Saturday, February 17, 2007

Gratitude list...

i have my sponsees make Gratitude lists at least once a week and send them to me-
I am not asked to make them so usually I make them in my head and let them dance around like fireflies..bringing my synapses awake, bringing life to the ol' cerebellum and joy to my heart..
tonight I am writing this one down

What I am grateful for:
the ocean
having choice

maya calling me from the bathtub tonight to tell me she is a mermaid
zoe and her wonderful 8 month old chubbiness

Monday, February 12, 2007

Love flowers in openness and freedom!

I am discovering that this recovery this journey this commitment I made to myself almost 3 yrs ago is paying of -coming to fruition, coming round again..My cup runneth over- my belly is full- I am more I can do more, I want to do more, I am more! I am coming out of the grieving of the loss of my brother Dayn and into the light. This time with a few more wrinkles perhaps, a few more sprouts of grey, but with a bigger appreciation for life. For love! For choice and happiness and being in the moment and for the NOW!

My journey has been back to self- me, myself- the one i left behind. The girl I left, the woman I forgot. In riding the ride the past few years I kinda forgot the destination..i just concentrated on pushing ahead like Jimi says. I concentrated on feeling my feelings as they came up.setting boundaries, keeping in my integrity, being whole again, being of the light. It is working! The journey is alive, the wheels keep turning and my smile is beaming today!
And..I am SO grateful!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Keep Pushing Ahead with Jimi

From Jimi Hendrix: Straight Ahead

Hello, my friend
so happy to see you again
I'm so alone
All by myself
Just couldn't make it.
Have you heard Baby
What the winds blowing down
Have you heard Baby
A lot of peoples coming right on down.

Communication coming on strong
it don't give a damn Baby
if your hair is short or long
I said get out of your grave
Everybody is dancing in the street
Do what you know don't be slow
You gotta practice what you preach
Cause it's time for you and me.

Forget about the past Baby
Things ain't what they use to be
Keep on Straight Ahead
We got to stand side by side
We got to stand together and organize
They say power to the people
Thats what they're screamin'
Freedom of the soul
Pass it on, pass it on to the young and old.

You got to tell me the children the truth
they don't need a whole lot of lies
Cause one of these days Baby
They'll be running things.
So when you give them love
You better give it right
Woman - Child - Man and Wife
the best love to have is the Love of Life.

Hello my friend
So good to see you again
Been all by myself
I don't think I can make it alone
Keep Pushing Ahead.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Dayn Schulman: More Thoughts More Time More Feelings

Some lyrics for Dayn:
"Look out of any window
any morning, any evening, any day
Maybe the sun is shining
birds are winging or
rain is falling from a heavy sky -
What do you want me to do,
to do for you to see you through?
this is all a dream we dreamed
one afternoon long ago" - Box of Rain

The past week and a half has been filled with deep feelings that I have tried to wash over with a numbing haze – keeping busy at work, not “getting into” my grief, not really talking about it, not feeling it. Earlier in the week I felt like I really need a good cry – a bone shaking quelling of tears, that floods my mind, body and all sensations – but alas, I could not open that door tat I had sealed with the numbing haze. A friend at work asked me how I felt last Monday and I said, “bored”. Not true and I knew it – I felt numb.

So.. bored and hazy I went into my therapy session and 50 minutes later I came out grounded, feeling emotional and feeling my feelings again of the great loss we have all felt with Dayn’s passing.

I mentioned in another post that I no longer think I will get a call from Costa Rica, saying he is alive and well, surfing up a storm and bringing joy to those around him. Yeah, that magical thinking is gone.

What happened to me in that therapy session was intense and a trip back into the hell of those days after his death. Eyes closed but mind awake I went back to his place, up the stairs, through the gateway into a house filled with loneliness, bitter cold, desperation and hopelessness. Seeing how my brother had been living up until the final hours and minutes of his sweet and secluded life has made its mark on my heart permentelly. The feelings that I had going into that place were immediate guilt and sorrow – that I had let him down. I had abandoned him – I had not done enough.

I know many people have felt similarily..this is what happens with death and especially suicide. Dayn’s suicide is the 5th suicide in my life. I know these thoughts well – and of course there is nothing that anyone of us could really do. We were powerless – his choice, his timing, his decision and yes, his death. I know we all tried our best, some of us stayed on the phone with him long after we had wanted/needed to get off (God what I would do for another phonecall!)

