This blog is dedicated to the memory of Keith Witmer

Mad, an I’m not going to take it anymore!

A different story today.  I am mad and I just don’t want to take it anymore.  Sound familiar?  I think it’s from the movie Network…I can see the actor screaming this in my mind,  and this is what I feel.  Has our world gone mad?  I just found out today that another friend has lost a loved one to a drug overdose.  A 27 year old man with his whole future in front of him.  Another son, grandson, brother, nephew,  and friend, dead to a senseless epidemic that most people don’t even have on their radar.   Another family left in the horror, pain, shame, and guilt of having a loved one die from a drug overdose.

And yet living in this liberal state that I do, I get to hear every liberal get mad at our new President trying to stop and control immigration.   I have no problem with LEGAL immigration.  Our country is founded  on immigrants…my grandparents were immigrants.  We have a quota of how many immigrants we can assimilate in a year.  The key word is assimilate.

What does this have to do with drug addiction and a drug overdose you ask?  Here is a quote from Dan Springer:

          A new report puts the price of educating the thousands of illegal immigrant children who recently crossed into the U.S. at a whopping $761 million this school year — as some school systems push for the feds to pick up the tab.

            The estimate comes from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which issued a report on the 37,000 “unaccompanied minors” – who mainly are from Central America – after analyzing data from the Department of Health and Human Services and education funding formulas in all 50 states.”

That money is our money from our property taxes.  And that money is for just the 37,000 minors this year.  Estimates are into the billions that we spend to educate illegal immigrants.

Shouldn’t we take care of those less fortunate you ask.  Yes we should, and that is why we have legal immigration…to help those who come here looking for a better life.  The question is should we take care of those who come to this country illegally because they are in need?  We can’t do that and take care of our own, but that is what we’re doing and we don’t have a choice in the matter.  Would you give all your money to charity and not have any money to take care of your family?

We are losing a generation of our children.  Most of these children were underachievers in school.  Maybe they had learning disabilities who weren’t served by the one size fits all school system we have (I know my son did).  I still feel the school system contributed to my son’s demise.  I don’t blame anyone personally…I blame the system.  I had counselors say he doesn’t need an IEP (Individual Education Plan) he had a C average, those learning disabled students who are working 2 levels below their capability are eligible for a special plan.  Since he wasn’t failing they told me he was ineligible (they lied).  The problem with their argument was he was smart and capable of A work, but because of the system they let him go.  The school system cannot deal with anyone that doesn’t fit their norm.  They were trying to force a round peg into a square hole.  He never fit into the system.

I was told the school system only had enough money to offer special services to those who really need it, and my son did not need it he was getting by.  Would he go to college, of course not.  Would he feel good about himself, never.  So while classes are overcrowded, special programs and arts are cut we are educating thousands of illegal immigrants who believe we owe them this education.  In the meantime our children who may need extra help to succeed or who have mental issues are cast aside because of lack of funds.

Those castaways are left to their own devices to feel better about themselves, many using drugs to “feel good”.  They have trouble finding and keeping jobs.   Then to add insult to injury the majority of drugs they purchase come from Mexican Cartels operating here in the United States smuggling drugs across the border.  I believe my son got his drugs from one of these cartels…no proof just phone calls from people with Mexican accents looking for him, asking questions about his whereabouts,  and not believing he was dead; plus there were statements from his friends.

            “America’s Insatiable Demand for Drugs, Hearing Before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate, One Hundred Fourteenth Congress, Second Session, April 13, 2016

 This is a testimony compilation of the April 13, 2016 hearing on “America’s Insatiable Demand for Drugs” held before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. From the opening statement of Ron Johnson: “Over the last 15 months, this committee has spent a great deal of time studying and describing the realities of American border security. The accumulated testimony on the committee’s record indicates that America’s borders are not secure. It is my conclusion that, among many causes, the root cause of our insecure border is America’s insatiable demand for drugs. Today’s hearing will further explore this topic. Drug trafficking is a big business. Mexican transnational criminal organizations, which represent the greatest criminal drug threat in the U.S., generate somewhere between $19 billion and $29 billion per year in U.S. drug sales. This is enough to motivate the cartels to find a way, any way, to penetrate our borders. Where fences exist, the cartels dig tunnels under them or fly ultralight aircraft over them. Where there is desert, backpackers carry loads across the border, endangering homes in rural areas along the way. For the most part, the cartels simply drive across the border through legal ports of entry, creatively concealing drugs in tires, batteries, or even jalapeño jars. Once these drugs cross the border, they are sent to distribution hubs in places such as Phoenix or Chicago. From there, the drugs are disseminated by street gangs into local communities throughout America. No community is left untouched by this sophisticated and fully integrated network. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) testified at our field hearing in New Hampshire last year that ‘the new face of organized crime in America’ is ‘[t]he growing relationship between Mexican-based drug cartels and domestic street gangs.'”Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: John F. Kelly, Jonathan P. Caulkins, Cheryl Healton, Tony Sgro, and Robert Budsock.”


