Dear Sooner Than Tomorrow Readers and Writers:

I’m taking a break from my blog for the next 3 or 4 weeks. I must execute my mother’s small estate, attend to a celebration of her life, and reflect on her life and passing. I’ll also be speaking about Sooner Than Tomorrow at the NAMI Kentucky State Conference. I’m leaving you with some of the reviews readers have written on my Amazon book page. Thank you so much for these comments and recommendations. Reviews are among the best tools in a writer’s toolbox to garner more readers. I appreciate them more than you know.

Away from my blog but always thinking of you. You’re the most dedicated and courageous people on the planet. Have a good month.

P.S. If you’d like a copy of Grassroots 2020: A 5-Part Plan to Address Serious Mental Illness (SMI) to send to 2020 presidential candidates, and to local and state influencers, send me your email and I’ll forward the documents to you. You can also read the plan here in the archives on the right hand side: August 6, 2019, “Please Forward to Those in Your Sphere of Influence.” dede@soonerthantomorrow.com


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kayababy 5.0 out of 5 stars
Thank you for putting your experiences, into words
For so many of us, who have a child with these issues, our experiences have been similar, and we struggle to put them into words. I must say, this diary has been at times the "oh my God, I know exactly what she means" and a flood of tears, while other times a familiar feeling of smiles and happiness from that same place of recognition; it just helps to read it. I am so happy to have this book. It has a sort of sacredness about its story, especially with all of Pat's inputs, so that we get to hear from him, getting to know who he is as well through this excellent book his mother wrote. Thank you again Dede.

Christy B 5.0 out of 5 stars
Well written — heart felt — easy read — honest chronicle of a life ended too soon.
I don't know if "enjoyed" is the right word — very touched by this book. The writing is superb — the chapters short — easy to put down and pick up again. I was engrossed by the family dynamics — daughter, grandmother, mother, sister. The entries about the grandkids are delicious. Pat comes across as a highly intelligent, musically talented, funny guy. Loved his FB posts. A must read. Highly recommend.

Erin Eisner 5.0 out of 5 stars
So many reasons to read this great book!
I found this book interesting and important in so many ways! The author writes with an amazing sense of humor and compassionate insight about every thing from her 101 year old mom and grand-kids, to the ants invading her home. She brilliantly weaves in her late son’s poetry and Facebook posts, which gives true timely context, and reveals how she interpreted both monumental and mundane events she encountered in the year before her beloved son would unexpectedly and mysteriously pass away. While gut-wrenchingly tragic in the end, it has so many uplifting moments I found myself deeply engaged and inspired to learn more about many things. It made me want to read. It made me want to write. It made me want to live. It made me want to hold my two young babies a little tighter and pray they will be spared from mental illness, and if not that I will have the same patience, love and resolve the author had in doing all she could in a climate that makes nothing in this realm easy. To the author—thank you for sharing with the world your beautiful stories about your family and life in general, and thank you for your fight and efforts to improve mental health conditions and policies in this country, and for giving support to other families going through their own mental health challenges. I hope you have and will continue to write more not only for your own peace, but because your words and stories must continue to be shared and heard. You don’t have to have a close family member with mental illness to benefit and appreciate this book— if you are a human on this planet who can read English I highly recommend you read Sooner Than Tomorrow because it has much in it for everyone to ponder.

Paula Quertermous 5.0 out of 5 stars
Dede Ranahan shares a glimpse families endure while trying to get mental health help in time
This book has moved me deeply. Dede Ranahan captures the slippery chasm family members with serious mental illness try to navigate to have some quality of life — and in spite of lack of enough good services. Dede, your writing mesmerized me!! I can relate so much as the mother of an adult daughter with SMI. Every day can contain an element giving you a surge of motherly hope — or a crushing incident that spikes to fear for your child. The exhaustion from living in long term doubt requires support. This book is a gem of information!

