For starters, again I will apologize for my lack of attentiveness to this blog. While I would love to say life is a roller coaster that only goes up, we all know that’s not true. Life has been going all sorts of directions lately.
But I’m not here to talk about that today. Today I’m going to reflect on the last 10 years, because 10 years ago my life changed completely. It was thrown through so much that it’s crazy to think about.
But first, Happy Thanksgiving to all! I hope you all get the opportunity to spend some quality time with friends, family, and those you love.
So let’s rewind 10 years. <<<<<<<< 2006!
At the start of 2006 I was a 17 year old who had just completed high school (graduated early with honors the prior December). The world was in front of me to do with as I pleased. So, I continued to work my part time job at UPS, biding my time until I left for Purdue in the fall.
I cut myself off from pretty much all my friends from school. I knew what was to come, so I took it upon myself to start the process early. High school friendships don’t stand the test of time (although I must say there are a few individuals who I still keep in contact with today throughout the year). So I was a 17 year old boy, recently graduated, no friends, working a part time job.
Bored out of my mind.
18 rolls around to no excitement and I continue to wait. Anxious to head off to school and start my new life.
During all this time my grandmother was terminally ill with ovarian cancer. I tried to spend a lot of time with my grandparents when I could.
It was never enough. I wish I could have spent all my time with them. 😞
Summer rolls around, still work, no play.
Heading off to college was great. I still have the fondest memories of orientation week at Purdue. Truly amazing. I made great friends (whom I unfortunately do not talk to anymore). Classes started off alright, but then I realized I had control of my own schedule and took advantage (or disadvantage) of that. Went to class when I felt like it, did homework when I felt like it, watched a whole lot of tv, played games. Wasted a lot of time and potential.
Now through all of this I reconnected with my soon-to-be wife (throughout 2016). She held my sanity together as I was completely losing myself at school.
And it would only get worse.
The strongest woman I have known in my life lost her battle to cancer in October. I was fortunate enough to have friends who were able to get me home in time to be able to be with my family at her bedside as she passed away. We all stood there, tears in our eyes, completely heartbroken, letting her know it was okay to let go even though not one of us in the house wanted to see her go. She was incredibly strong. She was an inspiration. She found her faith towards the end so I know she is in a better place.
I miss her like crazy.
And the day she passed away is the last time I intentionally cursed and used foul language. Yes occasionally something with slip up, but my stupidness of talking like that thinking I sounded “cool” were done. My grandma thought it was disrespectful so out of respect for her I stopped.
It was hard to lose my grandma, but we all knew it was coming and her fight was coming to an end. We were preparing for it.
Not one of us were prepared for 3 weeks later.
My grandpa was and is still one of my absolute favorite people ever. He was my role model. He was my shoulder to cry on, my go to person. I would still sit on his lap at 18 in his favorite chair.
3 weeks went by and I was planning to come home and spend the weekend with my grandpa. We had discussed it, it was planned. I was very much looking forward to it.
And then I got the phone call I never could have imagined. And I was done. My whole body shut down, I had an asthma attack because I couldn’t breathe. It was not good.
Fortunately I had my, at the time, girlfriend so to speak who helped me through this. She didn’t have the right words to say, she didn’t know what to do. But she was there for me when I needed her most. She dropped everything just to sit on the phone and listen as I cried.
She was a beacon of light in an incredibly dark point of my life.
And I knew this was the person. This was my person. Who so selflessly gave their time to comfort me. To guide me.
So the next week was insane. The funeral of this man who I idolized. Meeting my soon-to-be wife’s family (which we never need to discuss all those crazy details 😳), to getting engaged.
And my family thought I was crazy. That I was just trying to fill a void. But no one knew what this woman did for me. How she was the one who got me through as my world was crumbling down. She was my rock. She held my hand through it all.
And we are now going on 10 years marriage next July and I truly do not know many people who have a better marriage than us.
And 2006 is the year I became a dad. My oldest daughter, who I emotionally adopted as my first born. Came in to my life at 7 months old and stole my heart.
And it’s the year my parents became grandparents for the first time. And I saw them change into these even more incredible people. They found a new lease on life, being grandparents. Being Nana and Pawpaw and Grandpa. And they fell in love just as easily as I did.
I lost myself in 2006. I lost 2 of the most incredible people. But I found the love of my life. And I found what it means to be a father. And to be needed. And to be wanted. And to have a purpose.
It’s hard to say whether 2006 was the worst year of my life or one of the best as an overall. But I can say that 2006 was the year that changed everything.
Today is a day to give thanks. To reflect on your humble beginnings. To show gratitude to those who have been by your side, past or present.
Today, let the drama slip away. Enjoy it, as tomorrow is not guaranteed.