The Beginning of a Love Story

28Life gaurdLifegaurd (Love) Shack, Short Sands, York, ME

I know with that headline in my blog…those reading are probably expecting a sarcastic little article here or think I am referring to one of my children.  However, (clearing my throat) I actually did meet a guy.  Well, technically, I have known him for years.  And technically again, I have met a lot of guys.  This guy, though, has not sent me running for the hills in a panic nor has he left me scratching my head wondering what the hell just happened as he darts off to a tropical location with his girlfriend and/or wife (Yes, two different guys, same experience…I never got to blog about. I assure you that both men were “unattached”, or so they said, when an interest was sparked). Anyway, back to the Love Story.

It’s only been a short time.  A very short time. But something’s different here.  And I mean different in the absolute best possible way imaginable.  And I also mean different in the absolute worst possible way imaginable.

Today he is in his hospital room at what we call the “Hotel” Mass General in Boston.  He and round three of chemo in one corner, Leukemia in the other.  He is fighting one hell of a fight.  The big “C” doesn’t stand a chance.

The beginning of our Love Story isn’t perfect, but that’s perfectly fine.  I am not sure if this is just going to be a summer romance that fizzles out, a love story turns horror story…or if it will be our Happily Ever After.  We both have broken roads that led us to where we are today…because of that we cherish every minute and don’t sweat the small stuff.  Pretty good combination if you ask me.

The following is a glimpse into the very Beginning of a Love Story.  Ours.

A Daddy and His Boy

My oldest child, Jamie, and his wife, Emily, had come over to dinner last week armed with an ipod chock full of pictures and videos of Brayden as a baby…and his Daddy, Michael. Most that read this know that Mike died about a year and a 1/2 ago now and although I have quite a few pictures, I didn’t possess a video. Jamie’s plan was to send me the videos, so I knew this video was being sent to me (the 1st of many, I hope!). Because of this I had a blog ready to write. However, no matter how many times I watch this video…I can’t do anything but stare in amazement that I finally have a moment captured that Bray will be able to cherish forever…and nothing else I can or will write matters (while Mom is wiping a tear or two away). The obvious love this Daddy had for this happy little baby, just as the love this baby had for his Daddy, is now captured concretely. It won’t replace being there for birthdays, being there on sidelines for sports, or whatever monumental milestones that may come along…but Bray will now SEE that when Daddy was on this earth with him…his Daddy ADORED him! That’s all I got for now.

When the going gets tough….even the tough want to say screw it.

pebble photoWhen the going gets tough....even the tough want to say screw it.

When the going gets tough….even the tough want to say screw it. And get pissy. And complain. And yell. And cry. And then realize we are not doing anybody any good. Not ourselves or those around us.

I know heartache. I know being completely broken and not even remembering how to tie a shoe. I am not there like that now, thankfully. However, sometimes life comes at you in so many directions you feel overwhelmed, and it’s hard to even breathe. “Leave me the hell alone” is what you want to say to some. And “Come here and show me you freaking care” is what you want to say to others. Stumbling over the pebbles, so to say.

As I was sitting in my own little pity party funk tonight, the three under my roof all came to me separately and showed me in their own way to snap out of it. Through drawings, bath time play and through mere comic relief. I’m thankful I have them and thankful I have those in my life reminding me to appreciate these times.

When the going gets tough…Here I go. I’ve got a mountain to climb. Thanks to those that help me pass all the pebbles.

Leather and Lace

The 11th of each month leaves me listening to this song. Not one has gone by yet that I’ve missed. This 11th marks 17 months since Michael passed away. We spent our early times together in the establishment I worked in…mainly a Karaoke bar…listening to the DJ’s serenading us with this song we requested. It spoke to us and we loved to hear it, dance to it…and sometimes Mike would sing it….and I use “sing” loosely!!! It evolved into a song that when on the job site, Michael would hear this song (as he often would with his classic radio stations blaring!) and immediately call me. When I would answer, there was no “hello”…just music in the background until the song ended. And if I couldn’t answer, I would get the voicemail that played the whole song to me.

I found this rendition tonight. I thought it was beautiful. Not only because this song is so special to me, but because I get to hear this song I love in a new way. My love and hurt is still there…but different now. This composition of Leather and Lace is a perfect expression of that.

I couldn’t agree with this more…

I read this article with tears streaming down my face.  The comments that followed made me ill.  People were disagreeing with the author…belittling addiction and that it is someone’s free will to stop drinking/drugging.  Clearly these folks have never been touched by the disease of addiction.  I have.  I have seen a man deteriorate before my eyes.  Anyone who knew him saw the way he looked at his children and the way he spoke of them.  Given the chance not to live in his hell and be here right now to watch them grow…I have no doubt that is 100% what he’d do.  Right on Corrigan.

