Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Safety Precautions

I’m not very good at protecting myself. Emotionally I’m definitely a risk taker. Physically, I’m more cautious, but still not so much.

I remember when I was single and owned my first home. All the neighborhood kids hung out at my house. One of the kids that I was closest to, stole some money out of my desk. I went to his parents and he gave me the money back. That was the first time that I remember having to make a choice. I could start worrying about everyone who came in, start locking my drawers, hiding assets, etc. but I decided that I didn’t want to live that.

I’ve had that theory tested since then. You might remember the blog where someone I knew stole an entire year’s budget out of my house after Tim died. They did it while there was a big pool party going on. For a while we pursued it with a detective but we got no where. I found myself questioning my own family and the very best of my friends trying to figure it out. I had to decide to let it go. I couldn’t bear to let a wedge come in my life, especially without knowing who it was for sure. I did start to lock up my money though.

This week, I was out at my pool with a few friends. A young college student came up to the gate and I could tell he was in sales. Sure enough, he said he was selling educational materials for all age groups. We chatted a bit and I said I would talk to Frankie and be ready with an answer later in the evening. He then surprised me and said that he was having a contest with the other interns to see how many pools they could jump in with their clothes on. Could he jump in mine?

I laughed and told him of course he could! As I reached up to open the gate, I had a moment of, “Oh my Gosh! What if he has a gun and he’s going to kill us?” I didn’t even used to have those thoughts but now I do. I instantly resisted and again consciously said that I will not live that way.

He came in and jumped in the pool. We all had a great laugh about it. I wish I had a picture to show you. When he came back later that night, I told him he wasn’t getting a sale. He did not pressure me at all. Instead he just said he was able to jump in one other pool that day so he won the contest.

Well, at least there is one other person in the world who is as crazy as I am!


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The Pen is NOT Mightier Than the Sword

I have been avoiding my blog all day.

In spite of being careful with name changes, etc., my writing sometimes gets me in trouble. This time it was pretty massive. While I find writing cathartic and healing, I have to not post some things for fear of retribution.

There are still kind people left in the world. Seems like they are less and less every year, but they are still out there. I still brush shoulders with them once in a while. I consider myself to be a kind person most of the time. But I’m also famous for going the extra mile. I go beyond ordinary kindness. I choose to because I feel like it is the way my heart and soul are wired. I must admit though, the last few years have really made me doubt my philosophy of life.

I’ve always struggled with people not reciprocating. My mom told me that when I was still in elementary school. She said I love with my whole heart and when people don’t love me back the same, I get crushed. That part I’m somewhat used to. It still hurts every time, but I know the deal. I don’t love the way I do in order to get something in return. But recently, there was another new dynamic for me to grapple with. I went the extra mile- way beyond- for the sake of another family. Later, because of my choices, my own family suffered a great deal. Now that haunts me. It probably always will.

One of my friends said that I can still be kind, but just stop going the extra mile. I’ve given that a lot of thought. That is so terribly hard for me. The extra mile is my version of kindness. I’ve lived that way for 48 years. I’m sure there has always been injustice to contend with, but I confess since Tim has died, the injustice feels triple and quadrupled. I’m not just wronged now, but it is also like, a widow and a single mom has been wronged. And a kid who has suffered more loss than he should have to has been wronged. It just feels like more than I can swallow.

Some always say, “Don’t ever change.” But how can I not? My extreme kindness actually ending up hurting my family. There are trustworthy people out there, but how can I tell? The only answer to me that makes any sense, is to stop putting myself out there to begin with. If anyone can turn on you, why invest to begin with? After a while, isn’t it more like stupidity than a quality to be admired?

I wish I could write details because it would be so much easier to explain. But I live in fear now. The ramifications can be too great to risk. So I will be censored. I have been told a thousand times throughout my life that I have amazing resilience. I just get back up every time I get knocked down. I’ve done it for decades. I might stumble a bit, but hell, I also get back up.

Eventually though, don’t you just get used up? Don’t you get too broken to ever be fixed again? That time the $5,000 got stolen really shook me up. It was someone close to me and I never did find out who did it. Now my entire family has been betrayed again. I never thought of myself as naive, but I guess I am because I still get shocked when people do evil things. And I just plain stop sleeping and live with a sick stomach every day when people do bad things to my son who has suffered so much.

