It’s been 14 years…is it easier?

The pain was so great! I did not think I would be able to go on living without my son. But I have. How have I gone on living? One moment at a time. Then one hour at a time. Then one day at a time. And I continue that way, one day at a time.

Even though it is 16 years since Ryan died of a suicide by cocaine overdose, I am easily brought right back to that moment when triggered. The anniversary of his death, September 21st is still the worst day of the year. Yes, it is easier than it was, but the loss never leaves.

It was a traumatic death and one that I have learned to cope with and live with but I have been a changed person from that moment on. I will never be same person that I was before Ryan died. I’m different but I keep trying to find joy in life and hope for the future.

I think that one of the post trauma challenges that I am still working on, is the fear that one of my surviving children is going to die. This causes me to be a meddlesome over-worrying mother. I need to know where they are and that they are okay. I’m a little better at it and find prayer helps me a lot. I pray for them and leave them to God. They boys themselves are helpful because they get annoyed with me when I’m too controlling!

I won’t go into my loss of belief in God and how I have regained that because I’ve done that in previous posts but I am just happy that I now have a belief and a faith that is stronger than it was.

It’s a long road; that is how life is. It is a journey of valleys and hills. But there’s also the meadows.

I’ll always love you Ryan. I will always miss you. I will always keep your memory sweet inside me.

Youth Suicide Prevention

I want youth suicide to stop. I want our youth to feel hope, to feel loved, to look forward to a future of hope and love.

I am happy that there are others who feel this way also and that we have our youth suicide prevention committee going strongly here at our high school in this community. We call ourselves the “Life Savers” and use the candy as well as the flotation devises as logos and for promotional stuff.

New members are always welcome. And yes, the youth are the ones who must be involved and lead us in the issues they are facing and with ideas of how we can help.





End of the Ryan Tetlock Memorial Award

It was a superb way to remember Ryan and I recommend it to others totally.  My niece, Lisa, suggested it when Ryan died.  Because Ryan died of suicide, I wanted people to remember his great generous side and I wanted his brothers to remember this also.  So the Ryan Tetlock Memorial Award was started at the Red Lake District High School.  Our school gives out more than $40,000.00 a year in scholarships, bursaries and awards.  That is amazing for a small town.   We are fortunate that GoldCorp Inc., the big gold mine here, gives out a lot of money.  There are many businesses that are here and don’t give out squat.

Ryan died in 2006 and since the Memorial Award started, we have given out over $5000.00 to students who have contributed to drug and alcohol abuse or suicide awareness to Katherine Kiewning, Kasey Schnerch, Hilary Harward, Kate Morgan, Michaela James, Matthew Krumennacher.

For me, in my healing journey, the award has come to an end.  I would like to thank those  who have contributed to the award and those who have contributed to the fundraising for the award.

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Thank you Teachers

My twins have graduated. Whew!!  That is it, now on to the next chapter.  Andy has definite goals and plans and Ben is not sure yet.  I have to thank some fantastic teachers at Red Lake District High School for making this happen.  We are very fortunate to have teachers who truly care about the kids that they teach.  Many have gone above and beyond the call of duty.  Thank you Mr. Bausch! You have been a great mentor to the boys that you have coached and such a positive influence.  Thanks Mrs. Kristoff for all of the extra work that you do helping kids to get there.  Thanks also to Mr. Laevens, Ms. Marion,  Mrs Becker, Ms. Estabrooks, Mr. Grant, Mrs. Campbell, Ms. Fletcher and of course a great thanks to Principal Aileen Yakiwchuk.  I believe there are many others who I have missed and I thank you all!

At graduation yesterday, $76,000.00 was handed out in scholarships, bursaries and awards.  Isn’t that incredible!!  I was there to present the Ryan Tetlock Memorial Award of $500.00.  This is the last year that I will be giving this award.  I have given out about $5000.00 over the past seven years to seven students who have contributed to drug/alcohol abuse awareness and/or suicide awareness.  It has been a gratifying way to remember Ryan.  I hope that others will find that giving out these Memorial Awards is a terrific way to remember someone you love and help out a student with their education.  Most of the money given has scholarly attachments to it.  I find that the students who receive these awards are the ones who excel and that is great but they are also the kids who generally come from homes with parents who are well off, well educated people who are supportive of their children.  I am more concerned for those who might not have the top marks, support or anyone motivating them to continue on in school.  These kids need someone to help them to apply for the scholarships and there is a need for more awards that are geared towards them.

Good luck and congratulations graduates!

Thank you teachers everywhere!

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February 13, 1985 to September 21, 2006 = 21 Birthday Cakes

Ryan, you would be 28 years old!   I have lived on almost 7 years without you.

I made you 21 birthday cakes!

