Silence isn’t Golden: A Public Service Announcement about Suicide from A Friend “Left Behind”

This post is very difficult to write.  In fact, I’m not sure that I should even be posting it.  Unfortunately, the message behind it is one that is too important and must be shared.

I have struggled with depression in my lifetime.  My life has been a series of roller coaster rides.  I’ve had depression that lasted for months on end, but things always managed to get better and I moved on.  This month, however, has been a particularly difficult one for me.  I lost two friends to suicide in a matter of just a few weeks.

She was helping me to improve my quality of life.

I found out about the first death on Facebook in the week following Thanksgiving after she hadn’t returned any of my calls or texts.  She was more than just a friend to me; she was also my neighbor and personal trainer. She was helping me to improve my quality of life.  So when I tried to find out why she wasn’t returning my calls and texts and missed our appointment, I completely fell apart.

The next few weeks were not easy.  I met with my health professionals and was only starting to heal when I got a call earlier this week at about 2:30 in the morning: another friend had passed away.

Suicide isn’t an easy topic to me to discuss.  This may be because it has never affected me personally before.  I knew it existed.  I knew people who knew people who had done it.  I even had a neighbor in my previous residence who had done it, but I have never been the one who was “left behind” before.  Now that it has and now that I am, I feel the need to share my experience and reach out to others.

Suicide, or the act of intentionally taking one’s own life, is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.  The symptoms my friends displayed included difficulty with interpersonal relationships, unbearable physical pain, and withdrawing from family and friends.  Unfortunately, these are also symptoms of other difficulties, so it would have been difficult to know what they were thinking.  In hindsight, all of the signs were there, all over the first friend’s Facebook page.  The goodbyes, the unbearable pain; it was all there, and I can’t help but think that had I seen it sooner, I would have run over to her place and stopped her.


One of my best friends often tells me that she frequently calls a suicide prevention hotline.  She has been calling this particular number for years.  She is not suicidal and has told me that she would never even consider it for herself, but she calls the number when she needs someone to talk to.  Sometimes we all just need an unbiased ear to vent to; someone who is not our mother, doctor or friend to unload on who will listen and advise without taking a side.

I am ending this post, since I am at a loss for words. I wish that there was something I could have done, but I know that their deaths are not my fault.  Now I can only hope for comfort and strength for the families who are affected by their losses.  I can educate, advocate and help others in the future.


If You Know Someone in Crisis
“Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to everyone. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. All calls are confidential. Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency.  Learn more on the NSPL’s website.” The National Institute of Mental Health


MedlinePlus (December, 2017). Suicide. Retrieved December 22, 2017 from

CDC/National Center for Health Statistics (March, 2017). Leading Causes of Death. Retrieved December 22, 2017 from

The National Institute of Mental Health (March 2017). Suicide Prevention. Retrieved December 22, 2017 from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (May, 2017). 10 Leading Causes of Death by Age Group, United States – 2015. Retrieved December 22, 2017 from

Further Reading and Resources

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:


Veterans Crisis Line:



How to Make Your Dream Blog an Online Reality

So I’m writing this proposal of an idea to help get a local poetry group and its associated newspaper and photography groups online with a blog of their own.  I wrote it using the blog feature of a word processor and am about to save it and send it off in an email when I give it a read through and I realize, this isn’t just a proposal saying “Pick WordPress; It’s Awesome,” this is an actual “WordPress for Newbies” list!  I also thought, wouldn’t this make an awesome post for those who are considering starting a blog of their own?

Proposal to bring South Orange Expressionists and The Writer’s Block Online

  1. Find a blog host. I recommend It’s pretty. It’s neat, and it’s easy to use. I have used blogger before. The difference between the two from what I have found is that on, you can use html JavaScript codes within your posts. With, you cannot.
  2. Choose whether or not you would like your site to have its own domain. A domain name is Mine is, or my naked domain is I bought this domain back when I hosted it at, which is run by Google, and I continue to pay $10 a year for it. When I decided to switch over to, I had to map it with a fee of an additional $13 dollars a year.You don’t have to buy a domain name! Should you decide not to have one, the blog will be It will be free, but you may be limited as to what you can do with it, how much storage space you get with it, etc. I would look into the best options first. Should you choose buying a domain with, I would recommend the $18/year option.
  3. If you don’t like WordPress, you can see what Blogger has to offer for prices and what it has available to its users.
  4. This is what my Dashboard looks like.  This homepage shows you your most recent stats. Which posts are getting the most hits, visitors and views, how many comments need approval before they become public (depending on your settings), and how many the spam filtering system caught. (Believe me, I get way more attention from spammers than I do followers!) Also, if you click on the details of the stats, you can also find out from which countries your viewers are visiting from and from which websites and search engines did they find your posts! You can also find out which search terms people are using to find your posts. It’s really cool.
  5. This is what drafting a post looks like. With “Add Media,” you can add photos, videos, tweets and more from many places on the internet, which I think would be an incredible asset for the photography group as well as the Newspaper group. If someone is interviewing someone, we can include the video in the article. In the print version of the newsletter, we would tell people to “Catch the LIVE video online!”
  6. Last, but not least, the preview:
  7. By the way, the design, the template (the look), and the widgets on the left pane can be customized at any time, as many times as you want. There are many to choose from and they can fit the needs of the blog. For example, an Instagram widget can come from an Instagram account for the photography group. Or you can add more than one Instagram account for the photography group. The same goes for the Facebook Pages. For the Pinterest widget, I had to get creative, since I can’t use JavaScript with widgets. (Only will allow you to do that and to have that, you need more money and a different host site. That’s a whole other ballgame for me right now. If you choose to do that, you will get your own domain name, more customizable options, and you can either set the whole thing up yourself and download the software, or have the host do it all for you.)

