Author Archives: dcthmpsn

YOU are running with me!

Wow! What an incredible week and amazing start to this journey! Energizing yet exhausting. In 5 days my fundraising total was just over $3600! My goal is $10,000 so please keep those donations coming and spreading the word! It has been absolutely amazing to see and feel the love and support from so many people. WE are saving lives, spreading awareness to prevent suicide, fighting stigma, and educating those around us. The email messages, Facebook posts, phone calls, and conversations have been overwhelming and so touching. I pause many, many times to just be thankful for having so many wonderful people supporting me and going out of their way to help share my message and let me know I have their support. Thank you.


One person sent my message on to many of his friends and added that he was, “definitely not running in the Boston Marathon!!” Wrong. He IS running in the Boston Marathon. Anyone who made a donation or who sent a message of support to me is running in the Boston Marathon next year. You are running with me. I am carrying you with me. I think about you when I run. You energize and inspire me. WE are running this marathon together! WE are saving lives! Your money or other support was not a one-time gift. That was me accepting you on my team. We are in this together.

I didn’t expect this, but my emotions go up and down every time I refresh my donation tally screen. Some donations bring a tear to my eye. It somehow validates that my sister’s life mattered. We are changing lives in her name.

I start my 18-week training plan THIS week. It’s crazy how exhausting last week was at times, and ALL I was doing was fundraising (ha!). Trying to respond or connect quickly to everyone who donates takes time, but it is soul soothing…and makes me feel like my training already started! 🙂


We had just a quick taste of winter last week. Thankfully, temps are expected to be in the 30’s and 40’s the next few weeks. Last Friday, I ran over lunch, and the extreme’s I saw were a dude running with tube socks as mittens covering his forearms, and I also passed a lady jogging in just a sports bra. Fun times in Minnesota. Remember, we’re all running this together.


Thank you for the personal messages. Thank you for sharing your stories with me. Thank you for sharing memories of my sister with me. I can’t express enough how important and touching it has been to see and feel so much support this week.

Thank you.

What sign are YOU waiting for?

I am incredibly blessed to have been chosen to run the 2016 Boston Marathon for Samaritans. I’m running to save lives by spreading messages of awareness and hope to anyone facing struggles, or whose lives have been impacted by suicide or mental illness. I believe to my core that sharing my story and connecting this with others will make a difference in ways that I can’t even fathom, but I had a “show me a sign” moment this week. I wanted more assurance that the energy I invest over the next 5 months will connect in ways that people hear it and that will change lives!

I was moving forward, but “Show me a sign” was running through my brain.

I get to work, and this sign was posted 10′ from my office.


Funny how the universe listens. How cool is that? Running. Connection. Calm. Control. Touching others. Positive.

Still not convinced, I go for a jog at lunch. From a few of my past posts, simple smiley faces are typically the closest thing I get to saying I have “signs from my sister” (e.g., gin glass, Orca as the medium – don’t ask what you’re look at in this one – you don’t want to know). I’m jogging on a path that I’ve done many, many times, but of course, this time I notice this etched/marked on the concrete.


Ok…I’m feeling more of what I need from the universe. You sent me signs when I wanted them. I get it. People will hear this message. If I build it, they will come. I will connect. We will all make a difference and be here for others. But just to make sure I’m convinced, we pull into a spot at the movie theater yesterday and, of course, this is what the car next to us looked like.


Motivation. Fun. A bit of pain. Purpose. Focus. This is what the road ahead looks for me. And I ask for your support along the way. I got my signs this week connecting my focus, and running, and spreading good in the world.

What sign do you need?

What will it take for you to support me today? What will it take for you to let others know if you’re struggling? To share your story? Or for you to just be there for those around you (listening without judging, and being fully present)?

Enjoy today.

1 down…9,999 more lives to touch

I got my first dollar yesterday!

