A biased opinion.

My father was murdered. In the South. That man was executed.

There you have the facts. But this isn’t about me. It’s about Troy Davis who was wrongly executed last night. And Lawrence Brewer who was rightly executed.

Okay maybe it is a bit about me because I am having a crisis of faith. I have always been pro-death penalty. It’s a biased opinion, colored by our family’s experience. I grew up knowing what was taken away from me and envious even of the murderer’s children; they got 18 more years with their father than I did. At least they got to know their dad through the glass of the prison visiting room while the taxpayers paid for him to get a college degree, earning him the nickname The Professor. My father worked. He was loving son, husband and father. I don’t know his nickname.He was 24 when he was brutally murdered. Not that all murders aren’t brutal.  I feel for Officer MacPhail’s family. (And I lost my mind when Alec Baldwin tweeted something negative about them.) I can tell you flat out that the families have no say in what happens and  I remember we felt very forgotten when it was all happening. The victim of the actual crime seems to be pushed to the side at times like these, all of the focus being put on the person to be executed left us crying out what about us? What about our loss? Our loved one was tortured and this man gets a sedative? Being on this side of an execution is a tricky business it’s horrible. Even when you know beyond any shadow of a doubt that the right guy is being punished.

I don’t believe Troy Davis was the right guy, but they do, and I understand why. I understand all too well.

I also know that it is no good just to hand out ‘justice’ unless it is proper justice. It must be the right guy, just executing someone for the sake of execution is another murder. I know many of you feel that the death penalty is always murder…and here is where my crisis of faith comes into play.

Lawrence Brewer was executed last night in the same prison and the same room as the man who murdered my father was executed in. I feel nothing but peace about this. What he did to James Byrd junior is inhuman. I don’t believe he deserved to take another gasp of air. I believe the death penalty is full and just in this case.

Troy Davis was executed in Georgia, literally put down like a dog. They didn’t have the proper drugs so they used veterinary drugs usually used to euthanize animals. No physical evidence. No DNA. Seven out of nine witnesses recanted and another man confessed. I do believe his lawyers sucked.  I don’t believe he deserved to die. I believe the death penalty is a travesty and an epic tragedy in this case.

For every Lawrence Brewer there are 200 more on death row. Guilty as sin and unrepentant. So then there must also be more Troy Davises. I am not quite ready to say no death penalty, but I am not sure how to prevent another clearly innocent man from dying.

Will this case bring an end to capital punishment in America? Will it bring a much needed review and revamping of our process?

I like to think that when Troy Davis got to heaven God wrapped his arms around him and said “I know. But you were the man for the job. The man who could bring to light how flawed this system is. You did well, my child. Now rest and be comforted.”

Because Troy Davis you did do your job well. My crisis of faith is in full swing. My heart bleeds for your family, and for the family of Officer MacPhail. There is no winner in a murder case. There can only be a scar that never fully heals but it always sensitive and sore.

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Heartsick.


Last week  our local news reported a story that just ripped my heart out. A 12 year old boy playing in his own backyard had been swept away by a flash flood. Gone. Just like that. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I found out via twitter that the beautiful boy lost was the son of a local blogger. Local to me. Right around the corner and a blogger. I have never met her or her children, I’ve never read her blog before… I’m not sure how we never connected  as she is another spray paint everything thing that doesn’t move thrift store kinda gal just like me. I did what so many of us did, I went to her blog and  ‘met’ her family. I cried at the pictures of her beautiful boy and gorgeous girl dressed in their uniforms ready for the first day of school. 7th and 5th grade.

Now only one of them will go to school.

I found myself reading and reading and reading. I read her whole blog.  I had only intended to stop by and leave a comment telling her my heart was with her. Because it was. It is.  But one post led to another and then I liked her. A lot. So I just read and read and read. She is funny, she has the same kind of humor I do. I laughed along with her at life’s foibles and loved seeing her household projects.  I wished I’d known of her blog before the tragedy. I wish I’d been following all along. I wish I could do SOMETHING. Anything to ease her pain.  Share her burden.

Maybe that is why I and so many others ran to her blog, not to rubberneck. but to in some tiny way share her burden. To let her know that even if we are in the internet, we are THERE. We are trying to make sense of it and coming up with nothing.Nothing. How can a beautiful boy be here one minute and then gone the next? Maybe we all hug our children closer and think of Anna and her Jack. Maybe we hug our children for Anna who can no longer hug her son.

