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

Thanksgiving

It’s been a while since I wrote something here. The tragedy that happened to our family had been taking it’s toll. At the end of the day, I was just exhausted so I’m trying to sleep more. At the same time, I didn’t want this website to be a pity party.

Thanksgiving Flowers For Steve
Thanksgiving Flowers For Steve

Continue reading “Thanksgiving”

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

Can A Dinosaur Die?

Uncle Jim & Aunt Irene visited us last month and the little munchkin was just really happy spending time with them. A few weeks before they arrived, he had started mentioning and asking about his Daddy in more frequency. I’m always unprepared whenever he mentions Steve.

Walt Disney's Dinosaur
Walt Disney’s Dinosaur

It’s not that I don’t want the little one to mention and ask for his Dad. It’s actually great that he still remembers him. It’s just that what I’m concerned about is my reaction to his questions. Most of the time I don’t have any answer at all and all I can do is just hug him. Also, it’s the longing in his voice that I hear that really rubs it in. It’s like he’s expressing what I’m feeling inside that I’m trying to quell because sometimes, I have to.

A few weeks ago, I borrowed the Disney animated film, “Dinosaur” from the office library for our weekend movie marathon because the little munchkin is crazy these days about dinosaurs. I won’t be surprised if he turned out to be a paleontologist  someday. He can actually tell me their names or the different types of dinosaurs which is kinda cute. There was one scene which is almost at the end of the movie where the tyrannosaurus rex Continue reading “Can A Dinosaur Die?”

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

“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
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”

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”

Healing, The Aftermath, Thea's Thoughts

At Work

One of the things that has been helping me to live through “this” is my work. There are days that it’s a struggle to get up in the morning but because I’m working, I have something to look forward to. I have a reason to get myself together aside from my precious little one, regardless of my pain.

The little munchkin having fun at Disneyland.
The little munchkin having fun at Disneyland.

The unexpected kindness from my colleagues at work was overwhelming. They respected my privacy in spite of the very public way our family’s tragedy had been unfolding. And my bosses. I’ll never forget what one of my bosses said to me when I told him that I needed another week to be off to take care of the funeral arrangements:
“Just take care of what you needed to do for yourself and your family. You don’t have to worry about work. Whenever you’re ready, we’re here to welcome you with open arms.” I bawled after that.

It is important to me because my work allows me to contribute however small that is to something beautiful, something that makes people happy. And that’s one the things that gives meaning to my life right now.

Thank you.

Healing, The Aftermath, Thea's Thoughts

A Dedication

Steve has been found. Some people might think that it should have been enough for me. That I’m lucky somebody had found him. I’m very aware of that because I’d searched for him and in my search and reaching out for assistance, I’d learned about the statistics for missing persons. I’d been through the agonizing days of not knowing where he was. And I wish that the families of missing persons would be able to find their loved ones soon, too. But I hope not in the way that I did.

My Love
My Love

Why am I still here? Sharing my thoughts? It’s quite unlikely that people will find what I write entertaining. I don’t really know where this is going. The two months of silence to take care of personal business has been building up. And I realized that this time, it’s for me. I needed to do this for myself. Also, this website is a testimony of my search for Steve. There will come a time when my son has grown up, he’ll have questions about his Dad. Lastly, I want to be able to speak about the issues that are important to me. Issues that people tend to have difficulty understanding and even discussing: missing persons, depression, suicide and workplace bullying. Maybe this is something that touches you, too.

When Steve was still missing, we were advised to focus on just the search for Steve. Any other issues will be dealt with later. Our fear of not ever finding Steve silenced me, silenced my family. Until now, there are things that I may not be able to share for self-preservation. And I expect people will respect that.

To those who continue to pray for Steve and our family, I’m eternally grateful for your kindness. Knowing that people cared, really cared and extended their assistance to me and my family without any agenda is important to me. In spite of this tragedy, I recognize that there are blessings that still comes my way. In spite of the uncertainty and despair that I feel, I do yearn for hope. I still choose to live. Living for today, one day at a time.