Finally realizing this was the one of the toughest things I have ever had to face. It was also the most healing.
When you think you are so strong. When you think you have it all together. When you think you are happy. When you think these things and find out you were none of those things, it sucks. It really sucks.
I wasn’t ok until about 5 years ago. I became more me and more happy over the last 5 years. It seems like every day I get closer and closer to me. Closer to who I really am and it feels amazing.
Sometimes I need to just say that out loud and let it hang in the air for a little bit. Those words are so strange coming out of my mouth. Even sitting here getting ready to type out my story I keep stopping and staring off and thinking back to what it was like to be in that space, that life. Then I try to refocus and get back to writing.
How much of this story do I share? How deep do I go? Do I share this moment or that moment? And then I stare again at nothing and think back to this or that moment…
What the hell happened? That is not me. How did I let those things happen to me?
I don’t exactly know how it happened. I have some ideas and I know some of the ridiculous feelings I had when I knew deep down I needed to get out but chose to stay. I know what those ridiculous thoughts were but I still don’t know why or how I let myself get there. I might not ever really know. I do know that at some point I stopped loving myself. I had to have stopped loving myself. I had to have stopped understanding my worth. And that is so crazy. How did THAT happen?
Derek and I get asked (often) how we met. Most people ask then look at us in hopeful anticipation of a fairytale story that led two cool (if I do say so myself) people to each other. In many ways our story is pretty perfect (if I again say so myself). There is one detail that throws people off. We met through Tinder.
We tell people this right away when they ask. There is no need to hide it. And there is a reason why it worked. And (Sorry, Tinder) it wasn’t because Tinder is this amazing dating app. Sure, we give them credit for meeting. Sure, their platform is super easy to use. And sure, the stereotype of why people are on Tinder was kind of the only thing we were looking for at that point (insert dramatic gasp). But really it was our attitude about where we were in life and an honest, healthy approach to meeting people (notice I did not say “dating”) that allowed us to talk, have a little fun communicating, meet and fall in love.
I dated for 8 years following the break-up of an 11 year relationship (really a common law marriage). I was 33 years old. I had never had to date before. I was 22 when I met my ex. Funny side note: A good friend of ours refers to his ex as “The former administration”. Anyway, I was 22 years old when we met. We met through friends and hung out and then we were a couple. Continue reading →
My husband and I met 3 years and 2 months ago. We found out on our first date that we had an interesting connection. He is a heart transplant recipient and I am part of a donor family.
My stepsister, Lorraine, suffered from a horrible disease. Addiction. This illness took her on June 23, 2010. She was 24 years old. While she was on life support, my stepfather, John, was able to understand what the local OPO (organ procurement organization, Gift of Life from Philly) was asking the family. She was brain dead. She was hooked up to machines that were keeping her body alive but she was already gone. We were waiting to say goodbye. They were asking if her organs could be used to save the lives of others. John told the family that this is what Lorraine would have wanted. So John and Lorraine’s mother said yes. Lorraine was given rest and another chance. A legacy.
After many health struggles that are another story, my husband, Derek, was in heart failure for 7 years. He received a new heart, someone else’s heart, on the same day that his doctors thought he might not live another 24 hours. He was given another chance. While his family celebrated this miracle at his bedside, Derek’s mind wandered to another place. Somewhere there was a family gathered around their lost loved one. They were crying and saying goodbye. And they had decided to make their loved one a hero. Give them a legacy. Save a life.
I believe I am going to live until at least my late 80s or longer. I don’t know if it’s true but I believe I will. And I will sit in my bright turquoise rocking chair. And even though I will be healthy and will take lots of walks, still hike, ride my bike, probably play bingo with friends while wearing a color coordinated track suit, my favorite thing to do will be to sit in this rocking chair.
That chair is where I will look back on everything and everyone in my life.Continue reading →