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Suicide wasn’t on my radar of concern, until it was

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Suicide wasn’t on my radar of concern, until it was—WHAP! Like a jab or uppercut that I didn’t see coming because I wasn’t even fighting. That’s how it felt that day the phone rang and I learned my young adult cousin died by suicide—the wound immediate and riddled with unanswered questions, confusion, and feelings of guilt. What could I have done? How could I help my family? What did I miss?

Turns out, I unknowingly missed a lot. My 38 years on this planet earth was devoid of educating myself about suicide. I didn’t know the suicide warning signs and wasn’t aware of the stifling stigma that prevents many people from seeking help. Was this stigma the reason why suicide and mental health discussions weren’t woven into conversations throughout my life?

I mean, it didn’t come up—not once.

That’s where my life trajectory changed. I reached out to the Jordan Porco Foundation to ask for guidance and noticed that they had a job posting for a Communications Manager. I knew I could do better with my level of engagement in taking action to prevent suicide: a passion within me ignited. I applied, was hired, and from that day forward have devoted my time to the Jordan Porco Foundation’s mission of preventing suicide, promoting mental health, and creating a message of hope for young adults.

So here is your morsel, since I know today’s pace of life leaves little time for a sit-down dinner, take time to familiarize yourself with this topic. Acknowledge that we can individually and collectively do better in starting conversations, keeping them going, and in understanding the scope of the major public health concern of suicide, and how to take action to prevent suicide.

Here is how you can help prevent suicide, adapted from the Jordan Porco Foundation’s Nine out of Ten program:

Be Aware

  • Understand the prevalence of college student suicide
  • Learn about the warning signs of suicide and the resources that can help
  • Look out for others and pay attention to signs that someone may be struggling

Speak Up

  • Use your voice to raise awareness about suicide and suicide prevention
  • Challenge stigma, pay attention to how you talk about mental health and suicide, and educate others when you hear inappropriate jokes or problematic language
  • Talk about why suicide prevention is important to you

Reach Out

  • Express your concern when you are worried about someone and let them know you care
  • Connect others to professionals who can help
  • Ask for help for yourself when you need it

Help Someone

  • Use what you have learned to help someone in need

If you need support now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or, text “HOME” to 741741 to get help 24/7 from the Crisis Text Line. 

If you or someone you know needs help, visit the Jordan Porco Foundation’s resources page.

Friendships Going The Distance


Friendships. They are a true gift, priceless to our physical and mental well-being. My friendships have morphed through the years as I grew into myself – some were toxic and drama-filled, some inexplicably dissipated, some re-kindled. But, it is those friendships that are going the distance that I want to acknowledge.

These are the friendships that are not questioned, kindred spirits whose hearts have connected deeply, and it’s a connection that cannot be broken. Think about those friendships that are going the distance in your life. Who are they?

For me, they are the people who I haven’t talked to in days, months, even years, where I know when we do reconnect, we can pick-up like we haven’t missed a day. There is never any fear or doubt that I’ve lost their friendship, and those are the friendships that are going the distance in my life, for which I am grateful beyond what my words can even express.

I hope you have a friend like this in your life. Because, let’s face it, adulting is not easy. Adulting can be lonely and isolating. The more we add to our schedules – working, children, school – the greater the distance between us and our friends, limiting our time to connect with each other in a meaningful, replenishing way.

I’ve noticed it is becoming increasingly difficult to connect with my cherished friends, to the extent I would like to, because the pace of life is – quite frankly – more of a sprint as my kids get older. It’s hard to keep-up. But, there is hope, and it is found in the very thing I am writing about – friendships that are going the distance. Reach out to one of yours today, you’ll feel better.



Preventive Politics

The words come easily when I write about my life adventures, thoughts, memories, motherhood, my family, my children. This is a known space. It is a space where I don’t have to accurately quote sources or work to find unbiased news articles. 

But, I struggle to write after tragedies like 9/11, Sandy Hook, Orlando, and countless others. I want to write. Today I am going to write. I am overwhelmed with where to start. 

