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Tony’s Letters

It was a cool Autumn day. The leaves along the hillside had began to change to their delightful tones of red, yellow, and burnt orange to decorate for the autumn season.

I had drove to town to ‘check’ Sunshine Messages post office box. With little to no expectations of finding a letter. It had been brought to my attention that ‘snail’ mail was considered a thing of the past, so why would I believe anyone would take time to write Sunshine Messages?

As I stood next to the recycling bin tossing one advertisement after the other into a sea of unwanted ‘junk’ mail, something caught my eye! A small, crumpled, letter. It was difficult to read due to the smudged letters on the outside. The address was correct…P.O. Box 173 Milton Ky. 40045. But it was not made out to Sunshine.

Hmmmm, I curiously flipped it back and forth attempting to decide if it was placed in the wrong mail box or if it was indeed a letter for Sunshine?

Leaving the rest of the rubbish behind, the letter went with me! It couldn’t have much in the envelope it was so small. It smelled of cherry cigars & tears. Who was this from? Without a return address, my curiosity was building more and more.

As I carefully opened the crumpled, envelope to read this mysterious note…I found 2 letters. They both had been ripped apart, tapped together, crumpled & tore several times. One, in particular, was extremly difficult to read. As I unfolded the first letter, I had to carefully pull pieces of tape apart in order to open it. It appeared that this letter was held together with tape & prayers.

The handwriting was messy & whoever had written this note must have been in a hurry!

“I am sorry I couldn’t take it anymore, I Love You All So Much. I do not want to hurt you. I am sorry daddy, I cannot be the star quarter back anymore. But know I Love You I really do Love You! I am So Sorry. Love, Tony.

Was this a joke? Who would send this to Sunshine? What do they want? The questions raced through my head!

Laying this note aside, I quickly opened the newer, less stained and damaged letter.

Hoping to find answers, as to why I have this worn, tattered, pieced together, smudged letter that made little sense to me! Who is Tony? And why is his letter in my post office box. The second letter read:

Dear Sunshine,

I have read your blog, watched your recordings & I am begging for your HELP!

You see this is my Son’s suicide note! I have wept many times over these worn & tattered pieces of paper. Begging & hoping to turn back time. Wondering how I can forgive myself for being such a terrible father and how I can forgive my son for not talking to me before he did what he did.

You are my last attempt. I have contemplated taking my life several times, even as I write this letter my desperation feels as if it will take me over. I have been put on antidepressants, spoke with countless counselors/psychiatrists, mediums and psychics.

I have a beautiful daughter and wife. However, I know they are growing weary of my depression.

My wife explained, two weeks ago, she had been thinking about leaving me. Not because she does not love me, but rather she cannot stand to see me in such a terrible state of mind and feels she cannot help.

They are the reason I continue to wake up everyday. I would ‘end it all’ if it weren’t for these beautiful ladies in my life. However, I love them so much and I realize how terrible the pain is when you lose someone to Suicide, that I cannot hurt them like that.

A friend of mine requested I try one last attempt to heal. She explained how you had assisted her when she had to say goodbye to her husband 2 years ago.

She told me how you eased her pain by providing her with Sunshine Messages. “If it weren’t for ‘Sunshine’ I wonder how I would have pulled through”, was her comment to reassure me you could help.

Therefore, I am writing to request HELP! In fact I have NEVER let go of his letter as I did to mail it to you. Yes I made a copy. However, this letter is his actual handwriting from the pen he wrote before he…

I am unsure if you can help me. However, I am Desperate! I am at the end of my rope! I do not have anywhere else to turn.

My address is included at the bottom of this note.

Here is what I would like to do. May I write a message to my Son, Tony and you deliver it?

Write back as soon as possible or email me.

Please, please, please do what you can!

Sincerely yours, Charles

I immediatly sat down to write him a quick note, explaining this might be beyond my capabilities. This was a great deal of responsibility and fear had come over me.

For example, what if I couldn’t assist him and he took his life, I would feel terrible. I suggested he call the Suicide Prevention hotline & return to his psychiatric care, immediately. My note was short & sweet, but definitely to the point.

I addressed the envelope and hurried off to return his and his son’s  letter. I ensured I would send him good energy and hoped he found his inner peace & forgiveness.

