My precious Buddy is dying.

There, I said it.  The reality of this, after a terrible visit last night with John, has pierced through my wall of denial this morning and it’s almost too much to bear.

He has some hard tumors growing in his jaw.  His tongue is protruding and he’s drooling.  The Vet said last week it’s most likely a fast growing bone tumor (cancer).  She X-ray’d his whole body and nothing else showed up anywhere else but this tumor will eventually cut off his ability to swallow and breathe and it will kill him.

How ironic that the Vet’s office just called me as I was typing this and I could barely speak I’m bawling so hard.  It’s very difficult, as I’m sure many of you readers have faced, to accept hard realities that you are in fact going to lose someone (or something but I consider my beloved Buddy a “someone” to me) and there’s nothing you do can about it.

My brother is still desperately suicidal and there’s nothing I can do about that either.  But I can only face one terribly sad thing at a time so I flip flop between these two right now.

I’m not quite sure of how to proceed with Buddy because the testing to determine 100% what he has is expensive and the diagnosis, likely is something that will have no treatment.  He has a very hard bony tumor under his jaw that is spreading fast.  I’ve read and read about it online and these bone tumors don’t waste time.  I see changes in him just from several days ago when I took him for this first exam on this.

The confusing thing in a way is he’s eating better, once I realized he needed pureed soft food.  He’s gaining weight back and his coat looks much better.  But he’s getting sicker as his poor little tongue is protruding and he’s drooling.  Yet there is he, crawling up right next to me as always, affectionate, purring, jumping on and off the bed.  I want to think he’s ok but he’s not.  I know he’s dying.  I just can’t stand it.


Buddy has been with me for 14 years, through so much.

I was at the time living in this small condo I was renting after I left my marriage.  I couldn’t have pets there, but one day one of my clients came in desperate about this cat.  She told me her best friend was in town closing up her father’s home who’d just died.  That he’d had this cat that she didn’t know what to do with.  This cat had sat on her father’s bed comforting him through his entire convalescence but the daughter had no real connection to the cat herself.  She didn’t want to take her to the shelter.

My heart just went out to this situation and I agreed to take the cat in temporarily although was not supposed to have a pet.  I assured her I’d find her a good home.  Well, best laid plans.  Mia injected herself immediately right in to my heart and I called my landlord begging her to let me keep her.  I paid an additional deposit and now, I had a cat.

She was a very social and affectionate cat and I was gone a lot.  One day, after returning from a vacation and having boarded her, I went to pick her up at the “pet boarding place” (I can’t think of the right name) and saw a notice on the bulletin board about some kittens that needed homes.

I read about how they’d been rescued from the sewer, having been born down there in the heat of the summer.  The rescuer later told me it took them an entire day to retrieve all those kittens, who of course were feral.

I called her up and found out she was just up the road from me and drove over.  I saw little Buddy, tiny, crazy scared and knew he was for me, a friend for Mia.  It took us 3 hours to capture this little terrified kitty.  The rescuer was so terrified herself to let any of them go after all she’d invested in rescuing them.  She told me to promise her if it didn’t work out, to bring him back.  I assured her I would.


I brought tiny 2 pound Mia’s “Buddy” home who proceeded immediately to get lost in my condo for three days.  I literally had no idea where he was hiding.  That first evening I sat on my couch, felt a tiny movement on my thigh through the armrest.  He had crawled up in to the workings of that sofa, in to the arm rest and remained there for three solid days.

I would wake up at night, petrified he was doing to die in there and go in “pet chat” rooms for reassurance.  Someone said to me “an animal will not starve to death if there is food around”.  So I opened that sleeper sofa and put food and water inside on the floor for him.  I never heard a peep and he remained tucked away in that arm rest until…

One night I was laying in bed and heard a crunch crunch sound.  Mia was on the bed with me as always so I tiptoed out and saw that tiny cat over by the food.  Once he saw me however, he bolted right back to the sofa.  It was my first sighting of him since I brought him home.

This kind of thing went on for a solid month.  He hid either in the sofa arm or behind the kitchen cabinets I discovered one day.

I almost brought him back to the rescuer about a month in to this when I couldn’t find him anywhere and heard this tiny meow.  I realized it was coming from the fireplace. I stuck my head in to that sooted chimney and two little eyes were peering back at me from the flue.  He had tried to escape the house by crawling up in there.  It broke my heart and terrified me.  I normally didn’t try and grab him but in this case I did, worried he was injured up there, and pulled his little tar black body out of that chimney only to have him screech and fly out of my arms and straight to the bathroom in terror.

I had to go to work so threw water and food in there and closed the door leaving him in there.  When I came home, there were little black paw prints all the way up the walls and doors.  I didn’t know how on Earth I could keep this wild feral cat.


I kept going in to the chat rooms and one night someone said “he will come to you through your other cat.  Let her bring him to you”.   That person also told me “either he will stay skittish like this the rest of his life or he will become the best cat you ever have”.

These words stuck with me, in fact I clung to them for dear life.  So I started noticing Mia’s behavior.  Never once did that sweet cat ever hiss at Buddy or be aggressive with him (tears).  She just stood patiently waiting for him to come around outside the sofa, across the room, near the food dish.  Just watching…and waiting.

I’ll never forget the night I was on my bed reading and I heard this little “poof”.  I knew he’d popped up on the bed.  I didn’t veer my eye contact to even look at him as even making eye contact would send him running or rather crawling with his tiny belly to the ground like a Marine in battle back to his hiding place.


So I just sat there, stone faced, not even wanting to smile or move and he joined us.

That was the beginning of Buddy becoming the best cat I’ve ever had.

Mia and Buddy grew very close, like mother and son.  She was probably the only mother he ever had, practically.

When she died, of lung cancer of all things, several years ago in my arms, Buddy went in to a severe depression for almost a year.  He started that belly crawling again and lost his luster in his eyes.  It was just as heartbreaking as losing Mia, his extreme grief.

I got Sabine shortly thereafter because I just couldn’t bear watching him like that.  They became close but nothing like him and Mia.  A loved one just cannot be replaced, we all know this. (more tears)


When I was down at the Ranch a few weeks ago I took a memoir writing class.  We were asked, as an assignment one day, to describe “What is Home?”.


This is what I scribbled out in that 5 minute allowance:

I lay myself on my right side on the white feather sofa I found for a $300 steal at the consignment store.  After settling in comfortably, I call Buddy’s name in the falsetto he only recognizes.  He comes from whatever sunny hiding place he’s found, crawls up into the curl of my belly, roots around until he finds his perfect spot.  And we spoon.”

I wrote this before coming back, realizing how sick he is.

Sabine is also distancing from him now.  Animals know this detaching thing so much more naturally and organically than us humans.  We tend to hold on for dear life.  I’m holding on for dear life right now and at the same time I know my days are very numbered.


