Saturday, March 21, 2015

Beyond words

I posted on Facebook today about my upcoming, once in a lifetime, trip to Thailand. In 2 weeks I will be in Bangkok with my best friend, Laura and her beautiful family. I have the plane tickets, the hotels are booked and our days there are all planned. I still can't believe I am actually going to Thailand.

I spent a good part of this morning thinking about my life. I am blessed beyond words. The friendships that I have and the relationships that are being built each day, are extraordinary.

I will be celebrating 25 years of long term recovery on April 6th in Bangkok. Never ever did I dare to dream that I could come from where I was and be where I am today.

The murder of Matt devastated us. At the same time, our family is closer than ever. Myself, Raymond and our girls have each other like never before. A horrific tragedy can destroy a family. There were  times I wasn't sure we could make it. But, here we are! I am extremely grateful that I didn't give in.

Matt's death awakened a part of my soul that I had no idea existed. The most painful and difficult circumstances in my life has brought me to this awesome place of surrender. I am more open to listen, learn and share than ever before.

I'm a work in progress. Every moment of every day I can choose how I want to live. That to me, is astounding! I want to build and cultivate relationships. I understand that being available for people and having phenomenal people available for me, has helped to create this amazing life that I live.

I still struggle with life situations on the daily, work, relationships and money But, when I  take a couple seconds to scan this life, I see that I am blessed beyond words. Thank you God.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Inward and onward

It's been over a month since I have written anything. It has taken me some time to process the FINAL court hearing. I didn't get much sleep the night before our Jan. 16th court appearance. Tossing and turning until I finally gave in and got out of bed. I realized that once again, I had allowed my rambling mind to get the best of me.

Raymond and I didn't talk much during our early morning coffee. Looking back, I can still sense the several minutes of awkward silence that hung over us. It was obvious that even though we sat together we were miles apart. 

 Finally, I began to share with him some of the thoughts that were roaming my mind like a pack of  vicious dogs. I cried, because the thoughts that were inside me were frightening. I had a knowing, that if I left these erratic thoughts there without voicing them, they would fester and grow. 

My thoughts were like a play without an ending. I was watching myself standing up in the courtroom and screaming profanities and throwing anything and everything at the evil person who murdered my boy. I envisioned myself attacking him with all the rage and anger I had held inside me for over 6 years. I wanted to destroy him for all the devastation, pain and anger that HE caused and was continuing to cause our family and loved ones.

The reality is that I would never succeed in carrying out this vision. I truly don't think I really wanted to. I just wanted to have some semblance of justice for Matt. Instead of the circus that we had been subjected to for years.

I went to my room and sent my friend Marianne an email. I asked her for prayer regarding our court situation along with prayer for myself. I was imploding and was not able to stop this on my own. I needed help before I stepped foot into that courtroom.

Marianne called soon after I pressed the send button on my laptop. She asked me if my anger was helping me in any way. She wanted me to look inside myself for answers. What did I believe would happen if this person did get a retrial? Do I believe that I am somehow protecting Matt? Do I think that my anger can change anything?

I found myself trying to justify my actions and behavior, at first. Fairly quickly, I realized that this was exactly what I needed to hear. My rage and anger was only hurting me. Matt is fine. He sends us little signs of proof all the time. Marianne's prayer coupled with the thought provoking questions, felt good and I was now ready to go do this.

The court hearing lasted over 3 hours. Raymond and I had to testify two times each. The shooters girlfriend, who brought on all of this insanity, decided to invoke her 5 amendment right and did NOT testify. I was able to see just how ludicrous all of this was. I literally laughed out loud.

I felt at peace. I knew that whatever was to happen, we would be ok. I have a choice everyday, Do I want to be happy or do I want to be miserable? I can't change anything that has already happened. I can only change me and my actions and reactions. I'm not saying this is an easy thing to do. I am saying that this is a "practice" everyday.

 I will continue to use my voice and speak up for those who have no voice. In order to be FREE,  I must not turn any injustices inward.

I am so grateful for the love and support.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014

Last year, at this time Raymond and I turned our daughter’s former bedroom, into a prayer & meditation room. This room has saved my mental state on many occasions, this past year. I also started using it as my art room too. I love having a quiet retreat in my own home.

We also completed a labyrinth in our backyard. It really means a lot to me to have this labyrinth. Raymond and I began to make the backyard labyrinth the very day that Matt was shot, Sept. 1, 2008. We never completed it until this year. I’m so very grateful to have this sacred space.