I sent the letter and washed my hands of that.

The following day, the lady. who had sent Charles my way, contacted me. “I hope you do not mind I sent you another person to assist in living his Best Life.”

She explained a bit more about his situation.

Apologetically, I told her how I wrote him back declining the opportunity to assist.

Although she was disappointed, she seemed to understand my decision. (Which was fear talking).

About a week had passed and I heard nothing more. I did wonder if I had made the best decision, I guessed he went on to seek assistance else where. I had already lost a great deal of sleep over his letters therefore, I feel that no news is good news.

Everything was back to ‘normal’ in Sunshine’s world!

Two more weeks had passed. My routine visit to the post office, continued to be standing at the recycling bin disposing of all the ‘junk’ mail!

As I tossed the last four Dish Network advertisements in the recycling bin I turned on my heels and begin to leave. Then I heard a sweet little voice , “Are you Sunshine?”

Funny thing is…I was on the verge of cancelling the post office box and focusing on texting or email. Maybe everyone was right? (I thought to myself) I mean this letter idea is not going to work. No one writes or mails letters anymore. My clientele was growing and everyone seemed to enjoy the text messages/emails, just fine. This P.O. Box was a waste of time…right?

I replied, as I looked up to see who was asking, “Yes, I am Sunshine. Why?”

A young lady in her early teens was standing there, staring at me with her hand outstretched holding a Pink envelope addressed to Sunshine.

“Where did you find that? Did I drop it?” I asked.

“No,” she curtly replied. Continuing to hold the envelope out, as if she was a little put out with me for not taking the letter.

The two seconds of silence were extremly uncomfortable. As I reached out to take the letter, she never seemed to blink or take her eyes off of me. I slowly attempted to take the letter and she pulled it back slightly, tilted her head, inhaled deeply, then in a snide yet calm tone, she asked, “Can you handle this? I helped you the first time because you doubted, but now it is up to you, Sunshine.”

“Okay, I do not know who you are nor do I understand what you are talking about, but if that is addressed to me…please give it to me.”

I took the envelope and as I read who it was addressed to…’Sunshine’, I was saying, “Thank You,” simultaneously.

Our conversation continued as I peered at the envelope with extreme curiosity. I was blabbing about my thoughts, inspecting the color and wondering if this young woman knew who it was from. As I began to ask, “Do you know who…”

I looked up to read her facial expression, attempting to infer her role in delivering this hot pink envelope. And…SHE WAS GONE! POOF! HAD VANISHED IN THIN AIR!

I quickly ran to the door, pushed it open looking for this young lady. I would never forget her expression and how she made me feel so strange. She was kind yet staunch. Cold with a twist of warmth.

Where did she go? Who was this young lady? She was not in the Post Office when I arrived…hmmmm where did she come from?

Startled and confused I left with the Pink envelope in hand! I couldn’t help but continue to look for the messenger. I wondered, where she came from and where she went. I was confused and filled with curiosity. What was she talking about, “Can I handle this and she helped me the first time?”

I have never seen that girl before, in my life! How could she have helped?

Maybe, the contents in this letter will answer some of my questions. As I carefully opened the letter I could smell a strawberry scent coming from the pink lined paper carefully folded and tucked into the nice neat Pink envelope. The letter said,

Dear Sunshine,

Thank you so much for my letter. It was if you had already received my letter to my son! I do not know how you did that, but your letter has changed my life! I cannot thank you enough. I hope you will have time to send some more letters. They assist me in forgiving Tony and I can make it through one more day. Thank you from The bottom of my heart, Sunshine! Your friend was correct in saying your messages can be described as magical. My only regret is that I didn’t write you sooner.

You see I have been mourning Tony for five years and until your letter, I have cried myself to sleep night after night, since the day we lost him! I have attempted to hide my sadness, but my daughter, who is now 15, begged for me to get help. She said she misses her daddy and she is beginning to feel hatred towards her brother because of it.

When she said she could hate her brother is when something snapped in my head! Was I actually HATING my son for doing what he did? I knew I Hated myself, but I thought my mourning was because I Loved and missed him so much. I do not want my daughter or myself to hate Tony.

Then, out of complete desperation, I wrote that first letter to you. I did not have any expectations that you would return a response nor if it would help me heal.

I am here to tell you that letter…Changed My Life! I still have a great deal of healing to do and am hoping you will continue to assist me. My daughter has already noticed a difference in me, in this short amount of time.

When she asked what I was ‘doing’ to heal? I replied with enjoying some Sunshine 🌞.

Thank You Sunshine for everything! My letter from my son was the best medicine. (Yes, I know it was from you, but it helped me so much and you even signed it the way he always did! Thank you!).

I have written him another letter and am sending it to you separate from this one. I hope you do not mind, I looked up your favorite color and am sending my letters in that color to ensure they do not become mixed up in the many other letters you receive.

Thank you, once again, for assisting me. I know you are extremly busy and I so appreciate you taking on my case!

One more thing… I made a donation to your PayPal, I do hope it is more than enough.

Thank you, Charles

I read his letter at least twenty times. I was puzzled & confused.

Didn’t I write him a letter explaining how I couldn’t help? Hmmmm…my mind was racing with questions. Who was the young lady? Who is Charles? And how did he receive a letter from his son, yet from Sunshine? I didn’t write it!

The next few days I felt quite intrigued. I went to the post office every day for five days…Nothing! Oh of course there were a few more pieces of junk mail, but definitely not a Pink letter addressed to Sunshine. I had mixed emotions. Some days I hoped a letter would arrive and other days I felt like it was a hoax. Then…

IT HAPPENED! All alone, no advertisements, other letters, nothing was in my PO Box except 1 hot pink envelope addressed to Sunshine!

Instead of smelling like cherry cigars and tears it smelled of strawberries and cream. I quickly retrieved the letter and practically ran to my car.

Recognizing, I should wait to read this at home…I tore it open, in the parking lot and began reading!

Dear Tony,

It is funny all of my therapist have instructed me to write you letters, but I refused. All this time I focused on your death and my own suffering. I am so sorry! Thank you for forgiving me and knowing how much I Love You!

I wish you didn’t have to go as early as you did, but I now understand a little better of your pain and suffering. I will try to keep my letters on the lighter side, but sometimes I May need to tell you about my sorrow. It seems to be a path to help me heal. I have been so angry with you for the past 5 years that I have missed out a great deal. I will try to do better. I Love You My Son! Thank you for taking the time to write back and letting me know you forgive me, for not being able to help you.

I must admit the young lady, Lindsey, has truly suffered a great deal. She blames herself for breaking up with you and everytime she sees Mom, Jessica or myself tears fill her eyes and she makes a point to hug us and tell us all she loves us.

I wish you would have held on a little longer. You would have recognized that the pain from the break up or from all the other pieces of your life, would pass.

Jeremy took your place as quarter back and he did okay. He is now attending Kansas State. He did not continue playing sports after graduation. However, before EVERY GAME…He would pull the team to huddle and shout over and over, “Win this for Tony!”

The year you passed they didn’t win a single game! But, Senior Year…We won STATE! With a great deal of tears! The team lifted Jeremy up and chanted, “WE WON IT FOR TONY!!!”

Your school counselor included you in her graduation speech and of course, so did the class president & your best friend Damon.

One comment was, “Tony’s body may have passed on, but his Great Big Happy Spirit guided us through to this day. Our final page the day we all spread our wings and fly. We hope you are smiling down on us and that we made you proud.”

Oh, how I have missed you! I am so sorry you regretted it the second after you pulled that trigger. I know how you feel, I have regretted many things the second you thought it was okay to leave us!

I will never ‘move on’ or forget you my Son! However, I do hope for more peace & understanding, especially now that I have your letter. And hope for many more to arrive.

Until next time, know that I Love You to the Moon & Back. I Love You for all eternity! I simply wish I could turn back time.

Love with All of My Heart, Daddy! 

At this point I can only infer what Tony had replied back with. How did this happen? What could or how could I have possibly sent a letter from his deceased son.

My mind could not calm down. I questioned everything. Yes, I Loved Providing Sunshine Messages, but did I lack the confidence neccessary to continue this? Hmmmm…my uncertainty turned into anxiety and I needed to pause for a mindful moment.