It’s a strange relationship we engage in with these furred children we adopt.  We bond with them in such a pure way, a way you don’t get in these complicated human relationships.  And in order to go deep like that, we also have to go in to years of denial that we will most certainly out live them and have to bury them one day.

One of the things I’ve noticed about myself, having endured so much loss throughout my life, is that intimacy, the choice to be intimate with a loved one is one of the most terrifying things I ever endeavor.  It’s easier to stay distant in the delusion of some kind of “protection’ yet with the side effect of sure loneliness and unfulfillment.  It’s something I have struggled with my whole life, stepping in to intimacy like ripping off a bandaid and just going for it.

I also know the pain of regrets so that outweighs the fears of attachment with it’s certain detachment.

But once that commitment is made, you can drop deeper as it’s already where you are.   There’s some kind of “point of no return” I’ve noticed when it comes to that kind of risk taking.


I took that risk with Buddy after that chimney incident, realizing we were in it together for the long haul. And I’ve bonded deeply with this little animal through so many of my life’s struggles.  He was always there curling up in to the soft curve of my belly or my armpit.   On the couch, in the bed, on the back of the chair I sit in as I type, curling around my neck.

How brave he is.  He has to know he’s on his last days as he struggles to swallow the pureed food I make for him now that he begs for and laps up.  Yet he keeps coming to me, every night, purring and curling in to my body.


I think he’s trying to comfort me.  Soon is coming a moment where I have to make that unselfish decision for him, knowing his attempts to comfort me are outweighed by this pain he is in and I will have to let him go.


I’m just glad I have the day off today.  And on Friday when I take him to the Vet for the certain bad news and horrible terrible decisions to be faced.

But now he walks down the stairs, past me, his little tongue hanging out, in to the sunshine by the back door and he’s here.


And I take every last moment, every last breath I can share with this beautiful unconditionally loving creature, knowing he will never be replaced and that I will miss him for the rest of my life.

Yet I will have to let him go.


Oh my Dear Precious Buddy.

My life will never be the same without your loving presence.

happy birthday travis





Travis standing 400 strong

What a day yesterday was.  It was one of those experiences that is hard to describe in words which makes me glad I took a ton of pictures.  I decided I will show this day in 36 pictures in honor of Travis’ 36th birthday.


A legion of angels had spent days creating these amazing care packages in brown paper bags filled with food/toiletry items with Travis’ picture and quote on it, all donated including the printing of the post cards and the large banner that was used at the park (pic below).  Most of us gathering around Tanisha to help her make her dream come true actually met randomly at the trial and formed lifelong friendships.  I reflected on that yesterday, how Travis brought us all together and we’d likely not have met each other any other way.  One of the jurors, who was actually unfortunately an alternate in deliberations, joined us with her sweet family.  It was heartwarming to see children participating in this cause, learning about the good feelings associated with giving.


This is my car with Steve in the driver’s seat

Steve and I brought cases of water and individually wrapped crackers and lemonade just as kind of an add on.  I would have normally been there to help with the gift bags as I love that kind of project but my leg injury side lined me for a couple of days.

Steve and I got the car packed up for the day and headed out to the church, about a half hour away in Mesa.  We were warmly greeted at the door by who I think was the Bishop.  They knew we were coming and asked if we were part of the Travis group.  We took up two full rows in the center of the church.  Everyone was wearing their Travis blue and Tanisha sat right in the center of my row.  The Bishop started off the service giving a tribute to Travis and explaining why we were all there.  One of the speakers, a church member, who gave a testimonial, broke down in tears as she began to speak referencing how daunting it was for her to speak with Travis’ family in the congregation.  It was all very moving.


Two Rows of Supporters at Travis’ Ward

We all took a picture outside before heading over to Joilyn’s house to pack up our cars and change clothes (well in reverse order).  It was already getting so hot outside.  It looks like Steve and I are photobombing here but we are actually standing on our tip toes.  😉

The packing of cars actually went pretty quickly with a group.  Things are so much easier in life when done together.  Which as I write, was kind of the theme for the day.


Once the cars were packed to the gills with bags, canopies and coolers, we caravanned out to the park in Central Phoenix – about a 40 minute drive.


As we unpacked everything and set up, many of the folks hanging out in the park, who we came there to serve, joined in with the work.  It was so hot but I kept thinking “if these folks have to navigate this heat every day, living in it, I can certainly tolerate this one afternoon in Travis’ name”.  It is very daunting to be out there in the middle of it, learning what people are actually dealing with in our community.  I also thought of my brother, how people just like him, end up in living situations like that because they have limited support.  I saw a man who reminded me of John actually.


We set up canopies, tables, chairs, hundreds of bottles and water and of course hundreds of gift bags (400 plus actually).  People started gathering.


I looked at these bags lining the sidewalks and thought of luminarias

In the middle of our setup was what I’d call a centerpiece, focusing on Travis.  The lovely banner, Books of Mormon, pictures of Travis and a large picture of Jesus.  Tanisha and Harold brought all of that with them from California.


I saw this empty seat here and thought “that’s Travis’ seat”





When we arrived, the Channel 10 van was already there.   As we set up other news stations arrived with cameras which we were basically maneuvering around and they blended in filming whatever they were filming.  People also brought bags of clothes and shoes and there was an area for people to go through all of those.  That was actually I’d say, the most popular section of the whole set up which made me think I need to go there more regularly as I clean out my closet.  I was asked a couple of times if there were more clothes somewhere.



We got to visit with several of the homeless people who came by and hear their stories.  I heard from some of the gals that one woman shared she’d actually been in jail with Jodi Arias at one point.  How bizarre was that?  She didn’t have much nice to say about her, I heard.  Good.

That same woman ended up on Channel 15 news segment and we were all in tears hearing her, again, saying “this is the Heart of God”.  She kept saying that at the park and I turned to someone and said “that’s the whole point right there”.  You never know where your wisdom will show up.  It’s good to pay attention.


This news broadcast is worth a watch:




About an hour after we got there, a woman who’d shown up quite a bit at the trial named Tiffany, came up with bags and boxes of food.  She’d purchased dozens of loaves of bread, jars and jars of peanut butter and jelly, chips and bags.  She set up a station to make sack lunches so we all did an assembly line, handing those out as well.  It was very unexpected and generous of her!  Most of us sat down and had a sack lunch ourselves as, at least in Steve and my case, we hadn’t had breakfast or lunch by 1pm.  We had to laugh about how Steve got the Hot Fries, in the 106 degree sweltering heat.  😉





A couple of the news stations did interviews with Tanisha. She was as eloquent as I’ve ever seen her.  Her whole heart was in this project and she was wearing it all over her royal blue sleeves.  It was a beautiful thing to witness and be a part of.





