Sunday, October 23, 2011

365 +

The passing of another year has whisped right past my eyes. A year filled with a roller-coaster ride packed with emotions of the extreme. Relief, sadness, devastation, happiness, anger, confusion, disbelief and being lost and found, once again.

I remember at this time last year seeing nothing but black. The train ride we were on with Chad had finally hit a cement wall like no other. I felt like I had been smothered in a cloud of thick smoke with the train on top of my chest and no idea how too find my way out. I remember sitting on my front porch the days following "T's" death questioning who Chad really was. Did Chad have all of us fooled for all our years growing up as too who he really was? I asked myself silently over and over if I ever really knew Chad or was it all just make believe, and if so, how crazy it was to think that somebody can play charade's as well as he did for that many years. Who was he? Who was this person that I called my brother and where did he come from? My brain was so strained with agony that I had no idea what I was thinking at times. All I knew was he had committed the very worst he could have, murder, and I don't know anymore details than what I did, 365 + days ago.

I have convinced myself to believe that on or about September 29th, 2010, Chad was either out of his mind high or having a bad come down on heroin. Something happened and he snapped, doing something he knew would put him away for the rest of his life. I've seen Chad many times but I don't care to ask for details that I might regret having asked him for. I don't even know if he remembers much. And even if he does, what's the point anyways? It changes nothing for today, tomorrow and the future.

For several years now, I have seen the saying Live, Laugh, and Love. Sometimes you can't even go to the bathroom without seeing those words posted SOMEWHERE! And I have to admit, I have two plaques in my house with the same saying & trust me, there won't be a third. But in those three "L" words lies the true definition of life, at least for me. It seems as if our society has lost value in the meaning of living life to it's fullest, laughing until you damn near pee your panties, and really loving as we should. It's all about technology, speed, money, drugs, and politics. We live in a cut-throat world and we are losing everything that really meant something. I have faced lots of ups and downs in my life but it was Chad's drug addiction and the train wreck it caused for me to sit back and seriously Live, Laugh, and Love.

I have always cared for my family and friends the very best I could. But now, everything and everybody means more. I cannot say enough how short life really is. In the blink of an eye, two families were destroyed. Mine and "T's". An angel was given her wings sooner than anticipated and the demon of heroin that lived inside my brother, finally put him where he is today, prison for a lifetime. With life being as short as it is, we have all made it so much harder than it needs to be. I guess what I'm saying is we should all keep a little simplicity in our lives and look at life the way so many such as Chad couldn't.....that it's beautiful. If you feel like breaking out in a dance in the middle of the store aisle, do it. If you want to build a pyramid with girls or guys between the ages of 12 and 60, do it. If you want to go to heaven with the intentions of sliding in head first, than by all means DO IT because I sure the hell am. You don't always have to be your serious self. Laughing and loving is part of life and life is laughing and living. Don't wait for something so tragic to happen, as it did with my family, to finally let loose and give in a little bit. Realize it now with the very breath you take.

Chad has been sober (as far as I know) for 365 + days. Our family hasn't had to worry about the state Chad is in for 365 + days now. And for 365 + days, I haven't been scared or drained out of my mind figuring out what was too come. My heart beats as it should, I'm not grasping for air and I'm not walking in hell's haze. I'm finally seeing color again!!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

It's been 268 days. Has it really been that long? It's almost been a year???? It's almost been 365 since I got Chad's P.O.'s call telling me my brother was a suspect in a homicide. One of the very worst days of my existance. Just when I thought my life had all but ended, it has continued to move on, go forward. Some days are kind, others not so much, but I have done "ok" so far and can only hope it continues.

But today, the first day of July, in a whole new year, I was forced to face what I have avoided these last 268 days. I had to face the fact that today was the day I would HAVE to clean out Chad's belongings. It was time to clean out his room and make way for our little brother "B" to make his entrance. I would have put this day off for many more days, months, maybe even another year or so if I could have, but it was the only room I had to offer "B" so the day of reckoning was finally on my shoulders and there was no getting out of it. Not this time.

I made a trip to Wal-Mart to buy some bins for his belongings. I was pretty confident and sure of myself that I would be just fine doing this. It's been a very busy sprummer (spring and summer mixed) and I have been filled with things to do, girls night's out, yard work, spring cleaning, and the everyday hustle and bustle of my at times completely overwhelming life. I have seen Chad, talked to Chad, and spoke of him & "her name" nightly in my prayers, and with all of that, I have been able to mend in some ways. I'm not over it, nor will I ever will be over it...but I'm functioning and I'm understanding more and more. His voice, his hugs and seeing him as a "recovering" addict is what stitches my heart together, little by little.

My boyfriend was home with me today so I didn't have to face what I have put off for so long....alone. He never leaves me alone to deal with the hard shit that comes into my life, unless I want him too. When I did think about having to go through Chad's belongings, I had convinced myself that being solo while doing so would be the very best way for me to do it. But something told me, that gut instinct said, "not today, not with this will you be solo."

So home from Wal-Mart, in the house, and into Chad's room I went with the bins. I looked around memorizing once again the way his room looked, the way his room smelled and what was where before I packed it all up. Where do I even start? Asking myself that question, "where do I start" was my way of holding off just a few more minutes, stalling and slacking a bit longer on doing the unbearable. But I had too this time, it wasn't a choice to procrastinate anymore.

I started from the left and worked myself to the right. Chad was such an organized freak of nature, lol, much like myself but even more so than me. His shirts were perfectly aligned by color and sleeve length. His closet started with the short sleeved T-shirts and vaguely made their way to long his long sleeved sweaters. I handled them softly, laying them in the bins, occasionally holding a shirt up to my face breathing in the smell of laundry soap, softener, and of course...Chad. I didn't make any attempt to rush through the process. After all, this would be it. This was all I had left, besides this story, and I wanted to cherish the emotions no matter what my heart held.

He had shirts and sweaters in there from Abercrombie, Old Navy, American Eagle, Polo, Nautica, and so on. He was not a frugal dresser by any means. Chad always dressed to the nines and did so with pride... when his body wasn't pumping heroin. I guess I can take that back because even during the nights of going to his addict classes or the family bar-b-q's, he always tried to maintain his composure of perfect hair, perfect creases and perfect manicures. He knew how to take very good care of himself when he could.

I packed up everything I possibly could in the bins and the suitcase he had in his closet. And once that was done, I had to clean out yet ANOTHER room in my house, the storage room..downstairs. "D" continued to help me and make it as easy as possible. Ha...ya right. A storage room that has had every body's crap just thrown in it for three years. Easy???? I didn't think it was possible but with his help, much to my dismay, it was.

Chad's belongings would fit right under the staircase and that's where I planned for them to go. "D" has a friend living with us who puts his bike in the storage room and in doing so, I suppose he unconsciously shoved my never been used by me Christmas tree under the staircase that WAS taped up in it's box so it wouldn't fall out. It was given to me last year after Christmas so I haven't used it yet.

I was getting hot and tired. It was humid outside and workin my nerves inside. I tried putting the Christmas tree away the right way but it wasn't working, I was just making the mess of it worse. I was frustrated and erked. I mean really, could he not have just done it right in the first place? Did he really have to just shove my tree under the staircase letting every piece of masking tape that was holding it together break apart while different parts of the tree ended up hanging out and all over the place? DAMN IT!!!!

"D" looked at me and said "are you ok" and of course I told him I was fine. My famous line..."I'm fine." I looked at him and he said "are you sure because if you want to be alone I will let you be." I looked up at him and THAT'S when the "confidence and sureness" that I would be ok while

packing Chad's belonging's quickly crumbled and once again, I lost it. The tears poured out of my eyes and before I knew it, my face was buried in D's chest with his arms embracing me and I sobbed like a little girl who lost her best friend. In a way, I did. I lost more than my best friend. I lost my brother to his gosh damn heroin addiction. I had promised myself I wasn't going to cry and I even told "D" "I don't want to cry...... no I'm not going to do this" as I'm drying my tears......"I'm not going to cry anymore!!!" He looked at me and reminded me how stubborn I was and tears just kept making their way through. Right outta my heart and down my cheeks, dropping on my shirt, the floor and whatever else would catch them.

I soon realized I wasn't even mad at "B" as I pretended to be over my Christmas tree and it being treated unwell. Good God...seriously Mindy, get OVER it. It's a fake Christmas tree for hell sake. I was really just using it as the excuse to be mad so I wouldn't cry at the very thought that the life of my brother, all I physically had left with me, in my house, what HE wore, his scent, his shoes, certain pants I can see him wearing as if he were standing right in front of me, had been put into two 45 gallon bins and one little suitcase and are now the residents of my dark, cold, and hardly ever visited storage room in the basement of my home. Pathetic, heart-breaking, and I couldn't wait for the task to be over!!!!

