Grief. doesn’t. have. a. day planner.

Ten years ago this January 19th, my mom died of a heart attack at her home in Madison, NJ.

Now, come January, in addition to the normal weather related SAD, I get prone to sadness because of the grief I still live with having lost my mother so suddenly. I never know quite when it will hit. It’s been building. Stories. Conversations. Connections.

And today, it hit with tears. A little early this year. And that’s ok.

I miss her. I will always be her little boy.

Fall On Me

I’ve always been a sensitive boy, prone to crying. At commercials. Brandon loves that part of me. I get emotional.

Yet at some point, I learned to stuff those emotions. To not cry. To not show weakness particularly in corporate America. I can remember getting teary eyed at a business meeting in my 20’s, and my boss pulled me aside and told me that was not acceptable behavior for management. I can also remember when I was taken to the hospital with chest pains at work, my direct supervisor showed up at the hospital while I was still being checked out at the ER. He didn’t do that because that was in his job description. He did that because he knew we shared a common humanity, and that’s what we do. As humans, we show compassion.

I digress.

The song that broke me open is Fall On Me, a version sung my Chad Vaccarino and Ian Axel on the latest album of Andrea Bocelli, titles Si (Deluxe). I started crying. And I realized a lot of it was coming from the memory of my mom, and some recent family chatter about how we are continuing to grieve. It reminds me, I’m not alone. My siblings and I are all living with grief; that’s what we do. As humans, we experience grief.

Grief and compassion are two sides of the same coin, I think.

Our Legacy

I came across an autobiography my mother wrote her senior year at high school. It’s a side of my mom I want to know and remember. An innocence, a confidence and a clarity. Ah youth.

I want to remember all of her. Not just the later years, in the same way I don’t want to be judged for the times I’ve fallen. I want to be known for picking myself back up – with the help of those around me – and getting on with getting on. And my mom was doing that in her own life.

As humans, that’s what we do. We live through a natural cycle, on a macro and micro level – moment to moment, lifetime to lifetime.

I want to remember the bison photographs at Yellowstone National Park, even if I never find those slides in the decks of slides I have yet to scan from our young family travels.

I want to remember mom and her ancestors, for her story is part of my story. As is Blanche’s, and Groh’s and Vera’s and Garland’s. That’s the richness of my story, even with the shadows we know are there – because we also see great light.

I’m full of clichés today.

On with the show.

Here in my mother’s words is the introduction to her autobiography, along with the table of contents. Having come across the full scan of her 42+ page autobiography, I’ve been enmeshed in learning more about her – especially since she isn’t around to tell her story. But, I have it in her own words! What a treasure. (Yes, I’m a softy for origin stories and happy endings… in all nuances of that idea!)

The only regret is I don’t seem to have the dozen or so pages of pictures and Christmas cards – though I do have some of the original Christmas cards framed in our home, from the years circa 1942 and 1965, right about the time my sister was born. I love the photographs and the story they tell, as a macro and micro level! I might have to blog more about that in future and share those stories.

The stories themselves aren’t as important as knowing we all have one and have a yearning for it to be heard. That’s part of my why – the joy of telling stories through art, which includes spoken word.

I miss you mom. I will always be your little boy, guardian of the ants.

I love you,

Christopher “Cricket” Todd Fuqua.

The theme is not important but it has helped me to carry out my story.

Carol Lou Schneider

Vision Board 2023

Vision Board 101 – 2D

One of the traditions we’ve created at home is to create a vision board for the New Year. The basic starting point is a piece of cardboard. Yea, this is old school vision. boarding. And for this upcoming year, I present 2023.

I won’t expound on this. I simply share it with the Universe.

101 Resolutions for 2023

Vision Board 201 – An Infographic

The last couple of years, I’ve taken things to the next level in terms of a Personal Vision for the year.

Last year I chose 5 words for my year. They were “Be, Feel, Create, Learn, Grow.”

I had a flyer on my studio door and in my studio.

This year, I lifted the constraint and came up with my words for the year. They apply across all parts of me as a human being, a small business owner, an artist, an activist. It’s wholistic motivation for person-centric, trauma-informed living. That and $5 will get you a cup of coffee.