February 2014 came with more obstacles and heartache for our family and loved ones.  Matt’s killer was brought back to Solano County to fight for a new trial for himself. We continue to be baffled by our Justice system and the constitution, which allows all of this insanity to continue year after year. It is a blatant waste of time and taxpayers money. We will NOT STOP ADVOCATING for VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES.

March 2014 brought on more insanity. Matt’s killer makes the decision he wants to represent himself in court. Once again, everything is put on hold, so that Matt’s murderer can prepare his case. We continue to work and do what is in front of us all the while our hearts never get a reprieve from the devastating impact that Matt’s death has had on each of us.

April 2014 April is Victims Rights Week. Myself, Briana and Kathy drove to Sacramento and marched to the capital with our murdered loved ones faces on our shirts and signs It was a very emotional day for everyone but we were grateful to be a part of it.

May 2014 My oldest daughter, Briana got engaged. Oh my goodness we are all so happy and excited. Our focus has been on Matt’s murderer and all the drama he continues to bring.

 We are extremely excited to have a beautiful wedding to plan.  September 5, 2015 is the date that Briana and William picked for their wedding day. The month of September will be a happy month filled with love and celebration. I am so happy.

June 2014 Matt’s killer now decides that he no longer wants to represent himself. He is appointed his public defender. Once again, the hearing is delayed.

July 2014 Matt would have turned 28.

 I was asked if I would be willing to go into California State Prison Solano in Vacaville and speak to a group of lifers, mainly murderers. These men are taking classes in prison to improve their lives and help them take responsibility for their actions.

I was asked to give my impact statement. I talked about how Matt’s murder has devastated our lives forever. I shared how his murderer is STILL dragging us through HELL. I also shared how Matt’s murderer refuses to accept any responsibility for his actions. This experience has changed my life for the better.

August 2014 the scheduled court hearing was once again delayed because the murderer’s wife didn't show up. Also the investigators were unable to locate the juror in question.  Next court hearing is scheduled for October.

September 2014 my only son has been gone for six years. Our hearts will be forever broken by the absence of Matt. My mind is swirling uncontrollably by the insanity of our system.

 MY girlfriend took me to Hawaii for 10 days. It felt so good to get away. It didn't last long. We were again not notified of a court appearance.
 I felt terrible for putting such a dark cloud over this special time for my friend. Her daughter had just gotten engaged in Hawaii a couple days before.

October 2014 we were not notified that the Judge’s courtroom had moved.  We finally make it to the new courtroom to find out that the hearing will be delayed once more. We go back Jan. 16, 2015. 

The murderer’s wife comes up to us in the hall after court and begins to tell me how sorry that she is for bringing all of this on us. She admitted that everything she said before was a lie. She assures us that she has already signed a declaration stating the truth, which is, that the juror did nothing wrong.

 Oh My God, Was this really happening? Can all of this be over now that she finally admitted to the truth? NOPE! Now the murderer’s attorney wants to bring up myself and Raymond.  He wants us to answer questions about what we saw when the juror was speaking to the killer’s wife during a recess in the trial.

I spoke at the prison again. This has been a life saving experience for me to hear murderers take responsibility for their crimes. For the murderer’s to realize the devastation and destruction that they have caused so many, forever, is healing for me.

November 2014 we had a meeting with the DA and ended up having to give separate statements to the investigator because apparently the murderer’s wife never told her attorney the truth. Our prosecutor knew nothing about the hallway conversation that the wife shared with us, about her previous lies.

Briana, her bridesmaids and I, went to a wedding fair. It was a great time to focus on Briana and her upcoming wedding.

One of Matt’s dreams was to meet Oprah. He believed that he would be on her show one day. That day would never happen. I did however get to meet Oprah and tell her about Matt. I felt Matt there too. His dream came true that November day.

December 2014 Here we are on the very last day of 2014. Again, we were not informed of a court appearance last week. Today, December 31, 2014 I was served a subpoena, at my job, for the court hearing on Jan. 16 for the murderer of Matt.

I know that God has a plan. I know that many, many, great and wonderful things are also happening in our lives. I will place my heart and soul into every amazing adventure that comes my way. I will continue to speak my truth regarding the justice system and victims’ rights or lack thereof. I will be there for my daughters every step of the way. I will do all of this with God, my family and my friends.

Our journeys are our own. We will connect with the people we are supposed to connect with. When we ask, we will be given EVERYTHING we need for this life journey.  I am so truly grateful for the amazing people in our lives. Thank you, you who continue to lift us up in prayer. You, who show up EVERY TIME for us, you who have reminded me that God is the answer.  Thank you!  2014 has been another year of living, loving and learning. I am willing and ready to do it again, even better!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Looking ahead while staying in the moment

I want to start this 26th day of December 2014, expressing my extreme gratitude for everyone who has touched my life this past year. I not only feel blessed for the lovely people but also for the challenging folks who continue to teach me so much.