I’m not sure. There is a part of me who wants to march over to her home and scoop her up in my arms and hold her. Just hold her and let her cry and cry along with her. Of course she has people who actually know her to do this. She certainly doesn’t need some stranger from blogland to do it. She has her family. I hope that she knows in some small way, that when her husband wraps his arms around her as she wraps her arms around her daughter that I am in my heart wrapping my arms around all of them. Perhaps you are too. And around my arms and your arms and her husband’s and hers are God’s.

 

I’m holding you close Anna. For now that will have to be enough as I am powerless to do more. You have all my thoughts and prayers.

 

 

Sometimes love through the internet has to Just Be Enough.

 

Call to remembrance 9/11

It’s ten years later and I am still teary eyed whenever someone even mentions 9/11. All those people, trapped and terrified. And nothing…nothing could be done to save them. I’ll never understand it. I’ll never not cry over it, ten years from now and ten years from then it will still be unbearable.

I was blessed to be asked by iVillage to share my 9/11 experience. There are some amazing stories in this video,including Dumb Mom’s Mom…incredible stuff.

I am about 6th in. You can use the arrow to scroll through, but I encourage you to watch them all. Amazing.(pathetic vanity disclaimer: I had been walking around in the heat for hours before this was filmed, I’m still puffy from having the baby and also I apparently thought that was a good hair color idea. I was wrong. Be kind)

Direct link to mine

Stephanie Stearns Dulli remembers September 11th

 

Hug your loved ones today. And can you tell I’m giving you a through the internet hug? You guys make my life better. Thank you.

Preschool. A juice box for him and a juice box for me. Mine has vodka in it.

“I’m going to go to school and play games and check my messages.” The Boss

Today is Max’s preschool picnic. It’s happening. He is going to go to school. My tiny boy is going to school! Will he make friends? Will the teachers be kind to him? Will they see how beautiful, sweet and caring he is? Will they protect him from mean kids? For the first time he will be out of my sight. Out of my protection. He cannot wait. I’m just trying not to cry. Over a picnic. How on earth will I survive next Tuesday when I really drop him off…and leave?

Hold me, blogland.

My heart is broken.

{photo credit}

 

He stood in the middle of his kitchen, opening his arms wide and said “naaah. I’m just Richie. Or Daddy.”  He hugged me tight, welcoming me into his home and his family. It was Thanksgiving 1998, and I was so thankful to be there.  I would have been alone in Los Angeles that year for the holiday but my {then new} friend Rachell insisted I join her family, and I man am I glad I did.
I had a small family, consisting of simply my mother and myself, Dub and her mother and visits with grandparents. But being surrounded by a lot of people all the time was a dream of mine and it came true at the Hayward’s.

While my family was small, Rachell’s family tree was huge and with many twisting branches. People were always showing up; aunts, uncles, cousins. You were never sure if they were ‘real’ family or adopted, like me…but it never mattered. Once you were family, you were family.

I had no idea who he was. I’d never heard a Little Feet song, had no idea the Dixie Chicks were named for one of their songs. To me he was just Daddy. Richie.  I loved going to his house, loved being around his family. Rachell was and is, so special to me. A true sister. Her sister Natalie, her brother Dan and of course, the baby in the family my Blizzy Bro Severn, became my dream siblings. They are all so close, and no matter how messed up things get, no matter how angry they get with one another…they have are one unit. I am jealous of that. More than jealous, I admire it.

When tragedy struck Sev, we all banded together. We huddled together  in the ICU. We were family. We cried together, raged together, smoked countless cigarettes together and begged every God we could think of to help Severn. Sev is a miracle. A walking talking miracle. You might have thought that at such a time the Hayward’s would have closed ranks. Kept to themselves, only immediate family. And they did close ranks and circle the wagons….with all of us. It was an amazing feeling to know that you are wanted, that MORE people means MORE love. That family sticks with you through good times and bad times, even when the bad times are horrible beyond imagination.  They’ll never know the gift they gave me, and in turn the gift they gave Max.

