Grief & Loss, Healing, Quotes & Excerpts, The Aftermath, Thea's Thoughts

Are you a Grief Victim or a Grief Survivor?

Being a victim is a state of mind dictated by others.

A survivor dictates his or her own state of mind.


A victim fears the moments of grief.

A survivor welcomes those moments!


A victim knows about feeling down and tries to stay up.

A survivor knows feeling down is okay.


Steve's pumpkin tree
Steve’s pumpkin tree


A victim tries hard to hide the tears.

A survivor never leaves home without kleenex.


A victim struggles to maintain a state of normalcy.

A survivor knows normal no longer exists.


A victim gets caught in isolation.

A survivor reaches out when they need to.


A victim is afraid they in time will forget.

A survivor knows they never will!


A victim sometimes feels guilty laughing.

A survivor laughs through their tears.


A victim tries at times to block out the memories.

A survivor embraces memories of all kinds.


A victim wants someone to cure his or her grief.

A survivor just wants someone to share his or her journey.


A victim struggles to get over their grief.

A survivor fights to get through it.


A victim tries to get on with their life.

A survivor lives their life knowing nothing will ever be the same.


A victim says, “Oh I’m okay”…then secretly cries.

A survivor openly cries… and says, “I’m okay.”


~Author Unknown


I came across this piece from the support group that I attend to whenever I can. I hope that somehow this will help someone who is also suffering from a loss.

Grief & Loss, Healing, Quotes & Excerpts, Reminiscing, The Aftermath, Thea's Thoughts


“Memories are what warm you up from the inside. But they’re also what tear you apart.”
~ Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

I know that it’s coming from the heart when people tell me that I can take comfort with the good memories I had with Steve. I do appreciate the good thoughts and prayers that’s coming my way, even from people who I don’t even know and just happen to stumble about Steve’s story from the news or from the webpages.

Steve Swimming in the Open Sea
Steve Swimming in the Open Sea

I don’t know if anyone could understand that when I think about him, I would rather have him than thoughts of him. Thinking about all the things we’d done, all the places we’d traveled together, it just makes me yearn for him more. I just ended up sobbing. I wish I could make more memories with him but I can’t. I’m very aware that this is all a process. I have to learn and to accept how to live without him. And that thought still makes me cry. How can anyone eventually live without the love of their life? I don’t even know if anyone has an answer to this.

Boracay Trip with Steve
Boracay Trip with Steve

There are occasions that any thoughts about him makes me smile. Most of the time, it’s something that someone said that reminded me of a joke that Steve and I shared, or something funny that Steve said or did when he was still alive. There are just a few people who knows this side about Steve. He was just more than a quiet man.

My family and friends literally embraced Steve into their lives.
My family and friends literally embraced Steve into their lives.

By the way, to those who sent messages, condolence or mass cards, funeral flowers, gifts and donations to me, I’m truly grateful for all your generosity. I haven’t finished with my thank you cards but know that all of you had touched me deeply with your kindness.

“Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depths of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.”
~ Alfred Tennyson

Boracay Trip with Steve
Boracay Trip with Steve
Grief & Loss, Healing, Quotes & Excerpts, Thea's Thoughts

FBI Academy Class 08-17

“…when he shall die,

take him and cut him out in little stars,

and he will make the face of Heaven so fine

that all the world will be in love with night

and pay no worship to the garish sun.”

~ Romeo & Juliet, by William Shakespeare.

Steve's Graduation from FBI Academy
Steve’s Graduation from the FBI Academy

This was written on the card that Steve’s former classmates gave to me. A couple of his former classmates came over to my home a few weeks ago to personally deliver a gift to me and my little one. It was unexpected and I was really touched by their gesture. They shared a few stories about Steve and I was craving for any narratives about Steve at work.

When Steve was in Quantico, we talked almost every day and he mentioned that being at the academy was gruelling but he enjoyed every minute of it. Since he kept to himself, he connected only with a few people. Even so, he felt that he had a good vibe with the rest of his batch mates. He always talked about visiting his roommate who was assigned at Central California but we never get to do it. Life takes over somehow. This is just one of the countless things that we had planned to do together and now he’s gone. Gone…it still hurt to say that word.

When they left, I couldn’t help tears rolling down my cheeks. I read the letter and the card over and over again at night. It was like a piece of him that I have in my hands. His Field Agent Counselor talked about how he was a model New Agent Trainee at the academy at that time and the comforting words from his fellow special agent was a balm to my grief at that moment.

I am truly grateful to you all, FBI Academy Class 08-17.


“The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.”

~Psalm 121:8

Forensics, Grief & Loss, Healing, Recovery, The Aftermath, Thea's Thoughts

Dr. Neal Haskell, Forensic Entomologist

It took me a while to find Dr. Neal Haskell.  During my research if there’s a science that exist to determine the decedent’s time of death during an advanced stage of decomposition, I stumbled on the Caylee Anthony’s story.   He was one of the Forensic Entomologists who had determined Caylee Anthony’s approximate time of death. If you watch Investigation Discovery, you’ll learn that Forensic entomology is an application and study of insect and other arthropod biology to criminal matters.

Dr. Neal Haskell
Dr. Neal Haskell

The LA County Department of Coroner hired a Forensic Anthropologist to help with Steve’s manner of death but she told me that after two days, it’ll be hard to determine the decedent’s time of death. The reason why I sought out Dr. Neal Haskell was because I believe Continue reading “Dr. Neal Haskell, Forensic Entomologist”

Grief & Loss, Healing, The Aftermath, Thea's Thoughts

Where Is Daddy?