"D" put the bins in my storage room in an area that should I ever want to revisit the clothes that hugged Chad, I could do it easily without creating a mess or having to shift everything around just to get to them. They are right there as you walk in, nicely stacked against a wall. I don't know if Chad will ever have the chance to open those bins. I guess they would almost be like time capsules. Something exciting for him to see, remember what he had if he is ever given the chance to once again visit a life he once had. Oh Chad, I miss and love you like crazy and damn you for all of this. Damn that heroin, damn the O.C's, damn your drug addiction. Just damn it all.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Some Thursday Truth!

Some days I find myself so wrapped up in Chad that I forget Things about me....the good, the bad, and the ugly. The silly, corky, off the wall and funny stuff. The little things, the simple things.... about ME. So today, I'm giving a little "Thursday Truth" about Mindy and will try to remember to do so on a frequent basis. Here it goes:

  • I LOVE baby feet. Those precious, perfect, tiny little body parts that grow to a size fit too our own and will hold us up or let us fall in this thing we call life. For me, they are the sweetest feature on a newborn baby.

  • I use entirely too much bath and dish soap. What can I say, I like bubbles. LOTS of bubbles and the more bubbles there are, the cleaner the object is.

  • I refuse to walk on grass bare-foot. I know, call me weird. It's one of my "corky" truths. But since I'm speaking of the truth...I see no tranquility, nothing relaxing, and certainly nothing exciting about walking on or rubbing my feet through each bristle where animals AND humans tend to dispose of their waste no matter how soft it may be! It boggles my mind to hear people say "how good it feels". I guess if you like stepping in shit, on accident or not, or stepping in areas where pee, vomit or anything else might lie within the grass and its roots than gooooo for it, and ENJOY.

  • I am highly addicted to cuticle oil. It's to my nails what Dr. Pepper is to my sanity.....IMPERATIVE. Not to mention it does wonders for my nails.

  • I once went to a club only to come home and find out that I had a HUGE hole in my very favoritist pants. At least 8-10 inches long. Who KNOWS how long I walked around not having the slightest idea that my right ass cheek was open for public display. And while I was in shock that I actually didn't realize it until I made it home that night, I was more upset about those pants that at the time were my very favorite. Completely unfixable.

Well there you have it for today. My blog is very sad and probably not the routine for somebodys daily reading, that is, if anybody reads this. So hopefully these little truths might have made you smile....or laugh...or think damn this girl is crazy! It's a bonus if you got all three.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Happy 61...or so I thought.

It was dads birthday yesterday. Sweet 61 he turned, but it wasn't too sweet of a day for him. I called him in the morning to wish him a happy birthday, but he didn't answer. So I left a message telling him so and that I loved him. I went on to get me and his presents ready for the day.

Dad's oldest brother passed away this last summer. The last time he was here, somebody took a great picture of them all together as brothers and sisters, minus my dad's baby brother who died 15 years earlier of suicide. I thought it would be awesome to enlarge the photo and put it in a nice frame for dad to hang in his newly finished basement. And then of course, there was a bag of Raisinets, his FAVORITE! I highly disagree on the taste of them. Chocolate covered peanuts, you have me, but raisins? No way!!

As a few hours went by, dad never returned my call. I wondered if we were still on for dinner and couldn't get a hold of anybody to find out. I called dad again, no answer. I called his wife, no answer. Totally out of character for my dad to not answer his phone or return the missed calls. So I made one more attempt to dad's wife's daughter. Dinner was still on according to her but I didn't want to just show up since I hadn't heard anymore about it from her mom. Dad's wife called. Dinner was still on, but dad woke up in a not so good mood. He wasn't answering his phone, he didn't want to talk to anybody, he didn't do his weekend grocery shopping routine with her, he was mad that she planned anything for his birthday and had invited the family to celebrate. He was just pissed.

He was so different last year. We all went to Vegas for his 60th birthday and HAD A RIOT. I suppose with all that has happened in the last year with Chad, dad is living with a broken heart and sees nothing remotely happy about celebrating his day. For him, it's just another day, another day closer to death.

I was pretty devastated to hear how grouchy he was. After all, I was excited to see him and give him his present and just be with everybody. AND...actually get to go outside with the nice weather. But I questioned whether we should even go or not. Does he want us there to celebrate his birthday? Than again, my oldest is leaving Saturday, so I of course wanted him to see his grandpa before he left for who knows how long again. I just wasn't sure what to do.

I went. Walked into dads house and there he was, in his spot, on the couch. I was hesitant to say too much, not knowing what I would get back. I gave him his present and said happy birthday. He loved the picture! "D" sat on the couch with him and I figured it would be a good thing for dad to have some "manly" bonding time. Maybe that would relax him, so I hung out in the kitchen with the girls.

As family showed up and hours went by, dad loosened up a little. He even smiled when he blew his birthday candles out. We had a GREAT dinner. Steak, baked potato's, cooked carrots (HIT OF THE DAY I must say), salad and Better Than Sex cake (HIT #2). Chattering going on every which way, the boys outside playing catch, and some family time that sadly for me, doesn't happen very often.

Chad had called earlier in the day but I missed his call. I knew, that he knew, it was dad's birthday and we would be at his house, so I knew he would call back. I stayed for as long as I could, hoping Chad wouldn't forget to call since I'm the only one who can talk with him by phone. Nobody else has set their phones up or their numbers have been denied for whatever reason. It's quite the process getting approved for anything where an inmate is concerned. Right as I was getting ready to leave, the call came in. Dad got to talk to his boy on his birthday and "T" and "B" got to talk to their brother who they haven't spoken to since at least last summer, before everything happened.

I was so happy Chad called, just in the knick of time. Dad got to actually hear the words "Happy Birthday" in Chad's voice. I hope it mended dad's heart for just a minute or two. I know my dad is hurting. I know he carries an unexplainable amount of guilt as far as Chad is concerned. Chad is one of his own, the one who is in prison for the rest of his life for taking another's life. The one who was plagued with drug addiction. The one who had so many opportunities, so much going for him, and let it all go because he was addicted to drugs.

The reality of who Chad could have been and what he could have done vs. who he is now and what he did, has changed dad for the rest of his life. It eats him alive. I try as much as I can to let him know how much I love him and how grateful I am that he is the one I call dad. But I also know his heart has been torn apart, not just by Chad, but by many things over the years. He's fed up. He's tired and I know at times he would much rather be gone than have to deal with the in and outs of everyday.

I enjoyed my Sunday afternoon/evening with my dad and the rest of the family but I cried myself to sleep, wishing he wasn't so hurt over so many things. Thinking of how things might be different today, the here and now, had life's downfall's in the past not unraveled what we all knew and were accustomed too as children. Hoping that having the rest of us there meant just as much to him as if Chad would have been there. Sometimes I feel like even though he still has 4 other kids besides Chad, it's just not enough for him. I don't doubt my dads love for me. But he's broken and he's bitter. He's 61 and had enough.

I understand dad's pain. I know the hurt....the anger....the disbelief and frustration Chad's addiction has caused him. I know what I feel as his big sister. But I am also a parent. And as the mom to my two boys, I know how powerful the love of is for your own. I want my boys to be happy and enjoy life. Be who they can be and follow their dreams. I want nothing more than for each of them to reach for the sky and earn all they deserve. Just like my dad wanted for Chad along with the rest of us. So it's no wonder the cuts remain open for my dad when he is faced everyday with the fact that his son, Chad, was a heroin addict who has been convicted of armed robberies and homicide, and is now spending the rest of his life in the prison system.

Regardless of how dad was feeling on his much deserved celebration of life day...his birthday, I love him with all I have. He has contributed beyond belief to the woman I am today. He has been my rock when at times I had nothing else to hold me up. He is who I call when I'm in the dumps or simply just to say "hi dad". So for every ounce of hurt or anger he had in him yesterday, I still hope he had a "Happy Birthday" and knows how much his first born, me, loves her daddy.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Road trips!

Spring has FINALLY sprung in my region of the world and we have hardly gone without a day of rain. It's been a challenge trying to get certain projects done like doing my back yard. Most of the time it's to wet to get the tiller out and going. Some days it's so nice and then the days of rainy downpours begin for days on end. I'm really not complaining. It's nice not having to water the lawn or run the swamp cooler and pay for those luxuries when I can get them for free with the cool breeze's that whisp around and the raindrops that drop from the heavens. Summer will be here soon enough and I know I will than be wishing for winter once again.

