The TADS Beacon

Catching up - March, April & May
Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday, August 14th

When last I blogged, we were about to host our annual SOS Signs of Suicide training and planning had begun for our annual fundraiser – Brighter Days.  Really, I have the best of intentions to update this blog monthly, but sometimes the busyness of my schedule intervenes.  It happened last year and now it has happened again.

Our SOS Signs of Suicide was held and went off without a hitch, with a good deal of help from the TADS Board.  Initially there were 80 registrants for the course, but we realized we would lose some when we needed to re-schedule.  But 70 people did, in fact, attend, and we were quite happy with that.  The trainers, from Screening for Mental Health, are quite good at what they do – we are quite fortunate to have established this wonderful working relationship with them.  They have a wealth of experience with a variety of issues surrounding mental health and share their knowledge to benefit the educators in attendance.  So the training really goes beyond the curriculum itself: it is a day where the educators can get away from their regular school environment and focus on these issues which have such a dramatic impact on public education these days.

With the training behind us, TADS turned our full attention to Brighter Day, which was scheduled for Saturday, April 21st.  We had already laid the foundation for our planning, and also recruited a few more people to help with the planning.  This being our second year holding this fundraiser, we applied several of the lessons learned from the first year, and I think went quite a bit more smoothly.  Of special note, our silent auction was much more successful – we starting soliciting donations earlier and we had new people helping out, which made for a very impressive collection of items.  Though the crowd was not as large as last year, it was just as enthusiastic and our fundraising efforts were very successful.  Deb & I are very appreciative of all who helped to organize it, all who generously donated to it, and all who came and joined us for a fun party that night.

While all this was going on, I squeezed in some time to wrote a grant proposal to Community Health Neighborhood Area 9 (CHNA 9), who announced that they would be awarding several mini-grants in June.  On several occasions, I have applied for grants, but have never had one awarded.  I felt that this opportunity was a perfect to get funding for our SOS training in 2013.

At the beginning of May, I attended the annual Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Conference.  This was the third time I attended this conference, which I have found to be very educational and a great opportunity to network with other people who work in this field.  For this reason, I always look forward to this event, but this year provided an extra new wrinkle for me, as I was scheduled to be co-presenting at a session with Margaret Hannah, the Director of Project INTERFACE.  Project INTERFACE is well-known and respected by the organizers of this conference.  They apparently also recognize that TADS is a serious supporter of Project INTERFACE and honored me with this opportunity.

With all of these important tasks out of the way, it would seem to be a good opportunity for me to relax for a bit, and cruise into summer.  Little did I know that some greater powers were at work to force me to do just that!  On Saturday, May 5, I arose out of bed, thinking that I was going to meet a friend for a 5 mile run.  But that did not happen because my body betrayed me.  As I stood up, I had a very intense pain in my back, which was eventually diagnosed to be two bulging disks in my back.  This forced me to lie on my back for a few weeks, which was followed by a few more weeks of very cautious recuperation.  May and June turned out to be a very low-key time for me as I slowly was nursed back to health.

I’ll close this blog entry with the words of a song by John Lennon.  Whenever I hear a John Lennon song, I think about Jeff.  Lennon was known to slip into deep depressions … and he was deep.  It all just makes me think of Jeff.  I recently watched a biographical sketch of Lennon on late night TV and came to learn some things about him and came to see his pre-mature death as especially tragic.  It seems that he and Yoko Ono hit a rough patch in the relationship during the mid-70s.  They were separated – on opposite coasts – and John was not handling it well.  Actually, he engaged in behavior that was quite destructive.  Finally, they were re-united and Lennon cleaned himself up and dedicated all his energy to their relationship.  They had a child together – Sean – and John interrupted his career to raise Sean, as Yoko went out and resumed her career.  As a “house husband” John was incredibly happy.  All this somehow reminds me of the “what could have been” for Jeffrey.  Crazy, huh?

After a few years, John and Yoko recorded Double Fantasy together.  One of the songs, “Watching the Wheels” described how people reacted to John’s decision to drop out of the music industry to raise his son.  So after years of battling the demons of depression, John Lennon found true happiness … and then was gunned down outside his New York apartment.

People say I'm crazy
Doing what I'm doing
Well, they give me all kinds of warnings
To save me from ruin

When I say that I'm okay
Well, they look at me kinda strange
Surely you're not happy now
You no longer play the game

People say I'm lazy
Dreaming my life away
Well, they give me all kinds of advice
Designed to enlighten me

When I tell them that I'm doing fine
Watching shadows on the wall
Don't you miss the big time, boy?
You're no longer on the ball

I'm just sitting here
Watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll

No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go

Ah, people asking questions
Lost in confusion
Well, I tell them, there's no problem
Only solutions

Well, they shake their heads
And they look at me as if I've lost my mind
I tell them, there's no hurry
I, I'm just sitting here doing time

I'm just sitting here
Watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll

No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go
I just had to let it go


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.


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