We had so many donations we had to stop by earlier in the week so it would all fit in our cars! THANK YOU!!

We had so many donations we had to stop by earlier in the week so it would all fit in our cars! THANK YOU!!

 Some of the donations and supplies delivered in those many bags and suitcases.

Some of the donations and supplies delivered in those many bags and suitcases.

 So many people made these care packages possible. We hope even the Kleenex offers a little hope.

So many people made these care packages possible. We hope even the Kleenex offers a little hope.

 Even after our early delivery, we had to take both cars to get all of these supplies to their new home!

Even after our early delivery, we had to take both cars to get all of these supplies to their new home!

 It was HOT!! Bill made sure the watermelon was good enough to serve. Ha!

It was HOT!! Bill made sure the watermelon was good enough to serve. Ha!

 A cooler full of watermelon and Flavor-Ice to offered a small break from the heat.

A cooler full of watermelon and Flavor-Ice to offered a small break from the heat.

 Every one of these suitcases, bags, and boxes were full of clothes, shoes, and necessary supplies.

Every one of these suitcases, bags, and boxes were full of clothes, shoes, and necessary supplies.

 This crew rocked it!

This crew rocked it!

 Should've had someone take this for us, but we swapped out the guys to get the job done. Ha!

Should've had someone take this for us, but we swapped out the guys to get the job done. Ha!

 Organizers extraordinaire!

Organizers extraordinaire!

 One of the things we do with every Nice On The 9th project is to include a handwritten note. This was one that went into the hygiene care packages for the guests of the Lottie House.

One of the things we do with every Nice On The 9th project is to include a handwritten note. This was one that went into the hygiene care packages for the guests of the Lottie House.

 Sorting clothes and keeping each other entertained.

Sorting clothes and keeping each other entertained.

 Delivering necessary items that are always needed. 

Delivering necessary items that are always needed. 

 Almost to the bottom of the piles!

Almost to the bottom of the piles!

 They asked for shoes!

They asked for shoes!

 Brightening days one shoe at a time!

Brightening days one shoe at a time!

 You guys did NOT disappoint! 

You guys did NOT disappoint! 

 The men's section.

The men's section.

 Our first shoe recipient!! Thanks for the donation, Mom! He loves his new shoes!

Our first shoe recipient!! Thanks for the donation, Mom! He loves his new shoes!

 Love their mission and this sign.

Love their mission and this sign.

 Getting it done!

Getting it done!

 The Lottie House security guard is my favorite. You guys should go visit just to meet this lady.

The Lottie House security guard is my favorite. You guys should go visit just to meet this lady.

 They said rolling suitcases were treasures so my sister posted a message on her neighborhood page and collected all of these!! Thank you!

They said rolling suitcases were treasures so my sister posted a message on her neighborhood page and collected all of these!! Thank you!

 More suitcase love.

More suitcase love.

 These volunteers didn't stop until the job was done!

These volunteers didn't stop until the job was done!

 One of the men's care packages.

One of the men's care packages.

 Service with a smile! 

Service with a smile! 

 This was the word on the Lottie House label maker when Adam turned it on! Can't make up this stuff!

This was the word on the Lottie House label maker when Adam turned it on! Can't make up this stuff!

 Added a few more bins to the supply closet!

Added a few more bins to the supply closet!

 One of the things we love about the Lottie House is all the activities guests can do when they visit. Karaoke fun or a quiet visit in the library. The choice is yours!

One of the things we love about the Lottie House is all the activities guests can do when they visit. Karaoke fun or a quiet visit in the library. The choice is yours!

 Caleb made sure we knew he was visiting, too. Hello little ladybug!

Caleb made sure we knew he was visiting, too. Hello little ladybug!

 And speaking of lady...

And speaking of lady...

 And we're done!!

And we're done!!

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 Included lots of resources for anyone who needs it. Share and share alike!

Included lots of resources for anyone who needs it. Share and share alike!

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Hi Baby. I love you. What a day. Even Mommy is worn out, and that is saying something. This month we decided to do something for people who are battling mental illnesses. I imagine you don’t see the sort of reports that usually make headlines here, but it’s been a really sad week here in America as we publicly feel the effects of just one of these serious illnesses. However, if there was ever a month to get people discussing topics that are taboo (that means they aren’t okay to talk about), this is it. We picked this subject before the world lost two famous people who hurt so much they couldn’t see any hope or a future past all of the pain. This is something Mommy DOES understand, especially since you’ve been gone, but it is one of the deep struggles of the brain that so many are suffering alone in silence. I never would have told you anything about this subject until you were older, but since you are forever 2, but I’ll do my best to open this messy can of worms and explain it in a way you might understand.

Suicide. It’s a word that hurts deeply. No one wants to talk about it even though it happens every day in our world. People who have never wrestled with severe depression that leads to this outcome or contemplation of this result don’t know its power. I DO know what it is like to feel so low I don’t want to live another second. Living without you is THE hardest thing I have to do every day. You made my life so much fun and brought me a kind of pure, joyful love I never knew was possible. It is a love I can’t adequately describe, Baby Boy. It is that good. Losing you and trying to wrap my mind around that concept is too much for me to handle by myself and it makes me want to be with you NOW. I miss you with every microscopic cell in my body and yes, there are so many days I don’t want to have to wait any longer. That is my reality, but as I already described in a recent post, you deserve for Mommy to keep sharing your love and telling the world about the most amazing, happy boy I’ve ever met.