The way I’ve been thinking about my campaign for Samaritans is that I want to touch 10,000 lives. I want 10,000 people to learn something about suicide or mental illness. I want 10,000 people to be more comfortable talking about suicide and mental illness. I want 10,000 people to listen and just be there for those around them. The money will come – but that’s not my focus. I told a co-worker that I was running, and he pulled out a dollar to be the first one to make a donation. Thanks Rich! Awesome! Although for some reason, nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine sounded like a lot more than 10,000. It was after he gave me the dollar that I told him about my plan to collect $1 from 10,000 people. Fun how the universe listens and responds.

I also got a package in the mail yesterday from Samaritans. A box of cash to make my future task of collecting money easier? Jet pack to boost me up the hills in Boston?


It was filled with all sorts of goodies. Shirt, hat, water bottle, a few running snacks, and most importantly, a folder filled with all sorts of information that I need. Samaritans’ rocks! I wonder what they’re sending me tomorrow, and the next day, and next week? I’ll be running to my mailbox every day now 🙂


I keep hearing that when people find out I’m running for Samaritans that I’ll start to hear more stories and people will share more with me. So far I’ve basically told my parents, my brother, and my brother-in-law. And with each of them we had at least a 1/2 hour phone conversation. We talked about my sister, Katherine. We talked about suicide. We talked about ideas to make others aware. We talked about life, and family, and parts of this that still (and will always suck), and we talked about hope for today and the future. Being a part of Samaritans is already starting conversations and spreading good energy. And it’s starting with the people that matter most.

Who should you go have an important conversation with?

And so it begins…Boston 2016 here I come!!

I got the call I’ve been waiting for…

This past Thursday I got the phone call I’ve been hoping for from Samaritans of Boston…

“We’d like to congratulate you on joining the Samaritan’s 2016 Boston Marathon team!”

Sweet! Awesome! This put my brain and body in action! Exciting times! I can’t wait to start training and get my journey started towards touching lives and raising awareness for this great charity in the fight against suicide.

I’ve been thinking about this for months. Such a relief to finally hear the official news! We had a quick phone call…and then…

The first thing I did…

…was look up the date of the marathon 🙂

Patriot’s Day of course. But that isn’t much help. Marathon Monday??? Nope, still not helping. Not a celebrated holiday in Minnesota (although I was surprised to see that Wisconsin is one of only three states to celebrate this as a public holiday). So when is it? The third Monday in April. And it has been since 1969 (providing a 3-day weekend in Massachusetts). Before that it was always celebrated on April 19th, the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War, in 1775.

So…what’s the date next year? Monday, April 18, 2016.

156 days away as of today (click here for countdown updates).

The next thing I did…

…I searched for when an 18-week marathon training plan should start leading up to Patriot’s Day. Mid- to end-December. Yikes – sooner than I thought 🙂 And all I’ve heard about are those hills on the course. No lie, I ran up and down the steepest hill I could find 3x yesterday over lunch!!

How did all of this start for me?

Here’s my first email last year to Samaritan’s…this is how dreams start!

From: Dave Thompson []
Sent: Sunday, April 12, 2015 12:35 AM
To: Eve Rabinowitz
Subject: Re: Samaritans – request for info on running with 2016 marathon team


Hello. I’m interested to learn information about running in the 2016 Boston Marathon with the Samaritan team. My sister died of suicide in 2012 and her team (Katherine’s Pride) has been a top fundraising team for the Samaritans 5k/events the past few years. I am running my first marathon this May (in Minnesota), and I am interested to hear more information about possibly running with the Samaritan team next year in Boston. Most of my family still lives in NH/MA and this is definitely a cause that I believe in.

I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks!


Tap Dancing in the Street

Need a pick-me-up?

Listen to the last Wits show of the season (or ANY Wits show – you can’t go wrong!).

I got to see Cary Elwes and Kat Edmonson at the last show of the 2015 season. Fantastic guests! So thankful for the way their hard work has payed off in life, and really showed that blessings multiply with positive attitude, dedication and sometimes just being there in life.


It was a great lesson in trusting and enjoying the journey.

At about the 26:30 mark on the recording, Kat is talking about movies and songs from early films that she grew up with. She said lately she has been tap dancing* ( * NOTE: “tap dancing” = whatever your current dream is!).


