44,965 People Each Year

I originally contemplated whether I wanted to write about the death of Kate Spade — Not because her death doesn’t matter (every death matters) but because I wasn’t sure, due to the amount of coverage her death has already received, if my words would have the depth it needs to shed light on what is occurring, or in this case, the suicide of a very successful woman. And then I determined that I want to write about this because I believe there is a common misconception that success equates to happiness, and successful people don’t kill themselves and can’t be sad or have problems — How wrong that is.

Spade was a talented and driven designer — The first time I became aware of her, it was actually because of her quotes; words that sparked a little inspiration on days when the rest of the world seemed far too preoccupied with trying to be anything but themselves. Her quotes made my day brighter; simple, fun, playful — always witty and optimistic. And then I discovered her handbags; beautiful, sophisticated, and bold. I instantly wanted a Kate.

Looking at her life from the outside, it appears it’s perfect; she built an empire, which according to sources is worth $2.4 billion; she lived in one of the largest and most expensive cities in America; she was married; she had a daughter. And that’s the problem — looking from the outside portrays one story — looking past the surface portrays another story.

Various reports suggest that Spade suffered from anxiety and depression, yet she was a successful businesswoman. She wasn’t poor, she didn’t live on the side of the road in a makeshift style house held together with tape and rope — And yet she committed suicide. She was smart, educated, ran successful businesses, and still managed to be a wife and a mother — And yet she committed suicide. Past the surface, maybe she had problems the world didn’t know about, until one event after another led her to take her own life. The fact is that suicide doesn’t discriminate; the wealthy, the average jane and joe, and the poor can all be victims. As I stated, success does not equate to happiness. Anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and other mental disorders affect people from all social classes; with the recent deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain highlighting this once again.

Due to my line of work, I have seen the distress, anger, and emotional turmoil that people experience daily; some handle it better than others and are able to reach out for help, while others have a more difficult time getting the support that they need. On average, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 44,965 Americans die by suicide each year; that’s at least 123 suicides per day — these are people that, regardless of any social/personal characteristics, needed help — and today, in this moment, or tomorrow, or a year from now, people need help.

Taking the time to reach out, or to simply listen, it can save a life; one of the worst things in the world is the inaction to help others.

If you or anyone you know needs support: If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. Visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to find information about receiving the appropriate support. You can seek professional help — Talk to your doctor, a counselor, a psychologist, or someone that you trust — You can fight this and get the help that you need.

 

 

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Life Today | June

Hello June! Wow, I haven’t done a “life today” post since September. Much has changed and yet much has remained the same —

1. I have begun applying to graduate school for the fall semester. In fact, I started the process in February and it has taken nearly four months to complete. I am not going to list any of the schools that I have applied to (yet), however I will divulge that the academic field that I have chosen is intelligence studies. I am nervous, excited, hopeful — Applying to graduate school is a little nerve-racking.

2. Monsoor is healing wonderfully; he is remarkable. I briefly discussed him in a previous post and on my Instagram, however updates on my blog have been non-existent — I have done a stellar job at writing daily updates about Monsoor, however when it comes to posting those updates on here, well, I have been terrible at it! I want to change that because I want the world to know who Monsoor the cat is; a lovable, beautiful, fighter. We have had him now for almost 10 months; he is 1 year 10 months old. He is no longer 3 lbs — I need to weigh him on a scale, however if I had to estimate his weight, he is probably 10 lbs. He is blind; when we found him on the side of the road, at that point in time, he had an infection that took his eyes and nearly his face. Here we are almost a year later and his face is 98% healed and he has adjusted to living blind. He has his own bed/living area, stuffed animals (his favorite is the hippopotamus, maybe because it’s the softest), and he loves playing with the dogs who, in turn, take care of him; Max is his best friend. Monsoor truly lives up to his name.

3. I have had Ray now for 10 months; I adopted Ray from the Humane Society a week before rescuing Monsoor. Ray is a month or so away from celebrating his fifth birthday! He is slightly bigger than your average Red Heeler; I need him to get used to exercise and a diet. I want him to enjoy hiking like Max, however we will need to start with smaller trails and work from there. With the ongoing eruptions, we have poor air quality (it is improving); we need to find a new hiking trail suitable for Ray and Max. Ray enjoys sleeping on the tiled floor and his air mattress; he loves his dog treats (I know, I know. What dog does not?). He enjoys lounging on the front porch and back porch. He is Max’s best friend and wants to be Sophie’s friend but she is not having any of that, and, well, all I can say is cats man…except Monsoor; Monsoor loves humans, cats, dogs, etc. Anyway, Ray is such a sweet boy.

