Archives for posts with tag: healing from suicide

 

This is how I started my journey this morning…practicing my selfie lessons my Jenni taught me! Boy, do I ever look different tonight!

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Jenni taught me selfie art!

If you saw pictures from Idaho, Montana and Oklahoma, then you saw Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba! I dated a man from Saskatchewan a couple of decades ago who was born there and ran away from home at fourteen and never looked back because it had nothing there. I didn’t see anything either and their main road, Hwy. 1 is a divided highway with cross traffic access, variable speed limits ranging from 35 MPH to 68 MPH…give or take translation from MPH to KPH!

It took about twelve hours to drive from Medicine Hat to Winnipeg. Gotta just say it was some of the most boring drive I’ve ever done on my 130,000+ miles driving the  backroads of the US and eastern Canada.

DO’s and DON’Ts:

DO:     Get great audio book to keep you occupied and lots of caffeine to keep you awake on this drive. It’s not a hard drive but a pain. I was lucky to find a great rock n’ roll radio station that helped me push through it. GPS only works until you get to a certain point where the highway was changed and GPS doesn’t know about it. Also, the only time I’ve ever gotten lost was trying to find my hotel in Winnipeg which is buried in the middle of a tiny strip mall between the Dollar General and a bar!

DON’T:    NEVER pay with a credit card at the gas pumps like we do in US. It will eat your credit card and it’s impossible to cancel transaction at the pump. Pump your gas (sometimes a paid employee will pump it) and then you go inside to pay much like we did up until the 1980’s here in states. Don’t rely on GPS alone. Get a current map of areas you want to visit. Even Google screwed up my directions!

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This is what all of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba look like!

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I even got excited to see a train but that really doesn’t count because I love trains.

Was worried that all the Canadian Geese were in Georgia! Guess I don’t have to worry about that any more! If I’d known the Canadians wanted their snow birds back, I’d have packed up as many as I could and brought them back on this trip! They’re aggressive and nasty! The geese not the Canadians!

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Only in Canada will 5:00 traffic stop on both sides of a busy street for a gaggle of Canadian Geese!

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Really?

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Still? The light green, people! This would never happen in Atlanta!

Tomorrow? Thunder Bay. Let’s see how that rolls.

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

Not only have I been totally confused about the day of the week this whole trip but where I am because, like today, I could have been in eastern Idaho, western Montana or northern Oklahoma from the looks of things! And, although I was in northern Montana for awhile, it was with Glacier National Park mountain range in my rear view mirror, in my heart and with the impact from Mother Nature’s mystical power which pushed me off the cliff toward my solo voyage across Canada with Alberta as the reminder of places I’d just been.

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Farmland in northern Montana looks a great deal like eastern Idaho!

The cliff, you say? Well, God teaches us to pray believing with the faith of a child and, to do that, it means you “believe” in the power of prayer. I do. Every time I’ve jumped off that proverbial cliff to start my own business or homeschool a recalcitrant child while trying to make money with that business or travel alone across the backroads of US and Canada, I’m doing just that…claiming God as my parachute. Some say I’m brave. Some say I’m crazy. I say I have faith.

I must say that I had a moment or two before Jenni left to go home where I wasn’t sure about that parachute opening, but yesterday’s visit to West Glacier’s t Western Red Cedar grove, that nature walk restored my soul and gave me confidence for this healing journey to continue. So many amazing non-coincidences have been integral parts of it. Miracles of sun rainbows, finding new Chirrens, meeting babies born to some of those Chirrens whose parents weren’t sure if their precious one would ever be born, meeting so many kindred souls and reconnecting with Mother Earth in a way I haven’t been able to do since Ava died. Yep. That parachute is open and God keeps showing me how big it is!

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Long, roads with nothing but fields of cows and crops.

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That’s the storm I’m running away from.

Now, for those of you who have followed my posts thus far, you, too, might be confused about where I was today. Tom (my GPS) even took me down a very long and lonely dirt road, but our 150,000 mile relationship and my parachute kept the devil of doubt out of my soul and helped me embrace the wonders of the dirt road headed toward the border and away from the upcoming storm, above.

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Dirt road, Tom? Really?

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Wish this picture showed how bright these yellow blooms were. There were hundreds of acres of them!

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See that tiny white dot to the right in the grass? That’s a farm. The first one I’ve seen in many miles!

Tomorrow? Twelve hour drive through Saskatchewan (supposed to be a real sleeper) and across Manitoba to Winnipeg.

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

My good friend, daughter-by-another-mother, confidant and outstanding travel companion just flew home to get back to work and her life. We almost cried at the airport but promised new adventures for another day and she’s already conjuring one up for next year! I miss my Jenni already.

However short in the greater picture, it was incredible in the amount of quality time, fun, laughter, insanity, states, cities, places we left our unique one-two-punch of us…two very confident, powerful, exciting women with great laughter and joy to share!

Today, we decided to go back to West Glacier to hike the one trail I wanted to revisit from my 2003 trip which was the Great Red Cedar trail.

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Where I come from, this AIN’T no creek!

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Western Red Cedar

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Along the Cedar Nature Trail

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Roaring water is a bit of an understatement!

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Temple of Hemlocks, Red Cedars and Cottonwoods

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My baby’s great great granddaddy! Too bad you can’t see how big the base of this Big Daddy is but figure two people can comfortably pass each other on this boardwalk and compare the width of that with the tree at the end. Four feet? 

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This HUGE boulder is covered in a lush carpet of moss. There again, tough to describe how big!

Tomorrow? Waterton Park and Prince of Wales National Historic site (just across the border of East Glacier) and then on to Medicine Hat, Alberta. Yeehaw!

Last but not least, some of Mother Nature’s art to ponder ’til we meet again!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK! PERSONALLY, I’LL TAKE ALL THREE!

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One bites the dust and leaves a most outstanding piece of art for us to love & enjoy…even if for a minute or two. Don’t you just love Mother Nature? If you don’t, try getting to know her before she’s been totally destroyed!

We finally made it here today and it’s been a dream come true for us both but only one of us knew how outstanding the whole park and surrounding areas are. The great news is that now both of us know! Even though the “Going-to-the-Sun” Road isn’t open yet (probably not until July but they really don’t know when because of snow), we drove up about fourteen miles along the West side of Glacier.

But before we even get to Glacier National Park, we drive from Kalispell, Montana because it’s one of the prettiest drives anywhere and especially with such a magnificent destination awaiting our arrival!

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Driving from Kalispell to Glacier National West Gate seeing these mountains is life changing!

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Yeah!

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Truly majestic!

Jenni was a happy young woman when we got to the Park entrance! She looks so cute in this chair!

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Inside the Park, we drove up to Lake McDonald Lodge built in early 1900’s.

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Lake McDonald Lodge (front)

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Lake McDonald Lodge Great Room at entrance

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Lake McDonald Lodge (back facing lake) where Montana and I had our picture taken last year. (tear)

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Lake McDonald

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Cabins for rent overlooking Snyder Creek

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Rushing waters of Snyder Creek emptying into Lake McDonald

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Montana in Montana resting at Lake McDonald one year ago!

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Raging waters that feed Lake McDonald near McDonald Falls!

Tomorrow? More Glacier but from the East side! St. Mary’s, for sure!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK! JUST DO IT!

She had an innate love for cats...and cat torture!

She had an innate love for cats…and cat torture!

When Ava came to the cabin, she always wanted to go to out local animal shelter to make sure things were being done right. I, of course, would get side tracked with the dogs and puppy breath while she went straight for the cats.

Ava and Jake. He is a very special and holds dear a special place in my heart forever.

Ava and Jake. He is a very special and holds dear a special place in my heart forever.

One time before she moved to Vegas as we walked through the facility, she heard something I didn’t…a kitten in distress. I lost her. As I rambled around listening out for her voice, I was directed to the clinic area where a badly burned kitten had been found in a dumpster, apparently someone threw hot oil in the dumpster not knowing the kitten was there (we made that assumption not being to accept any other version). The staff was going to put the kitten down…it was only a few weeks old (eyes still blue) but Ava wasn’t going to have that.

It was Saturday around noon and the vet was already closed but Ava wasn’t going to hear of anything other than getting help for this lil fur ball. At her insistence, the shelter called the back office of the vet’s and told them we were bringing the kitten over to them and we’d be paying for its medical needs. We rushed the poor lil bugger over there and the vet & staff took it and said they’d call us with how it was doing.

The beautiful part of this story is that one of the vet techs fell in love with the kitten as she fostered it back to health, adopted it and called it Krispy!

I tell you this story because I have started donating kitty litter and cat food to the re-vamped shelter in Ava’s memory. The young man, Chris, who is in charge of the new, transparent facility is familiar with brain malfunctions and is helping me get the word out about AvasCorner.org. Ava’s happy today because we got her kitties taken care of.

Reach out in a meaningful way to honor those who are gone in a way they would do if they were here. It helps you heal.

When she was in Graz 2011 studying, she went to the Presidential Palace. This peacock recognized her beauty and flirted with her immediately. Every animal felt like he did. They all recognized her embracing spirit.