This is my fruitless plum I planted on the side of my home. Yes I need too and WILL be working on this part of my yard soon enough, so for now, ignore the weeds por favor. I love the pink flowers that blossom every spring and the hint of sweetness it gives away. But most of all I love the story behind this tree of mine.

It was April of 2008 when I purchased this tree. It was the very first tree I bought for my yard since moving in eight months earlier, and I was filled with excitement to play in the dirt and start accessorizing my front yard with trees, plants, and flowers. It was also the month that Chad was to be released "any day" after spending 2 years in the county jail for the pharmacy robberies he committed.

On my way home from buying my tree, which by the way was hanging from the trunk of my eclipse, an unknown number rang my cell phone. "Hello." "Come get me." It was my Chad calling. He was out!!! He had finally been released to freedom once again and oh how I was so excited to see him, face to face, without glass separating us. The day had finally come!!

Instead of taking my tree home, I turned my car around and it made the journey with me. I kept telling my tree to just hang in there as it was being whipped by the wind while I travel to the destination of jail, 30 minutes away, 75 miles an hour. I kept thinking my tree was going to die from either the wind or from the trunk bouncing on it from the bumps in the road, but it would have to be strong because I was on a mission. The mission I had long awaited for.

I pulled into the gas station where he said he would be. I remember looking all over the place for him and then in a quick blink, there he was, lying on the grass in a pair of clothes that didn't belong to him. Not even parking my car, I jumped out and ran to him. He scooped me up and whirled me through the air as he hugged me in his typical fashion. Talk about Kool-Aid smiles. I remember Chad saying, "take me home so I can get out of these wrinkled clothes." Off we went. Homeward bound we were, me, him and my tree.

It was the first time Chad saw my new home. He loved it and loved having his very own room. Sadly, not many inmates leave jail to a nice home with a room they can call their own. Chad had it so good so many times, if he could have only realized. After showing off my little brick house, he went through some things in his room. He came across the obituary I had saved for him. It belonged to a friend who had died earlier of an overdose. Tears streamed down his face at the heartbreak of losing his friend and never being able to say good-bye. I let him be to absorb his pain and adjust to the outside life he was facing to live in.

My little tree was a trooper and made it. I got her planted and slowly she progresses with growth every year. She blooms more each spring and seems to be prettier and prettier every time. It's a constant reminder of the small road trip we both endured and happiness I had on that April day.

I haven't seen Chad in about a month. The last weekend I planned to see him, the prisons were put on lock down. There were three violent incidents at one of the other prisons in the state, one leading to the fatality of another. Because of the rise in violence, the prisons were locked down and all visitation was cancelled until further notice. It's finally been lifted and I will plan another road trip once again. I have spoken with him though and he's doing well!!!!!

Life has been extremely busy. My oldest has completed his second year of college. I cannot believe he has already done two years of college. Time is flying by quicker than I want it too. I made the trip to pick him up but unlike last year, I did it alone this time. Driving through the canyons and over the hill tops I laughed and cried over the memories from the last trip doing the very same thing......only with my dad and Chad.

That morning started with Chad and I sitting on the front porch waiting for pops. He is ALWAYS on time but wasn't this morning. I was almost ready to call him for the "status of his location" suddenly he came rolling around the corner. Both Chad and I laughed as we tapped on our wrists pretending as if we had a watch because he was TEN minutes late. He rolled his window down and we both said laughingly "you're late". He smiled back at us and said "oh whatever, get in the truck".

Dad had packed us cookies, muffins and Gatorade's just like he used to pack snacks for us when we would go fishing in our early days. I by far have the best dad one could ever wish for. My heart holds such a special place for this man I call dad. Chad took the front seat with dad and I took the back. It was surely going to be a day of laughs and bugging because I was going to make it that way. It was almost like I knew there would come a day when I couldn't make memories with the three of us together again so I was gonna make it worth my while and I did.

We both love the movie "Step Brothers" so I wanted to do to Chad what Dale and Brennen did to each other. Pick pick and pick. So the road trip turned into giving Chad wet willy's, pulling his hair, tickling his ears, putting my feet in his face and ears. Yes, I was the pestering sister that wanted nothing more than to make us laugh and do things that we hadn't done to each other since we were little kids. Dad referred to us as children of the corn, LOL. He laughed at the two of us instigating the other and wondering how he's made it all these years with his crazy kids and the things they did and still do to each other, even at 27 and 38. I'm sure by the time dad dropped us home that night he was more than happy to get rid of us. My plan was accomplished!!!!!

It was a very quiet trip this time around. Just me, once again, on the same road to pick my twenty year old up. The lake is still frozen, snow still packs the mountains and the rivers and streams are rushing for time as the run-off fills their beds. I'll be sure to insert pictures soon.

I thought about both of my boys and pray so much that they will never dabble with drugs. I'm truly frightened beyond repair I think. I know how I've raised them, I know the mother I am to them and I know the values I've tried to instill in them. But I can't be there with them every minute of the day. I can't be there to say NO or please don't when and if the opportunity of hell comes to their lap. I can only keep praying and keep talking to them in hopes that the choices they make will be the right ones and that they will never fall victim to a drug addiction.

There were two more major drug busts this last week in different counties of the state. Counties very close by mine. Twenty three people arrested in one encounter, three in the other. How sad and angry I feel for those as they are guided by law enforcement in hand-cuffs. They are so lost and so controlled by the money and highs heroin or any drug provides. It's honestly just sickening. I remember when I was a little girl.... if you used heroin, you were doing the BIG stuff. It was hard to get, expensive, and seemed to be the "extreme" if you were using it.

These days, it's nothing to get a balloon and it's CHEAP. It's everywhere! Buying heroin is as easy as buying ice-cream from the ice-cream truck. I can walk down the street in my neighborhood and find it just like I could in the ghettos of town. Heroin is not prejudice in who it picks. It goes after anybody and anyone that is willing to use it. It takes the soul out of its shell and slowly chisels it's way through the hearts of families as they watch their addict dwindle away too nothing but a junkie. It pisses me off honestly.

In other news, Lacey has figured out that the bed we bought her for Christmas is exactly that, her bed. She has always slept with us, fault of my own, and it has definitely been a challenge working out the sleeping arrangements. But the switch has turned on and she is now sleeping in her own bed, Lacey's bed. I guess I owe a thanks too Grizz and Odie, my nephews dogs. By bringing them here for visits and them plopping themselves in her bed when they're all tuckered out, might just have been the wake up call for Lacey to realize what the definition of a bed is. I must admit I miss having her cuddled up at my feet or in the bend of my knees but it's also been wonderful not wrestling for space and her winning every time.

Life is good and I'm moving forward. Enjoying the days of spring and rain. I'm a busy girl with lots on my plate but I'm taking it for what it is, one breath at a time, one day at a time and being grateful for it all. I will be taking another road trip next weekend to Grand Junction, Colorado where I will be dropping my college boy off as he embarks on another chapter in his life. Working and summer college classes in Denver. He is a free spirit and not afraid to take on new beginnings. Spring has definitely sprung. New life, new beginnings.

Monday, May 9, 2011


I suppose for the rest of my life I will have what I refer to as "triggers". I explain them as things that trigger memories of Chad. Some of them hit me harder than others. Like for instance, last week on the news a story broke of a "39 year old female found dead in her apartment". I was on my couch looking at my phone when I heard the reporter say that sentence and it hit all too close to my heart. Those were the same words I read on the news's website I frequent on October 4 of last year. The day "her name" was found in her apartment dead. I know my heart stopped beating when I heard that sentence again. My mind went back in time too that day, 7 months ago, when my life was hit with the hardest reality check I'd had in a long time, if ever!

I could only say to myself inside how glad I was the manhunt wasn't on for my brother this time but oh how I know what her family is getting ready to face and the heartache that will fill their lives from the moment of notice onward. I hope God will help each family and heal them the best they can be healed with a tragedy such as this.

I'm triggered every single day I look to the north of my home. There sits another home, a drug house that met Chad with open arms when he was released from jail the first go around. They are all pill poppers and heroin addicts themselves. One brother used so much acid back in the day that his brain is fried. Another brother is the drug dealer in the home, doing his drug deals at night. I refer to him as a hermit because he NEVER comes out. I honestly can't remember the last time I saw him and when he does come out he is grossly pale from no outside light. He looks like powder. It is now my understanding that he himself is using much more than he used too. So much so that he's paranoid and walks around the house with a gun around his waist. And guess what could end up in his crossfire should he ever go off? MY HOUSE! Not to mention that Chad was able to get pills from him and never paid him so if he really wanted to get crazy (which I hope he doesn't) he could do something ridiculously stupid and aim at me or my home.

