Coping with community deaths


Death …

I don’t even know where to start.

But I do know this … while searching the Internet, scrolling for the right inspirational quotes to help me get my start, I came across two.

The first one read: “Keep your head up. God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers.”

The other read: “Today only comes once.”

Well, in our tiny village, we must be the BEST strongest soldiers because within the past five days, we have endured two life-altering battles.

And we are still here for one another, holding each other up through all the pain.

We will not break, oh no … but we are allowed to hurt.

And we are.

On Saturday, a mom whose children once attended the Keystone Schools, passed away. She was 36; and left behind two children. Her smile was infectious and her hair, stunning.

While parents were left wondering “Why?” and “How did this happen?” all while trying to explain to our children that Jessica is “in a better place” we are really trying to understand … is she really? Is there a better place other than being here on Earth with her two little ones?

So, for five days, parents living and working in the same community that Jessica once did, did the best we could to enjoy the Christmas holiday with our loved ones, all while trying to cope with our own grief.

We put on smiles, ate too much and watched as our kiddos opened presents on Christmas morning.

I’d like to say we were slowly coming to realize our worst fear had come true – Jessica was indeed gone too soon – but I still think most of us are in a state of denial.

Then, just as we began to piece our lives back together, our community and spirits came crashing down.

On Wednesday morning, the word that a 17-year-old Keystone High School student died from injuries sustained in a single car crash spread through the LaGrange and Elyria communities like wildfire.

Kayden Williams – a football player with a heart of gold who was loved by all families in the area – will never step on the football field again. He will never walk the halls of Keystone High. He will never live the life his parents dreamed of for him.

The worst part of Kayden’s death? I had to tell my son, a freshman at the same school, that a fellow student who he saw on a daily basis, died. How does a parent even do that? There isn’t a book, outlining the steps on how to tell your son that someone who had his entire future ahead of him has died. That there is no rhyme or reason why Kayden is no longer spending the holiday break with his parents and siblings.

My 9-year-old daughter said it best … “I know he’s in Heaven with Jesus, but Mom, he didn’t even get to play with his presents from Santa.”

So, on this Thursday – a day when I will be paying my respects to the York family – I will keep my head up.

I will be a soldier for my children, to let them know that bad things happen to good people, and there really is no explanation.

And then, then I will remind them to live each day like it is their last … because TODAY only comes ONCE.

RIP Jessica and RIP Kayden



PTA is like Seinfeld’s ‘Soup Nazi’

Dear PTA,

I’m all for bribery. It is how shit gets done in my house.

You want a friend over? Sure, go clean your room.

You want ice cream? Sure, go put your clothes away.

You want a snack before bed? Sure, eat your dinner.

It is simply how the world works. I get it.

But, when you attempt to bribe parents into joining the PTA with this Facebook post:

“Psssssst … PTA was granted EARLY ACCESS to the teacher list!!!!!

Come and join … sign up for the 2016/17 school year PTA membership and get an EXCLUSIVE, early preview of your child’s teacher and an icy, cold popsicle to beat the heat. Membership is only $5.”

… I can’t help but wonder … what is wrong with these people?


So, fine, I get it … it’s a membership drive. Great. Clearly new members are needed.

But what about those three (at least) parents who showed up tonight to only be turned away because they didn’t have the $5 lousy fee. One of them was apparently a new father to the district. His child was eager to see who his teacher would be and who would be in his class.

He actually was asked to leave the area.



My God. When did the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld take over the PTA?

I’m not sure, but as one mom put it:

“I’m pissed. They were acting like it was top secret info. Big fucking deal. They told me to check tomorrow. Well I won’t be helping them anymore. I think it’s a douche move on their part.”

And there you have it …

In a nutshell … no one should be turned away from the PTA – or as it stands now, perhaps, “Parents To Avoid?”


A Long-Ago Member







A breast cancer warrior with a heart of gold

Sometimes, life’s a bitch.

But, sometimes, a person comes along who encompasses an attitude of “Screw it, I’m gonna life my life to the fullest!”

She saw the glass as half-full – always craving the next taste of life.

She hated bees.

She argued with her parents and siblings, but made up soon after.

She didn’t hold grudges. Life was too short for such nonsense.