I made this particular blog post (draft) using Microsoft Word 2013, which has a blog feature that you can use to connect to your own blog from different blog sites, including WordPress, Blogger and others. I now realize that I really don’t need the software after all. Ha!

Team New Jersey Takes Home the Gold in More Ways than One at the Special Olympics 2014 USA Games!

First of all, I would like to congratulate ALL of the champions who have participated in this national event. I was at the Opening Ceremonies on June 15th, where law enforcement representatives and athletes from throughout the United States, who ran together for the Law Enforcement Torch Run, brought the Flame of Hope to light the cauldron at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.  It was spectacular!

Special Olympics 2014 USA Games Law Enforcement Torch Run: The Flame of Hope is Lit.

Special Olympics 2014 USA Games Law Enforcement Torch Run: The Flame of Hope is lit.

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2014 Special Olympics USA Games & ShopRite Unveil Commemorative Wheaties Box | Special Olympics 2014


Commemorative Box Features Special Olympics New Jersey Basketball Player Michael Reed

2014 Special Olympics USA Games & ShopRite Unveil Commemorative Wheaties Box | Special Olympics 2014

Commemorative Box Features Special Olympics New Jersey Basketball Player Michael Reed


ShopRite, the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, and General Mills announced today the creation of a limited edition, commemorative Wheaties box in celebration of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games. This limited edition box, which will be sold exclusively in ShopRite stores, features Michael Reed, a Special Olympics New Jersey basketball player who is competing in the 2014 USA Games. The 2014 USA Games will be held June 14-21 in Mercer County, NJ and will feature nearly 3,500 athletes from throughout the U.S. competing in 16 different Olympic-style sports.


A little about what to expect at this year’s National Games:


The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games is 52 days away from the commencement of the largest, most innovative and inspirational national event to be held in the history of Special Olympics in the United States. From June 14-21, America’s Champions will be revealed at a historic, life and perception-changing event as nearly 3,500 Special Olympics compete with the support of 1,000 coaches, 10,000 volunteers and an anticipated 70,000 spectators.

Upon arrival, athletes will encounter a world-class sporting event that celebrates and showcases their talents, while empowering the nation to join in building communities of respect and acceptance. The 2014 USA Games will be held throughout Mercer County, NJ including competitions at Princeton University, Rider University, The College of New Jersey and Mercer County Park, with the Opening Ceremonies taking place at the Prudential Center in Newark.

Click the above link for more of this article and see 2014 Special Olympics USA National Games for more details and information.

I can’t wait to witness my friends and teammates participate in these competitions and events!

What is NORMAL, anyway?

What is “the norm? ”

What is NORMAL, Anyway?  Sometimes beating to your own drum can be a good thing.

Normalcy, in theory is the way in which a collective group or society behaves, in a usual or typical fashion, as a whole, right?  So for person to be considered “normal” they must behave like everyone else.

Why the hell does it even matter?

What you consider to be normal doesn’t have to be, nor will it ever be normal for me!

What is NORMAL, Anyway?  It's OKAY to be different.

If you were to always base your actions on what your peers or family expects of you, then you are living a pretty stifled life.


Why?  Because you place too much value on what others think of you and what they want of you rather than focusing on what really matters:

●You must love yourself and accept yourself for who you are.
●You need to understand yourself before you can change anything, that is if anything really needs changing at all.
●Don’t be afraid to act for yourself.
●Express the you that is 100% you.

If we were all the same; if we were all NORMAL, then there wouldn’t be a word called “unique!”

What is NORMAL, anyway?  Autism: Accept Different

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day.

Information on Asperger Syndrome.

~ Posted by Lily