Today I stared at my cursor blinking on my screen for an absurdly long period of time. I typed. I deleted. I typed again. Stared more at my blank screen. It took me five hours to write a few sentences. 

You know why? I was lost in a ferocious internal fire–fear, love, disgust, helplessness, sadness, politics, guns, and terrorism. 

I felt that fire inside; compelled to write with an overwhelming responsibility to get the facts straight–to make my writing count and be a catalyst for action and change. 

I feel this way after tragedies. I wish I could accomplish more with my writing. The mere fact we have to pluralize tragedy is sad. But it is real. Tragedies happen far too often. I fear for this world. But it is hope that keeps me going. 

I need that hope to protect me from the endless rants fueled with ignorance, hatred, and anger. Words wasted. Time wasted. I read chains of comments in social media feeds, looking for intelligent viewpoints to refuel my hope when it’s depleted. 

That kindling of hope is always there. But it takes work to find that comment that brings clarity and includes relevant, unbiased facts with a well thought out overall statement. 

I see irresponsible writing and journalism all over the place. I see people who don’t even know there is such a thing as irresponsible journalism because they follow what supports their ignorance. 

So what can be done? Prevention. 

We focus on prevention in the world of medicine. It is time to put energy into prevention in other arenas, as well. 

Media outlets need to stop showing the details of attacks over and over again. In my opinion, that refuels the bad. People looking for opportunities to copycat. People looking for that spotlight. 

Instead, steadily report on preventive measures that need to be taken. The public needs to be regularly educated on these necessary preventive tactics in order to understand how to incorporate this strategy into day-to-day life. Otherwise, we are lost. We are vulnerable. 

Right now it feels like we are chronically ill, and the treatment plan is bandages. 

The government and government agencies need to have a better preventive strategy that is clear, consistent, and proactive rather than reactive. 

I am not suggesting that we pour all of our secret sauce in the news. I am saying have a plan, agree on a plan. Make it a plan that is without party, without bias, without extremism. Make it a human plan. 

If there is a plan, I am unclear what the plan is. But, there better be a plan of action. Not a fluffy speech with no direction or point. Not an accusatory battle between candidates focused more on smearing than problem solving. I am very frustrated with this presidential campaign. What a bad state we are in. I am watching, waiting for preventive politics. 

It is so much more than guns. I agree, that is the logical next step. But what really struck me was that the shooter was interviewed by the FBI not once, not twice, but THREE times. Let’s address that gaping hole in the process as part of a much larger preventive strategy. 

I am Christian I come from a long line of gun-loving Republicans. That statement right there could lead you to judge me and my views. It may make you want to run the other way. But, I am a good human being. 

My Dad is a hunter and a responsible gun owner. He is a good human being. 

In speaking with my family, they would welcome a gun law that has potential to prevent loss of life. No good human would stand in the way of a chance to save a life. 

Bad people will always find a way to get their hands on what they shouldn’t have access to, to serve their evil purpose. 

But, it is the good humans that need to have a prevention plan in place in order to stop the bad ones. 

This bandage approach does not work. Bandages do nothing to stop the bleeding of gaping political wounds. 

However, I am hopeful. Hope is what keeps me going. 

In the world of medicine Preventive health services can save lives and money. Daily aspirin use, tobacco cessation support, and alcohol abuse screening can potentially save 2 million lives and nearly 4 billion annually. Of course preventive medicine doesn’t solve all problems, but it certainly helps. 

If we could adopt a similar mindset for politics, suicide prevention work, and more issues. We would be in a better position. 

In closing, start with a political prevention plan that has no bias, no political party. A plan whose foundation is built on humanity. 

As I write this, my 3-year old son is snuggled-up beside me watching the kid show, Paw Patrol. 

This is the world he is growing up in. I need to teach him love, empathy, and hope. I want him to feel safe. 

My son’s future depends on change. We need change. 

I want to see policy change. This is what I look for in the news every day. Preventive politics.

Thank You, Caregivers


Caregiver; a family member or paid helper who regularly looks after a child, a sick elderly, or disabled, person. 

In my family’s case, we had to find a nanny to care for our 2 young kids. And, for any parent, this is one of the most daunting tasks, out there; finding a nanny. You are entrusting your kids, to someone else.  

If you are reading this and scratching your head, like, “what’s the big deal?”, you either don’t have kids, or, haven’t yet had to pick a caregiver. Let me try to put it into perspective for you. You are trusting another human being with your kids’ lives. 

This person is alone with your kids, all day. Your most treasured babies, are in the care of someone, other than you, every day of the week. It is the ultimate exercise of trust. 

This is why it is a meticulous selection process. Sometimes, you find that person through referral. A referral is the most helpful, and least frightening way, because someone else who you trust, is recommending the caregiver. Other times, you spend hours searching online. And, this search, is the scariest. Because, as you know, people can be whoever they want to be, online. It’s terrifying. I’ve heard stories, and I am thankful we got a referral.

Thankfully, we had the best case scenario for our family. Our first nanny evolved from our sitter into that of our nanny. Then, our second nanny was a referral from a friend. This minimized the worry, the wondering, the anxiety that every parent carries when faced with choosing a nanny. 

People may look at a nanny and think, “wow, they have an easy job, just looking after a kid all day”. Well, that is not the case. 

It is the most important job. A jog of the highest responsibility. I hope all caregivers understand how critical they are. 

I also hope they have someone that thanks them, appreciates them, and reminds them how important they are, every day. 

There is no amount of money, that would really pay what this job deserves. 

Presently, with my changing jobs, we had to move our son into a full day preschool. This was an incredibly difficult move to make, because we couldn’t keep our beloved nanny. Our nanny became family to us. So, changing to preschool felt like moving a mountain, because we had the best nanny. 

When I see how loved my kids are, I am grateful beyond what words can express. It brings tears to my eyes to see it in my kids’ actions, in their faces. All of the nanny snuggles, laughter, artwork, photographs, crafts, and adventures; they’ve absorbed these things. Their experiences with their nanny helped build a solid foundation, further growing their self-esteem, creativity, brainpower and confidence. 

Thank you. I know it’s not enough, but thank you. Thank you for loving my kids as if they were your own. You will be in our hearts and in our lives, just in a different capacity, always. You are stuck with us, imprinted in our lives.

To my readers, that have a caregiver, say a special thank you to him/her, this week.

New Chapter

It is a new year. A time for new beginnings, new things. The gyms are packed with people and their new year’s resolutions. Stores are just as busy, as they were prior to Christmas, with folks shopping all of the deals. 

There is a sense of sadness that the holidays are over, the tree is down, decorations boxed-up, we rang the new year in, family members and friends have traveled back to their homes, decorations packed away. 

But, there is also that feeling of excitement, anticipation. It is a new year. For me, it’s a new chapter. An opportunity for which I am incredibly grateful. To open this chapter will require a great deal of change, and some of the change is difficult and emotionally charged; like changing caregivers. But, a necessary change. 

A change fueled with excitement with a hint of anxiety, being this is a bold move. But you know in your heart, when it’s time. This is a change that will improve my life-work balance, my time with my family, my time with friends, and help save lives. 

After 14 years of working in the health care industry, I am leaving for a career more aligned with my heartstrings. Where my passion for writing, will pair with a cause that I am equally passionate about. Where my writing and work, will directly impact lives. 

I will be the Communications Coordinator at the Jordan Porco Foundation (JPF); You may not be familiar with their cause and vision, especially if you do not live in the Hartford, CT area. 

I strongly encourage you to visit the website, subscribe to the newsletters and follow JPF on FB and Twitter. You will connect with the mission. 

The mission of the JPF is suicide prevention and mental health awareness in the high school, college, and college entry student population. 

This is a cause that is personal. My cousin died by suicide last year. It had a profound impact on me. His loss, the family’s loss, made me think hard about my career path. 

And, after making a bold move; here I am. I am passionate about JPF’s mission. I hope that you will join me in supporting their mission, and join me in my journey–in my new chapter.  