4. Max is as rambunctious as ever, while Sophie has moved back into my bedroom after living in my office…after living in my bedroom. #Dogs #Cats

5. Blogging — I have been getting into a better habit of blogging regularly, however I have thousands of photos (literally) of beautiful places here on the Big Island that I want to post; I need to find the time to organize my photos and write the stories. At the end of the day, I just want to appreciate the good times I have had. At the same time, social media (not necessarily blogging) has been on my mind lately with a HUGE question mark. I love writing. I love photography. I love being able to share a little of my life with those who are interested. However, I am not sure what role, or if there is a role, social media plays in my life or in my profession. Is it good for my profession? Is it pointless? I have no clue.

6. Post-grad life brings new meaning to the phrase “take the bull by the horns.”

7. Nick has been in college now for nine months, while Riley is graduating from high school on the 20th. Time flies!

8. Dad is now the security manager overseeing the security at the hospital in Kailua-Kona; he drives roughly 212 miles a day because work is on the other side of this massive island.

9. I spend a lot of my time with mom, which I love; I spent seven years working with dad in the field and it is now nice to spend quality time with her.

10. Lava — I want to delve deeper into this at a later date, however I am sure many people are aware by now of the lava in Puna. I actually heard over the radio, prior to the fissures opening up in Leilani Estates, that Puna needed to be on alert due to the threat of lava. A couple hours later, the eruptions started in Leilani Estates on May 3, and here we are now with many areas in lower Puna completely destroyed. I live 10.4 miles from the fissures, however the only issues we have experienced in our neighborhood is an influx in traffic and sulfur dioxide from the Kīlauea eruptions. Over 600 homes have been destroyed due to the lava and many people/pets are displaced — It is very concerning and I can only imagine what these people are going through. I am incredibly saddened by these homes burning to the ground, places that I have grown to love being lost, and people that are in trouble. A big THANK YOU to the U.S. Marine Corps, Hawaii Army National Guard, Hawaii Police Department, Hawaii Fire Department, County of Hawaii Civil Defense, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Volunteers, and anyone else that I have missed.

 

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On This Month’s Radar: Home Edition

I can’t believe we’re already in June! It feels as though the year has yet to begin, if I’m being completely honest. Isn’t it a little uncanny how that happens? Anyway, with summer just around the corner (for those of us not on summer vacation/break; summer starts on the 21st!), I’ve been looking at some of the newest items on Anthropologie, Macy’s, Magnolia, and Target. Hey, a girl can never have too many decor options! 

Anthropologie

Ariel Dinner Plate

Ariel Dinner Plate /// These glazed stoneware dinner plates are beautiful! Delicate looking yet sturdy AND unique. If a dinner plate could take form of a quaint seaside town, these plates would accomplish that.

 

 

 

 

La Spezia Tablecloth /// I’ve never been to Greece (yet), however this tablecloth makes me think of Europe. It’s truly pretty.                                                         La Spezia Tablecloth

Beatrice Towel Collection

Beatrice Towel Collection /// The collection has both a bath towel and hand towel. The pattern is so sweet looking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Macy’s

Hotel Collection Sheets

Hotel Collection Embroidered Sheet Sets /// My favorite color in this collection is navy. The other colors in the collection are charcoal and silver. I’m actually really into the entire Macy’s Hotel Collection.

 

 

 

 

Hotel Collection Embroidered Frame Bedding Collection /// Again, my favorite color in the collection is, of course, navy. The colors you can choose from include charcoal, navy, aqua, and champagne.  Hotel Collection in Navy

 

Magnolia

Jute Tassel Basket

Jute Tassel Basket /// It’s funny because I was just thinking about how I’m not too big of a fan of items with tassels and then I see Magnolia has this basket, and well, heart eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

Small Wooden Spoon /// Wooden spoons are my absolute favorite. Small Wooden Spoon

 

Tulip StemTulip Stem /// I know these are more spring inspired, however I’d also love to have this in my office or bedroom for the summer.

 

 

 

 

 

Target

Blue Sailboat Throw Pillow /// Who doesn’t love sailboats? Blue Sailboat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Maizie K. Roberts – An Extraordinary Woman | Chapter II | Hospitals, Part I & II

You can read Chapter I of “Maizie K. Roberts – An Extraordinary Womanhere. Chapter I looks back on Mother’s Day 2012; the last day I had with nana before she went to the hospital and passed away three days later, on May 16, 2012.

Again, I contemplated not writing this; mostly because I wasn’t sure if it had a place here on my blog. And then I realized that it does because it’s important to acknowledge both pain and beauty in life. “Hospitals, Part I & II” occurred six years ago; it’s written exactly as the events on May 14th and 15th occurred, however it’s narrated from both a 16 and 22-Year-Old me.

Hospitals, Part I & II: May 14 — May 15

It’s a sinking feeling really; the feeling of losing someone you love, losing them rapidly yet slowly (what an oxymoron), and not being able to do a single thing about it. It’s frustrating. And terrifying. And it’ll make you angry and make you feel lost, that you’ll have to step away from everyone for a while to get a grip – At least that’s how it is for me; how I feel.

The following events unfolded quickly: I woke up mid-morning on the 14th, checked on nana, made her breakfast, and when I went to give the breakfast to her she wasn’t hungry; she hasn’t been eating much these past few days. I tried to convince her to eat, however nana can be so stubborn at times; then again so can I. My parents were out of the house that morning and I was home with nana, Nick, Riley, and Paul – I did make a call to my parents, informing them that nana’s condition looks seemingly worse; the hip pain she’s been experiencing is increasing and she’s not eating, or should I say, refusing to eat. I’m at a total loss; above all else, I detest the feeling of helplessness. And right about now, I feel helpless. A million thoughts run through my head; how can I help nana better, what can we do, what is going to happen, what could I have done better. And, even though I have these questions and thoughts, I know that there comes a day when these things happen; you get older and you’re not as physically strong as you once were. I don’t want to believe it though! I don’t want to face a reality without her; without nana. Without my friend. Even though I can look directly into the face of a problem and in the face of reality, I have a tendency of thinking that somehow, I could possibly change the inevitable outcome. And, more times than I’d like to admit, I often can’t. This would be one of those times.

When my parents returned home, there were many decisions that needed to be made. One of the decisions, most difficult decision made, was to ask nana what she wanted and to hear that she felt that it was time for her to go the hospital; there was a brief discussion of possibly going to a nursing home as well. Unfortunately, due to the fact she was growing weaker, we had to call an ambulance to transport her from our home to the hospital; I went to nana’s bedroom and began helping her get ready to go – I removed some of her jewelry; her necklace and a few of her rings, while the EMT, when EMS arrived, was able to remove her other ring. I didn’t say much to nana, mostly because I felt sad for her and I also felt guilty – I felt guilty because maybe if I would have been able to get her to eat more, or if I didn’t say anything at all that morning on the 14th, she would be able to stay at home with us. With me. It was a difficult situation for all involved, for nana, especially for my mom – No son or daughter wants to ever see their parent in pain or see them declining in health, especially when that parent was always the strong one. It’s very heartbreaking to witness and even more heartbreaking to be a part of.

EMS transported nana to the hospital and we all piled into the car; mom, dad, me, Nick, Riley, and Paul; we followed the ambulance a few cars back. It was a weird feeling; a feeling of being stuck in some sort of limbo. We arrived at the hospital, Hilo Medical Center, and we waited in the waiting room of the ER while mom and dad went to speak with someone to determine what was happening with nana – I didn’t see nana during this time at all; we weren’t allowed in the patient area. We sat in the waiting room for a very long time; enough time passed that I was able to watch the sky change from varying shades before it was sunset. I sat in nearly the same chair for over five hours; not caring to move, not wanting to move forward. Hospitals are a very odd place to be – It’s this place of transition – It’s a place where babies are born, where the sick can be healed, but it’s also a place where you don’t always make it out alive. I was wondering what would it be? What category would this fall into? Nana is 95. Would she get better and live to 100? Would she ever see her home again? Would I ever hear her voice again?

