Remember to say I love you

I woke up this morning to learn a friend of mine has suffered two strokes and is now, as I write these words, in a drug-induced coma.  Right-sizing experiences like these remind me – and I would hope and pray they would remind anyone – that holding off on letting people know you love them is a tectonic mistake in judgment.

Grudges over  past missteps and “bruises” – real or imagined – impede far too many people from letting people know they are loved.  When you let someone know  you love them,  you will not always hear or read the same in return. Please don’t let that stop you from telling them they are loved. Who knows what wounds live in the minds of others, and impede them from saying I love you too? And then again, maybe they don’t. And that’s okay too.

Life happens to us whether we like it or not. We have say in how we respond to it.

Pray for my friend, please. He’s a truly good man. First thing I’m going to tell him when I see him is, “I love you, brother.”

Posted in friendship, love, love with all your might, str, strokes | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Where are you?!

Where are you?

On this, the twenty-third anniversary of the day you committed suicide, I ask, where are you?

You are missed by many (me!) beyond words, beyond the reach of creativity, beyond the reach of thought and emotion. It is your being, you, that we miss. You were and are loved, more than you knew, because, as you said, you did not believe anyone loved you. You were as mistaken and as flatly wrong in that believe as those who believed, with every honorable fiber of their being, that the world was flat.

I have slept a great deal today. When awake I find myself remembering the day you left this world, and I am immobilized. I remember being on the phone with someone and hearing my poor sister – your daughter! – in the background, wailing in agony. My little sister shattered. I could not rescue her.  And, God forgive me, I could not rescue you.

In our hours and hours of magical conversation those last ten years I told you once that the day you died would be one of the biggest blows of my life. You were utterly baffled. “Why?” you asked.  And in that moment I knew that you really didn’t understand, believe, how much I loved you and how much my sister and her children and my daughter loved you. How much your brother’s wife and children loved you. How much so many people loved you. Love for you was a foreign language you’d never learned. It was, I believe, your undoing.

Your son and daughter are doing better than anyone expected. You would be deeply proud of your daughter. I am. And we both know you loved us. And while I can’t speak for my sister, I think it safe to say we both wished you’d been able to not just believe, but fully know, that no son and daughter ever loved their mother more than we loved you – and still love you.

I miss you, Mommy.

Where are you?

Posted in mother, mother's day, mother's suicide, mothers and daughters, suicide | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Donald Trump, a sociopath?

If cruelty were a crime, Donald Trump should be serving life.

I cannot begin to describe the boiling rage I felt when I heard Donald Trump insult Senator John McCain and all veterans and all POWs by saying, “I like people who weren’t captured,” clearly and knowingly implying that being taken prisoner in war is a failing of some kind. 

Given the brutality of his comment, one wonders if Trump is a sociopath, absent all empathy for others, . The history of POWs is saturated with stories of experiences so beyond the reach of words horrifying, hell itself might have been an improvement. Will Trump apologize? No, of course not, because he is a sick, nasty, wimp of a man.

To give you an glimpse of what POWs have been through, this picture was taken of two American POWs during the Bataan Death March.

hist_us_20_ww2_pic_philippines_san_thomas

POWs, failures?  Not in my world. In my world they are role models, symbols of hope, reminders of what we as people can endure. Donald Trump…well, back in the day we’d say he needs a good ass whoopin. Hell, he needs an ass whoopin right now.

Posted in Donald Trump, McCain, MIAs, POWs, prisoners of war | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Exposing the salaries of NY State Dept. of Health officials

In a recent advocacy-email to  individuals involved with New Yorkers with brain injuries, I revealed the annual salary of a New York State Deputy Dept. of Health Commissioner Mark Kissinger.  A few people whose opinions I deeply respect and value called into question my decision to reveal Kissinger’s salary. As a result, I’ve given the matter a great deal of thought.

After doing so I arrived again at the belief that exposing his salary and the salary of others is not only the right thing to do, it is the just thing to do.