I haven’t seen Richie since we left L.A. I knew he was sick, I worried about it. He was waiting for a liver transplant. But I just didn’t think he could die. How is it possible that a man who lived such a life – and lived it hard – could go? Now? I’m heartbroken for Rachell, Dan, Natalie and Sev. I’m heartbroken for Sally {another adopted sibling like myself}. I am selfishly heartbroken for myself. Here in DC. Not in LA where I can run to Rachell’s house, always the meeting place, to both comfort and be comforted.
I find it hard to keep in touch. It hurts too much. I miss my friends. I miss Rachell. I hate that I am not there to hug her and tell her I love her. I do. I may not have had a big huge family by birth, but God sure created one for me with friends.

Richie Hayward died on August 12th. My father was born on August 12th.

The front page of the paper this morning mourned the loss of a rock star. But to me he was just Richie. Just Daddy.

 He would love this picture. Maybe The Boss will be as good as drummer as Richie. A lofty goal, he was the best.

Friday Fabulousness~ Blogger Body Calendar

This week was so fabulous I had a hard time picking one thing! I mean, we had the Boss’ Birthday, went to a Nationals Game and of course… I saw the President of the United States speak. Which is like…Lifetime Fabulousness really.

Someone may or may not have gotten up on to the photographer’s dias and taken pictures with the big boys. Relalted: I have camera envy.

I’ll do a full write up of that asap but rest assured that it was brilliant and amazing. I left inspired and very proud to be American and proud to be a parent.

But my Friday Fabulousness this week is The Blogger Body Calendar.

I don’t think I have ever really written about my eating disorder, not even in a journal but this project hits close to home to me and I thought perhaps now is the time to share. I am one of the lucky ones, I made it out the  other side and today I am honored to be the featured Guest Blogger. I was taken aback by how hard it was to write. How once I started I wanted to write more and more about it, make it perfect and at the same time I wanted to bottle it all up and not share.

So I sent it off unedited and full of misspellings because I knew I would chicken out …and they kindly allowed me to clean it up a bit. I had to send it right then or I never would have

For some reasong sharing makes it less mine, it breaks the bond between me and my eating disorder a little bit more. More space between us.  Whatever cracked up crazy sense that makes. It’s one more way of letting go of it. When you get over an eating disorder you are left with a big question: Who am I if I am not that? My eating disodrer was so all emcompassing it was my identity along with my addiction. And it almost killed me.

Now I know who I am without being The Girl With The Eating Disorder or The Bulimic, or any of the other labels I carried around that helped make me The Girl With The Eating Disorder, but it was a tough road to get here.

So, I ask you for a favor. Please read my post over there today. Please take the time, comment if you feel like it, and if you are struggling or know someone who is please know I am here…just an email away to supprt.

 I hope you know, each and every one of you, how amazing you are. How strong and resiliant our bodies are. Trust me on this one, you can (but don’t) abuse your body to the point where it almost stops working entirely and (very slowly) it can re heal. 

Eating disorders grow more prevalant by the day, our girls in particular are subjected to not only unattainable physical goals but false altered images and that bridge between self worth and physical beauty is short to cross and hard to cross back.

This weekend try to identify when you think a bad thought about yourself…we think hard thoughts about ourselves all the time and we need to stop.
I would never say to anyone some of the things I find myself thinking to a friend. So I challenge us to treat ourselves as we would a good friend. With forgiveness.
Be kind to yourselves this weekend! You make my life brighter and I can only hope I’ve brought a giggle to your life a time or two as well.

Please check out the Blogger Body Calendar. All proceeds will benefit the National Eating Disorder Association and hey, while you’re there, maybe give my little essay a read. It is entitled

As it turns out, I wanted to live.

Because, y’know I do.

What was fabulous in your life this week? I want to know!

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Father’s Day when you never knew him.

TOTT and The Boss {1/2 hour old}
It’s Father’s Day. Until I married my husband I never really even noticed when this day was. We never celebrated it growing up, because my father passed away when I was very young. 18 months old to be exact. And no one ever talks about him. My mother will, when pressed and in the right mood. And as my grandparents get older, every once in a while they will let a story about him slip out.
I hold on to those stories like precious rubies. How my mother and he were on dates with other people when they met. How when he was at the Louvre someone walked up to him and just started chatting at him and he had no idea who it was. How every payday he would bring my mom Mums, because those are her favorite flowers. How silly he was and how much he wanted me.

Those few things are held close to my heart. He wanted me. He loved me. I don’t have a single memory of him, having been so young when he died and I try so hard to replay those few moments when his LIFE was shared with me, those stories of him alive.

