This is my gorgeous grandmother who I called "Mom"
This picture was taken in front of my studio apartment in Morro Bay about 15 years ago. It was my dream to come to the Central Coast of California after I got sober. My grandparents lived here and when we came to visit from southern California I fell in love with it. I love the weather here and the ocean and mountains. What is not to love about the central coast of California? I want to spend the rest of my days here near my paradise "Goleta".

I am writing this letter to my Mom because my Grief Counselor suggested that I do this. I am to write the letter like she was right here with me and that I am talking to her in person. A lot of you know through previous blogs that I have posted that my Mom committed suicide over a year ago, shot herself in the heart. It has been something that has haunted me and disturbed me. I was going though trying to survive being homeless recently and have been in a survivors mode for the last year and unable to really process this grief. I am new to grief anyway and have had a number of family and friends die in the last couple of years. I have had a hard time really learning how to deal with grief because I never really had to before. I guess this is one of the things you have to start to deal with as you age, I am 40 now and like my Dad says people start to "ripen" and fall off the tree. 

As I have written these blog posts I have had some really wonderful people on the net write to me and give me words of encouragement and there personal insights on grief and I am so appreciative of this! Thank you all! One person in particular John told me of his person story of family suicide ( I won't go into his details). The e-mail that he wrote came to me at the perfect time, I like to call those things "God Shots" you know when you get correspondence from someone that just hits it home and is the perfect thing you need at that moment. He is a good friend and I hope to collaborate with him some day soon when I can get back into my art again. He suggested the book " The Power of Now" wonderful book and I really suggest it to anyone for any reason! It is all about living in the present moment and who can not benefit form this? Anyway, I am 1/2 way through the book and enjoying every word as though God sent me this message and it is something that I need to incorporate into my life right now. Thank you John! :)

 Dear Mom,

I love you so much "As High as the Sky". I was thinking about this letter this morning being Sunday the morning before I am supposed to meet with my grief counselor (putting it off) again. I find that I have been putting off thinking about your death cuz it disturbs me. You always told me from our Mormon background that suicide is a sin and that it is very selfish. I guess this family belief is instilled in the deepest part of me and that is the main reason why I don't want to think about it. I also don't want to think about it because I hate to even consider you being in that state of mind and not picking up the phone to call me before you felt so desperate as to end your life. I know that we were not talking but you knew that you could call me and I would be there for you. I know that a part of you didn't call me and stayed in Utah because you wanted me to have my life and not be hindered by having to take care of you. Something I wish you would have thought differently about. I would not have minded that at all. I always enjoyed your company. I have to say I did not just toward that later part of your life enjoy you because you turned into a "mean drunk" when you had to take all the pain pills. I know you had to take them and that is why I was never mad at you. When you took them you immediately turned into that mean drunk and that is a shame for you and for me... I also have my own experience with pain pills and detoxing form them 3 different times when I was going through my hip surgeries so I know what it is like. I am not going to go into any other bullshit of why we didn't talk the last couple of years of your life because it really doesn't mean a whole lot now that you are gone. 

I was thinking this morning smoking my cigar about what I was going to go write about. I thought what about the book "The Power of Now" and what I have been learning. The first thing that pops up in my mind is not the last part of your life when we were not talking but the rest of my life as a child up to about 3 years ago. These years were all positive and loving and I am so grateful for all that time. You always loved me I think just as much as my Mother. I love it that I called you Mom because you really were my second Mom you were there just as much as my Mother. You both loved me unconditionally and taught me so much about love.  You always kissed me and were happy to see me. You told me recently that I was the brightest part of your life. You always needed to know that I loved you and we had a bond that will never end. I feel you here with me. I want to take those memories with me now into the world and live in the present moment. I don't want to dwell on the recent past of you having to take pills and being sick. I would rather think more about the good times. I need to look at your death and I am able this morning to picture you ending your life and a little of the despair you must have felt in those last moments. Until this day I have not been able to really hold that image in my mind. I understand why you killed yourself. Oh and by the way I don't think it is a sin anymore. I think God loves us all and that sometimes toward the end of our life we are in such pain that suicide can seem like the only way out. I have had those feelings too and could have done it when I was on pills so I do really understand your mindset. I have to look at it as I would look at any other addicts death and that is they are all good people and I am not dead because by the GRACE of God I am sober today. What God does with each individual person and there relationship with them I can not change. The Serenity prayer tells me that. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change - (People places and things). I can't change the fact that you decided to end your life. I can accept the fact that God loves you and you are with him and that is about all I can do because I am not God and not you.  So back to the good things, I really only remember good things. I am 40 years old and I had say 37 great years with you as my Mom. Howe many people can say that? Not to many people, that makes me a very lucky person to have such a wonderful family for all those years. Now I can go into my "getting older years" and design my own family and what that new one looks like. AA is my first family and I will always have that and will never be truly alone which is a great comfort to me. My Mother gave me that gift. I will list out SOME of the great things/thoughts over the years:

1. From the time I can remember you always - ALWAYS loved me unconditionally and always kissed and hugged me when you saw me. You always truly wanted me around you and wanted me in your life. 
2. You were always so excited about Christmas, you were the first one up and you were already awake when I called you about 5:00AM every Christmas to come over and get started opening our presents. 
3. You always supported me in my dreams of owning my own business and tried to teach me about Real Estate and good business practices. 
4. You showed me how a real LADY acted and you were always so glamorous and classy. 
5. I did enjoy our bad habit of smoking at the kitchen table and the many wonderful talks we had about everything under the sun. I always loved that too that I could tell you ANYTHING and that you would listen and really try to help me. 
6. You taught me how to listen to other people.
7. You taught me about God and the Gospel and showed me how to pray and "include God into my life" you always used to say all God wants is for you to include him in your life. You taught me about being reverent and humble.
8. You taught me how to have a real family and have family dinners and to love each other unconditionally. You showed me that you (the woman) of the family were the real glue and the ones that controlled things. 
9. You were always smart and let Popo think he was the man of the house and were humble enough to do the work behind the scenes and not take the credit. 
10. You were a wealth of knowledge and knew more than anyone else did. 
11. You were my Mom and I love you very much and I will take you with me from this point on. I will die with you by my side and I look forward to hugging you and kissing you in heaven.

You were always there for me and I feel bad that you would not let me be there for you but that was your choice. A choice that I believe was again in my best interest like all the choices you made for our family. I love you and always will as high as the sky! Matt