. I could scream…seriously!

So, what does a desperate mother do? Well, I’ll tell you what I’ve done so far. I want answers so I went above and beyond and have contacted The Department of Justice. Yes, I took it there. If anyone thinks that is just insane….I even filed a grievance with the Civil Justice Department. Plus, I think I’ve filed every possible grievance and complaint possible that my state allows. Before anyone is wondering if I’m crazy I’ll be the first to answer that with a big NO! I feel like I am but, I’m not. I’d like to think any other mother, if put in my shoes, would do everything in their power to fight for justice and answers. I just have to say that I’m never backing down…never! No matter how defeated I may feel. Someone or somehow people will see they messed with the wrong mother. It might not be tomorrow, next week or next month but, one day I’ll find my strength to be heard.

My youngest, Gracie (14 years old) suggested that maybe we could have someone speak on our behalf. I tried explain to her how news outlets and media work when dealing with sensitive issues like this. No matter how much I want my privacy, it will be horribly invaded. These outlets want to talk to the mother, they want that raw emotion, they want to draw attention to the problem but also, grab the viewers attention to want more….they can be relentless. I don’t want that attention. I want the focus to be on the police department and the man involved. If there was a way to have someone else speak for us, I know it just wouldn’t be the same.

I’ve realized other issues that were off that morning as well. Im not sure if I should pick and choose my battles or throw all my eggs into one basket at this point. I really don’t know how much more I can take. I really just wish I knew where to go from here. Actually, who do I reach out to that isn’t involved in protecting law enforcement.

To my Jace….sometimes I feel like you’re sending me signs…I wish I knew for sure. If there’s a way the Spirit world tries to reach out then I know my mom has been trying real hard. I just wish I really knew. Tell mom-mom not stop if she is. And please, I need another dream that felt as real as the one a couple weeks ago. Just make it last more that a minute. I love and miss you more by each passing hour…..xoxo 💛, Mommy

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Hmm…I Can’t Help But To Wonder…

For the last few weeks, usually at the end of the night, I’ll wonder what Jace would think about….well, so many things that he’s missing. These are the times I smile to myself while I’m thinking and missing him. I smile because I think of how happy he’d be about a lot of things that’s happened since Sept. Then I think of that silly, weird grin he’d give me on those extremely rare occasions when he was right about me liking something he suggested. Jace really was the silliest person in the world. As annoying as he would get at times….I wish he were still here being his funny, goofy self.

One of many goofy pics.

Last summer I remember telling the kids I was thinking about dying or highlighting my hair a shade of blonde because of all my white and silver hair. Of course they all sort of laughed because my hair is dark and it would be a big change. I guess they were too young to remember way back when I had every different color ever invented….ha. One night, I tried a dye that was a light brown/dark blonde. To me, it seemed much lighter. To all the kids, they thought I dyed my hair the same color it always was…😐After Jace passed, my hair really got white/silvery. So instead of trying to be subtle, I’ve been just going all out blonde! Well, it’s more like an ash but…it’s very different than my dark hair. I’ve been wondering what Jace’s reaction would be, what would he think? I could see him laughing but also giving me compliments….over dramatic compliments as he would do to drive me nuts. Btw, my mom was right about going lighter with your hair once it starts to turn gray….you don’t seem to have to touch it up as often.

Jace and his sisters about 7 years ago.

Then I wonder what Jace would think of me and Lauren’s relationship with Becky now. I’ve always liked Becky but, Lauren and I had to keep an eye on Jace’s friends. He was a follower, not a leader. He would do whatever it took for people to like him. After he started using he just didn’t have any friends. Then when he wanted to get clean and the revolving door of rehabs started, he’d latch onto “friends” from meetings, therapy, rehabs. If one of those friends relapsed, Jace would too…and that’s when the overdoses started. It drove him crazy that Lauren and I could spot the wrong people a mile away and he never could. Becky was different by not being one of his friends while using but, always kept in touch with Jace. Once Becky got on her feet and Jace was really serious about sobriety….thankfully, that’s when they spent more time together. Becky was truly a blessing in Jace’s life. They really worked hard and had a lot of fun doing it. I remember Jace coming home from a meeting during that time and how much he never wanted to use again but, if something ever happened to him he told Becky he needed to make sure someone took care of me. Whatever the reason might be, Becky is still such a big part of Jace’s life as she’s consistently been here for me and Lauren. Jace loved Becky and I know he’s elated to see how much Lauren and I love her too. She’ll always be apart of our family.

Jace and Becky

So much has happened since Jace has left us. My Maddie is now 17 and got her drivers license and a job. My Gracie (the baby) is 14 and she’s working also. Jace would have done whatever it took to make a big deal of their accomplishments. He was always to proud of anything his sister would do and he’d always want to celebrate.