Then there is the little sister who refers to herself as a "hood rat". This happened to come out late Saturday night as she mozeed to my house and stood outside talking with my boyfriend and his friend while drinking a beer. She is also a heroin addict who has supposedly been clean for 4 months. 20 years old with an almost 2 year old baby boy. Man is locked up, she is scared of her gun strapping brother, she informed my boyfriend of things she supposedly "let Chad do to her" (she is damn lucky I was asleep), and told my boyfriend he has sexy lips. I had to laugh about it all and think how sad for her and her son. What a life to be proud of at 20 years old.

I planted a magnolia tree up against the fence that separates our homes in hopes of it growing so big I don't have too see that house as often as I do right now. It is beyond me why the house has yet to be raided by police officers and taken down. Just beyond me. The drug dealing is so obvious and with summer right around the porch steps, things are certainly going to heat up for some summer "high times".

Then there was the story this weekend of a huge heroin bust resulting in the arrest of 8 people, $80,000, and HUNDREDS of balloons filled with heroin ready to distribute. Our heroin problem in this state is FAR out of control. It's easy money and a beautiful high too many. It's so devastating to hear the statistics our state faces along with the number of lives and sadness this demonic drug has control of. It's horrifying and what I wouldn't give to put MY hands around the throats of the dealers and take the very breath out of them as they have the millions of families who has had to endure the pain of a loved one's addiction.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Definition: the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, and/or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.

Pretty powerful I think, and one of the hardest things to do. I remember growing up and hearing people say "forgive and forget" or my grandma or mom saying "Mindy, you need to learn to let go and forgive." For many years as a young, naive girl, I didn't believe in forgiving or forgetting or even letting go. That was ABSURD. How do you forget the pain one has caused you? Ridiculous I thought. If you wronged me, you wronged me and that was it. I was never a fighter when I was younger. When I say fighter I mean a "physical" fighter. But I had a knack for holding onto words, emotions, and hurt feelings and that was my way of fighting back to those that caused those things in me. Slingin mud and throwing back in another's face what they did to me was my way of fighting. This hasn't just happened when I was a "young girl", but even as recently as 2 years ago.

But as the years have passed and the trials I have faced have come and gone, I have grown-up } in a sense { and maturity grew within me. I have realized how short life really is. I don't want to be remembered as a crass, mean girl who could never forgive anybody for anything. I learned in my life's ups and downs that forgiveness is really the only way to move forward. It doesn't mean that I forgot the issue at hand that I forgave, it just means I have learned to live without it stopping ME from living. It's a VERY hard task to accomplish but when I did it, my soul was free from that pain in a way.

We ALL make mistakes. Some are little, some are HUGE. We all carry skeletons in our closets. We all have regrets. But holding onto what we've done bad in our past will only hold us down in our future if we don't consciously forgive. And forgiving is not just about forgiving the one who wronged you, it's about forgiving yourself when you have wronged as well.

I forgive Chad for all he put me through. I forgive Chad for what he's done to land him where he is today. I just plain forgive Chad. And as hard as it is, I am trying to forgive myself for what I should have done but didn't in situations with Chad. I don't necessarily know what I really should have done, but if I didn't do it right, I'm slowly forgiving myself for it.

No I will never forget what the last 10 years have been like with him. I will never forget the call I got on October 4th from his probation officer. I will never forget the look in his eyes the last time I saw him outside of the corrections department. There are LOTS of never forgets I will live with for the rest of my life. But when I am reflecting on the times of disparity with Chad, I won't do so in an angry or cold fashion because I have forgiven him.

My heart will always be broken over my brother Chad and his slavery to drug addiction. My heart will always be broken for "her name" and her family. All I can do is move forward and hope that one day, Chad will forgive himself and that God will forgive him too.

There is no such thing as "Forgive and Forget". I still think that's an absurd saying. But you can forgive and rather than forget, remember why you forgave.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Boston by Augustana. A song that reminds me of the many times I just wanted to pick up and run away. Far, far away where nobody would know me, nobody would know my name. I didn't care how far away it was, just as long as I was far enough from my brother's addiction and the turmoil it flooded my heart with.

I have to say there were times, LOTS of times, when I was so SICK of his disease and the evil things it did and caused him to do, that I didn't want to hear about him ONE - MORE - TIME, unless I had a funeral to go too. And that was the damn truth. I didn't want to hear his crackly voice, I didn't want to see the pathetic look on his manipulative face, I didn't want to stare in his hollow puddles of heroin high (his eyes) and I didn't want to be around him for another breath of mine.

Those were the times of anger. Those were times when I had nothing left in me to hold onto. I didn't have one more ounce of energy to keep my brother alive. Times when I would get home and just throw my body on my bed and crunch my pillow into my soul asking myself and God, "what's next." Morning's when I would wake and wish I hadn't. Times when I would gasp for air from being so overwhelmed with Chad. I wanted to scream in his face GET OVER IT. STOP already!!! Quit killing yourself, me, and the rest of our damn family you selfish prick!! His body was withering away little by little but it wasn't fast enough anymore for me. He didn't care so why did I have to care so much? If he wasn't going to go, than I wanted too!!!! I wanted to run away.

Chad did wear the chains as mentioned in this song, the chains of an addict. But I wore chains too. And every chance Chad had, it seemed as if he pulled them a little tighter around my heart. I just wanted a break. I wanted freedom from those chains that held us both down. I wanted to run away and never look back and start all over from scratch. I didn't care if I worked in a little store, or even a bakery making dimes to live. If it were even remotely possible for me to do, me breaking those chains that had such a heavy hold on me would have been worth it all.

I had dreamt many times, sleeping and awake, that if I were able to do something like this, I would cut all ties for a while with everybody! Family and all. I wanted time for me, Mindy. I wanted to learn to breathe normally again. I wanted a normal heartbeat. Not one the stopped beating everytime something happened with him. I wanted to get out of the grind Chad's addiction reeled on me and let everything go...piece by piece.....just for a while. I wanted to be in a place where nobody knew ME or where I came from, who I was, or what I had been going through with my family and brother. I wanted to start over! I wanted to leave everything I knew behind and just be free. I simply wanted peace.

Snapping back into reality hurt. Knowing I couldn't just pack up me, myself and I and some belongings and head somewhere I didn't know. But gratefully I had a family that I adored and still do, children who are my absolute reason for breathing, and a pain in the ass brother who still needed me and crazily (not a word, I know but I liked it), I needed him too.

Maybe those dreams helped me get through some of the hardest times I had with Chad. Hearing this song and escaping in its words sure did. It would be so easy to just get up and run away in times of hardship. I mean shit, Chad did. He ran from reality and stuck a needle in his arm full of brown, sticky liquid to do it. But our chains, both his and mine, weren't so easy to be broken after all. Chains are made of links. He was the weak link and as much as I HATED it most times, I had to be the strong link when his was breaking apart.

So while I was having to be that strong link in the chains we wore together, and couldn't just pick up and go to Boston or anywhere else for that matter, my run away was to the words of songs, like this one. Music was my only way of starting over!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Should I....should I not???