Once they are cast out and feel they don’t belong, and become addicted they ultimately have legal problems, and jail time too, contributing to their shame and feelings of unworthiness.  Their families if able, end up spending thousands of dollars on special programs, rehab, and legal costs.

The problem is complex, but if I had a choice in all this…I would take the billions we spend on illegal immigrants and pay for more education/job training for our children, more mental health programs, better drug rehabilitation centers that last at least 6 months, re-education after, and follow-up care that lasts at least 2 years.   Secure our borders!  Stop the influx of drugs.  Then if there is money left over…let in more immigrants LEGALLY.

I know this problem is bigger than I’m explaining here, like what to do with the millions that are here already?  It just seems when listening to many of the liberal people complaining about this, that a lot of them have these “perfect” families which allow them to have these lofty ideals about freedom for all. They say our country can afford to take care of everyone who wants to come. They are usually the same people who have the money to send their children to special schools, who have never had to deal with drug issues, and who make you feel that it is our parenting skills that are to blame.  Our addiction group from church has proven that wrong…addicts come from Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers, Priests, professionals from all walks of life and especially from loving parents.

I am an Orthodox Christian who believes that the devil has his part in all this too, whispering to our children, telling them to get high you’ll feel better.  Those that are left to pick up the pieces, instead of listening to that same devil who wants you to succumb to despair and hopelessness, please tell your story to whoever will listen.  Maybe we can stop this madness and help someone else.  Thanks for listening!


Another Year

I never believed it would be five years before I got back to writing again.  A friend criticized the first post and that was it for me.  But to say I’ve changed is an understatement. I’ve learned to let things roll off my shoulders.  Where am I in the “Portia Nelson” poem of falling in the hole.  I’m in Chapter 3.  I still fall in that hole, but now I get out right away.

It has been 8 years since Keith died.  Eternal be his memory.  The pain is still there, it never leaves me.  Every part of every day there is some reminder of Keith, or his absence.  The time between Thanksgiving and this anniversary in February is the worst.  But I go on, there is no other choice.

I’ve learned to distract myself from the never-ending pain. I work at church, we travel, and I’m an artist who has many more projects to do than there is time.  I’ve learned how (most of the time) to stay in the present moment.  Most of all I’ve learned to be grateful for the people around me, for the breath I take, and for the love I have.

I plan to take this blog in a new direction.  The journey I’ve been on has taught me how to deal with pain and grief, how easily we fall in that hole again, and how to get out.  In future posts I plan to share some of those strategies.

So I leave you with this wonderful video on gratitude by Louie Schwartzberg.   You can go to  YouTube and subscribe to his channel.

Can’t Sleep

I woke up at 2:30 this morning and have not been able to get back to sleep.  For the past 2 weeks I’ve been dogged by this unending depression.  I feel like my life is over, that there is nothing left, nowhere to go.  I’m too old, too stupid, too tired, too everything. Of course I know that’s not true.  In Brene Brown’s world it would be “never good enough” syndrome.   The bottom line is there is too much pain.   I know that this is the depression talking.  I always believed the pain would ease.  No one told me it would deepen, that it would always be with me.  It was 3 years ago and it was yesterday.

Every breath I take, every song I hear, every person I meet reminds me of Keith.  I’ve lost my grandmother, grandfather, and father, but nothing prepared me for losing my son.   There is always hope, family and friends who care…but can you hear or see that when you have this depression screaming in your ear?  It’s the little things…How many kids do you have?  You lie and say one a daughter…how can you go there?  Your life becomes a lie.  How are you doing?  Fine  (F***ed Up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional).

Addiction destroyed Keith’s life and addiction destroyed our life, and yet we must go on.


by Portia Nelson


I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.


I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
but, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.


I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
my eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.


I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.


I walk down another street.

I live somewhere between Chapter II and III, I keep falling in the same hole, and it takes me forever to get out, all I can do for now is to pray:

Lord, Jesus Christ have mercy on me.  The Orthodox Jesus Prayer.

My hope and prayer is by opening this wound, examining it, and sharing it, with God’s mercy and grace I will find a place to heal.  As a friend of Keith’s recently said:  “It is the examined life that is worth living and there is something that is worthwhile every day you live it…if you take the time to notice it”.  Peace!