I love nature; from the sound of a babbling brook to the grand statement a waterfall makes and lush mountains of home. The time I spend with my grandson would have to be the most precious time. Watching him grow into this amazing human being; becoming the individual that he is; it is a wonderful thing to witness. I enjoy painting, beading and altered artwork, and then there is this odd fascination with skulls. A little cranial appreciation goes a long way!
Thursday, April 6, 2017
I lost my son to suicide
I am not sure where the last 12 months went but the pain feels like it was only yesterday that Michael committed suicide. I love you Michael and miss you so very much.
Michael's death has changed me in the most profound ways. It literally demolished me, forcing me to figure out who I am without him in my life. I am learning how to find joy in the depth of darkness. There are days of darkness that consume me and take my breath away. If I can outlive my child, my strength will have no limits. Finding that strength to move forward is hard. Every day since his death is another day that I’ve survived.
I learned that so many things are out of my control. His death has taught me it is possible to live with only half a heart as part of my heart remains with Michael. I am learning that laughter is meant to be heard and tears are meant to fall. I have learned that nothing can change the pain of losing a child. Until April 4, 2016, I didn't know what pain was.
I have learned who my true friends are. They are the ones who have stood by me and supported me. They have endured the emotional roller coaster ride with me and kept me from falling off. I am truly blessed to have the strongest friends anyone could ever wish for. Thank you; each of you. <3 span="">3>
Many people have entered my life in the last year. We have shared our pain, our sorrow and talked about our loved ones. I thank each of you for the part you have played in my survival. The insight I received from those who survived suicide attempts has been a blessing. It helps put into perspective just how easy it is for anyone to reach that point. The careless words of others can be a breaking point for many. Life has taught me that the strongest people are often the ones most apt to make sudden life decisions. My son was strong.
There are times that living in the past or thinking of the future smothers me. I survive by taking each minute at time even when those minutes are difficult. Those minutes turn into hours and eventually another day I learned to live without him with me. I have learned how to smile through pain, and that tomorrow really is a new day. I have learned the true meaning of "the smile that hides the pain". It is far different than it used to be.
His death has taught me the value of life and love. Life is short and can be very difficult but it is worth living. Last but not least, I learned to hold onto the many happy memories we shared. We had a lot. <3 span="">3>
9-3-80 to 4-4-16
Always in our hearts <3 span="">3>
For whoever needs help right now, you can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (talk)
It has been difficult getting back into doing things I enjoy. This is my latest piece. This is a 20" Cellini Spiral necklace made with Miyuki & Toho seed beads and Czech fire polished crystals. I was happy to finish it prior to having my right hand carpal tunnel surgery.
This is one of the most difficult things I have ever written. I never expected to hear the words, "I'm so sorry you son has passed away". What was even more difficult to digest were the words "it was a fatal self-inflicted gunshot wound".
We all missed the signs. His contagious smile and determination to get through any obstacle in his life left us all with so many questions to which we may never get answers. We all struggle to awake each day and just breathe.
Yes there were problems in his marriage. Apparently it became more than he could bear. He left behind a huge number of grieving relatives, friends and children trying to grasp what caused him to decide he could not take another breath without pain.
Michael Aaron (Mike) Cunningham, 35 of Unity
Township passed away, Monday, April 4, 2016 at home of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
He was born September 3, 1980 in Willoughby Ohio and
was the son of Michael E. Cunningham and wife Susan
Cunningham of Chesterland Ohio and Linda Ilanthe
(Woods-Cunningham) Marino and husband Philip of Youngwood Pennsylvania.
Michael was a graduate of Hempfield High School, Triangle Tech and the University
of Phoenix. He worked in the computer field from the time he was 16 until
accepting a position with Carbidie as an Engineer. It wasn’t long before Michael took
an interest in sales and his career soared. He had such an amazing thirst for knowledge
and gave every task his full attention. He accepted a position with Kennametal
in 2005 as a Customer Service Representative; then Application Engineer; Industrial
Wear Product Sales Engineer and eventually Global Account Manager of Specialty
Alloys. He accepted a position with Ceratizit in 2010 where he was a Territory Sales
Manager for the East Coast Sector. In 2012 he accepted the position of Product
Manager for Round Tool Materials. Michael received various awards throughout his
Michael enjoyed traveling to various foreign countries for his job. Always taking
on new adventures and exploring other cultures, he lived his life to the fullest in
From a young age Michael enjoyed fishing, boating, hunting, skateboarding,
roller blading, jet skiing, hiking and so much more. He was at peace with nature and
enjoyed countless hours spent doing the various things he enjoyed.
Michael was a member of the Cub Scouts; Boy Scouts and was on the local
soccer team as a child. He attended Catholic School until the fourth grade and spent
many hours with his friends in the city neighborhood.
Michael spent endless hours camping and fishing with his biological father,
grandfather and grandmother; stepfather and friends. Every day was an adventure
for him. His maternal grandmother enjoyed taking him on adventures hiking in the
mountains, playing in the creeks and so much more. He was always up for a new
adventure and welcomed all opportunities presented.
Michael and his mother enjoyed building computers together which led to his
love of gaming and networking. She instilled the roots of responsibility and wings of
independence within him.
Michael was known for his infectious smile and dry humor. He could light up the
room in an instant. He had a huge heart and aside from helping others in need, he
also helped homeless animals. Even if it was only “spay and release”, his heart was a
brilliant ray of light to all who knew him.
Michael was often seen on the ball-fields, basketball courts, soccer fields, hockey
rinks and karate studio spending time with his oldest son Noah. The two were inseparable
and spent many hours enjoying sports and taking various trips.
We all regret that he will not have the chance to do the same with his youngest
With such a large family that spans throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania and West
Virginia, it is hard to count just how many family members are left behind. He always
enjoyed visiting them as often as possible and taking part in family reunions and
many family functions.
Michael had many close friends but his best friend Brian was the brother he never
had. He spent many hours enjoying life to the fullest with Brian and his wife Heather.
In addition to his parents, he is survived by his son Noah Michael Cunningham
from his first marriage; step-sister Michelle Marino; wife Rachel Cunningham and
sons Ethan Michael Cunningham, and Reese Thomas Cunningham; grandmothers,
Anna D. Gray of Greensburg Pennsylvania and Deloris Cunningham of Kirtland
Ohio; as well as countless aunts, uncles, cousins and close dear friends.
Michael was preceded in death by his maternal grandfather William Woods of
Chardon Ohio and paternal grandfather Robert Cunningham of Kirtland Ohio.
Michael, we will look up to the heavens to see you every night and we will feel you with us when we look into the eyes of your children. There is so much to say, and yet words cannot begin to fill the void nor can they explain how we feel. We have always loved you and will hold you in our hearts until we see you once again.
It has been too long since I have updated my blog. There have been too many illnesses, deaths and surgeries that have managed to keep me from doing what I love best. This hand-wrapped piece is special to me because it is the first wire-work piece I was able to complete since they removed a tumor from my wrist and performed carpal tunnel surgery. It has been a long road that was speckled by issues from a non-related condition as well. It is easy to take things for granted until you are no longer able to enjoy them. This piece includes gemstones that include amethyst, snowflake obsidian, rose quartz, amazonite, carnelian, lapis, serpentine, jade jasper and agate. It is a continuous 8 foot long piece which allows the wearer to wrap it several times around the neck or across the neck, chest and waist. I look forward to sharing more work in the next few weeks and catching up from my absence here.
Happy New Year!!! I'm excited about the new year and what may be in store. The last couple of years have been filled with so much turmoil and pain, loss of dear friends and family. It has taken a lot to get back to my blog.
I wanted to share my latest beaded creation. This is a bead embroidery cuff bracelet that I made entitled "Serenade in Blue". I tend not to make symmetrical pieces, I enjoy having pieces that challenge you to explore them rather than take them in within a second because they are so plain.
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! I look forward to posting more this year.
If you are looking for a gift and surfing Etsy wondering if it is handmade or something made overseas by people working in factories for pennies, look no further! Cathy is the real deal and everything is made completely by her!
This is a special time of the year for our family. I wanted to take a moment and share our home with yours. Catherine is now at peace in heaven but I know she is still looking upon us and sharing in the beauty of the holiday season. No matter what you celebrate this time of the year, my hope and prayers are that you and your family are healthy and have a wonderful season and a very Happy New Year! ~Linda