It was a year ago at this time Chad was being released from jail. He had spent another 8 months for shoplifting and violating his probation. My dad was working with a case worker from the county jail trying to get him into an apartment. There is some type of program that helps inmates when they get out of jail/prison for pennies on the dollar compared to what the law-abiding citizens pay for rent or mortgages. It was a slow process and we were told that Chad would need to stay at the mission for the first few days he was out until they could get his apartment for him. Chad had made it clear to our sister that he was not staying at the mission. So being I was the only one in the family that would remotely think of taking him back, I was asked if I would let him stay with me until he could move into his own apartment. I did so but made it a point that I would only do it for a few days, until he got his own place. He wasn't too sure about my offer since we hadn't spoken in quite some time when I kicked him out for relapsing (regret)! But with the other option Chad was facing, he didn't have too much of a choice. I asked myself over and over and over again, should I do this or should I not? Should I let him back in my home, even if it is for a few days? Should I take another chance with him? Should I open myself and home to the risk it is having an addict living with me? What could a few days hurt? I got the call from my dad Chad was out. Dad dropped him off at the mall and I picked him up later that day when I got off work. I was anxious yet nervous to see him. It had been over a year since we spoke, since I last saw him. He walked out of the mall and I walked to him and just took him in my arms, as he did me. He was exhausted and looked it. He was a little apprehensive at first, cold...distant, but I knew it would take time for both of us. We went to TGIF for some dinner. Some REAL food I guess you could say. He kept telling me he wasn't hungry and not to worry about it but my stubborn self did it anyways. He had watched movies all day at the mall until I picked him up. I could tell in his face...his eyes...that he just wanted to lay down and get some sleep. On our way home I had decided all in about a matter of seconds that I was keeping my brother with me, for as long as it took. I wasn't going to let him go into an apartment by himself, with nobody to talk too. I felt as if he were too fragile to leave alone and the best thing would be for him to be with and around those who loved him. So all bets were off and I didn't care, he was staying with me and that was final. I was working two jobs to help support us. I had been working two jobs before Chad came home and continued to do so until he was able to get a job. He bonded immediately with my dog, Lacey. She was head over heels for her Chadly as he was her. It was so good to have her there because she kept him busy, kept him occupied and she gave him something to do. It was almost as if she were his therapy while home all the time.

Thanks to Chad, Lacey is now a HUGE fan of peanut butter. She can eat it by the spoonfuls. And she loves popsicle's.....thanks again to Chad. I sent a picture of Lacey to him. He wrote back saying how much he misses her. She was so good for him. There are many who come out of the system with absolutely nowhere to go but the rescue mission.....or the streets. I was asked by his P.O. why I took him back. My answer..."because he's my brother and I felt that if I would have let him go on the streets or to the mission, I might as well have just put the needle in his arm myself." Maybe I shouldn't have taken him back. Maybe the streets or the mission is where he needed to be. Lots of addicts go that route and it becomes their darkest moment, their rock bottom, their way out of their addiction if it's TRULY not where they want to be. I'll never know if Chad would have turned his life around and remained sober if I would have turned him away. I did what I did because it's what felt right to me. Yes it was a risk, yes it was difficult, yes it may have been the absolute wrong thing to do, but I did it and even though he didn't make it with his sobriety, I have no regrets with my decision. I got six more months with him. Six more months of memories, good and bad. Six more months of laughs, tears, hugs, pranks, foot-steps, breath, and "time" with my brother. It went by all to fast. Maybe the instinct I had when I decided so quickly to keep him with me was God's way of saying this is your last shot. I don't know, not sure if God had anything to do with it. But I'm grateful for the little bit of time I had left with him on the outside and THAT is something I thank the good Lord above for.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A great ending to a not so good week.

Last week I was with a group of people. We were in a meeting and the topic of inmates came up and their medical treatment. It wasn't a long conversation but just enough was said to rattle my cage I guess you could say. It all boiled down to how scary inmates are when they are shackled up and isn't it nice to know where our tax dollars are going. Everybody laughed in on the conversation while I just kept my head down. It certainly struck a nerve and I found nothing funny about their comments. My taxes are going right along with theirs to fund everything from the state correctional facility, to the politicians salary, to the programs that assist the illegal immigrants and so forth. I would much rather keep that money that I bust my back for and spend it on what I choose too, but thanks to the laws of our land and the idiots who see over it, I'm not at the freedom to do so without severe penalty. Yes, I'm more sensitive now and I think the others would be too if any of them were in the situation I and my family are in. I'm not blind to the fact of where my brother is nor am I naive about who pays for him to be where he is. I'm just his heartbroken sister who has feelings and a more fragile heart than I have in the past. Although many are in the same boat as me, I would never wish this on anybody to go through. When I woke up Saturday morning, I wasn't my normal self. I was quiet, sustained and kept to myself. It was quiet in my house. Everybody was sleeping but me. I sat down on my couch with my cup of coffee reflecting on the dream I had the night before. The dream that put me in "her name"s house. I remember in my dream I had walked to her home but I wasn't able to get to the front door because construction was being done in her house. Her neighbor said I would have to take the detour all the way around the block and up the hill and enter through the back side. It seemed like such a hike to get their. It was dark and I don't even know what I was doing there in the first place. I could see her house as plain as day. Just like it looked in the news reports. I went through the back door and somebody had already moved in. A man lived there but wasn't home when I walked in. I remember walking slowly through the apartment looking at his bed, looking around at the walls and wondering where exactly did this all happen in her old home? What happened that caused Chad to do what he did? What could have possibly made him take her life? Right then I woke up. My first thought was why in the world did my dreams take me to her home? Why would I even dream of such a thing? My day was a little off the norm for me and I felt SO tired. Bags under my eyes, fatigued, and felt just like a puddle of sludge. I went to see Chad with my dad yesterday. This was our second visit and of course, it was snowing!!! It was my turn to drive and I kept praying that God would watch over my dad and I and make sure we made it safely. Driving in the snow is one thing, driving in it with your dad as the passenger?????? Well that's another thing. I felt like my dad's life was in my hands and it's usually always the other way around. After breakfast at McDonald's we were on our way. And before I knew it I was taking another detour. A bridge was being moved so we had to get off the freeway and go into town and go all the way around to get back on the freeway. How coincidental that I had to take a detour in my dream to get to her home and I was now taking another detour to visit my brother. I almost didn't get to see Chad because I was wearing all white. The inmates wear all white so you have to dress in other colors so the guards can tell the difference between the visitor and the inmate should something happen. It's so obvious my brain doesn't function well in the early morning. I had forgotten that I can't wear an underwire bra and remembered just as I was getting ready to walk out the door so I had to change, but the all white thing went completely over my head. Looks like I will be buying an outfit specifically for my visits with Chad so I don't have to think so hard on those morning's if what I'm wearing is prison appropriate. Chad is doing SO good! He looks amazing just like before and was in good spirits. He is taking a current events class that he likes and staying busy with his time. He is completely bald and looks so good. He's tired of dealing with his hair. He had this pink patch on the side of his head and I asked him what it was. When he was in R&O, they only give them one razor but it's not enough to shave his head. So he was able to get some of that hair removal cream like Nair. So he applied it the first time and it didn't take all the hair off. You aren't supposed to rub that stuff into your skin but he did and it started to bleed a little but the hair on that part of his head didn't come off. So he completely defied the instructions where it says NOT TO USE more than once in a 24 hour time period and put it back on his head. BURN BURN BURN!!!!! Buuuuuuuuuuuurn. LOL...he said he woke up a couple days later and saw something on the side of his head. He went to touch it and it was a BLISTER that had formed on his head that peeled right off his head when he pulled it. Ew gross!!!!!! But I was laughing so hard when he told me about it and so was he. His head got burned in THREE DIFFERENT PLACES. It was an awesome visit. But the very, VERY best part of it all was it was a CONTACT VISIT. So that hug I thought I would never have again or would possibly have to wait for YEARS to get, I got yesterday. The hug that swallows me into his chest and I have to stand on my tip-toes so I can reach air, I got yesterday. The hug that squeezes me so tight that my back pops, I got yesterday. Twice!!! Once at hello, the other at see-ya. The next time you hug somebody, hug them as if it will be the very last time you will do it. Mean it!!! Don't be afraid to squeeze a little harder than the time before. Don't be afraid to put your arms around somebody and let them know how much they mean to you or how much you love them. Hugs are simple and they ROCK. Hugs are comforting!!!! They have the power to give so much and can make all the difference in sombody's world. I can't wait for my brother Chad to once again swoosh me into his arms and be able to do the same in return. XOXOXO

Monday, March 21, 2011

As a matter of numbers!

#2.......the number of balloons of heroin Chad said he took for the day whenever I would ask. Even when I knew it was so much more than that.

12x8......the size of his cell he shares with another.

500 South.......the street "her name" lived on. I passed it this weekend, not her home, but the
street as I made my way up North. It's a pit in the stomach kind of feeling when
I see that street name.

2034.....the year Chad will be eligible for parole. TWENTY THIRTY FOUR!! While I was
already made aware of this through Chad, I'd once again like to thank our media, the
tribune this time, for once again putting this horrible story on display.

90.....the number of pieces of evidence taken from the crime scene.

#5.....the gas pump I last saw my brother freely walk outside without barriors. Little did I know
that my brother had already committed the crime that would forever change two families
lives....for good!

15 to life.....nothing much to be said here.

440.....the dollar amount he took from my bank account in less than 24 hours to get high.

5600 W. 4100 So......the intersection I last saw pump #5.

5.....the amount of gas I put in "her name" pump #5.