Nick, Riley, and Paul were seated in the waiting room as well; eating snacks out of the vending machine and watching TV. The room was full of people all waiting for answers about the people that they cared about; one of the ladies even complimented my flip flops I was wearing – “Thank you!” I said. It was nice of her to say that. Finally, both mom and dad returned to the waiting room – They explained that nana was in the process of being admitted to the hospital and that she did have cancer that had spread throughout her hip/back area; that would be the source of her hip pain that she had been experiencing lately. It was becoming clearer – She had been tired, in pain, loss of appetite, declining in the health that she had. Cancer made sense. It also didn’t make sense, but then again, I suppose it never does.

It was dark when nana was finally admitted; my siblings and I waited outside on the bench. My mom and dad went up to make sure nana was settled. While we waited on the bench, I recognized one of the Poolees from the Marine office; he was with his family, probably visiting someone who would make it out of here, I thought to myself. I went back to talking with my siblings and we eventually decided we would devour numerous ice cream bars from the vending machine; I lost count of how many we ate. Ice cream sure does have the ability to cheer you up. It was probably 10 PM, when dad came down from the third floor (or second floor; I always get the two floors mixed up), and he told us we could go visit nana before it was time for us to go home. I’ll leave out the details of my bratty behavior towards my dad, regarding the comment of us having to eventually go home – It’s not as though I could camp out at the hospital and it’s not as though it was his fault for anything that was happening. At the end of the night, of course, everyone was dealing with their own feelings and thoughts in their own way. Unfortunately, no amount of creamsicles would make the night better, not for me or for anyone else. My siblings looked at me as their leader to take them up to the right floor; it was time to face a reality I didn’t want to acknowledge and that was to see nana lying in a hospital bed. And I did just that. I took them up to the floor and we said goodnight to nana. As I was leaving the hospital room, nana called out to me; she was cheerful, and she wanted me to get her a glass of water – I couldn’t get her a glass of water because the nurse was already getting it, however this would be the very last time I would hear nana’s voice.

It was a strange feeling going back home knowing that everything would be different – Nana wouldn’t be there, mom and dad were having to make difficult decisions, my siblings were going to have to adjust and yet they were still able to be children, and I felt as though I was responsible for nana; I wanted to change the circumstances and it was beyond frustrating knowing that I couldn’t.

Nana continued to decline on the 15th; she mostly slept and was administered a morphine drip. By this time my mom let the entire family know that nana was in the hospital and her condition was not improving. Family members started visiting nana at all hours; those that lived off the island started calling. It was both a calm and hectic time; the two things that helped me throughout this time was remaining focused on school and helping my mom. In fact, those were the only things that I wanted to focus on. I spent many hours at the hospital, as did the rest of my family.

The startling realization occurred to me as I sat next to nana, and that was the fact that I would not be having any more conversations with her; she was right there next to me, but she was so far away.

 

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Memorial Day | National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

“The patriot’s blood is the seed of freedom’s tree.” – Thomas Campbell

I wanted to share some photos I took a few years back in 2015. My dad and I were working a case in the Punchbowl area of Honolulu when we had some time to visit the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. It was actually on Veterans Day (not Memorial Day), however I thought why not share the photos today. Honestly, it was both humbling and put life into perspective being able to visit a place where the men and women buried served America, many of them died while doing so; the sight was awe-inspiring, as are the stories of these individuals.

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There’s at least 34,000 graves at Punchbowl; this includes service members and dignitaries/politicians. Unfortunately, due to the fact we were working, I wasn’t able to see the cemetery up close and personal. Next time!

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Our freedom has a price; it’s paid for by those who are willing to sacrifice what they have and to sacrifice their very own life, if the need arises and without hesitation.

I’ll never forget about them or their sacrifice.

 

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Happy Birthday, Nana

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Happy 102nd Birthday, Nana.

Nana, well, I’ve never met anyone quite like her — She was incredibly hard-working, loved Jesus with her whole heart, and took care of her family; do you know she once built her own home (literally) and she was a designer. She was truly amazing.

I miss our conversations. I miss watching Audrey Hepburn movies with her. Most of all, I miss my friend.

I love you, Nana.

 

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