People who have never walked in my shoes or those of so many others hear things like “you are so selfish,” or “you need to pray about it and have more faith.” They probably have good intentions, but they don’t understand what it feels like when someone like me is in a state where they have nothing left. They’ve never felt so depleted that they literally don’t have the capacity to care about anything. Anyone who has reached this point is not in their right frame of mind, but desperately need people who ARE to love and accept them for wherever they are in that moment.

The Lottie House does exactly that so we were so glad we got to visit them this month. Staci Willis, a Team Leader there sent me a message that said “It seems like such a good fit, I kept thinking about how you described Caleb, and even at his young age it seemed like he fulfilled our biggest mission, to meet people right where they are and love them without condition.” I know I told you this before, but it deserves to be mentioned again. Yes, you did this flawlessly, and we got to witness first-hand that they are succeeding in that motto, too. What a wonderful and necessary place they have provided for people most of society dismisses. They welcome and connect people and take them by the hand away from their darkest places.

Sometimes all we can do is wait. I hate waiting but that is how Mommy has made it this far. I wait until the chemicals in my brain rearrange themselves, until the hormones or lack of sleep bring me to a safer place, or until a safe person sits with me until another second, hour, or day has been beat. Not everyone has that last, most critical piece so I’m going to challenge anyone who reads this to reach out to someone they know may be having a rough time and become that safe person.

Maybe you are wondering what is this whole “mental illness” thing is anyway and what did we do in your honor? I thought about how I might describe this to you in a way you could understand, but I think you probably know a lot of things I haven’t given you proper credit for learning along the way.

I talked about the result of just one of the mental illnesses that plague people’s brains, but there are many others. When a person is experiencing these, they can make us feel overwhelmingly sad, angry, forgetful, scared, worried, unworthy, hopeless, and a variety of other emotions that can affect the way we think, feel, and behave. Not everyone has a mind that always thinks so clearly and beautifully as yours 100% of the time. Some of us struggle more than others, and it can make it harder for people to love us or be close to us, but as you taught me, we need to “be nice” anyway. I don’t always get this right but keep pushing me to keep giving it another shot when I fail.

We still need a lot of help from you, Caleb. This life isn’t like the dimension you are now in. Help us become a place where we don’t live in fear of seeking help because it would mean things like our employment being threatened if we actually took care of ourselves. If we want to label anything “crazy” it is not the people living with these mental illnesses, but the system that prevents proper treatment. Military, civilians with special clearances, and SOOOOOOOOOOOOO many others in various positions have to hide their true selves or avoid vital medication and treatment out of legitimate fear of losing their livelihood or leadership positions. You have a lot of friends with you now, so maybe you guys can get together and work on this for those of us who are still on this planet.

We will keep working on these things as well. I know everyone is capable of doing SOMETHING. Nine (ironic???) volunteers shared this vision in your honor on Saturday. We worked to try to make a few guests of the Lottie House a little more comfortable, so we hope you like what we did this month. Since it was 100 degrees, we brought an ice chest full of watermelon and Flavor-Ice for guests. Many of the people there have to walk or take a bus in the heat so they were grateful for the cold treats as soon as they walked in the door. We sorted the mountain of donations that so many in your fan club gave us, organized the library and craft room, and talked to a few new friends. We also brought care packages with things like shampoo, candy, and a personal note to let them know someone cares. It is something we like to do with every project because we know you always made it a point to put your personal touch on everything.

I miss your personal touch more than I can tell you, my sweet boy. I’m doing my best to do that FOR you now, but I know it’s not even close to the same. I’m not as good at this as you and I miss you giving Mommy those extra hugs and love when I needed them most. I tell everyone who will listen, but it’s true. Caleb, you had a sixth sense about what everyone needed and you had a way to give all of us exactly that. I still don’t know how you did it, but without even spending a dime or hours packaging goody bags, you gave every, single person you ever encountered true treasures that could never be found in any store.

I love you, Sweet Boy. God, I miss you.

I keep thinking about how you might have interacted with some of the guests there. They would’ve absolutely LOVED having you. They can’t allow children there, but I think you showed up anyway. Thanks for the ladybug tissue paper craft. You always find a way to let us know you are still doing things your own way and refusing to let the rules keep you from showing up.

Thank you for loving Mommy exactly how I am. You will always be my pride and joy and I will never stop telling everyone all about you. I’m thankful you never had to experience any of these mental illnesses, but I would hope that if you did, you would’ve known Mommy and Daddy would always be here for you no matter what. I know not even that is not enough for some people going through their own personal hell, so I’ve also included some resources and pictures that I hope direct people to finding professional help, especially people who are suicidal.

I love you. Happy 9th (a little late again)! I’m so proud of you, Angel Baby.

I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.
One day.

Love,
Mommy

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How to get help: In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.

In the US:
-Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, at any time, about any type of crisis

-The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

-The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386

Outside the US:
-The International Association for Suicide Prevention lists a number of suicide hotlines by country. https://www.iasp.info/

-Befrienders Worldwide
https://www.befrienders.org/

-Psychology Today
Find a local counselor. You can sort therapists by insurances accepted and specialty.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists

-Amwell
Online therapy from your couch
https://amwell.com/

In Oklahoma
http://www.mhaok.org/

Anywhere!
Be a safe friend and help someone who needs you.

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