3.....all it took was Chad to have these three things and I knew a relapse was coming. Job, cell
phone, and wheels!!! RELAPSE!

27.....the age of Chad when he entered the penal system for what may be the rest of his life.

62.....the age I will be when Chad is eligible to face the parole board.

2:00.....the time I got the phone call telling me they found Chad and he was alive and "ok".

176264.....I know him as Chad, but he is now a number to the state.

10/4/2010.....the exact date my life was rocked upside down and two families lives were ripped
to shreds. It was also the day Chad's heroin addiction came to a screeching halt
for which I hope is for good.

Numbers have never been my thing. But it's funny how so many I can relate to Chad. He called last night and he is still doing really well. I have had a harsh case of blogitis. So many things going on and such little time. I've been thinking of Chad more at night again lately, when I lay my head on my pillow and look out my bedroom window. I've been a little depressed about him. I guess it's just part of the cycle and I take it as it comes. But the good thing is, I will be visiting him this weekend and that is something so good to look forward too.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Callings in life.

These are just some of the adjectives that described how I felt the moment my brother Chad, turned the corner as he entered the room --separated by glass-- as my dad and I sat there waiting to see him. I don't know about my dad but I was nearly crawling out of my skin waiting for him to arrive. And when he did, my breath was taken right from me. WOWWWZA!
The difference is BEYOND night and day. Unbelievable!!! I wanted so badly too ask the guard if I could somehow take a picture of my brother, but that is a BIG no no. His transformation is incredible. It is the very best Chad has looked in NINE years. It was almost as if he has been reborn. He looked better Sunday than he did the day he graduated from high school. If I could show a picture of him on Sunday morning and compare it to the pictures of him shown through the media, I swear you would second guess yourself. There is NO comparison what-so-ever, but Chad would make the perfect poster child for a before and after drug abuse campaign.
His head was completely bald. He bic's it all the way down so he doesn't have to deal with the whole "hair" thing. His face has been kissed by the sun just a tad. He isn't gray or pale anymore, the look of death is what I mean. He has a glow to his skin. His eyes have LIFE in them. They are not completely dilated and dark. His skin is smooth. All in all, he is maintained. He is my brother once again. The Chad I remember from years ago, before his drug addiction dismantled his life.
We were able to visit for an hour and a half. So worth the drive. SO WORTH IT! He is doing better than I ever believed he could do. He smiled bigger than I have seen him smile in years. They were sincere smiles, not the pretend smiles he would give to make you believe he was ok when he really wasn't. He is taking college classes, reading, working out, and seeing his case worker. He is taking his medication daily and making it through without struggle. He is finally living!!!!
Chad's darkest hours I firmly believe are behind him, once and for all. He is no longer struggling to make it day by day on the outside. He is no longer struggling to stay sober. He is no longer deteriorating from drug rot. He is no longer slowly taking his own life with spoons and balloons. It is the craziest thing for me to grapple but it's true, Chad is better in prison than he is home with me, or anybody else. Chad is home. He is in a structured environment where he is in so much more control of himself and his life. He is no longer a danger to himself or anybody else. It seems as though he has finally found his place, his calling in life.
We all have callings. Some we miss, others we ride to the fullest. How odd must it sound to hear that Chad's calling in life may very well be in a prison system where he will be for the rest of his life? But I believe that Chad will be far more productive, more motivated and respect himself more where he is than he would or ever could on the outside of the barriers that surround him.
He is "ok" where he is. He is "ok" with his life now. It's unrecognizable for me but it's the same for Chad looking at us and our lives. He can't recognize it, he can't do it. I remember one morning driving him to work. Chad burst into tears and said "how do you do it? Why do you do it sis? How do you go through everyday doing what you do?" I gave him my reasons, my boys. Chad has no kids so he couldn't relate but it was very clear (frustrating too) that what I do everyday, which seems so simple because it's habit, is much too far out of his reach to do and do so with a clear mind.
Anybody can take it as him making excuses and that's ok. I did too. But after the many years of going through this with him, I know Chad. And for those that don't know him, they don't know, let alone understand his mentality. I struggle with it too but it is what it is. Chad is who he is. Many people can make it with "life", many people can't, and Chad is one who can't.
Chad's drug addiction took a very hard toll on us all. It was a very long nine years of destruction. Many tears, many disagreements, many fights.....many nights awake wondering where he was. Many times when I wished he would have just died. But he didn't. He is alive, he is happy and he is FUNCTIONING. He is clean, he is sober and he is the Chad I didn't believe could ever exist again.
He will have to live with what he has done for the rest of his life, like the rest of us. But I have no reason nor any right to persecute him for what he's done. That is between him and God. One of the Ten Commandments reads, thou shall not kill. Chad committed a heinous crime, but I believe we have a very loving Heavenly Father who will be open to see the whole situation at hand as far as Chad goes. The very good he was and the very bad he was. I believe Chad can and will be forgiven. I pray always for that but it's not it my hands. Chad must ask for forgiveness in his own way.
Many people break the commandments. They steal, they commit adultery, they don't honor their parents or whatever they may break. I am not innocent by any means. But if you believe, if you have faith, and if you ask for forgiveness, I believe it can happen. I believe that you can make it to heaven after you have committed the very worst of the worst.
I left with great comfort after my visit with my brother. I truly know, without questioning anything, that Chad is fine. And while I still ache over the circumstances I wasn't able to change then or can change now, it's time for ME too just go with it and be happy that my brother may now be doing what he is supposed to be his calling in life!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Check, Check, Check Check

This weekend I will be seeing Chad for the very first time since November 2010. Excited is an understatement. I'm so anxious to visit with him and see for myself how "good" he really is doing. He called me last Sunday. I was in the middle of putting shish-ka-bobs together when his ring tone went off. And damn it, my phone being the fancy touch screen phone that I SOOOO had to have, got stuck when I tried to accept his call and rather than accepting the call, it ENDED the call! FOR THE LOVE OF.......!!!!! But 5 minutes later, Chad called back and my fingers and touch screen went hand in hand, like they should have the first time.

He is doing really well. He is enrolled in a couple of college classes and will be taking more as they become available. He does a lot of reading and goes into the yard. They aren't allowed to do "nothing". They have to be busy and productive and that is something that helps Chad tremendously with his time. It makes it go by fast he says. It's amazing to hear from him. It's so relieving as well.

I have said before how confused I am when I hear his voice and hear how happy he is. It's SO difficult for me to comprehend just like it was so hard for him to comprehend living on the outside. Then the light bulb went on. Duh Mindy, he sounds SO good because his mind and body are dry from heroin. He isn't self-destructing. He isn't destroying himself bit by bit, or should I say hit by hit?. He is clean, he is sober, he is free from his drug addiction. There are two very different Chad's. The sober Chad vs. the high Chad. The person he is now, is the brother I can relate too. All because of two words, drug free!

And here I am, in my kitchen, hearing the happiness in our conversation and thinking to myself how "her name"'s family can NEVER do this again. If they read my words they would probably be furious that I dare speak of the happiness I have when I talk to my brother or read his letters or how excited I am that I get to see him. They will NEVER be able to do this with her again. They can visit her, but it's at a cemetery. They can speak to her, through the air. They will never have the opportunities with her that I have with Chad because she is gone. Chad still walks, breathes and most of all, he lives, even though he lives in prison. She does not. So I feel so selfish for being happy to hear his voice. I feel as if it is the ULTIMATE betrayal to a family I know nothing about except that my brother took one of theirs. But he is my brother and I still love him unconditionally. I would totally understand their animosity, anger and hurt knowing that what I can do with him (while limited), they can't do with "her name".............because of Chad.

So I will be hitting the road for what will be my first ever visit to a prison and I'm not afraid. This is my life and it's something I must do and even if I were afraid, I'd have to get over that pretty quick. I have a lot of visiting to do in a building made of cinder block walls, fences with razor wire, and guard towers not to mention guards with loaded guns and rattling equipment they carry on themselves.. Check-list for my visit:

All 5 earrings OUT---check
Belly button ring OUT---check
Wireless bra ON---check, check
I don't recall tattoos sounding off security alarms, and I don't think mine contain any type of metal, I sure in the hell hope they don't, so I think I might just make it through.
The best part of it all will be making the trip with my dad. Oh what a man he is and I hope he knows how much his oldest daughter, being me, loves him and does so with all her heart. These are not necessarily the memories you want to make with loved ones, memories of this magnitude, but it's where we are in this thing we call life and like everything else, I'm going to ride with it and take it all in the very best I can.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A letter to heaven.

