Today’s Thoughts 06/25/2021

Recently a friend of mine had a reading with a medium, and my daughter came through with her son. The message Cassie had for me was to assure me she is fine, and that I have to stop the chatter in my head. I chuckled when I heard this because there is just so much chatter in my head! It’s hard to stay out of my own way sometimes! I haven’t mastered the art of meditation yet.

Obviously, one of the things in my head, and what is so dear to my heart, is the mental health crisis in our country. Granted we have made great strides over the last few centuries, but we certainly have so much more to do. Personally, I feel this whole Covid-19 pandemic has been a total wake-up call from the Universe. It’s time we wake up and realize our world is still so broken, especially when it comes to mental health. Just in these past two days I watched a special on GBH called “Mysteries of Mental Health”. It was certainly an eye opener for me. Mental illness is just so complex. As it is, there are nearly 300 different types of mental illness diagnoses listed in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). Add to this the long-standing stigmas associated with mental illness, as well as the lack of education and funding…it’s what you call a tragedy, in my opinion. I would venture to guess that there isn’t one person who hasn’t been affected by mental illness in some form. Whether they themselves suffer, or that they have a family member or friend that does.

My head spins…and I sit here and say to myself “how am I ever going to make a real difference in this world”. What I have come to realize is that I can do my small part. Maybe that small part can cause the ripple effect needed to truly make a difference. If I can just touch one person and make an impact, shouldn’t that be enough? One thing I have learned, and may I add the hardest way possible losing a child to suicide, is that I cannot control the outcome…of anything really. I need to stop getting so overwhelmed when I am in my head thinking about just how great this mental health crisis is. Honestly…this mental health crisis is just so staggering…on so many levels.

This past weekend I received a phone call from another mom that lost her daughter to suicide a few years ago. I do not know this woman, but a mutual friend had suggested we talk. So, when she called, she shared her story about her daughter, as I did mine. We were discussing the mental health crisis. I agreed with every point she made. She strongly felt that this crisis is a government issue, and I agreed. She stressed the need to get a bunch of moms to go to Washington and make our views known. She felt after talking to me that I was committed in helping bring change. I could feel myself getting all fired up! Exclaiming “YES”! “WE CAN DO THIS!” I felt as if I could actually help and make a difference! Until she said to me “so, you need to stop wasting your time making greeting cards.” Can you see the look on my face? Just imagine! In all fairness to her, she did apologize for that statement…profusely…after I voiced how greatly disappointed and offended I was! I did accept her apology. However, the damage was done. It was the biggest gut punch I have received in a while. So much so, I cried for two days after that and pretty much felt sorry for myself. I went down that familiar rabbit hole…again…”my daughter is dead…she killed herself…how could I have not known how bad it was…guilt, shame, remorse”…you name it. The chatter in my head was really loud! I thought to myself, “well, maybe I am wasting my time.” “I’m never going to make a difference…not really.” “Cassie will become just a distant memory to most”…etc., etc., etc.

I’m out of that rabbit hole today. This grief journey certainly ebbs and flows. It only took 3 days to turn it around, which is better than weeks at a time. So, here I am.

I wanted to share some pictures of Cassie’s Cause card-making in action. We make a great team! We launched the website a week ago, and we are off to a good start with 34 orders in house and $2,921.23 collected as of today. But there’s still plenty more we need to do! We cannot do this without your help! If you haven’t done so, please consider making a donation to the “cause” and/or buy Cassie’s beautiful collection of blank greeting cards today! Be part of the team with us! Your financial help is so greatly appreciated…and needed. I know Cassie is shining her bright light upon all of us and is making a difference from her heavenly home.


On Tuesday, January 21, 2020, my life forever changed.

In the early morning, my husband and I woke to start the day, just like any other day. About a half-hour before my husband’s alarm rang, we heard our daughter, Cassie’s, alarm ringing. My husband groggily went to her bedroom to shut the alarm off and noticed that she was not there. This was not unusual though. There had been many occasions where Cassie woke extra early and came downstairs to use the family computer to tackle homework assignments.

My husband returned to bed, and we both fell back to sleep until his alarm woke us. As what we thought would be just like any day, my husband picked up the dog to bring her outside, and I proceeded to the bathroom. Within minutes I heard my husband yelling, but I was unable to make out what he was saying, figuring he was yelling at the dog to come back in the house from her bathroom run. At one point, as I had noticed Cassie’s light on in her room, I yelled to her from the bathroom… “Cassie, what is daddy yelling about?” No answer. Seconds later I heard my husband scream “call 911!”. I knew deep in my gut that something was seriously wrong, never imagining what I would walk into the next few minutes later.

Cassie had taken her life…and this life…as we knew it, was forever changed… never to be the same again. Our lives were completely shattered.

The Vision is Birthed

There is no need to give you all the traumatic details that followed that day. Actually, those first few days are a complete blur…and yet…I can relive it over, and over, and over again. I spent most of my days in bed…one day after another…waking to the same reality…wondering how I would ever survive the loss of my precious daughter. I am not going to lie. I did entertain the thought of joining Cassie…that was always somewhere on my mind. I could not function…I could barely breathe…and the only thing I can say that kept me in this life was my older daughter, Lindsay. My poor baby girl had experienced so much loss in her short 19 years of life. She had just lost her baby sister. How could I ever add to that pain? It did not take long for me to realize that in no way ending my life was a possibility. So now what?

At some point early on I knew in my soul, and deep within my heart, that Cassie’s story did not end with her physical death. The phrase “Cassie’s Cause” came to me early on. It had such a great ring to it, even though I had no idea what that would ever look like. Periodically those words – “Cassie’s Cause” – would pop in my head. In March of that same year, the world was suddenly in chaos. The Covid virus had hit! As devastating as this virus has been, though, there were many silver linings along the way. My husband, David, now had to work from home. We had to drive the 11 hours to college to bring Lindsay home, as schools and colleges were now working remotely. I took solace in the fact that the three of us, along with the family dog, Gretel, had to now isolate under one roof. Covid really helped keep me isolated from the world, and it didn’t look unusual, because everyone else had to isolate too. As crazy as this may sound, Covid truly served its purpose at this time in my life. Each day I would stay in bed…searching Netflix, or Amazon Prime, for shows that dealt with life after death. I wanted to know that Cassie’s spirit was alive and well…and even more than that…I needed to believe that she was close…that I could feel her… that she could hear me…that she was still present in our lives…and that her spirit was pretty powerful and she could send me signs from Heaven. At the time, I fell upon an Amazon Prime special called “Life to Afterlife – Mom Can You Hear Me”. Coincidence? I think not.

What I have learned since that day back in March of 2020, was the knowledge and understanding that Cassie truly was not gone! A new way of thinking…a new life to live…new beliefs…acceptance of the unknown…and an open-mindedness beyond human explanation was evolving deep within my soul. But that’s all for another time…another story to tell. What I will say, however, is that I have met some amazing people along this grief journey…and I have met life-long, like-minded friends that helped me to survive the devastation of losing a child. I could not have survived this journey thus far if it wasn’t for this new way of thinking and new friendships. Many of these parents did not just want to survive. They wanted to live! Hopeful, thriving, and life-changing lives…all for the purpose of trying to find their children, keeping their children’s spirits alive, and honoring their kids! This new way of viewing the remainder of my life is what gave me the hope to wake up each day. I knew I wanted…actually, I needed… to more than just exist. I wanted to find peace, joy, and purpose again…someday.