Love and Loss

I originally wrote this in October of 2015.  We are engaged and getting married in July.

This past week, my girlfriends grandfather passed away at the ag of 85.  His health had been in decline for a couple weeks, and it was touch and go, for both him and his family.  I met him half a dozen times or so, and he was a very nice man.  Makes me wish my grandfather had lived longer so I could have more memories.  The memories I have are great, I just wish I had more.

My heart broke for my girlfriend, and her whole family.  I was with her Friday for the wake, and Saturday for the funeral.  Seeing her upset made my heart break, going back to his initial hospitalization.  Our relationship, now eight and a half months strong, has seen so many happy moments.  This was the first bad thing that has occurred, and I became one of her strongest support systems.  I learned that to comfort someone, words are not always necessary, simply being present and holding that person is sufficient.

The love for my girlfriend grew exponentially during this difficult time.  It is not necessarily how couples are during ththe good times, but how they handle the difficult times.  I was there for, comforted, and supported her.  This is true love, and she means everything to me.  I will marry her, and cannot wait to do so.  I will do anything for her, and I know the feeling is mutual.

Living through Adversity

Throughout my life, I have dealt with adversity, which is no different from most people. The most recent of these events, divorce, recently concluded. Some of them are amicable in nature, however, I was not so lucky. With all of the difficulties I encountered, I learned many lessons along the journey, lessons I hope can inspire others. As I reflect on the events of the past year and a half, I feel very strongly that I was given many gifts, as well as opportunities.

First, imagine a person making false statements and trying to bring one down at every opportunity. Envision an individual who tries to keep a son away from his father, and makes disparaging remarks about the father to the child. That was my life for many months, and I was on the receiving end of these actions. In retrospect, I have a much better relationship with my little boy having dealt with what was thrown at me. A gift that is absolutely priceless.

I learned, most importantly, that I was living with a person who suffers from mental illness. This mental disorder is the most prevalent of those diagnosed within the United States, affecting almost seven million adults. In November 2013, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). This was a life-changing diagnosis, as I was able to put a name to what I had experienced for years. I was constantly on edge, and would worry more often than I care to admit. I would react to stressful situations, as well as situations that were not necessarily stressful, but I would convince myself they were indeed stressful. Think about worrying about situations that likely will not occur, but in my head I am convinced will occur, such as damage from a storm. The diagnosis I was given was a gift, and I feel it is one of the best I have ever received.

Thinking that it was in fact calming me, I would have a few beers every night, only to discover I was becoming more anxious. The first step on my road to healing involved cutting alcohol out of my routine, and my life. While not an alcoholic, my actions became habitual in nature, as well as an escape from my marriage. No longer drinking has had many positive effects. First and foremost, I am more relaxed. My memory, which had suffered, has come back at full strength. Another gift, one that provides positive vibes on a daily basis.

Through divorce, my support system (family, friends) is extremely strong and helped me immensely. There were times where I was unsure how I would make it through. Even now, with the financial ramifications, I question how I will ever attain certain goals. I take solace in the fact that everything always works out. I am fortunate to have my sanity, hope for the future, and people with which to share my thoughts.

I have recently found someone who I care about deeply, and truly love. I was not sure if, or when, I would find love, but I have. She is my soft place to land, and I feel emotions I am unsure I have ever felt. I am thankful for her, and am so lucky. She is a special gift, one I hope is in my life for a long time to come.

Lastly, I have struggled to find meaning in the divorce. I know everything happens for a reason, but what is the reason for all of this? With my enjoyment of writing, coupled with my budding interest and comfort in public speaking, i have been provided an opportunity. A gift, if you will. I have a voice, one which I would like to use to inspire, help, and motivate others. The lessons I have learned are immeasurable, and I utilize these lessons everyday.

I have been given many gifts, which I now want to share.