This year, I created an infographic. It will go on my studio door and in my studio.


Worth. Joy.

Having said that, my keyword for the year is Worth and my Why is Joy.

I created this infographic to motivate the troops (aka voices in my head) and keep my lean organization of one aligned.


My community focus continues to be on reducing stigma through my artivism. This includes my efforts linked to Celebrate UU, HIV Modernization Movement – Indiana, and community health, especially HIV & mental health. I’ll continue to blog here and through Professor Peacock.

For my business focus, I continue to use a 70/20/10 model to set priorities for the year. My keyword of Worth translates into focusing back on running a profitable business – something from which I stepped away the last 2 years due to my mental health & a subsequent artistic sabbatical…and a slowing coming back-tical.

Here we are, a new year with a Profit First mindset. Yes, I’ll read that book this year. Q1 even. Goal set.

My main studio focus with C Todd Creations this year will be headshots, although I’ll continue to freelance & do event photography when requested. I’ll also grow my speciality studio for dudeoir photography over at C Todd Dudeoir.

Thanks for listening.

Keep tellin’ the story,

Professor Peacock III

Why 988 hotline matters

December 21 will always hold special significance for me.

As much as I try not to think about it, every year it creeps up on me. Some years, it has taken me to dark places. Some years, I’ve been able to see the growth.

This is one of those years where I’ve gained a new perspective on the night of December 21, 2009.

I’ve shared my story before. December 21, 2009 is the day I entered long-term recovery.

A lot’s happenened since then!

What’s changed?

This year, a new federal hotline service went into effect in Indiana. It’s called 988, as a phone call or a text.

“…Every person in every community nationwide can dial “988” to reach trained crisis counselors who can help in a mental health, substance use or suicide crisis.

988 is the first step in reimagining our crisis response, but there’s more work to do to ensure everyone receives the help they need — and deserve — in a crisis.” ~ NAMI

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 988: Reimagining Crisis Response

988 vs 911

With the new service, I reimagined by own crisis situation back in 2009. What if I had been able to call 988 instead of 911?

Chances are they wouldn’t have sent the police, because I had called in an overdose and failed suicide attempt. What I needed was help. What I got was help – and an arrest 90 days later, just as I was just finishing my extended treatment at Fairbanks. With that arrest, my 19-year corporate career ended in me being fired. I lost my house. I was awarded and lost a plea bargain that could have reduced the charges to a misdemeanor. But early recovery was difficult messy and I failed a required drug test. Until recently, I had two felony charges on my record stemming back to that phone call.

I don’t sit in this awareness and wallow in self-pity. I’m glad with where my life is today. I’ve since been able to expunge my felony arrest record, which means I don’t have any more barriers to getting housing or employment. I can’t travel to Canada though – or at least I don’t think I can based on what I’ve read.

In general and thankfully, I’ve been able to land on my feet. I am self-employed, thriving as an artist and photographer, and have stable housing & transportation.

Even though I’ve suffered great losses and pain, I’m grateful to be thriving in my 50’s as an artist.

But it does demonstrate why this new 988 matters. How many lives can be salvaged, not torn apart by piling legal consequences on top of someone in crisis?

That could have been me…

It’s like the joke about what happens when you play a country & western song backwards?

You get your spouse back, your job back, you stop drinking.

Quite literally, I could have gotten the help to stop my using WITHOUT an arrest. In the long term of recovery, that would have been pretty useful.

Call or Text 988 if in crisis

So next time you or someone you know is in crisis, consider calling or texting 988 instead of involving the police via 911.

More about 988: NAMI’s Committment

NAMI is committed to advancing efforts to reimagine crisis response in our country. We believe that every person in crisis, and their families, should receive a humane response that treats them with dignity and connects them to appropriate and timely care. NAMI is calling for a standard of care for crisis services in every community that includes — 24/7 call centers that answer 988 calls locally, mobile crisis teams and crisis stabilization programs — that end the revolving door of ER visits, arrests, incarceration and homelessness.

NAMI Website

Keep tellin’ the story,
Thanks for listening

Professor Peacock III

Why does 988 matter?
Why does 988 matter? Reflections on 13 years in long-term recovery.