September 23 is never a good day

Paul, 1992 – before bipolar

This is probably my worst day of the year. It’s Paul’s death day. And today it is twelve years since he died.

I’ve been up since 4:30 this morning, not even able to sleep in to my usual 5:30 or 6:00. I finally got up around 5:30 and went to the gym. That I worked out was a good thing. Working up a good sweat is always cleansing.

I also did a couple of things I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I replaced his photo we’ve had fading on our mantle for the last twelve years with a new vibrantly colored copy. And, after Bob and I went to visit Paul’s grave this morning, we stopped into the cemetery’s administrative office to make sure his gravestone is cleaned before our next planned visit on his birthday, December 31. Today, we saw a very dirty stone with grass growing over it. Still, as is our tradition, we each left a stone.

Other than that I am just hanging out not doing much of anything. Not able to concentrate very well. But I didn’t want the day to go by without a post about him and how I feel today.

I also don’t want to forget all the love and caring that has come to us today from as far away as Berlin, Lake Oswego, and Cambridge England by phone, text, Facebook posts on my wall and Putting a Face on Suicide’s wall, and a flower delivery. I can really feel the love. And, it sure helps knowing that Paul has not been forgotten. I thank you all for that.

My sister-in-law wrote in an email this week that it doesn’t get any better. And she’s absolutely right.


  1. Dear Madeline. My heart goes out to you and your family at this time. So much of what you describe brings back such vivid memories of my sister’s death (over 35 years ago). Even though time has certainly softened the feelings of sadness and loss – the siginificant dates still bring with them an understanding of an aspect of my life that will never be the same again. I now reflect on a fun-loving, generous and vibrant young lady who brought so much joy to so many. At times it still breaks my heart to ponder what life would have looked like if that fateful event had not occurred, and yet I still consider myself truly blessed to have had the opportunity to share such wonderful times (and some difficult)with such a special person. I must admit the adage of ‘time being the great healer’ was of very little comfort for a long time. What I have discovered, and will forever treasure, is the fact that memories are more precious than any riches. Rest in the knowledge that many hold you in their thoughts at this time. Sincerely. Jeff.

  2. Dear Jeff,
    I so much appreciate your following my blog and your thoughtful comments. I agree, the memories are the most precious things I have. That’s why I’ve worked so hard to keep Paul’s memory alive. I can’t muse about what might have been – it’s not helpful to anyone.
    I hope you are doing well. Please let me know.
    All best,

  3. Dear Madeline. Your book arrived today and I’ve read it from cover to cover. There are so many things I would like to say – and yet have no clue where to start. Having lived with depression/anxiety (and when I was younger), quite intense phases of OCD – so many of the experiences and emotions poured out on the pages, described my life’s journey (and that of my family – particularly my parents). Something which is almost impossible to explain is the fear of not being able to rely on yourself to be ‘well’. Logic, encouragement, the awareness of the enormous amount of love and support constantly on offer from family and friends – can be lost when your mind is so preoccupied with existing. There are many times when I can say in all honesty, that; I really don’t want to die – it’s just the living that I’m not enjoying all that much. I reflect on the years that my parents would have answered their telephone with trepidation – would they need to pick up their son and his belongings because he’d had another ‘meltdown’? There were always the fraught aspects of some forms of family therapy – in that someone had to be at fault for why this young man was the way he was. Loving parents who only wanted the best for their children were often an easy target of this blame game. It is also quite paradoxical that we often treat those who care for us the most in a manner that is totally unacceptable and defies any rational behaviour. There is so much more I would like to share – but I will leave it for another time. I think one of the many issues with mental illness is that it’s not about winning the fight – but rather about softening the blows that all of the participants of this journey are subjected to. Best wishes. Jeff.

  4. Madeline, I held off from commenting on the day. You see my grandchild came into the world on the 23rd and I felt a little guilty. I was so full of joy and you full of sadness.

    My heart goes out to you.x

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