When she was in Graz 2011 studying, she went to the Presidential Palace. This peacock recognized her beauty and flirted with her immediately. Every animal felt like he did. They all recognized her embracing spirit.

My years of formal art training in college and core of creative DNA, force the “Get ‘er Done Donna” to stop and “listen” to the art form to guide my hands. I’ve been praying since its inception for a direction. And, as happens, the more research I did on the traditional Zen garden the more I knew it would take on a life of its own…and it did.

As I placed the focal points in the area to be the Zen garden the other night, I was “told” it was about the passage of time. It was only natural that the heart-of-pine which meant so much Sumner, Ava and me and has withstood the test time these last nine years in this very area was intentionally placed to mark time by its shadow. The other items were placed not so consciously but more as by direction. So, it wasn’t until today when I was pulling it all together that I noticed the placements of these items corresponded with time on a clock.

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It took off from there. The Heart-of-Pine stands proudly marking hours of life.

Twelve o’clock seemed to be the hour Ava was the most active…it could have been AM or PM, it didn’t matter. The noon/midnight hour is the small piece of driftwood between the cactus and the heart-of-pine toward the point. It’s also when I fell asleep…exhausted from the weeks events… as she spoke her last words to me.

Focal Point is the Heart-of-Pine standing tall with the help of the rocks Carl brought back from his mine years ago.

Focal Point is the Heart-of-Pine standing tall with the help of the rocks Carl brought back from his mine years ago.

Three o’clock was when I had to pick Ava up from school or her college classes were over for the day. Three PM is the rock on its side to the right.

Zen garden from the stream that runs to the left of it.

Zen garden from the stream that runs to the left of it. Three o’clock is the rock pointing to the right toward the railroad ties.

Six o’clock A.M is when I heard about Ava’s suicide. It is the dark stone near the aloe plant and the line of polished rocks marks her last night.

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Seven o’clock A.M. was when Ava was born. It is the line of sea shells which Ava and I collected on our last trip to our favorite beach in 2008 before she moved to Las Vegas. She loved the beach and we spent many vacations there during her childhood and in her growing-up years. I can’t go there without thinking of both my children because we spent so many happy hours walking those beaches. There are only a few  pebbles within the line next to the shells as there were only a few of us who have that memories of that precious moment…the birth of  Jennifer.

The white sand without any other pebbles between six and seven signifies the memories between her birth and death which belong only to me and her. The few pebbles within that white sand signifies those closest to me and the Ava she became after changing her birth name. They are few but precious.

Nine o’clock P.M. was the time she was driving home from her friends’ house contemplating what she was going to do that night. It is the rock to left.

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Ten o’clock P.M. signifies the time she left us. It is the big rock with pebbles on top. It is a big rock for a life-altering event with memories from us all covering that event.

Eleven o’clock P.M. is when she called me for the last time on Friday, March 23rd. It  is the cactus on the log because it signifies growth with prickles. River pebbles are in that pot as well as we all have our last memories/conversations with her.

The most significant thing to remember about this memory garden is that ALL the  river pebbles covering the area signify the memories we have of her…so many for so few years…even those who met her after her death through their songs in her memory, through Avascorner.org or from her friends, family and loved ones.

Ava's Star shines blinks "hello" right above the end of the wolf's nose above the tree line.

Ava’s Star shines blinks “hello” right above the end of the wolf’s nose above the tree line.

What you don’t know is that this is where I stand to see her star each clear night. It appears directly over the wolf’s nose above the tree line to the right of the stream beside the Zen Memory Garden which overlooks Carl’s Garden below.

Ava and Jake. He is a very special and holds dear a special place in my heart forever.

Ava and Jake. He is a very special and holds dear a special place in my heart forever1`

Ava owned a wolf, Jake, who saved her life. She had to give him up if she wanted to travel with the man she wanted to marry. When I couldn’t keep him, I bought the wolf /cactus sculpture because I, too, was saddened from the loss. She regretted giving up her wolf for the rest of her life.

Some of you are going to say how sad it is for me to mark these times in this way and that’s okay. It’s MY Zen Memory Garden and this is where I am one year after her death. It will probably change a great deal and that’s exactly what I love about this kind of art/sculpture. It has its own life.

After we found out about how Carl died, I built a fence here with some of the wood I found at the burned out structure of the house where he was killed. It started out as a horizontal structure but, over time, it became a vertical one as I healed. The only part remaining is one piece of charred wood. I keep it close…on the front deck overlooking his garden

I envision a metamorphosis happening with this area as well and I look forward to seeing my progress.

Happy Trails (or Trials as the case may be).