Category Archives: personal

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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Filed under Dawn, personal

Love vs attachment

I have been doing a lot of thinking over the past month or so.  As any of you have read my other blog posts have noticed, I recently lost a great woman and a relationship with so much potential.  I am an introspective person, sometimes not in the moment, but I always perform a DEEP after action report when things blow up in my face.

In this delve internal I have been bouncing against a flexible wall.  It hasn’t been something I have really been able to grapple with.  The texture and give made analysis difficult, which made me work more diligently at figuring out what I was encountering.  My struggles just seemed to make this particular item even more nebulous.

I think I have figured out my perplexity.  In my mind, I was running into the dichotomy of LOVE vs attachment.  That little part of my brain that is crafty when my upper brain is trying to rationalize things was throwing out a caution flag.  That part of my brain isn’t rational, rather it is an emotional player.  Sometimes it is tragically wrong, but when I listen to it, a good internal conversation always evolves.  It helps me to get perspective.

What that part of my hind brain has been showing me is that I may be attached to my most recent girlfriend more than I was in love.  That came as a shock to me.  It struck me and derailed all my thought patterns for an entire day.  I had to sift through “attachment”.  I had to step back and investigate.

I should explain attachment.

Attachment differs from love in subtle but extremely important ways.  Attachment is a needful compulsion.  This is where you need the connection to the other person.  The connection is more important than the feelings or desires of the other party.  Jealousy and rage are often the by product of the slightest errors with an attached person.  Loss of the relationship is terrifying in this case as there is no independence or desire for such.

In contrast, love is a freely given association of two people who CHOOSE to share deeply.  They are happy and encourage the independent fulfillment of each other’s desires and dreams.  They absolve one another of the small errors in life and find them as opportunities for deeper communication.

Love tends to endure, as it is an open expression of willing sharing between equals.  Love is forgiving and reinforces the good, it acts to build and strengthen.

Attachment stems from a situation of lack.  It is guarded and jealous, perceives all others as potential threats and reinforces the negatives which continually degrades and weakens the relationship.  It begins and by its very nature must end in self reinforcing pain.

I have been in both situations.  I know that sometimes one party is attached and the other party loves.  This is probably the worst scenario as a cycle of vampirism runs its course with both lefts sucked dry.

One can never be certain of the situation on the other side, the motivations of the other party.  But, I have grappled with this notion from my hind brain and I know that I was working from a position of love and I think she was too, but several things including fear got in the way.  The great thing about love — it never dies.  Never.  With breath there is life.  With life there is hope.  With hope there is love.  When there is love, all things are possible.  ALL THINGS.



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Filed under awesome, book, personal

Specific dating advice

After I moved (fled) from the Peoples Republic of NY State, more specifically the City proper; someone gave me some dating advice.

Their advice was to never ever take advantage of the emotions of a single mom.  They meant, single moms have enough going on that they don’t need a man claiming love as a way to get them naked.  They meant not to use that form of emotional blackmail / shitbaggery to take what you want.  It hurts a woman who is most likely already hurting.  It further damages her child / children.  They meant to be overly cautious and overly considerate when dating these women.

I have never been the shitbaggery type, but it made me think a bit and I agreed with the advice.  I dated quite a few single mom’s after I relocated to Florida.  I always insisted on never meeting kids until such time as we were an actual thing.  It just seemed to me that the children should not meet a parade of men and I really didn’t want to bond with a kid only to have mom and I not bond well.  As you might imagine, most of the dates did not turn into much.  It’s the nature of dating.  You have to go on dates with lots of people to find a few who are compatible enough to really connect with.

In my search, I met a woman who had a 5 ish year old son.  We got along very well.  We dated for about 4 months before I met the son.  Once I did meet him, I liked him a lot. Things went along swimmingly for about another year.  But, as often happens in dating, that relationship grounded on a rocky shoal.

I then met another single mother.  Her son that lived with her was 15.  I met him after about 3 months as well.  He and I met accidentally, when his mother had me come over when she thought he would be gone.  I met his three siblings over time.  It worked out, well.  Her kids are now my “kids”.

I am providing that long preamble to set a tone.  There are things that honorable people do when dating as an adult.  There are things friends will clue you in to when dating divorced / single moms or dads.  There are things you as that mom or dad should do to insulate your children while you date.

Its funny, I never hear any such guidance in regards to widows or widowers.

The guidance should be fairly similar.

1.  Don’t meet the kids early on

2.  Don’t use the word “love” unless you really know / mean it

3.  Don’t make or discuss big future plans unless you mean it

4.  Don’t have huge swings in your emotional availability or make sudden (unilateral) changes to the relationship status

Widows and widowers (especially recent ones) are people who are much more vulnerable.  They are a bit more tender and a bit more desirous of an emotional bond.  They are much more likely to have difficulty building a bridge.  But, if they do,  it will be a significant thing to them.  This importance will exaggerate the consequences of the bond being leveraged, manipulated or broken.  This group of people will also tend to be less likely to see these things coming, which might well increase the import of the blow.