John Moe jumped right in with, “Let’s start with WHY, WHY are you tap dancing?”

To which Kat emphatically replied, “WHY NOT!” (along with a signature giggle)

Not defensive. Not embarrassed. That’s perfect! When we believe in our dreams, we are never offended or lose confidence when someone asks a question with the intent of “Why would you ever want to do that?”

Share your dreams. Share them confidently! Who cares when somebody asks “Why?”. Proudly and enthusiastically, say “Why not!

She added, “…it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do…it was on my list of things to do and I realized I hadn’t gotten to it last year and so I started taking classes.”

That’s the way you dream!

Pick dreams that resonate with you. They are YOUR dreams. When the time is right, make each dream a top priority and then start taking steps. Small steps are fine at first, but just start taking steps. E.g., Look up tap classes. Research tap shoes. Buy tap shoes. Sign up for a class. Go to class. Repeat. Dance along with Fred and Ginger. Talk about it on Wits. It’s that easy.


[Kat] “Actually…when I started watching these films, I actually thought…I would enter into this world where, when you went somewhere, and something happened, and…”

(she then goes into a cheery singing voice) “…you’d start to sing about it”,

“you know, and then somebody would be walking by, and they would…”

(cheery singing again) “…join in”“,

“…and then it would be this big number and everybody would be friends afterwards, and then you’d all happen to see each other at the supper club that night, drinking champagne, and then maybe you would get up on stage and sing, and then you would tap. And so I had to have tap in my arsenal…”


[John Moe] “I just really DESPERATELY want to live in that world that you described!”

[Kat] “Oh, sometimes it is a lonely world.”




But it shouldn’t be a lonely place.

What if we all REALLY listened to each other?

What if we all lived carefree, got along, supported each other and didn’t judge? What if we all paused long enough each day to listen (REALLY LISTEN) to each other?

Did you hear that?

Did you?

Watch out for those around you all the time. Let someone near you know if YOU are the one that needs to be listened to. Don’t hesitate. Get the conversation started. You never know when that can make all the difference. Maybe it’s looking for someone to dance with in the street. Maybe it’s just a pick-me-up. Maybe it’s something more. It doesn’t matter, say the first words and create a space where good conversations can happen.

Get out there. Do things. Experience life.

Don’t worry about justifying why you want to do your dreams. They are YOUR dreams. Support from others is critical, but we don’t need anyone’s blessing about why we have a dream on our list. We may not be clear why we are chasing something – but the secret is just to chase it.

I often don’t realize until later why I REALLY had a dream on my list. There are so many blessings in disguise that you’ll never realize if you don’t take that first step. Dare to dream – good things will happen.

Still need a pick-me-up?

Here’s your homework (wait…come back here…sit down…it will only take you 3 minutes). Watch the quick video below. Listen to the words. BELIEVE every word. Repeat until you believe them. Here are the simple but great lyrics.

Live some of these words today: “Happiness…heart upon your sleeve…be free…cast your troubles…lucky you, lucky me!”

Have fun stormin’ da castle

What do The Princess Bride and achieving dreams have in common?


  • Life’s a journey filled with the unknown, magic, and wonder?
  • Persistence pays off?
  • Obstacles to overcome (e.g., flame spurts, lightning sand, & Rodents Of Unusual Size?!?!)?
  • Battles of wit and strength?
  • You may want to wear a mask until you become comfortable with YOUR dream and your intentions?
  • Accountability partner saying “As you wish” makes all the difference?
  • Fairy tale endings?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, sure, yes, and yes. Those are all great…but…

I’m thinking of something else

Last week I got to see Cary Elwes at the season finale of Wits and he made a comment that really resonated with me and tied back to my experiences with dreams.


Cary talked about one of his classic films The Princess Bride flopping when it first came out. He said a huge reason was the the title. Adults thought it was for kids. Boys thought it was for girls. People weren’t sure if it would be a comedy or adventure or something else. Etc. Etc. They judged it only by the title and missed out (until 10 years later when VHS tapes became popular and this movie developed a cult following!).

I find introducing people to The Dream Manager, or even the word “dreaming” in general can get the same results.