L. Turley 5.0 out of 5 stars
I highly recommend this book.
I read books these days in short spurts, often just a few pages at a time, especially when the material hits me in a way that I need to stop and process before continuing. This book is like that for me. It is both a daily journal of everyday events and yet, within those events there is a deep, insightful look at a life that is shared with us for a purpose. I had been waiting until I finished this book to write a review, but it may take me awhile to finish, as I sit and savor these snapshots glimpses into the lives of the individuals within. Dede shares her life and her innermost thoughts in a down-to-earth way as she allows us to walk with her through the journey of her son's mental illness, and reminds us that we are not alone, but we walk together. For those who share this journey and share her prayer for change to come "Sooner Than Tomorrow” and for those who are fortunate enough not to share the journey, but who wish to understand, I highly recommend this book.


To my twin sister, Linda Rippee,

I just came on Facebook, after taking a nap. I could barely read through your post without tears flowing down my face like a stream from a mountain top. A stream that never ends. I didn't think I had this many tears left. I feel so helpless, with my own illnesses, that I am unable to help with a physical presence. The responsibility and the experience of actually interacting with Mark have fallen on your shoulders.

Is there such a thing as survivor's guilt without having actually lost someone? I can't describe the pain I feel any other way, so I’m at a loss. I’m at a loss at the pain and suffering he endures every day on the streets, knowing that we have no legal right to force him to live with the few of us left, nor is it even possible. Knowing that we have fought for 32 years trying to help him and make his life better, and knowing that he blames us for allowing him to live as the doctors didn't believe that he would. Knowing that the laws in this county, state, and nation are against families of loved ones who suffer from traumatic brain Injury and serious mental illness. Knowing that, no matter how hard we’ve fought every day to change minds, hearts, rules, and laws, so far we have failed. We have failed.

I have such a hard time believing that we’ve failed, but we have. It matters not that we have fought every day. Every single day for 32 years. Yes, for a while he was able to live a somewhat normal life until the mental illness set in. The doctors said it would happen eventually, but what has happened to him since? The apathy of people with the power to change policies, rules, and laws is a clear indication that, not only have our efforts failed, but the lawmakers have failed. How many potential bills have failed over and over as the lawmakers insist there is more legislation now for the seriously mentally ill than ever before. That may be true, but they keep failing. Failing the sufferers. Failing the families. Failing society. No human being should have to live without options like our brother. I am having difficulty understanding anything anymore about this travesty.

Facing my own mortality only makes me feel more like a failure. I still have in my mind that 12-year-old boy who tracked me down at a friend’s house after I had moved away from home at 18, and clung to me begging me to move back home. I still have in my mind seeing Mark that day of the accident, barbecuing at Mom and Dad's house and telling us how he wasn't going to keep that motorcycle but was putting it up for sale. I still have in my mind that he was on his way to my home, in Fairfield, that night to see me when the accident happened.

Did I fail him, Linda? Did I fail him by making the decision to let the doctors try to save him? Was I wrong to want him to live? I thought I was making the right choices while I actually had power of attorney back then. I'm not so sure, now. What are we to do now? Lawmakers and officials have tired of our continued efforts and have turned their own blind eyes away from the situation. No one, who has any power to give families back their rights, or to change the laws preventing us from helping him, cares. Not really.

I have no faith in lawmakers’ motivations anymore. Not one has proven that they care enough about the families of the seriously mentally ill to truly push through what needs to be done to make a real difference. I can't stop crying — for Mark, and how he lives and suffers; for you, being the last one in our family to be able to go out and find him; for myself, for being so helpless in my own infirm condition and disability; for Mom, who will leave this earth knowing her youngest child will most likely die on the streets; for all the ignorant and uninformed people who find such joy in blaming our family; for those in the community who do care and have tried to help Mark and us for so long; for our society; for this very world.

My despair and tears are beyond my ability to explain anymore. Beyond my understanding of what being human means.

See Linda’s story yesterday, June 26, 2019. “Rewind and Erase.”




Today, I went and found my brother, Mark. He was lying on the sidewalk at a busy entrance to a shopping center. Cars were whizzing by. Another man was sitting there with him and, as I approached them, I could see that Mark was giving him money and asking him to count it. I was immediately suspicious. I asked my daughter to remain in the car.

I walked up quickly and called Mark’s name as I always holler his name before approaching him so not to startle him. I waited until he recognized my voice before I began conversation. Mark pulled another dollar bill from his pocket and asked me what denomination it was. I was concerned that maybe he was buying street drugs. No, that wasn’t it. Here sat another homeless person who had talked my blind brother into giving him all his money to buy a gold pocket watch. He laid out $14.00 which was all that he had. Unless that watch could verbally tell time, what on earth would a blind, gravely disabled man need with a pocket watch?

