Monthly Archives

January 2020

#Froggir 2

While Luke was in high school he began gaming competitively. How does this happen, you ask? How do you go from playing in your boxers in the basement to traveling the US on a team? lol It makes me giggle just thinking about it. What the hell? Only Luke could make a career out of something like this. 🙂

But he did. You see you play online and they track your scores and then someone reaches out and says, ” Hey, wanna team up?” and you start scrimmaging as a duo. Trevor Ruxy was Luke’s “Day One Duo.” I can’t even type it without having a moment. Sigh. Trev was from our neck of the woods and he and Luke started the Call of Duty circuit together. They were doing pretty well when a young man named Anthony “Powuh” Boberick stumbled onto them. He was most definitely a mentor and coach and when Luke passed away Anthony trekked all the way up to the wake. I have no words for that.

When Luke was trending on Twitter all around the world I think we were all amazed.

Trev and Luke and Anthony went to Cali for their first tournament and from that moment on, Luke was hooked. He loved the competition and he loved the lifestyle. He definitely stressed about the teams and the winning, but when the whole rest of his life was going to heck in a handbasket, he at least had the gaming. Luke kept the gaming side of his life pretty much separate from most of his friends. I am not sure why this is, but I think I understand it. Sometimes you just want a part of yourself to be yours, you know? You don’t want to have to explain it or defend it. You just want to enjoy it and COD gaming was that for Luke. THANK GOODNESS. I hesitate to think where Luke might have been emotionally if he didn’t have the gaming community, and his role in it, to lift his spirits and fuel his confidence when school was making him feel so shitty about himself.

“So I met Luke back in 2014 when my friend Anthony told me he was going to be attending MLG Anaheim 2014 with some new talent he found and asked me if I wanted to come coach and hang for the weekend. I started getting on and watching them practice and tried to help out Luke and Trevor as they were new to the scene, but were eager to learn and succeed. Just like always when practice time was over we just stayed on for another 2 hours and talked, getting to know each other better. We talked about anything and everything. Sports, friends outside the game, etc. Then comes time to fly across the country to play Call of Duty. In game Luke was a monster. He had such pure, raw talent and it was just waiting to be unleashed before every game he played. Not only was he a very skilled player but he was the most fun out of game also. From our walks to 7/11 at 2am because we wanted snacks, to him just making everyone laugh no matter what the situation was, he was the best kind of person to be around. He was truly special and there’s no doubt in my mind if he wasn’t taken from us too soon, he would’ve made a very nice living from playing video games.”- Chris

And that’s what I need you to know: Every child needs to understand that who they are as a student is not the whole of who they are. We need to define our children by their character and by their passions and by their heart. I have a student at school this year who really struggles. Like can’t read kind of struggles. Can you imagine if all he thinks about himself – his confidence and self-worth – is based on how he does in class? UGH He is the sweetest of children and has a huge heart and is so well-liked by his peers and isn’t that what he should be focused on? Shouldn’t that be what we are all focused on?

I have included, today, some words from two of Luke’s gaming buddies. I hope you are struck, as I am, about how they talk about his sense of humor, his fun attitude, his passion for the game, his heart. I hope you define yourself by that, my boy, on the other side of the stars. Xxx

“Luke and I first met online in a random Gamebattles forum. Gamebattles is simply a gaming platform where you can play competitive matches. We met in a forum of people just looking to play fun matches together. We had played a few games together and were just talking and he mentioned where he was from. It struck me because he told me his high school and that morning I was actually at his highschool for a track meet. It was crazy to me how I was just at his school that morning and then I randomly met him online and we began talking. Neither of us had truly played competitive before so we were looking for people to join us and start a team together. We met our future teammate PoWuH in a game and hit him up to play and he almost fathered us in competitive play and showed us the ropes to everything. He took us under his wing and we created a great team together. Going into our first competitive event together in California it was almost a little awkward because Luke and I butted heads a lot online and weren’t the best of friends. It was honestly safe to say we didn’t like each other at all. When we flew to California together and competed our relationship did a full 180. We just became best friends that event and spent the entire weekend not only with our team but just hanging out the two of us. It was crazy how all the beef we had was just dropped and our friendship truly started that weekend. I remember one key moment that weekend we were walking in downtown Anaheim together just talking about life and our team and how we did that weekend and it was all just so honest and warm hearted. I stopped competing for a couple of events and then before one of the events in November of 2014 I convinced my team to pick Luke up because I knew how incredibly talented he was and how much I would love to team with him again. We had a great event together and he did amazing as he always did. That was my last event competing but that didn’t stop us from keeping in touch every now and then until his accident. Meeting Luke was one of the best things in my life. He was a fierce and very talented competitor but he was also just a fun teammate. Always such positive vibes, cracking jokes, and just being a good person. At Anaheim he was almost late for one of our matches because he was busy outside chatting up a homeless man he just met. That’s who he was though, just a loving person who was happy to talk to everyone. We came up in the scene together, both starting from nothing, and he was my true day 1 duo. We shared so many memories together that I’ll never forget. Memories I’ll never be able to replicate again. Not a day goes by I don’t think about him or miss him. He had such a bright future ahead of him but I can find peace in the fact he made everyday worthwhile. He lived his days to the fullest. I know he’s resting in peace and I can’t wait to see him again someday. Rest easy King Luke, we all miss you.” – Trevor