You can view that Fox 10 broadcast here:


At one point we looked and had  what seemed, about half the bags still there so decided we’d take them back to the shelter and as Tanisha said “cover the freeway exits on the way home”.  But suddenly we looked up and hoards of people were walking over from the direction of the shelter. Word must have gotten out.


It seemed like in a matter of 10 minutes all the bags were gone.


Someone brought a big poster board and markers for people to write messages on (great idea).  I sat at that station for quite a while talking to some neighborhood kids who’d come to help us, have some lunch and each get a bag.  One of them, a little hispanic boy named Chris who seemed about 10 years old, started talking to me about the trial.  He knew the name “Jodi Arias” and wanted to know “what the Judge is gonna do”.  I was actually quite shocked he knew so much about it as such a young boy.  He wrote his “Happy Birthday” message to Travis with a green smiley face.  When he went to leave, he realized his two gifts bags were gone.  He said “I’ve been robbed” with a smile on his face.  All the bags were gone by then so we scrounged up whatever cracker packages and other things we could find and created him a little bag.  As Steve and I drove away we saw them walking down the sidewalk, waving at us, Chris with a big smile on his face.  It was amazing spending time with those little kids in service.  Kids so naturally want to please.



I knew when I’d hit the wall at the park.  The heat was over the top and we were all feeling like we were going to throw up or pass out. Steve and I sat in the car with the a/c on for awhile.  Again I thought of those who have to live in this environment day after day, coping.  It’s very humbling.




We stopped back at my house and I had to take a long shower to just hydrate and cool myself down.  I laid down on my bed to just regroup for a minute and instantly fell asleep for 45 minutes.  Came downstairs and Steve was similarly crashed on my couch.  😉  Wish I’d gotten a pic. lol

We gathered ourselves together, cookies, wine I brought to the party and headed back to Joi’s for the celebration.


yes we were all wanting ice bergs in our drinks


We had great food (of course), drinks, swimming, watched all three local news broadcasts of the event on Joi’s big TV, talked and talked, laughed, cried and bonded.  I have to say it was so interesting having Tara there as she’d served on the jury.  I feel so bad that she didn’t get to deliberate after devoting all of those months to the trial.  She shared with us so many perceptions of the trial experience and all those involved.  We asked her tons of questions which she was very engaged in answering.  It was funny, her watching the trial, us watching her.  As many of you remember, I studied that jury like a scientist.  When she shared stories related to this witness or that I’d nod my head saying “oh yeah I took notes on you that day”.  It’s all kind of surreal remembering those months and how we oddly bonded, including with Tara from a distance, never speaking with her but somehow knowing her and her “Ponytail” (the nickname I used for her for months..and yesterday she was sportin her signature ponytail!).  😉  She’s a sweetheart and a very “our kinda people” person.



We stayed at the party talking and talking until about 9 then lit Travis’ birthday candles, sang, and Tanisha made a wish and blew them out.  She gave a little speech about how today was perfect and how much she appreciated everyone joining in as we all did.  It was very very touching.


I hope you enjoyed these 36 photos in honor of Travis’ 36th.  Tanisha says she wants to do this every year, and I know every one of us will gather in support of her dream and her heart.

Happy Birthday Travis. Thank you for inspiring me.

energizer bunny


energizer bunny

Ok just had to get the last gory post covered up. Took this of Steve last night with Buddy’s tail wrapped around his neck. Awww, I love this pic.

Now he’s driving me like a manager to get out of the house and in to our chores for the day. Shhh, don’t tell him, I kinda secretly love the control he’s taking. But that’s our secret.

sir lancelot



Graphic photos enclosed involving blood and injury so if you’re squeamish, please have someone hold your hand, get a waste basket, take a Valium or simply skip this post.

Please know I will not in any way be offended if you choose to skip this particular post which I would probably do myself being a trained RN who’s totally squeamish about injuries like this.  My feelings won’t be hurt, honestly.  I just had to document this for reasons which you will see…it’s more than the injury, it’s the story, as always.

First one thing I’ll say is I’m completely ok.  I got my first stitches yesterday!  I’ve never had surgery or anything like that so this was kind of a big deal for me.  Steve said maybe I was just wanting a little attention for myself with John in the hospital and Buddy to the Vet so I guess I manifested my own medical crisis. 😉

I may as well go ahead and first introduce you to Sir Lancelot, my lanceration and then we’ll go back to the beginning.


Sir Lancelot and his Seven Knights of the Round Beer Bottle

Back to the beginning….of  yesterday.

Steve was already planning on coming over for the weekend to attend the Travis Day of Service on Sunday with me and some of the festivities, fix my toilet, help with some other odd jobs, eat good food, grill on the BBQ, watch some movies and basically hang out again.

He was planning on arriving at 11 so I ran out to hit the bank and some quick errands and met him back here just as he was arriving.  I’d already put my spaghetti sauce in the crockpot so our fun weekend was on it’s way.  We stood in the kitchen discussing ideas for the day as I told him the meal options (yeah, food is always top of the agenda all the way down the lineage in my family).  I showed him the three bottles of red wine I had, went to the pantry to grab the rice crackers and saw a dark Henry Weinhard beer sitting looking so innocent on the top shelf!  Wow, I didn’t realize I even had a bottle of beer in there.  Must have been a leftover from when my Dad was last here as he loves dark beer.  I almost never drink it.  (bloat)


Look how innocent he looks, that little sneaky bastard

I was so excited to see it to offer it to Steve who had been wanting a dark beer last weekend in Sedona that I hurriedly grabbed it, along with the rice crackers in the same hand and suddenly…..explosion.  That little bastard jumped out of my hand and suicided right to my faux wood ceramic tile floor shattering in just enough pieces to send a missile of shrapnel right in to my leg.

The weird thing was I felt no pain but instantly blood was gushing and I mean gushing everywhere.  It must have nicked some kind of blood vessel. I’m telling you, it was entirely disorienting to feel basically nothing but see a river of blood rushing down your leg.

I guess they don’t call it hysteria for nothing because, for some reason, Steve and I instantly went in to hysterical laughter.  He said “get over here” and started pulling paper towels to stop the bleeding which flooded right through them in like two seconds.  He then ordered me to “grab one of those towels”.  Now this sounds totally benign but for some reason that moment ended up being one of the funniest of the day.  We both paused and didn’t know which of the kitchen towels to grab, each of us having the same thought “which is the one that’s expendable?”. 

Steve said at the Urgent Care “you’re there bleeding to death and we’re contemplating the value of each towel versus the fact you need a tourniquet”.  I guess it was a “you had to be there”  moment but we had tears all the way to the Urgent Care thinking of the insanity of that.