It would be a mistake to conclude my decision to reveal Kissinger’s salary was a kneejerk impulse on my part. It wasn’t. The genesis of the decision, and the continued foundation of the decision can be found by looking at one simple fact. The salaries of state employees are available to the public because they are being paid to serve the public. A visit to the website for the New York State Committee on Open Government reveals that nearly all records are available to the the public – including salaries. Therefore, the following line of reasoning holds no water for me. Salaries are available to the public but one is being unfair or unjust if they actually inform the public. 

I think New Yorkers have a right to know what their  state employees being paid. I think their right to know, and the importance of them knowing, goes up notch when, as in this case, th state employees are preparing – with what a reasonable person would believe is Governor Andrew Cuomo’s blessing – to demolish the lives of thousand of New Yorkers on the state’s Traumatic Brain Injury Waiver, and  put some of those trying to provide needed services to these men and women out of business for good measure.

The  NYSDOH has drafted a plan (without the input of stakeholders, including neurologists and neuropsychologists and without referencing a single study regarding traumatic brain injury, to transfer thousands of New Yorkers with brain injuries into managed care) that will not include the very services these individuals need and quire frankly deserve to remain in the community.

As a native New Yorker, I want to know how much money you’re getting paid to wreck the lives of thousand of my New Yorkers.

I do very much understand the concern of a few close to me over my decision to reveal Kissinger’s salary. They’re not comfortable with it, in many respects because each of them is a decent, caring, sensitive-to-others person.  I am very fortunate to have people like this in my life.

There is yet another reason for my decision. I know many, many New Yorkers with brain injuries. Many of them and a large number of their family members are my friends. People I  love and care about. So, if our friends are the family we pick, then the NYSDOH is looking to destroy the lives of some of my family members. And, yes, that makes me mad.

So, here’s some information for you; the rounded off salaries in 2014 for the following DOH staff:

Valerie Deetz, $120,000;  Jason Helgerson, $163,000;  Maribeth Gnozzio, $86,000,: Sue Kelly, $162,000; Mark Kissinger, $163,000.   This comes to a total of $694,000. In other words, more than a half million New York dollars are being paid to the very people pushing a plan that will destroy the lives of thousands of New Yorkers and put a fair number of New York companies out of business.

I think that should make any New Yorker mad. Hell, I think it should make any decent human being mad.

 

Posted in New, New York State Department of Health, TBI, TBI Waiver | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Donald Trump’s prayer

I have reason to suspect there came a time when Donald Trump said the following prayer as he was preparing to announce his candidacy for the presidency of the United States.

Dear God,

I know you’re listening because I donate so much money to churches you’d be stupid not to. I mean no disrespect, God, but you were stupid inventing Mexicans and I mean to set the record straight in my announcement speech. I was going to make my announcement sooner but I want those lazy workers shining up that escalator because there is no doubt I’ll be making an entrance that will go down in history. 

Anyway, this isn’t exactly a new kind of prayer from me, as you’ll see, God, because it is all about me and that, as you should have learned by now, is how it should be. So here goes.  Help me do things and say things that people think I should be embarrassed to say and do. Most people are stupid, Lord, and haven’t figured out that if I’m not embarrassed about this whacky comb-over of mine, there’s not a whole helluva lot that’s going to embarrass The Donald. But, I digress. Help me be up front about the hypocrite I know I am and am glad I am.”

Suddenly,  honesty made an appearance, albeit a brief one, in The Donald’s prayer.

“Most of all, help me get lots of attention making an ass of myself and embarrassing myself across the country and in front of millions. Some newspaper out of England, the Guardian, asked me for my birth certificate and I told those Limeys to stuff it. I’m riding that escalator to my presidency announcement and hiring actors to applaud me. I want to make the biggest ass of myself I possibly can, God. Please help me do this.

My best to your son. Amen.”

I think it’s safe to say God heard his prayer.

Posted in Donald Trump, the guardian, trump, Trump birth certificate | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment