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Hi, I read about your service through someone's letter at "Heartwarmers4u". If you have not checked it out, you should. It is very heartwarming and inspirational.
I would appreciate your help. The anniversary is rolling around to my 35 year old brother's death and I would like to have a poem to read to my family for his birthday on June 8. I will attempt to fill you in on my brother.
Michael D. Pineda was born on June 8, 1962 in Topeka, Kansas. In 1981 Michael was injured in a jeep accident in Fort Carson, Colorado. The accident left Michael with two steel plates inserted in his right arm and the possibility of someday losing his arm completely. My brother was a very vain person and it did something to his self esteem having what people classify as a disability. Michael never wore short sleeve shirts because he did not want to subject people to seeing his arm and even though he would never admit it, probably did not want people asking questions about it. After receiving a disability from the Army, he decided to stay in Colorado Springs for a couple of years and attend bible college. After finishing that he decided to move back to Topeka. After being home we noticed he was not the same person. He battled depression and was always searching for something. but was not quite sure what. Whatever he did he always did it passionately, but it was never enough. He had one marriage that ended in divorce so he never felt he wanted to travel that road again. After feeling like he had failed in his marriage, he turned to drugs and alcohol and attempted suicide. After getting through that obstacle he got on at the postal service and had a good job he enjoyed. He delivered mail for about 18 months braving the heat in the summer and the below zero weather in the winter, never once complaining about his arm. No one was a stranger to Michael, he could start a conversation with anyone. Then he met Terri and they dated awhile and things were going good so they decided to move in together. We thought Michael had overcome whatever it was he was battling. Michael and Terri gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in November of 1992. They named her Caitlin Emily Pineda. Caitlin was the apple in Michael's eye, as any daughter or child is. He would take care of Caitlin on weekends so Terri could have a break from her, since she was a stay at home mom. They agreed that Terri would stay at home until Caitlin was in school. Saturdays were Michael and Caitlin's special time, they would do whatever she wanted and always end it with lunch or dinner at her favorite place, McDonalds. Michael was the best father a kid could have, he always made sure Caitlin had the best of everything, whether it was Nike shoes to whatever she wanted in toys. To be honest he spoiled her rotten. To put an end to my story, because I could go on. Last year on April 7, Michael decided to end his life. It is the hardest thing my family has ever had to deal with. We were fortunate to have him for 35 years, but I miss him so much, even though I know I should be thankful that he was my brother and we had him for that long. My parents never thought they would have to bury one of their children, so it has been devastating for them, as well as Terri and Caitlin. She went to school that day and knew her Daddy did not feel well and when she came home, she was told that he had died. At first I was mad at Michael for doing this, but I did not know what he was going through so I did not stay mad very long. Michael was survived my our parents, one brother Mark (whose birthday is the day Michael ended his life), Marcia (me) and our younger sister Jackie. And of course Terri and Caitlin. Not a day goes by that I don't think of him.
I would appreciate a poem you would write in remembrance of my brother. The most important thing to me is that Caitlin remembers her dad and that she knows how much he loved her. The anniversary of Michael's death is right around the corner and it will be very hard for our family because I know each of us will relive that day over and over, just like we have many times in our minds. It is unbelievable the stigma still attached to suicide. I always thought this happens to someone else, but you know our family turned out to be that someone.
I truly appreciate your time and effort. Peace, Marcia
A life, a story,
a brother, a friend.
I still can't reason why,
your journey had to end.
I try not to get angry.
Gee, how I've tried.
I've tried to see your anguish,
and the pain you felt inside.
But there is a certain stigma,
its something I wish I'd never heard,
I wish that it just wasn't possible,
I wish that there was no such word.
Because life can be a roller coaster,
most times its a bumpy ride,
but why did you have to get off,
and choose to suicide ?
Caitlin is such a beautiful girl,
she was the apple of your eye.
You loved her so very much,
but she also keeps asking "Why ?"
I know that your life,
was cut way too short,
I've tried adding up the logic,
and at times it comes to naught.
You were always searching for something,
but I'm not quite sure what,
you did everything with a passion,
you gave it your very best shot.
And life is not forever,
time only goes one way,
and everyone will leave this earth,
everybody has that day.
And all that is ever left,
are the memories to hand,
to treasure against the tides of time,
like footprints in the sand.
Copyright Allen Jesson :) 2001
Marcia kindly replied;
Thank you so much. I think it is great. The first anniversary of Michael's death was April 7, so needless to say I have been filled with much emotion. As I read this I got a lump in my throat. I did not expect it until next month. It was a very good surprise. I started attending the Survivors of Suicide group after my brother's death. I plan on reading it to the group at our next meeting and will tell them about your site. I would be honored and I think my brother would also be honored for you to publish the poem. It is not necessary to change the names. Maybe it will help someone out there contemplating suicide to read how it affects the surviving family members. Please let me know when it will be published so I can tell my family and friends. Your thoughtfulness has been overwhelming. Thank you again. Marcia
I wanted to ask your permission to use the poem you wrote for me about my brother on a quilt block. We are doing a quilt in our Survivors of Suicide group here in Topeka, Kansas. Each person in our group can use a snapshot and anything they want on their block. I thought if you don't mind I would use your poem and of course make sure your name was on the bottom of the poem for the credit.
Four Months Later:
I wanted you to see the quilt block I made for our "Survivor's of Suicide" quilt. Hopefully I can get a picture of the block when the quilt is finished. We had a quilt dedication last night and of course I forgot my camera. I know several of the others took pictures, so hopefully I can get a copy. When I do I will be sure and send it to you.
It was tough going through all my pictures trying to find the right one. All I knew for sure was that I wanted to use your poem on my quilt block and I finally found the right picture to go with it.....after shedding several tears looking at all the pictures.
Thank you again for the poem. Let me know what you think, OK?
A friend of mine scanned pictures of the quilt blocks we did for our
Survivors of Suicide Group and I wanted to pass them on to you since I
included your poem on my quilt block. I know it is a little hard to read,
but I did want you to see it on the quilt. It was on display at our public
library for awhile. The quilt will also be displayed in Wichita and Kansas
City in the near future. Thank you again for the poem, it holds a special place in my heart as does
my brother. Peace, Marcia
Footprints - Suicide is not painless.
The 19 Year Old - A sad story about drugs.
Correct Weight - The magic of horse racing.
Sex - Parental guidance recommended.
The Gift - First Anniversary present...
When I Was Young - Or why was it better then?