Category Archives: Dawn

On a friend’s sense of loss

A friend posted something about this time of year being tough because it focuses his feelings of loss.

my reply:

In this case, love translates to loss. Loss translates to grief. Grief translates to anger. Anger corrupts the love.

Trust me I know the cycle. Interrupting the cycle is always temporary. It is a battle we must always face. In facing it and winning a temporary victory with the full knowledge we will face that battle again — we honor our love and the person we love.

Some days the victory is easy. Some days we barely win. Some days it is a draw. Some days we lose, temporarily. But, if we are careful and pay attention; we gain knowledge each time we battle that foe. In time, we should learn his methods and the battles should become easier to win and less often fought.

There are times when we are weak, slow or surprised and the battle looks lost. It is not. The enemy is just attacking our weakness. Our strength will return and we will win. Just not this day.

My belief structure tells me the MOST IMPORTANT thing is to meet her in heaven. I can not do that if I take the easy way out. So that is off limits, not that I want to.

Rejoice my friend, grief is just love that has to endure separation. Eventually, that separation will end and you will experience the truth of love being eternal.

Damn, I made myself cry.


In my case, this also applies to another, not just Dawn.  In that situation it is actually a little more difficult to wrestle with.  In my loss with Dawn, I know that if given the slightest choice she would still be here with me.  In the last year we spent together, we often discussed the “why”.  Or biggest question was “why did God grant us such a wonderful partnership only to make it such a short one”.

She answered that question before she died.  She told me that God needed her to join his heavenly army and God needed me to do things on earth that I couldn’t do while sharing a marriage with her.  That struck me like a bag full of hammers dropped from high altitude.  I have still not recovered or parsed out the actual meaning of that.  But she believed it, deeply.  So I work towards living it.

First do no harm.

In the situation with the amazing woman I fell in love with after Dawn’s death, she CHOSE to leave.  In leaving, she asked me not to pursue as “I was scaring her”.  Her husband was murdered by her stalker… that kind of precludes — well any chance of us working through or even me really figuring out what happened.

So yes:

I get the part about lonely

the part about angry

the part about overwhelming loss

the part about just wishing the pain would end

the part about seeing new beginnings as a new introduction to ashes falling through my hands

the part about choosing to end the fight, by permanently idling my own hands.

But that is not how this works.  Succumbing to any of those fully, just gives victory to depression, anger, hate.  Giving in to these recriminations confirms only one thing.  It confirms the devil’s contention that love is finite.  It confirms (and not just for me), that pain is the victor and love can be conquered.

For the Love of Dawn, Nikki and all who have witnessed the shining moments of love that have surrounded me.  I fight on.  I don’t always win the battles and recently there have been many battles in my head and my heart.  Even the battles I lose are wins of experience and some day…  Probably only a few days before my death, I will WIN.  That win will be conclusive and in doing so, I will earn the right… the right to be free and to truly experience LOVE without any ballast.

Until then, I CHOOSE this fight.

Perhaps, this is the wisdom Dawn saw.


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This time of year

There is something about this time of year that makes me introspective.  Perhaps it is the end of the year.  Perhaps it is the gathering of family.  Perhaps it is just me getting older.

As I write this, I sit in a house (the only one awake) with 3 of my 4 kids (technically Dawn’s kids, but in my heart they are mine) and my daughter in law.  The fourth will be part of the festivities, she just has her own place close by.

I am quite happy to have driven 13 hours to be part of this gathering.  I am happy to have been a part of creating bonds that allow this gathering.  I am happy that the kids chose to all come together and I am happy that they felt the desire to include me.  I realize that many step parents are not actively included and even more so after the bio-parent dies.

I am a quasi parent that loves these people but also knows they must be their own people, on their own journeys.  My job is to help when I can, to provide overwatch and to advise where appropriate. I must also give them plenty of room to be their own people.  To varying degrees and at various times they succeed and fail.  No different than me.

I am proud of this group for remaining a group and for pulling close in the face of death and familial struggle.  It is a good Christmas.  I am thankful.

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241 years

Two hundred and forty one years ago today the last of the signatories signed the Declaration of Independence.  Those brave men and women (non signatories but just as involved) started the greatest experiment in freedom this planet has ever seen.

This is by far my favorite holiday.  It is the day when mankind finally took a distinct step out of the millenia of poverty and misery to boldly proclaim the right to economic, religious and personal freedom from tyranny.  The right to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness….

We have come so far since then, and that is not in a good way.

I have a feeling today with be the last of my fun days for a while.  Much like our country, my life is not running on track currently.  Unlike, my country the problems in my personal life will resolve themselves.  I have a recently failed relationship that weighs heavily on my heart.  The anniversary of my marriage with Dawn is 17 days away and that weighs heavily as a reminder of opportunities lost.  The one year anniversary of my Earthly loss of my wife is 16 days after that.  I am dreading that in ways I can’t even consciously understand.

The good news is Independence Day is an amazing uplifting day for me, so it will help boost my spirits going into what will be a terribly vicious 30+ days.  But as they say, the things that don’t kill you, make you stronger.  So I am expecting to be one strong bastard in September.  Be forewarned… and if possible be a little forgiving of my more than usual gruffness and a bit of haunted in my eyes.