As I layed on my yoga mat and attempted to focus on my breath, I continued to see the young lady firmly holding ‘my letter’. And then her smirk on her face as she acted like I was irritating her! Her words swirled in my head, “Can you handle this?”

Who does she think she is? Questioning me? Who are you? And what if I cannot handle this?

My mindful moment was becoming a gripe session from all the events of the day. I tossed and turned until I slipped off into a afternoon nap.

Of course, my dreams included letters, request, snide remarks, people all swirling around and mixing together.

One message that seemed to stand out was, “Write him back.”

“Write Who?”

But the who did not seem to matter! I heard the message again and my response was extremely loud as I sat up, abruptly ending my nap, and shouted, “Write WHO?”

I sat at my writing station, grabbed an ink pen and began to write. To who? No one. I simply wrote words that came to me. Some made sense others did not. I simply continued to listen to my mind…Happy that I communicate some love enjoy little laugh more never put a period no ending just beginnings journeys with you I journey with you alot ventures tough I am help yes healing forgive all allow happy love your guy Tony

I read it 100 times. I questioned do I send this to Charles? It doesn’t even make sense. I mean I guess it does a little bit, but not really. Maybe I should edit it? Nope, that answer was clear. What did I do? I addressed the envelope to Charles I took a trip to the post office and I mailed it!

When Charles received the letter he immediatly emailed me…”Thank You, Sunshine!”

To be Continued: if you would like to read more of ‘Tony’s Letters’ Stay tuned because we are releasing this story one surprise at a time!

Livelove & Carry On!

Written by: Teena/Sunshine Drake!

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If you know of someone struggling….

Hello let me introduce myself my name is love, pink, joyful, laughter, fun, accepting, free-spirited, sensual, kind, caring, understanding, insightful, focused, millionaire, educator, magnificent, dynamic, sparkly, diamond lover, debater, healthy, swimmer, who loves others and wants them to come along and take this ‘HAPPY’ adventure with me! My name is Teena Drake, my game is living life as HAPPY as possible.

Wow! Brag much Teena? Nope I don’t have to brag this is how people have described me and the adjectives I have chosen to identify my life with. You see my entire life has been altered for the better of me, but the most exciting part is for the betterment of you too!

You might be puzzled, but allow me to take a couple of pieces of this puzzle and show you a glimpse of the possibilities. I am so excited right now I can barely type! I keep walking away saying don’t do this! It’s to scary to tell the world what you have learned! But if I keep it a secret well I can’t keep this feeling or life! Which puts me in a pickle! Therefore, I am busting out!!!! So if you are ready to see who you are and find that ‘HAPPY’ place you have been longing for follow me on this adventure…as I reveal a lifetime of learning, but let’s begin with what I have learned since December 8th, 2016. The event, the blessing, that had to happen for me to have received such a wonderful gift for the world – that can seem gloomy and sad. It’s a gift full of joy, happiness, adventure or just a hike in solitude the world is a beautiful place as long as you are happy!

First Assignment:  1, Write your name  2. Write all the adjectives or activities, that make up you (NOT OTHER PEOPLE) 3. Now ask by text or email so they can think about it, how some of your friends, family members, or acquaintances would describe you. (The third step came from Jack Cannefield’s writing). 4. Read all of them and delete any you do not like and own the ones you love. 5. Anything you would like to share about this first step to ‘Being’ ‘Happy’ tag me so I can read it and share! I look forward to reading about the amazing YOU!

When I began this process I was unsure how other people would describe me, but some of the things I said about myself were not nice. If you come up with a similar scenario and you are saying negative things about yourself, even if you won’t write it you are thinking it continuously, STOP! I know it’s not that easy trust me, but I promise I can help you. Mmmm I take that back I can’t help you, but I can provide you with the tools to help yourself.

I hope you have a beautiful weekend and remember God Loves You No Matter What!

Please! Please!Please, Share all of my post if you are struggling or know of someone else struggling with this game of ‘Life!’ Why? You ask? Because I have been given a gift that if, I want to keep, I must share it with as many people possible. Therefore, I am asking that you tell your friends and family to follow me on WordPress, Facebook-Teena Drake, Twitter-Livelove pinkologist@TeenaDrake, Instagram- live_love_pinkologist and you tube. When I begin to video this series I will let you know so you can subscribe to Livelove Pinkologist. (Or you can subscribe anyways). Thank you and God Bless Each of You and may you BE HAPPY!

