• Fall 2017
    As November 9, 2017, marks 5 years ago that Billy transitioned to the afterlife, I thought I would share some of the knowledge and wisdom that I have aquired from the intense pain which is balanced daily with “hard love” (yes, that is a song reference from Needtobreathe). I have learned that the beautiful souls who come into our lives as a result of our tragedy, or those friends we consider family that remain in our lives after tragedy, are on our path for a reason…whether we are here for them, or they are here for us.  We are learning from each other and we are connected in this classroom of life. I have learned that as different as we are from each other is how differently we grieve as well.  I have made the choice to grieve rather publicly with facilitating our GRASP bereavement group.  My main reason for starting this group was to help others understand that the Disease of Addiction is not a choice.  Those who have died from Addiction Disease should be mourned and remembered with love, dignity and honor.  Those with eyes of judgement looking at the addicted as a weaker being with no morals, display an ignorance that cannot be disputed. I have learned that although we are not taught about death in school, and our culture considers it “taboo” to discuss death, we will all learn in time when the sharp stinging heartbreaking pain of losing someone we love will affect our life in ways we never imagined.  How we choose to handle this heartbreak will make all the difference in how the rest of our life is lived, as well as how our loved ones are remembered. I believe it is in this pain that we can be transformed, if we allow ourselves to “feel” all of the emotions.  Our courage brings tears, and in the tears we evolve….and just maybe our purpose in life changes.  Perhaps the gift of Billy’s life was to do just that for so many. There is no doubting how much we miss his love, his smile, that crazy sense of silly humor, his kindness and caring, his genuine sincerity, his loyalty, his truth and vulnerability…..all that was Billy.  But, I find a deep strength in knowing his life was not in vein….No life is lived in vein.   Our culture has this preconceived notion that a well lived life is a “long” lived life.  A life with little pain and much wealth, success and happiness is a life that has been blessed.  Let me be the first to tell all of you, that blessings come in many forms. Blessings come in the pain and heart ache, blessings come in the trials and sorrow, blessings come in the gratitude and love. I recently began using an acronym F.E.A.R : Face Everything and Rise…….in the wake of our journey through Brian’s illness.  Billy’s courage facing an illness that we knew so little about will always haunt my rational brain.  However, there is a place in my soul that knows his physical life and gentle spirit, did not deserve a lifetime of suffering.  Billy lived, loved and made some amazing friends.  Forever friends are not easy to come by, but Billy knew the value of the bond with his brothers and sisters.  Our family has been so grateful through these years to become a family with these beautiful souls, always connected with our love for Billy.  And a very special thank you to all of our loving friends, FB friends, and family who have remained close by our side with love and support, we will always be forever grateful for your presence in our lives. Debbie
  • May 2018
    Friday night we welcomed Debbie, Lucretia and John to our meeting.  Beginning the meeting with a piece that I have attached to this email by “Scribbles and Crumbs”…..keeping my focus on gratitude and the power of love, I know that this place I’ve created takes much work.
    As we went around the room as we always do, I took away the fact that each one of us not only has our own “coping skills,” we also create the story that helps us find a place where some peace resides.  For some, they may blame their loved ones.  Other’s blame our Government, Mental illness, their loved ones friends, the dealer, the list goes on.  Some look to their faith and the idea of a “destiny,” that we have no control over.  Spiritual growth during this journey can be looked at as blessing and gift, for this can bring about an awareness and enlightment that can battle the darkness of death.  Whatever story you choose to live with, there is one component that we all can agree on and that is the Love we have for our loved ones!  As the meeting was concluding, I mentioned a song that has resonated with me not only after Billy passed, but as we face Brian’s illness head on.  The song is “Hard Love” by Need to Breathe.  I believe it was used in the movie “The Shack” It is not a religious song….  I promised to attach the link in this follow up – just click   NEEDTOBREATHE – “HARD LOVE (feat. Andra Day)” [Official Video] 
    Wishing everyone some Peace in the Storm,
  • April 2018
    Friday night we welcomed Jeannette and Barbara to our meeting with open arms and sympathetic hearts.  While many of our meetings consist of parents who have lost a child or children, we have had many siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins as well as friends attend.  We empathized with Barbara as she shared the loss of her two brothers. We know very well as parents that the siblings carry not only their own heavy heart, but also the hearts of their Mother’s and Father’s.  And, in many situations, the sibling(s) can feel the responsibility and guilt from the loss.
