It has been twenty seven years now that I have been on this long and winding journey after the loss of my fiancée, Dana. Long, long ago I started repeating the motto “one day at a time” in my head. One day at a time is how I was able to come to terms with moving through life. It’s the only way I could see marching on with excruciating pain in my head and a tremendous hole in my heart.
After some years passed I learned to laugh again, I learned to love again and I learned to appreciate life again. But with my ability to laugh, love and live again, I also had anger and rage that I had to combat on a daily basis. As I discussed in “my story”, my anger and rage subsided after my wife Shelly narrowly escaped death 5 years ago. Her subsequent life-altering traumatic brain injury and her unbelievably positive outlook on life caused me to reexamine my outlook. The anger and rage diminished and I then started down a path of gratitude.
As I have begun traveling this path of gratitude I have had a burning desire to help others. I have felt a need to help those that are facing a similar journey to the one that I have had to travel. As well as helping those who have people in their life that are dealing with the deep despair of loss. Back when I started this journey the resources to truly help me were not easily found or available. I want to be the type of resource that I would have appreciated having twenty five years ago.
I have had this story inside of me that was yearning to be told. I knew this for quite some time, but I had no clue how to begin to tell it. It’s a heartbreaking story of resilience and gratitude that has much to be learned from it. I had the feeling that once I told it, I could find some healing in the knowledge that it was finally out there. There’s a quote from Maya Angelou; “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”. This quote I could relate to so much!
I have had guilt for years that I have not been able to use my story to help others. Guilt that I just kept it all bottled up on the inside, letting it erupt into rage often. I have always felt I owed Dana more. I hated that I was not continuing her legacy and living my life the way she lived hers. Anger and rage never crossed her mind. Now here I was living my life with so much of it. Shelly’s grace and courage in handling her new normal finally snapped me out of it.
I started writing a year ago. It took nine months before I was comfortable enough to start publishing what I had written. I really had no idea what to expect, but the positive reaction from strangers was overwhelming. I have received messages of thanks and support from all over the world. I am touching people that are struggling to navigate their own journey of loss. It took three more months before I finally felt the strength and confidence to share my writing with the circle of people I know. I nervously put it out there. The reaction was quick and positive. I did not expect to find such strong support from my friends and family. Such a tremendous weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I will continue to write as I embark on this new journey of helping others. The peace I finally feel now, I had been struggling to find for twenty seven years.