Corrigan Vaughan

PhD student and pop culture blogger for ElectricFeast.com

A Note About Philip Seymour Hoffman: Addiction Is Not Selfish

Posted: 04/02/2014 09:30
Philip Seymour Hoffman
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hilip Seymour Hoffman’s death is the worst. Seriously. In much the same way that Chris Kelly’s was. Or Cory Monteith’s. And if you’re now looking at me like I’m crazy for even using Hoffman and Monteith in the same article, hear me out: It’s not because they were equal talents. Your opinion on that probably depends on whether you’re 15 or 35. This is not about losing one of the greatest talents of our time. Their deaths are horrific because they died alone, victims of an incredibly lonely disease. And what’s worse, they didn’t have to be alone. Loving significant others, loving children, admiration from everyone around them- if they could, I’m sure they would have chosen those things.

My dad was my biggest fan. He was the biggest fan of all of his kids. I was probably the only one who realised it, and I understand why. But when he died, wasted away and a shell of his former self after a lethal fall, the only possessions he had were photos of us and letters we’d written him decades ago. He would have liked to have been at our sporting events and our graduations, but instead he was drinking himself to death in a second-floor apartment in my hometown, bipolar disorder only adding immediacy to the fatal inevitabilities of his alcoholism. Anyone who thinks dying from an overdose is selfish has a weird idea of what an addict wants out of life. There comes a point at which drinking, drug use, all that – they’re not fun anymore. Philip Seymour Hoffman wasn’t out partying. He was alone in his bathroom, compelled. Cory Monteith in his hotel room. Chris Kelly in his living room. All the money in the world, all the adoring fans in the world, and, to see the comments people make on their deaths, they were selfish assholes who chose drugs over the people who loved them.

I guarantee that every time Hoffman put that needle in his arm, he felt guilty. He felt conflicted. He craved that high that would take the pain away, but knew the pain he caused himself and those around him every time he took a hit.

We all have destructive habits. If we’re lucky, it’s watching too much TV when it’s inhibiting our productivity, or looking at porn when we think it’s a sin, or lying, cheating, overeating. If we’re lucky, our addictions won’t kill us. The majority of us can go through a partying phase and then grow up, settle down, and put down the sauce. But for an unfortunate group, the need to keep going becomes as pervasive as the need to eat or sleep. And we call them selfish, as if they would prefer to be a slave to the thing that’s ruining everything good in their lives.

When tragedies like these deaths happen to celebrities, they should be a wake-up call for the rest of us. If someone who has everything going for them can be so horribly enslaved to what they know could kill them, imagine what it’s like for the average addict. Addiction is bigger than class, race, religion, or any other factor that one might hope would reduce its captive hold. Succumbing to it isn’t selfish. It’s horribly sad and extremely difficult to prevent, even though it is, in theory, preventable. The way we talk about a celebrity who ODs says a lot about the way we think about people who are struggling around us. It’s time we tried to understand struggles we don’t endure ourselves. It’s called empathy, and we could all use a lot more of it.

This post originally appeared on Electric Feast.

***”F” IT!!!!***

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I have been craving to blog lately…it’s been a while…a long while…too long.  I have a few blog ideas dancing around in my mind, but none are complete and a few are mildly inappropriate.  One is definitely inappropriate.  So, while I complete my ideas before putting them to print…or cleaning them up before publishing, I thought I would post one of my favorite Facebook posts from last July.  It rewarded me with the most heartfelt and inspiring comments and personal messages.  Those words people wrote kept me pushing forward and healing.  I admit there have been many steps back in the last 6 months…but at the end of the day, I am a little further ahead than I was yesterday.  Here it goes:

From July 10th, 2013:

***”F” IT!!!!*** Okay, I’ll explain….Here we are. It’s the 10th of the month. Which is not monumental…except for the fact that the past nine months it’s a day I spend dreading that the NEXT day marks another month since we said goodbye to Michael…since we last saw him living. September 11th. The 11th is the monumental day….but the 10th is usually spent worrying about getting through the 11th. This month feels different for me, though. Why? “F” it. The F’s in my life. Faith. My faith in God has been there for me and the love of God for me NEVER fails…not only that, it gets stronger. Next, Friends and Family. I am in awe of the support and love I have felt from them (you) over this past year. My cheering sections and uplifting words of encouragement when I felt I was failing. Time devoted to me that I am so grateful for. Even the “likes” and “comments” can mean so much!! And next, Fitness. My “me” time and natural anti-depressant, anti-anxiety and just all over feel good about myself remedy. My body is feeling strong, which makes my mind and soul feel much stronger now. And finally, Future. I feel like this time healing has allowed me to realize that I not only have the past memories, the present pain…but a future full of unknown new memories…good ones…and I’m sure some bad… But I look forward to them. So,”F” IT!!!

Tears, Beers and Fears…

 

 

That’s how I am getting through.  How WE are getting through.  She is likely to be drinking the beer and me a glass of wine, but we share the same tears and a lot of the same fears as we clink our glasses.

 

“She” is my sister Robin.  “She” just lost her husband. “She” is now a widow.

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I don’t get that title…as I wasn’t married.  And I also was separated at the time.  “I lost my kids’ father”, I am not a widow.  What I do get is what she is and will be going through.  Our living situations were different, our relationships were different, the family dynamic different.  I believe our pain will be the same. 

 

It just breaks me to know what’s in store for her.  I am planning on blogging much more on this…but that’s it for now.  I’m raising my glass while wiping our tears.