the anti-suicide squad

Over the last few weeks, I have cringed every single time I have seen a movie trailer, interview, promotional material or review for the recently released movie: Suicide Squad.

suicide squad
photo credit: google images

I’ll be honest, I really have no idea what the movie is about other than it seems to have some comic book villains and Will Smith is one of the stars. I love Will Smith and I’m sure the movie will do really well at the box office.

Maybe if I was familiar with these characters and the plot the title wouldn’t bother me so much.


Probably not though.

It’ll probably be one of those words that just really bothers me the rest of my life.

It has affected too many of our family members.

I will probably always cringe when I hear the word: suicide.

But, I won’t stop saying the word.

I won’t stop fighting or fundraising or learning or sharing or walking in an attempt to prevent suicide.

And, our team, our squad, is back again this year…

Choosing Grace 2015

We are the Anti-Suicide Squad and we are BADASS.

We are Choosing Grace.

IMG_6948For more information on how you can join us in Chicago on October 15th and/or donate (we have a long way to reach our goal!), please click on this link: or visit and enter “Choosing Grace” to find our team.

weekly rak up

#206. Sent a thank you to a friend to thank her for a very thoughtful and generous gift.
#205. Asked manager to turn down volume when everyone in the theater was plugging the ears from deafening sound. She was so nice about it and checked in on us afterwards.

the regret

google images


Last night, toward the end of a very productive writers’ workshop, our instructor gave us what initially seemed like a pretty innocent prompt:

“What is your biggest regret?”

I quickly turned the page of my little notebook and started writing furiously across the paper…

For some reason, I always imagine that this individual was a young woman taking her dog for an early morning walk on the beach. Maybe she was lost in thought, perhaps she was running through her “to do” list for the day or maybe she was just trying to calm her mind…the lake is the perfect place for quiet reflection.

But then she stops.

What the heck is that?

She starts walking again, more slowly this time, and as she makes her way to the other end of the beach, she is getting closer to what looks like a large pile of clothes on the shore. Her dog is also very curious about what it is and tugs on his leash so that he can get a better look

I stop writing and sit quietly.

I’m stuck.

How do I write about this regret?

I literally want to bang my head on the table to get it out, but I’m afraid I might scare these more composed writers who are quietly sitting around the table writing furiously about their own regrets. These are nice women, I don’t want to scare them – at least not yet.

I am slowly starting to recognize something…while I may put a lot out there, I’ve become quite the expert in compartmentalizing. That is, I file away my many errors in judgement, my most painful memories and my feelings in a “box” with the intent of dealing with it some other day. And like so many of the other things I file away, I eventually forget about it. That is, I think I forget about it, but it’s still there.

I’m beginning to think that I need some of this information and that “some other day” has finally arrived.

After sitting for a moment, I decided to cut to the chase and just write down the first regret that came to my mind and the one that has haunted me for twenty-two years:

I regret that never got to meet the person who found my brother’s body.

This may sound odd to many, I know, but I think of “her” often and wonder if she still thinks about what she discovered that morning. Does she have nightmares about what she found? Does she ever wonder about us? Is it protocol for the Chicago Police Department to follow up with the person who places the call to say they made a positive identification? Did they share with her that the “unidentified body” she found was a 19-year-old boy? Would she want to see a picture of my brother with his striking grey-blue eyes and ever-present Cubs cap? Will she ever know how grateful I am that she didn’t just keep walking?

I couldn’t possibly ask those questions twenty-two years ago, as I was quite literally paralyzed by my grief.

I couldn’t have known at the time that my inaction would cause me to wonder about this complete stranger for so many years.

Are we connected by my brother for a reason?

Does this stranger have any regrets?

I will only find out if I confront my own regrets.