Most of all I wonder how happy he would be to see how close Lauren and I have become. Lauren was always much tougher than Jace. And boy did she like to give me a hard time when she was a teenager!!! 😳 It may sound strange but I really think part of Jace’s soft side passed right into Lauren when he passed away. I say it all the time but….I don’t know what I’d do without Lauren. She’s really the one who keeps me going. This loss definitely changed us all, it’s devastated us all, it’s brought us all closer. I just wish Jace were here to enjoy it and be part of it. Wherever you are Jace, we love and miss you so much that there aren’t words to describe it. We love and miss you. Xoxo….Love, Mommy

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There’s So Many Ways To Give Back 💛

The GRACE Project http://www.teamgraceproject.org

Outside of family, Jace had very few friends. Yes, I have said so many people loved, that so many talk about their lives being better and have been inspired just by knowing Jace….I believe that is true when I hear people say that. When it comes to friends that were close enough to be present, who looked out for him, those who pushed him in a positive direction….there weren’t many at all. Jace believed in everyone to a fault. He saw the good in everyone even if he had to force himself. And I mean everyone, even the ones who were nothing but evil. It’s sad knowing how many people took advantage of that huge heart of his. No matter how many times friendships of his failed, he still believed everyone deserved his love, time and honesty. It was heartbreaking then for me as I tried to intervene and it’s still heartbreaking to remember how he would tell me I was always right as those friends left him. And then there was Becky, the one who was most loyal, the one who truly cared, the one who encouraged and loved him.

Becky inspired and motivated Jace with his recovery and still honors him as she volunteers her time at Recovery meetings as she tells her own story. Becky is a volunteer with The GRACE Project. Whether or not anyone would like to donate please, take the time to read about The GRACE Project and share the link with others. Giving back in anyway really helps. Above all, there needs to be more education and awareness about Drugs, Addiction, Recovery and Mental Illness. The little that is being taught is not enough and not accurate. This is a dire situation that can’t be ignored any longer.

There’s also a YouTube link on the GRACE website called The Loft. Becky was recently featured on The Loft and told her story and talks about volunteering. She has quite a remarkable and inspiring story that should be heard. She’s proof that there is life after addiction and how beautiful recovery can be.

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Congratulations To My Niece….Dr. Megan 💛

What an amazing accomplishment my niece made! We’re all so proud of her as she graduated from pharmacy school with her doctorates degree. Megan is 23 years old and about to venture into her next amazing chapter. Since this weekend’s party for her had to be pushed back a week, I wanted to share our congratulations and show her how much we love her. Way to go, Megan! I hope my sister doesn’t mind that I had to hunt down pics since no one ever sends me any lol.

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Remembering My Mom

Time is a strange thing. It can feel like it drags on and on. It can also feel like it flies by so fast you’re afraid to blink. Then there’s the warp…where it feels like yesterday but also, as if it were a hundred years ago. That’s how I felt the other day, May 24….a sad mile stone that marked 10 years since my mom passed away. I remember every single second of that awful day. My heart still sinks as I remember my dad’s broken reaction as the doctor told us she passed 5 min before we got there. Me, my sister, my aunt and husband followed my dad into the room to see my mother. It’s a terribly overwhelming feeling when your mom dies. My mom and I were very close. We did almost everything together. When I saw her in that bed…I just put my arms around her and cried. I couldn’t believe she really gone.

My mom was the youngest of 10 and also a twin! She had a twin, my Aunt Kathleen…opposites in every way lol. Sadly, my Aunt Kathleen passed away when they were 50 years old. My family always kept the memory of loved ones alive by talking about them, retelling stories and reminiscing through pictures. About a year before my mom died, we were talking about different passed on loved ones and my mom talked about her twin differently this time. She said even after 25 years since her twin died that she still grieved her as though it just happened. She also said the pain of that heartache had to be close to what it feels like to lose a child. Maybe she’s right. No one knows the unique bond and love between twins unless you have one. My mom said she never got over that loss, I know I’ll never get over mine….maybe there is an equivalent to the pain and grief of a bereaved mother…a bereaved twin.

My mom was the best…tough sometimes but, loving and comforting too. I guess she had to be since they ended up with me lol. My parents were my maternal grandparents who legally adopted me and raised me. So after raising 3 girls of their own, their youngest only 13 years old still and now into their 40’s, they’re raising their first grandchild. Honestly, I never resented Donna (my biological mother) for her decision to leave me with them. My mom and dad gave me a great life. I was definitely very lucky. My kids were even luckier as they were incredibly close with her as well.

If I wrote about everything I wanted to about my mom, I’d be writing forever. I just wish she were here now more than ever. There’s nothing like a mother’s comfort and love when you’re broken down and heart is hurting. I miss everything about her. And anyone who knew my mom…we all know she made sure to be the first one to embrace Jace the very second his soul passed on.

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My New Revolving Door

When Jace was struggling with addiction, everyone else seemed to have all the answers. And I mean EVERYONE! As if I wasn’t already busting my ass and doing everything under the sun to help Jace, I now had people telling me things that I’ve already done. It was beyond infuriating. I remember snapping at my brother and telling him to write a fucking book since he knows how to get drug addicts sober. Why sit on a billion dollar idea???!! No matter how much I tried to tell people what it’s like to get someone help with addiction…ugh….nothing could truly describe what it’s like or what we went through. I started to describe it as a revolving door. And we were trapped in that revolving door over and over and over again. Whatever someone would suggest we do, we did it a hundred times. Without getting into the million ways how broken our country’s healthcare/addiction/rehabilitation system is….it’s not as easy as it seems to get PROPER treatment for any addict. And if you don’t personally go through this then you should keep your opinions and suggestions to yourself. Keep in mind that families grieve living loved ones through addiction in a certain way and they need support and kindness.

Jace went to Altoona, Pa the summer of 2019. That was a breakthrough in his recovery, a refreshing eye opener for him. I remember when Jace came home in the beginning of October 2019, he was so different than all of the other times he came home from other rehabs. It was a good…a great different! He was so positive and had realistic goals. It was a time in my life that I needed him the most and he was there. My husband and I were struggling with our relationship which tore apart my relationship with my other girls, all 3 of them. Of course that’s something I’ll save or keep to myself for now. I’ll simply just say, I had no one except Jace. So once he was home, sober, positive, happy….I felt such a sigh of relief. It was like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders and I could breath again. Better yet, Jace and I were inseparable. More so than ever. It was the first time in over 7+ years that I didn’t worry about him using…..or more like him dying. That revolving door was finally locked.

I think that time with him, seeing and knowing that he could fight through addiction makes things so much harder for me. One of my biggest struggles is how much he desired that old fashioned kind of love, allowing himself to see the better in people who take advantage people like him, in such a short time took everything he fought and overcame away…in a matter of just weeks….took that beautiful life away from me in a matter of just a few months after. He finally found strength when it came to recovery with addiction but, not when it came to his other desire of wanting unconditional love, a soulmate, an addiction that I think people deal with that’s never treated or talked about. That breaks my heart knowing how many times his heart was broken in relationships by people who never deserved him or the love he had to offer.

Now I have a new revolving door that is just never ending. For some reason people seem to think just because Mother’s Day and his birthday has passed that it’s over for me…or that I should be feeling better, not as sad or something. Maybe other people feel a sense of relief or that the air is lighter for them now but, that’s not how it’s working for me. I can’t control how much I love and miss him. I can’t make grieving him go away or just stop. As a mother, a grieving mother, this is my forever and something I have to figure out as time passes. I have to figure out how to be friends with my grief, as much as I hate that. But to think because milestone dates have come and gone and I should somehow feel “better” is ridiculous. Believe me, I so wish it could be that easy. It’s not….plain and simple. I am and always will be Jace’s mother. No one….and I mean no one will know what I go through every single day and night. Even though there are days that I can laugh or days that I seem like things are easy breezy….I want people to keep in my mind how much effort and strength that takes from me to look that way in the outside. Inside, I’m still struggling, still broken and always grieving. It’s funny when you heard a saying and realize how true they are….”Looks can be deceiving”….I should have that tattooed where everyone can see.

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An Amazing Mother Who Goes Above & Beyond, My Lauren 💛

Two throwback pictures of me and Lauren

I can’t begin to express how proud I am of my daughter, Lauren. She really does it all. She’s raising 3 kids, works her butt off, a good role model to her younger sisters and to top it off, has been my rock since Jace passed. People kept trying to tell me that I needed to pull myself together because my girls needed me. Those people have no idea what this is like…they don’t know what this is like and that advice is utter bullshit. This just proves another example that everyone’s circumstances surrounding grief is different and shouldn’t be judged. Honestly, I need them. In the beginning we all grieved together. I think by doing so helped a lot. But sometimes it’s okay to need your children. Especially if they are as strong and compassionate as mine are. Lauren, being a mother herself, must’ve delved into those maternal instincts to be there for me in every way. I don’t know what I’d do without her.

Today I’m putting my pain aside to celebrate with one of the best mom’s…one who I raised myself, my Lauren.

To my Lovie Magoo (if you happen to see this)….I love you so much. You make me so proud everyday. I know I say this a lot but, I really don’t know what I’d do without you. I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day…you definitely deserve it! Love, Mommy xoxo

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Mother’s Day without the ‘Happy’

I found this article about Bereaved Mother’s Day the first Sunday of May. I never knew this.

https://www.gpshope.org/know-sunday-may-6-international-bereaved-mothers-day/

Mother’s Day hasn’t been the same since my mom died. May is another month that is as hard as December is for me, maybe even harder now. May 24 my mom will be 10 years since my mom passed away. I know she will be holding Jace tight along with Donna this Mother’s Day.

My heart is so beyond broken. All I can do is hold onto my Lauren, Madison and Gracie this Mother’s Day for love and support to get through this day.

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Grief and Corruption: Part 4!!

I never thought I’d be adding another part to this series of blog posts. I don’t know how or where or what to do at this point as the legal system is just beyond fucked up. On May 6, we celebrated the memory of Jace’s 26th birthday, his first in Heaven. It’s pure irony that is also the day I was given more information into his death. I’m so furious and upset that I’m not going to recap (Read parts 1, 2, 3). I’m just starting with what I was told.