“Perfect!” This is one of the many statements of praise that I say to my daughter when she sounds out spelling a word, or, does something that I classify as great work. I say it to acknowledge her efforts, to help her feel proud of her work; build confidence. 

But, the other day, my daughter said that her teacher says, “nothing is perfect, in our classroom”. 

This statement, made me think; really think. 

Perhaps my statement is doing the exact opposite of what I thought. Instead of boosting her confidence, is it silently putting unnecessary pressure on her to be–perfect? 

Striving for perfection, to be a “perfectionist” is not what I want for my daughter. It’s a mirage. It’s a pathway going nowhere, laid with bricks of frustration. 

Of course, I will continue to celebrate my daughter’s successes, my son’s achievements. But, I am going to be more mindful of my word choices, for praising my kids. 

There are enough pressures out there. The pressure to be perfect and do perfect work, should not be one of them.

I Hate Grocery Shopping

I teach my kids not to say they, “hate” something. I try not to say hate. It is a short list of things I hate. I really hate grocery shopping. I hate it. I will say hate over, and over again, to grocery shopping. 

So, thankfully, right now, my kids are too young to read about their hypocrite Mommy ranting about my hatred for grocery shopping. Someday, they too, will likely hate it. 

It’s a time sucker. 

The lines, the oblivious roaming people with their shopping carts, the monotony of going aisle by aisle, losing my focus because I have 2 squawking kids in the ridiculous kid-car cart, forgetting to buy what we really need. 

Or, how about always, somehow, selecting the line that is the shortest, but, that one person in front of you is taking forever checking coupons or deals, or whatever the F people do that have all the time in the world to complain and nitpick at checkout. 

Those customers that linger or can’t operate the credit card machine, and make the heat rise into my cheeks because my kids, at this point, are buck wild and I am completely mentally checked out because of how long it is taking to check out. 

And then, the aisles I really avoid; technology at its finest: Self check out. Just. Forget. It. One time my poor husband tried to self check out a huge bag of dog food, and the entire enormous bag busted, mid-scan. Those tiny multi-colored dog food pellets were everywhere. That was our last time at self check out. 

Every time I think self check out will be easier. It isn’t. For example, I have one item–bananas. “Please move your, B-A-N-A-N-A-S, to the belt.” I move the bananas to the belt and the belt and robot woman apologize and request I re-enter the item. I repeat this 6 times before I abandon my bananas on the belt and say, forget it. 

Now, having complained for the majority of this blog about my hatred of grocery shopping, there are some stores I don’t mind as much because they are designed uniquely, have unique products, or, they intermingle entertainment with the shopping. Stew Leonard’s, Trader Joes and Fairway, these are “ok”. 

I especially love Stew Leonard’s because not only is it entertaining for the kids, it’s always rewarding. I always buy enough groceries to get the free reusable bag and free ice cream. And, their soft serve is absolutely, delicious. It is delicious enough to make me have amnesia about my hating shopping. 

Ok, now back to my hatred. Lately, people cut in front of me, in line, like I don’t exist. There was a day when I would’ve let it slide because I tend to be a quiet, overly nice person. But, with 2 writhing kids in the cart, like ticking time bombs, I have grown a pair and I speak up. I get a glare, like I am the A-hole. But, whatever, I have young kids and those people are not entitled to cut me, simply because they have less items. Pick another line, a-hole. 

I would love the idea of a grocery shopping FastPass, like Disney World. To the grocery store that would design that, you would be top notch. 

In closing, I have grown smarter in my old age. I use Peapod to get the majority of groceries delivered. It is incredibly convenient to get our set, bulk, items. 

But, there are some things I just have to go to the store to get; meat, veggies, fruit. For my sanity, whatever is left of it, I try to either go without my kids, or, I make the 20 minute trek to Stew Leonard’s. It’s worth it, if not for the produce, definitely worth it for the soft serve. I hate grocery shopping, but who doesn’t love soft serve? I win.


Sounds serious, right? It is. If I were a stuffed animal, Doc McStuffins would diagnose me with this ailment–Meticulousitis. 