Taught you how to brush your teeth, tie your shoes

how to ride a bicycle and then drive a car

I sat up with you though every flu, the chicken pox

I watched every school play, every concert

Helped you with homework for 12 years

watched you graduate

But in my dreams at night these days

you are still three years old or four

My first born son

You loved the Simpsons and Ozzie Osborne and everything in the great outdoors.

We miss you.

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My song for Ryan,

For just one day, if I could have you here again

to see you smile, to hear you laugh, I’d give anything

but you’re gone somewhere I can’t go

on your own journey alone

you left behind the ones you loved

I wasn’t ready, I wasn’t prepared to let you go

for just one hour, if I could have you here again

to hear your voice to talk to you I’d give anything

but you’re gone somewhere Ican’t go

on your own journey alone

you left beind the ones who loved you

for just one minute, if I could have you here again

to touch your hair, to hold you tight, I’d give anything

but you’re gone somewhere I can’t go

on your own journey alone

you left behind, you left me behind

I wasn’t ready, I wasn’t prepared

to say goodbye

What Happened to this Girl

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she had dreams, she had vision

she wanted happiness, a future

a life filled with family, filled with children

of love and laughter and most importantly

of sharing

Sharing everything that might come

All of the hurt, the disappointment

the pain and the grief

that life most assuredly brings

but what happened along the way

life did not go the way that she planned

she had her children, her family as planned

and then one day everything changed

in the blink of an eye, just a word

changed the path and her journey

how did she go on?

how did she breathe?

how did the world keep on spinning

when everything changed


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I’m not done yet.

Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Jesus felt betrayed, forsaken and abandoned.  He felt alone and in a very dark place.  I’ve been there.  I can relate to Jesus.  I was taught that Hell is a place where there is no God.  That’s why it’s Hell.  God is not there.  I’ve been there too!  I’ve been to Hell!

I remember it well and I don’t want to ever go back there if that is possible.  The moment I knew my son was gone from this world, gone from me, forever, I felt the aloneness.  I felt abandoned.  I wondered if there ever had been a God.  Was it just wishful thinking?

God, why? Why Ryan? Are you there?  Why have you abandoned me?

No answer.

No answer.

Quietness.  Silence.  Stillness.

All I can hear is the beating of my heart.  Stop beating.  Why are you still beating?  Why don’t you stop?

God is not here anymore.

The pain is here.  An ache so strong inside that threatens to break my head in two pieces.  The pain is real.  It fills the emptiness inside.

It chokes the air from my lungs and clouds my eyes.  I cannot see anything in front of me.

Why have you forsaken me?

Yes, I’ve been to Hell and I don’t want to go back there.

But Life Goes On

Living with Drug Dealers

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It’s a beautiful day outside today.  The sun is shining, people are out ice fishing, sledding, skiing, walking and having fun.  Winter is long – so long, up here in the north that we take advantage of every perfect day that we can.  I have come back from my Sunday walk with my dog and feel refreshed, ready to go and tackle the world again.

When I look out at the world, now though, I see it through different eyeballs than I once did.  I appreciate more things did but I still struggle with some things.  That is true for many of us, I believe. Suicide leaves us with so many unanswered questions and it takes such a frigging long time to make peace with ourselves.  But by making baby steps, I can see the slow growth and progress.  Keep trying to go forward and get back up each time I fall down.

This brings me to the point that I have decided to talk about today.  It doesn’t matter whether you agree with me or not, it is part of my own journey.  I have to find a way to live in the same town with those people who I believe were partly responsible for my son’s death.  Yep, it’s true.  Since Ryan’s death, I have talked publicly about what happened and about my trying to find out what happened. It took a few years but I knew that eventually pieces of the puzzle would come together.  And they are.  No, I will never know the whole story because Ryan is not here to tell it to me but at least, I can find some closure in knowing more of the story.

The biggest shock to me when he died was the fact that he had been using drugs and that he overdosed on cocaine.  I’ve talked about that a lot, till I’m blue in the face.  I couldn’t figure out how he started using drugs and how he hid it from me. 

When one of Ryan’s friends was charged with trafficking, I finally figured it out.  He had told me that he knew nothing of Ryan’s drug use.  I never believed that because someone had to know something and most likely friends who were with him all the time would know of something. (I also know which friends truly cared about him and still do.)

He was found guilty of trafficking but given a conditional sentence.  A conditional sentence means that a bunch of conditions were put on him but he never had to serve any jail time.  I think if this was Texas, he’d be sitting in a prison for about 30 years.

I must say that I do not feel hatred to these people.  That has left me but I still feel resentment when I see him/them and I can never see Ryan again.  I know and understand and truly believe that Ryan is ultimately responsible for  the decision that he made on that night but I also believe that his friend, who he trusted and admired and looked up to, had a very big influence on Ryan’s drug use.  It’s kinda obvious now.  I just hope that he can not do this to another young person in my community.

So having said all that, I will leave it to rest for now.  This blog is not about hatred, it’s about healing and moving on which is what I am trying to do since I might have another 40 years on this planet.