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The Need to Connect

Posted on Sep 1, 2014 in Blog |

Robin Williams’ death highlights the need to connect . . . It has been almost a month now since news of Robin Williams’ suicide trended and overtook the news coverage. Every time I hear of someone’s death by suicide, I am brought back to the instant when my sister Gayle heard that her 16-year old son had shot himself. I am brought back to the instant when my niece heard that her little brother was dead. I remember looking into my other sister’s eyes at those two moments and wishing we could be sharing any other experience but this one. And yet, we knew we were inextricably connected forever as our linked arms lifted Gayle from falling to the floor as her legs collapsed. The moments that followed were similar to what the movies proclaim: hysterical mother, sobbing families, screams of “Why?”, stunned silence, hushed phone calls to friends and distant family, ‘making preparations,’ waves of grief, and insurmountable anguish drowning each of us as the minute hand ticked. We don’t know why our nephew shot himself. We don’t know why he wanted to die. We will never know. We just know the pain of life was too much for him to bear. And, he chose the only way he knew, in that moment, to relieve himself of that angst. I believe the same to be true of Robin Williams. Everyone can surmise, and assume, and ponder. But there is only one person who knew and, I believe, he is now with his Maker, relieved of his torment. In that moment, he chose the only way he knew to be free of the pain and anguish that was too much for him to bear for another minute, or even another second. Many people initially surmised he was on drugs when he died by suicide. As a fellow recovering addict, I believe he was sober. For me, living life on life’s terms was so much harder to do without the drugs and alcohol.   I was clean and sober the two times I considered dying by my own means. Robin Williams and I were close in time for our sobriety...

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Here’s Why Letting People ‘In’ Honors Your Relationships

Posted on Aug 11, 2014 in Blog |

Here’s Why Letting People ‘In’ Honors Your Relationships Sometimes I dream of finding a place where I can be alone in a crowd, where there is no TV, no radio, and possibly, if I am lucky, no working cell phone. That’s a place I dream of writing and editing and getting so much work done. Be careful what you pray for. It’s 9 PM on a Friday night, and I am in the local hospital’s Short Stay Cardiac Observation Unit. They actually put me in a quiet spot, lights out. I haven’t turned on the TV, and my cell phone is working sporadically. I’ve been in this hospital for almost twelve hours. In the same unit my husband was in just a few months ago when he had a heart attack. I didn’t have a heart attack. I had pressure and shortness of breath for the past two weeks and worse the past two days. “And why did you wait two weeks to see a physician,” asked the nurse, and the physician, and my husband. “Because denial was working pretty well for me for those two weeks; this morning, not so much,” I replied. I asked a friend to take me to the emergency room today, because my father in law is here visiting. And, he isn’t doing too well physically, so I felt Jeff had enough on his hands to worry about. Plus the puppies we have are cute, but they are work. Then there is his job. You know, just a lot of “stuff” going on. So I told him I was running errands with Deb. That was good for five hours. Then I had to call him and tell him where I was and that they were keeping me for the night. Oh boy, he was not happy with me for keeping this secret from him. Ok, well we worked that out. But then, Jeff wanted to tell my sisters and my parents and… I didn’t want anyone to know, because nothing had been discovered yet, and frankly, I feel a little stupid being in here right now. I think I overreacted. I mean, if...

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Love and Support of Community Matters

Posted on Aug 6, 2014 in Blog |

The love and support of community matters for the people and animals . . . Last month, our Ruby Cavalier King Charles Spaniel gave birth to puppies. I like to tell people it was an unplanned pregnancy. She and our tri-color CKC “got it on” while my husband was having a heart attack in the hospital. Sixty-five (or so) days later, my sweet Lola girl screamed in pain as she pushed her first born out. No one told me a dog could scream during childbirth. In case you didn’t know, dogs can scream during childbirth. The second puppy arrived about 25 minutes later, smaller, and a faster process and I think therefore, less painful for her. I had never seen a live birth before. My own son’s birth was an emergency C-section with general anesthesia. I’ve never seen any animal give birth. So this was all something quite exciting and different. Even with the “gross” factor of afterbirth, etc., I will say it is a privilege to watch such a miracle evolve. As each puppy popped out, my husband and I teared up and held hands, soaking in the sacredness of the moment. Once Lola finished the clean up, we face-timed with our son, so he could see the little cutie-pies. Of course, everyone thinks we should keep them… except me. Mind you, in our house, we already have THREE Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs. We also have a friend living downstairs with her Bijon-Havanese. That’s four dogs. So I have named “Thing 1 and Thing 2,” so I don’t get attached to them because we are NOT keeping them. But each day I find them cuter and cuter. It’s hard not to get attached. And it’s a time and labor intensive job just making sure they thrive. A few days after the birth, Lola developed mastitis, an infected mammary gland. We had to take all three of them into the vet’s office. We spent two hours with an incredible vet whom educated us on how to take care of all three. I had no idea that I had no idea. I was grateful for her insights and education. We weren’t...

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Lyme Disease Interview on The Organic View

Posted on Aug 2, 2014 in Blog |

Please come and listen to June Stoyer interview me for her show The Organic View Share...

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Death of My Uncle

Posted on May 23, 2014 in Blog |

George “Troup” Brazelton III died suddenly on Thursday, May 1, 2014.  Troup was my uncle. Born on October 26, 1940 in Bessemer Alabama, he graduated from Parrish High School in Selma, Alabama in 1959 and graduated from Auburn University in 1968. Troup was an affable man. He diffused warmth and friendliness with anyone he came into contact with.  He could find a way to connect with anyone, whether he met you in a coffee shop or tailgating at an Auburn University football game.  He could initiate a conversation with anyone, any age, and find something in common within minutes of striking up the conversation.  It was a special talent Troup had that put people at ease- usually making them smile within minutes of meeting him.  He was quick witted and honest. You can tell a lot about a man about how he treats the women around him.  Troup treated his mother and his mother-in-law with great respect, honor, and genuine love.  He took them for drives to see the blooming crepe myrtles and azaleas. He shelled pecans with them. Troup often sat in a chair watching the television – he loved sports and the news shows.  He had opinions and welcomed debate with those that disagreed with him.  He wasn’t a loud or gregarious man; he was quiet in tone.  But he made people laugh.  His statements of the obvious could have been good enough for a stand-up comedy routine sometimes.  But his ability to make others laugh was in a “sneak up behind you and tap you on the shoulder” sort of subtlety. My first soul connection with Troup came in 2000 as he cared for Aunt Betty during her last years of declining health.  What started as a “reaction to suntan lotion” later evolved into a diagnosis of Lupus, to ALS, but was finally found to be Lyme Disease. During Betty’s last 24 months, Troup spent every moment caring for her, researching her symptoms, contacting physicians, doing everything in his power to save her life.  They had found the right diagnosis, and she was getting the right treatment, but it was simply too late.  The Lyme had ravaged too much of her...

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