How I Got Here

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This web site as well as my book Bounce Back: Finding Joy During Times of Adversity, is a look into my journey to find happiness. I grew up in a home with huge amounts of drug and alcohol abuse present, cared for my dear wife who suffered with lupus for many years, had a home burn down, was widowed at thirty-four years old, was a single parent with three daughters under eight, remarried four years later, had a baby pass away at birth, survived a devastating divorce, had a once successful company go out of business, suffered bankruptcy, and struggled with intense depression. Life simply had become too hard and I either needed to do something to find joy or I would be unable to continue.

I have written the steps that I personally have taken that has given me a joy that I didn’t know could exist. This happiness is with me despite the events that are going on in my life. I hope you can find the same peace through the things that I have learned. I welcome your thoughts and experiences as you take this journey with me.

It was November 26, 1996, two days before Thanksgiving. I came home early from work to see if I could help Kameo. We had spoken on the phone a couple hours earlier and she mentioned that she was feeling a little better, though it would quickly become apparent that was just her wishful thinking. I came home and saw all the symptoms I had seen many times before: very high fever, joint pain, and weakness. This was a serious lupus flare. I knew the plan of action. It was one we had taken many times before during our ten-year marriage. We would go to the hospital, get fluids into her, break her fever, spend a few days recovering, and then come home. She would really hate spending Thanksgiving in the hospital, I thought.

I asked Kameo’s Mother to take her to the hospital while I dropped our girls off at my parent’s home. As I helped her into her Mother’s car, she whispered into my ear, “Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.” Little did I know those would be the last words spoken to me by my wife, and Thanksgiving would never be the same.

The doctor asked to sit with me privately for a moment. “We have tried but it is now

Kameo and the girls the year she died

Kameo and the girls the year she died

time to make a decision. We can continue to keep her alive but it is only a matter of time before she passes.” How could this be happening, I asked myself? Her health had been the best it had been in years. She is only thirty-five, we have three young daughters! There were all kinds of reasons why she shouldn’t die.

None of those reasons mattered.

I hugged her, whispered through my tears the love I felt for her…and said good-bye. The breathing tube was removed and she slowly slipped away. Continue reading