There must be another person who is either involved or was there the night Jace passed. I know that Kevin Tramel came to my house. He actually parked in the lot across the street and met Jace at the hair salon there. Before I go on, I’ll just give a little more detail about Jace’s day leading up to meeting Kevin real quick:

Jace was going to go to an out patient rehab for relapsing with crack that Tues. He knew he’d be there for detox about a week and after would be out patient. It was Friday, Sept. 4th when he was out with a friend and decided to smoke crack as one last hoorah (apparently getting high before getting help is common with addicts). When he got home he spent time with his sisters. He told my youngest that he was going to smoke a cigarette and when he came back in he would wake her up to make pancakes.

So now is where Kevin Tramel comes in. Jace apparently messaged him about getting crack. Somehow they were in touch and he came to our house/neighborhood to meet up with him. It seems that Kevin told Jace he had heroin but, Jace (I guess) didn’t want it or just thought he was getting crack. The way this goes down, it sounds to me that Jace realized what was about to happen. Kevin injected Jace with what is called a “Hot Shot” of fentanyl and heroin. Kevin also placed the capped syringe into Jace’s pocket then placed Jace on our front step. He stole Jace’s last $11 from his wallet and left it on our step with everything scattered. As sickening as finding that out, it proceeds to get 1000 times sicker….

At some point after Jace passed, the feds raided Kevin’s hotel or place he was staying. He spent less than a year in county jail because there was a deal made. Kevin’s record has been wiped and he’s now protected by my township’s disgusting police department because he’s a CI for them. Okay, so he’s a snitch but what’s even worse is how law enforcement cleared him of having any involvement with Jace’s overdose!!! I don’t care what he told them or who he helped the cops or feds get, there should never be deals made when there has been a life taken. Discrimination comes in many forms. Because Jace was an addict, the police department has no desire to find our family or Jace the justice that’s deserved. Also, Kevin is still selling crack.

I’m at a crossroads of what to do. A lot of people seem to think the only way the police department will be forced into anything is to go public…news media, local and national. That’s the last thing I want to do. I just don’t want that attention. Plus, it’s so hard for me to even remain calm talking about it much less how painful it is for me and my family. Others suggested talking to a lawyer. It feels like I can’t win either way because law enforcement is protected somehow which is really disgusting and unfair. It may be a losing battle but, it’s one I’m fighting until my last breath. I just wish I knew which direction to take.

I’m asking for this story to constantly and continuously be reposted and retold. I need to justice for my Jace. I want our police department to be held accountable for their part and whoever else besides Kevin Tramel to be held accountable and responsible for taking Jace’s life. If nothing brings awareness to this it will continue happening. Thank you to everyone who has read my posts and show support. If anyone has any advice or information please, comment or contact me by email.

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Giving Back In Memory Of Jace

https://secure.givelively.org//donate/mazzoni-center/jace-korynn-berry

In honor and celebration of my Jace’s memory, I started a fundraiser for The Mazzoni Center. This is an amazing organization that runs on donations and volunteer services. Jace has been going there for years during his gender transition. They also help the LGBTQ+ community by offering support with healthcare, addiction, meetings, support groups, ect… There’s even a drop off/pick up area to help people who have AIDS/HIV positive and are homeless that provides food, clothes, blankets, basic necessities. As much good as this place does for so many it still suffers from discrimination through ignorance and hate. If only people were more educated about the LGBTQ+ and support the mission for equality.

For Jace’s birthday I’m asking that everyone share the link to this fundraiser, donate if possible (no donation is too small) or volunteer in some way. I’m sure this may be a controversial issue with some or don’t support Gay/LGBTQ+ Rights but please, try to put personal/religious judgment aside for one day. Think of it as supporting kindness and compassion for those who need it. Think of my Jace and the memories I’ve shared so far, how loving he was. Help me fulfill one of his many dreams. I truly would appreciate it so much.

This fundraiser is just the beginning for me….just the beginning for Jace and his legacy.

https://secure.givelively.org//donate/mazzoni-center/jace-korynn-berry

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Brutal Honesty About My Grief….

With only 6 days until Jace’s birthday, I’m constantly asking myself questions that have no certain answers. When does it get better? Am I the only parent grieving harder nearly 8 months later? How do other mothers do this? Just to mention a few…

There is no truer statement than ‘Everyone grieves differently’. Everyone wants to think or say things that will make someone feel better….Time heals….They’re at peace….It gets better…ect. Maybe that helps some people and that’s great. But maybe time, healing, getting better doesn’t always fit one’s grief. And that’s okay too. I think it can be ok as long as there is a strong support circle, managing coping mechanisms and making time to grieve in your own personal way. My therapist suggested to schedule time to grieve. I know that may not work for everyone. It doesn’t stop the unexpected tears or deep saddened feelings in unexpected places or situations. Personally, I still can’t let the gut-wrenching pain of my loss fully surface. I know it sounds so crazy but, I feel like it will kill me…my heart won’t be able to take it. Also, I’ve never said this aloud before but, I’m scared. I’m scared because I feel like I’ll never stop crying or…I just don’t know how to put it…like it will just never stop or it will hurt more. These things sound ridiculous even to me. But those feelings are so strong inside.