Learning to live with a grateful heart, especially in the midst of injustice, has been an ongoing life teacher. I have learned that I can have happiness, peace and love even when situations arise that I am powerless over. I haven't mastered this yet. Although, I am getting better at it. I receive a bunch of opportunities, for practice.

My life, thus far, has been about loving and learning. As long as I am still here physically, and am open to the opportunities that God has for me, I can do anything! My daily prayer is for God to lead me to where I am to go and what I am to do. Help me on this journey of life.

My girls are doing well. Growing up and learning their own lessons. It has been amazing to watch them transform into the amazing women that they are today. Thank you God for giving me the gift of raising three awesome people.

I know that 2015 is going to be another year filled with lots of happiness, peace and love. I will remain open to the many new opportunities and lessons that I will receive.

 God, help me to be the woman that you have called me to be. Clear my mind and heal my heart. Give me the eyes to see, the ears to hear and the words to speak, with dignity and grace. Help me to be of help to whomever you place on my path. God, thank you for all the beautiful people that you have surrounded me with. Amen

Saturday, November 29, 2014

NOVEMBER 2014 What a month it has been!

First things First  I turned 48 years old on November 2nd. This is the first incredible event that happened. I had a wonderful birthday. The entire day and evening was shared with my awesome and amazing family and friends. I'm extremely grateful for all the LOVE that I have in my life.
Still my question is, how did I get to be in my late 40's? WOW, talk about sneaky. I am shocked to find myself here. Time really does move faster as I age. It's up to me to really LIVE in and CHERISH each and every moment. my48thbday
This brings me to the 3rd weekend in November. November 14th & 15th. I met Oprah Winfrey at her, The Life You Want Weekend Tour in San Jose. I had the amazing opportunity to tell her about Matt. This experience was definitely at the top of my bucket list. 
Matt believed he would meet Oprah after he was elected to the Fairfield City Council in 2007 at age 21. He never got the chance. He was murdered on Labor Day 2008. I could feel Matt's presence as Oprah ask about my t-shirt with Matt's face. I shared with her about Matt's passion and hope for our community and especially our young people. Don't ever give up on your dreams. MATT, YOU MADE IT TO OPRAH!
I made another important decision in November. I needed to change my attitude with our newly elected Solano county District Attorney. My being angry at her was not going to help our situation regarding Matt’s murderer. I apologized for my rude behavior and asked her if we could meet to talk?
When we met in her office on Nov. 17th, I was informed that she was unaware of the situation that happened between myself, Raymond and the killers girlfriend/wife/ex-wife, in the court hallway, following the Oct. 24th hearing. After telling her about what took place that day, Raymond and I were separated and we each had to give our statement regarding that hallway encounter, to the investigator. We will be back in court on January 16, 2015 THIS INSANITY CONTINUES……
I have had the opportunity to speak to a group of prison inmates serving life sentences at the California State Prison Solano, Vacaville. I was a little less terrified this last time I went. Most of these men are sincere about changing their lives, even though, they may never get out of prison. What I know to be fact for myself, is that I do not need to be behind bars to feel like I am imprisoned. What I’ve heard several times from incarcerated people is that they can feel FREE even though they are behind bars.
Here is a letter one of the inmates wrote to The Matt Garcia Foundation Several of these men have donated over $80.00 and 5 books of stamps! AMAZING! inmatedonations
Conclusion: It’s all a matter of perception. I must continue to be present within myself. Atone for my wrongs and help others always.
Last weekend I got to hang out with my two daughters. Our oldest daughter is getting married next summer. We went to a wedding fair in Pleasanton. We all had a great time. It was a beautiful day spent with my amazing daughters and their friends.2014teresa 498
Last Thursday was Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for all the amazing people, places and things in my life today and everyday. Our hearts hurt more during the holiday's as we miss our loved ones. We cherish the time we all spend with each other even more now. My beautiful sister came for a bit. Briana, Will and my grand dog Oreo came over too. Raymond and T helped serve the homeless at Mission Solano. We even stopped by my sister-in law Nichole’s house to visit with the family. It was great to see my sis-in-laws’, the kids and of course Mom and her family. TRULY GRATEFUL!
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Moving into December things look bright for our family. We are healthy and grateful I will continue to be grateful for the many blessings in my life. God, guide me to where you would have me go. Give me the eye’s to see, the ear’s to hear and the words to speak. Clear my mind and heal my heart. Amen