However, the feelings of just how sad and lonely he was continue to affect me, haunt me and in a way, keep me grounded. This is what happened to me in that therapy session – I could go back to those minutes before entering his place and go back to the minutes and hours of being in his place, talking to him, cleaning up, making things a bit more “livable” maybe is the word. I’m not sure – I just know that no one deserves to live like that. No one needs to get to that place of desperation and hopelessness. Let this be my lesson to reach out more, return phone calls, and spend more time with those I love.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bright luminescent blue eyes of Dayn Schulman

Back from Santa Fe where I spent some good holiday time with family - it was a heavy trip; trying to put more of the pieces together, trying to protect them from some of the sights Caleb and I saw – the aftermath if you will. Trying to comfort Nana, trying to soothe Nana, trying to help her understand that we really will never know what happened in those final days, hours and minutes.

It‘s fucking Haunting. I find myself saying that over and over and over.
I mean really – no notice, no foreshadowing, no call saying help me I am spinning out of control.
Just the aftermath. Just the note. And now, just trying to put the jigsaw pieces together so they form something we can all hold onto.

The pictures we have and have been sent by others that loved Dayn are amazing, and yes, haunting still.
We all see that beautiful man, bright luminescent blue eyes, and the friendly and soothing face of someone who understands... I know all of you who knew Dayn can relate, and even have more ways of saying what I am trying to express. What am I trying to express? That this was a guy who everyone loved! This was a guy who exuded compassion and love. This was a guy that embraced all of us, no matter where we stood. This was a guy, up until recently, was a peaceful fun loving guy.
And then what happened? Will we ever know? No.
Can we speculate? Yes, I do. But really, in those last days, hours and minutes, we will never really know.

I ramble..I continue to be in a state of shock when I lay down in bed for the evening. I close my eyes with tears flowing towads my cheeks. I wake in the middle of the night immersed in sadness, as I am sure some of you do as well, lying there for a good 45 minutes wondering "what the F! How could this have happened? When is someone gonna tell me it was a HOAX and he is down in Costa Rica?"
I rise and go to work and deal with the stuff I am paid to do, and for most of my 8-10 hr day I can almost forget, put this tragedy in the back of my brain and answer questions about project plans, gross margins and visual design reviews. And every now and then during those working hours, I catch the photo I have up on my cubed wall, and see him again, smiling and exuding warmth, and I am soothed for that moment.

Then I get onto the train and make my way back into my reality – one that is not as bright as it was five and a half weeks ago, but I am trying. I am trying. And one day, I will get there again, back to brightness and out of the veil and fog of grief. (But I will never forget!)

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A few pictures to share

Dayn and Barri

Dayn and Nana

Caleb, Ana, Dayn and Shannon a few years ago

I just wish he was still here...

On 11/29 I went back to Santa Cruz to pick up Dayn’s ashes. Earlier that day I went back up to his place in Bonny Doon and went into the room where he took his last breath. The rose was still on the floor that Avi had brought up the day Caleb and I were cleaning up, throwing all of the alcohol out, putting books into boxes, throwing out the filthy stuff on and on..anyhow, Avi had brought a couple yarmulkes, the Mourner’s Kaddish (the Jewish prayer for the departed) and a candle and we all stood in the spot where Avi had found Dayn and said the Kaddish.

But I digress – back to 11/29. I went into the room and spoke to Dayn again - kind of had a moment with him in that room. It was peaceful, at least better that the days before when we had been up there and the vibe was dead, cold, rank, stale, filled with a chill and emptiness. I kept remembering his note that he had left. The note that let us know that he was exhausted and ready to go. Somehow that particular piece of the note gave me acceptance that day. (I have reread the note a few times now, and I still get a level of acceptance, but I get filled with unbelievable sadness now too)

So I looked around at what remained of Dayn’s life, his belongings, and took a few things with me that I knew he would want our family to have. Dayn had so many photos – of us, of his friends and celebrations with his friends, of nature – and he had duplicates & triplicates. So I took many pictures of the family along with tiles of Mick and Keith, a tapestry, some music and a few shirts. I pilled his belongings into my car and headed down the hill into Santa Cruz, crying, chilled and knowing again, that my life would NEVER be the same.

Today I finally had the energy to get Dayn’s belongings out of my car and go through them and box them up to send to our family in Chicago and in Santa Fe. The pictures are so beautiful! He was such a Beautiful man – beyond handsome, he had such a light in his eyes. It's just unbelievable that the light has gone out.

