Category Archives: personal

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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Six Months

For those of you who read this blog (both of you); you know, that I had a relationship  evaporate 6 months ago.  That confounded me and I was given no real reason or closure which tormented me for a month or so, then I gradually worked my way past the recriminations.

My self preservation instinct and sanity usually are pretty good at putting things into perspective and after a point, will stop chewing on the bone.  I mean at some point, all of the bone has been explored and without any new meat, what is the point.

A few days ago, that was ripped open and I realized that I had buried the bone; but apparently only under a very carelessly secured tarp.

A well meaning friend and I went out to lunch.  He and I have regular discussions on personal topics and I know the details of several important things that are going on in his life.  When he mentioned he had some news, I assumed it meant on one of those topics.  He did not.  Before I knew it, that tarp had been ripped away and there was new meat on the bone.  DAMN.

Isn’t life grand.  We will say that tidbit primed the pump.  It certainly brought some raw emotions to the surface.

A few days later, I was working on my Amazon business.  When I am doing the rather mindless aspects of that, I usually listen to Mark Levin podcasts or if I am up to date on those, I will listen to others.  I was all caught up on the normal rotation, so I googled for some items that would play in sort of a jukebox manner.  The various people talked in the background for an hour or so as I did my work.  Much of it was just background noise with it occasionally catching of my attention.  Then my fight or flight reaction kicked in at about 35%.  My fore brain struggled to catch up and isolate the threat.  After a quick glance around the room, voices caught my attention and it sort of sounded like they were approaching my front door.  I focused my attention there; only to realize, the third voice was hers, HERS.

Panic reaction now at 85%.  How can she be at my door?  This isn’t the house she knows.   I blink rapidly, realize no one is at the door.  Then it becomes obvious the voices are coming from my laptop.  I turn in shock and realize, somehow I have tripped over an interview she did on NRA TV.  My stomach has dropped into my intestines.

I sit down horrified and transfixed.  I watch the interview.  She looks good if a little uncomfortable about being complimented on her appearance.  I am biased, but she is gorgeous.  My brain is chiding me for watching the video, it is also screaming you promised you wouldn’t.  My brain is fractured in so many directions.

I should note that I have intentionally NOT made any attempt to research her, any attempt to figure out why or where she moved to.  The last knowledge I had, was the sale of her house a few weeks after breaking up with me.  She made it clear she wanted a “clean break”, whatever that means and that my knowledge of the sale of the house scared her.  I vowed to honor her wishes and have for many months.

Don’t take that as some altruistic gift on my part.  I took the Mike Pence approach.  It is much easier to resist temptation, if there is no temptation.  Also, considering her horrific experience in the past with a FULL ON STALKER / MURDERER, I wanted ZERO hints, suggestions, possibilities that I might be seen in any way, shape or form –like that.

Now my mind is telling me, I have broken that vow.  My brain is yelling at me that I am in possession of forbidden knowledge. If I am it is through no fault of my own and there is no forbidden knowledge.

I am not normally a person who has a distinct fight or flight reaction.  Certainly not one that overrides my thinking brain.  I cannot think of the last time I had a panic reaction.  After the initial surprise, the reaction tempered; but it lasted a full 45 minutes if you include the post adrenaline dump jitters.  I have drawn down on a would be assailant and recovered my equilibrium faster.

To say the least, there are some unresolved issues in my head with the loss of this relationship.  But this happening is a good thing.  I have never been one to intentionally avoid an unresolved issue.  My normal method is that of an emotional Kamikaze.  With this new information, that I didn’t want… with the knowledge that I didn’t deal with this properly the first time… with the knowledge that I still have intense emotions.  I am armed to deal with things properly this go round.

In all likelihood, I will not come to any real peace with the decision.  It was not my decision.  I will likely not be any happier with the outcome, but I can become more accepting to the reality.  Even if that reality is that I still love her, but love requires two consenting parties… and well.

It also showed me that in a community as small as the junction of the Liberty and Gun communities (especially when one of the people has a moderate level of public exposure) there will be intersection.  That may never lead to interaction, which might well be a good thing.  But I need to be prepared and aware of the possibility and certainly need to react better than I did to the surprise of her appearance on my laptop.

It also showed me that if MY reaction is that overwhelming, considering her past experience…I must be extra super cognizant of what her reaction might be.

The “First, do no harm” rule applies.

This sucks on many levels.

Embrace the suck.  That which does not kill you makes you stronger … and all that stuff.


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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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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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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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