The TADS Beacon

Jeff's birthday was last week
Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Wednesday, March 7th
Jeff’s birthday was last week. We had planned to hold suicide prevention training to a large group of educators on that day, but Mother Nature had other ideas. On the eve of the 24th anniversary of Jeff’s birth, it started snowing … and it snowed, and it snowed, and it snowed! (Where was all this snow when Deb and I took a ski vacation two weeks ago?!) So we needed to postpone the training – we’ll hold it on March 15 instead.
But it reminded me of a long ago birthday party for Jeff. I was always the entertainment supervisor of our children’s birthday parties, while Deb took care of the refreshments. On this particular birthday, I decided that Jeff and his friends needed to graduate from the indoor games Duck Duck Goose, and so I decided that street hockey was in order. But the day came and it was snowing like crazy. I had planned to join Jeff friends playing in the cul-de-sac in front of our home. The snow – all 6 inches of it – was a minor inconvenience. I merely rode my tractor down my driveway and cleared the snow in the shape of a rectangle in front of our house. I recall my brother, who has a son a year older than Jeff, arriving and saying to me, “You’re not really going to have them play, are you?” Obviously, he didn’t know me very well. Play, we did … and the cake and ice cream tasted that much better when we sucked it down between our ruddy cheeks.

February started out with a couple of MCSP events...On Thursday, February 2nd, I traveled to UMass Lowell to attend a meeting of the Northeast Coalition group of MCSP. Then on Monday, February 6th, I trekked into Boston to participate in the annual MCSP State House event. Even though it was on the day after the Superbowl (and my beloved Patriots came up short), I enjoyed my first state house event for MCSP. The event consists of various legislators presenting commendations to heroes from the suicide prevention community. It was interesting to hear everyone speak about their various activities. As I listened, I measured their efforts against TADS’ activities. I must say that I feel that we’ve made really terrific progress in the short time since we have organized TADS.
Then on Thursday, February 16th, I accepted the invitation of Dunstable’s Chief of Police, Jim Downes, and appeared on his cable TV show. Chief Downes had asked me to appear on his show one other time, so I was already acquainted with the impressive professionalism with which he approaches this task. He prepares several insightful questions and he sprinkles them with some very intelligent commentary of his own. On this occasion, I appeared with two other guests: Beth Rogan, of Project INTERFACE, and Debbie Helms, the Program Coordinator of Samaritans of Merrimack Valley. My job was merely to tee it up for these two “experts” in the field of mental health. Chief Downes asked me one question about my experience of losing my son, I told my story, and then pretty much sat back and listened to two of my favorite people, Beth and Debbie. (But it was kind of out of character for me to sit quietly for so long.)
That night was the February meeting of the TADS Board, and we focused quite a bit on our upcoming fundraiser, Brighter Days, which will be held on April 21. Things are coming along pretty well.
While all this was going on, Deb & I managed to sneak away for a few days for a relaxing ski trip. We stayed at a wonderful little B&B in Bethlehem, NH – the Adair Country Inn – I would highly recommend it. Meanwhile, I was collecting dozens of email requests to attend the SOS – Signs of Suicide – training course that we planned to host on March 1st. We had 80 people sign up from far reaches of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Alas, as I mentioned, we needed to re-schedule it to March 15th because of bad weather and now expect the numbers to be down slightly. But it will still be a big crowd.
As I close this message, I’m thinking of my Beautiful Boy, with words by John Lennon:
Close your eyes
Have no fear
The monster's gone
He's on the run and your daddy's here
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Before you go to sleep
Say a little prayer
Every day in every way
It's getting better and better
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Out on the ocean sailing away
I can hardly wait
To see you come of age
But I guess we'll both just have to be patient
'Cause it's a long way to go
A hard row to hoe
Yes it's a long way to go
But in the meantime
Before you cross the street
Take my hand
Life is what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Before you go to sleep
Say a little prayer
Every day in every way
It's getting better and better
“ … I can hardly wait, to see you come of age …”
Oh Jeff, I barely saw you come of age.
“ … Before you go to sleep, say a little prayer ...”
I hope you did.
God bless,
P.S. Please feel free to contact me at Also, consider becoming a Friend of TADS by clicking on the “Join Our List” button on the front page of our web site.


March 8th, 2012 2:43 pm
Thank you for sharing....
March 7th, 2012 10:20 pm
beautiful post, steve.
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