I am meticulous to a fault. It would be nice to find the cure for this, but, it’d be a tough one to undo. It would undo me. It is in my DNA. 

Being meticulous is useful, but it’s also detrimental, at times, because it always makes me feel like I am rushed. And, in this day and age, where the pace is always a sprint, it creates anxiety. Meticulousitis, is a constant struggle. 

It’s not all bad. It serves me well when I am editing, writing, managing a project, cleaning, or organizing. But, when I am packing for a vacation, or, simply trying to get out of the house, and pack a diaper bag; it’s a hindrance. It. Takes. Forever. 

Prior to being a wife and Mommy, my Meticulousitis wasn’t so bad, because I was only responsible for myself. It was much easier to manage my time for a party of one. But, now, with our party of 4, I struggle to get out of the house on time and manage my time. 

So, while there are some days I wish there was a cure for my Meticulousitis, I’ve learned to live with it, mostly by allowing an hour of extra time to get out of the house. 

I need this time for my Meticulousitis, and any inevitable kid-tastrophies; like a kid pooping his diaper as we are leaving, a tantrum over wearing socks, or over wearing a coat. Whatever the issue may be, I’ve tried my hardest to leave extra time so that we aren’t grotesquely late.  

But, be kind if we are late, we have good intentions, I have good intentions and I try my best not to let my Meticulousitis consume me.

Lessons Learned


These are some of the lessons I have learned from being a Mommy of kids; ages 0-5. The lessons are in no particular order, because there is no order. There is never order. But, I did save the best lesson for last. 

You can eat popsicles in the morning. Goldfish are an acceptable breakfast. You will try, try, and try to get your kids to eat healthy food; something other than chicken nuggets and ketchup. You will eat kid left overs for your dinner. You will hide, while eating your kids’ Halloween candy. 

Poop can be smeared everywhere in a matter of seconds. You will cut a onesie off of your kid, at least once, from an unmanageable diaper blowout. You will throw soiled outfits away. Your couch and carpet will get peed on. You will get peed on, maybe even pooped on. Poop will become a commonly used and word, in your vocabulary. 

You will answer all sorts of questions, do puzzles, read books and color, all before 8am. You will spell out words, over and over again. You will watch kid TV shows. You will fight over the TV and iPhone. You will hate Calliou. You will need to be goofy and dance and sing silly songs. You will play on the playground. You will play games. You will rarely sit down. You will make time for snuggles. You will be kicked, have boogers and food rubbed on you. You will have food and small toys thrown at you. You will step on a Lego and experience the most excruciating pain known to your bare foot. You will likely get your nose smashed by a flailing arm, head, or, leg. You will barely survive long car rides. 

You will love diapers and you will hate them. You will become a wrangler of kids. A wrestler, to change diapers. You will likely wash a diaper in the washing machine. You will learn to be ambidextrous with whatever arm doesn’t have a kid in tow.  

Your kids will run around naked and refuse to get dressed. Your kids will stalk you in the bathroom, maybe even sit on your lap while you’re on the toilet. 

You will fight with them about wearing socks, about wearing a coat. You never have as much time as you think you do to get everyone ready to leave the house. 

There will be tears. There will be tantrums. You’ll miss the quiet. But, when your kids are quiet, it is never good. You will pack your entire home to go on vacation. You will go on vacation and come back more tired. 

You will be permanently tired. You will wake up, even when your kids are sleeping, wondering if they are ok, and check on them. When they are sick, you will try everything in your parental artillery, to get them to sleep better. You’ll end up sleeping with them on your chest in a chair when they are congested and coughing. You will rock them until they fall asleep. You will try to sleep on the floor of their room, to keep them from coming in your room. You will do whatever it takes for them to sleep, and for you to maybe sleep. 

And, here is the ringer. You will look at your kids and feel a profound love for them. The love you have for your kids, is a love like no other. A love that shines on, with a brightness that keeps you going. The greatest lesson your kids will teach you, is a lesson of unconditional love. A love that will endure all things.

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