Many people resist the book and the word “dream”, until possibly years later when something clicks and they finally acknowledge that they do want to be happy, do want to do things in life, and want or need some help, encouragement or company along the way.

Don’t focus on the word “dream” – use goal, to-do, wish, task, whatever word you are comfortable with – anything you want to get done that probably just hasn’t been happening on its own. But don’t resist your dreams just because you don’t like that word. That would be silly even by Princess Bride standards 🙂

How about this quote I came across recently? I love the spirit of this one:

“But as hard as we work to get what we want and to avoid what we don’t want, we can never know what any experience is going to bring us.”

-Silsbee, D. (2010). The mindful coach seven roles for facilitating leader development (New and rev. ed., p. 27). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

There is potential for fun adventure all around you, every single day.

It is so easy to talk ourselves out of taking the first step in so many things in life, that we end up missing out on amazing experiences.

Or we chase a dream and are disappointed when things don’t go as planned. This is life – the unexpected will happen – keep your head up and be willing to adapt and change plans.

Just like in The Princess Bride, the path may not be easy, but your attitude and persistence will take you far! Keep your eye on your original goal but know that your journey may take some twists and turns that you never ever could have anticipated. Persist – you will succeed!

Not quite ready for prime time

This web site isn’t quite ready for prime time. But…wait, wait, wait…

…if you’re here you must have seen my shirt in the Minneapolis Marathon (and, hopefully by now I’ve successfully finished my very first marathon).

I printed the shirt. The marathon came (5/31/2015). And I ran out of time to really spend the energy that I wanted to on this web site (e.g., cleaning up past articles, adding links & pics, new content). But hey, I’d rather have finished a marathon and only have a partial web site than the reverse! I do have some content…it will only get better (and more frequent)…so keep scrolling down and clicking around. Give me feedback too. Where should I take this? What would be helpful?


(UPDATE: I did survive my first marathon and had a blast doing it.)


Please let me know that you were here…and please come back. Leave a comment below…or send me an email at

My goal is to run in the Boston Marathon next year (2016) to raise money for suicide awareness & prevention and to fight the incredible stigma that exists every single day around suicide and mental illness. I will need your support (happy thoughts, encouragement, money, etc).

We’re all in this together. Thank you for your support and happy thoughts. Enjoy today. Please come back to this web site and give me any feedback that you have – and I’d love to hear thoughts on what topics you’d like me to blog on related to suicide and mental illness. I am absolutely willing and ready to share all of my thoughts and perspective from the tragedy of losing my sister to suicide just three years ago (March 26, 2012). No topic or question is off limits – let’s hit this head on and kill the stigma.

Two Year Anniversary

Originally posted by Dave Thompson on personal blog, March 27, 2014 (note: his sister, Katherine, died March 26, 2012)

It’s been two years since my sister, Katherine, died.

That first year was insane. It was a whirlwind of emotions. We were constantly watching out for ourselves and each other – or just trying to get through each day as we cycled through all stages of grief. It forced all of us to deal with emotions that most of us had never even considered. But we got through it, and we continue to heal and rebuild.

The second year has been more educational & reflective for me

I’ve started to think more and more about my purpose in life. I still think about Katherine every single day, and I never know when grief will hit. The biggest mental turning point for me has been my understanding that mental illness, depression, anxiety, etc are no different from any other disease. We can watch for signs, we can take steps to reduce our risks, but in the end they are diseases that can’t be controlled. This means that people with these diseases don’t have a choice in the act of suicide. They died by suicide. They died as a result of depression. Just like you died by heart attack as a result of heart disease. They didn’t commit suicide. They didn’t choose to die. They didn’t choose to leave us. Professor Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University has a great 24-lecture series on Stress and Your Body. He very clearly states that major depression is one of the worst illnesses out there. With other illnesses you get a wake-up call and find joy to keep on living but with depression, by definition, people have lost the ability to feel pleasure and find happiness. Anxiety may be even more prevalent than depression, and again, anxiety is also a real medical disorder.