I stood in the kitchen, hunched over holding that tourniquet to my leg just inches above my ankle (can you picture my position?  In my short skirt?) and said “do I need to go get this treated?”.

Steve “uh, yeah, we’re going right now to the Emergency Room.  Go!  Get in the car, put your leg up, I’m getting your purse”.

Really what would I have done without him?

I hobbled out to the car hunched over, laughing the entire way of what I imagined this looked like. Steve holding my big red purse and keys behind me.  Blood saturating my nice IKEA dish towel, running down my leg and filling my shoe (I’m not kidding this was gushing–it was creepy!).

As soon as we got in the car, Steve goes in to ER mode putting the a/c vents on full blast on me, making sure I had my bloody foot up on the dash and patting my leg, holding my hand saying “stay with me, breathe, don’t pass out, keep talking”.  But we for some reason were in such a fit of hysteria, we laughed the entire way to the Urgent Care.

He ran in with my purse, said “wait out here til I come get you” and handled all the paperwork, sent a nurse out with a wheelchair to get me.  I held the tourniquet which was now just an over saturated sponge, dripping, and sat in the wheelchair with the leg elevated.

She rushed me past Steve at the desk who of course made some kind of hilarious remark causing every one of us to break out in laughter.  The nurse immediately checked out the wound and started cleaning it up.  She asked “what is your pain level?” to which I answered “zero”.  How weird was that?

I asked if Steve could come back and she went to get him.  Just as she opened the door, Steve was walking in “Oh I wasn’t going to let her be back here alone”.

He immediately sat at the head of the exam table where I was half laying/half sitting in this weird twisted yoga pose I was clearly not flexible enough for while Steve held my hand, patting it, saying things like “look at me, there’s nothing good over there, keep the focus right here, right here”.  I had such a hard time sitting still because we were laughing so hard the entire time, including the nurse now, over just silly little quips coming out of Steve’s mouth.


What a vision, especially the hair, right?

I don’t know why it was all so funny, it just was.  At one point he handed me my pink wallet saying “squeeze this between your knees so you don’t give the Dr. a beaver shot”.  OMG, I’m laughing now remembering this craziness in there.

She cleaned up the laceration, about two inches long and, as the Dr. said “all the way to the connective tissue” (which fascinated me as I work with connective tissue) and asked me if I’d had a recent tetanus shot (no, dammit).  She said the Dr. would stitch it up.  It was still bleeding 20 min. later.  I guess I don’t even injure myself half way.

I’m not kidding you though, it never hurt.  Weird!  Until of course the Dr. started shooting it with the numbing anesthetic which hurt like hell.  Steve kept holding my hand and making jokes saying “look at me, look at me” and other things that normally wouldn’t be funny but had me and the Dr. cracking up.  I don’t know how to explain it any better.

Oh and before the Dr. came in to stitch it, I asked Steve to take a picture of the wound because I’d want to see it later.  So he shook his head saying “only you Kath” and took a pic of it saying “no you don’t want to see this now”.


I also made him open the trash can and take a pic of the now discarded IKEA dishtowel, because I’m just that nerdy. I’m kinda sad cuz I did love that dish towel.  Good thing it came in a 3 pack. 😉


And basically everything else around the room.


He called this tray “soy sauce and sake”.  See what I mean?


I asked the Dr. why he was stitching it vs. those butterfly bandages and he said “you need to stitch a would that’s gaping”.  Steve said “you never really want to hear the word gaping associated with your body in any way”.  Again, all of us in stitches, which of course Steve used as a pun throughout the whole ordeal.

Before he left the room I asked the Dr. his name and he said “Lance” and I told him I was naming my wound after him, calling it Lance which when you think of it is kinda creepy but we all found it funny.  After he left Steve said “no, it should be Sir Lancelot” so, obviously, that’s what we went with.  And told the Dr. on our way out.

Sir Lancelot with his Seven Knights of the Round Beer Bottle was born.

Along with stories and memories for years to come.  And pictures of course. 😉

As we drove home, Steve said “first thing we do is you get to get your shower and I’m cleaning up the crime scene”.


That’s the scene of the crime and the remnants of that bastard Henry and you see in there somewhere the actual weapon used.  We never figured out which one it was but convicted them all as guilty and Steve sent them to their garbage can final resting place, nicking his own finger along the way.  (he just refused to allow me to take a picture of it, I guess everyone has their limits).  😀

Actually this is just one area of pooling blood as there was the middle of the kitchen, the towel, my shoe, the car.  Dexter would have had a field day with the amount of evidence involved.

I rinsed my foot/shoe off with the hose when we got back and took my shower and went on the rest.

We stayed in a state of hysteria over the whole thing for a couple more hours rehashing the series of events and making more jokes for example “we’re having a bloody good time!” in British accents and things like that.

Oh and I failed to mention I was in the middle of baking Sweet Potato cookies when Henry attacked me and I did get home from Urgent Care and I did finish my cookies which we enjoyed with milk on our red wine breaks.  😉


Here’s the recipe…they turned out pretty good and believe it or not are really healthy and wheat free!


Can you believe we ate spaghetti for dinner?


We then stayed up, trying to watch movies but doing more wine drinking and talking than anything.  I think the adrenaline was coursing through us still for hours so we couldn’t even focus on an action flick.

Steve and I stayed up til 2:30 am finally falling asleep on the couch like two dogs flopped over each other with the movie we were trying to watch after about seven starts and stops having ended with our seeing about 45 minutes of it total.  Guess I’ll have another RedBox daily fee.

What would I have done without Steve, seriously?  I’d probably have gone in to denial and tried to stop the bleeding and waited it out.  I sure couldn’t have driven myself anywhere with my leg up.  I guess I’d have called an ambulance.  Ugh.

Steve at some junction of the day, pointed to my injury and said “sometimes life just forces you to stop”.  He knows that better than anyone.

I’ve been doing all this medical crisis intervention all week between Alfonse, Buddy, now myself.  Of course we laughed about me being jealous and trying to make things “all about me”.

In the afternoon I called Alfonse telling him what happened and he kept repeating “Oh no, I’m sorry, please don’t worry about me.  You get better and come when you can”.  Signs of my Alfonse peeking out.  He is still hearing “lots of voices” and feels “depressed” but he is at least connecting to me.  He also reminded me he’ll “be in the hospital for a long time” which relieves me that he’s willing to stay.  I just keep telling him he’s going to get better and we all love him and people are praying for him and he responds repeatedly “I hope so”.  I say I know so and that we are both healing now and we both are going to get better than ever.

I’ll limp in there and see him later today.

My car gets detailed today (how’s that for timing?), I have Steve for the weekend who’s currently arranging for my palm trees to be trimmed and headed to Lowe’s for the fittings for the toilet to fix and told me he was making bacon and eggs when he gets back as I sit here with my leg  up and typing.  I have to say that Sir Lancelot is talking to me today and he’s kinda pissed so guess I didn’t escape the pain 100%.

