I thought I should just get that out of the way right now.
No, I’m not over my pneumonia from New Year’s yet. No, I’m no longer married. No, I haven’t won an Emmy or a Grammy (inside joke for some folks from my past).
Yes, in March of 2011 I lost my wife, my house and almost my job . . . in that order.
Yes. I’m happy.
Of those three things I lost up there . . . I have two of them again. I have a roof over our heads – a pretty nice one, really; I have an amazing job, one that really treats me well.
I just took my daughter to look at one of the colleges she’s favoring for next year. I can afford it and it’s fairly close. That gives me comfort. My sons are doing well, Noah improving his attitude and anger issues . . . and Hannah has improved her grades.
2011 sucked. No doubt there.
But 2012 saw a shift in our lives.
Abbi embraced what she loves and wants to go for it full force. She was always a bit of a drama queen . . . now she might actually make a living at it.
Hannah has become a musician in her own right. I see her where I was after just a year of playing guitar. The fact she could play so many songs just by ear and has the music background does wonders as well.
The boys are coming into their own. They are wonderful little people, soon to be young men.
I chose in 2012 after much wrestling to focus on what was ahead of us. Not what we lost. I have gained some amazing people in my life…people that I would probably not have been so close to if life had continued the way it was. That’s not a criticism of my last 20 years, it’s just reality.
So 2013 sees us moving ahead with our lives. It’s always prodded along with the knowledge that we have Andrea back there, somewhere, her journey over. Our road is much longer. I could sit here all day wishing it had been different but, let’s face it, it won’t make it any different. What I’ve gained, too, has been invaluable.
You get a measure of the people around you when you’re at your lowest. It’s not to say others aren’t good people, it’s just you see who are the meaningful people. When your chips are down and you don’t think you can stand up . . . there are people that are there holding you up and you know . . . and those holding you up when you don’t know. When you’re open to your life moving ahead you see those people and you do whatever you can to keep them in your life.
That’s where we are now. It’s not about strength, it’s about tenderness. It’s about the right things at the right moment.
Yes, that’s vague, and understated, and less than specific.
But Otis Redding had it right. All you need to do is try a little tenderness. We did, and it’s made a world of difference.