I know almost every detail of his death, I’ve gone over and over it. I read all the articles, I’ve read as much as I could take crying til I vomited. Such a young man, such a good man and such a horrible end.

The effects of a violent crime wave through more than just one person who is killed, and echo through a generation I feel those ripple effect every day and to say I was messed up over it as a child and teenager would not do it justice. But as I grow up I feel his loss in a new way. The loss as a mother. What my grandmother must have gone through. The loss of her baby boy…who brought her joy as The Boss brings it to me.

Along with that comes a healing and a happiness brought to me by my son.

The Boss is 23 months old now, but by 18 months I knew his favorite song (something in the way she moves) his favorite toy (elmo, natch), how he liked to be rocked to sleep, his favorite book (sweet dreams mimi), his favorite food (avacado), his favorite everything. I knew what every noise he made  meant, the real ones and the ‘I’m faking it to get your attention’ ones, how he loved to help me vacuum the house and how he was afraid of ketchup bottles. I knew how to make him laugh and soothe his tears. I knew him.

And so it stands to reason that my father knew me. My son has brought me a greater joy than I even knew could have been possible. He has opened my heart up a million-fold. I cannot remember life before him having as a great a meaning as it does now, with him in this world. My heart nearly bursts every time he races to me and throws his chubby little arms around my neck crying “Mommy!” It explodes when I see him do the same with TOTT. He waits for TOTT to come home and cheers when he walks in the door. I hope I did that for my Dad.

I can only hope that in those 18 months I brought half as much happiness to my Daddy as The Boss has brought to me.

So if you’ll indulge me:

Happy Father’s Day Daddy, I love you. I always will. Memories or not, I love you. I can only think that you brought me to TOTT, and to his father who is a good man. I’m well looked after now by the both of them. Thank you. I hope you know that I will tell The Boss all about you, everything I know about your life when he wonders where his other grandfather is. I’ll tell him how much you would have loved him, how much we all do. I feel your loss every minute of every day. I will never forget you.

I love you Daddy, I’m proud to be your daughter.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled funny kid post..

We interrupt your regularly scheduled funny kid post to mourn the loss of the SV Moms Group. It’s true.  I had a post that was to go up today. It’s sweet. The Boss made my heart grow three sizes this weekend – just like the Grinch. It was glorious. It was the stuff of Norman Rockwell paintings. A warm spring night, a walk with the family, it was perfection.

But it can’t go up because I am truly heartsick over an email I received today informing me, and all the other SVmomsgroup writers that as of July 1st it will cease to be.
The reasons behind the decision are personal and well thought out. I know that this decision was not made lightly, I’ve the utmost respect for these women and while I am sad, respect their choice. I have been a member of this group for such a short time and yet it has had such a positive impact on my self esteem and my life.

Moving away from everyone I knew with a 10 week old baby and then everything we went through from the loss of TOTT’s job to the loss of my beloved cat to the loss of our home really knocked me for a loop. I felt as though I went from being on top of the world to being sucked down under the ground. The time before the baby was born and up until we moved was without a doubt the happiest time of my life. I was a working actor, married to a great man, and pregnant with my first baby at the same time as my sister while living a mile and a half from my best friend and God son. I actually told Mumsy at one point that I was sure I had died and gone to heaven because I was just so happy.

Anyway,Ohio was freezing and then TOTT’s business closed…blah blah blah. So sad. So depressed.

 Enter blogging.

And just like that I started meeting people, other bloggers. The clouds started to lift. I found my footing a little bit more every day. I remembered who I was before the bad spell happened. I started to smile more, to become more involved, to reach out to other bloggers. In truth blogging brought me back to life. It helped me find who I was now, helped me come out the other side.

When Linsey asked me to join DCMetroMoms I was thrilled, I felt like it was a great pat on the back and a bit of a reward for crawling out of my sad little puppy shaped hole. Does that sound silly? I don’t care. I loved it, I loved meeting the other bloggers, I loved thinking of posts to write. I didn’t get to write many, and now I wish I had gone above the suggested submissions requirement.

I suppose you never know how what you send out into the world will affect someone. I can’t imagine Jill Asher, Linsey Krolik and everyone else at SVMoms knows how they helped me. But they did. And I can never thank them enough.