Time has only brought more pain for me. I know it’s only been close to 8 months. I just don’t know how other mothers do this. I feel like I’m such a hot mess compared to others. Why does it feel like I’m having such a harder time? Am I the only one being brutally honest? Sometimes I think these other mom’s are just trying to put on a brave face….there’s just no way they’re not breaking down every night…especially if so much energy is put into masking the grief we’ve heinously been given. I just can’t pretend that I’m okay. I’m not. I never really will be. My heart is so shattered, my world just torn…it’s changed me. But that’s not such a bad thing either. I think people should know how we feel, what we go through. I think we should be honest and let others know it’s okay not to say anything at all and just be there because it doesn’t help to hear that ‘It will get better’ kind of things. Yes, grief is unique for everyone and this is mine….this is how I feel. I’m honest so people can be kinder. Maybe I’ll one day feel differently but….I have to be honest…it hurts too much to feel it will ever lighten for me. It almost makes me wish Jace and I weren’t so incredibly close.

My grief waves have been exceptionally high lately. I hate when I feel flooded with this pain. I can’t even look at pictures or watch videos of Jace when I have these phases. I can’t listen to much of my music, watch certain movies, read…ugh. Jace and I did so much together and had so much in common. As much as I love those memories, I still struggle the most with the fact that I will never see him again, that he’s really not here….and when I say I’m struggling that still doesn’t describe how much pain I feel. This phase of grief waves have been the hardest. I’ve cried so much this past week. I just don’t know how I’ll ever manage to get through his birthday without him. I feel like screaming….”Okay! I’m done now! Please, send Jace home!”….I’m still waiting to wake up from this nightmare.

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Jace’s First Birthday In Heaven

This will be very short today. Jace is celebrating his 26th birthday in Heaven with other missed loved ones. Instead of pouring my heart out, I’m just posting memories.

To my Jace, my Rinny….You have no idea how much I miss you. I hope you know how proud and special you’ve always been to me….even through our darkest days. Please, visit me again in my dreams. I love you so much it hurts. Love always, Mommy xo

No matter how hard today may be for me…I will use all my strength to celebrate with my family by releasing Chinese floating lanterns tonight.

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More I Forgot To Put In My Previous Post…🤦🏻‍♀️

Happy Birthday Rich (4/21)

It seems I’ve left quite a few things out of my previous blog post. I’m not sure if I’m just scatterbrained or what since everything I left out was what I mainly planned on writing about ha. Also, I’m not even sure why I’m surprised since I forget things from one minute to the next on a daily basis lol. If I don’t manage to laugh at myself about it then I’d probably cry about it. Oh well, what can I say?? It is what it is now….

Soooo…April 21 was my husband’s 42nd birthday. He maybe younger than me but at least I’m not the one the kids consider to be the “old” person in the house haha. Seriously though, Rich is hard working and always busy with something. I hope he was happy with the low-key birthday this year. It wasn’t easy to motivate myself. Rich’s birthday seemed to set the countdown clock into full effect to Jace’s birthday. I never could’ve imagined how exhausting, how much strength it would take for me to hold so much emotions in as I try my best to celebrate the people I love who are still here. I really do hope my husband had a good day and knows how much I love and appreciate him.

My toothless
Noah Bean

The most exciting news…..Noah lost his first tooth! What a trooper my grandson was. He was so excited and anxious as he worked on wiggling, twisting and pulling for two days to get this tooth out. Finally, he went to Pop (my husband) help. Noah adores his Pop so much. He knew Rich wouldn’t trick him by pulling it right out (can’t say that for the rest of the house lol). Twenty minutes later, I hear Noah say….”Omg, thank you so much Pop. I’m so excited and happy”….then ran to my spot on the porch to show me. I just love how this boy truly appreciates the little things more than anything else. That’s when my heart melts as I see Jace in him more than I already do physically.

Top left corner is Noah with his Jace pillow.

I guess this is where the biased grandmother is about to come out of me BUT….Noah is pretty mature for a 6 1/2 year boy. I should probably say he’s mature when it comes to certain issues. Lord knows this boy can’t sit still for a second or stop talking about his video games, bugs, boogers or YouTube. On the other hand, he’s got an amazing vocabulary, well behaved (usually ha), polite and respectful with all the ups and downs of emotions in the house. Maybe he’s more aware because he lives in a house with 6 females, maybe because he’s the first and only boy on both sides of family (me and Rich’s family)…or maybe because he understands what death means. He knows and understands what happened with Jace. He also is heavily grieving at times as well. Noah and Jace were two peas in a pod! Not to mention how freakishly identical they look!! Holy Moly….it’s like Lauren gave birth to a clone of Jace. Whenever Jace took Noah out people immediately thought that was his son. If it wasn’t the physical appearance, it was also by the way Noah looked up to Jace and loved him. One thing I say all the time is how no one loved me the way Jace loved me. That holds true for all 3 of my girls because they say the same thing. When Noah was born, Jace fell head over heals for this boy. He wanted a family with kids of his own more than anything in this world. He loved kids and they loved him. So when it comes to Noah, he’s the one who truly stole Jace’s heart. That love is so missed by all of us. Every now and then Noah will break a little and cry and say how much he misses him. Thankfully it’s not often because I don’t think my heart could take it. One day I asked Noah what picture of Jace was his favorite. When he picked it out I had it made into a pillow. I wish I would’ve recorded Noah when I gave it to him. His jaw dropped as he grabbed it. It took him a minute to say anything because I could see tears filling up in his eyes but finally, he looked at me with the biggest smile and thanked me and said he loved it so much. I told him I made the pillow so he could sleep with it so that Jace would be the first thing he saw when he woke up and the last before he went to sleep. Well, Noah apparently loves the pillow so much that he’s too afraid for anything to happen to it that he keeps it covered up and puts it in a special spot every night lol. He said instead of sleeping with it he likes hugging it, looking at it and sometimes he talks to it.