I don’t know what I did to deserve a Steve but I’m pinching myself that he showed up when he did in the ways that he has.  He’s an absolute angel and I never forget that for one second, believe me.

TGIF everyone and stay away from that rat bastard Henry Weinhard.

He’s a sneaky bugger and he’s not allowed in our tribe no matter how hard he tries to crash the party.

good news


John was much better tonite.  We had a nice conversation and he gave me a list of things he needs.  He was much calmer and clear headed.  He said “I think I’m gonna be in here a long time Kathy”.  I think he’ll just be in there as long as it takes to stabilize him but it’s good he’s not feeling like bolting.

Most important to me is he told me he loves me.  That’s my Alfonse.  All I know is we just have to stay connected, both of us.

Thanks for all the prayers and good thoughts.  They are being heard.






John is back in the hospital.

Yesterday was another level of nightmare dealing with this whole thing.

I have a sign up in my office that reads something like this:


I’ve seen this quote attributed so many times to Marilyn Monroe and I’m not sure I believe she ever really said that but right now I’m hanging on to Marilyn for dear life and sending up prayers to her, to my mother to my sister to my grandma to anyone up there who knows my brother’s dear heart and will speak to it in a way he can hear.

John is obsessed with Marilyn Monroe as I’ve shared in another post so I will be peppering this post with her image as my brother gleans some kind of support from her which I don’t even need to understand.  I just need to bring back some kind of normal in the way I’m looking at him right now.


Yesterday, plain and simple, was another level of chaos for both of us.  I worked all day and between my appointments, dealing with other people in a high level of acuity of stress and pain, I fielded phone calls from John’s program and my Dad about how they were initiating a court ordered involuntary admission.

I spent my entire hour lunch break on the phone talking to someone or another about this as John waited at his program for a police escort to take him to a “holding area” for “one or two days” while awaiting a bed in the court ordered hospital.

As I write this, finally the tears I held back all day yesterday are falling down my face.

Just the thought of him in that prison like environment for one hour, much less two days, is almost too much for me to bear.


The staff at his program felt the care he’s gotten recently at the prior hospitalization plus his crappy bullshit Psychiatrist was actually doing more harm than good and assessed him at a level of acuity that this was what they needed to do.  He was a harm to himself and others.  The believed the court ordered hospital would be a safer place plus provide him better care.  I was terrified of one thing:  no smoking.  I don’t understand why they would take mentally ill people, often addicted to cigarettes, and rip that one coping mechanism away from them abruptly in a crisis.


I was also firing off emails to my new attorney who is an absolute angel, writing me back immediately with plans and support how to navigate this.  All the while I had one person on my table waiting for me and another with questions standing next to me, basically all day long.

Chick Arnold set me up with an appointment at his office Monday with a new Psychiatrist who he trusts and this next week the whole new plan for dealing with John with new higher level professionals and systems, begins.  It will take awhile to get him plugged in to it all, but it will be worth it.  He was shocked we’d been surviving in the public sector services for so long.  He’s a goldmine of information/resources.  One program for example is this one:



John being in the hospital will give me time to get the ball rolling in lots of these areas.

Somewhere midday I got a call from his program coordinator telling me they’d scrapped the court ordered deal as the “Crisis Management Team” came out to intervene and arrange a police escort but instead changed the plan as John agreed to go voluntarily.  So they sent him alone, via ambulance, to his prior hospital and basically dumped him off without an escort.

John proceeded to immediately call me to come pick him up.  I was still treating clients when all this went on.

Balancing my work life and intervening in John’s crises is something I’m continually struggling with.  It’s like I’m having to make these snap decisions about who’s pain is more important for me to deal with in the moment.  My own pain/stress almost never gets addressed anymore, unless I leave town that is. Sometimes I feel like my entire life is looking around myself 360 and seeing pain upon pain I need to take care of around me.  I create my own cracks then step right in to them and fall.  That’s changing too.

I’ve lost so much income scrapping my work day and rushing to John’s side.  I only make an income when I work, it’s just that simple.

Yesterday as it seemed the program had all of this in process and frankly I didn’t want to rescue any of them by rushing over to pick him up like I typically do, landing with my car/home/life as it’s own Psychiatric hospital, I let the whole thing unfold.  While dealing with other people in their own degrees of crisis having to turn off my mind and focus on them over and over again.  I can’t survive too many more days like that.  It’s just too much for most anyone.


After John called me begging me on a voice mail to come take him home, I began , hurriedly, trying to call the hospital to see where he was, if was still there, had he walked out, what was going on.  He had his keys and his wallet.  He could have walked out, totally dangerous to himself and others and gotten to his car.  I was doing this between client appointments.

Finally at the end of my work day I got notice he’d been admitted.  He went willingly.


After my last client, I ran to his condo, grabbed clothes, cigarettes, toiletries and went to see him rushing in under the wire at 7:50 as visiting hours end at 8.

He was/is in a basement unit.  I can’t/wont describe just how awful it was.  He was mad, paranoid, yelling at everyone, “suicidal” (his word, to me).  He had two male nurses who talked to me for quite awhile.  I told John I was taking his keys back home and that made him more paranoid but I really don’t care.  He can walk out of that hospital AMA and could take a cab to his car. I will always err on the side of his safety.

The nurses encouraged me to write a note to John’s Dr. which I did as I was super pissed he’d been discharged while unstable two weeks ago.  Also that his crappy incompetent Psychiatrist didn’t readmit him last Wednesday when we were in there for an appointment and John was openly telling him, yelling, that I was trying to poison him and to have his pills checked at the lab.

Chick Arnold reinforced that the public systems are burnt out and poorly staffed but there is another level of nirvana (my word) that can truly help John.  You just have to pay for it which I will scrape my last dollar to do for him.  Luckily money isn’t the problem in our family as it is for most mentally ill persons and I’m going to go First Class for him.


Just as I found when I got him the ticket to move out here…a first class plane ticket.  In fact, John will never fly other than First Class again on any level if I have any say in the matter.  And I am getting ready to have even more say as his Power of Attorney.

I won’t give up on him.  I won’t allow his illness to let me see him as those horrible thoughts and words.  That is not my dear brother.  That is pain and illness talking and nothing more.


We are in the thick of it now, no doubt.  But I’m assembling an Army and have the time to do it and space now that he’s safe and cared for.


And I’ll be back tonite, bringing him a new shaver so he doesn’t have to grow a beard like last hospitalization and I will steel myself to all of his fear and insults and keep telling him over and over that I love him and believe he will get well again, hoping it will sink in and touch him somewhere in there.

Like I always do.