I’m really trying to hold on to my heart. To my kindness and generosity. But the anger and the sadness are eating away at me. I have felt like my threshold has been reached several times over the last few years, and then a new blow comes and I realize that I had managed to get back up again only to be knocked down.

I’m not sure if it sounds like it, but this really isn’t meant to be a pity party. It is truly a philosophical, existential crisis of trying to figure out how to approach the world. My head is screaming out at me to wake up and smell the real coffee. But my heart is broken in two. It doesn’t want to live and relate to the world I’ve come to know. I don’t know if I have the strength to admit what I see. I want to close my eyes and pretend that people aren’t as ugly as they really are. I’ve been on stage recently and actually did a decent job. But this may require acting that I’m just not quite capable of.

I finally put a Christmas card together. It says we Thiels and Colvins are tough as nails with all we have been through. Yet, we are still like butter on the inside. That’s why it still hurts us when people wrong us. What is the answer?

What is the answer?

What is the answer?


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Anger- the New Sadness?

Is 47 the proper age for a mid-life crisis? Is 47 the proper time for menopause (which means hormones and changes that are out of our control)? I hear 50 is the age that women make lots of changes and just stop taking things they shouldn’t take anymore. Is that me?

I wish someone could explain it to me. As a person who has struggled with depression most of my life, I am somewhat comfortable with it. I know that sounds weird. It’s true, though. I am familiar with crying regularly, know what despair is like, and all that jazz.

When Tim got sick, I remember there being a switch to anxiety. I could count on one hand how many times in my life I had experienced an anxiety attack before that day in Roswell when we got the diagnosis. After that, I found myself passing out, nearly passing out, breathing into paper bags, etc.. That hasn’t been the norm over the last couple of years, but lately I’ve been teetering on the edge again.

I have a friend who, well, let’s say his primary emotion is anger. I’ve heard him F-bomb everything and everyone in sight. I’ve watched his face turn red. I’ve worried about him often, wondering if he will have a heart attack before he’s 50. He defends his positions with confidence, but I wonder if his life is any better than mine. I strive to “be the bigger person.” Angry or sad? Neither one seems like a great quality of life.

This week I’ve found myself angry. Instead of responding like I usually do, I’ve been angry. Red-hot angry. Throwing around my own F-bombs. Deciding I don’t need to be so damn forgiving anymore. I don’t want to be bitter or hateful, but do I really need to put myself out like I do? It’s like some magic number got reached inside of me and all my cheeks are used up. I can’t turn the other one anymore.

Before I could even finish writing this blog, I found out my GPS got stolen out of my car last night. I have been locking everything since the money was stolen from my house just two weeks ago. How the car happened to be unlocked I will never know or understand. Can you believe that? The police came right away. I think they are getting used to me by now. The good news is, they already caught the guy. They said it was dumb luck, but they caught him. He went up and down our street and stole a bunch of stuff, including someone’s car. The police came back with my GPS cover. Yep, that’s mine. Unfortunately, they couldn’t find the GPS but they are still looking. Sick feeling, angry beyond belief. The last thing I F$%^&*G need right now is to spend money on another GPS. I’m broke. I signed a statement and you bet your ass I will press charges. Where is the person that would give you my pants if you stole my shirt? She’s left the building.

A couple of days ago, I discovered some people were accusing me of purposefully changing my stepdaughter’s last name in the paper to benefit myself. I couldn’t believe it. First of all, it was a ridiculous thought. It would have served ZERO purpose to do such a thing. But more importantly, I’ve taken crap from these people for 15 years. I’ve done nothing but be the “bigger person.” Decided I’m done. No more. I’ve gotten phone calls from people who will try to make it right again, but I’ve refused to call back. I just don’t have it in me. Too angry. Just too damn pissed off. No more cheeks to turn. The first 40,000 times they insulted me without reason I was forgiving. Can’t do it anymore.

I still cry. I can cry at a mere word. But mostly, I’m just angry. I feel like my chest hurts. Last night I had to call a few friends to talk me down from a full-blown panic attack. I could feel it coming on- like soon I wouldn’t be able to breathe.

I received an email this morning from an old high school friend. He talked about how nice I was all those years ago. I responded with how I am suddenly questioning if it’s been worth it. I’ve hurt people and made mistakes in my life, without a doubt. But mostly, I have been NICE. Not stupid, but nice. Not naive, but nice. (Well, maybe naive sometimes.) I’m not an idiot; I’ve just chosen on purpose to respond with kindness. Where has it gotten me? For years, it was the internal satisfaction of feeling like I’ve done the right thing. Why, all of a sudden, is that not enough anymore?