I knew nothing about any of this two years ago

I had opinions that were wrong. I wanted to know why she chose to leave us. Why she didn’t ask us for help. Why she would want to leave so much behind. I used phrases that weren’t accurate and unknowingly perpetuated stereotypes. I come across the word “stigma” frequently and it always seems so blameful – such a negative word – I don’t like that one, which may be the point. Even in yesterday’s Facebook postings about Katherine it was very easy to find words that are wrong and mask the truth. And these are comments by loved ones who have been part of this experience. If it’s so easy for us to capture this inaccurately then of course it’s impossible for the general public to relate to and understand the complexities of mental illness and suicide. But we have to try.

Feel compassion for their death

Here’s a great short article (with audio if you prefer that) by Alan Lessik offering a great perspective from someone who lost a loved one to a fatal mental illness (and coincidentally has a connection to Pearson): Judge Not His Death

“I had to let go of my thought that if he somehow tried harder he would get better. He tried, we tried everything that medicine, psychiatry, therapy and alternatives could throw at him. Unfortunately no one can know that a mental illness is terminal until the person dies.”

We shouldn’t judge

And isn’t it amazing now how many times we see awful news about suicide. It’s all around us and can impact anyone in all walks of life. It’s still hard not to judge or make generalized assumptions when you see that it is related to a celebrity, CEO, etc. But we shouldn’t judge. It’s no different than what we’ve been through. I just read Highest Duty: My Search For What Really Matters, by Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. This is the pilot who landed a damaged US Airways flight onto the Hudson River in January 2009. It’s a good book and really shows how all of his life experiences and training put him in the perfect spot that day to save so many lives. One impact on his life was that his dad died of suicide at the age of 78 when Sully was 43 years old. He says,

“Naturally, I was distraught, angry, and upset with myself. I thought that I should have been paying closer attention to him. Intellectually, my mom, my sister, and I knew better. As with so many suicides, I don’t think any of us who loved him could have prevented him from doing what he did…After Flight 1549, people wrote to tell me that they could sense how much I valued life. Quite frankly, one of the reasons I think I’ve placed such a high value on life is that my father took his…his death did have an effect on how I’ve lived, and on how I view the world. It made me more committed to preserving life. I exercise more care in my professional responsibilities. I am willing to work very hard to protect people’s lives, to be a good Samaritan, and to not be a bystander, in part because I couldn’t save my father.”

It’s up to all of us to help raise awareness.

Take care of yourself first. But if you’re ok then keep reading. We should share our experiences. We should proactively ask others how they are doing, especially if they have given us any depression/anxiety/suicide comments or hints about themselves or others in their lives. And then listen to them and be there for them. We should be conscious about our choice of words. I meet with anyone that wants to talk to me about related topics…once I’m aware (and that is the hard part). I have met with co-workers and friends, people concerned about their kids, and people concerned about their parents. I have a Pinterest board. I have offered to help anyone at church who needs to talk on topics I can relate to. These are just some of the ways I try to spread positive values and help others. We’ve been through it, and we are better equipped to help others.

So what can we do?

Professor Robert Sapolsky (who I mentioned above) acknowledges that he has 22 lectures of bad news before he gets to some positive messages in his last two lectures in that series. His focus is on stress and how bad that is for us. But my particular interest was the connection to depression and anxiety. Here’s what we can all do:

  • Take care of ourselves. Do the obvious things like eat well and don’t smoke. Duh – you’ve heard it before.
  • And you need to exercise. You’ve heard this how many times before? Yes, exercise. 30+ minutes every day. It needs to be something that you enjoy doing. Make the time for this. I have made this change in my life and can stick to it most weeks. But I have to be intentional about it because it is important to me. I don’t know if depression sneaks up on you or if wham! one day I get hit by it, but if finding 30 minutes a day will help me (and provides so many other benefits) then sign me up.
  • He also recommends transcendental meditation and having a strong support network. I’ve been very blessed to have a small group of people who watch out for me and that I feel comfortable talking to. I don’t shy away from any conversations about what I’m thinking about and how I’m feeling. It’s good for me and good for others too. Hearing about vulnerability in others makes it ok for more people to share.
  • He also mentions having a religious belief but it is harder to show correlation since people with these beliefs are typically doing other things right and their church provides them a support network that is crucial.
  • The last thing he mentions is essentially your coping strategy. Knowing what you can change or control and what you can’t – when to accept and when to move on. Knowing when to change your strategy. Keeping the right things in perspective. I have learned how to be open and share what is on my mind. I absolutely try to continually educate myself so I am best equipped to make the right decisions. Sharing this information with each other is essential to this and part of my process.

