Journey to the White House

If you would have told me twelve to thirteen years ago that I would one day be sitting in the White House talking openly to a room full of people about my lived experience, while being live streamed to an even greater audience across the globe, I would have suggested that you get a PET scan as soon as possible.

This truly was one of the most surreal experiences of my life.  Thank you American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for trusting me with this incredible opportunity and thank you to all of the courageous souls who continue to speak up despite the stigmas that still surround mental health and suicide.  It is time we start treating our mental health just as importantly as we do our physical health.

If you or someone you know needs help please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at:

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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Under those Lights

Did you think I would remember?

Or hope I would forget?

I remember the rough edges of those fins

As your laugher echoed across the water

It felt so foreign

Like a fish out of water… Literally

Yet I wanted to make you proud

So I tried to wrangle that slippery little perch

Did you think I would remember?

The sound of lug nuts hitting the floor

As tires fell and wrenches clanged

Blue collars and grease still remind me of you

Such strong hands full of love and safety

I sure felt it

Did you think I would remember?

You carrying me across the wet ground

Shielding me from the rain

Because I think of you every time

I fumble with my umbrella in the midst of a storm

Did you think I would remember?

Wiping sleepy eyes and nudging you for answers

As the sun extended its rays through that window

Beckoning the rooster to greet the world

Because I see your face when I hear them now

What I wouldn’t give to embrace you in that moment

Just one more moment

I would have told you how much I adored you

How much this world would need you

Did you think I would remember?

The way you looked at my mother

With the respect and adoration she deserved

Because we are fighting through

A thicket of confusion wishing we could find it again

She misses you too

Did you think I would remember?

The cold breeze from the bleachers

As you cheered on the team you once played for

I think of you every time I drive by that concrete stadium

Wishing I could have witnessed you playing under those lights

I wonder what stories you would share

With your grandson when I catch him holding your class ring

He is so curious about you

Did you think I would remember?

I am so thankful I do

Because now he can remember you too

Landmine

I am not sure what I was expecting

Perhaps another field decorated with landmines

Tiptoeing around waiting for the inevitable explosion

Undeserving of something this beautiful

But my flesh is free of shrapnel and

These lungs are learning how to breathe deeply again

I was certain this stomach had turned to steel

Making it impossible to penetrate

Deaf to the laughter that so desperately

Longed to reach it

Yet I find myself erupting with a childlike

Merriment that runs so deep that

I’m certain the universe can feel it too

I’ve struggled to defeat many demons

Demons that haunt me and hold me down

And leave me screaming through silent tears

Tears that you know too well

Yet here you are

Revealing your own scars

Remnants of a past that tried to break you

They had no idea who you were

They didn’t know that you would rise

That your eyes would shine brighter

That your heart would beat stronger

They didn’t know that we’d come face to face

That through your scars I would find strength too

They didn’t know that our hearts would connect

And find themselves beating side by side

That our bodies would intertwine under the stars

That we would cast our hopes, fears, and dreams into the night

And hold each other tightly

With an embrace every soul should experience

My feet no longer fall lightly

Nor do I worry as much about what lies beneath

I just know that I want to keep walking

Near you, towards you, beside you

Always

 

~ Jessica Caudle

We All Have A Story ~ What’s Yours?

On October 1, 2016 the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s North Texas Chapter will be hosting it’s annual “Out of the Darkness” Community Walk at Reverchon Park in Dallas.  Walk up registration/ check-in begins at 12:00 and the walk will begin at 1:00 PM.

I attended my first community walk on October 5, 2013 and it absolutely changed my life.  In fact, it changed my life so much that I have been given the great honor of chairing this event just three years later.  I can’t even put into words how surreal that is to me.
For all who have supported me on this journey, I will never be able to thank you enough.  Thank you for helping me find my own voice and for sharing your own.
We are so much stronger together and I do believe there is great power in that, power that can change the world… one courageous step at a time.
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Please mark your calendars and join us on October1!  You can register at:

http://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=4013&utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=NewsfeedAD&utm_campaign=CW-FY17

Watch “Me & T – RoadTrip Rhythms” on YouTube

This happened today…

I don’t know what I ever did to deserve a friend like Trasa Whitehead!  I was in need of a ride from Fort Worth to Oklahoma earlier to pick up a truck.  

Trasa is in DFW a lot so I sent her a message and asked if she was in town to see if I might be able to catch a ride back with her. She wasn’t anywhere close, in fact she was 3 1/2 hours away!  Without hesitation she said “I’ll be on the road in 20 minutes” and was sitting at the hospital when I got off of work. 

Trasa, I am so moved by your heart, today and always.  I can’t thank you enough for helping me today.  I hope to be at least half the person you are some day.  THANK YOU, I love you so much. 

Oh… and YOU ROCK at carpool karaoke!

Watch “RoadTrip Rhythms featuring Shelby Rowe” on YouTube

We snagged a superstar for this one, the one and only Shelby Rowe!
I met Shelby one year ago at the Poynter Conference at the  Dallas Morning News, she stood bravely and shared her story in front of a room full of strangers  (including me) and spoke of the importance of safe reporting.
I was amazed by her strength and grace and inspired by her journey, a journey that led her to be the Manager of Education Programs at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
We have been friends every since… this is what can happen when people from all over the United States come together for a common cause, with a heart full of passion and determination.
Love you Shelby!