Congratulations, Keith Alan Hamilton!

My poet and walking friend, Keith Alan Hamilton, has just released his new book of poems: Peace Out Poems about My Abnormalities Normality. The poems are about stigma, mental illness - including depression and bipolar disorder, and suicide. "I hope for those who read it, it will be of benefit to them.  There is a huge stigma overshadowing those who suffer from mental conditions like depression or being bipolar.  Even more so for those who have committed suicide.  That reality will not change until my type of story is told and understood.  To me, the stigma overshadowing a day-to-day survivor is even worse.  When you are a depressive with thoughts of suicide cycling in your head day in and day out..... it is far harder to survive and keep going than it is to submit.   It is easier to be considered mentally ill and medicated, or to have taken ones life than being someone who successfully copes day-to-day and is a productive contributor to life.  If we are going to show others that … [Read more...]

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It’s never too late for second chances

I’ve known my friend Pat since the first day our younger son, Ben, walked into his Kindergarten class. Pat was there to drop off her oldest son, Andy, while wheeling her daughter in a stroller. She was young and trim in her white tennis outfit. Though Ben probably had the oldest mother of all his classmates, it didn't matter. Pat and I became close dear friends as did Ben and Andy. We lived around the corner, we had dinner at each other’s houses, we celebrated birthdays and special occasions together, and we spent weekends up at her family’s house and/or condo in Bishop and Mammoth Lakes. Though I played tennis too in those days, I never played at Pat’s level. But our boys took tennis lessons and played in tournaments together – with Pat and me on the sidelines. Ben and Andy - tournament winners Pat and Madeline at the tournament Unfortunately, things weren’t always happy in the house around the corner, and after Pat’s third child married, she decided to end her marria … [Read more...]

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Patty "Next Door"

Beautiful Manhattan Beach Sunset The sun is setting on my neighbor next door. Everytime I look toward her house - just on the other side of our wood slat fence, I feel sad. She's been battling pancreatic cancer for about two and a half years, and we were all optimistic at first because the chemotherapy seemed to be working. We've never been very close, but it's always nice to know she is there. And we're shared some good times - her daughter's wedding, a few special birthdays. We've also shared some tough times - our Paul's death and the death of her daughter's infant. We'd have conversations from our deck or patio and a few dinners together. But that's over. We tried to visit last weekend, but her husband said it is too late. She stays in bed, sleeping most of the time because of doses of heavy painkillers, and has only days left. Recently visitors arrived next door with flowers and sad faces. Made me wonder if it’s Patty’s time. She’s been struggling with pancr … [Read more...]

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