Everyday I feel the weight of Jace’s birthday getting heavier. I’ve been trying to push the heartache off as if it will somehow prevent May 6th’s arrival. So far this is the hardest and most painful to deal with. I thought I struggled with this loss more than other times since he’s been gone but….nothing compares to this. The anxiety, pain, fear…I don’t know why I feel scared but I do. I just don’t even know how I’ll ever get through the day. My stomach has been in knots, I start to feel physically sick just thinking of it. And then Mother’s Day on top of it that weekend….my heart is just so broken.

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It’s Been A Little While…Let’s Catch Up With A Bonus Letter From Bella…

My granddaughter’s letter. Oh, and that sweet face.

Instead of sulking over the reasons why I’ve been taking some extra “Me” time, I’ll just write about the better days I have. Mainly the letter my Bella Boo gave me on a day that started off blahhh….

Oh my little granddaughter Bella! She is full of everything lol. Her new thing is writing in her Minnie Mouse journal and writing me letters. About a week ago, I woke up feeling kinda down. Bella seems to know when I’m feeling sad. Since it’s just the two us during the day I guess she’s caught on to me ups and downs better than anyone. Right before lunch she very excitingly gave me this letter and said….”Mimi, I wrote you a note and put your name all over it”. I could not stop laughing! First of all, this is not the first time she’s addressed me (in writing only) as ‘Hoe’ lol. My birthday was March 29th. Before opening the card from my grands, Bella said she wrote my name all by herself in the card….I thought ‘Ok, it’s odd but she’s only 5 and probably would write Hoe on anything she gives to anyone’….NOPE! Since the birthday card, the recent letter pictured above and all her little family drawings of us, I’ve noticed that I’m the only Hoe…lmao. I think her and I will be doing a bit of practicing in writing everyone’s names before she starts kindergarten next year.

Easter was pretty low key this year. Lauren and I really didn’t feel up to celebrating the way we used to. Missing Jace seems to hit us harder as time passes. It wasn’t too bad of a day though. It seemed as if it’s been ages since everyone’s been able to make it to my sister’s this Easter. Yes, I actually left my house for most of the day, drove about 45 min to my sister’s for Easter. This was a huge step out of my comfort zone since Jace passed. I don’t know why but, I still have issues about being away from or going too far from home. I decided I would definitely go when my sister called me the week before. She had texted that she had something to tell me but I would’ve never expected it to be bad news. My brother-in-law, her husband just found out he has prostrate cancer. He found out after an annual routine drs visit. His dr was writing up a script for routine blood work and decided to add on a test to have other levels checked that usually isn’t routine. My brother-in-law is 50 years old, very healthy, very active, works out, ect… No symptoms or signs that anything was wrong. He’s had a few tears done after the blood work came back which determined it as prostrate cancer and he’s scheduled for surgery to have his prostrate removed in June. He and my sister are very positive and hopeful that he will beat this. I hope so too. Hearing the news just made me want to be there for them. I’m glad I went but, it took a lot out of me. It was just too big of a step that I now know I’m not ready for yet. Lesson learned…they say baby steps for a reason.

Let’s get to the most unexpected and surprising thing that’s happened at my house. My youngest, Gracie (14 yrs), got a JOB!!! She started working at a farmer’s market down the street. And she loves it! I am so proud of her. I’m also glad that her best friend who lives a couple houses away works there too. She even opened a bank account. Now if only she worked as hard as she does at work with her chores at home lol.

It’s still crazy to think of everything Jace is missing. Especially with Gracie working. They had a really special bond. I know Jace is watching over her and is beaming with pride. As I’ve mentioned before, Jace’s birthday is May 6. My Madison (17 yrs) will be taking her drivers license test that day. There’s no doubt in my mind that she’ll fail because Jace will be her guiding light. I’m not sure how I’ll ever get through that day but, I’ve got to try now for Madison. I still just try not to think about it. I really struggle everyday.

Some Easter pics of the grands. Gracie with her first paycheck!
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My Plan To Make The Saddest Day A Little Brighter

www.facebook.com/100009602678249/videos/2725255507804512/

There seems to be no hiding from Jace’s birthday. Believe me, I’ve been trying. I just can’t stand to think of having to celebrate that day in memory rather than singing to his bright smiling face.

As hard as it is for me….I’ve decided to do something that would make him happy and proud on the day of his birthday. I have an extremely small few I keep in touch with outside of family. I chose to celebrate Jace’s birthday by sending those few gifts. I want them to know how much they mean to me and to thank them for their support and not running away from me the hundreds of times I lost my mind.