I met Steve, oh about 17 years ago I think.   His roommate, Kelly, was working in my office at the time.  Kelly and I became super close, like brother and sister, and we hung out on off work times too.  Inevitably I met Steve and his huge Great Dane, Maggie.


Steve and Kelly were/are like some kind of comedy team.  Being around them was like being inside some Pun Festival as it didn’t matter what you said, something “punny” would be made of it and the game was on.  I swear they could go on for hours volleying back and forth like that.  They brought brought out the funny in each other.  It was great energy to hang around.

These boys were a few years younger than me so I often was kind of “big sister” but secretly I had kind of a crush on Steve (I’m just outing myself right now to him on that).  I asked Kelly about it once and he just said something like “I don’t know…..”.  I just dropped it but we all remained great friends.  Steve traveled a lot for work in those days.  He was a big wig in the “Babies R Us” industry and seemed to be flying all around the country opening stores for them.  That’s how I always remembered him…buzzing in and out and being very industrious.


I’ve always thought Steve looks like the actor Mark Wahlberg, can you see it?

Kelly met the woman, Abby, who would become his wife on an exotic Club Med vacation and ultimately moved to NYC to pursue this relationship.  He still lives there now with Abby and their adorable two kids.  On a side note, at one point, Kelly was the massage therapist for Gwyneth Paltrow!  I remember stories of him being asked his opinion on one set of earrings or another for her to give Madonna.  He was in the big leagues over there.


Here is a photo of Kelly and Abby.  Dang, she sure gets prettier as the years go by…some people are like that.


Steve got a promotion and moved to CA.  So we all just kind of drifted but stayed in some peripheral contact.  It’s always been one of those “like no time has passed” when we get together.  You take your finger off the pause button and just resume.  Those kinds of friends are a treasure.

Steve also went on to get married, much to all our surprise, to Linda!  “Linda?  You’ve got to be kidding me!” I blurted when Kelly phoned me up and told me they were getting hitched.  I reacted like that only because Linda had chased Steve for years in kind of a way that you felt sorry for her.  He was always dating other girls yet there was Linda, long suffering, always in the background pining for Steve.   I guess her persistence paid off, because he married her!  Yet when the chips were down, she left him.  She isn’t on my radar in any kind of respectable way now,  I’ll just say that.  I know I shouldn’t judge but my loyal Scorpio sticks his tail up at times.

Kelly phoned me up, oh about three years ago, concerned about Steve.  He said something was going on with his health.  That he wasn’t able to work, he was having terrible headaches, he was kind of isolating in his apartment.  This was exactly the opposite of the Steve we knew.  I talked to him a couple of times back then but it was all a big mystery.  Until it wasn’t.

Steve suffered a serious shoulder injury at work which took him out for awhile.  But he was already struggling there with concentration and memory problems and had gotten written up for some mistakes.  I’m sure this was probably the first time that happened in his entire career as he’s a Type A perfectionist.  He was on Work Comp for the shoulder injury and during that time, took a trip to Sedona with family.

This weekend he described to me how he hiked up to a vortex , closed his eyes and said a prayer for guidance.  He opened his eyes and saw a rainbow literally shoot out before his eyes.  He knew then and there he needed to see a Dr. and get himself checked out.


(this is the actual rainbow he saw)

He went back home and saw a new Dr. immediately and mentioned to him that he’d had a strange eye twitch going on.  That Dr. took it seriously, unlike the ones who preceded him who sent Steve to Psychiatrists, blaming his symptoms on “depression” and making things actually worse.

Let’s just say, that Dr. after looking at the MRI of his brain, sat down with him and prayed right there in the office. He handed Steve a Bible and asked him to wait.  When he returned, he’d scheduled the brain surgery for 4 days later.


Steve had a “colloid cyst” in his brain that, at that point, was cutting off 83% of the circulation to his brain.  By the time he went in for surgery, it had cut off 91%.  In four days, it was moving that fast.  That Dr. said he would have very likely been suddenly dead in two weeks had he not come in for that “eye twitch”.

Steve attributes the timing of all of this discovery to that rainbow in Sedona.


It’s been just over two years since Steve’s brain surgery.  He moved back to AZ to live with his sister shortly thereafter as recovery was challenging.  He had lost most of his short term memory.  When he awoke from the surgery, he thought he was still married, asking “Where’s Linda?” over and over.  In reality, Linda was long gone, having abandoned him when he was at his worst and no one could figure out what was going on with him.  Bitch.

The surgery itself created a kind of “head injury”.  For some people the treatment for the disease is what they actually end up recovering from.  This would one of those situations.  I mean cutting in to someone’s skull to remove a tumor the size of about half an orange is pretty serious business.

Steve and I have reconnected since he came back here and I’ve watched him steadily get back to his old self yet a new improved version of his old self.  He seemed to never sit still before as he was always work work work.  Now he’s a much more pensive and spiritual person, having nearly lost his life and for sure the life he once knew.

It’s also kind of a perfect fit as my last official nursing job as an RN was in head injury rehabilitation so I understand a lot about what he’s going through to recover.  Most people don’t get it.

How ironic, just as I was writing those words above, this text came in from Steve (I had texted him earlier to make sure he was ok with me writing about all of this which he is):

“You know in my mind…that tumor or surgery will not define my life.  Just a small diversion in my life’s plans.  Attitude is…Everything! :-)”

Steve and I have been hanging out a little here and there.  We went once with Alfonse on a day trip up to Sunset Point, a beautiful rest stop about half way up to Sedona where we first saw the weird “HOURRELZY” mystery message.  It’s kind of our thing now.


Another time, we went to see a concert and went to dinner beforehand and only Steve and I would end up in a Thai restaurant called “Nunthaporn”.  Of course he went to straight to “Nuttinbutporn”.  Try keeping a straight face when you are ordering in a moment like that…seriously!


This past weekend we went to another Thai restaurant in Sedona where Steve realized the lady’s perfume at the next table (it WAS pungent) was exactly the scent of some kind of odor remover you place in a hamster cage.  This is what dining out is like with Steve.  Try and keep a straight face, I dare ya.

You may remember that I was thrown in to a tailspin right before I headed down to the Ranch two weeks ago.  I had put John in the hospital suddenly just days before I went and had the immediate task on top of other tasks to get our cats cared for while I was gone.

I put on Facebook this pickle I was in and guess who stepped up to the plate?  Steve.

He stayed in my house the whole time I was gone, caring for my cats and as it turned out, my house itself.

I noticed immediately when I returned that my house had a new sense of order, not the chaos I’d left it in.

Steve had cleaned my house, done all my laundry and folded it, cleaned out my frig, fixed my sprinkler in the back and basically restored my entire house to a new sense of order it had not enjoyed for months.  While house sitting!  What a gem!!!

He’s living now with his Aunt and said he needed a break and a space all to himself.  What a win/win situation that was!