The FIrst Days

Mother Mary

This has been a hard week. It is not unusual in grief, to have a bad that day that is then followed by a series of bad days. After this past Sunday I did my darndest to pretend I was okay, but time and time again I found myself tearing up. Or outright crying. It was official. I was in “I miss my boy” mode.

Now it is not easy to say there is a benefit to being almost five years in my grief journey, but there IS comfort in the knowing. Knowing that when you are in the depths of sadness that it doesn’t last forever. Knowing that the pain, although fierce, is less than before. But getting yourself in a better frame of mind takes work. And faith. Doesn’t have to be in God or the Universe. It only has to be in yourself. In your ability to open your eyes every day, to fill your lungs with oxygen, to put one foot in front of the other.

Since losing Luke I have been inspired by Mother Mary. Whether you are religious or prefer to think of the Mary as a historical figure, her story is pretty incredible. Although I could construct an entire blog around the Immaculate Conception, it is her journey as a mother when Jesus begins his ministry that draws my admiration. Imagine how hard it would be to hear people speaking words of hate against your child. Imagine fearing for your child’s life. Her own family attempted to kill her son because they thought he had lost his mind. Did Mary beg Jesus to stop? Nope. By all recollections in both Christian and Jewish recounts, Mary stood by her son, supported him, followed his ministry. And as Jesus died on the cross, it was his mother who stayed by his side till his last breath. Sigh. What we won’t do for our children.

And then Mother Mary lived on. Day after day, year after year, without her boy. Missing a piece of her heart. It is thought she lived another twenty years before passing away. For those of you fortunate enough to not understand the magnitude of this, I can tell you living one day feels hard. 7,300 is a feat beyond comprehension.

And so I am inspired. On my hardest days I remember that I am not the only momma that has lost a child. There is a community of women that wake up every morning and do the difficult work of carrying on. I often go to my alter and look at my beautiful Madonna and ask her to fill me with the grace and strength to go on. I imagine her whispering in my ear… that I can do it, just as she did it, just as countless other mommas have done it.

So here’s what I need you to know: Just like in the Beatle’s song, “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me. Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.” My model of strength might be spiritual, but yours doesn’t have to be. If you are a momma missing your baby, find a woman who has walked this journey and let her story lift you up. I think about Judy O. missing her daughter, but greeting each day with strength and humor. I think of Rutland Momma, CherylAnn Gengel, impacting countless lives with Be Like Brit, all the while missing her daughter. Trust in yourself and believe that if they can do it, so can you. We grieving mommas are lost and found and continue on. We are a “woven net of broken hearts and we keep each other safe.” Together we get through. Xxx

I need you to know, Things that help

Catching Me Off Guard

I know, I know, you are sitting at home saying to yourself, “What the heck, Patty?  Where is the blog? The best part of my Sunday is reading about your hardship with Luke. Post already!” I truly jest as I say this.  However, there is an expectation when you write for an audience and as my principal declared to me almost two years ago, when you set that expectation, you have to live up to it. 

Writing these blogs can be difficult.  Some days the words pour out of me and other times it is a monumental effort to share this part of my heart with you all.  Often I do research -through family pictures or social media – to get myself back to the time and place I am telling you all about.  The issue becomes the emotional toll this *reliving* costs me… and John, truth be told, because he is, more often than not, in the house to witness the tears I shed trying to document the life of Luke Inwood.  

Today was such a day.  I wanted to revisit my boy and gaming.  We are coming to the end of his days on the planet and I really wanted to talk about *Froggir* and this side of Luke’s life.  Trouble is, I went searching down memory lane, more specifically the Twitter memory lane, and stumbled upon a video of Luke gaming that I hadn’t seen before.  My heart stopped as soon as I clicked on the link. There my beautiful boy was… breathing, talking, smiling…. And I was shattered. You have to have lost someone you love to understand the power of an image you haven’t seen before.  You get used to the pictures you have around the house and the memories they bring up so to see one for the first time, and unexpectedly, well, I honestly haven’t recovered.

