For me, milestone anniversaries always add an additional layer of reflection and perspective.
I think back to those significant, fun-filled days leading up to November 13, 1990.
We didn’t have a care in the world. The future was ours with an unlimited amount of potential and happiness ahead.
We often talked about how blessed we were to have the next 60 years together.
I suppose we’d say 60 years because it was a good, big round number and it would put us into our 80’s together.
We couldn’t imagine anything else.
When Dana died, I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that I had to now live 60 years without her. It seemed like an impossible task that I could in no way accomplish.
The local newspaper hounded me after her death.
I gave the reporter one quote and told him not to contact me again.
I said, “How do you put into words the loss of the person that you planned to spend the next 60 years with?”
That number has loomed large in 2020; as it signifies to me that I am now halfway through the journey.
I am a survivor.
It’s been a journey that’s ebbed and flowed with many tests, trials and tribulations.
I am incredibly blessed to have an amazing life with Shelly. She was there and understands what I’ve been through. This has built such a unique foundation for a beautiful, wonderful life.
Once I found the strength to use gratitude as the driver to enable me to understand that I’ve been blessed rather than cursed, my journey has finally become filled with purpose.
From very early in my grief journey I told myself that I needed to be the person that Dana would be proud of. I needed to live my life with her sunny disposition and legacy in mind.
I have always known that this is what I needed to do.
But for years I couldn’t find the ability to do that, as anger and self-pity consumed me. This added a layer of guilt, as I knew that I wasn’t anywhere near the person that I needed to be.
I still have plenty of self-improvement work to do, but these next 30 years will be driven by a positive purpose to be of service.
Once I started telling my story and sharing my experiences, I realized that I will be that person whose resilient perspective I needed to hear 30 years ago.
As I enter November, I find myself with a feeling of triumph.
Triumph that I have finally become that person that Dana would be proud of.