“Mitigate the alonenesss”

Here’s a short related excerpt from an interview with Andrew Solomon who has suffered from depression and his advice on how best to support others:

“I often say to people who describe having a friend who’s depressed “You need to make sure that the person is never alone.” Sometimes that means talking to them, and sometimes when they are too miserable to talk, it means sitting quietly by their bed. And sometimes when even having another human being in the room feels overwhelming to them, it involves sitting right outside the bedroom door. It never involves going away and it never involves taking seriously their claims that they want to be alone. Depression is a disease of loneliness and the best way to address it is to mitigate that aloneness.”

My purpose in life

I was in a discussion recently with someone in a book study at work about our purpose in life. I don’t know how I would have answered that two years ago. I don’t think you can just pick your purpose and expect to get it right and for it to be meaningful. Sometimes it finds you, like it or not. I’m not sure that we can help or save everyone. But what we can do is live for being happy today, be there for those around us, chase your dreams, and live life with no regrets. A huge focus in my life now is thinking about how I can make a positive difference in the lives of others. Concepts from The Dream Manager have absolutely changed what I focus on in my life in the past several years. I talk about these principles at work and with friends. I am working on doing the same at church this year. I am looking at more local groups on depression/grieving/suicide to see where I may fit in to help. I’m trying to build a larger presence on Pinterest. If you’re interested in talking more about any of the things I mentioned and seeing how we can make an ever bigger impact please let me know.

I want feedback for future articles

I also am thinking about changing some of my writing style to be more focused on an audience that doesn’t know me and my story. Largely when I write it is very beneficial for me – but I get great comments from some of you throughout the year too. But could I write on topics that I know about and help others on their journey? Other than these being way too long (I know, I know) I’d love feedback. Respond in comments or send me a separate email. What do you like about how I write? Where can I improve? What topics should I cover? What questions do you have? Misconceptions? Uncertainties? Things you’ve learned that I could elaborate on and share? How about this – would you like to hear more on happiness and pursuing dreams?

Take care of yourself

Dream big. Be there and even just listen to those in need. Educate others. Think about your purpose in life and what more you can do.

Only 10 people on average will cry at your funeral

One last comment. Jeff Olson in The Slight Edge referenced an article saying that only 10 people on average will cry at your funeral and that

“the number one factor that would determine how many people would go on from the funeral to attend the actual burial would be…the weather.” “If it happened to be raining, said the article’s author, 50 percent of the people who attended my funeral would decide maybe they wouldn’t go on to attend my burial after all, and just head home.”

Katherine touched lives

Just think of how many people cried at Katherine’s funeral. Think of how many lives she touched. Think of how long that line was. And think of how many people did go on to the actual burial and stood in the rain on a cold New England day for Katherine. She was a special person and is still loved and missed so much.


Originally posted by Dave Thompson on personal blog, March 26, 2014 (note: his sister, Katherine, died March 26, 2012)

In the beginning
all the time
when I woke up
when I went to bed
any time in between
when I walked into work
when I walked out of work
but I kept it out of work
had to then
when my phone rang at work
you are never prepared for that phone call

when I drive up the street to my parent’s house
when I drive down the street away from my parent’s house
when I think about that first moment at their house
and we all stand in the kitchen and catch up on things
and get to see and hug each other for the first time of that visit
and joke and laugh with each other
and get some cookies from the cookie jar
that’s always a special moment
it’s still special
but is missing something now

when I think about my parents
and all the things they did right
and all the love we showed each other
and all the happiness waiting for all of us
together in the future