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Has it been eighteen years ago? What year is it? 2017?

It was just like yesterday!!! March sixteenth 1999…the band Yellow 5 was playing at the Toy Tiger. What an event! It hadn’t been the first time they played there, but was definitely one of the most important. There was a company there to sign, who? Yes, our little hometown band, they were on their way to being FAMOUS!!!!!! However, guess who was in labor at about six o’clock in the morning and Eric was to leave to pursue stardum at one  pm. Not good timing to say the least! But what an adventure.

The contractions would play with us all day. Become closer together then subside. I had decided they were probably a false alarm. However, he was over due, so we were on alert. I will never forget the moment when I called the doctor, explained my contractions and said, “If it would be okay, could I hold off until after midnight, to check in to the hospital?”

After a long pause, which seemed like an eternity, she chuckled and said, “Teena, I don’t think you get to choose that, but since this is your third child, you will know when to get here.”

My thoughts were you do not know me very well, but okay.

As the minutes ticked and clumped into hours my labor proceeded to get worse. Now a solid ten minutes a part and not stopping. They were consistent. It was now 12:45 and my honey was becoming anxious. Then he did the sweetest thing, he got down on both knees planted a big kiss on my huge, tight, belly button protruding, in labor, pregnant stomach and said, “Little buddy I love you, you know I do…but truthfully I am begging you to hold off one night.”

At that moment my little heart melted. Awe how freaking sweet is he for saying that. IF YOU BELIEVE THAT I HAVE SOME PROPERTY FOR SALE, IT ONLY HOLDS A LITTLE WATER!!!! LOLOLOL

What happened next…Let’s just let it be known my huge, rolly, polly, extreme pain came out and I began to say not such nice things to him. But hey who wants to recall the negative so let’s move on!.

Anyways, he went on to the gig and said, “I will be there, if you have to go to the hospital.”

I guess I would deal with whatever happened.

It was around nine o’clock my mom and her boyfriend insisted on driving me (thank goodness because I was going no matter what). As we merged on to the interstate I began to have pretty severe contractions. I had bought a brand new outfit for the gig, attempting to look as beautiful as possible weighing in at too much to post!

As we pass the exit to the hospital I recall Jon yelling, “Pull off! Charlene pull off! This is ridiculous!”

“No you better not pull off I won’t get out. I will make it! Just keep rolling the gig is about ready to begin. We can make it, go go go!”

Mom just pushed the petal to the metal and we were sitting in the Toy Tiger parking lot. Black makeup was pouring down my face, making me look like I was a pregnant zombie (wonder if that was foreshadowing for the Nuelydedz).

I fixed my face and rolled out of the car, literally I rolled. As I waddled closer to the door I saw a black man covering the doorway almost like he was waiting on me to say, “You are not coming in here little mama.”

As I got closer and closer I realized it was our good friend, the bouncer, Mo. I grinned as my head rolled back so I could look him in the eye or at least close enough. I am still hurting and I said, “Hey Mo it’s me with Yellow 5 I am just not feeling well.”

“Nope you do not need to be in here. You need to turn around and go back home.”

As if some kind of demon took over my body I lowered my head for a second, probably because I was having a pain. Then looked back up and in a scary voice said, “Mo! I have been through hell and back today so could you please move over and let me through!!!!!”

If you knew him you would know he never budged for anyone. He was one of the best bouncers in the world. However, thank goodness he felt sorry for me. He stepped a side and even found me a table close to the back so I could watch, but could exit quickly, if needed.

We had about fifteen minutes to spare so I sat down. Eric appeared to be happy to see me, he might have been afraid of me, but he played it off well. I am just kidding! If you know either of us very well, you know we don’t stay mad for very long at all.

The lights went dim, silence filled the room for a split second and when the stage lit up Eric Drake raised his drum sticks and hit the first lick…it stopped! What? Yes, my labor pains stopped almost simultaneously. I don’t mean I had a little pain, then they stopped. In fact I would push back and forth a few times just so he would kick my hand. Once I knew he was fine we went on together, enjoying the gig. The night seemed to end quickly and I was home, curled up in bed before I knew it. Still no pain, achey feeling just little ole pregnant me, like nothing happened.