    I began the meeting with an article that suggested the power of journaling and living with gratitude.  “No child dies without a legacy and a purpose for those that are left behind.  It’s up to you, whether you are a Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother, etc., Honor your loved one by healing….They wouldn’t want it any other way.” –  Sandy Peckinpah.
    Understanding that there is no right or wrong way to grieve, we try our best to navigate and cope “the best we know how.”  Some will stay as busy as they can not to feel the pain, while others sit in the pain and may not be able to return to work too soon. Jeannette shared with us “those who are able to cry are very fortunate.” We are all different, we all grieve different.  As we went around the room in conversation, the word “guilt” was brought up over and over again. We can try to rationalize with ourselves that we did everything we could for our loved ones, but we may still harbor the feeling of regret and guilt.  The only true way you will free yourself from this feeling of burden is by forgiveness.  Forgive yourself for whatever it is that you feel guilty about…tough love, enabling, not knowing everything!  “Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness!”Maya Angelou.
    I have attached the link to the documentary that I spoke of entitled : Heal  There are a number of ways to view this and I highly recommend it.  Heal documentary | A film about the power of the mind
    Wishing you Peace,
  • January 2018
    Friday night we gathered with our many members….the first meeting of the New Year, and the realization that each “New Year” will now be measured by our loss and grief.  I began the meeting with reassurance to all who routinely come to our meetings, as well as those who periodically attend, that we will “always be here” in this space the 3rd Friday of each month.  Both Larry and I are committed to our GRASP group, and we are grateful to all of you for allowing us to be part of your journey.  I have told you all time and time again, that you continue to help us as well.
    I read a quote from the article I have attached to this email,  “Grief does not change you…it reveals you” – John Green *  From the early days of my journey through pain and sorrow I have known deep inside that the rawness of my pain combined with the LOVE I have for my son Billy, brought forth an enlightenment and awareness that was overwhelmingly present in everything I began to do to honor his life and survive this horrific tragedy.  The lives who walk with me, have also experienced many epiphanies and have grown these past 5 years with a deeper understanding of life.  “And herein lies the gift that cannot die.  It changes the course of your life forever.  If you allow yourself the chance to feel it for as long as you need to – even if it is for the rest of your life – you will be guided by it.  You will become someone it would have been impossible for you to be, and in this way your loved one lives on, in you.
    We come together at our monthly meetings to support each other, to cry and sometimes laugh.  We understand and share this unimaginable pain, and we know that our thoughts and feelings are safe with each other.  The outside world can be cruel to our circumstance…. whether people say the wrong thing, talk behind our backs, or say nothing at all….who cares???  We can rise above their insensitivity and take care of ourselves!  Remember baby steps “day by day.”
    Debbie and Larry Garceau
    South Shore GRASP
  • December 2017
    Although the weather was not cooperative this past Friday night, we did have a nice show of members for our Annual Holiday gathering at our home.  Food was abundant, including a special “spicy” delivery from our friend Bennett who wasn’t able to join us.  Our new puppy “Link” kept all of us alert and moving (lol), and Mike brought up a great point about animals…each one of them live in the present moment. They don’t think about the past or the future, just the here and now.  While I realize that we aren’t “programmed” that way as humans, perhaps we can take some advice from the animal kingdom as it can only help our mental well being!
    Yes the Holiday’s have arrived…for those who celebrate Hanukkah it’s in full swing, with Christmas just around the corner along with the “here it comes” Happy New Year (ughhh). Each one of us know the Holiday’s are changed for us.  Our time is spent perhaps reflecting on the many special days we once had with our loved ones.  We go through the motions for our remaining living family, but maybe if we had the choice we would just check out till after the New Year.  Personally, I find each year very different in the way I feel and my perception of the time of year.  Some years I feel like I need to be the “pillar” of the family, and some years I need to be taken care of.  This year I’m in the “let’s get this over with” mode.  More than likely it’s because I have many physical demands caring for Brian. My advice is whatever you are feeling, go with it.  Trust your gut and take it easy on yourself.
    We all know the Holiday’s increase our stress and sorrow (if that’s even possible) even more.  Coming together with our group members as we did gave us a very secure and safe place to be ourselves without having to be “on guard” from inappropriate comments. I for one, completely enjoyed last Friday.
    I hope each of you are able to surround yourselves with those who are supportive and gentle with your heart this holiday season.  We are certainly here for those who choose to show compassion, and allow them to show us their hearts.
    Debbie and Larry Garceau
    South Shore GRASP