Dear Reader

(on our first anniversary)

The concept for SushiTuesdays the blog was initiated exactly one year ago, on what would have been Sam’s 48th birthday. Those milestone days often include a wide range of feelings — pain, fear, anger, love, joy, strength. I was running, of course, my preferred method of experiencing the emotional panoply and finding quiet and clarity in their midst. My therapist and more than a few friends had urged me to “write the book,” which seemed a good idea, a worthwhile endeavor and yet, an overwhelming task.

But maybe, I start to think as I’m running with my beloved and defective hunting dog, I could start smaller. One little step at a time.

I have often thought that the big mistake Sam made in the course of fighting his depression and pain was that he didn’t talk to anybody. He suffered alone and in silence. I will never know what he would have said about it. He never said one word. I do not know what terrible weight or fear or stigma kept him from speaking. But I do know his heart. He listened to and counseled more than one friend who was struggling with depression himself or herself. He was kind, caring and helpful. He had a beautiful perspective on life. Even his own. Except at the end.

It’s all a little crazy-making to try to sift through, but in the middle of all the things I do not know, one thing I do know is that he would have wanted his life to be a blessing to others. Even though he was not able to find his voice toward the end, I believe that he would have wanted me to speak up. To chip away at the stumbling blocks of stigma and break through to a place of healing.

I talked to my husband Tim about the blog idea. To which he responded, “It’s about frigging time,” or words to that effect. We decided that if by writing this blog I could bring hope and light to just one person, then it would be worth it. I was excited and terrified.

I emailed one of my best friends and early proponents of the book idea. I told her that she wouldn’t believe that her tech-unsavvy friend was about to jump into the web-wide-world of blogging, and by the way could she maybe point me in the right direction. To which she responded, “It’s about frigging time,” or words to that effect. Within two hours, she launched the SushiTuesdays website and hit “publish” on my first post. My adrenaline soared, my stomach sank, and I was off on a new adventure.

In session the next day and with a combination of trepidation and pride, I confessed to my therapist what I had done. To which she responded, “It’s about frigging time,” but in more genteel words.

Three days later, I received an email from a woman I did not know, who had just lost a sibling to suicide. She thanked me for sharing my story and bringing her hope. She used the word “hope.” She was my one.

There have since been many more “ones,” and each one is thrilling and gratifying. And heartbreaking. I hope that you draw comfort — as I do — from the fact that we are in this leaky boat together. Presence is a powerful healing agent.

I have no idea what Sam would have said about the SushiTuesdays blog, inspired by his life and death. I suspect that a piece of him would be appalled and horrified. On the other hand, he would probably grin and say “It’s about frigging time.”

***

Thank you — one and all — for bringing me light and strength on my writing path. And hope!

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