Good thing I had brought him food, water, and clothing. Mark was shirtless, but had a very heavy coat on. Today, the temperature is supposed to reach 98 degrees. I begged him to take off the coat. He refused saying the coat would be stolen. He was extremely sunburned already. The wounds on his face and around his empty eye sockets were still badly infected from two different beatings several weeks ago when he was robbed. Today, all he had with him was a small blanket. His clothing was disintegrating as he wore the same pair of pants all through the winter and spring. He didn’t have a cane to guide him. He has had 11 different canes this past year.  

I sat down next to Mark and, within seconds, it was obvious that he was delusional. He grabbed my hands and slapped them down, hard, on his leg that has a metal rod from crotch to ankle. He held both my hands down with his hands. His hands looked like leather and were cracked and bleeding. Regardless, he continued to hold my hands tightly. His entire body was trembling. He said, “We have to go back and erase each year that has passed since June 21, 1987 (the date of his motorcycle accident). Rewind and erase.”

I was shocked that he still knew that date. Yes, it was Father’s Day, but he still remembered the actual date. He proceeded to say each year backwards to 1987. With each year, he said, “Rewind & Erase!” He shook, violently, until he reached 1987. Then he grabbed and hugged me and said,” Now, don’t you feel better?”

I told him, “Yes, and I hope you do too.” He began to argue with the voices in his head, screaming that the police were implanting and growing people inside of people and controlling them. I tried to calm him and get him to eat the food I had brought him. He would take a bite, chew tiny bites, and then spit it out.

He brought up my twin. Mark doesn’t always comprehend what I tell him, but I continue to tell him the truth. CJ, my twin sister, had gotten bad news about a medical diagnosis. I shared her condition with him. He began yelling at the voices he hears and blaming those voices for all the pain and suffering of those he loves. The intent of his body language was to beat himself up. I hugged him, and once again reminded him that I love him — as I do on every visit. He didn’t want to let go and held on tight for a while. As I was saying goodby, he began crying. He said, “Someone disconnected me from my mother. They’re cutting out pieces of me.”

I slowly walked away, feeling sick to my stomach. If only I could “rewind and erase” all the horrible memories, delusions, pain, and suffering he’s had for the last three decades. Yes, Mark, I would feel better.

Linda adds: Every letter/email I’ve sent out has also been sent to the County Board of Supervisors. I’ve sent out over 1200 emails and my twin, CJ, has sent as many. Each time, we copy agencies and politicians. We’ve saturated them. We’ve sent out thousands of private messages all over the state, and made thousands of posts and comments in over 100 social media groups all over California. CJ authored the petition for AB1971* and we collected 56,000 signatures that went to the full assembly and senate. I’ve made 30 speeches speaking at public meetings. I’ve testified twice at the capitol in support of AB1971.* I’ve gone to the capitol and told my brother's story to support several other bills. There have been 12 news articles and TV interviews. Mark’s story has been published in three national blogs and used at medical conferences. We’ve friended, and are in contact with, several well-known national mental health advocates — Ron Powers, Teresa Pasquini, Leslie Carpenter, Dede Moon Ranahan, and DJ Jaffe to name a few. The Board of Supervisors are ground zero. They are aware of all that we’ve done. They stay silent and do not converse with our family. The next project we are working on is a documentary. I have many, many videos of my visits on the streets with Mark. We will make the videos available to politicians and to the public. They are undeniable. When they are shown, Solano County should hang its head in shame.

Note: Solano County has declared Mark to be competent.

*AB1971. This bill would, until January 1, 2024, expand the definition of “gravely disabled” for these purposes, as implemented in the County of Los Angeles, to also include a condition in which a person, as a result of a mental health disorder, is unable to provide for his or her basic personal needs for medical treatment, if the failure to receive medical treatment, as defined, results in a deteriorating physical condition that a medical professional, in his or her best medical judgment, attests in writing, will more likely than not, lead to death within 6 months, as specified.

See Linda’s story, “I’m Past Anger. I’m in Complete Despair.” June 6, 2019, in the archives.