Next morning March 17, 1999 appeared to be an average morning. Eric went on to work and I got the girls ready for school. Around 1:00 I told my mother and brother n law I didn’t feel well. Therefore, I was going to take a bath. My mom was pacing back and forth. She knew I was acting funny, so she called Eric to come home early. When he walked in the bathroom to check on me I stood up in the bathtub said, “Honey, I don’t feel very good!”

His face was worth this entire story! He first turned white, then he began to raise his voice…never looking me in the eye. Only to stare at my belly like there was an alien peaking out of my belly button. When I asked him what is wrong?

He looked at my belly and calmly said, “Get dressed, we are going to the hospital.”

Then it happened. I looked down to see what he was so freaked out about. I am not kidding you when I say it was something like a phenomenon. My gigantic, stretched out, pregnant belly had sank to a small dodge ball size. It literally looked like somebody told Nicholas to jump into a too small of a container and scrunch altogether, to ensure  this delivery is a quick process. You will be out of here before you know it. I began to panic. I yelled for my mommy and she came running. All she could do was hand me clothes in a frantic manner. After I was dressed the girls were quickly loading into our gold colored MPV mini van and we were off. By this time the contractions had begun! We were at five minutes apart and holding. We drove the girls across the Milton/Madison bridge only to hand over the girls to my daddy and step-mom. It looked alot like a three ring circus: I am screaming, off and on, hanging on the ‘Oh Shit’ handle. The side door oppisite of their front door flies open as if a rocket is going to shoot out and strike their next door neighbors. Out jumps Darion and Ashby. Ashby is screaming, “NO! I want to go with you please don’t leave me here. I don’t want to get out,” while she is pushing her meemaw and daddy away with her chubby little hands and almost leaping back and forth to keep from being caught, but she was too little to escape boh of them.

Not to mention her daddy was screaming, “ASHBY!” at the top of his lungs.

Now the kids are delivered and we are racing down the road with flashers on and me still halfway standing up screaming every THREE MINUTES NOW. My mother had decided we were going to deliver him in the van.

Once we arrived at the hospital my best friend Teresa Kidwell was waiting on me and we all just knew this was going to be fifteen minutes until Mr. Prince Charming Nicholas Drake would bless us with his presence. Nope, Nope Nope…my sweet little nurse Wendy Hines (one of the best nurses in the world), began prepping me for delivery, doctor was quickly behind too late for an epideral and BOOM he was scooting on down the chute…but abruptly came to a halt. Why? Because he was ten pounds nine ounces that’s why! My body said sorry call me tomorrow because I don’t know how we will ever get this one out of here.

His shoulders were stuck. That is the final answer. After a few hours we had to make a decision; his collar bone would have to be broke. They did it and finally he was here.

My grandmother was alive then. I am always so grateful that he grew up knowing her. They had a unique bond. I would go to the house after working all day and say, “Baw Baw how did you and Nicholas get along today?” (She wanted to watch him when he was about three a couple of days a week, to keep from being lonely).

She would reply with, “Well, Teena I guess we got along okay. Who are you talking about? Nicholas? Oh yes he is so quiet I almost forgot I had him.”

Ummmm I think that should have been my sign but he was fine! Some people might get offended by me making a joke about my grandmothers dementia, but until you have lived through it, you can not understand! If you didn’t laugh about it you would lose your mind!

Anyways I had a beautiful ten pound nine ounce little boy on March seventeenth nineteen ninety nine. He has brought each of us joy on a regular basis and I can’t believe how fast the years have flown by. We have good, bad, fun, snuggle, adventurous, heartbreaking, puzzling and most of all loving times and I am looking forward to many more. He has never fit in a mold or been the type to follow a crowd. He has a kind heart; magnificient musical talent among other talents. He has been my rock the past four months, while I haven’t been capable of many daily duties. I thank God for Nicholas Ryan Drake on a daily basis. I love you buddy! Happy Birthday!

May my stories relate to you, make you laugh, help you heal, entertain you, but most of all may they enrich your life in one way or another! God Bless Everyone!