In gratitude for all his hard work and unsolicited kindness I invited him to come to Sedona with me this last weekend.  He brought his particular brand of fairy dust up there too.

We had such a blast, start to finish.  And beyond that, we got so much accomplished!  Steve is one of those “take charge” people and since I tend to be so much “in charge” in my life, what a gift it is for me to be around someone I can step back to.

He made a list of things we needed and we went to Home Depot the first morning we were there and he got to work on projects.  Like hanging this huge heavy mirror I’d been seeking a handyman to hang for me:


He also completed this cool project I had in mind of attaching this vintage headboard I’d had hanging around, to my grandfather’s old chest of drawers


It looks so cool!  Like it belongs there.

He also did some organizing in the garage, insisted I get a spare key in one of those magnetic things and made me go on a goose hunt to find it, did laundry, cleaned the kitchen, basically spent the weekend eyeballing little projects that needed doing and did them.  Do you know how rare this is for me to be in this kind of situation?

Of course we had lots of fun too.  Even walking to the grocery store is a fun event with Steve.  So is mattress shopping.  I had to get a new bed for the house so that became such an event, the salesperson knocked off $50 for the “entertainment”.  Can you imagine the two of us laying on all the mattresses and the jokes that ensued?  One is Steve telling her we didn’t need a Queen size as “we like sleeping on top of each other basically”.  I’m sure she thought we were a couple and I didn’t care.  On the way out, Steve grabbed this little Serta lamb and said “I know we get one of these right?” and he named his new little lamb “Curtis”.  He cuddled with him on the sofa later that evening.


  We sat on the balcony and watched the lightning show.  We watched action movies.  We ate good food and drank AMAZING red wine which Steve picked out.  Some kind of 337 Cabernet.


He made us little cheese and cracker plates and we drank this while watching a movie. Ahhh

Of course we called Kelly while we were together and the puns were flying all over my car as we chatted with him on the Bluetooth.  He then sent us heartfelt text messages saying how great it was to catch up and that we were together.  Good men, both.

Steve was also playing a bit of “nursemaid” with me.  I woke up not feeling well the second morning.  I announced I wanted to just veg and be lazy so that’s when we got on our testosterone movie fest and he kept bringing me glasses of water saying “I think you’re dehydrated, I’m going to make sure you drink one of these every hour”.  So I did.


I don’t look very well in this pic but I was drinking my water!

About mid afternoon, he said “we need to get out of here” and we found the very vortex path where he saw his rainbow!  We hiked up there in our flipflops and walked around, ultimately laying on that red rock and meditating for awhile.





He found this heart shaped rock for me and said it was to wear on my sleeve


Steve placed that tiny rock on top as a prayer

He said “now don’t you feel better that you got some of that vortex energy?” and I did.  So much so that we decided to head over to the Goodwill after that and do some “shopping”.


The “poncho” and “seizure plates”


I did find a gorgeous little lamp, a table runner and some one dollar light bulbs that Steve promptly used when we came home to replace the burnt out bulb in the entryway to the house.  He’s always thinking of the details and taking care of them.

One morning, he’d remembered I wanted to take a bath in the big tub so he mentioned “I cleaned out the bugs in the tub for you so you can take your bath”.

I’m telling you…this is something I so rarely have experienced I felt like I was transported to some other planet where the men take care of the women, not the one I’ve been living on for the last few years.

(with the exception of course of my Boys Rob and Sean, just had to clarify that one)

We had such a great time, it was hard to leave.  But leave we did yesterday morning.  I was awakened to Steve gently rocking me awake saying “hey Beautiful, your alarm didn’t go off”.  And then bringing me a cup of coffee.   See what I mean?  Paradise found.

On our way home, we stopped at Sunset Point and visited Hourrelzy and I snapped this photo.  Now I didn’t notice until last night the UFO appearing in the upper right corner…what the hell!?!?


It sure didn’t show up in the subsequent photo I took of basically the same view


Only with Steve would I shoot a UFO!

He drove us back, allowing me to relax even more.  I love being a passenger in my own car.  One of my little known secrets.


Of course on the drive home, Steve was all “pull out your pen and paper” and giving me things to put on another Home Depot list for the next set of projects.  He also said “I need to come over to your house and fix that toilet too”.  Mr. Fixit, Mr. Comedy Hour, Mr. Spiritual uplifting friend all wrapped in to one!

We’ve already planned our next trip to Sedona next weekend with it’s new list of projects.

I noted he posted this on his Facebook page this morning and this sums it up about Steve, to me.

best friend

I swear, Steve coming back in to my life in this way is right on the heels of me allowing myself to let go in the arms of Sebastian in that Watsu session is all part of the same continuum. And my Dad is also in the equation offering me more support than I’ve had for years in very tangible ways.  And finding that attorney Chick Arnold yesterday.  Things are changing and just at the right time.

And as a bonus, I have my new /old friend back in my life and it includes non stop laughter.

I love you Steve.


pot o’ gold



Top o’ the Mornin to you all!

Wow, just got back from a fantastic weekend in Sedona with my friend Steve who I will write an entire post about as he’s been an absolute angel to me these last few weeks.  I bugged him all weekend taking photos of him so I’d have plenty of good ones for my entry..stay tuned. 😉

First off, the weather report on Alfonse is good today.  He didn’t communicate much with me this weekend but he did answer the phone Sunday for both my Dad and I and sounded MUCH better.  Often the barometer on his acuity for me is what he makes himself for dinner.  He told me he’d looked up a recipe on “Safari” to make a “tuna noodle casserole” which is an indicator he’s doing on the better side.  🙂  Things are looking up!

I drove back from Sedona and went straight to my appointment with the lawyer, Chick Arnold.

I called my Dad as soon as I pulled out of the parking lot saying “I found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”.

And it’s Chick Arnold sitting in that pot.  I know this pic is corny and I just can’t help it.


He’s worked in mental health law for 40 years in major ways, literally writing law in the State of AZ to protect and help the mentally ill.  He knows EVERYTHING about services and support for mentally ill persons in our State.

I met with him for 90 minutes furiously writing notes and sinking deeper and deeper in to my chair with relaxation and reassurance.  Not only can he represent both John and I with issues like Wills and Power of Attorney (guardianship is not an issue here thank goodness for both of us) but he was a wealth of information about services I had no idea existed.

I am renewed with such a sense of hope and relief for both John and I and our future.  People have walked this path before us and run in to the same issues we are running in to and guess what?  They create systems to deal with them!  Or people with jobs to fill certain cracks!  Everyone has their purpose on this planet and for some people, providing support for the disenfranchised is their reason for living.  And we can hook up with them!