Jace had the biggest heart when it came to giving. If there’s a spirit world, if he’s watching…I think this would make him very happy.

Dear May 6, Please, don’t rush making your arrival. I’m not ready to face this day.

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7 Months Later…

Something I’ve noticed is how I try to avoid doing things to shield my pain. It’s a different avoidance than me not fully grieving Jace. I know I’ve said a million times that I don’t allow myself to fully grieve because it will ruin me, I feel like it will truly kill me. I still feel that way but, I’ve put that aside…I just don’t think about it. This feeling now, “new” feeling I guess you could say, is different….I can’t describe it, I can just feel it. It’s like I go idle, try to hide from everything but still manage to carry on throughout the day…kind of. Although I’ve been maintaining a certain daily routine, simple tasks, minimal errands….my body/mind seems to come to a halt when I feel the tears fill up. For one thing, I’ve been avoiding this page unless I’m celebrating the people who meant the most to Jace. Or when I feel I need to push myself into writing something positive to escape the heartbreak. Sometimes I avoid looking at Jace’s pictures, his things, his writings/drawings, even his urn because I just don’t want to break or feel it. One major thing I haven’t outwardly expressed is how music is very overwhelming. Jace and I shared a passion for music. He once told me how it’s almost as if he could feel certain songs. That blew my mind because I also feel that way with certain songs. There are too many of the same songs we have in common. Music is the hardest for me. I find myself skipping 90% of my playlist…and it could be the happiest damn song in the world.

Earlier I pushed myself and looked through Jace’s folders and a journal. I was trying to find something in particular that he wrote so I could use it for a tattoo idea. Of course I couldn’t find it…I also didn’t try all that hard because he has more journals, folders, drawings than he had clothes. Looking through those things I could feel the heaviness that I’ve been avoiding inside build up. I told my husband that I don’t know how I’m going to make it through Jace’s birthday (May 6). Maybe this “new” feeling I have to avoid or hide has been the emotionally dreaded birthday approaching?? No matter how hard I try to hide or how hard I wish for time to stop…there’s no avoiding the realization that I face celebrating a birthday only as a memory of the first (of 4) true love of my life, my first born, my baby.

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I’m Not Depressed….I’m Just Sad

I’ve overheard people say that I’m just depressed since Jace passed. I don’t deny that I probably look and sound like I’m depressed…even after 7 months. Honestly, I’ve thought a lot about it and I can definitely say that I’m just sad. Grieving will never end for me. Eventually (probably not anytime real soon), I’ll have to make friends with my grief. As ridiculous as that may sound and as much as I don’t love the idea of it, it’s the only way I’ll learn how to manage it. My therapist has been my biggest cheerleader…next to my Lauren, of course. She always emphasizes how much time has passed when she praises and tells me how proud she is of my small accomplishments. Believe me, when I say small accomplishments….I’m talking microscopic. Just surviving one day to the next can feel like I’ve discovered the secret to world peace for me some days. Thanks to my therapist, her support and understanding I’m not beating myself up as much when all I’ve managed to do is survive….it may be baby steps but, those days are starting to become a little less. I always assumed she was emphasizing how much time has passed because time seems empty to me….it still does. It’s amazing how trauma can change you. I knew I’d never be the same. I never thought I’d become a stranger to myself. I’m a completely different person in almost every way…..which isn’t all bad. In fact it’s something I’ve accepted and am using as a positive learning tool. I know I have a long way to go still with this. I also know that I’ve come a long way in only 7 months too. It may not seem like much but what I feel has been my biggest accomplishment is not forcing a smile, a laugh or having fun with my grandkids and my girls. I push myself everyday to do the little I do and then beat myself up at the end of the day feeling like I’ve failed. Just this past week a friend of mine pointed out that feat I’ve hurdled, along with compliments and encouragement which brought me to tears. I realized then that I have to be more gentle and patient with myself. So what if no one sees how hard I push…..so what if the only thing I’ve done today was make it to tomorrow….so what if the little I do looks like nothing….I have to remind myself that I’m doing my best. So, to anyone assuming that I’m depressed or at home dwelling or wallowing away every minute of every day….please, stop assuming that. I’m home and I’m enjoying my family. Not everyday is good but, not everyday is always bad. My grief is heavy but, not all of my tears hurt. Sometimes my tears come from the pain, sometimes from memories but mostly because I love and miss him.

1 Step Forward, Fall 2 Steps Behind….

Pretty much sums up my life.