She loved her family.

She loved her husband.

But, most of all, she loved being a mom. It’s all she ever wanted in life.

So, when she felt a lump in her breast during her third-trimester of pregnancy, she knew she would do anything in her power to rid her body of the cancerous lump.

Funny thing though, her doctor’s weren’t overly concerned with the lump. And at one point, she herself even thought it would dissipate after giving birth to her son, Frankie.

But it didn’t.

The diagnosis came back as breast cancer.

And, not just the “typical” breast cancer that some women have. Nope, she was diagnosed with the “Head Bitch of the Disease.” She tested positive for an abnormal BRCA1 gene. Abnormal BRCA1 is a harmful gene mutation that increases the risk for a woman getting breast and/or ovarian cancers. It is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer.

She didn’t even blink an eye when telling the doctor of her course of treatment.

She wanted her breasts removed … and since BRCA1 thrives on estrogen, her other female reproductive organs were removed from her body too.

She was barren.

She was crushed. She wanted three kiddos. But, she was OK with just having Frankie if it meant she could be his entire world.

And she was.

She was his entire world for 19 months.

Jenny Metzer-Bassett died on April 24. She was only 31 years old.

She didn’t want a timeline for her life on Earth. Ultimately she knew her fate.

But for 19 months, she did what she set out to do. She was a warrior. She was the bitch that beat cancer – maybe not in the sense that you think – but she did. She didn’t let the diagnosis get the best of her. She lived her life.

We can all learn from Jenny …

When faced with adversary and bad news – forge forward with a positive attitude and screw the rest.








The cell phone alarm chimed at 6 a.m. I can never seem to locate my cell phone at 6 a.m. It’s like at some point during the night, the phone fairy comes into my room and moves it – like a chess pawn.

Finally, I find the source of my annoyance and slapped it, “SNOOZE.”

Ah, 8 more minutes of blissful sleep. Wonderful.

But then 6:08 a.m. rolled around. It was time to wake the sleeping bear.

There once was a time when I could not wait to wake up my pre-teen son for all of the hell he put me through as a newborn, toddler and preschooler. The countless hours of wakefulness during the middle of the night. The days of him deciding he was simply done with naps. The nights when he just wasn’t tired and insisted on staying up, “Just five more minutes, PLEASE!?”

Walking him back to his room, I would chant over and over again: “I can’t wait until the day I have to wake you up for school!”

Yet, I had no idea of the fury unleashed from a 12-year-old boy in the early morning hours. Covers are loudly dumped onto his floor. Closet doors slide along their tracks, banging into each other in the middle after he selects his wardrobe of the day.

He then drags his size 10 feet along our hardwood hallway to the bathroom where every single morning, he tries to close the door at least four times.


I roll out of bed and in a hushed, yet firm tone tell him, “NO ONE ELSE IS AWAKE! THE DOOR DOESN’T CLOSE! STOP TRYING TO CLOSE THE DOOR!”

The time is now 6:18 a.m. I hope and pray to the Sleep God that I can get an extra 14 minutes of sleep before I have to force myself to get up and start packing the dreadful lunches no one eats in my family.

But no.

The bathroom vent switch is flipped and I hear a constant hummmm. The shower curtain hooks move along the rod like fingernails on a chalkboard and my ears begin to bleed. And finally, the shower begins to flow.

It’s now 6:22 a.m. I give up. I wanted extra sleep today. I NEEDED extra sleep today (because I stayed up until midnight watching “Beetlejuice” on the free movie channel …).

So, I give my husband a nudge, begging him, “Please, get up. You don’t have to pack him a lunch today. It’s pizza day. He’s buying. You just have to make sure he gets on the bus.”

He agrees, but tells me he will get up at 6:45 a.m. – plenty of time, he says to get the pre-teen on the bus.

I don’t know what the hell happened between 6:45 and 6:55 a.m., but the child missed the bus.

“YOU HAD ONE JOB!” I yelled. “ONE!”

“He was sitting in the chair playing with his phone. I saw the bus from our kitchen window. She stopped,” he replied.

Well, no kidding she stopped … she has to STOP!

“Her job is to stop at the end of our driveway. YOUR job, today, was to make sure he was at the end of the driveway!” I said to no one but to the pillow under my head.