I have never lived the life of being a single parent.  I have lived the life of being a widower.  I have had a relationship of HUGE import to me, yanked out without warning.  In my case, she was a widow too.  Not nearly as recently, but still a widow.  It is my sincere belief that the people she dated after the death of her husband (as a general rule) did NOT follow the above (don’t be a dick) rules.  I think those interactions (among other things) led to her subconsciously not following them as well.

I bear her no ill will.  Quite the contrary.

Even before I became a widower, I didn’t bond often, but when I did… I bonded deeply.  The death of Dawn seems to have accentuated that dynamic.

I do bear the pain of compounded loss and especially the pain of  the 4th rule being broken soundly over my head.  I will survive.  But, I also know the easiest way for me to thrive, but at least for now… that path ends in a demolished bridge.


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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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Filed under book, Dawn, personal, Uncategorized

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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Filed under Cancer, Dawn, personal, Uncategorized

A bad script?

Dawn used to have a saying.  She used to say prior to cancer, “she had a bad script in her head”.

What she meant by that was the part of her mind that discriminated between good people and bad people, between things that were good for her and not so good for her was broken.  She chose to marry a known physical and emotional abuser instead of putting in more time with someone who she admitted treated her much better.

That script manifested itself in many ways like the above, but it also was much more subtle and pernicious.  That script raised its twisted head with every decision and every event that happened in her life.  It always ran in the background second guessing and never giving her any peace.

I never really experienced anything like that other than when a serious girlfriend broke up with me.  When Kristen broke up with me, I spent a month or two reviewing the situation and trying to make sense of it.  Both she and I came to the realization, that although I am far from perfect, she was the truly broken part of that relationship.  When she broke up with me for the last time, I was not happy; but, those nagging voices were silent.

When I found out that Dawn had married “shithead” instead of getting more involved with me, those voices of doubt and self recrimination came back.  Armed with the knowledge gained from fighting them with Kristen, I fought back hard.  What I didn’t realize is the depth of the emotional commitment is turned against you.  Meaning, my deeper commitment to Dawn gave the voices more food and more fodder.  It took months to fight them to a stalemate.  Once I had them fought to a stalemate, they were a good foil for me to learn from.  After all not all self recriminations are wrong.

I never really, truly defeated them.  But, I didn’t have to, Dawn came back.  They switched tactics to suspicion, but that was easily defeated.

I find myself in that same position once again.  I am fighting (a bad script?), just hoping to reach stalemate.  I am tackling those voices, but it is much like fighting a hydra.  For each one I behead, two seem to grow back.  At some point, I will at least beat them to a draw.  I do learn from them as we battle.  One of the worst things I have learned, is that I forgot many of the relationship lessons I learned from my last two battles with this foe.  That simple fact batters my pride and bruises my intelligence, but they deserve to be hurt.  If you are going to be stupid or vain, you should just accept the pain.

If I am a tad less focused than normal.  If I am a bit (more) recalcitrant.  If I seem a little lost in my own head.  Now you know why.

And they have lots of food and fodder this time, too.





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Filed under personal

I don’t normally post this kind of stuff.  For one, they are usually lists written by 23 year old interns at Cosmo magazine and are just complete drivel.  For two, I usually don’t bother reading such lists because, reason one.

This one is different.

#31 is the most important.  It flows from a theorem I have.  Love will survive so long as both parties in the love do not fall out of love at the same time.

#28 was a huge problem for us.  She refused to accept that I had done things in another relationship 8 years ago.  That was my past.  Something I knew she would not appreciate, but I was honest and informed.  The only things I could do and be honorable.

#29 for me is an extension of #28.  As in #28 is worthless without #29.

#18 also a huge problem.  Some came from the internet and some came from “friends” digging in her ear.  Friends who have met your mate on one occasion do NOT have an understanding.  They may mean well, BUT…

Which leads us to #9.  YOU are responsible for your reactions.  YOU are responsible to work things out with your partner, not with your “friends”.

Possibly tied with #31, is #1.  If you are looking for faults you will find them.  God knows I have faults.  But I also have lots of great things.  Not to mention, one of my faults is not always seeing how my faults manifest in time.  But when I am made aware, I make a conscious effort to make amends and correct them.  If you look for the good, that is where your focus will be.  Focus is important.

Having said those things.

She got most of the others right.  She was awesome in many of these areas.  I guess for me, I very strongly worked #1 and #31.  My natural state is #2 and #17.

I failed at #16 (substituting “women”) and I justified it by “she asked”, so I need to be honest.

I also failed at #24.  I did not do it on purpose.  I did not do it with forethought or malice.  I did it by being too familiar with others present, but I did it.

In other words, as I have said all along, we are both complicate.  In every relationship, both parties are complicate and share the blame.  Even the worst partner is not completely at fault.  If for no other reason, the other chose such a poor partner.  But, I accept that I made MORE than my fair share errors.  Apparently, tragic errors beyond repair.

But, I hold to my personal theorem.  We will see if it matters.  That is a time will tell thing.

In the mean time, I work on learning from my failures so that should she come back, I will be better.  If that doesn’t happen, then I will fail less with the next person to capture my heart.

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June 4, 2017 · 09:40