I feel like I’ve been hiding or avoiding something. That’s one reason why I have only been blogging birthdays of loved ones Jace adored most. No matter how hard I try to be more positive or fight back tears and the pain it catches up to me like a tornado from Hell. I wish I could relate to that saying….’I get one star ahead and then fall two steps behind’…nope, not me. I get one step ahead and then….bam…Life kicks me right in the face. If there’s a such thing of former lives we’ve had before now then mine was cursed above and beyond. If I don’t joke and laugh about that then I’d be more depressing than I already am. Hard to believe, right?? Anyway, it seems people really do start to avoid you when you’ve literally lost part of your entire world. They either don’t know what to say, how to respond or just don’t want to hear it anymore and wish you’d move on already. Lucky them….no matter how hard I try, I can’t ignore or runaway from me. I’m stuck with this. And quite honestly, I’m not all that happy with having to figure this all out, this new me that can’t just move on because 25 years of my life has died. I used to juggle 20 things at a time throughout the day. Now I’m lucky if I remember 1 thing out…well, 1, 2…maybe 3 simple things during the day. I’m easily overwhelmed which causes me to get extremely frustrated, stressed or upset (more with myself than anyone else). Simple things that never bothered me before bother me now and I don’t know why. Whenever I say I can’t do something or go somewhere I feel the knot in my stomach because I know the next question will be….”Why can’t you…..?” Please, don’t ask because I can’t explain it. And I know I’ve said this a million times but, I don’t expect anyone to understand what this is like for me everyday (Yes! Every. Day!!!). The only thing I want from anyone is patience. No words, no response, nothing at all. Just don’t ignore me. I know I’m not pleasant to be around or talk to when I need to let go of how sad, mad, crazy I am. Sometimes I just need to let it out, I just want to be heard. Instead, I feel like I’m just talking or texting to myself. I didn’t think I could feel more empty inside than I already do but….I started to. So, I started pushing my tears off, my feelings I’d fold up for later, biting my tongue almost off so I’m not ignored. It became too hard to even look at pictures or talk much about Jace. I pushed myself beyond my limit and now I’m exhausted and I just don’t care anymore. It’s now ‘Take it or Leave it’….this new me has to find a way to make friends with my grief because guess what???? It’s never going away. There’s no right or wrong as I try figuring how to deal and cope, what I can or can’t do, how I’m feeling or not feeling. I am no longer apologizing for these things I feel anymore. Believe me, I feel bad enough and beat myself up enough as it is. I have the most amazing grief therapist who guided me, listened and heard me, praised me on my ups and even my downs, repeatedly told me to be kind to myself and that if all I do is get through a day and do nothing at all but survive then that’s good enough too….sometimes (😊). Now I’m finally feeling that ‘Good Enough’ part…..Finally! Now when I get to the end of my day whether or not I cried, got dressed, remembered one or nothing of things that had to be done, if I ranted or kept quiet…just getting through it is good enough for me and that should be good enough for everyone.

Today’s number is 5! Happy Birthday Bella!

Bella Lilly

Another birthday…and more to follow. It’s hard to believe that Bella is 5 years old. I thought time flew after I had kids….ha! Time goes into warp speed when you have grandkids! I remember taking my daughter to her doctor the morning of the 23rd and they told her if she didn’t go into labor within the next few days they would induce her at 8pm on the 28th. I was really hoping Bella would be born on the 29th since that happens to be my birthday. Instead, I came home from work that night around 8:30pm and my daughter said she was leaking all day…hmm. No contractions, doctor said she wasn’t dilated, no signs of labor….nothing. I decided to take her to the hospital anyway and by 10:00pm she was admitted to L&D and hooked up to an epidural lol. The next afternoon at 2:00pm I cut Bella’s umbilical cord. That all seems like it happened yesterday.

Bella is my second grandbaby. Beautiful, silly, funny, creative….and whimsical is probably the best way to describe her imagination. Although, most people would say it’s not all imagination. When Bella was 6-7 months old and able to sit up on her own Lauren and I would peek in on her and she would be baby talking and playing. But it looked like she was playing with someone…not so odd, right? This continued for the next 4 years except it became more interactive, I guess you could say. Every morning, usually in the same areas (dining room and porch) she would look up and laugh and talk….to no one. I asked her who she was talking to one day and she said it was my dad. Now…my dad passed in 2012, four years before Bella was born. The crazy thing was the interactions she seemed to be having with my “dad” because he always played and joked with us and my kids growing up. One day I decided to show her 3 pictures, my mom, my dad and Donna…all 3 had passed by this time. She instantly took the picture of my dad, went to the dining room, held it up and said…”It’s you”….creepy weird!! Another time I was doing something in my closet where I kept my dad’s cane and she pointed to it and told me that was my dad’s cane but he didn’t need it now. After that I recorded her a few times because I was sure people would think I was losing my mind lol. People who never believed or were skeptical of this sort of thing completely changed their minds after seeing Bella. I don’t know why I’m still on the fence about it….it would be really great if my parents, Donna…especially Jace were visiting or with us though. If they are, I wish I could have that sixth sense to see and talk to them. I’m not sure Bella sees my dad anymore or if her imagination is just changing. It’s been close to a year now without her seeing or playing with him.

I know Jace is smiling down and wishing Bella an amazing 5th birthday. He absolutely adored Noah and Bella. He loved Aliyah so much too but, sadly Aliyah had just turned 2 months old the day Jace passed. That kills me so much. I wish the last day or two weren’t bringing me down like it is. I feel like I’ll have a span of good days….then heavily grieve for a few days. But…today I will put it aside because….It’s my girls BIRTHDAY!!

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