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…why I get so furious when I allow my mind to wander through the door of malfeasance.

Two Doctors in Miami had the right approach.  Aizik Wolf and Beatriz Amendola.  Both of them saw our ability to fight cancer as being good but still pretty barbaric.  They both very actively spent money and time to stay on the forefront of their chosen areas as well as staying abreast on advances in other disciplines.  Their theory was, do whatever it takes to keep the patient alive and as healthy as possible SO THAT they can benefit from the new REVOLUTIONARY things that come every 5-8 years.

The above is a REVOLUTIONARY thing if it pans out.  Even if it only shows a third of its promise, that buys time for the next great unraveling.

Then their are self centered bastards who refuse to refer outside their own little petty fiefdom.  Those who hide behind “standard of care” so bringing a successful lawsuit is tough, even when you KNOW they did not act in the best interest of the patient.  When you KNOW they acted in the best interest of their AMG Mercedes payment.

Chemotherapy, one of the few drugs where the prescribing doctor profits on the drug prescribed, directly.  Something lie 40% of the cost of chemo is prescribing doctor profit.  HMMM.

I will stop here before my rant really gets going.  But know that I know.  Know that many other people are starting to know.  Know that God and Satan know.  One is shamed, the other is stoking coals for your soul.


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June 20, 2017 · 12:33


One definition or at least aspect-

Love:      a unilateral decision to put the welfare of someone else in front of / above your own

Best when served bilaterally, but each must make the unilateral decision.


I have another thought on love.

True, real love does not die.  In the aspect I am talking about today, I do not refer to the death of the partner, rather… I am referring to the “falling out out love” syndrome.

The only way love can “die” even in that scenario, is if both people give up their unilateral decision.  I know this to be true from experience.  Dawn married someone else.  She worked consciously to kill off her love for me.  Loving me while married to someone else is not proper (among other things).

I had no such desire and had no such reason to do so.  I did not give up my love of her.  When her life crumbled around her, she needed help.  My unilateral decision had wavered, but it still stood.  That was the bridge that allowed communication.

A few weeks after we began talking again, I was driving her to an appointment and we had the radio on as background noise.

This song came on.


She lost it.  So did I.  That was the true beginning or our walk back into the bright light of LOVE.

Don’t let your love get to this place.  But, if it does.  If there is breath, there is hope.  If there is hope, there is love.  If there is love, the entire world can be moved.  My world moved that day.  My hope is it will move again that way.

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Love or fear

As the few of you who read my blog know, my wife and I shared a deep binding love.  We stoked that love daily, which was a simple thing with the specter of cancer looming large in the background.  But that is not the aspect of love I want to discuss today.

As you all also know, I recently found a new love and I had it explode in my hands.

Both of those experiences have shown me a common thread and that is what I would like to share with you today.

Fear.  Yes, the common thread is fear.

I know you ask, how did we get here from love? That is a very valid question and like most things involving love, it is not a simple answer.  Not to mention, I don’t have a complete answer.  But, I will give it a go none the less.

One definition of love, is a lack of fear.  When you choose love you choose make your self vulnerable.  You are choosing to wrap yourself in the armor of love, knowing that in doing so you expose yourself completely to the one you love.  True love conquers fear completely.  In choosing love, you make a conscious decision to reject fear.  A strong love is not subject to any real fear.

Think on that for a while.

Some examples:

In loving your child, you accept the knowledge and risk that they will be hurt.  You know  they will intentionally cause you pain (the teen years).  Your love supersedes the pain no matter how directly and intentionally they harm you.  The nurturing love looks beyond the moment.  It looks back to the days when they were first learning to walk, when they were first learning to speak, when they were innocent in their love of you.  It also looks forward to the day when you won’t be such a boring stick in the mud, but once again will be a source of wisdom and a touchstone.  Sometimes you have to actively remind yourself of these things, but that love conquers the fears of today.

With your partner / your spouse that love is a little different; but it is mostly the same.  You chose that person and you have built a life with them.  You have intertwined your feelings, finances and your love.  They are a part of you.  You are a part of them.  The love is blind to the division as in many respects, you are one.  A person can no more not love their partner than they can not love their right hand.  Love conquers the fears of daily living.

Things are a little different here as the betrayal of a child is usually just youth needing to assert its independence and can be seen through that lens.  With a partner / spouse, betrayal is a much deeper cut.  Whether the betrayal is financial, sexual or whatever, the covenant is broken.  Something within the armor of love has attacked.  This attack has no defense and thus strikes home deeply and completely.  That is why this betrayal cuts so deeply.

As I stated earlier; love, in many ways is an absence of fear.

Betrayal creates fear.  Fear is a pernicious enemy.  It is like flowing water, looking for the lowest point and works to infiltrate any crack.  Fear will run cold and freeze, shattering the existing cracks.  Fear finds anger and turn to a scalding steam.  If fear is allowed to grow, love diminishes.  With enough unchecked fear, loves armor crumbles.