when I think about future family reunions

when I look at our last family pictures
and thought we were doing it for another reason
it wasn’t Katherine that we were worried about then
you never know the reason
take the picture

when I think about my brother
and his family
and my parents
and Katherine’s family
her husband
and girls
those smiling, happy girls
we worry about them remembering too much
yet not remembering enough
those precious, special girls
and extended family
and her best friend
all of her friends
and her co-workers
and anyone fortunate enough to see her beautiful spirit shine
you never know the reason for making all those connections
make the connections

when I think about New Hampshire
New England
a trip to Disney
a trip to Grand Marais
she said a summer trip is “good for us!” 2 weeks before she died
the struggle to live
and to die
at the same time

when I think of a cold and dreary New England day
or see a timeless New England cemetery
when I hear bagpipes
wow were they sad that day
and yet beautiful in a way I’d never heard before
and don’t want to hear again

at any holiday
when I have a birthday and turn a year older
New Years
Thanksgiving with family
it’s so odd that my happiness related to aging and family holidays
triggers sadness
the happier I see us all
the sadder I want to feel sometimes

when I think about my childhood

when I see anyone take their family for granted

when I hear anyone say the word “sister”
or “brother”
especially if they are complaining about their siblings
hey grown-ups
please don’t complain about your siblings
I know kids will fight with each other
that’s normal, and part of every childhood
watching my children do that stirs up many emotions in me
frustration, sadness, hurt, mad, plus others I guess
I have to leave the room and not deal with it
guess it makes me miss Katherine even more
and wants me to have them appreciate each other all the time
I know it’s not realistic
but wow does it overwhelm me

when I see other families fight
over the silliest things
and just not get how precious life is
especially when these families know my story
but they forget
please appreciate what you have
or if you don’t appreciate it
please don’t do that in front of me
especially during holidays which are already tough on me
help me every day continue to live my life positively
and inspire others
and not judge
and have patience
and respect all those around me
and help me “be kind” as the quote says
because everyone you meet is fighting a great battle

when I worry about telling my kids
when I worry about not telling my kids

every time one of my children says they hate me
yes, it happens to all of us
hopefully not often
but all kids say it
it digs deep
in ways it wouldn’t have two years ago
or when they cry over friends
or not fitting in
how can you not worry?
do you overreact?
love them
listen to them
be there
don’t judge
create that loving environment.

when I think about how Grandma T would always pause when we’d go
through old photos
when she got to Grandpa T’s sister Margareet who died when
she was in her early twenties of cancer
something about the way she said it or paused I think
showed a profound impact on Grandpa T for the rest of his life
it would be interesting to hear if he ever talked about her
or how that impacted him
and how his life changed
does anyone know?

when I look at draft emails still addressed to Katherine
or the messages from her still saved in my phone
or read her comments in my blog
so glad I created that blog
it is the 1st item I ever pursued after reading The Dream Manager
Katherine always talked about creating her own blog
she really wanted to do it
but it never happened
so glad she read my blog
so glad she wrote comments
you never know why you do some things
and the benefits they will produce
chase your dreams
write your blog (or whatever is on your dream list)
who cares what others think
take small steps at first
but just do it
support other people’s dreams
write those comments
they mean so much

when I have great memories of her
it’s so true that we remember and miss the small things
the imperfections, crazy moments, and unique traits
those random, funny email that I still have saved
jigsaw puzzles of course
that wonderful laugh/snort/chortle/burst with that smile
the awesome gifts she bought me
will I ever throw some of those away now?
how long will a G. H. Bass jacket last and still be so stylish?
don’t answer that
I say I need to get better at buying gifts like she did
talk is cheap, huh?
when I hear “wicked awesome”
ok, I never hear that
when I drive past where she got pulled over by the police
for speeding in Minnesota
while in her pajamas
with no I.D.
with her best friend
and not really knowing where they were
must have made that cop’s day

when I watch my children grow older
when I see my daughter dancing
and growing older
and making lifelong friends
when I fold her flannel pajamas
when she wears new dance costumes and make-up
I can picture Katherine at that age doing these same things

when I still think about calling Katherine out of the blue
it just doesn’t seem real some days
this really happened to our family?