I’ll scan some pictures in before I send them to members of our family and see if I can post them here. Also, I have a bunch of his poetry that I will post as well.

I wish we all would have been able to save him. I wish he would have let us in to his darkness…maybe he did? I just wish he was still here.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dayn Schulman's Last Surf with Spencer and Friends

This is an email from Spencer who along with about 40 of days bros & friends paddled out on Saturday 12/02 with some of Dayn's that I shared with Spencer the day I picked them up from the funeral home. Spencer is a great guy – a true friend and was a huge rock for me and Caleb when we were in Santa Cruz the days following Dayn’s death. Thank YOU!

"First of all you need to know that both Ceremonies last week were
just perfect! The one at the Perch was just beautiful with a majestic
sunset on the horizon. Green spark as well! That was mostly Dayn's
oldest friends with a few new ones as well. Digeri Doo with Stories
of the past all beautiful and we played music and sat by the fire for
6 hours. Loved it!

The Davenport Landing was the following day, Saturday, with about 40
people. Almost everyone was equipped with a surfboard and wetsuit!
Dayn would have just loved that one. We all paddled out about 300
yards off shore, gathered in a circle and Mark from Kuai was honoring
the spirit by moving the fresh lei to the center. Damen accompanied
with ashes in hand and together they placed the ashes in the center
of the lei. Then we all stated an adjective, noun, word, that
described Dayn, his spirit or anything remotely attached to his soul.
I tell you, as I write this, it is coming to my attention the special
man he was. So much flavor! About 20 of us then paddled into the
right hand reef break there and surfed...Sweet it was.

I sure missed you and Caleb as well for it would have been real
special for you to see the love. "

Monday, December 11, 2006

Funeral Blues by W.H. Auden for Dayn Schulman

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

This journey with Grief...

"'s times like these you learn to live again
it's times like these you give and give again
it's times like these you learn to love again
it's times like these time and time again..." -Foo Fighters

Today I have been on a roller coaster with my range of feelings towards Dayn's death - towards Dayn's suicide (I HATE saying that word!). I have been upbeat, at peace, accepting his choice, even excepting the fact that none of us will never see his smile again, never pick up the phone and hear his 5 minute serenade of some ancient mystical YES song or his version of "Hello Mr. Soul", or get Punked by one of his crank calls.
I even had acceptance in my sorrow today about that longing ache that will never get filled again because he is gone. He is DEAD. He is NEVER coming BACK. I actually was ok with this and have been ok with this for a good 6-7 hrs each day for the past few days.

Today I also was PISSED - angry upset and stunned by his choice to go -how he went -and the fact tat he is GONE and NEVER coming back. I was pissed at the fact he did not ask for help did not let anyone of us know how TRULY unbearable and hopeless his life had become. I felt pity -i felt the sharp STING of a ice being thrown at my face, like the slap of a below minus wind-chill day wherever that is felt (not here is
Northern California that’s for sure).

Today I felt like he could have/should have reached out – asked for help like he had in he past. Anyone of us would have been there for him. Anyone of us.

But he didn’t. He just left. He just took his life away from us, took his sweetness, took himself OUT OF OUR LIVES and bailed.

Today I have felt close to Dayn. Sitting here on this high surf advisory day, watching from my deck the strong grey waves blow up and slap the
Pacifica pier, I have felt close to my cousin. I have his cd’s and have been downloading his music, chuckling as I have found artists I had no idea he listened to, and smiled to myself when I came across the 20 Live Dead Cd’s, the Santana bootlegs from 1969, the Neil Young’s and Yes Albums.

I have been listening to his music for the past 4 hrs, feeling sad but peaceful. Trying to get back to that acceptance place because I know it is the place that gives me serenity and hope that he has found his safe place – his home.

This journey with Grief is a trip through hell I tell you – a trip none of us ever need to ride but inevitability we all do at different times in our lives. It is part of the ebb and flow. But the layers I tell you, the layers of this journey and the tiny hidden feeling that guilt reveals and shares; these are intense. These shake me to my core and at those times I SO badly want him back and I want off this fucking ride through hell. But it’s a round trip ride. No getting off. No money back. No way and no how.

So I’ll I can do is share with you these feelings when I feel like I am able, when I feel like I can and deserve the right to speak about how I feel.

The wind is howling right now and the rain is about to come down, and we are in for a cleansing and a purging.