So, I watched the video, and I cried, and I touched the screen, and I can’t stop watching it.  Because it’s like he’s here for just a minute more. If I close my eyes I can pretend that his voice isn’t coming from my laptop, but from the downstairs.  That he’s gonna come up those steps and tell me how amazing he was lol and about his kill streak. SIgh.

So, I have included the link to the video in case you want to give it a watch.  Of course his shirt says, Claim the Throne. Of course the time of the video is 11:11.  Of course my favorite moment is at 9:20 when he shouts out cause he did something awesome.  Of course, he is chewing his nails at the end because he couldn’t contain that nervous energy.  

This video exemplifies some of the sounds I remember of Luke in the house. The truth is… I miss Froggir. I miss the nuances of the teams and trades.  I miss his travels and following his games at events in the wee hours of the morning. I miss the constant chatter in the basement. I miss the swearing and the outbursts.  I miss my boy.

For all of you COD fans, lol or all you Froggir fans, here is the link. Don’t forget to unmute.

The FIrst Days

Your Job

This past month I have had a few conversations around the hardships of  raising children. Nobody tells you, when you’re young and fresh-eyed and dreaming of the smell of baby powder and snuggling, that parenting is damn hard work.  Is it a conspiracy to make sure we keep procreating? Lol I think not. I believe the good faaaar outweighs the bad when it comes to having a child and that’s what keeps us going.  The challenge is… what do you do when the bad far outweighs the good?  For most parents, those difficult times are the infamous developmental phases every child goes through: sleeping through the night, potty training, terrible twos, not-to-be-mentioned threes, puberty, grades seven through ten. Lol  You are in it for a relatively short time and when it is over, when everyday’s back to hugs and Hallmark moments, those times of anguish or frustration get tucked away in the memory box. You share war stories with other parents and laugh at the similarities and high-five over having made it through.  

But some of us parent under extraordinary circumstances. We have children with physical or mental health diagnoses.  We have children who, despite our best intentions and our biggest dreams, are not living the lives we would wish for them.  Every day is a gosh darn struggle. It’s not a phase that ends in a few months, it is a hardship that we wake up to every single day for years.  Like Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day, the trials with our children are on repeat.  And because they are our children and there isn’t anything we wouldn’t do for them, we try and HELP.  You could insert the words “Help You” into each of these sentences, but I know that you know that I know that YOU know that this is what REALLY happens:

*Let me zipper your coat.

*Let me tie your shoes.

*Let me make your bed.

*Let me pick up your room.

*Let me find you a friend to play with.

*Let me make your lunch.

*Let me do your homework/book report/project.

*Let me navigate your social relationships.

*Let me get you a job.

*Let me pay for that.

*Let me fix that situation. 

Oh, parents.  I am also guilty of all of the above. As my firstborn, any time Luke hit an obstacle or even the potential of an obstacle, there I was trying to clear the path.  My heart was in the right place, but what I have learned is that it is not my job as a parent to make the world easier to handle.  Read that one more time. It is not a parent’s job to make the world more manageable for our children.  This is such an acceptable behavior that we even have funny terms for it: helicopter parents – who hover over their kiddos taking care of every need that comes up and more recently, lawnmower parents -who actually clear the path of life so their kiddos can go merrily on their way.  This whole “paying for SAT scores” scandal has erupted as a result of what society believes is a good parent.  SIgh. When we look around and are disappointed in the entitlement and lack of skills in our children, we only have to listen to Logan, who loves to remark, “Your generation did this.”  SIgh, you are so right, son.

Turns out, a parent has three jobs:  model what it is to be a kind and decent human being who contributes to their community; instill these same values in our kiddos by providing the words and experiences that support them; and love.  Mostly, love. This quote that reminds us to focus on the “WHO” of our child and not the “DO” of our child sums it up perfectly.

So here’s what I need you to know:  I know, I know, you are rolling your eyes at this one because you LIKE the way you are raising your children. Lol And you are allowed.  But maybe 2020 is the year you step back a bit. I know I wish I had let Luke struggle more. I wish I had let him learn from the consequences of his actions instead of solving them before he had a chance to.  I wish I hadn’t walked on eggshells around him; afraid he might not love me. Because it didn’t matter how he felt about me – I would always love him. And that’s all that matters. There isn’t anything he could have done that would change that.  SO, Let the kids live their own lives, make their own mistakes, experience the joys and pains. I know it can be hard to stand on the sidelines and simply watch. But that’s what a good parent does. We aren’t out in front of our kiddos – getting rid of the obstacles, we aren’t behind them – fixing the consequences of their actions.  We are beside them – cheering them on, loving them through the good and the bad, as they fall and get up; as they grow and shine. That’s what a parent does.

I need you to know