I need to do some follow up research with some of these programs and people he hooked me up with but there’s a whole other parallel universe going on that we’ve yet to tap in to.  And this man is going to guide our ship.  He also gave me some worksheets for both John and I to start thinking about issues related to creating wills and POA.

What a beautiful, helpful person!  He gave me a big hug as I left and after I thanked him for about the 8th time calling him an “angel” he replied “no, thank YOU, you are giving my purpose in life a place to do it’s work”.  Wow.  I know just how he feels though as that’s exactly how I feel about my line of work as well.

In case anyone is reading who is local and needs this resource, his name is Charles “Chick” Arnold and here’s his site:


From his Bio:

Chick has so dedicated his practice to the legal needs of individuals with mental illnesses and other disabilities such that it was once noted “Chick is to the mentally ill of Arizona what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was to African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement.”


I’m sure I could get a referral for your area too as this guy is very connected in this specific field.

Chick also told me about this organization which meets some exact needs we’ve been concerned about with John.  Such, as if anything happened to me, what would happen to him?


Through its care management services, Planned Lifetime Assistance Network of Arizona – PLAN of AZ, seeks to improve the lives of people living with a mental illness and/or any lifelong disability. By working with each person to develop a support network unique to his or her needs; encouraging independence, stability, and security while enhancing quality of life. As part of the Personal Care Plan development process, PLAN of AZ is able to evaluate current benefits and apply for others that may be available, such as Social Security, food stamps and Medicaid. We assist clients in finding housing, managing their finances, and coordinating transportation and recreation opportunities, as well as monitoring personal needs.
PLAN of AZ maintains contact and coordinates services with social workers, psychiatrists, medical personnel, attorneys, trustees, banks and other service providers. Each client’s services are custom tailored to meet his/her individual needs. Our private case managers can schedule periodic visits to clients, listen to client’s concerns and those of their families, and maintain a flexible approach to the client’s needs with a focus on individual strengths.

It would basically provide a network of support for him doing the job I do now if I wasn’t here (God forbid) to care for him in the ways that I do.  Also they can step in if I go away for a vacation or something and be there as a backup support system.

I’m so grateful for this referral to this attorney and all that’s coming with it.  I’m still just kind of blown away!

I’ll continue to post anything I learn along these lines that others might find helpful as well as times goes on.

Oh and just as an addendum to my last post, the reader who wrote me with concerns about John’s “right to privacy” and “losing his rights” has decided to stop reading here out of feeling “too uncomfortable” with the way I write about him.

I replied with a simple “thank you” and meant it.  I think it’s good when anyone knows their limits and boundaries and sets them for themself.  Sometimes I think people get caught up in power struggles in situations where it’s really that they are looking to “win” in some way or insist on change in another person in order to feel something.  I just won’t get caught up in that kind of thing.  I know what I’m doing, it’s importance to me and others and I’m going to keep doing it.

Anywhere on the internet is not required reading.  So I say move along and find a place where you do feel comfortable!

As I love my food analogies, if I was a Chef who had a patron telling me my cooking wasn’t to their liking and how I needed to improve but I had a house full of satisfied diners, I’d also ask them to find another restaurant.  It’s pretty simple.

So no worries, I’m here to stay.  And it is what it is and you get what you get.

Hopefully you like it or learn something or are just entertained.

I’m learning and growing and feeling relief and support with every keystroke.  And this is my house so, it’s a good thing I feel that way, right?

Stay tuned….STEVE will be my next entry. And he deserves one all on it’s own.  Trust me, you’ll understand why.






Greetings from Sedona! It’s been raining and giving us some gorgeous skies and cool breezes. A welcome respite from the 110 plus degrees down in Phoenix.

I spoke with John a couple of times today as well as his case manager twice. He sounded much better to me and his CM said he did much better in the program today…whew! We are all hoping his new meds are kicking in. The good thing is that he has many people caring about him and working with him toward his improvement/ stabilization now. Far more than he had a year ago when he fell straight through the cracks.

I received a concerned note today about John’s “right to privacy” and my writing about him on my blog so thought I’d address it here.

John and my father know I’m blogging about him and our family. My Dad reads the blog daily and is proud of the writing I’m doing. I’ve read various submissions out loud to John and we’ve had meaningful talks about many things through this process.

John’s case manager also reads here and has praised me for writing and helping educate others about mental illness and advocacy. I’m hoping this blog has far reaching effects for others in our same predicaments who will find solace and less isolation through these sharings. I believe my intentions are to find connection and support as well as some kind of global education on these complex issues.

I also don’t share every single gritty detail of what goes on with John. I just write from my heart and my heart is always right there with him. I will never abandon my brother and I strive every single day to help pull him in to life and I hope that comes across clearly. It’s an act of bravery I think for anyone to tell their story and his story is entwined with mine since I’ve become his primary support person for over a year now.

It was also expressed a concern that John may be “losing his rights”. Yes I am meeting with a mental health attorney to guide me in ways to best PROTECT my dear brother.

For example my father is always concerned with him having his car keys and access when he is in an acute episode as hes been these last weeks. John has disappeared twice in his car for weeks on end in a state of acute psychosis. You can only imagine what that did to all of us. Police were involved and Missing Persons reports filed. He is lucky to be alive from these incidents. The last one was the impetus for me to intervene and move him to AZ to be close to me. I knew that decision would change my life forever but it was my only option and I’ve never regretted it. One day I will write that miracle filled story. It will lift you up as it did me.

Our family unfortunately knows all too well the tragedy that can lie at the end of a Missing Persons Report so I’m sure we are more sensitive than most. John can be a serious danger to himself at times.

I’ve never had other than his best interests at the forefront of my mind. I think most readers can see and feel that. I know everyone close to us knows this.

As his illness has exacerbated recently his case manager started talking to me about things like court ordered hospitalizations for John’s own SAFETY. He encouraged me to get legal advice as did our family’s financial planner to draw up wills for both of us.

He said to me just yesterday “if you should pre-decease John there needs to be a plan for his care and money distributed to him and who will manage that”. These are gritty realities of dealing with disabled people which need to be addressed.

I intend to seek this professional advice to find out exactly what we need in this complex situation and to protect John as best I can from his illness which has in the past steered him in very unsafe situations. I can’t be monitoring him every minute so we need to explore all options.

I’m just here to tell my story primarily. I walk this path right along side my brother. It has consumed me for over a year and we are just getting started together. Thank God we have each other.

I know my love and concern for my dear brother shines from every pore of my being and if that’s not seen then that just isn’t my concern.  Lord knows the relief I’ve gotten from writing and the support and encouragement from the vast majority of readers commenting here and privately has been worth it’s weight in platinum.

I’m going to keep writing and sharing our stories, all the ups and downs as best I can and hope to be some kind of lighthouse in the dark not only for myself but for anyone else who may need it.

And that’s the best I can do.