when I connect with a song
For a Dancer by Jackson Browne
“And somewhere between the time you arrive
And the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive
But you’ll never know”
find songs or poems or stories that have meaning to you

When I see my grey hairs
when I don’t sleep well at night
because my mind is up
I sleep better now
but those grey hairs don’t turn back to brown
thanks Katherine

when I hear people say
“I’d kill for that”
“he’s dead to me”
“slit my wrists”
“hang myself”
they are just words we all use
but I pause on them now
and try to be intentional
and thoughtful
in my words and actions

when I try to think about what she must have been thinking
and going through
so much that I don’t understand
and can’t relate to
but I’m learning a lot and continue to learn
and not judge
are scraping sounds of teeth against a metal fork or spoon
a warning sign or just a way to annoy your sister?
who knows.
when I tap my fingernails on the wall
as I walk down a hallway
or stairwell
but I can stop tapping my nails
I control it
but others can’t
so hard to understand

when I lay my shoes side by side for the next day
the right shoe goes on the right
the left shoe goes on the left
now that can’t be changed
don’t mess with my shoes
what makes it anxiety and OCD?
versus just being silly?

when I jog past a certain area in this loop that I do
I talk to her there
we all need to handle this in our own way
find that special spot
talk to yourself
talk to her
don’t bottle it up

when I pause and hug my kids real tight

when I see a beautiful sunrise

when I have a bad day

when I get in a slump for a day or two

when I let small things frustrate me

when I think about others going through struggles
and I still don’t ask them about it enough when they say they are “ok”
it’s awkward
or we forget weeks later
and I can’t assume just because someone is having a bad day
that it will end up in suicide
but you never know
so live a good life
and always be there for others
listen and watch for signs

when I see awful stories in the news
when I hear others make judgments about suicide
and state why people did it
and how could they leave so much behind
or be so selfish
we have so much to learn

it’s a disease
just like a heart attack
you can’t control it
and shouldn’t be judged

when I hear a judgment come out of my mouth
I hope this doesn’t happen often
we all do it
often without realizing it
you never know the other person’s story
or what they’ve been through
or what they are going through
nice words and thoughts go a long way

when I try to think about what day to honor her each year
but really it’s every day
every day is a great day to remember her
and live a life that she would be proud of
but it’s not enough to say every day
I really want an intentional day to celebrate her life
or do focused good in the world in her name
I’m open to ideas

every time I tell someone new who I am
I may not tell them about this right away
but I’m thinking about it
it’s a huge part of me
it has shaped me
and focused me
and helping me define a purpose
and to live intentionally
without judgment
not take any day or moment for granted
and be there for others all of the time
but I’d trade it all back in a heartbeat

when I think about what I want to focus my life on
when I think about what truly matters
when I think about what I would change in this world if I could
when I help others understand why it’s important to have dreams
and pursue them
and live for today
and be happy now
because that’s the only guarantee that we have
and I’m inspired by the people
who have already used this as a wake up call
and are pursuing their dreams now

when I think about dream lists
Katherine had 19 dreams in her list
I think she accomplished one of those
do the rest of us live the remaining dreams for her?
do I just need to post something to Etsy?
or does someone have to actually buy it?
heh heh
is it ok to share most of her dreams?

when I think about the good person I want to always be
and the shining example I want to set for others
and the best that I can be

when I think about if I can really ever save anyone
all we can do is try
be there for people
spread happiness
share some smiles
don’t judge
give people space
but not too much space
but how do you know where that line is
all we can do is try the best we can
and be good people

those of us that can control our lives
should control our lives
and help others
and learn
and do better
because we know better

when I think about keeping our entire family together
when I think about how fragile life is
when I think about living each day to its fullest
and treasuring the blessings we have before us each day
and being there for others
all the time
even when we don’t feel like it
yes, even then
all the time
and how far I’ve come in the past two years
I think the best thing I can do to honor her memory
is continue to improve and live the best life I can
help others
give back
just be there
focus on today
that’s all we can guarantee
life is precious
enjoy each day to it’s fullest
because you never know