Dear God;

There is an angel up there in the heavens with you. She was delivered to you on or about September 29th, 2010. You and I both know how she entered through the thrones of heaven and I ask that you deliver this letter to her.

"Her name",
Hi, this is Mindy. I'm Chad's oldest sister. I never had the chance to meet you but I would like to say some things to you. First of all I must start by saying thank you. Thank you for taking my brother Chad in December of 2008, the month I pushed him out because I had finally confirmed his relapse when I found his needles, my spoons and the blood stained gauze from the holes in his arms. I regretfully gave up and had enough and you opened your home to him. You, being the sweet soul you were, took my drug addicted brother into your home and provided a safety net for him. You attempted to help him although he was so unwilling to help himself. At that point I don't think he was capable of helping himself. He was so far gone.
Second of all, I am so sorry!!! I know that must sound so simple considering the circumstances that took your life. I don't know what else to say or how to say it in a way that you and your family could understand the true sincerity of those words. Our families, yours and mine, have been devastated by this tragic and unnecessary event and I'm slowly trying to sew my heart back together, thread by thread.
I don't know what happened at that moment when your life became entangled at the hands of Chad. I don't want to know. It's enough knowing what I do know and it's all I can take. I do know however, that you didn't deserve this. While I can only imagine how heavenly your place of residence is, I know your family would much rather have you here with them. Your father and brother said such sweet words about you. Even my dad who had the honor of meeting you while you both awaited at the jail to see Chad, said what a very nice woman you were and how much you cared for Chad. -Once again, thank you.
This is not the right thing to wish or say, but I'd rather it have been me than you. My family had already been through a number of heartbreaking years with Chad and his addiction. It should have been kept within the family and not included another. Another's life should not have been taken, your life should not have been taken. Nobody else should have or deserved to suffer!
While you and I didn't know each other personally, I hope you know I think of you as well as your family all the time. I drive past the building everyday where you and Chad were employed and the reason you two met. It's eery but I am getting used to it. Knowing that two people, both gone, once worked right there. Your footsteps walked those floors, your breath filled the air and you two were very like by all who knew you there.
I hope to one day get involved with groups, families, and children regarding drug addiction and the horror it leaves behind. I don't want you to have died in vain. We did everything we could possibly do to help Chad. Once he relapsed, his addiction spiraled out of control and all we could do was hold our breath.
The phone call I had long awaited for was not the phone call I expected to get. Never did I imagine or once think my brother would do a life sentence in prison for taking a life. NEVER. I was mortified, shattered, and absolutely devastated. I STILL have trouble believing it. It just shouldn't have happened and I know in my heart my brother wouldn't have ever done something so brutal had he not taken the path of life he followed for so many years.
Chad is paying the price for the years of drug abuse that ultimately led to him snap. He is where he should be and you are not. But it is what it is and there is nothing that can change where our two families are today although if given the chance, I would change it all in the blink of an eye.
I hope you are using your wings to comfort your loved ones. There's nothing more soothing than knowing sombody in heaven is watching over you. Angel kisses are the best.
A new season is approaching, thankfully. The time when new life unveils itself through the flowers, the trees and all else that blooms in spring and through summer. The bee's and dragonflies will soon be buzzing all over my yard. I know you will be part of that because all good things come from heaven.
Love from a stranger,

Thursday, February 10, 2011


That's how I feel today. It's how I've felt the last couple of weeks. Just blah. I have so many things to get done, so many tasks to do, so many "I need to do this and I want to do that's" but I have no "umph" to get to any of them. I just feel like one big sludgy puddle of mud. I'm sure it has a great deal to do with the cold weather and I'm so over it already. It's time to take on another season...spring. Yes spring, that will put some bounce back in my steps, I'm sure of it.

I haven't spoken with Chad again since the afternoon of January 27th. I dropped a letter in the mailbox last Friday and hope I get a letter sometime this week. Good news is though......I am heading his way in two weeks to visit him. I actually get to see him, in his flesh, for the first time since November of last year when he stood in front of the judge, admitted his guilt to his crime and we all listened as he was sentenced to his fate. I'm sure my visitation will be a much needed remedy for my melancholy.

It's been 5 months since all hell broke loose. Five very short months when you really think about it. Three months since he was sentenced. Two weeks since he's been transferred. The realization of it all I still struggle with. It's SO unbelievable to comprehend Chad....prison, sentence, Chad....and what he did. I sometimes just shake my head because I still am overwhelmed and SO mind boggled over the fact that it's true. I'm confused when I hear the happiness in his voice. I haven't heard Chad so happy in a number of years and yet he's serving a life sentence for a homicide. He's in prison but he's doing "good". Believe me, I'm given great relief to hear the "up" in his voice, I would be scared to death if I heard anything different but it's strange. How can prison make anybody sound happy?

I laid in bed the other night and was immediately thinking of Chad's foot steps. Memories that triggered my mind out of the complete blue. Chad was a HEAVY walker and as I laid my head on my pillow, I could hear his footsteps through my head. While at times it was annoying at how heavy of a walker he was, I would trade where we are today to hear him walk once again.

Him being gone has taken a chunk from my heart. I miss my brother so much!! There is no other way to describe it, I just miss him. I miss the Chad before these drugs ruined his life, I miss the Chad when he was clean from his addiction, I even miss seeing my brother on the couch sound asleep full well knowing he was in a high that I couldn't even come close to relate too. He was there, in my presence. I could see, hear and feel him breathing. I could brisk his hair with my fingers...rub my hand on his arm.

Still haven't put his belongings together. The door is still closed. I go in there as little as possible because his clothes are still on the floor, his shoes are still in the closet. It bugs me to know those are my brothers clothes. They are empty assortments of shirts, pants, socks, jackets, hats and everything else he owned that I can see him wearing. I know it's getting time for me to pull myself together and do what I need to do but I just haven't made it there yet. All that is Chad, is in that room. It's all that is left that I have of Chad and I can't let go.

There is one thing that's for sure. Yes I'm in a funk right now and everything is just there. BLAH!!! But it doesn't stop me from thinking of all the wonderful Chad was. It doesn't stop me from remembering all the shit I've traveled through with him because of his drug addiction. It doesn't stop me from hoping "her name" is safely in heaven pouring her radiant spirit over her family. I have good memories, I have awful memories but they are exactly what they are, memories and gratefully, NOBODY can take those away from me.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Running on empty.