When a partner is the source of fear.  When their actions continue to reinforce a pattern of betrayal, fear will be the death of the relationship.  No sane person will choose, is capable of choosing to share armor with their attacker.  As horrible as the death of love is, sometimes it is the only, best choice.  Dawn fought fear for at least 15 years in her first marriage.  She learned way too late how much damage that did to herself and her children.  In the end, she stood without love, without armor and had only succeeded in facilitating her betrayer’s assault on those she loved.

We had very direct and frank discussions on this aspect of love.  I knew intimately the damage created in that situation.  She sought professional help.  In this way, she healed those areas so they would not contaminate our marriage.

We both worked very diligently to always mend the armor of our love.  I intentionally say mend.  Dawn occasionally damaged our love.  More often, I damaged our love.  We each instilled fearful moments in the other.  We are both human and fully capable of failing.  The difference was, we were focused on each other and any hurt to the other hurt ourself even more.  That aspect of our love made it impossible to intentionally hurt the other.

We also had one great advantage over most couples.  Every single day of our marriage, we faced a true fear.  We faced a fear much larger than any fear either of us could create between us.  We faced the looming jackal of cancer.  Every single day she had to face the fact that her own body was likely to betray her.  Every single day, I had to face the fear that I would likely be honoring her greatest wish. To die in my arms and it would not likely be terribly far in the future.

The shadow of that fear gave us great perspective.  It made our love much more like the love for a child.  We were forced to look at the big picture every single day and that gave us easy access to grace.  Many times we would visibly pause in our hurt, look at the looming shadow and extend grace to the other.  In seeing that grace extended, the recipient would be equally honored and shamed as they too looked at the shadow and accepted the grace.  In every such incident, that shadow reinforced the futility of selfishness, anger and petty fear.

In my most recent relationship, thankfully that shadow did not loom.  But in not having that shadow.  In not having that shared enemy, we allowed cracks to form.  There were other shadow that loomed in the background.  There were other forces that tickled the tendrils of fear.  Those tendrils fed.  Fear found cracks and rooted in place.  Well meaning people saw that fear and stoked it into anger.  That anger flashed into steam and our love was scalded.

Anyone who has ever been scalded, knows the immediate reaction to that is more fear and a quick retreat.

As a former Chef and as someone who has buried my spouse.  I have been scalded both actually and metaphorically, many times.  I know that a scalding can be a cleansing moment that results in tender fresh skin or a deeply painful a incident that leaves behind tough mangled skin.  As one who has been frequently scalded, I tend to bandage it up and go back to the complete the task, hoping that with action and work the skin will heal flexible and resilient.

In this moment, the bandages are still on the wound.  The prognosis is still too early to predict.  I am hopeful, but must admit that I see the stains of fear on the dressings. Not to mention my partner does not seem to be addressing the wound.

Fear is the enemy.  Ignore fear at your own peril.  Fear must be faced and directly attacked.  With the armor of love it is much easier, but even if that armor fails you must continue the fight or that tough mangled skin will repel the seeds of future love.

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Fighting by letting go

I am watching American Sniper tonight.

I am doing work and doing some other things, but I am watching American Sniper in the background.  I have seen the movie before.

The scene that really got me tonight:

Chris comes into the kitchen with the Single Action revolver drawn and plays Wyatt Earp with his wife.  She laughs and is genuinely happy.  She comes over and tells him so.  She says, “I am so happy to have my husband back.  I know how hard you fought to get back.”

He smiles at her and says, “you, are worth fighting for.”

One of the few regrets in my life, is that I never served in the military.  In no way do I compare myself to any soldier, their sacrifice or to Chris Kyle’s story.  But, in watching that moment; I am brought to that moment in each relationship where things have turned to shit and we make a decision.  We decide if the other person and the relationship are worth fighting for.

That has happened many times in my life.  I usually choose to fight.

Exactly once so far, my fighting has for it paid off, BIG.  Way more than once, have I made that decision and failed.  Some would say, I should have stopped risking.  If I had, I never would have known an amazing marriage.  Some would say that now that it paid off once, I should stop.  Something about lightning and striking twice…  Some would even say that the one time it paid off, it really didn’t.  Those people don’t get a chance to speak to me again.

Call me a crazy romantic.  Call me an insane masochist.  Call me what you like.  When the person is worth it; when the relationship is worth it… I have to … fight… for… it.  It is hardwired in my DNA.

But sometimes the hardest fight is letting go.  Sometimes the best thing for everyone is letting go.  I find myself having to do a lot of letting go this past year.  I hate letting go.  It tastes like failure to me.

Today, the thing that allows me to swallow that bitter pill… the one thing…I let go of a relationship in late 2007 and met Dawn.  Then I let Dawn go, back in the middle of 2009.


For those who don’t know.  Dawn and I married in the middle of 2012.  So I guess, I know quite deeply that sometimes, that taste of failure can lead to great success.

I have that taste of failure in my mouth right now.  I hope this is at least the equivalent of late 2007, If not the middle of 2009.

The failure to let go of 1995, it is not.  I hope that lesson stays burned in my soul FOREVER.

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