Celebrate Nina's Joy with Me

October 25, 2023

You better stop'Cause I really love you, stop (stop)I'll be thinking of youLook in my heart and let love keep us together

(Let Love Keep Us Together by Captain & Tennille)

Grief is a life long journey.

I wrote a piece for the last Chronicles of Hope that the R2ISE Theatre produced, but in the end I decided that that night was not the right venue to share my thoughts, so I thought I would post the piece here. The piece contains a link to the article that I was referring to-I debated heavily over sharing the article because it is a very hard read, but in the end I think the story is too important to not include a link somewhere.  The article describes in detail how the nine people died in the Dekalb County jail last year, and what they had in common (mainly mental health challenges), so please only follow the link if you have the spoons.  However, the whole piece below is about finding the joy in the person of Nina to counteract the anger and sadness that I felt when reading the article published in Decaturish, so it should not be activating as long as you choose to not follow the link.


You may have read an article in the local paper, Decaturish, detailing how Nina and eight others died last year in the Dekalb County Jail.  It is all a tragedy. But I want you to know the wonderful things about Nina that the article did not mention: Nina loved “yacht rock,” dancing, and going to live concerts.  She loved the local band, Just Roxie, Linda Ronstadt, Michael McDonald, and the movie, Thelma & Louise.  She was incredibly giving and thoughtful and she gave me the gifts that I wanted but wouldn’t buy for myself, even though she did not care about them at all. She was not religious, but she did believe in God. She catcalled dogs-for real, we would be in the car, see someone walking their dog, slow down, open the car window, and yell out, “Great dog! Wanna treat?”   She always carried dog treats with her.  She was an extrovert to the max, extremely passionate about her love for her family, friends, animals, activism, and me.  She worked for DisAbility Link, passionately proclaiming that disability rights are human rights.  We were going to get married a few days before my birthday this year and I miss her dearly.  One thing I wish we had done, and I urge everyone else here to do is to fill out a crisis list.  This is a small piece of paper where you list your medications, allergies, important phone numbers, where to take you and what to do in an emergency and where not to take you and what not to do in an emergency.  I believe that if Nina had had a card like this with her that mental health hospitals and the police/jail staff could have seen, it might have saved her life.  They would have known what medications to give her and how to better help her.  Everyone here has a crisis list in their program-please fill it out, for you never know when something might happen where someone else may need to take over your care.  While you are filling this out, I will play and sing the Yacht Rock song that we played and danced to the most last year, “Love Will Keep Us Together,” by Captain & Tennille.


Our dog, Roxy!

(Our dog, Roxy, named after Nina's favorite local band, Just Roxie)

Feel free to print and use the image above as your own personal Crisis List.


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