Since Wednesday, 1-26, my life has been anything but calm and collective. It's been an absolute rat race. I had been anxiously waiting for Chad to call me back all afternoon. I got a call alright, but it wasn't the call I was waiting for and it wasn't Chad. Let me give you a run down!!
*3:15-the boyfriend calls and says "babe, meet me at the hospital, I think I cut my finger off." Because he's such a joker I didn't believe him so I said"ya right." "No babe, I'm serious, here talk to "J" (co-worker)." Sure enough, they were taking him to the emergency room.
*3:45-I arrived at the emergency room. There he was....tears gently falling from his eyes when he saw me. Finger had been numbed with whatever that stuff is...Lidocaine maybe?
*Taken for x-rays.
*Surgeon comes in, looks at his finger. I had to remove myself from the room to prevent myself from fainting. Some things I can handle but not a table saw injury. EW!
*Form signed for surgery, (it's gonna be a long night). E.R. staff comes in and says it's time to get you prepped for surgery.
*Phone rings. It was a 435 number so I almost didn't answer thinking it might have been work, but I did anyways. IT WAS MY CHAD!!! :):):)
*Left the room to talk to my brother who's voice I haven't heard in 2 months besides earlier today when I heard him say his name. He is doing wonderful. He has been transferred to another facility. He sounded so, so good. He said he is doing good, he's fine, no problems and much to my surprise, he sounded "happy." He was happy, he is happy. Sigh. It seems like such an oxymoron to me....prison...happy. We talked for over 20 minutes. He loves us all, he thinks of us and hello to you all from Chad.
*O.R. nurse comes to get me. I walk with her to the O.R. I kissed him, I told him I loved him and I'll be waiting when he's done.
*5:45 in the waiting room. Phone is almost dead. Here comes "D's" brother and kids. Kinda nice to have somebody to talk too. He showed me the picture of "D"s finger that he sent to him thinking I had already seen it. NOT!!!! So pukingly gross!
*8:00 phone is completely dead. Surgeon comes to tell me what he did. The blade of the saw went all the way through his bone longitudely, from the tip of his finger all the way through the top and hit the knuckle on his hand. Bone graft, tendon & ligament repair, 2 pins and about 20 stitches on the outside (not counting those on the inside.) Thankfully it was a new blade on the saw and and a dull one. A dull one could have ripped his finger apart rather than the nice cut he got from the new blade. Icing on the cake is this day full of this traumatic event was also my loves birthday. :( NOT a happy birthday for "D" at all.
*8:45 in his room. Sick from anesthesia he was. Pin sticking out of his finger and his arm in a spongebob looking apparatus.
*7:00 am, 1-27, waking up. I shouldn't stay that since I never really slept and neither did "D" for that matter.
*9:00 am, visit from the surgeon. Discharged from the hospital and off to his work to make the accident report AND take a drug test. Uhhh just a little worrisome being that he underwent emergency surgery and of course has pain medication going through his system. Assured he will be ok.
*Off to get the drug test. Back to work to drop off the copy of the drug test request and proof it was done. And of course everybody wants to talk to him and see how he is which I so understand but hello people, I am tired, I am hungry...I have had nothing to eat since yesterday at lunch...I am running on NOTHING and it is not a pretty sight to see me without sleep or food so please let us go home so he and I can both get some rest AND FOOD in our bellies. I mean the two of us have only been up since 5:30 the morning before. Ya and of course it's all about me. I know that's what is sounds like but I was really thinking for both of us haha.
*Stopped at the store. Went STRAIGHT to the bakery for a good ol' fashioned donut. Reams are the BEST! I love the crunch as you bite into it. Yummmmmmy!
*On our way home. Dropped him off. SWALLOWED my donut. Off to get prescriptions filled. Man I am so tired. I just want to lay down.
*45 minutes later back home. Pills popped, in my jammies and on the couch. Yippy, so I thought. Lacey was having nothing to do with letting me relax. She wanted to play. No no no no no no. And how could I be mean to her? She hasn't seen us at all for many hours. How could I expect her to just let me lay down after all I've been doing. Headache kicks in.
*Try to take a nap. Not happening. Lord it's going to be another long night.
*Chad called again. Had a good 20 minute conversation, not so rushed this time. He was getting ready to go to the yard. Things are on the up & up for him which I still just can't grasp. Prison...happy. Hmmmm. BUT, I'm easing with less hurt I guess you could say. Maybe not. I'm still trying to figure it all out.
*Dinner cooked. Laundry in. "D" is fed. The night is settling and I will soon be to sleep.
*9:00 done for the night. It's time to finally, FINALLY go to bed. "D" is set up downstairs so Miss. Lacey doesn't jump all over him. Good night, sleep tight, and don't let the bed bugs bite.
*4:30 this morning, phone rings. It's "D" asking for some water. Oh how I feel so bad for him and damn I am still so tired. I can't wait for it to be Saturday morning so I can sleep in. Water taken, pills popped, bathroom run, and back on the couch he went.
*Back in bed for me. Alarm goes off 30 minutes later and I hit snooze for the next hour. It's going to be a long day.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

CRAP, just my luck!

Seven o'clock this morning I got a call from a 1-800 number. I get a ton of solicitation calls on my cell, EVEN after I have put my number on the "do not call list" so as usual, I hit the REEEEJECT button.

When I got to work I called the number back. It was to the company that sets up accounts for inmates and those of on the outside to receive collect calls on our cell phones since none of us have land lines anymore. A representative must have been trying to reach me from the company to get my account up and going. I went ahead and set up the account on the website but left my debit card at home so I couldn't put any money on it.

A couple hours later, another call from the same number but when I answered, it sounded like the connection didn't go through. I didn't call back because it's an automated system. I am so busy at work so I figured if they call back again, I will get it taken care. it comes again, that same number. I answered it and the recording says "you have a collect call from".......CHAD!!!!!! Gasp! But I couldn't accept the call because I didn't have money yet on my stupid account that I set up online this morning to receive these calls. CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP!!!! It was the first time I have heard my brothers actual voice in over two months. It's the first time in two weeks for communication and I was NOT prepared and ON TOP of things and because of my slacking, I missed his call. Not just one call but all four of them....didn't answer the first two, the third one didn't connect and the fourth one, where I heard him say his name, couldn't be accepted because of the almighty $. Hopefully he heard me say on the other end of the line I would put money on the account for him to call me, I doubt it though. Did I say CRAP!!!

I scurried to call my dad. I asked him for his debit card information so if Chad called back, I would get the call. He hasn't written in two weeks and I KNOW he's been moved to general population so I have too do this. As usual my dad comes through and all I keep saying to myself is "call back....please call me back." My phone will NOT be out of my sight for sure now.

It will be just my luck that there is now money on the account to accept his call and he won't call again today. ~My head has just hit my desk with such disappoinment with myself and nausea in my gut.~

Pleeeeeeease Chad, please please please call me Please!!!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Aren't they beautiful?

Monday mornings are hardly my favorite! I hate having to detach myself from my warm, comfy pillows and blankets, away from the man I love and my sweet, but very heavy dog who somehow finds a way too wiggle her way through both of our bodies in the dead of night.
But THIS Monday morning was different than the rest because I got a call from my sissy at 7:02 a.m., which is 6:02 a.m. her time. It was strange to see her calling so early. Early morning communication is a rarity with the two of us, especially on a weekday morning. It has been a super, duper long time since I have had pillow talk with "M". Usually I would tell her I'd call her back so I could get on my way to work but not this time. Nope. I put all aside and lived with her in the moment, 450 miles away, laughing as if we were in the same room with each other. It was precious.
She and I both have dogs, however hers is a "rental" without having to pay, and my dog is actually mine. I say rental because the dog she has, Grrr is her name, actually belongs to her old neighbors. Because of the economy, they had to find another place to live and sadly weren't able to take Grrr with the time. So my sister and brother-in-law volunteered to take Grrr until they could find another home where she would be able to stay. It's been 3 months and I am told it will be soon when Grrr will go back with her original owners. :( Oh how I'm glad I won't be there to witness that farewell. Terrible it will be.....just terrible!!

These dogs of ours are quite clever and VERY smart. They know just where they fit in the household. For instance, my Lacey has learned how to open the dish-towel drawer in the kitchen and pull one out, running off with it in her mouth. I was STUNNED when I realized what she had done. Lord help me. Before I know it she will be opening the front door and making a beeline for the streets. YIKES! My Lacey also knows how to twist off the caps to the plastic bottles that contain our water, soda-pop, and any other drink we carry around. She hides her raw-hide bone when she's tired of chewing she did in one of my plant's. I couldn't understand for the life of me WHY she kept messing with that plant. Little did I know she had planted her own plant, her bone, in my plant. I had NO idea until I re-potted the damn thing and found the end piece of her bone in the dirt. No wonder she kept digging in it.
If she sees that you are watching you her "hide her bone", she removes it and finds another safe place for it. REALLY Lacey? Like we are really going to gnaw on her soggy, dirty, gross bone the very minute you are tired of it. El wrongo!
It was an amusing conversation with my sissy. Great to laugh so early in the morning. She told me to check my email when I got to work. She sent me pictures of Grrr.

Look at those faces. Are these two girls beautiful or WHAT? Yes, Grrr sleeps with "M" and my brother-in-law as well, even under the covers. "M" informed me during our comical phone conversation that Grrr "spoons her". See what I mean when I say how terrible it will be to let her go? I mean look at the smile on that dogs face. I have never wanted to breed Lacey. I don't want to bother with it and I don't want to deal with squealing puppies once again. I might just have to face the music and do it so "M" can have a new puppy she can call her own. I don't know...that's a LOT of music to face. Maybe I'll just let her rent Lacey for a short, very short, period of time.
What an amazing way to start my work week. I hope the rest of the week goes as great as this morning did. Thanks "M". You are the best sister one could ever have and I'm proud and so honored to say you are my baby sister. I heart you like crazy and miss you tremendously!!!! I can't wait to laugh with you face to face.
I haven't heard from Chad now in 2 weeks. I was sure I would get a letter from him last week but I didn't. I'm thinking...more like reeling, that he has been put in general population. I so hope, if he has, he is ok and "adapting" to the situation. And I also hope he knows how very much he is loved by me and the rest of us, no matter the circumstances.
"B" is doing much better. I visited with him yesterday and the swelling and redness on the outside are gone. He is starting to eat solid foods and able to talk better. They haven't caught the guy who did this and "B" is leaving it in the hands of the detectives. He's a pretty amazing kid! It was so good having time with him, laughing with him, and being sister and brother. Kindred moments they are. I'm blessed!!