“I don’t know why DAD is blaming me,” the boy yelled as he thumped back into my still dark, cozy room.

“It’s your fault you weren’t ready!” my husband yelled from the bathroom.

Finally, I rolled out of bed.

It was pointless for me to lay there while they were throwing themselves under the bus.

About the author:

Melissa Linebrink is a reporter/bi-monthly columnist for “The Mommy Wars” printed in The Chronicle-Telegram. She also writes, edits and manages her blog, She can be reached at

Welcome to Parenthood: The New Crazy Train

“Do it!” they said.

“It will be so fun!” they said.

“It will be the best part of your life!” they said.

Having children is the craziest thing I have ever agreed to, only this time around, I had a partner to partake in the shenanigans – my husband.

Every day, we drag our limp, tired, despite-being-caffeinated bodies into our vehicles which then take us to work or through the school drop-off line. Drive here, drive there. Pick up, drop off.

It never ends.

Some days it’s a wonder we don’t use wooden toothpicks to keep our lids open.

Our once sharp minds got lost somewhere between middle-of-the-night bottle feedings and diaper changes. Every minute of sleep we miss out on equals one less productive brain cell.

Welcome to Parenthood: The New Crazy Train – it’s a place where we are all permanent riders. We all manage to screw it up at some point or another. No one is perfect; and if you think you are, this blog site or Facebook page isn’t for you and its best if you go find a place where they serve cookies and milk while discussing raising perfect children.

On this site/page, feel free to let your opinions flow (I only ask that you be respectful of others) and share your stories on your own personal ride on Parenthood: The New Crazy Train.

So, grab a drink and let’s get rollin’ …







Time to REBOOT

Sitting in the living room on a Monday night, my “favorite” TV show is on (Lizard Lick Towing) as my husband reclines in his chair.

As of lately, we have not been seeing “eye-to-eye” and I think it’s time for a REBOOT here in BFE.

His favorite pastime as of recent is “Bread Bitching” – this is where every other week, he bitches about the bread situation in our house. I either buy the wrong bread; bread that we have is not thawed (because I seem to be the only person in the house who knows that unused bread is kept in the freezer); or once in a blue moon, there may not be any bread (again, clearly I am the only one who knows where the store is in town).

But it’s not just about bread.

He also likes to screw around with my laptop – updating it; removing files I need; removing programs I use – he calls it “fixing things” … I call it “Screwing it up and now it doesn’t work!”

With spring slowly approaching (and by slowly I mean … I am starting to wonder if we are just going to spring into summer), that means our massive 2.5 acres of land will need attention; the pool will need to be summarized (that is always, always a trip … one where I would almost pay someone to come to our house to help); the garden will need to be rototilled (which takes longer to start the machine than it does to actually rototill the small area, meanwhile, I just stand there watching him curse); and of course, mulching is a day’s work.

Being married has its ups and downs.

I wish he would blog about me because I would love to know what goes on in that CPA-head of his in regards to me.

But since we know each other very well, I can already guess what his blog would say.

Let me try:

“Melissa, she is not a chef … she is not even a cook. She cannot cook. I eat what she makes, because otherwise, I would starve. She can make a mean taco and spaghetti, but otherwise … I wish she would stay out of the kitchen. The other day, she made fish … who screws up fish? Melissa, that’s who!

Melissa cannot write a check without screwing up the checkbook. She went to school for journalism, and she can write, but how many times can one person screw up the checkbook? Today, she voided her second check within a month. She just doesn’t pay attention to what she is doing. She calls is multi-tasking, I call it “fudging it up big time!”

She is loud. She talks too much. She is nosy – she may be the nosiest person on the planet. But, I knew all of this before I asked for her hand in marriage, and I went through with it anyways.”

And I think that is why our marriage works. I am his complete opposite. He is quiet, shy and intuitive. He never makes a decision without first thinking everything possible detail. I am loud, outgoing and pretty much go-with-the-flow. As a stay-at-home/journalist, I don’t have time to second guess myself … there are times I have to “act now” or risk it all.

I guess that’s kinda what I did when he got down on one knee all those years ago – I didn’t think about the future, I acted in the moment.

And, I am glad I did (most days!).