Anger or sadness? I know they are both part of the human experience, but I don’t like either one of them. I’d like to try happiness on for a change. If anyone knows how to get some of that, let me know. I’d do just about anything to trade in this crap I’m feeling.

I know you probably expect more from me than this. Maybe that other woman will come back soon. But right now, I don’t have anything inspiring to offer. Just pure human nature. At its worst.


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Last Call

This is a follow-up blog to last week’s blog called “Begging.”

The detective came to our house last week. The first thing that happened, was that he saw the family picture of us from Tim’s last Father’s Day (the one on the back of Bitter and Sweet). He immediately recognized Tim and said he went to grammar school with him. I think that has motivated him to try harder than normal to figure our case out.

He has taken DNA samples from Colin and I. He also took samples from the cupboard shelf where the money was stolen from. Horrible circumstances aside, it was kind of cool to watch. He told us we wouldn’t have results by the next commercial, though. 🙂

The plan is to get samples from the people who were at my house that weekend. It’s amazes me what they can find out from a little cotton swab. I believe there will also be a lie detector test available to us if need be.

To my surprise, the detective was quite optimistic about nailing this down. So here is my last appeal. Whoever you are, you still have a little bit of time to come to me and tell me what happened. I won’t press charges and we will figure out where to go from here. If this drags on and the detective has to find you, it won’t be so civil. I have been praying, as have many, many others, that your conscience will nag at you incessantly until you come forward. Trust me, you don’t want to live with this hanging over your head. Do us both a favor and do the right thing. Today.


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Begging

This blog is a little bit different. It has a specific agenda in mind. And it is written to one person. I do not know who that person is. Only that person knows who they are.

If you know me, you know I pride myself in being hospitable. I love having swim parties and campfires. I have them often and everyone knows you can call me and invite yourself over anytime. I’m social, and more than anything I want people to feel comfortable here.

If you know me, you also know I am meticulous about my finances. I think it’s a combination of my father drilling it into my head growing up, and that of having certain times in my life when I was very poor and limited. I’ve learned to be a master of budgeting and living within my means. Comes in handy when I give financial counseling to clients too.

For years, I have used the “envelope system” to budget. It means paying for everything with cash. The concept is, if you don’t have the cash, you don’t buy it. That’s why I have no credit card debt. There are repetitive expenses like groceries and gas, and once a year expenses like snow plough service and season Sabres tickets. It’s worked extremely well. Until this weekend.

Where is all this leading? Somewhere between 8:00 PM on Saturday night and 9:00 PM Monday night, someone stole all of my envelopes, container and all. All of it. Every penny I have for an entire year’s budget. Gone.

Without getting into tedious details, let me just say because of certain factors, it has to be someone who is extremely close to me. They had to know exactly what they were doing. Someone I love dearly, someone I trust. Someone who has broken my heart in two.

When I filed the police report, I had to list everything out. I was shocked at the total. Even I didn’t realize how much it was. Are you ready? FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS. Cash. No way to trace it.

I truly think I would rather have had some street scum break in and take everything. I can’t even fathom that any of the people who were at my house during that time period would do this.

It changes everything. I don’t even need to tell you the financial devastation of an amount like that. I’m a single mother that works four businesses. You guys get that. Without minimizing the impact that has on me and my son, that’s not the most important thing to me.

I don’t even know how to wrap around this. We are keeping our doors locked now. All the time. I don’t know if I can stomach having another swim party. If I do, I will probably keep all the doors locked. I will have to let people in to use the bathroom. How do I trust?

I can’t suspect even one person that has been at my house. And because I can’t, I have no choice but to suspect everyone. That goes against everything inside of me. I don’t want to think like that. I don’t want to live like that. And I certainly don’t want to feel like that.

So this time I am writing to one person. I am writing to whoever you are that took my money. The thing is, I love you. I would have loaned you the money if you needed it. You know I would have. Hell, I would have given it to you if you truly needed it bad enough. Please, just give it back to me. Send it in a box or something. Just give it back. I just want some peace in my heart. I want my heart rate to go back down to normal.

If you come forward, all will be well. The detective comes tomorrow and then everything changes. If the detective finds you, there will be charges to be pressed. Don’t let that happen. I AM BEGGING YOU. Please, please, just make things right again. PLEASE.