How are you feeling?

What are your plans for tomorrow?

Welcome to the fourth edition of my “Gatekeeping” blog series. I shared the back story of these simple and yet powerful questions in this post.

I have been in a funk for much of this week and realized today that rather than trying to continue to suck it up that I wanted to put myself out here and check in to see how you are feeling as well.

In 2011 I lost two loved ones to suicide. I realize that there is likely nothing I could have done to change the outcome of their lives, but it is something that I struggle with as I continue to work through my grief and try to make peace with these women taking their own lives.

I know that many of us suffer in silence when we are going through difficult and uncertain times in our lives. It doesn’t have to be that way.

I am not asking you to tell me your secrets or your problems, unless you want to of course. But I invite you to check in here periodically (you can also email me or send a Facebook message) and let me know how you are feeling and what plans you may have for tomorrow.

Here’s an excerpt from the post I referenced above called Gatekeepers:

My favorite line in Meg (Hutchinson’s) song (called Gatekeepers) is, “maybe every day, in ordinary ways, we hold each other on, we keep each other here.”

I think that is so profound and it certainly rings true for me.

There have been countless people throughout my life that have been “Gatekeepers” to me. Though I have never seriously considered taking my own life and strongly believe that I will never do so, I have survived some very rough patches where my self esteem and self worth were severely challenged. 

I love the idea that in “ordinary ways” we can make extraordinary differences in the journeys of loved ones and even strangers that we meet throughout the course of our day-to-day lives. 

Kevin “the Gatekeeper” Briggs has done so by asking those two simple questions of strangers he has met contemplating jumping (off the Golden Gate Bridge), Meg Hutchinson has done so through her music and song, Bob Edwards has done so with the stories he shares on his radio show and you all have done so for me over the years through your comments here, your caring ways, your love and your support as my readers, fellow bloggers, friends and family members. 

Thank you so very much.

I will be posting “Gatekeeping” blog entries now and then and hope that they will present the opportunity for anyone who reads them who is having a hard time coping with challenges they are facing in life to share. That said, you are certainly welcome to comment about the things you are feeling good about too. I believe that being able to recognize and name the things we are grateful for is essential to help us find peace and joy in our lives. That is part of why I love participating in Lori’s monthly Perfect Moment Mondays.

Sometimes it’s the little things than can help keep us a float when we feel like we are drowning. Just knowing that others care and want to know how we are feeling, as well as being able to think about what we might do tomorrow has the power to help us get through tough times.

Thank you for reading. I hope that however you are doing today that you know there are people in your life (I am one of them) who care about how you are feeling and want to know what your plans, hopes and dreams are for tomorrow and the days to come.


I will start us off by answering the questions myself:

I am feeling… 

Stuck — It has been a hard/bittersweet week for me, as Tuesday (April 17th) was the 4th Anniversary of my daughter Molly’s birth and death. For some reason her birthday/this milestone has hit me really hard this year and I have been in a funk.

Sad — I miss Molly.

Conflicted — As I shared in this post, Bob and I are moving in the direction of putting an end to our family building. Though all of the reasons we are leaning this way makes sense to me rationally, my emotions and my heart still struggle at times to catch up with to where most of my mind is when it comes to this decision.

Lonely — I know that a lot of family members and friends love and care about me, but sometimes as a “stay at home mom” I feel lonely. I know that is both okay and normal. I also realize that it will pass. But on this rainy, cold and gloomy day here in Chicago in many ways my emotions match the weather outside.

Proud — I found out when Sean got home from school today (I began writing this post earlier in the day) that he was chosen as one of three, from his second grade class of twenty-nine students, to advance to a school wide speech arts competition next week! This year’s category is “Dramatic Interpretation.” Every student in the school had to memorize something that fit that category. Sean’s grade level had to choose something that was at least two minutes, but not longer than five minutes. It was challenging to find something that we thought was a good fit for him and the category this year. In the end we settled on Matthew Broderick’s opening monologue from the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (though we make a few changes to make it age/school appropriate).

Sean definitely has a knack for acting/impersonations and is able to memorize things quickly. So it has been fun to practice with him and see how he was able to develop his own style as Ferris Bueller! This is the third year in a row that Sean has been chosen for school wide speech competitions, the previous two years were for Shel Silverstein poems that he memorized. I know I am bragging a bit here, but I really am so proud of Sean and getting this news this afternoon has helped lift me out of my funk a bit.

Grateful — Though at times this week it has been hard for me not to focus too much on those in our life who did not remember, or at least acknowledge, Molly’s birthday/the anniversary of her death, I do feel very blessed to have many loved ones in our life who did take time to let us, especially me, know that they were aware of the significance of this week, they care and they are remembering Molly with us four years after she was born and died. If you are one of those people and are reading this now. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. x0x0

I also feel incredibly grateful for my two living children Sean and Abby and am inspired by how they have chosen to honor their sister Molly’s life and memory this past week in various ways.

My plans for tomorrow are… 

We don’t have a very busy weekend planned and overall I am happy about that.

Tomorrow morning Sean and I will run/walk 2.25 miles for our training together to run in our neighborhood’s annual Memorial Day 5K next month.

We will likely go to 4:00 p.m. mass at our church, because Sunday morning Sean is participating in his first Tae Kwon Do tournament. We are excited for his first experience with this. He will be competing in two categories: “form” and “board breaking.” Whether or not he places and gets to take home a trophy, we are very proud of him for trying!

I also hope to finish reading Falling Upward by Richard Rohr this weekend. Though it has taken me awhile to complete (for a variety of reasons, none being my interest in the content), I am really enjoying it and look forward to reviewing it for the upcoming Spring Issue of Exhale.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Esperanza April 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Oh Kathy, I’m so sorry you are missing your sweet girl. I can’t imagine. Sending huge hugs your way.

