Japanese Garden, Portland, OR

Japanese Garden, Portland, OR

Several events in the past couple of months have stopped me in my tracks and pushed me to reconsider how I am going to spend the rest of my life. I started thinking about this more after the death of one of my dearest friends. He lived a long and very productive life, but losing him has been a reminder that life goes by quickly; we do not have forever. It is so easy to get caught up in day-to-day drama and think there is always tomorrow. Tomorrow is not promised!

Not long after I lost my dear friend, we had that week of losing famous people by suicide. My heart has been heavy at the loss of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, all in one week!!! I think with the heaviness of world and national news, many of us are feeling less than wonderful. Suicidal? Maybe not, but in these dark times, I think many of us are experiencing heavy hearts. I certainly am.

Lost by suicide: My uncle. The brother of a high school friend. Two of my students, one successful, the other recovered. The father of a friend. A college sorority sister. It is ALWAYS a shock. Mental illness is no joke.

Please check in with your friends and family members. Listen and observe. Talk and listen to your children and their friends. I know when I am in a down period, I only want to hide, see no one and talk to no one. Asking for help would never happen; I know I need help, but… This is why my STOP-EXHALE-BREATHE campaign/instructions are for myself as much as for those who read them. The suicides in the past couple of months are a reminder that we need to be vigilant in caring for those around us and in caring for ourselves.

Stop Exhale Breathe and ONWARD!



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