Occasionally, the little munchkin and I will go out for dinner instead of staying at home on a weekday.  I would still cook but not that often since it’s just me and the little one. Most of the time when we go out, he would order his mac and cheese. It’s interesting to see how different restaurants interpret their own version of mac and cheese. I think he had tasted them all. He’s my little creature of habit.

Daddy and Me
Daddy and Me, 2010.

After our meal, I brought him inside the public bathroom for potty time. As I was cleaning him up, he looked up to me and started talking:

Continue reading “Where Is Daddy?”

Forensics, Recovery, The Aftermath, Thea's Thoughts

Seeking Forensic Help

Because of my husband’s work as a police officer at the time that I first met him, he introduced me to tv shows like Cold Case, Forensic Files, City Confidential, etc. It’s very interesting to me because it’s like solving a puzzle and I do love a good dose of mystery, especially if it’s based on a true story.

Steve's Funeral
Steve’s Funeral

I never thought that one day, I would be somehow involved in the forensic world. It’s quite ironic. There are so many things that I’m still frustrated with in terms of the findings regarding my husband’s death. Just one of the things from this list is the “Date of Death.” When the Medical Examiner declared that Steve’s Date of Death was July 30, Continue reading “Seeking Forensic Help”

Grief & Loss, Reminiscing, Thea's Thoughts

Steve’s Factor

With so many things going on, we’re among the 11 million people who will be filing the 2011 income tax return this coming October 15. I finally emailed my accountant, sending her my files and now I’m done.

Steve's TV Time
Steve’s TV Time

That’s why I was able to get a chance to watch television earlier. It has been a while since I really paid attention to any tv shows. The little munchkin had already been  tucked in  to bed and suddenly, the living room was filled with deafening silence. I sat down on the sofa  and turned on the television  to avoid the feeling of emptiness  and checked out what looked interesting to me. So many choices, I thought. I settled on the new show, “Revolution.” It’s kinda related to one of the things that I was feeling at that moment.

The simple act of choosing a show that seemed to appeal to me brought back memories about Steve again. He always teased me on my choices. He’s not a fan of the fantasy and science fiction genre. But that’s alright with me. It’s not a big deal.  At that time of the night, we would be sitting down on our sofa and relax. He would either serve us both hot tea or wine or beer. It depended on how we were both feeling at that time. We would sometimes argue which show we were about to watch. I’d always recorded the shows that  I liked, so I will be sitting with him when it was his turn to watch sports or the O’ Reilly Factor. He loved that show and I playfully teased him about that. I miss those moments. I miss him. When he started not watching that show, I instinctively felt that something was wrong.

Grief & Loss, Healing, Quotes & Excerpts, Thea's Thoughts

Without You

With all the things that I have on my plate, I’m filing my taxes so late. Thank God for the extension. While I was working on my 2011 taxes, I’d just stopped to listen to the music that was playing on my macbook. It was “Without You,” from the musical Rent. Most of the time there are songs that just speaks to you.

Rent, The Musical
Rent, The Musical

by Jonathan Larson

Without you, the ground thaws, the rain falls, the grass grows.
Without you, the seeds root, the flowers bloom, the children play.
The stars gleam, the poets dream, the eagles fly, without you.
The earth turns, the sun burns, but I die, without you.

Without you, the breeze warms, the girl smiles, the cloud moves.
Without you, the tides change, the boys run, the oceans crash.
The crowds roar, the days soar, the babies cry, without you.
The moon glows, the river flows, but I die, without you.

The world revives—

Colors renew—

But I know blue, only blue, lonely blue, within me blue.

Without you.
Without you, the hand gropes, the ear hears, the pulse beats.

Without you, the eyes gaze, the legs walk, the lungs breathe.

The mind churns!

The mind churns!

The heart yearns!
The heart yearns!

The tears dry, without you.
Life goes on, but I’m gone.
Cause I die, without you.

Without you.

Without you.

Without you.

Grief & Loss, Healing, Quotes & Excerpts, Thea's Thoughts

Books About Grief And Loss

I’d always loved reading books. I could go on for days just reading. Steve loved it, too. We could be sitting side by side reading a book. But we do have different taste in books. He prefers nonfiction and I prefer fiction works. But these days, it seems I have a lot less time for reading. Whenever I can, I try to read a few pages at a time to read a book.

Here are some of the books that I’m currently reading or planning to read:
“No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving The Suicide Of A Loved One,” by Carla Fine.

No Time To Say Goodbye
No Time To Say Goodbye


“Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide,” by Kay Redfield Jamison.

Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide
Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide


“Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief,” by Pauline Boss.

Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief
Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief


These books had been inspiring me to continue on writing down my thoughts. Maybe, I’ll write a book someday but that’s too far ahead and that thought scares me. Again, one day at a time.

The last set of books that Steve had been reading were:
Red on Red: A Novel,” by Edward Conlon
“Blood Lessons.” by Charles Remberg
“The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda,” by Peter Bergen
“A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose,”by Eckhart Tolle


Funeral, Healing, Recovery, Reminiscing, The Aftermath, Thea's Thoughts

Seeing Steve Again

In the 80 days that Steve had been missing, I’d always anticipated that he’ll be coming back home. But sometimes, it felt like that the probability of Steve coming back was nil. There were times I’d felt uneasiness in the pit of my stomach because I had no idea where he was.

A Man In Brown Suit
A Man In The Brown Suit

The longest time Steve and I were apart was when he was training to become an FBI Special Agent. We didn’t see each other for two months and yet, we called each other almost everyday. After that, I would visit or stay with him. I knew then where he was and he was doing something really important for himself and I supported that. We always supported each other’s career. We both believe that a person’s work should be something that you enjoy. It should be more than just a job.

The EAP staff from the FBI picked me up from work that morning when the news broke Continue reading “Seeing Steve Again”