I also understand the loneliness. I am not a SAHM but as a teacher/mom I feel incredibly lonely all the time. Not shockingly middle schoolers are not the greatest company. And I have no friends in the city where I live, at least not in the city proper, so I spend my afternoons with my daughter alone too (at least, without adult company). It’s really hard. I’m sorry you’re feeling that too.

I wish I could hear your son’s monologue! That sounds amazing! I love that movie and it makes me smile a big smile to know that the next generation is being exposed. So exciting! Yay Sean!

As for me, well I’ve had a really hard week. This is how I’m feeling right now:

Frustrated and Disappointed – We missed the window to try for our first month of TTC#2. I stopped my meds cold turkey instead of slowly tapering down so we’d be ready this month and then I ovulated really early and couldn’t get my husband to do the deed with me when the time came. It was really upsetting. I suffered a lot these last two weeks, stopping my medication so quickly and it turned out it was all for nothing. I hate that.

Scared – I’m really scared to start TTC again. I’m scared to fail, over and over again. I’m scared to not fail but then loss what we have. I’m scared of so many things.

Excited – I just signed up for two writing classes this summer at my alma-mater, UC Berkeley. I’ll be taking a class on writing a YA novel and on writing children’s books. I’m excited for both and expect to learn a lot. Plus I’m really looking forward to commuting across the bay to Berkeley and being a student again. I love learning. Also, tomorrow I’m going to my first picture book conference. It’s far away and I have to wake up really early but I hope to learn a lot and maybe meet some new people.

Grateful – We have couples counseling this weekend and boy do we need it. It’s been a rough two weeks and I’m so glad we can get some guidance in a few days. I hope it’s helpful. I’m also grateful that after a two week detox I feel more like myself despite being off my meds. That is nice.

Thanks for reaching out. You always seem to post these when I need a little nudge. I appreciate that.

Oh, and I wrote a post about faith over at my new blog. I meant to tell you. It was inspired by your TWT theme a while ago but it took me ages to write it. Here it is:
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2 loribeth April 20, 2012 at 9:27 pm

I am finally calming down tonight after a panicked homecoming. When I turned on my computer, I found out my blog had been “outed” on a FB family forum by a well-meaning relative who posted a link to something I’d written about my grandparents — I guess she had found it through Google. Fortunately, she had only posted about 20 minutes before I saw it, & only one other person saw it that I know of. I’m an admin on the group, so I deleted both their posts & PMd them to say this was my infertility blog & I’d appreciate them not mentioning it to anyone else in the family. And then I took my blog private for the time being until I can figure out what I want to do next. 🙁

So if you or anyone else reading this is looking for me, you can contact me through e-mail, but I am lying low for a little while. I think I will eventualy put the blog back up, but I want to see if this blows over, & perhaps go through & look at & amen a few posts. i’m generally pretty careful about what I write about other people, and I knew it was likely I’d eventually be “discovered,” but I want to double-check. ; ) I know it’s not the end of the world, but it was a shock to the system after a long and crappy week. Not what I needed to come home to. :p I have asked Mel to post on LFCA too.

I am GLAD that I didn’t have a blood pressure cuff on my arm tonight. :p ; )

I am GRATEFUL for friends like you who encourage us to check in, Kathy. (((hugs)))

My only real plans for tomorrow are the usual cleaning & laundry. And maybe a visit to FIL. I hope you have a good weekend after a hard week!


3 christine April 21, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I am sorry that this past week was so hard for you, it is so completely understandable. I read Molly’s story and it was just so beautiful. I am so very sorry for your loss.

Sorry you are feeling lonely. I sometimes feel that way, too. Between being at home, working a thank-less job, and my infertility really fuels that fire. And I always find that cloudy weather makes it worse.

I hope you are enjoying a restful weekend!

ICLW #95


4 Justine April 21, 2012 at 11:04 pm

I’m so sorry that this anniversary has been a particularly hard one for you … and I’m continuing to keep you and your sweet angel in my thoughts, sending love and light.

This is such a wonderful idea, the gatekeeping. I know too many people who, even if they have public faces like blogs, suffer in silence, too. It’s always nice to be asked how you are feeling by someone who really wants to hear the answer to that question. I’ve been especially down on myself, lately … feeling lost between the not-being-employed and the stony silence in response to the applications I’ve sent out, lonely as a stay-at-home mom (much as I feel like it’s a gift), incompetent in that I seem unable to juggle everything and to even post regularly, and then the nagging little voice that tells me that what I post isn’t very good anyway … but also grateful for the beautiful weather of late, for the dandelions, and for my ability to get through a five mile run without feeling too sore or winded. Tomorrow I’m going to teach our coming of age class at church … and hopefully have an otherwise low-key day at home with the family. One foot in front of the other.
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5 St. Elsewhere April 23, 2012 at 3:45 am

I love the thought behind this series.

I am sure you miss Molly…and her birthday just passed by.

I am currently feeling a little disbelief that my time to go back to my abode has come. I am anxious about what the days ahead will bring. And every day I find it more and more difficult to leave the girl alone at home. I want to go back to work, but she does not sleep till I breastfeed. How I will I leave her in the care of someone is what really escapes me as of now. I am also concerned with my bleeding…it seems my uterus is screaming at me – I am here, I am here. I am happy that Figlia’s sleeping has become better…




6 St. Elsewhere April 23, 2012 at 3:47 am

‘leave the girl alone at home’ = leave the girl in the care of a nanny with neither hubby or me present….


7 Jen April 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Your post is truly inspiring and touching, and definitely made me sit and think for a few moments. I am so sorry you are missing your baby girl.
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