Friday, December 01, 2006

A Snipet of Lyrics Dayn Schulman Loved (send me more)

"Once in a while you get shown the light in
the strangest of places if you look at it right..." -The Dead

Nights in white satin,
Never reaching the end,
Letters I've written,
Never meaning to send.
Beauty I'd always missed
With these eyes before,
Just what the truth is
I can't say anymore.
'Cause I love you,
Yes, I love you,
Oh, how, I love you.
Gazing at people,
Some hand in hand,
Just what I'm going thru
They can understand.
Some try to tell me
Thoughts they cannot defend,
Just what you want to be
You will be in the end,
And I love you,
Yes, I love you,
Oh, how, I love you.
Oh, how, I love you." - Moody Blues

And in a time that's closer, life will be even bolder then.
Love is the only answer, hate is the root of cancer then.
Truth is just for the being and is the sight for seeing then.
Thoughts will be thought together soon in our minds forever then.
As long as we see there's only us, who can change it;
Only us to rearrange it at the start of a new kind of day." - YES (Thanks Dave)

From Ryan: "He sent me these hours before he took his life...
"Visions of Johanna by Bob Dylan"

More thoughts in the wake of Dayn's death

Some of these are brain dumps, some are from emails I have written..some just help me get the energy out from being stuck to unstuck in a shared space. Thanks for listening and reading:

12/01 Early Morning email to Spencer:
" My mom has this wonderful image of you guys paddling out with dayn's ashes and he is there with you paddling but instead of arms he has huge wings..big white feathers, majestic wings and as you paddle with him he is released an flies UP to the Sky and finds his home again!"

11/30 Afternoon email to our aunt Sandy:
"...thank you so much for your email. It has been really rough for all of us and I move between being numb, being ok and being haunted.
I have worked from home all week just b/c I feel so raw.
Yesterday I was busy in santa cruz, went back to his place, picked up some things to send to you guys, and some shirts for caleb, then went and picked up the ashes and signed the death certs and closed the mailbox, bank account..on and on and on. and I felt ok, a bit off but ok b/c I had a goal and I was on a mission. Then this morning I had a kind of delayed response to yesterday and felt pretty bad. So home is a safe place, as is Stephanie and the silver/schulman family.
I feel Dayn alot and have had to ask him to go home - his energy has been really heavy and sad, almost clingy. I am sure I am not alone in feeling that. Seeing where and how he lived, chose to live was really really intense and horrifying. But alcohol and drug abuse surely lead the way to how he lived and ended his sweet life. And I have to wonder how much of his depression, saddness, hopelessness may have been masked by is substance intake.

So many people came out to the memorial it was just beautiful, and surreal as well. So many people want to figure it all out, be like CSI, have conspiracy theories, and it has been hard not to do the same b/c we want him BACK - but Caleb and I had to stand firm on our clear goals and try our best not to let that other kind of energy in. That was challenging and painful b/c bottom line is people want to figure it out. We all do. we all had either just spoke to him, or had just visited with him (Barri&Mario). We all thought he was like peter pan and would be able to be a adult/child forever..beautiful, light, irresponsible and free.
I only hope and pray that he is free now."

11/30 Morning email to Ryan:
" hit it so on the head for me, I too am finding Dayn to be hanging around and find his energy to be heavy, SAD and clingy. You are not sounding insane at all.
I have spoken with him in the early morning hours when I am awaken by him/spirit and told him it was time to go, but alas, this morning at 5a were were together again.
It's so tough so unimaginable at times and then some times I am ok with it, can work can stay busy..but then out of the blue it whacks me down as his face, lean strong torso walks in front of my eyes.. talk about insane..but it's part of the package, the grief, the guilt and the letting go."

"I know I am not the first person to say this, but it is not your fault, nor can you, me , all of us go back in time..even for one second, although we all would..just to have him back see his blue eyes magically shine and to say, "hey, I hear you are having a shitty time but you are not alone", or, "hang in there, I am there for you, stay with us" etc...
The bummer of it all is that is is apparent that Dayn was ready to go. Maybe that's not a bummer, maybe it just is as simple as these words: he was ready to go.
But I do know, for those of us still here, still kicking it, still trying not to numb out 24/7 because the loss is almost unbearable, for those of us it's hard to imagine anything other than what could we have done differently, what could we have said (or not said in some cases). "

Monday, November 27, 2006

the death of my cousin a.k.a. my brother Dayn Schulman

What can I say..My cousin killed himself last tueday 11/21. He was one of the last people I would have bet on to do this to hmself, our family, his friends. But he truth is this, he did it and he is dead now at 35 yrs old.
He parents had both died years ago, he had no kids, no wife, only us..his cousins, aunts and uncles and our nana who is 91 yrs old.

He was my brother in the clothes of a first cousin. He was raised as my brother.

My brother and I were tasked with cleaning up his ome; going to the scene of the death, seeing how he lived, how he felt he deserved to life. He lived with bottles and bottles of empty canadian mist and beer, He lived with pounds upon pounds of pot, he lived with rolled up dollar bills and blood stained tissue. He lived with dirty filty clothes. He lived with peanut butter and jelly, almonds and cat food.

More later. I am haunted by what I saw, what I cleaned, the note he left, what I heard and what I have left to do...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Welcome to the 3rd Step!

Co-Dependents Anonymous 3rd Step:
“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.”

Co-Dependents Anonymous 3rd Promise:
“I know a new freedom.”

1. Without editing or over-analyzing, write about “what the 3rd Step means to me.”

2. How is my will related to controlling? Do I always get what I want when I control? How does it feel when controlling “works”? Does that feeling last? What extra things (side effects) do I get from controlling? How does it feel to let go?

3. What will happen if I can’t “figure it all out”? Can the mind stop the mind from obsessing? If I compulsively try to control myself and others, how can I stop doing it? Can I control myself into not controlling? Can a perfectionist cure perfectionism? What might be a 3rd Step approach to these issues?

4. Does turning my will over to God mean that I’m no longer allowed to want or ask for anything? What is the difference between wanting and needing something? Am I attached today to a particular outcome? What is hard about letting go, or “turning it over”?

5. Does this Step absolve me of responsibility? What is my role in my life?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Smile Like You Mean It

"Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been." - Mark Twain

"If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning Good morning at total strangers." - Maya Angelou

"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. If we really know how to live, what better way to start the day than with a smile? Our smile affirms our awareness and determination to live in peace and joy. The source of a true smile is an awakened mind." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Make a Gratitude List.

Thanksgiving Is Upon Us!

Whenever you are feeling down, kind of in a rut and feeling sorry for yourself, take the time to make a Gratitude List.
Write a list of ALL of the things you are grateful for (ok, maybe not all..but in this moment..maybe the list has 3 things on it, or maybe it has 20..your call)

Are you grateful for your pets? For music? For your mind, body, for your friendships?
Just give yourself the opportunity to go inside and really feel your gratitude.

Feel free to share on this blog, email with me or share with a friend.

Some examples can be found here:

Remember just How Precious YOU are!!

I am more than happy, I am JOYFUL.
I am more than healthy, I am WHOLE.
I am more than alive, I am RADIANT.
I am more than successful, I am FREE.
I am more than caring, I am LOVING.
I am more than tranquil, I am PEACEFUL.
I am more than interested, I am INVOLVED.
I am more than adequate, I am TRIUMPHANT.
I am more than fortunate, I am PROSPEROUS.
I am more than human, I am a CHILD OF GOD.
~William Arthur

Friday, November 17, 2006


Step II

We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step Two gives us hope for recovery. The Second Step tells us that the pain and insanity with which we have been livving are unnecessary. The Second Step fills the void we feel when we've finished Step One. As we approach Step Two, we begin to consider that maybe, just maybe, there's a Power greater than ourselves-a Power capable of healing our hurt, calming our confusion, and restoring our sanity.

Some of us resisted this step because we thought it required us to be religious. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a spiritual, not religious, program.

The beauty of the Second Step is revealed when we begin to think about what our Higher Power can be. We are encouraged to choose a Power that is loving, caring, and-most importantly - able to restore us to sanity. The Second Step does not say, "We came to believe in a Power greater than ourselves." It says, "We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." The emphasis is not on who or what this Power is, but on what this Power can do for us.


The hope we get from working Step Two replaces the desperation with which we came into the program.

  • What do I have hope about today?
  • How has my belief grown since I've been in recovery?
  • What evidence do I have that a Higher Power is working in my life?
  • What are the characteristics my Higher Power does not have?
  • What are the characteristics my Higher Power has?
  • Why is having a closed mind harmful to my recovery?
  • How am I demonstrating open-mindedness in my life today?
  • In what ways has my life changed since I've been in recovery? Do I believe more change is possible?
  • Have I sought help from a Power greater than myself today? How?
  • Have I sought help from my sponsor, gone to meetings, and reached out to other recovering addicts? What were the results?